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Old 05-31-2012, 10:51 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 24
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 8.3 L Cummins
Project Steel Tent

I have lurked here for a while and finally purchased a bus. The plan is to use it on a family trip this summer that was not practical without a place to sleep and the price of a rental RV was prohibitive. So the plan is to tear out the seats and install enough interior so that we can travel safely and have a place to sleep, basically a 'steel tent'.

The State of Wyoming or at least my courthouse is requiring me to have it converted to 'self contained' status to re-title as an RV, specifically; sleeping quarters, a potty, and water.
So for my interior I am planning:
van seats
a porta potty
a platform for an air matress
a nook for the babies pack and play
a table
a food prep area with water

any advice on passenger seating would be appreciated

The school bus yellow to my eyes attracts all the wrong attention so if time permits and at all possible I will give the bus the $50 paint job. I plan on going with Rustoleum brand because while it is more expensive than the Ace Brand when touch up time comes I can get a rattle can that will nearly match almost anywhere.

The bus is in pretty good shape but there a few mechanical issues that need to be addressed before heading out for 3000 miles.
a hydraulic leak
the fuel gauge does not read
the oil pressure gauge does not read

So if anyone has a line on the service manual for a mid nineties 8.3 Cummins Rear Engine All American it would make my life much easier.
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:04 PM   #2
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Location: Whidbey Island, WA.
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Year: 1984
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Re: Operation Steel Tent

From my way of thinking, you need the maintenance manual for the engine, service info for the transmission, and the only thing from BB is the wiring diagram. Dag Gamit, that wiring diagram would sure be nice!
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:40 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: from: Prescott, AZ currently: Denver, CO
Posts: 469
Year: 1992
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: All American RE
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Re: Project Steel Tent

All I have in electronic format is the body and chassis wiring diagrams for a late 80's to early 90's BB All American. I just got them from bluebird last week.

Send me your email via PM and I can forward along what BB sent me. Maybe it can help you out.

I also have these:


It's a long shot but if you have something you want me to look up I can give it a shot. I don't have a scanner working right now but I will shortly. I plan to make a pdf version of all three of these books. It seems the skoolie community is lacking electronic versions of operator manuals and such. I know these are not shop/repair manuals but they might help at some point.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:20 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 24
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 8.3 L Cummins
Re: Project Steel Tent

I have the Allison and Bluebird Operators Manuals so they are some help. As you say though there is a world of difference an Operator and a Shop Manual. Something is always better than nothing sadly most of the issues I am going to be running down in the next few weeks have to do with Bluebird's integration of the units that I can get manuals for into the chassis and Bluebird's choice of components. It is not an impossible task I just need to not think about how much easier it could be with full documentation. Anyway the best way to learn a system is to troubleshoot it. ;)
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:17 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 41
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Wayne Lifeguard
Chassis: Navistar International
Engine: 7.3 Power Stroker Diesel
Rated Cap: 24
Re: Project Steel Tent

There should be an archive created here on skoolie.net to allow people to post and download manuals that people have managed to find somewhere online or can scan from physical copies..
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Old 06-14-2013, 04:27 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 24
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 8.3 L Cummins
Re: Project Steel Tent

Last spring I did get my bus converted almost to my goals. Sadly the trip we were building it for got shortened on both ends due to family illness. I thought I would share little of what we did and of the trip.

All the seats came out I did what I could with wrenches then went to cutting wheels on the grinder. The seats went into a pile and I threw out the gum and snuff cans.



I went through as sealed all the holes, for this project the floor is remaining as is.

The rear became the master bed. I framed in a platform and we slept on a queen size airmatress. It was quite comfortable and puts away nicely for unobstructed sight lines so that I did not need to drive mirrors only.



To put that in I had to delete the rear heater. Getting the barbed pipes out of the coolant lines was quite a chore tha involve a couple big screwdrivers and lots of patience. I cleaned up all the blood I got on the sheet metal and I am sure the coolant sterilized the wounds. I soldered up a U and clamped that in so that I could revisit the heater if I wanted to.

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Old 06-14-2013, 04:41 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 24
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 8.3 L Cummins
Re: Project Steel Tent

I got an old camper and grabbed some things out of it. I got a sink with its drain valve and a nice two burner stove. The stove is nice because it is removable, the gas is on a quick connect and it can lift out and lock into an aluminum rail installed externally. I welded up a frame steel frame and painted it then attached it to the bus floor and chair rail. I then urethaned some plywood and attached that to the frame.



Another handy bit from the camper was the table. I used the original bus seats and installed one reversed to create a booth. I saved two cushions and the original hardware so the booth makes a small bunk. Table also can be removed and mount on the same type of rail as the stove. The seat that I left in place was the one that had the forward coolant heater under it, that came in handy when we were cruising through Glacier Park in the snow.

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Old 06-14-2013, 04:50 PM   #8
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Re: Project Steel Tent

Great update...any pics from the trip....?....maybe with bus porn.
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Old 06-14-2013, 04:58 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 24
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 8.3 L Cummins
Re: Project Steel Tent

I used good components to install a basic water system for the trip. The fresh water tank is under the master bed, then I setup a board with a replaceable filter an RV water pump, and a captive air tank. I used braided stainless for all my connections and I am really happy with the performance the captive air tank and flexible connections really take the vibration and surges out of the system. The power for the system is inside as I have not fabricated a house batter box yet, the pump is switched and I take the battery out to charge it so for now it is fine.



The grey water tank is simply another tank like the fresh tank with aluminum on top and secured in the belly bin, and vented out the side, it is simple and unobtrusive.

Where I got fancy with the water was the hot water. Those outdoor propane water heater looked too nice to pass up. I built a steel frame that stows while we are underway and hangs from the eyebrows outside at camp. The water and propane go out a mouse hole and onto it with quick connects. It works great and again on those frosty mornings it was a very nice little luxury.

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Old 06-14-2013, 05:08 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 24
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 8.3 L Cummins
Re: Project Steel Tent

Sure I will throw in some pics from the trip as I go through my photos for the update. We left after my wife got off of work and made it to the middle of no where Wyoming before I was not good to drive any longer. Pulled off to the side of the highway set up and went to sleep this is what we woke up to.

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