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Old 02-21-2012, 08:24 PM   #1
scott_farmer's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 25
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: B5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
New Skoolie - 1996 Bluebird.

Hello all, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Scott and I'm down south in Houston. I've been lurking on this site and others for a couple of years now but this is my first post.

I got the Skoolie bug back in the early 90's when I had some friends that worked in the bus barn for the local school district. They were telling me a story about the district auctioning off busses and that the mechanic there bought one for $600 that he had personally installed a new transmission in the year before. My friends and I came up with the idea of buying one and converting it and turning it into a party bus. That never got further than the talk and dream stage.

I've never let go of that idea since. After a friend bough a mid-sized conventional last year and did a stint as a full timer, the bug dug a little deaper in my brain. I started doing serious research and frequenting the bus sites all of the internet. I also started easing my wife into the idea at the same time. Since the beginning of the year I've been watching local auctions, ebay, craigslist, etc, but I hadn't found anything that really jumped out at me.

Earlier this month I completed the goal of paying off all of my debt and as a reward/gift to myself I decided that I was going to get my bus and start the conversion. I spent the last few days visiting different busses and I found the one yesterday. I made a deal with the seller that I am happy with and today after securing storage space and insurance I made the plunge!

1996 Bluebird tc2000 flat nose
5.9 cummins
13 window
AT545 transmission
142,000 miles
air brakes
73.5" center isle ceiling height. (I'm 6'7 and I have to duck, but not much)

The bus came from a somewhat local school district and as far as I can tell is very clean. The engine fires right up, the transmission shifts fine, the tread on the tires looks 80%, and there is almost no rust at all. I was amazed when I climbed under it that I didn't see a spec of rust anywhere. There are a couple of spots on the body with some very light surface rust, but that's it. The inside is the cleanest of any of the busses I have ever looked at. All of the lights inside and out even work.

I got her home around 3:00 today and didn't get much done on the tear down. I removed the stop sign, started scraping the lettering from the front, cleaned some gunk off of the windshield, and removed the two seats that were blocking the drivers side emergency exit. I decided I needed to get it down to the storage unit before dark so I could try parking it for the first time during the day.

The plan is to make it into a camper/rv for my family of 4, and to turn the back into a toy hauler for my 4 wheelers. I haven't decided if I'm going to turn the entire back into a fold down ramp, or add another door next to the rear door to make it wide enough to get the 4 wheelers inside.

I'm really happy to now be an official member of the Skoolie community. The information that everyone posts is incredible and I've already gotten a ton of ideas to borrow.

And I assume these conflicting feelings of "This is awesome! I have a bus in my driveway!", and "Holy crap, I just bought a bus!" are normal?

Here's a picture of my bus as it sat on the lot.

And this is it in my driveway.

Edited to fix the image links.
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:31 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
Elliot Naess's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Posts: 1,735
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Re: New Skoolie - 1996 Bluebird.

Welcome, Scott!
Your pictures don't work, but the rest sounds good. To make sure pictures and links work, click on the Preview button before you hit Submit. Whatever you see in Preview is exactly what we will all see.

Be aware that the rear of the bus (the floor) is much higher off the ground than toy hauler trailers. So the ramp will be very steep -- unless you invent a very long ramp.

Carry on!
Millicent The Bus - roof raised two feet, toy-hauler tailgate.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:11 AM   #3
scott_farmer's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 25
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: B5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Re: New Skoolie - 1996 Bluebird.

Thanks Elliot, I edited the post and fixed the image links. I'm not sure how I messed that up.

I became painfully aware of the height of the bus as I was climbing in and out of the rear door the other day. My bad knee was complaining about it pretty loudly. I see a lot of measuring, drawing, measuring some more, and staring at it with a beer in my hand in my future.
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:35 AM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 14
Year: 1987
Coachwork: ward
Chassis: international
Engine: 9.0
Re: New Skoolie - 1996 Bluebird.

Looks like the same bus we just drove 400 miles home. Have fun!
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:05 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Wood Dale
Posts: 189
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Ford
Chassis: Carpenter
Engine: 7.8 New Holland
Rated Cap: 72
Re: New Skoolie - 1996 Bluebird.

Welcome and congrats! looking forward to seeing you ''Visions'' haha

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Old 02-23-2012, 02:24 PM   #6
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: from: Prescott, AZ currently: Denver, CO
Posts: 467
Year: 1992
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: All American RE
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Re: New Skoolie - 1996 Bluebird.

Good lookin' bus!
Welcome to the asylum. Don't mind the rubber walls. Enjoy your stay.
Bluebird All American RE: Great White Buffalo
Our build thread: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10065
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:18 PM   #7
Bus Nut
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 782
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Genesis
Engine: Detroit
Rated Cap: 14
Re: New Skoolie - 1996 Bluebird.

Oh yeah! That feeling is very familiar!!! You'll get over it
As others said... Welcome to the asylum!
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:27 PM   #8
Bus Nut
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: ellijay ga
Posts: 560
Year: 94
Coachwork: b/b
Chassis: tc2000
Engine: 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
Re: New Skoolie - 1996 Bluebird.

use Easy off over clearner to remover the bus lettlering,let stand on lettlering for 20mins and peel off. and wash it worked on mine
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:16 PM   #9
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,341
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Re: New Skoolie - 1996 Bluebird.

Welcome Scott! --- Good to hear there's another Houstonian who suffers, enjoys the same afflictions as the rest of the nutballs here. Love them Birds, had a 40' All-American myself a few years back. Built like tanks. I raised the roof on mine by 19", so there was no headroom issue, just lots of storage. Course my current project is a tad smaller, but since I'm about a foot shorter than you, I plan on leaving this one as is. Extras will just have to fit underneath, on the "back porch", or stay home.

Don't hesitate to ask questions here. There are folks on this forum that have been doing crazy things with old buses for many years and can provide a wealth of experience. Once again...welcome!
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:56 PM   #10
Almost There
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Burton,Ohio
Posts: 77
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: Genesis
Engine: Cornbinder 466
Rated Cap: 71
Re: New Skoolie - 1996 Bluebird.

Now you too know what it feels like to look up in that big mirror, smile and think, yup I went ahead and did it. Then drop it in gear and drive away, enjoy it, your going to need to have that moment to go back to.
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