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Old 10-09-2014, 12:12 PM   #1
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Year: 2001
Coachwork: BlueBird
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Engine: Cat 3126 6-Cyl 7.2L
Outside Found Bus

After a few months of lurking around the forums my boyfriend Will and I are so excited to start our own conversion thread! We picked up our bus in late September and the past few weeks have been a whirlwind of purchasing, registration/title change, and storing it in CA (we'll be in Colorado for the winter) as we won't be starting the conversion until next March. Until then, let the planning begin!

Stats:
2001 BlueBird Conventional w/GMC B-Series chassis
Caterpillar 3126 6-cylinder 7.2L Diesel
Allison Automatic Trans
101,520 Miles
37' long, 8' wide
29' x 7'6" x 6'2" interior living space
Underbelly storage on the driver's side
Most of the seats removed already
Already painted white!











More about Will and I on our blog, if you're curious: http://www.outsidefound.com

Look forward to getting to know you all!
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Old 10-09-2014, 03:10 PM   #2
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Re: Outside Found Bus

Welcome Guys! --- Congrats on the find. I couldn't get any of the pix on your blog to load so have only seen what's here. Pulling together the particulars on your engine, tranny & rear end will help give you a handle on a number of things. Example...all Allison transmissions are well built, but there are huge differences from model to model as regards mpg, mph and keeping he engine in its' "sweet spot". There should be a data plate that has all that info...somewhere on the bus.

Not all that familiar with the Cat engines but others here should have some knowledge to share.

Once again...welcome to the madness!
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Old 10-09-2014, 03:20 PM   #3
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Re: Outside Found Bus

Interesting you have the 4x2 seating instead of the more customary 3x3 seating. Some operators order them that way because they think you can squeeze five normal sized people across with 4x2 seating where with 3x3 you can only really squeeze four normal sized people. The reality is one person sits by themselves and two have some decent room on the other side of the aisle.

I am not a big fan of Blue Birds, GM chassis buses, or Cat engines. Having said that, it would appear as if you found a pretty nice bus.

Good luck and happy trails.
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Old 10-09-2014, 04:29 PM   #4
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Re: Outside Found Bus

I am the most jealous thing on the board right now. I want a dognose that looks like that.
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Old 10-09-2014, 04:37 PM   #5
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Re: Outside Found Bus

Nice find!!!
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Old 10-09-2014, 05:45 PM   #6
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Re: Outside Found Bus

Welcome!!! That is one nice ride you found
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:00 PM   #7
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quick update!

Update we're back in CA for the holidays and sneaking some bus time as well. Got her back from the mechanic a few days ago with brand new shocks and seals all around, he seems pretty happy with the way it's running.

We pulled the remaining 5 seats out with an angle grinder and are now starting to tape out layouts so that we can make some firm plans. We're headed back to Colorado for a few more months before bus building starts but Will's Dad & Grandpa have offered to start building out some of the pieces (couches, counters, etc) while we're away.

Next up is figuring out how to pull all of the dang rivets out of the ceiling (we're planning to pull all of the existing insulation and replace with spray foam.) We've tried drilling a few and it works, just takes a long time. Might try using the angle grinder to see if that helps things go faster we aren't trying to save the metal panels, so we don't mind if they get messed up in the process. Any thoughts?
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:42 PM   #8
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Looks like you got a great start to a cool project. I'm in the same town as you right now, perhaps I can be of some help to you down the road, or at minimum we can have a skoolie campout someday when we get our respective projects done.

Good job on the find, where did you get it? I'm still on the hunt myself, so any unturned stones are always helpful.
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Old 12-26-2014, 05:54 PM   #9
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Hey there! Though we live in Colorado, we're doing our conversion in Auburn, CA where my boyfriend's parents live. We got lucky enough to find the bus out here, in Grass Valley. Appreciate the offer for help though!
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Old 12-26-2014, 06:39 PM   #10
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Welcome! Great bus, love the underbelly storage, nice spot for batteries for solar
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Old 12-28-2014, 03:38 AM   #11
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Great looking bus guys! Congrats!

Love Auburn, I was recently living up in Rocklin. Great area you're in!

Have fun on the conversion, I'm in the middle of mine as well. Just tore out the ceiling panels, what a chore! Spot-welded, so my tools of choice were air chisel, regular hammer, thick flat head screwdriver, and crowbar. Employed my mind to figure out their installation pattern, and went to town on it. Be careful on the removal, sharp metal panels don't mix well with skin. Pretty much ever.

Looking forward to following your build!

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Old 12-28-2014, 11:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hildegard View Post
Next up is figuring out how to pull all of the dang rivets out of the ceiling..... We've tried drilling a few and it works, just takes a long time. Any thoughts?

Try taking a hammer and punch to the center of the rivet first. Depending on what type / design of rivet was used you should be able to knock the center out then drill the remaining part much easier. The center shaft of the rivet is made of harder metal than the outer part which by design makes it possible to install them the way they do.

Drilling them does take longer but it does least amount of damage to the panel if you are planning to reuse them. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-28-2014, 03:23 PM   #13
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Looks great so far!
I wish ours had some of the narrower seats for booth etc.
Keeps updating. We want to follow along as ours is in the same stage and we need something to motivate us to move along.
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Old 12-29-2014, 06:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S1. View Post
Try taking a hammer and punch to the center of the rivet first. Depending on what type / design of rivet was used you should be able to knock the center out then drill the remaining part much easier. The center shaft of the rivet is made of harder metal than the outer part which by design makes it possible to install them the way they do.

Drilling them does take longer but it does least amount of damage to the panel if you are planning to reuse them. Hope this helps.
This is absolutely correct. I just finished removing the ceiling and side panels in my bus. We drove the centers out with the pointy bit on an air hammer/chisel, then drilled them out. Any that resisted drilling were air chiseled off.
Took many many hours to do but was worth it.
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:34 PM   #15
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Hey – we're back! Spent the beginning of winter skiing in Colorado and are now ready to make some serious progress on this build! The last few days have been in demo mode pulling out the floor, side panels, and rotted floor. Then we ground down the rust, painted with a special anti-rust agent, and started building our subfloor. Photos!


Bus was in storage for a few months, luckily she started right up!



Emergency windows were tricky (and there are 8 of them! ) so we just used the angle grinder to cut the tin underneath.

Ceiling is out!



Junkyard dog?





Ceiling panels up by the driver's area were the worst.

All in all, removing the rivets on the ceiling & side panels was a great decision for us. We used an angle grinder for all of it and it took around 1.5 days of work. Luckily the insulation below was in great shape and we didn't find any mold or leaks!


Pulling up the floor...

Lots and lots of rust!

Seriously, so much rust.




Plywood was soaked and rotten, not good.



Lots of nails leftover after the plywood came up.






Anybody know what this hole is for? Located right over the gas tank.


Used the angle grinder to knock down most of the rust. Difference is amazing!



This thing is beyond repair, ordered a new one



Quite the pile of crap! The bus smells SO MUCH BETTER without all of this gross stuff in it.

We painted the floor with a two gallon kit called Direct to Rust Epoxy-Mastic. Supposedly it will encapsulate the rust and prevent new rust from forming.

Updates coming soon – we met with an rv contractor yesterday who is helping us with our electrical, propane, and plumbing. If you have any questions on what we've done so far, fire away!
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:42 PM   #16
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I think it's an access hole for maybe the tank sending unit. Mine has it too.
Great pictures, it looks like your having quite a fun time. Keep up the good work.
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:50 PM   #17
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Oh! Forgot to ask – currently in the process of ordering our holding tanks (just fresh & gray because we have a composting toilet) online. Looking for ~60 Gal. There are so many online tank retailers! Anyone have a specific recommendation? We don't mind paying a little bit more for top notch service & quality.
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:53 PM   #18
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Id say they're all essentially the same so price shp them by specs.
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Old 03-13-2015, 02:16 PM   #19
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My AmTran has the same thing, it's to access the sending unit like EastCoast said.
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Old 03-18-2015, 06:53 PM   #20
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OK, found the tanks we want... now we have to diagram the fittings! If someone could give me a rundown of how these should go / point me in the direction of one, I would love it.

For reference, both tanks will be mounted underneath the bus on the passenger side, fresh in front of the rear wheel well and gray behind. The kitchen and bathroom will be situated directly on top of them. Let me know if you need any other details!
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