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Old 08-26-2015, 12:41 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 47
From Bluebird to Phoenix

This is our bus, The Phoenix, a 40' 1996 Bluebird TC 2000 with a 6BT Cummins engine, Alison AT 643 trans, and around 167k miles.


She's everything we wanted in a bus: flat front, 40', with five large storage bays. She came home from Colorado last week, and we’ve been removing seats, decals, and a whole lot of screws bit by bit.


This is the interior. We were happy to discover an interior ceiling height of at least 6'3". It was a handicapped bus, which sounded great (yay, fewer seats!), but we quickly realized that removing the wheelchair rails makes up for any work saved removing seats. There’s also a Ricon chair lift, which we’re hoping to sell.


With every emergency exit sign (we had 6 of them), an existential saying.



We assembled a bench out of the bus seats. I’m hoping to incorporate these into the build, because some of them have 5-point children’s harnesses, and we have kids.


Can anyone recommend a way to remove the wheelchair rails over the windows? They’re secured with bolts, and I can’t get a socket wrench in there to remove them. I’d rather not grind them out if there’s a better way.


Thanks for reading, and I look forward to sharing our build here.
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:25 AM   #2
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
Posts: 2,937
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Cool.

I have never seen a wheel chair tie down rail over the window before.

Most are only on the floor.

Take a socket of the right size to a grinder and make the walls of the socket thin enough to fit into the opening.

Or try a different brand of socket. Cheaper brand socket tend to be thicker walled than better brands.

I have a few trimmed down sockets in my tool box.

Nat
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:02 AM   #3
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Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,170
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
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Welcome Phoenix --- what a great find! That engine /tranny combo and the underbelly storage make for a terrific starter platform. Best of luck with the build out and please do keep the pix coming.
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:27 AM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Snowflake, Arizona
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American Rear Engine
Engine: C-8.3-300 Cummins MD3060
Rated Cap: 40 Prisoners
Depending on the size of the bolts I would use a good impact
wrench and as the bolt starts to come out I would put a small
pry bar under the bolt head or bracket to keep friction on the
nut as you remove the bolt. I removed all my seat bolts with
a 1/4" drive Lithium Ion impact that would go to 55 ft/lbs.
But they were all 1/4" bolts. You could also lube the underside
of the bolt head to decrease the friction on the bolt just don't
get the lube on the face of the nut.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:26 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Gainesville. Georgia
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: bluebird
Rated Cap: 72
Maybe you can utilize the wheelchair rail by putting rope lights down it and covering them up with a strip of opaque plastic.
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:02 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 1,328
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
Take a socket of the right size to a grinder and make the walls of the socket thin enough to fit into the opening.
Harbor freight and pawn shops are good sources for one-off tools destined to be "customized" like this.
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:30 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
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Our TC has the WC belt rail also.
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Old 08-27-2015, 01:19 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Thank you for all the recommendations and info. I lubed the underside of the bolt heads, found a thinner walled socket, and went to work. The sun was shining on one side of the bus, and I think that gave the metal just enough expansion to remove the rail on that side. I wasn't so lucky with the other rail, but I'll try again in the morning when that side is exposed to the sun. If that doesn't do it, I'll grind down the socket. Only a few more bolts to go.
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Old 08-27-2015, 01:45 AM   #9
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
Posts: 2,937
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
Harbor freight and pawn shops are good sources for one-off tools destined to be "customized" like this.
I agree.

I sometimes go to pawn shops and buy 5 or 10 sockets at a time in the most common sizes I use.

Like 10mm, 12 mm, and 15mm. Those are the sizes that my Honda car uses.

That way if I loose one, no big deal.

Nat
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Old 08-27-2015, 01:58 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Yeah, we've been making twice-weekly trips to Harbor Freight lately. About to get more familiar with the local pawn shops, too.
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