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Old 05-08-2014, 02:39 PM   #1
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The Forge, '92 BB AA FE 84 Pax

I'm in the process of trading for a 1992 BlueBird All American FE 84 Pax bus with a Cat engine. I think it is an 8.2 but I'm not sure, I haven't had time to do a lot of hands on with it yet.

Before I get started, does anyone have any information on these buses that I might need to know.

I will be updating, of course, as the project progresses.

Oh, and thanks for letting me into this not so little community!
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:30 PM   #2
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Re: The Forge, '92 BB AA FE 84 Pax

The plan:

Well, as I'm sure everyone would expect, the plan is ever evolving. But there are a few things that are fixed in my mind to be necessary to the build.

1) Roof raise, this might be especially interesting considering the length of the bus, and that I intend on starting it behind the driver/stairs well. I'm thinking 12" to 14", but I will need to get some good road to roof measurements before finalizing that.

2) Roof rack/deck, I've seen pictures of many buses with what look like factory racks on them, but I've never seen one around my area fitted with a factory rack. Besides the pictures I've seen are only the back half, I want it to cover the entire area that I have raised.

3) Roof A/C unit. The yard I'm getting the bus from already have one waiting on me that was pulled off an RV and replaced with a bigger unit. They say it was in perfect working order when they removed it a few months ago, the owner just wanted something with more power.

4) Rear A/C unit that mounts inside the bus. I've seem them installed on this model from the factory, But I don't remember if the one I'm getting has it or not, probably not. We don't unusually get A/C units on buses around here.

5) Replace the 8-way lights with KC off-road lights and KC fog lamps on the front and 4 KC off-road lights in the back. Both to keep it legal and to add light to the camp/party.

6) Receiver and hitch. Towing is a must, whether it is my trike, motorcycles, boat, or trooper, I must be able to tow or there really isn't a point to building an RV for me. I have a pull behind camper, but with it I can't take any of my other toys along so it makes most trips a moot point.

7) Exterior sound system. Ok this one is easy enough, I'll mount some large horn speakers near the front on the roof, think M.A.S.H or Animal House style.

Diesel generator, maybe a 5k unit. Still investigating what would really be the right size for the build, don't want to over do it and just waist money that I will need on another part of the build.

9) Plumbing, fresh/grey/black water system.

10) Shore hook-ups in case I manage to actually stop at a campground that has hookups.

Ok, now I'm just rambling on and day dreaming. I'm itching to get this party started. Hoping to have it at my house in under a month. Then time to get the crew involved! (12 and 7 yo boys and maybe my wife)
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Old 05-09-2014, 02:40 PM   #3
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Re: The Forge, '92 BB AA FE 84 Pax

Sounds like me when we were in the early stages. More planning the better, sounds like a good list. We didn't do a raise but we plan to do a roof rack, 1-1/2" angle iron with expanded metal, resting on a rubber pad on the peaks of the roof bows and then some short legs on either side straddling the roof bows bolted on either side, so the weight goes to the support but the fastener can rip out if we ever hit something solid. We're trying to preserve some curve to the roof so our rack will only be 6-1/2' wide but we plan to go full length, insulate underneath with a sprayfoam/rigid insulation sandwich wherever we can (we'll have to leave space wherever our roof vents are) and cover the front 2/3rds in solar panels. The back 3rd we plan on attaching two 18"x18"x8' metal storage boxes for our craft business (we're all three artists - have craft will travel) that will have angle attached to support cross support boards for an 8' x 6-1/2' wide roof deck, big enough to set up a couple lawn chairs and a bbq or whatever; my bus is 10' exactly to the roof so she'll be 11' - 8"....we could have done a 14" roof raise easily, kinda wish we would've. We wouldn't be this far into it after two years if we had but it would've been more accommodating for interior roof insulation, thermal breaks, ceiling covering (wood, cork, carpet, etc), floor insulation (you could do a couple inches vs the 3/4" we used), and flooring (anything over 1/2" is out for us cause I'm 6'3"). I like your KC light idea as well, they come with a cover so you should be legal whenever your on the road, I was really surprised at just how bright the yellow and reds are, and they give off a nice light when they're on together, something that wouldn't blind everybody when you're out in the boonies, it's really too bad it's illegal to keep 'em.
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Old 05-09-2014, 05:00 PM   #4
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Re: The Forge, '92 BB AA FE 84 Pax

Howdy Outcast --- (we pretty much all answer to that handle here for some reason) And welcome to the Nuthouse. Birds are great units, very well built. Had an 84 seat BBAA myself. Can't tell you much about the Cat except that is is MUCH quieter than a Detroit "Screamer" (Supercharged 6V53). Performance often depends on what tranny any given engine is hooked up to.

As for the roof raise, it is easier than most folks think. My x-wife and I did most of ours in a weekend. Buttoning up new sheet metal took a while longer but was really no big deal either. You do need to affix braces both above and below your cut line to insure that neither side torques out of shape. If it does, it can be a nightmare to fit up to. I used 1" square tube tack welded in place side to side and had no issues. I was advised by a retired BB engineer (he worked at the Fort Valley plant most of his adult life) to stagger the cuts. It prevents creating a weak (or strong) line. I cut one rib at the base of a window and the next near the top. I went with a 19" raise based on several considerations. It kept the overall height below 13 feet meaning I could drive it just about anywhere except a few antique covered bridges...and...it made optimal use of my chosen reinforcing materials which were one-piece factory ribs. Been quite a while but as I recall I got three straight sections out of each side or 6 per rib. Once cut free and jacked up using a single "barn jack", I inserted 1-1/4" square tube inside the cut sections as reinforcement (fits perfectly), then fitted the 19" rib sections over the tube and welded it all up. There have several "lively" discussions regarding the benefits/risks of riveting vs welding but I can tell you my old unit is still on the road nearly twenty years later with no structural issues.

Fitting new skin is another matter and can be largely dependent upon the design of the filler you intend to go with. Believe it or not, I actually glued most of my added skin in place. I used some high-tech industrial adhesives by a company called "Sika". The bonds made with some of their adhesives have tested stronger and more durable than welding or riveting. Pretty amazing stuff.

Thinking back, two other notes offered by the old BB tech come to mind. One was never to cut up either end cap as they are highly engineered and contribute enormously to the strength of the whole unit. Second involved the inner skin which a lot of people remove and/or replace with other materials. According to him, the inner skin plays a major role in the overall structural integrity and needs to be there. You can pull & replace it after adding insulation, but his req was to definitely keep it in tact.

I'm just passing along what I was told by someone who was intimately involved in the design of these units and who's advice I followed. You will no doubt encounter many other ideas and opinions as you continue your research. All I can suggest is do lots of homework, talk to folks who have done the work and lived with the results of their decisions and then pick the route that seems to make the most sense for your wishes & expectations.

Best of luck with the build and bring on the pix.
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:17 PM   #5
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Re: The Forge, '92 BB AA FE 84 Pax

I've not ever heard of an 8.2 Cat. Are you thinking a 3208? Is it a V8 or a 6?
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Old 05-09-2014, 11:26 PM   #6
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Re: The Forge, '92 BB AA FE 84 Pax

Thanks for the advice, keep it coming guys.

It is a 6 cylinder cat. I'm not sure about the actual size, the guy I'm getting it from was showing me a dozen different buses and I probably got the sizes mixed up. I know he kept pushing the 5.9 Cummins, but I think that is just because that is what he had the most of in the yard.
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Old 05-10-2014, 12:26 AM   #7
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Re: The Forge, '92 BB AA FE 84 Pax

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outcast
Thanks for the advice, keep it coming guys.

It is a 6 cylinder cat. I'm not sure about the actual size, the guy I'm getting it from was showing me a dozen different buses and I probably got the sizes mixed up. I know he kept pushing the 5.9 Cummins, but I think that is just because that is what he had the most of in the yard.
Hi Outcast!

Where are these busses located? I'm wanting a Cummins.

YOLO
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:27 PM   #8
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Re: The Forge, '92 BB AA FE 84 Pax

Quote:
Originally Posted by YOLO_bus
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outcast
Thanks for the advice, keep it coming guys.

It is a 6 cylinder cat. I'm not sure about the actual size, the guy I'm getting it from was showing me a dozen different buses and I probably got the sizes mixed up. I know he kept pushing the 5.9 Cummins, but I think that is just because that is what he had the most of in the yard.
Hi Outcast!

Where are these busses located? I'm wanting a Cummins.

YOLO
North Georgia Mountains
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:45 AM   #9
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Re: The Forge, '92 BB AA FE 84 Pax

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus
I've not ever heard of an 8.2 Cat. Are you thinking a 3208? Is it a V8 or a 6?

After a bit more research I believe the power plant is a Cat 3116. I'm reading some great stuff about them, and some horrible stuff. I guess it is one of those "love it or hate it" kind of motors. I was told by the current owner that the transmission is a lock up, but the information I've found on the Allison transmissions in that year model don't mention it being a lock up. It's strangely difficult to find information on this particular set up, especially when there is so much information on almost all the other types of buses.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:38 AM   #10
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Re: The Forge, '92 BB AA FE 84 Pax

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango
Second involved the inner skin which a lot of people remove and/or replace with other materials. According to him, the inner skin plays a major role in the overall structural integrity and needs to be there. You can pull & replace it after adding insulation, but his req was to definitely keep it in tact.
I, too, was a bit worried about the loss of structural integrity upon removal of the inner skin. I tried to make up for it by adding some cross beams (the metal above the wood, not the wood itself, of course ). They can be seen in the following picture:


998055_10151597121640886_1420499814_n

I replicated the original cross beams that were in the ceiling above the driver's seat (the rusty ones at the front of the bus). I honestly don't know how necessary they are, but it didn't take long to add them.
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