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Old 10-11-2019, 05:57 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC1000 FE
Engine: 5.9
TC1000 Build

I bought a bus! 1998 Blue Bird TC1000.
5.9 Cummins with an AT545. Half of the seats already removed because it was a special needs bus. No a/c but I think it has heat.

Has 32k miles on the odometer and I think it's the actual miles. The mechanic who's been there for over 20 years told me that soon after they bought it they replaced it with a TC1000 that had a/c and kept this one as a backup until it was decommissioned in 2016, where it sat until they finally got around to selling it.

Drove it home 160 miles or so with no problems. Cruised at 65 easy at about 2300 rpm. I hit a 70 a few times but it takes a bit to get up there.

I run a fleet washing service so first thing I did this morning was give it a quick spray off to get the mildew off. Wasn't a detail job. Still need to go get the top and a few trouble spots but it looks a lot better.

I'm undecided on whether to do a roof raise or not. I don't have anyone that can help me. Anyone around North MS that wants to raise it with me??? I have a big nice space behind my house to work on it.

First project is to get it registered and then gut the inside.


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Old 10-11-2019, 06:10 PM   #2
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It's hard to tell from the low-res pics but basically the entire outside was covered in mildew and moss. It looks a LOT better.

Also, I know people say the 5.9/545 is the least desirable drive train, but I've never had so much FUN driving lol. Only issue I had was the position of the gas pedal and the amount of force required to depress it really put a strain on my leg and knee. Definitely going to look into an aftermarket cruise control system.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:26 PM   #3
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Location: St Petersburg, FL
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Year: 1997
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Engine: Cummins 5.9
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Those TC1000s are total chick magnets once you paint them.

The 5.9 is a fine engine., the only complaint people have is that it isn't as power as it's big brother. The AT545 more or less sucks but if you know how to deal with it it can last a long time providing mediocre service.

What rear axle ratio do you have? If you hit 70 I'm guessing it's 4.44:1.

If your throttle pedal is hard to push you probably have a worn throttle cable. The linkage on the injection pump should be easy to move by hand.

Being a 1998 it could be a 12 valve or it could be a 24 valve 5.9. You can tell by the valve covers, the 12 valve has 6 individual covers where the 24v has a single big one. If you post your body number we can find out a lot of detail on your particular bus.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:15 PM   #4
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A fine choice.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:59 AM   #5
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The 5.9 Cummins is one of my favorites, in appropriate applications. Like a TC-1000

If you had an inclination to swap a 2000 for the 545 you would have an awesome drive train.

We look forward to seeing your build.
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Old 10-18-2019, 01:54 PM   #6
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Well I've run into my first impasse during the demolition. I got the seats out yesterday and this morning got the wheelchair lift out and starting peeling out the floor. Thankfully there's no plywood so the rubber is just peeling off.

However, I can't get the L-track to budge. Won't unbolt from the bottom or unscrew from the top. I could try and grind the bolt off from the bottom but I'd be upside down and I can't even access most of them because they're above the fuel tank or tires.

Do I just have to grind this piece down to the floor? Any other options?IMG_20191018_134942.jpg
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by lebusmagique View Post
Well I've run into my first impasse during the demolition. I got the seats out yesterday and this morning got the wheelchair lift out and starting peeling out the floor. Thankfully there's no plywood so the rubber is just peeling off.

However, I can't get the L-track to budge. Won't unbolt from the bottom or unscrew from the top. I could try and grind the bolt off from the bottom but I'd be upside down and I can't even access most of them because they're above the fuel tank or tires.

Do I just have to grind this piece down to the floor? Any other options?Attachment 38637
can you put the edge of a narrow grinding wheel into the slot and grind off the heads of the screws?
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Old 10-18-2019, 04:17 PM   #8
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can you put the edge of a narrow grinding wheel into the slot and grind off the heads of the screws?
That doesn't really seem to be getting anywhere fast. I managed to get one out by drilling through the heads but it probably took me 2 hours. There's gotta be a better way
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Old 10-18-2019, 04:29 PM   #9
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He's referring to a cut off disc, not a grinding wheel. If you can get any kind of pry bar under as you pry it up enough to get the cut off disc under.
Others have had the same issue and I don't know as any easy way has been discovered yet.
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Old 10-18-2019, 04:52 PM   #10
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He's referring to a cut off disc, not a grinding wheel. If you can get any kind of pry bar under as you pry it up enough to get the cut off disc under.
Others have had the same issue and I don't know as any easy way has been discovered yet.
I doubt it. There's rubber underneath that's keeping me from getting any leverage. I'm taking a break for now because it's getting to me. Spent about 4 hours and got 3 bolts off. 1 track gone and another only halfway there. I've got about 20 more tracks and a good few of those have 6 bolts instead of 3.
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Old 10-18-2019, 04:55 PM   #11
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I doubt it. There's rubber underneath that's keeping me from getting any leverage. I'm taking a break for now because it's getting to me. Spent about 4 hours and got 2 tracks off. I've got about 20 more and a good few of those have 6 bolts instead of 3.
Get a bigger pry bar. Remember, if it don't fit, force it. If that don't work, get a bigger hammer. If that doesn't fix it, it's an electrical problem.
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Old 10-18-2019, 05:02 PM   #12
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I had my son hold an allen wrench on the top side while I loosened the nuts from below. An impact driver was very helpful. Some that were stubborn or unreachable, I ground the heads off with an angle grinder as much as possible then used a hammer to drive a pry bar under the track to pop them loose.
Incidentally, those tracks are valuable. The van-life people sell all sorts of accessories that attach to them.
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Old 10-18-2019, 05:09 PM   #13
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That doesn't really seem to be getting anywhere fast. I managed to get one out by drilling through the heads but it probably took me 2 hours. There's gotta be a better way
at the risk of estimating something I haven't done yet, I'm pretty sure my 10,000 RPM Makita would have the tops of those screws ground down in a few seconds each - a zip cutter should work too, you'll just go through more discs
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Old 10-18-2019, 05:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Sleddgracer View Post
at the risk of estimating something I haven't done yet, I'm pretty sure my 10,000 RPM Makita would have the tops of those screws ground down in a few seconds each - a zip cutter should work too, you'll just go through more discs
Maybe he was trying to grind under the track. I think you were talking about holding the disc vertically and grinding down between the sides of the track. That's how I did it and it worked quick.
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Old 10-18-2019, 05:51 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Sleddgracer View Post
at the risk of estimating something I haven't done yet, I'm pretty sure my 10,000 RPM Makita would have the tops of those screws ground down in a few seconds each - a zip cutter should work too, you'll just go through more discs
Just be careful. Grinding aluminum is dangerous.
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Old 10-18-2019, 06:02 PM   #16
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Maybe he was trying to grind under the track. I think you were talking about holding the disc vertically and grinding down between the sides of the track. That's how I did it and it worked quick.


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Old 10-18-2019, 08:33 PM   #17
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Just be careful. Grinding aluminum is dangerous.
Oh great another thing to worry about!
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:19 PM   #18
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Oh great another thing to worry about!
Just google it and use caution.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:57 AM   #19
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if you are going to start grinding.. wear gloves, long pants, long sleeves,, and a Face Shield!!



if you are drilling out the screws dont buy cheap drill bits.. get good ones!
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:29 AM   #20
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if you are going to start grinding.. wear gloves, long pants, long sleeves,, and a Face Shield!!



if you are drilling out the screws dont buy cheap drill bits.. get good ones!
GOOD advice!! I learned the drill bit thing the hard way - good bits are well worth their price. Never took a chance grinding without the gear, and wouldn't want anyone to take that chance either.

Chris
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