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Old 08-17-2013, 02:10 PM   #1
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cat 3208
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Hey everybody! I have been jealously eyeing this site for a couple of years now, waiting patiently for the right opportunity to have my own bus and join the skoolie family as a full-time live-aboard. That time has arrived. I just purchased a 1990 Bluebird All-American with 177,000 miles on the 3208 pusher. I found it in Anchorage, AK for $3,000 and the price included seat removal (all but 6) and delivery to my location (~200 miles). My initial assessment is that it runs like a champ, however it has cooling and power steering issues that will have to be dealt with soon. I will also be needing a couple tires and anything else that I find today on my more in-depth evaluation.

Step 1, 8-18-2013: Overall mechanical evaluation, begin tune-up, order parts.
Step 2, on or before 8-25-2013: CDL! Cleaning, flat black Rustoleum, final seat removal.
Step 3, BEFORE WINTER: Insulate, perform necessary mechanical repairs and conversions necessary for registration.
Step 4, ASAP: Insurance and registration, vehicle safe and sound for CDL driving test.

Posted below are initial photos after delivery last week. Also, I hope to post the proposed floor plan later on today.

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Old 08-20-2013, 09:53 PM   #2
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Re: 26 Blackbird

Congrats! Just knowing your new bus made the 200 mile trip without problems is worth at least a grand You better get busy if you want to beat winter--as I recall winter starts Sept 1 and its just around the corner! You live in a beautiful place but after "summering" in in Eagle in a Suburban in 1970, I still remember driving the AlCan in the snow on 9/1--great memories but i'll have to pass on a repeat and leave it to a better man!
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Old 08-21-2013, 06:34 AM   #3
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Re: 26 Blackbird

welcome, 4 more delayed posts and then no more delays...again welcome
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:25 AM   #4
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Re: 26 Blackbird

That's a great looking bus! I'm very jealous of anyone with stock storage compartments under their bus. Is that loudspeaker on the roof hooked up to a mic?
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:33 AM   #5
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Re: 26 Blackbird

Quote:
Originally Posted by somjuan
That's a great looking bus! I'm very jealous of anyone with stock storage compartments under their bus. Is that loudspeaker on the roof hooked up to a mic?
I agree on the underbelly storage. Great feature. Wish I had it.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:46 AM   #6
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Re: 26 Blackbird

Will you be using the bus for commercial purposes? Just wondering why you are getting a CDL. If you title as a motorhome you do not need that type of license.
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Old 08-22-2013, 01:16 PM   #7
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Re: 26 Blackbird

looks great, jealous of the storage, I get to make mine Now get to work
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Old 08-24-2013, 04:10 AM   #8
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Re: 26 Blackbird

Thanks for the positive notes everybody. I've already learned so much from all of you in the time that I've been researching this plan.

As far as the CDL is concerned, no, I'm not planning on using it for commercial purposes and will be registering it as an RV when I am able. But...I understand Alaska law to read that any vehicle over 26,000 gross and with air brakes requires a Class B CDL. Plus I have to be mobile and may have to drive it to another town before I meet the qualifications to register as an RV. So if I have to leave the area for a winter job before she's painted I want to at least be legal to drive a school bus. The fewer laws I can break in the meantime the better and I could always use the CDL later. As far as living in it for winter...I am trying my hardest NOT to live in it this winter, that's just pushing it too close. I am hoping to nail down a job with a housing agreement and have the winter to get the bus ready for next summer. I currently work in the woods 6 days per week and have no access to phone or internet much less the bus, so just 1 day a week to work on it right now.

I agree, the underbelly storage is an awesome feature. I'm thinking water, gray water and propane for that area since I will be storing quite a bit of potable water. However, I will have to insulate and possibly warm that area as well, expecially if I stay in the interior during the winter. Apparently propane stops flowing properly at around -25 and Healy, AK can get down to -50/60. Not the time to lose heat.

The loudspeaker does have a mic jack inside but no mic yet, in fact I can flip a switch between the outside loudspeaker and the inside ceiling speakers...pretty fancy.

The floor plan is still a few days out. I'm playing with 2 really nice designs and I'll probably have some questions along the way, but really it comes down to what I do with the 'living room'. I have a design in mind for a really nice couch/dinette/coffee table combination that would really open up the front half of the bus so I've got to do some playing around with that.

I was able to do an overall inspection last weekend and everything is in good shape except for the outer radiator (transmission cooler?), 2 radiator hose fittings and 2 tires. The last State of Alaska inspection was just last year and everything appears to be solid but the radiator will definitely need repaired or replaced. The hoses might just need a new fitting or some more teflon tape. Tomorrow I will begin these repairs and also start on filters and fluids. More to follow!!
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:16 PM   #9
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Re: 26 Blackbird

You might be surprised how far under 26k you will be....I would weigh first....before cdl,heck the seats are about 1k
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Old 08-24-2013, 04:29 PM   #10
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Re: 26 Blackbird

My bus is bigger than yours, bigger engine and already converted too. With 4 of us and full fuel, 25,000#

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