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Old 07-04-2018, 04:40 PM   #1
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Location: Las Vegas, NV
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"EMILEE" Our 1999 BlueBird TC2000 Full Conversion

Our bus is finally here!! Settled on a decent 1999 Bluebird TC2000 RE with a Cummins 8.3 Mechanical engine and AT-643 transmission. After checking out the mechanical motor I understand now why everyone has been recommending them. Much simpler machine. The bus, I mean RV, has the pass through storage compartments that I wanted. This is an Arizona Vehicle and there is almost zero rust. In fact, the most rust I found was on the top of the seat bolts and I assume is from the kids spilling liquids rather than the elements.

This will be a full conversion. Sleeping for 4, kitchen, bath, generator, batteries, solar, water tanks and more.

I will post progress and ask advice regularly. If anyone is interested, I am live streaming the entire build process. I tested it out this morning and it worked out well. Took all the seats out and swept her down.

To watch the live bus build, I should be on every morning at 6am PST
www.twitch.tv/fadderall
You can also watch past broadcasts there.


Tomorrow, I will either take out the floor or start on the roof. Planning to paint with Tropicool to keep the heat down.

Some pics of the progress.
EMILEE





SEATS SO EASY TO REMOVE THEY ARE FALLING OUT THE BUS



SWEPT CLEAN READY TO MOVE ON


PICKED UP A CHEAPO $100 WINDOW BOX AC TO INSTALL IN WINDOW FOR BUILD AC.....JUST A SPOT TO COOL OFF WHILE WORKING. WILL INSTALL TONIGHT OR TOMORROW.


Hope to see you guys tomorrow!
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Old 07-04-2018, 04:59 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Good idea for the portable temporary A/C unit. Have a small window unit here I can throw in there to try knock the edge off.
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Old 07-04-2018, 06:24 PM   #3
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Location: Tullahoma, Tennessee
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: RE300
Engine: DT466E (250h.p.)
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Originally Posted by fadderall View Post
I should be on every morning at 6am PST

Hope to see you guys tomorrow![/B]
Forget the PST I'll still be snoring...
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:46 PM   #4
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
A most excellent find! Congrats on getting a great engine/tranny combo and major underbelly storage to boot!
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:00 AM   #5
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Location: Central MN
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE
Engine: 8.3TA
Congrats on the great find! I will be watching with great interest as mine is almost identical. Unfortunately on hold to clear a health problem. Best wishes for a safe and successful build.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:30 AM   #6
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: GA
Posts: 129
Year: 1998
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000 RE
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 78
Our buses are almost identical minus the trans. That's a good looking bus.
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:31 PM   #7
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Location: Chattanooga, TN
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Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: CAT 3126
That is a beauty!
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Old 07-06-2018, 01:02 PM   #8
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AC Installation, Subfloor, Insulation, Satan's Nails and those damn Seats.

3 days and still sticking to the schedule. Live streaming the build every morning starting at 6am PST (its HOT out here) and going until the heat gets me. Basically, if I am working on the bus I hit the stream button and it keeps archives of each day. www.twitch.tv/fadderall

A couple days in and progressing along nicely. After getting all the seats out, I took a break to install the window AC. This is a temporary unit just to "take the edge off" as 01marc said. Does it work? Sort of. Its never going to cool down the bus, but it does create a cool safety zone to retreat to when getting over heated. In other words, feels great standing in front of it!

I bought the cheapest unit I could find. $129 @ home depot (or lowes). They all have one like this (GE, LG). Its s 5000 BTU window AC needs a 12" height and 21"-25" width. Nothing would fit in the window openings, so I used an emergency exit window swing out and propped it open with a pole. The next level was $179 but was only 6000btu and came with a fancy remote that I didn't want to pay $50 for. Next level they jump to $300+. Too much for temp AC so I stuck with the cheapo.

At first I used the $40 universal support bracket they sell, but that left the unit too high and I just didnt like it. I took that back. After staring at the problem a while and coming up with all kinds of frames, sleeves and other wood type contraptions, I started to get way too complicated. I had to K.I.S.S myself. Its a temporary! So, I just clamped a 2x3 across the window opening to hold the unit down (like the window normally would) and then used foam, cardboard and duct tape to seal it in. Works and moving on.
AC in emergency exit window from outside. Pole only supports window. Never support AC from ground or the movement of the bus on the suspension will push the AC in and out of the hole.

Inside 2x3 and clamps hold the AC down on the metal sill.

My gorgeous 10-3 100' new extension cord! Cost more than the AC but will be cherished and used for years to come. And, the ends light up so....


Next, we tackled the subfloor. I have a 74" interior headroom school bus, so insulating the floor on the inside was never going to happen. The plan was to remove the subfloor anyways and seal the bottom, then replace with fresh wood. Well, that subfloor does not want to come out! The floor is actually NAILED to the metal deck with a fastener I have dubbed SATAN'S NAILS. These devious nails have a twist along the body of the nail that acts like a cross between the flutes on a drill bit and the teeth of a screw. For production line they are wonderful. Put them in an air nailer and shoot in fasteners that are probably 1/3-1/2 as strong as screws but 10 times faster to install. But, for renovators, these things are from HELL. On a good day they are designed to be hard to pull out but after 20 years, and a nice dusting of surface rust, they are all but impossible to deal with. The wood splinters and rips rather than the nail letting go and unlike screws, they cannot be removed before pulling on the wood. They are all counter sunk so you got nothing to grab onto. After ripping and tearing a section of the first board I stopped. It was pointed out to me by someone on the live stream that I could just leave the subfloor. I think the exact words were "why are you doing that". I get that it might be prudent to rip it up and check/seal the underside. But, in reality, why? I am not going to insulate. It will take forever and cost money for not much gain. It is an Arizona bus and has almost no rust (certainly not going to find and cancerous rust and holes in the metal pan). So why not just leave it? I cut a board to replace the wood I hacked up. The current plan is to check the whole floor for squeaks. Screw down where appropriate. Seal seat holes with silicone caulk. Seal cracks between boards with caulk (to allow for wood expansion rather than using liquid nails between). Finally, sand down the subfloor to smooth the top and remove the old glue/dirt from the previous floor. Anyone have a compelling reason for me to do this differently? Any better idea for sealing between the subfloor boards and/or the seatbolt holes?
Seats out, Rubber floor removed.

The spot I had to cut out after damaging the wood trying to remove it. You can see that yes there is some mild surface rust but nothing serious.

Subfloor patch piece dry fit

SATAN'S NAILS!!! I HATE THESE THINGS


A FEW QUESTIONS


1. Has anyone successfully insulated the floor from the underside? Inside my bays looks easy and I can reach most spots outside the bays. The problem is how to cover/protect the insulation from the elements when it is on the underside? In the bays foam board would be fine but what about outside the bays? How about spray foam? Would go into the nooks and crannies great but doesn't it need to be protected? Could I spray undercoating or bed liner on the dry spray foam or foam board or would it eat the foam? Anyone thats done this or has ideas; I appreciate any advice, pictures, suggestions please.

2. Has anyone reused the original wood subfloor? Any issues with this plan that I may be missing?

3. WHAT DO I DO WITH THESE SEATS? Like everyone on here I know have a huge pile of used school bus seats (only one of which stands on its own). I was thinking of putting an ad on craigslist to see what demand (if any) is out there. Anyone, have a clever idea? Are they worth scraping for the metal? Any places that are known to take/want these seats? They are in decent shape given their age. Any advice is appreciated. I hate the idea of just throwing them away. If they aren't worth anything to anyone I will just put them out front for the metal gremlins to come feed on.


Oh One More Thing
I covered some of the windows of the bus with Cardboard from the outside to help with the heat while working on the bus. The difference between covered and uncovered (but tinted) window is HUGE. I am not sure about all the worrying over insulation techniques that I have seen since these windows pretty much seem to negate ANY insulation done to walls, floor, ceiling. They equalize with the external temperature and then having no air break double pane technology, they just radiate in or out. In the heat they are massive radiators transferring the suns energy into my cool space. In the cold, they are massive heat sinks pulling out whatever warmth I could generate. I am starting to think that solving the window issue is more important than any other insulation technique.
Cardboard box taped to window on outside. The difference between the covered window (cool to touch) and the uncovered next to it (will burn your hand) is huge.


IDEAS.
It is clearly more efficient to cover the windows from the outside. This breaks the heat exchange from the more massive environment. But curtains or roller shades inside are so much easier to engineer. Some ideas.

1. HARD COVERS. Fashion a shallow 5 sided box out of sheet metal. Maybe, 1/2" thick. Can be braced and/or insulated on the inside or open side. This side goes toward window. Box is a little larger than the size of the window. Top of box has hinge mechanism and mounts to top of window, hinge under metal awning lip. Has a means to fasten down when in motion. Has a pole that can prop it up as an extended awning when stopped.

2. SOFT COVERS. Use marine canvas of the type for boat furnishings, sail covers convertible car top boots (from back in the day before they all retracted under the body panels). Attached with snaps that can be riveted/screwed into the metal of bus. A single screw (alongside the snaps) on top of the cloth could be a safety so that even if the wind unsnapped one it would not fly down the road. Velcro on the windward edge would discourage air lift but looks cheesy?
They could roll up or be propped out with a pole. Another method would be to build them stretched on a wire frame. Two wire struts could fold up diagonal inside the frame. The whole thing would still snap on and when stopped the wire struts would unfold and hold them out like mini awnings.

Any creative cover/awnings mounted from the outside? Ideas? Pictures? Plans?

Thanks again guys. I really appreciate the good wishes, support and great advice everyone has on here.
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1999 BLUEBIRD TC 2000 RE CUMMINS 8.3 - MT-643
BUILD THREAD https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/e...ion-23234.html
LIVE STREAM BUILD STARTS 6AM PST M-F https://www.twitch.tv/fadderall
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Old 07-06-2018, 01:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post
Congrats on the great find! I will be watching with great interest as mine is almost identical. Unfortunately on hold to clear a health problem. Best wishes for a safe and successful build.
Thank you Gary. I hope you get that health issue squared away. Love to see what you are doing with your Bluebird.
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1999 BLUEBIRD TC 2000 RE CUMMINS 8.3 - MT-643
BUILD THREAD https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/e...ion-23234.html
LIVE STREAM BUILD STARTS 6AM PST M-F https://www.twitch.tv/fadderall
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Old 07-06-2018, 01:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
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A most excellent find! Congrats on getting a great engine/tranny combo and major underbelly storage to boot!
Thanks Tango. You got any pics of that 46 Wayne?
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BUILD THREAD https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/e...ion-23234.html
LIVE STREAM BUILD STARTS 6AM PST M-F https://www.twitch.tv/fadderall
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