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Old 07-18-2014, 07:20 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 18
Year: 1992
Coachwork: International Ward/AmTran
Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar DT360
Rated Cap: 72
ZeroGravity's Black Bus

Hey there, my name's Bjorn and like many of you, I own a bus, which I have owned for 7 years now. I've been lurking on for years, admiring peoples conversions, learning everything I can, and I finally decided to introduce myself. So, before I get into the documentation of my conversion, I'm posting this introduction thread.

I'm from Minneapolis Minnesota, and bought a bus from a local school district when it was retired at the age of 15 years.

The primary function of my bus is to haul motorcycles and friends around the country. I always camp at motorcycle tracks or RV sites that have bathrooms, showers, and electricity and I cook on a grill or eat sandwiches, so I don't have a real need for a bathroom, fancy generator/battery setup (although, I want one), kitchen etc.

Currently, it's kind of setup like this: Motorcycles get loaded up in the rear, up to 6 of them. Front half is comfortable seating, TV & xbox, inverter, and stereo for comfortable road-tripping.

I'm here because it's finally time to take this bus to the next level. The underside of the bus is in GREAT condition, as is the Engine and Transmission. But the sheet metal is starting to rust, warped plywood floors, holes in the floor near the wheels. Basically, she's gonna need a new floor, and some new skin. I'm going to be asking some questions over the next few weeks... so stay tuned! But, for now, here she is, in her current form:

YEAR: 1992
MAKE: International
MODEL: 3800
BODY: Ward/AmTran
ENGINE: Navistar DT360 Turbo Diesel
TRANSMISSION: Allison AT545 Automatic
MILEAGE: ~239,000
BRAKES: Hydraulic

Bike Week :: Daytona Beach, Florida :: 3100 miles round-trip :: 3 times
Barber Motorsports Park :: Birmingham, Alabama :: 2200 miles round-trip :: 1 times
Ozark Mountains Motorcycle Trip :: Harrison, Arkansas :: 1400 miles round-trip :: 1 times
MotoGP :: Indianapolis, Indiana :: 1200 miles round-trip :: 2 times
Electronic Daisy Carnival :: Joliet, Illinois :: 840 miles round-trip :: 1 times
Mid America Motorplex :: 780 miles round-trip :: 2 times
Road America :: Plymouth, Wisconsin :: 650 miles round-trip :: 2 times
Blackhawk Farms Raceway :: South Beloit, Illinois :: 630 miles round-trip :: 4 times
Brainerd International Raceway :: Brainerd, Minnesota :: 280 miles round-trip :: 19 times

When the sun goes down, she looks even better:

[b]The bus has been fully converted to LED: Running lights, turn/stop/reverse, interior lights, etc:

This is the bus in its most current form:

Fairly open floor plan. Notice one of the bikes in the back:

TV mounted on a wall behind the driver. LED lights change between blue and white with the press of a button:

Chicks dig it

It's at the local track a lot

Sometimes we go places without bikes:

But, there are usually bikes involved:

...and bikes...

...and bikes...

...and bikes...

This is how we get the bikes in and out. The ramp stores itself under the bus

With a custom-built hitch, I can haul up to an 18 foot trailer no problem

I've actually DRAG RACED my bus, twice. I'm undefeated

Here I am against one of my competitors. We're next to line up at the tree

The results
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:14 PM   #2
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,341
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Re: ZeroGravity's Black Bus

Welcome to the Madness Bjorn! --- Looks like you have a great start on a bike hauler/camper. Don't hesitate to ask for ideas, opinions, experience. There are plenty of the above here.

Sweet looking crotch rockets. I toured the US for a number of years a few decades back racing formulae bikes but not in any such style as what you already have. Daytona, Texas World Speedway, Riverside, Road Atlanta, Elkhart Wisconsin and a few others. Had a blast in the past slaying 1000cc 4-strokes with my little 373 Yamaha ring-ding (half a TZ-750 top end Frankensteined onto an RD-350 lower end.) 135hp on a bike that was barely over 200 pounds wet was just too much for them. And way too much fun.

Floors are a pretty easy fix, just rust proof whatever you weld in. Body panels should be pretty easy too since most of your unit is flat (my '46 Chevy is all compound curves...arrrggghhh!).

Whatever else you do, do it your way & have fun.

Once again, welcome!
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Old 07-19-2014, 04:33 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Moodus, Ct.
Posts: 967
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
Re: ZeroGravity's Black Bus

I've been down pretty much the same path. 1st a cube van hauling drag bikes + flat tracker/ice racers--the onto a dwarfcar stuffed in the back with minimal ammenities--to this short bus hauling a trailer (but with 5 ft. of shop area in the back.)
Like you, we cook on a grill outside-except for sleeping, spend most of the day outside the bus. But I would suggest at least a small camp toilet. (X10 if you have any females traveling with you. ) And you can get alot more stuff in the back (and room for the crew up front) if you make some shelves. Hang them from the walls or ceiling to leave floor space. Ground space gets used up fast-easy to use all that air above it.
Don't make a fuss-just get on the bus!

my bus build
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Old 07-19-2014, 06:18 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bakersfield, California
Posts: 969
Year: 1976
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: DD Inline 6-71 MidShip
Rated Cap: 79
Re: ZeroGravity's Black Bus

Welcome!!! Loved the pics
My Conversion Thread:
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:27 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: southwest lowsyana
Posts: 542
Year: 1988
Coachwork: ward
Chassis: international
Engine: dt360a
Rated Cap: 65
Re: ZeroGravity's Black Bus

howdy ZG. its good to see fellow motorcyclists on this forum. pretty good 60 foot time for a bus! lol
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:27 AM   #6
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Arizona via Baton Rouge
Posts: 640
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freight-shaker (Freightliner)
Engine: Cat 3126b 250 HP
Rated Cap: Only 1 seat
Re: ZeroGravity's Black Bus

Suweeeet! And welcome to the neighborhood!

My build thread - viewtopic.php?f=9&t=467197
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:40 AM   #7
Almost There
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Hattiesbur, MS
Posts: 74
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Re: ZeroGravity's Black Bus

nice bus man. welcome.
Roll Tide
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Old 07-25-2014, 03:48 PM   #8
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Posts: 137
Re: ZeroGravity's Black Bus

Welcome to the site!
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:34 AM   #9
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Location: MNT CITY TN
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Re: ZeroGravity's Black Bus

kool pictures
Our build La Tortuga
Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.
George S. Patton
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Old 08-01-2014, 11:34 AM   #10
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 18
Year: 1992
Coachwork: International Ward/AmTran
Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar DT360
Rated Cap: 72
Re: ZeroGravity's Black Bus

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone!

I notice that my online files I had of the build (from Fleet Maintained School Bus to the bus you see today) have gone offline. So I'll need to re-upload them when I get some time, would love to share how and what we did so far. And then I'll be taking pics over the winter as part of our latest upgrades.
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