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Old 11-03-2009, 11:04 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Van Horne, Iowa
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Year: 1988
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
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The LlamaZine

OK fellow skoolies, here comes your newest member with our latest attempt at a conversion. We previously converted a 1989 Ford E350 29 passenger StarCraft for use to haul our show llamas to various events around the region. Well it wasn't quite big enough for two livestock stalls and then the 4 of us to bunk in overnight at the shows, so we decided to go BIGGER! And yes, the llamas ride INSIDE the bus.

So here it begins, this afternoon we committed to purchase a 1988 Blue Bird 89 passenger school bus. It has a Cummins C 8.3 Diesel with 134K miles, only 10K on a rebuilt transmission and underneath storage.




We will be relying on the information we can gather from this site and all of you experts to get us through this conversion. Stay tuned for updates and PLEASE watch for my many posts to come for assistance.

Our first challenge will be to repaint it as we live in Iowa. I have given my kids and wife templates of the bus for design ideas. I am the doer and not the designer.

We hope to hear from many of you with comments, tips and tricks to help us along the way. Next llama show... April 24/25 2010. While it doesn't need to be 100% complete by then, we do have our work cut out for us.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Blue Bird Right Side.jpg (6.1 KB, 1125 views)
File Type: jpg LlimoFinalLeftSide.JPG (127.3 KB, 1118 views)
File Type: jpg Blue Bird Front Side.jpg (7.9 KB, 1125 views)
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:03 PM   #2
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Re: The LlamaZine

Smitty,

Thanks for the welcome!

Our llamas go through lots of performance training and are quite adept at walking up the front stairs of the bus. Our current bus has no back door, so we had no other options. We are debating the merits of some sort of stow-able ramp system for the back door on the new bus, but haven't gotten very far on the engineering of one yet.

As for the modifications affecting the paint, I suppose it is an issue to consider as we will be doing much more significant remodeling on the inside of the new bus vs the old. Not to mention, cold weather has already taken up residence here in eastern Iowa and weather warm enough for painting my not return until next April.

Steve
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:40 PM   #3
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Location: Spencer IA
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Re: The LlamaZine

I to live in Iowa....I was stopped 3 times before I got my bus painted....The frist time they told me that there could not be any yellow on my bus or lights.....The 2nd time I had started priming and removing lights. They told me again no yellow no lights. I said can't you see that I am working on it...so they let me go....3rd time again no yellow but didn't say anything about the lights..They let me go.....So out of all of this I would make it look like you are going to paint it soon......
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Old 11-04-2009, 03:34 PM   #4
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Re: The LlamaZine

Quote:
Originally Posted by llamaSteve
We are debating the merits of some sort of stow-able ramp system for the back door on the new bus, but haven't gotten very far on the engineering of one yet.
If you take a look at my bus (see links in the signature below), you'll see United Rental installed a very nice pull-out ramp. Looks like it would be very simple to install one yourself. I'll try to take a couple of better photos later this week (probably on Saturday) and post them for you to examine.

Great to see yet another amazing use for an old school bus (llama transport). Do you raise Alpaca as well as Llamas?
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:53 PM   #5
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Re: The LlamaZine

the llamazine ...i love it
i work with a llama on the ranch i work at he is antisocial because of his stint in the petting zoo we bought him from
and yes i do work on a ranch smitty "preemptive strike "
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:08 PM   #6
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Re: The LlamaZine

yeah tony the llama guards our mini horses and mini donkeys
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Old 11-04-2009, 11:37 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Re: The LlamaZine

Kirbystud,

I have initiated an email thread with the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division to provide me with the stone cold facts on the bus requirements (paint, lights, etc.). We'll see what they come up with.

Tygercub and Smitty,

The slide in ramp was my first thought but there is a nice trailer hitch on the back of the bus I do not want to lose use of. Once I get her home I will have to investigate that idea further.

And... I am impressed you are so well versed in one of the llamas many uses... as a guard. That's how most llama owners get started is by bringing a llama in to guard their sheep, goats, fowl, etc. And please don't judge any llamas by the petting zoo variety. They often spread the bad "spitting" impression that all other llamas get labeled with.

Thanks for all your interest!
Steve
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Old 11-23-2009, 05:01 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Van Horne, Iowa
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Year: 1988
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
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Re: The LlamaZine

Two big milestones over the last 7 days.
  • First... I sold the old bus! Woo Hoo! One less thing to worry about. And I made a few bucks on the deal.
  • Second... we brought the new bus home on Saturday. Now the real work begins! And thanks to the previous item, it covered almost all the cost of the new bus. And the new bus got much better gas mileage than the old one. BIG plus!

More pictures coming soon!
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Old 01-22-2010, 02:50 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Van Horne, Iowa
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Rated Cap: 89
Re: The LlamaZine

I did finally get a pointer to the Iowa State code on school bus conversions and it basically comes down to this:
  • No national school bus yellow may be visible.
  • No warning lights or strobes allowed.
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:18 PM   #10
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Re: The LlamaZine

Welcome!
Nice bus!
It sounds like you have been planning for a while. I cannot wait to see your build!
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