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Old 01-28-2011, 07:37 PM   #1
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Somewhereinusa

I couldn't have found a better match to my criteria if I had ordered it.

My "must have list"
40 ft pusher
high roof
air brakes

My "would be nice to have list"
low miles
highway gears/enough horsepower to run them
no rust
air suspension

I have been watching all of the lists that I could find, and was actually going to stop in Tennessee next week to look at some buses that came close.
I had kind of ruled out Bluebird because I didn't know they offered a high roof.
I stopped in Moriarty, NM to get fuel and I always get back on the interstate by going back the way I came, but today I went the other way through town.
Spotted some buses at the local Chevy dealer and one was a large pusher. I turned around and went back to inquire(I NEVER turnaround(ask my wife)) When I asked
the price, I thought at first I had heard wrong. To make a long story shorter, this is what I bought, for a little less money than asking.





91 Bluebird AAER 40 foot 171,150 miles
250HP Cat
77 inch interior headroom
brand new Bostrom air ride seat
factory air
air brakes
pass through luggage compartments
120 gal fuel capacity
I'm a photographer and the roof rack will really come in handy.

NO rust (was in service about as far South East in New Mexico as you can get)

It was an activity bus, so it was never used for student pickup. It passed NM DOT inspection a year ago and has hardly been used since then because they got a new bus.

Now I just have to get it home, hopefully my son and I can get it done in a weekend by driving it, it not I'll try to get a load this direction and haul it home.

Now I have a couple of questions.

The factory air is using 2 automotive type compressors, I assume one for each side. They are powered by the bus engine. Any ideas how much horse power they require? I would like to
run them from a 3 cyl Kubota diesel that used to run a 7000 watt generator.

The build sheet says
"Insulated complete including bows, and insulated drivers area" Does this actually mean anything, other than they put some insulation behind stuff when they built it?

I'm excited about the whole project, although I probably won't get to do too much but plan until I retire in Oct.
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:52 PM   #2
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Re: Somewhereinusa

Sweet bus. Welcome to skoolie.net
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:07 PM   #3
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Re: Somewhereinusa

timmylc, it took me a while to figure out why you thought it would be UNSAFE if the aux engine quit. I was talking about air conditioning compressors, not air compressor. I guess I didn't state that right.

Dick
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:19 PM   #4
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Re: Somewhereinusa

Welcome, very nice ride
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:13 PM   #5
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Re: Somewhereinusa

I did find out from the BB website that the new models use wool batting for insulation and they tout that it's much better. I'll have to see when I can lay eyes on it again. I envy you people who can actually go home to your projects every night. I got to see it for about 2 hours, and had to leave. There it sits 1345.2 miles from the house. I was going to try to drive it home, but it looks like the plan now is to go to North Carolina, then back to Kansas City and Phoenix, then back to Moriarty and haul it home. Things are always changing, but I was looking forward to driving it home.


The aux diesel I have is 16.2 hp. I'm hoping it will be enough to run the two air conditioner compressors and maybe a 12v alternator just to keep things all charged up. One of the good (bad) things about this job is I have a lot of time to do engineering and planning in my head. I can come up with all kind of strange ideas.
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:46 PM   #6
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Re: Somewhereinusa

Quote:
"pfft i wish i had a 16.2hp diesel layin around"
You too could have one of these if your 2 year old generator let all of the smoke out and it only cost $1000 more for a new one than to put the smoke back in the old one.

The compressors aren't very big, look like maybe sankyo's, about car size. I'll report back when I have more info. One down side to using aux motor for air is that there probably won't be a campground in the country would let me use it. I really don't use air much in my present camper, I don't think I have turned it on more than 10 times in 5 years. I really don't go "camping", although I hope to do more after retirement. I'm usually parked at a farm somewhere at an event taking pictures.

I'm afraid I'm not very green, and wouldn't be able to run off the grid for more than 2 hours without some kind of electricity. While at an event there are at least 3 computers and monitors running, plus a very large dyesub printer,and a laser printer plus if it's hot out cooling fans for us and electrical gear. I have a home built USP that will run the computers for about an hour, but those printers need too much power.
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:01 PM   #7
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Somewhereinusa

Here is probably what will be the floorplan for your comments. Measurements are from what I THOUGHT they would be before I actually had a bus, they should be close.


Left side


Right side


Looking toward rear. The printers will be on heavy duty slides and are shown partway out. The yellow table to the left actually has three positions.
1. as it's shown as a sit down table.
2. as the same height as cabinets to either end as a stand up work area for most of the non computer work I do, chairs will stow underneath.
3. in a slot against the wall. turn chairs around for casual seating.


Looking into bedroom. The upper part is really working storage, lower is fake as is most of the end tables. The engine cover is in there.


Kitchen


Heat will be infloor radiant hot water using an Espar diesel boiler.Four zones, with a fifth loop going through water storage and piping areas.
Domestic hot water comes from a heat exchanger from the boiler(unlimited hot water)
I have most of the parts now and (I think) most of the details worked out.

Water tanks approx sizes. Fresh 120gl, black 60gl, gray 80gl.
Reefer is 110v from dedicated inverter.
Stove and microwave 110v shore or gen. There will be NO propane.
If mumsywumsy wants to use her hair dryer, she can just wait until I start the generator or learn to start it herself

There will be three separate battery banks.
1. engine start.
2.household(the biggest bank) Present camper has 3 yellow top optimas, not sure if I will just use more or something else. The truck has two that I can add when it dies of old age.
3. computer USP with dedicated charger and inverter(that's what I'm using now and it works very well using 2 yellow top optimas)

The dinette can be made into a bed if absolutely necessary, but we don't really have any "sleepover"friends. When my son comes along he brings his own bus. (92 MCI ex Grayhound)
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:52 PM   #8
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Re: Somewhereinusa

Man, that is an awesome bus! If I were going full size, I would be looking for that exact bus! It even has a roof rack! Cool.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:15 PM   #9
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Re: Somewhereinusa

Boy, if you build your plans you'll find out about a whole lot of work and money.
I have a '84 BB AA, and the insulation actually seems pretty good.
Does it have the dreaded Cat 3208ta.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:29 PM   #10
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Re: Somewhereinusa

Quote:
Originally Posted by bus-bro
Boy, if you build your plans you'll find out about a whole lot of work and money.
I have a '84 BB AA, and the insulation actually seems pretty good.
Does it have the dreaded Cat 3208ta.
I hope that once retired the not enough time problem will go away, I've found that I can usually make or come up with things much cheaper than buying them. I live near the camper/motorhome capitol of the world and there are some really good rv surplus places nearby. I also have the good fortune of having a son who is a motor home engineer. As for the work, I'm convinced that if I quit working I won't last long.

No, I've got the dreaded 3116ta
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:01 PM   #11
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Re: Somewhereinusa

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
No, I've got the dreaded 3116ta
Yeah, I've heard about that one. About the 3208: they built a million of them. They turn about 2800 rpm at full speed, and most other diesels are about 2000 r's, so a replacement engine can be a problem. I'm sure the 3116 turns slower.

The problem with a quality schoolbus conversion is all the design and fabrication that one must do. If you have experience you can figure out how to do it the easiest way. I have designed and built houses by myself, but on the bus it seems that I do everything the hard way. A for instance, I needed about forty one inch angle brackets. So I cut and drilled them from bus scraps, then painted 'em. Some projects have what seems like a hundred steps.

Of course, you might do better than I. Also, a quick, dirty conversion can get you into the bus alot sooner & cheaper.

The most they're ever worth is what you paid the day you bought it. YMMV.
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:33 PM   #12
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Re: Somewhereinusa

77 inch headroom is nice. I think "normal" is 72 inches - will that be enough height for you? are you considering a roof raise?

great bus- congratulations
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:27 PM   #13
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Re: Somewhereinusa

I'm off on a new adventure. I had originally planned on hauling my bus home, I stopped in Moriarty to pick it up, but when I got up the next morning it was -18 with 8 inches of new snow. My ramps aren't strong enough to take a bus, so I was going to have to build a ramp out of timbers to load it. I may be old and crazy, but I'm not stupid. I had my dispatcher find a new load, don't pay much, but it will buy the fuel to get home. Originally my son was going to help drive it, but 2600 miles is just too much in 2 1/2 days. Plan now is to get on a big gray dog and drive it back. I wanted to drive it anyway, and the bus ticket is less than gas would have been in the car. So I'm going to take a bus to get my bus. I like bus rides, but it's been a long time. It was a Scenicruiser, I think Trailways, but I'm not sure. I do remember that I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt when I got on in Key West in the summer. It was so cold in there I thought I was going to freeze. I had always remembered that trip as having ice on the upper front windows, but since I'm older now and maybe somewhat wiser I don't really think that to be possible. More likely condensation from the high humidity in Florida. Hope the heaters work in my bus, 'cause I don't do motels. I'll stop somewhere and get some cheap blankets and I'm hoping to get a couple of seat bottoms off to use as a bed, I'm sure the floor will be cold.

With that long of a trip, I should be able to get some pretty accurate fuel mileages at different speeds, I'll keep you posted.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:55 AM   #14
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Re: Somewhereinusa

Wow, good luck on your journey... Take lots of pics...
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:49 AM   #15
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1st trip a success

I can't understand why my wife never wants to go anywhere with me. 2700 miles in 5 days.

The first half of the trip involved a chauffeur driven limousine with 50 or so strangers.


For the trip home I had 1st class accommodations.

Master bedroom


Bathing area.


Clothing storage area.


Food storage area.


Food preparation and dining area. Note the houte cuisine.


Notice the very expensive looking faux wood grain metal paneling. Tres chic.

She is a pleasure to drive. No rattles or squeaks. Very little wind noise, unless it's really blowing. Even empty the ride was quite nice. Not much different than the Grey dog.
( a couple of them were quite noisy) Noisiest thing about her is the heater blowers. She behaved like a real lady. She does like to go fast though, I did have some trouble keeping
down to the speed limit. I need to get cruise control added before any more long trips.

I did some fuel mileage checks. At 55 mpg. (found out later really 52 by gps) 8.98 mpg. At 65(65 by gps) with strong headwind and about 4 hours idle time. 7.44.
Curb weight with full tanks. 24,080 lbs.

So that I may keep in good standing with the Skoolie crowd here is the mandatory "seats are out" picture. I had been dreading this, but as it turned out,
not all that bad of a job. Took about 5 hours.


Observation: The farther toward the rear kids ride, the more of a pig they become.

Indiana doesn't allow yellow, or flashing lights to stay, so that's next on the agenda.
But for now it's back to work for a while.

Dick
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:03 PM   #16
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Somewhereinusa

Playing with Photoshop, idea for bus colors.
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:52 AM   #17
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Re: Somewhereinusa

Not bad paint idea, though I'd leave off the dog
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:36 PM   #18
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Re: Somewhereinusa

It's been a while, and since I'm NEVER home not much progress has been made. I have however been working on the floor plan (and learning how to use Sketchup) and think this is pretty much it. Still some things to clean up, and I haven't quite figured out how to sink the sink into the counter top. And, yea I know after yapping about a bed against the wall, that's what I ended up with. After living in the cab of a truck for 20 years, open space will be a luxury for me and I didn't want to climb over wheel wells. Mumsywumsy likes to sit down to do all of those things that are a mystery to me, so I think I have devised a clever lighted vanity with fold up seat in the bedroom.

Here is the basic layout. Since the bus will also be a photo print and showroom for my event photography, the front room has the computers and printers as well as a work area.



The area directly to the left of the toilet is where the original side door is and I wanted to have it usable to load supplies directly instead of carting them up the steps. I'm also thinking of adding
a broom closet behind the refrigerator. There will also be overhead cabinets above photo room/kitchen on right side and the left bunk. Big cabinet behind the computers will house at least 2 photo printers on heavy duty drawer slides, and hopefully the cpu's also. Wall at the very rear is more storage above the engine doghouse.

View of the bedroom vanity.



Bath right side.



Bath left side.



Photo room configured as a work area.



As a dining area.



As a seating area.




Only 5 more months and I can say "Take this job and shove it" then I can get down to work on the bus.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:56 PM   #19
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Re: Somewhereinusa

WOW! nice plans. What program did you use to draw those?
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:58 PM   #20
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Re: Somewhereinusa

Google sketchup, it's free,download here
http://sketchup.google.com/intl/en/download/
It has a bit of a learning curve, but not all that bad, there are thousands of items to download and put in your drawings from 3d warehouse.
http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/ (plants,cameras,furnature etc in my drawings came from there)

PM me with email address, I'll send my file so you can tear it apart and get an idea of how things go together.
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