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Old 05-24-2018, 10:42 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 10
99 40ft BlueBird (Big Burtha)

Iam not new to RV's as I owned a couple of them but I am new to bus conversions so one day I come across what I thought was a good deal and I jumped on it. I found a 40 foot 1999 BlueBird CRSE which was a RED CROSS BLOODMOBILE!!! Yikes! All is well as the inside is being completely stripped. The down side is I bought it with no instrument panel so miles is a guessing game until I pull the carfax. The bus was sitting in a some bushes behind a local business. I asked the owner about it and he explained its been sitting for 2 years and that he won it at an auction, so I asked if hed sell it and he said hed be glad to get it off his property.
Took a about a week to find the keys. He gave me a duffle bag which I thought was a bunch of coins but they were all keys. He said he do know the key looks funny. Long story short I found a set of keys that had the initials BB on them which stood for "blood bus" but I changed it to "Big Burtha". Anyways couldnt open the door because a tree had grown up in front of it so I climbed on top and dropped down into the air condition hole on top.(first I connected the original 130lb commercial battery) anyways while praying it starts I turned the key and waited 10 secs...... Then crank and it fired right up! Sound smooth and silent. Iam filled with excitement at this point. I put it in gear and realize it was trying to move but it just wouldnt budge! After a bunch of attempts had to call a tow truck. Tow truck said he couldnt tow it because of the way it was sitting and his truck was to big to fit in and grab it. He decided to go rambo and opened up the door where one of the generators was and climbed up under the bus into the mud and brushes and used the bolts to release the brakes. He climbed out and drove it out with no brakes to the front of the business where I could work on it. So now here we are! I just bought a class 7 bus with a gvwr of 33,324 pounds. It has leveling jacks and two areas where there were 2 generators. Iam excited but if this seem to be to much I will sell it to someone who can handle big burtha! I will try to upload pics as I go. Let me know what you guys think and opinions and advice is much appriciated! So far I can see the frame is solid with just surface rust but I think the air brakes are shot.
The guy who sold it to me explained that he drove it home and everything worked like it was suppose to. He even said the dash was still intact when he parked it. Anyways I will post some pics to get you guys ideals and advice. I have an Ideal what I want to do but would like to hear from the pros and vets what should be done first.
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Old 05-25-2018, 06:29 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 10
Keep it or Scrap it? 1999 BlueBird 40ft (Big Burtha)

Ok so the service records I was able to find says the bus has 259,xxx hours/miles of service but shows no issues. Its a 5.9l Turbo Diesel with an Allison transmission. Yesterday I climbed underneath to get some better pics. I see a foam under coat but also alot more rust.
The body isnt thay bad and the frame is solid as a rock but looks like everything else is eaten by rust. See pics..
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Old 05-25-2018, 06:39 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 16,218
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Yeah man that's sweet! IDK why more folks don't go for the bookmobiles and bloodmobiles.
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Old 05-25-2018, 03:13 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 10
1999 BlueBird 40ft (Big Burtha)

Ok so Iam not big on wasting time when I can avoid it and would like to have the bus fully converted within 4 months if I can. Ive already determined the air brake tanks are shot and will replace them. My biggest concern was if the body itself will hold up but after pulling up some of the floor and removing some of the undercoat I say about 75% of the floor is solid and in great shape. One of the fender wells had a 2 feet gap of rust but I will take care of it with some sheet metal. I will keep the wood thats strong and replace any that loo damaged, wet or spongy. Once I have everything pulled out I will post my ideal floor plan which I took from a 1993 Prevost. Also I will be cutting and installing more storage on the outside as well as adding grey, black and fresh water tanks and an aftermarket generator. Will post all pics as I go through.
As far as generator goes I know most people are doing without them now and going all solar and I will have a solar setup as primary but it depends on the funds I have left after everything else. Anyways heres a few more pics. Some of the pics with the shades and TV was me messing around when I first got it to get an ideal of what things will look like. The electric box in the bus I believe has had some of the wires cut. Will check them out later. So for the moment Iam using a 120w and 5000w inverter to run tools on the inside. They will also become a part of the bus. Anways enjoy!
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Old 05-25-2018, 07:20 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Brevard County, FL
Posts: 639
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford
Engine: 6.6 New Holland Dies
Rated Cap: 60 kids, 10 window
Generator or solar or both, do what works for you.
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Old 05-25-2018, 08:39 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 10
CALL IT QUITS?? 1999 BlueBird 40ft (Big Burtha)

Started fast and ended fast? The frame is solid on Burtha but the parts hidden with under coat is rusted through. I am leaning on scrapping her. And look for another! If one of you guys want her let me know. Iam in Ohio. Strong diesel engine and starts instantly everytime. The whole bus has already been hars foam insulated. Its good for someone thats a welder I guess and who wants a different type of bus cheap. Message me of your interested. More pics below!
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:01 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 10
Burtha's Becoming!

Ok so about 6 months ago I purchased a bus really and honestly just for something I thought would be challenging and yes it has been ok but it seems I gave gave up just as quick as I started. I learned what so many other "Conversionist" have said repeatedly and that is **Look very good at the amount of rust on a bus before you buy it!**. I Believe I was so eager to buy something and get going that at the time I believed no amount of rust would stop me or slow me down. It still hasn't stopped me but I did put the bus up for sale locally as I continued to work on it. Anyways 6 months Ive been working and bonding with this bus and its still ton to do before its the way I want it. Ive been working on it completely on my own as no one seems to like the bus enough to even step foot on it. Not even my girlfriend wants to have anything to do with it. So I am my own 1 man army.
I will say that I did find a company here to sell me brand new wood extremely cheap which has been a big help. I bought my own tools, welder and Generator to tackle everything else. Ive never welded anything until I got this bus but I learned to do it by watching a few hours worth of youtube videos and integrating what feels comfortable to me. During my tear down and rebuilding of the bus I have to do all my work on the inside of the bus because its still sitting on a piece of property that has customers coming by everyday(carlot) but the owner is very cool with just the requirement that I dont let it sit in one spot on the property to long. So occasionally he will call me and ask me to move it to the other side of the property, which I don't mind at all. Having somewhere to put the bus is important and being able to work with tools outside the bus is equally important. Because of me having to do everything(mainly just using the saw) things get dusty pretty fast. Also Ive never done anything on this scale so everyday so far has been a PURE learning experience....but I dont mind continuing working on it in my free time. Something about doing the work satisfies everything manly in me! 😂 Anyways for the moment Big Burtha is just sitting until the weather warm up again but am adding some images of my progress with her so far and like I said I am doing everything 110 Percent alone so my progress may be a bit slower then most of you guys but I will continue until shes finished.
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:06 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 10
Burtha's Becoming! More pics!

Heres a few more pics of Burtha's Becoming!
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:39 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 10
Burtha's Becoming even more pics!

Heres more pics of current progress. I decided to go with actual plumbing for the toilet rather then a compositing toilet.( I wanted the experience of actually installing all the lines and hoses myself. What I did find is the metal floor on this bus was alot harder to drill through then I expected. I still am working on the shower and will finish that sometime this summer. I also painted the red line that ran along the bus! Just got tired of seeing it! The gray color will not be the final color of paint I use for that line. Still pondering colors but I have an ideal for the final colors.
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:15 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 660
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
Looks good and I don't see any rust?
In the one picture that came through on my computer.
Start an album and post all your pics there is my tech challenged solution.
My computer will only let me post one pic. At a time.
Good luck
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