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Old 09-05-2014, 12:59 AM   #1
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Queen of Peace -- '82 Int'l Bluebird w/ 20" raise, solar, et

After my the departure of my last bus, I picked up her replacement, the Queen of Peace--So named by her previous owners, the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver and the Queen of Peace Parish to whom she faithfully (haha) served from 1992-2013.

I had taken some time off from buses for personal enjoyment until the beginning of August when my live-in girlfriend and I broke up. She kicked me out, and as I was living in my office in the bus yard (I work for a bus company), I decided to start again. On August 24th, I found her!

I got her for a paltry $2000 and was happy to pay it--she's got all the things I love, a fully mechanical DT466, Allison MT643, Jacobs driveline retarder, very little rust, and only 137,000 miles on her 1982 International/Bluebird chassis and coach.

I've done this before, last time with another International/Carpenter with the same engine and trans combo, but with 230k miles and no retarder and a LOT more rust.... needless to say that bus perished on me one fateful day when a cylinder melted due to what I believe was a faulty injector...I digress

Like I said, I work for a school bus company, so I sleep, eat, work, breathe, and live BUS and these are far and away my favorite school bus setups I've ever seen. Tougher than dirt, easy to work on, and CHEAP! Plus I love the handsome grill on those mid-80's IH's! Just look at that PATINA!! The only thing I'd rather have would be an older MCI, or possibly one of these large, pusher bluebirds we have that use the Cummins 8.3 that just HAUL!! but I digress.... I'd take one of each if I could ;)

The only drawbacks to this style and age school bus are the low ceiling height, which is why I will be attempting my first roof raise. 18-20" is the planned addition and it should be interesting to see if I can get it done before the cold really sets in here in Denver (I have about 60 days).

Other improvements include a mobile-home rated woodstove, 400-800 Watt solar setup for the house batteries, 100 watt solar setup for chassis batteries, wood floors, a folding bed, and a nice kitchen area with bar seating for two. Who knows what else. My main goal is just to get the roof raised, walls skinned and insulated, and roughly liveable in 60 days...A Daunting feat, but I figure living in a bus yard, nextdoor to our shop, and nothing better to do gives me a big one up on the calendar! I can't wait to see how my plans change

Here's some photos of the day I brought her home and the first couple days taking stuff out, aka, the EASY PART!
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:01 AM   #2
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Re: The Queen of Peace

Some more visuals:
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Old 09-05-2014, 05:14 AM   #3
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Re: The Queen of Peace

cool, welcome to out madness and yours
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:14 AM   #4
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Re: The Queen of Peace

Been a couple few weeks of business around here at my job at the bus yard, but I've found time to get lots done on the QOP. Most importantly, I got the last of the steel out from the inside, including the tin lower inner skins, as well as the roof skins and scrapped those down the street.

I was also able to get the 100w solar setup for my chassis batteries installed and wired up, lengthen the wiring harness for the 20" roof raise, and complete some maintenance items on the running gear which included an oil change with a 20% lucas oil mix to help seat what i suspect are some abused rings from disuse, new fuel filters, new air filters, and a master battery disconnect install. I wrapped that up with a nice 60 mile test drive up I70 into the mountains to see how she handles the hills. I was pleasantly surprised to see the speedo reading 40mph on the steeps approaching Genessee, with the temp gauge pegged right at 200. Very nice, especially for a dinosaur like her ;)
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:22 AM   #5
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Re: The Queen of Peace

After all that prep, she was ready to head indoors for the roof raise. I'm running about 15 days behind schedule, my goal is to have the walls skinned, insulated, and the subfloor and ceiling in and insulated, wood stove hooked up, and a mattress in the back by mid-november. I would be awesome to get it painted before the winter hits, but I think I'll just get a good coat of primer on her and get the final colors on in the spring.
Once I get my bed in there, I'll be working on it as I live in it. My shop is right in front of the bus, so that will be handy, and hopefully the woodstove and insulation will make for a nice working environment

Im shooting for R18 in the walls, R20 in the floors, and R24-28 in the ceiling... expanded foam for walls and ceiling looks most promising, although expensive... Ill be using foil-backed poly-iso boards for the floor. I want this to be as efficient as I can pull off. It's more money upfront, but it will make it that much more enjoyable and cheap to live in year round.

It was a real treat to walk around in her with the raised roof. EVERYTHING feels bigger
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Old 10-13-2014, 03:45 AM   #6
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Re: The Queen of Peace

very nice, thanks for the pictures, keep them coming, and keep warm!
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:13 AM   #7
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Re: The Queen of Peace

great write-up! and cool pics
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Old 10-13-2014, 10:05 AM   #8
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Re: The Queen of Peace

Lookin Good! --- Nice job on the raise. I only went 19" on my 40' BBAA, so you got me there. What will the final outside height be with solar, a/c & such?
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:00 AM   #9
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Re: The Queen of Peace

Thanks for the feedback guys! I'm doing this mainly to try and impress y'all ;)

I can't say how awesome it has been to walk around in the bus with the extra headroom. It was scary to cut a perfectly good bus up, but Im SO glad I did it! It's a whole new beast in there.

The final rooftop height will be 11' 8", with another 3" on top of that for my low-profile deck and low-mounted solar panels. I'm going to weld up a frame/rails for mounting them on, and do the same for my deck boards, which will have the bottoms of the panels and the deck resting just on the apex of the roof curve and the sides supported by the new frame. My goal is to keep everything below 12', but I think a rooftop air unit might foil that plan. Though at the moment, I'm not entirely sold on the rooftop setup.

Ideally, I'd like to have an a/c that uses between 500-800 watts (small I know, but Im going to insulate the crap out of the bus AND have the roof almost totally covered by solar panels and my deck, so that will help) and I can only seem to find that low of power draw in window units. It might not be easy, but Im sure I could fab in a slick way of mounting it in the bus.

Unless any of you guys know of some low profile, low power rootop airs?

I want it to be solar powered. I know I know, it's silly, but, if I find one that uses the wattage range I'm looking for, it could easily be powered by 1/2 to 2/3 of my planned total solar panel output of 1180W, and leave a good portion left to charge my batteries. I've already got a 2400W continuous inverter/charger than can handle 3600 for an hour and 4800(!) for 10 seconds.
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:39 AM   #10
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Re: The Queen of Peace

Brave and Brilliant.. oh my!
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