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Old 11-15-2012, 09:05 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Posts: 14
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 41
And Betsie Bus was born....

or is it ... resurrected??

My son and I bought a school bus to convert into a camper. It's a 41 pax, Bluebird on a International chassis, sprouting a DT466 in a conventional configuration.

After loosing 4 tents this year and 2 tents last year in storms, having slept through countless thunderstorms and Wisconsin Summer Monsoons, we decided that we needed to upgrade our camping quarters. So a search was started along the usual lines such as eBay and Craigslist. Turns out a local school district here had excess buses stored in a field. Been sitting there for over year. They had five 41 pax buses, 4 Thomas with DT444(?) and the Bluebird with a DT466. The Thomas build bodies all had moderate to severe Wisconsin Cancer, the Bluebird seemed ok, started right up too after sitting there for over a year. Had a few problems though, tires were slicks, crevasses the size of the grand canyon in the side walls, cluster was missing too... and last but not least, it blew a brake line when we pulled it forward a bit

However the guy representing the school district was amicable to our plight and installed a cluster for us, fixed the brake line and had the shop find us reasonable tires and a deal was stuck.

And so it came to be that Betsie Bus is now adorning our driveway.
Did notice the coolant container was empty, when i got home,a quick look in the oil did not show coolant though. That started the search for approved coolant for the DT466. That was a learning experience all by itself.

insurance was a breeze through GMAC

We have since started the removal of the seats, pulling and replacing of the floor is next.
scrounging of RV parts has started with the find of a LP fridge and a Inverter. more to follow. Oh yeah, i managed to procure two sets (read rows) of leather clad airline seats when Midwest Airlines went belly up, so they will find their way onto the bus too post-haste.

We're planning on 4 bunks, gas stove, running water, fridge, dining area, 120 volt & LP gas to comply with the Wisconsin conversion requirements.

our next hurdle will be painting, temps have dropped considerably, so no painting outside, spray roll or brush...

So this leaves us in a catch 22 situation, we need to register the bus as an RV to drive it with our regular license, we need the bus to get the building materials to be placed in the bus so that we can register it as an RV, according to the DMV we will need to present the bus to an Officer of the Law to sign required DMV paperwork, and without the paperwork we won't get license plates.... oh well, another conundrum to solve.

At least, here i know I am not alone

More to follow,

and before I forget, one of the doors has rusted away around the hinges, at the bottom.... how does one remove those doors??
anybody has one for a Bluebird they wanna depart with??

Cheers

Gert
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:47 AM   #2
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Re: And Betsie Bus was born....

sounds like you are off to a good start.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:07 PM   #3
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Location: Kelso, WA
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Year: 1989
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT360
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Re: And Betsie Bus was born....

I dig the name, good luck with your build. Looks like you got a good one, just get out that fine tooth comb before you really test her. Wisconsin? brrr...you need to find somewhere indoors for your conversion,...what are you planning for heat?
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:36 PM   #4
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Re: And Betsie Bus was born....

Oh sure-name a bus after my ex-wife. My you have better luck than I did.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:17 AM   #5
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Re: And Betsie Bus was born....

Quote:
Originally Posted by rv8flyboy
or is it ... resurrected??

So this leaves us in a catch 22 situation, we need to register the bus as an RV to drive it with our regular license, we need the bus to get the building materials to be placed in the bus so that we can register it as an RV, according to the DMV we will need to present the bus to an Officer of the Law to sign required DMV paperwork, and without the paperwork we won't get license plates.... oh well, another conundrum to solve.
Gert
Remember the old saying, it is not what you know but who you know. Registering the bus as a motor home in Wisconsin is a pretty easy process. As you stated it just takes the signature of a local police officer. In my case I am friends with the Police Chief in my town. Even if you aren't personally friends with a police officer chances are someone you know might be. I looked online for the form that I needed when I registered my bus but couldn't find it in a quick search. I know they are available at the DMV office. Get the form and fill it out so all the officer needs to do is sign it. I had mine registered as a motor home when it was just an empty shell. Just remember if pulled over there is a possibility you could run into problems.

Good luck on your conversion, it is really worth all the work the very first day you go on your first adventure. We are 17 days into our first trip and have saved a substantial amount of money in hotel stays and food by not eating out. I look forward to seeing your project progress.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:51 AM   #6
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Re: And Betsie Bus was born....

When we registered our Eagle in TN as an RV, we simply put in the stuff "required" by the state. We had a portapotti (toilet facilities), gas grill (cooking), air mattress w/ sleeping bag (sleeping facilities) and a jug of fresh water (water supply). Then we had an affidavit notarized at the bank stating we had complied to state requirements. Just because it is a requirement, does not mean it has to be a permanent thing. Get the exact state requirements (usually a "3 out of 6" type thing) and put in the absolute easiest/cheapest that can be removed.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:54 PM   #7
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Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 41
Re: And Betsie Bus was born....

Thanks Guys, for the kind words of welcome!!

We really dig our bus, and luckily, so do the neighbors. It was some concern when we spotted him walking up the driveway, however, the neighbor showed us a stack of Skoolie pics he had found and said that we should painted flames on the side facing his house....showing us one of the pics he found YEAH!, gotta love a good neighbor!!

We spent the afternoon getting the seats out and cut up for scrap, we also got the starter battery door latch working again, the latch had rusted solid, but nothing the sandblaster could not handle.

Tomorrow we will start tearing the rubber out and hopefully remove the smelly wooden floor.

We also need to get one of the doors off, but, we have not figured out how to do that yet

as for form, I am not sure it is available on their WIS_DMV website, i had sent them an email and a kind lady from the DMV replied with the requirements and posted the form to sign in the mail to me.













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Old 11-17-2012, 10:08 PM   #8
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Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
Re: And Betsie Bus was born....

Great sized bus !
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:50 AM   #9
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Re: And Betsie Bus was born....

AZ Requires them to be permanently installed.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:38 AM   #10
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Re: And Betsie Bus was born....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadoll
AZ Requires them to be permanently installed.
But not ALL states have "permanent" in their requirements. If you can do a temp set up then it is better to do that than drive around without tags... like we did. By the time we get around to getting NM tag/title the the bus will be mostly, if not fully, complete.
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