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Old 05-23-2014, 11:32 AM   #1
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Project Silver Bullet

Hey guys, Found the site last year sometime after I bought my bus and figured I'd join, list my story and post where I can.

I set out last spring looking for a school bus to take to country concert(http://www.countryconcert.com/) because we needed a place to stay for that weekend. We also were going to use it at bachelor parties, races at Eldora( http://www.eldoraspeedway.com/) and anywhere else that we might have a few brews and need a place to crash. Well anyways, I browsed through the local school bus dealer and they really had nothing that was priced right for what I was looking for, so I started looking on craigslist. I found a few busses there but nothing that I deemed was in good enough shape mechanically to drive home. Eventually I found the one I wanted at $2200. It was owned by a couple of guys who were getting in there 30's and were ready to quit partying. They used it for pretty much the same things we were going to use it for so it was already decked out in how we wanted it, and it had the title already converted over to an rv. So I was pretty set on buying this thing. Well the day before I was going to check it out, one of the guys got cold feet and decided he didn't want to sell it. So I had the other guys number and finally convinced them both to sell it. I paid more than what I wanted to for it, but I got the main things that I wanted and we were drawing short on options. Anyways here's how it was when we bought it last May.





It's got a 6.9 idi diesel with an at545 trans. Not sure on the gear ratio but it'll scoot along doing about 70-75 down the interstate running wide open. I think that the prior owners weren't mechanically inclined, at least when it comes vehicles and school busses. The exhaust was rusted through and a complete patch job, It hadn't been serviced in awhile, the transmission shifted funny, and the glowplugs didn't work. So you had to use a shot of either just to start it. The tires were worn and the sidewalls were dry rotted, but they held air so we ran it home.

Between May 5th and July 11th we did a whole bunch of work to it. It had carpet in it that we tore out. I timed the injection pump because it was kind of lazy and blew black smoke whenever you got on it. I also changed all of the filters and greased the whole thing, including the front wheel bearings. I Also changed the engine oil because it was the blackest crap I've ever seen (It stained the concrete from where I dropped the oil filter, that's how bad it was). I adjusted the throttle cable on the transmission and now it shifts like it should. I found the glow plug control module was shot, so I put a push button on the ground side of the relay and they all work now so it starts up real quick. We painted it too because I thought it looked like hell. So I bought an HVLP spray gun kit from walmart and we used some rustoleum primer and enamel paint( I think I got the rustoleum idea off here actually). So now it looks pretty good. I also fixed all of the lights and adjusted all the brakes so it's in pretty good condition now.



Here are the things that I got planned to do to it this year:
- Put better tires on it( already found and put fronts on it, now I just need 4 drives)
- Find an a/c unit off an old rv and install it (we had two window units last year but they're a pain to remove and install).
- Mount a set of steer horns that I bought on the front above the window. (already done)
- Touch the paint up in certain spots where it was thin and flaked off.

Other than that stuff, No real big undertakings. We took it out twice last year and it was a blast both times.
The only issue I forsee is the a/c unit on the roof, so if you guys got any comments about it or really anything at all post it.
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:36 PM   #2
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Re: Project Silver Bullet

looks good, now you just have to paint those mountains on the side, so when they turn blue you know the bus is cool enough
keep the pics coming
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Old 05-24-2014, 01:15 AM   #3
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Re: Project Silver Bullet

It sounds like you got a good deal on the bus and you seem to have some mechanical skills. The fun of converting a school bus cannot be overstated. You will have a blast. Welcome to the madness that is bus conversions.
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:55 AM   #4
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Re: Project Silver Bullet

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbstewart
looks good, now you just have to paint those mountains on the side, so when they turn blue you know the bus is cool enough
keep the pics coming
gbstewart
Blue Mountains on the side is one of the goals yet. Country Concert is sponsored by coors light and they give out free passes to whoever has the best looking campsite. That's why we painted it silver and called it the silver bullet. We painted it July 4th last year and the concert was the weekend after so we kind of ran out of time with the mountains, logos, and everything else we wanted to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmarvel
It sounds like you got a good deal on the bus and you seem to have some mechanical skills. The fun of converting a school bus cannot be overstated. You will have a blast. Welcome to the madness that is bus conversions.
I'm satisfied with what I have in it. The only thing better than the conversion is the amount of fun we have using it, and the attention it brings. Like this past weekend we went to the dirt races with it and had an absolute blast using it and we had a boat load of people just stopping by asking about it.
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Old 05-28-2014, 05:18 PM   #5
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Re: Project Silver Bullet

Anybody got an idea on where to go for insurance on this thing? I had our local agent last year set it up through gmac but the emails were getting sent to my junk folder and I didn't notice it until I got a cancellation notice in the mail. I called them that day but by then, it was too late and they wanted to set up a whole new policy. My problem now is that I'm having trouble getting it setup because they all want pictures of the inside of the RV and I guess it now has to have a kitchen sink, bathroom, stove, fridge, etc. and mine obviously doesn't have any of that. It's just intended to sleep in. I guess I'm just ranting here. I mean first off, I don't understand how they can't go off the old policy at all, secondly, I don't understand how this wouldn't be considered an rv. If it's not an rv conversion, then what the hell is it? I mean all I want is liability, I don't live In it, and the darn thing moves less than 200 miles a year. I guess I'll just call the local guy again to see if he could set it up again but I really didn't want to do it. So if you guys got any advice or tips I'd love to hear them.
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Old 05-28-2014, 07:17 PM   #6
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Re: Project Silver Bullet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Booyah45828
Anybody got an idea on where to go for insurance on this thing? I had our local agent last year set it up through gmac but the emails were getting sent to my junk folder and I didn't notice it until I got a cancellation notice in the mail. I called them that day but by then, it was too late and they wanted to set up a whole new policy. My problem now is that I'm having trouble getting it setup because they all want pictures of the inside of the RV and I guess it now has to have a kitchen sink, bathroom, stove, fridge, etc. and mine obviously doesn't have any of that. It's just intended to sleep in. I guess I'm just ranting here. I mean first off, I don't understand how they can't go off the old policy at all, secondly, I don't understand how this wouldn't be considered an rv. If it's not an rv conversion, then what the hell is it? I mean all I want is liability, I don't live In it, and the darn thing moves less than 200 miles a year. I guess I'll just call the local guy again to see if he could set it up again but I really didn't want to do it. So if you guys got any advice or tips I'd love to hear them.
Try either Good Sam or National General. Good Sam got me liability but unfortunately through Progressive, who no longer deals with skoolies, because New Jersey is particularly anal about who insures in this state and Progressive is Good Sam's underwriter here. I'm trying to get Foremost through my local Farmers' agent, but they only deal with "professional conversions".
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Old 07-04-2014, 03:35 PM   #7
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Re: Project Silver Bullet

Just a quick update. We put in new steps last year this time but I never had time to paint them. The old steps looked like a combination of patches, rust, and about a dozen tubes of black silicone. So we tore them out with sledge hammers, air chisels, and cut off wheels. welded the new ones out of 1/8" plate steel and bolted it to the floor in the original spot. Anyways I spent the better part of last night and this morning stripping the rust and painting them. Here's a photo.


Anyways, that's all the time I got for today. Hopefully we'll get to the other stuff some other time.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:50 AM   #8
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Re: Project Silver Bullet

Coming along nicely! --- But...steer horns?...in Ohio?. I thought that was something we only did here in Texas
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Old 09-26-2014, 01:50 PM   #9
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Re: Project Silver Bullet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango
Coming along nicely! --- But...steer horns?...in Ohio?. I thought that was something we only did here in Texas
Nope, you're not seeing things. I seen em at a swap meet and just had to put them on there. Makes it unique lol. They were almost 6 ft long but look tiny compared to the front of the bus. Oh well I guess.

The only update I have is I put new tires on the rear axle. Some guy had 6 10r22.5's on craigslist for 150 bucks. I really only needed the drives, which were half worn recaps. The steers aren't that great but I figured for what he was asking I got a good deal. I also developed a coolant leak from the block heater the last time out. I guess there is an O-ring on it, but I don't know if I should try and replace it or just throw it out and put in an expansion plug.

Other than that, really only one more trip scheduled for this year than It'll be winter again.
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Old 09-26-2014, 05:44 PM   #10
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Re: Project Silver Bullet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Booyah45828
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango
Coming along nicely! --- But...steer horns?...in Ohio?. I thought that was something we only did here in Texas
Nope, you're not seeing things. I seen em at a swap meet and just had to put them on there. Makes it unique lol. They were almost 6 ft long but look tiny compared to the front of the bus. Oh well I guess.

The only update I have is I put new tires on the rear axle. Some guy had 6 10r22.5's on craigslist for 150 bucks. I really only needed the drives, which were half worn recaps. The steers aren't that great but I figured for what he was asking I got a good deal. I also developed a coolant leak from the block heater the last time out. I guess there is an O-ring on it, but I don't know if I should try and replace it or just throw it out and put in an expansion plug.

Other than that, really only one more trip scheduled for this year than It'll be winter again.
Am I missing a...........PICTURE???????.....
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