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Old 05-01-2004, 01:41 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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New Alaska Skoolie

Just wanted to let everybody know I picked up my "new" bus last week. I got it up in Tok Alaska (about 100 miles from the Canadian border). Drove it all the way to Homer (about 550 miles) and put it on the ferry to Kodiak.

Anyway, it drives great and is a 1991 Ford B700 chassis with a Thomas body. It has the 7.8L Brazillian diesel and 5 speed manual transmission. As a bonus (in my opinon) it has an Espar diesel heater for the engine in addition to the normal (plug in) block heater. I haven't had to use it yet, since the temps have been up in the 40's!

I won't bother with pics (unless somebody wants to look at a stock skoolie) since I havn't even taken out the seats yet.

Plans for now are just removing the seats for use as a moving van then continue the conversion once moved. I really like the looks of BruinGilda the AeroSwine and plan something similar if I can manage it.

B.
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Old 05-01-2004, 08:56 AM   #2
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Greetings,
Welcome to the fun - er, ah, madness, yeah, madness, that's the ticket!!

Kodiak you say!
Do you know a paintball playing, fish smokin' guy named Gil from Kodiak?

All I suggest is get your plan pretty much figured out before you start actual construction so you don't waste time and money re-doing stuff.
Myself and everyone here are open to questions and will usually help.
If and when I do another one, there are parts of other folks busses from this forum I will "borrow" for it. There are a lot of good ideas out there!!

(insert best StarWars type moderator voice)
And so, ANOTHER saga begins.....
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Old 05-02-2004, 01:31 PM   #3
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No, don't know anybody named Gil. But then I'm not into paintball...

There is quite a group of people that go out and play paintball, I'm just not one of them. I have enough hobbies as it is - just ask my wife!
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Old 05-02-2004, 07:21 PM   #4
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Welcome!
I also have a 1991 Ford B 700. Mine has a ward body, 72 passenger. I have the smaller brazilian made 6.6 liter Ford. Parts are very expensive for these motors, but lots of people say they're a good engine. I just ran into a tow truck driver the other day who has over 330,000 miles on his 6.6 liter. I hope your 7.8 is just as good. I'm pretty sure These motors are very much related. I have about 265,000 miles on my bus, she's still running strong. I've been running her on veggie oil for the past 300 miles.


I wish you the best of luck with your conversion.
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Old 05-02-2004, 08:50 PM   #5
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So far I haven't had any problems with the engine. It seems to have plenty of power. I can pull most hills without downshifting and still hold 45-55 mph. If I downshift I can pull any hill I've come across at 40-45 mph. On the flat I've had it up to 65 without much difficulty, although it seems to start to work a little hard at that point. I prefer to keep it at 55-60 while on the highway.

I've only filled up once, so I haven't figured out my fuel mileage yet. I'm expecting anywhere from 10-15 mpg from what I've been reading on here.
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Old 05-02-2004, 09:31 PM   #6
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I get 8.5 mpg. It seems that very few full size buses get over 10
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Old 05-03-2004, 02:26 AM   #7
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I thought that gassers got below 10 and diesels range between 10 and 15.

My bus is only a 65 passenger (34ft total length) with the 5 speed manual which should make some difference, shouldn't it?
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Old 05-07-2004, 03:57 AM   #8
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Project Update

Well, I have all the seats removed. What a dirty job! My nieghbor kindly helped out and climbed under the bus and held the bolts while I turned them from inside the bus. I have at least one person that wants 4-6 seats, but I still have about a dozen more to get rid of!

What is the best way to fill in all the holes left over from the seats? I was thinking of getting a dowl rod and making "pins" and glueing them in place. Anybody have any suggestions or a better way?

On another note, the left front tire has developed a slow leak. I called the local tire shop, they quoted me $40-50 to fix it. I made sure they knew it was a heavy truck tire (9.00R20) on a split rim. Just another expense to take care of, which will probably have to wait until next payday.

Next project once I get rid of all the seats (just unbolted, but still sitting in the bus right now) is to CLEAN the bus. I don't think that bus has been cleaned at all during it's use as a school bus! At least it was never cleaned WELL! All kinds of nasty stuff under the seats and along the edges. The filters on the heaters are caked with dust and lint. Oh well, just more stuff to keep me busy and out of trouble.

Oh, if anybody is interested, I do have a website that I am updating at http://home.gci.net/~graymouser/

Just click on the "My Bus Conversion" link on the sidebar. Unless you really want to read about my incredibly boring life (away from the skoolie).
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Old 05-07-2004, 10:11 AM   #9
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I think removing the seats was one of the most miserable projects during the entire conversion.

When it came to cleaning the inside of the bus, I parked the front wheels on a curb so the bus was on a slant. Then i got a bucket of water, a brush, and the garden hose. She was sparkly clean when i finished.
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Old 05-08-2004, 01:33 AM   #10
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OK, I did it, I broke down and posted some pictures of the bus. They were taken just after I picked it up in Tok. You can see them in the Gallery here:

http://www.skoolie.net/gallery2/AK-Brando
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