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Old 08-08-2019, 10:42 PM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 337
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
Cool Wisconsin 2001 Bluebird All American RE

I've been a member on this site for a few years now and have spent a lot of time following all the great builds on here. I also drive school buses for a job (mostly school sports trips and charters as I have a different job during the weekdays).

The used bus market in the Midwest is pretty depressing. Lots of rusty low-spec junk. People asking $8K for low headroom buses with Cat motors and hydraulic brakes I've spent the last 2-3 years watching the auction sites but the timing was never right.

I finally found THE bus. 2001 Bluebird All American RE activity bus with the 8.3 Cummins/MD3060 drivetrain. Has factory AC, full basement understorage and high roof. It was in Wyoming for the first 11 years of its life, then Rocky Mountain Bus Sales sold it in 2012 to a non profit nature center in Pueblo Colorado. I actually ended up finding this bus on FB marketplace.

I flew from Milwaukee to Denver and then took a greyhound down to Pueblo to check it out. According to the caretaker it mostly sat the last few years but they did do some maintanance including new starter. The rear cap had some damage, very similiar to PNWsteve's bus.



She did great on the journey back to Wisconsin. The power steering pump whines a bit and I drove most of the way with the transmission retarder on but otherwise the 1000 mile journey went great. It does not have the 6th gear unlocked but she can easily do 75 mph. This bus completely and utterly blows the doors off the newer Bluebirds I drive at work with the Cummins 6.7/Allison 2000 powertrain.


The required seats out photo will be coming soon!
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Old 08-09-2019, 03:04 AM   #2
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Lebanon, Indiana
Posts: 164
Coachwork: In the market
Awesome bus!
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Old 08-09-2019, 09:35 AM   #3
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 5,011
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
We have twins

Congratulations on the find.!
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Old 08-09-2019, 10:31 AM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 337
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
One of the tough questions will be whether to keep the factory AC...it's currently not working. The controls by the drivers area light up but none of the fans turn on. It may be low on R134a or the compressors are locked up (there's 2 of them running off the engine).



It's also ducted into the luggage racks so if it was re purposed on my build the ducting would have to be redesigned.



For now I will be evacuating the lines so I can unhook the 2 evaporators inside the bus and remove the luggage racks.
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:23 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 337
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
Update, seats are out. LOTS of old garbage including some really nasty fossilized orange peels, bandaids, etc.



The $15 harbor freight 4 1/2 inch cutoff wheel did a great job, I only went through two cutoff wheels. Estimated time was 2 hours by myself.




I have a 3500w inverter generator from HF that works great for power tools. Makes it so I don't have to move the bus by the house when I want to do stuff like seat removal. Hopefully it runs the air compressor OK when the time comes to use air tools.





I estimate there's a good 300-400 pounds of scrap right here. I may try to reuse the seat frames for stuff like the roof deck and the RV entrance door. Cushions don't seem like they're useful for anything though.



Next up on the list is getting the luggage racks down from the ceiling. For now I won't disconnect the AC lines but I will have to figure out how to get them down without breaking anything
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Old 08-12-2019, 08:32 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: N.C.
Posts: 828
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
I've been a member on this site for a few years now and have spent a lot of time following all the great builds on here.....

I've spent the last 2-3 years watching the auction sites....

I finally found THE bus. 2001 Bluebird All American RE activity bus with the 8.3 Cummins/MD3060 drivetrain. Has factory AC, full basement understorage and high roof.
Sounds like you put a lot of time and effort into your research, and it paid off. I wish more new buyers would use that approach.

Congrats! Glad the trip home was without incident.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:09 AM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 337
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by plfking View Post
Sounds like you put a lot of time and effort into your research, and it paid off. I wish more new buyers would use that approach.

Congrats! Glad the trip home was without incident.

I actually ended up finding this bus on Facebook Marketplace. Got a good deal at $4K, even with the rear cap damage and the banged up luggage bay doors.



It was likely only good as a skoolie anyway since the rear cap damage was considered "structural" and probably wouldn't have passed state inspection.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:36 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 337
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
Got all the decals and the front school bus sticker off the bus today. Seems like some of it was attached with witchcraft.



The luggage racks have tons of good 12v switches and wiring that can be re used in the final build. Removing the AC evaporators is going to be a paint though as they're built into the luggage racks. I did get the bus in to a shop today to have the refrigerant removed and they charged me $95



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Old 08-20-2019, 03:28 AM   #9
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 18,531
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Sweet bus! Is that a spoiler?
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Old 08-20-2019, 08:52 AM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 337
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
Yes but sadly somebody backed into a building with it so its trashed pretty badly. I have a welder buddy that may be able to get it back into shape though.



You can see it in this pic.



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