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Old 05-16-2008, 04:23 PM   #1
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Blue Bird - lots of questions

Hello,

First, let me introduce myself: I'm Ernst, Dutch, but living in Belgium. The same goes for my wife Sylvia (but the name). We have been travelling all over Europe with self converted vehicles, first a Mercedes 608 van (http://www.sittig.nl/608.htm), then a Mercedes 817 truck (http://www.sittig.nl/817.htm) and now we've just bought a short Blue Bird (WB 174") school bus to convert into a motorhome. It has been in use by the American military, but apparently it's been sitting in a depot most of the time, because it is in very good shape and it's done only 39,000 km (23,076 mi).



Yesterday we picked it up in Germany and I drove it home without any difficulty. But... I am completely new to American buses (and the bus-lingo) and yesterday's trip gave me quite some questions:

1 - According to the VIN the vehicle should be a TC2000. The German documents state TCFE4000 and the production order states TCFE3000. What exactly is the difference?

2 - On the ceiling, just in front of the rear (emergency exit) window is a red light which is always on. What is the meaning of that? How can I switch it off?

3 - What it the normal way of dipping the head lights? There is a switch near my left foot, like dip switches used to look like, but pressing it doesn't make any difference.

4 - The lights are on as soon as the engine is running. Is this normal? Or is there an easy way to change this setting (I can modify the wiring myself, but there is plenty of work to do as it is, so if there is a standard solution that I am not aware of...)

5 - On my left hand there is a push button marked "BRK OVERRIDE". What is the meaning of this?

6 - On my left hand there is a pull switch marked "HTR PUMP". What is the meaning of this?

7 - What are CL LAMPS?

8 - We have a combined instrument to indicate sequentially: fuel level, battery voltage, oil pressure and engine temperature. While driving the temperature needle hardly came loose from the left side. Is this normal?

9 - With the bus came two pieces of canvas that obviously fit the front air inlet. From which temperature it is advised to close the front?

10 - Is there somewhere a driver's manual and/or a workshop manual available as PDF?

I already have found some very useful tips for the coming conversion on this forum! I'll post the major steps in our project here as well.
Sorry I am such a curious person Thanks a lot in advance for any response!
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:27 AM   #2
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Re: Blue Bird - lots of questions

i would definitely put that into the "city bus" category.

as for the headlight thing....my bluebird "citybird" has 3 identical switches on the floor. 2 of them are for the turn signals...right/left. the 3rd switch controlls the bright/dim head lights. if your bus has a day/nite switch somewhere, this might be required to be in the "night" mode before your high beams will work.

the "brake override" switch....i immagine that when the doors are opened, or the air suspension system is lowered if there is one the bus will not drive unless you use this switch. just a guess

i wonder if "cl lamps" might be your parking/running lights? I have no idea what "cl" stands for.
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Old 05-19-2008, 03:18 PM   #3
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Re: Blue Bird - lots of questions

Thanks for the information. I am (slowly) getting the picture...
The day after tomorrow I'll see what's wrong with the foot switch. Now we are in Antwerp with the Mercedes RV. Our seminar coincided with a railway strike, so we are sleeping on a big parking lot where RVs are allowed and we take a local bus to the university. We're very happy with our internet via satellite. Without it I couldn't have written this post

@Bender
The language is Dutch. I'm sorry I so far only translated only some pages into English. In case you want the translation of any particular word or sentence, just send me a PM. And yes, electricity is a kind of hobby
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:53 PM   #4
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Re: Blue Bird - lots of questions

cl......clearance lights?????
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:38 AM   #5
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Re: Blue Bird - lots of questions

cl......clearance lights?????

Thanks. That's what Jimmy suggested, too. So I suppose it's that.
My problem is that I'm reasonably familiar with vehicles but don't know the matching technical English words. I'll try to learn....
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:34 PM   #6
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Re: Blue Bird - lots of questions

i hand out with lots of people from other countries when i go to burningman, and it's always very interesting to me that even though we all speak "english" there is british english, american english, australian english, etc.

this one guy from new zealand was asking me about a "chilly bin" and i had no idea what he was talking about...not to mention the accent. when i questioned him about what he meant he said "ya know, an "esky?" i still had no idea what he was talking about until he walked over and pointed at my cooler. esky is short for eskimo.

a british guy was complaining to me that almost everything at home depot had a different name in america than it does in england which makes finding things pretty difficult.

so i understand how you must feel being in a different country and having all those switches labeled in american words.
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Old 05-24-2008, 05:56 AM   #7
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Re: Blue Bird - lots of questions

so i understand how you must feel being in a different country and having all those switches labeled in american words.

That's what makes a forum like Skoolie.net so useful for me!
I lived in New Zealand as a sparkie (electrician) in the late '70s and found out the big gap between Kiwi-English and the British English, which we are taught in school
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Old 05-24-2008, 05:38 PM   #8
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Re: Blue Bird - lots of questions

Wasn't it Winston Churchill that said America and England were two nations separated by a common language....
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:06 PM   #9
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Need help as well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernst View Post
Hello,

First, let me introduce myself: I'm Ernst, Dutch, but living in Belgium. The same goes for my wife Sylvia (but the name). We have been travelling all over Europe with self converted vehicles, first a Mercedes 608 van (http://www.sittig.nl/608.htm), then a Mercedes 817 truck (http://www.sittig.nl/817.htm) and now we've just bought a short Blue Bird (WB 174") school bus to convert into a motorhome. It has been in use by the American military, but apparently it's been sitting in a depot most of the time, because it is in very good shape and it's done only 39,000 km (23,076 mi).



Yesterday we picked it up in Germany and I drove it home without any difficulty. But... I am completely new to American buses (and the bus-lingo) and yesterday's trip gave me quite some questions:

1 - According to the VIN the vehicle should be a TC2000. The German documents state TCFE4000 and the production order states TCFE3000. What exactly is the difference?

2 - On the ceiling, just in front of the rear (emergency exit) window is a red light which is always on. What is the meaning of that? How can I switch it off?

3 - What it the normal way of dipping the head lights? There is a switch near my left foot, like dip switches used to look like, but pressing it doesn't make any difference.

4 - The lights are on as soon as the engine is running. Is this normal? Or is there an easy way to change this setting (I can modify the wiring myself, but there is plenty of work to do as it is, so if there is a standard solution that I am not aware of...)

5 - On my left hand there is a push button marked "BRK OVERRIDE". What is the meaning of this?

6 - On my left hand there is a pull switch marked "HTR PUMP". What is the meaning of this?

7 - What are CL LAMPS?

8 - We have a combined instrument to indicate sequentially: fuel level, battery voltage, oil pressure and engine temperature. While driving the temperature needle hardly came loose from the left side. Is this normal?

9 - With the bus came two pieces of canvas that obviously fit the front air inlet. From which temperature it is advised to close the front?

10 - Is there somewhere a driver's manual and/or a workshop manual available as PDF?

I already have found some very useful tips for the coming conversion on this forum! I'll post the major steps in our project here as well.
Sorry I am such a curious person Thanks a lot in advance for any response!

Hey we read your questions and actually also had questions 5&6 and wondered if you had found the answers?? Let me know! Thanks
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Old 10-19-2017, 01:00 AM   #10
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i wouldnt worry about covering the inlet until it gets to be around or below -20. In my part of canada we dont usually do it until -30. we do it to help keep the heat in the engine bay and help it run smoother. also so we might get a few extra degrees in the cab in whch to keep warmer with.



what do you mean by dipping the headlights?

most vehicles in canada are equipped with mandatory daytime running lights as far as i know. theres a way to disconnect them through the wiring and devices but i dont know how.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:58 AM   #11
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What year is your bird? You can find manuals going back to 1997 on this site:
https://www.centralstatesbus.com/Manuals.html

Even if yours is earlier, they might still be of some use.

The TC2000 was the middle of the blue bird range. The heaviest duty bus was the “All American” which was sold overseas as the TC3000.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Bird_All_American

I’m guessing the post above about day time running lights might be key to sorting out your high / low beam headlights. It’s just the foot switch to dip on my ‘97 AARE. US models wouldn’t have had day time running lights at that time, so there was probably a modification to comply with European laws.

If your bus has a diesel heater for the coolant to preheat the engine and/or run the heaters without the engine running HTR PUMP might be the electric pump that circulates the coolant while the engine is off.

The red light in the back is to mark the location of the emergency exit in the dark. I believe it comes on with the headlights, so since yours are on all the time the exit light probably would be too.


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Old 10-19-2017, 03:11 AM   #12
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Blue Bird - lots of questions

I’ve read some buses have an option that automatically applies the air brakes when the red flashing lights are on. This was so the driver does not have to set the parking brake at each stop to ensure the bus stays stopped. BRK OVERRIDE could be to enable or disable that system?

One tricky thing about American school buses is there are literally hundreds of build to order options due to different state laws, regional preferences, and different roles for different buses within a school system. So even though two buses might be the same year and model, they can have many differences.

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Old 10-19-2017, 04:00 AM   #13
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CL LAMPS are your clearance lights near the top of the bus on all four sides. They may be legally required to be on at night (they are in the US) and, even if not, are highly advisable to have on at night.
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:06 AM   #14
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CL lamps are the clearasnce lamps.. as mentioned they are required at night.. some places require them be on if you are idling the engine at night.

the HTR pump is a water pump that pumps hot coolant through the engine and the heater cores.. it can allow you to get some heat if you are short parking the bus with the engine off and key in the ACC position.. it is also there for the purpose of creating better coolant flow during very cold weather where all of your heating fans are turned on.

the headlights coming on with the bus is Dayutime riunning lights.. the lights operate at a lower cvoltage than normal in the high beam position. your tail lights are likely NOT ON during this position.

DIpping your lights wit hthe foot switch. your main headlight switch needs to be pulled out all the way for full nighttime ooperation, then you can use the foot switch to go from high beam to low beam. . this will not have any effect when the main headlight switch is off or in the parking lights position.

some busses had mandatory parking brake apply when the bus stopped with the red flashers on, the BRK override switch allowed the driver to move the bus with the red flashers on.

only use the grill covers in very cold weather, its not suggested to use them on long highway road trips.. you can over-heat your bus if you were to climb a mountain or drive long periods at higheway speeds with the grill-cover in place. its main design was to allow the radiator temperature t ogo up during periods of engine load (ie driving from neighborhood to neighborhood) as a means of storing heat so when the bus was oin stop N go picking up kids there was a reserve of hot coolant in the radiator that wouldnt be exposed to cold wind. this helps the engine to stay at safe operating temperature and for the interior heaters to stay hot.

-Christopher
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:07 PM   #15
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Dipping the headlights is changing them from high beam (the blue light on the panel comes on) to low beam (the blue light goes out).

HTR PUMP is used when you wish to use the passenger compartment.

The red light above the emergency exit comes on with the headlights. It is a safety feature to allow passengers to find the exit quickly.

If this vehicle was owned by the military, then the headlights were rigged to come on upon engine start. I don't know how they were rigged, but military vehicles run with the headlights on.

Willkomen, Ernst.
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:47 PM   #16
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What about questions 5&6

We need answers to questions 5&6
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Old 12-12-2017, 09:47 AM   #17
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The brk override could be your park brk release. Most likely if its an air brake valve . the htr pump is there to circulate flow of water through the heater and defrosters in the coach because of the length of the bus. The engine water pump can't push the water that far so a booster pump was installed. Most transit coaches have them. My advice is to find the contact # for bluebird us and request a pdf operators manual if you can't DL one from the vantage site. It will explain the controls

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Old 12-13-2017, 03:34 PM   #18
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Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Welcome; see responses below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernst View Post
Hello,

1 - According to the VIN the vehicle should be a TC2000. The German documents state TCFE4000 and the production order states TCFE3000. What exactly is the difference?

dunno

2 - On the ceiling, just in front of the rear (emergency exit) window is a red light which is always on. What is the meaning of that? How can I switch it off?

Likely a visual that the latch is not closed all the way. Any buzzing?

3 - What it the normal way of dipping the head lights? There is a switch near my left foot, like dip switches used to look like, but pressing it doesn't make any difference.

'99 for my bus and it's on one of the stalks (turn signals).

4 - The lights are on as soon as the engine is running. Is this normal? Or is there an easy way to change this setting (I can modify the wiring myself, but there is plenty of work to do as it is, so if there is a standard solution that I am not aware of...)

Daytime running lights; it's a thing over here. Why bother changing it?

5 - On my left hand there is a push button marked "BRK OVERRIDE". What is the meaning of this?

dunno

6 - On my left hand there is a pull switch marked "HTR PUMP". What is the meaning of this?

HTR Pump switch turns on a circulation pump to get engine coolant to the front of the bus and thru the heater cores.

7 - What are CL LAMPS?

Caution lights; the flashy lights for when you're picking up kids. Not legal on private US buses. Someone might try to kidnap 84 snot lickers. I have 2 I'll give you.

8 - We have a combined instrument to indicate sequentially: fuel level, battery voltage, oil pressure and engine temperature. While driving the temperature needle hardly came loose from the left side. Is this normal?

Mine barely moves but seems ok. Tranny (transmission) temp is the one that doesn't move much.

9 - With the bus came two pieces of canvas that obviously fit the front air inlet. From which temperature it is advised to close the front?

Talk to Cadilackid, he covers his.

10 - Is there somewhere a driver's manual and/or a workshop manual available as PDF?

Unit Dashboard | Portal

My Transmission

https://quickserve.cummins.com/info/index.html

Service Manuals for Blue Bird School Buses

I already have found some very useful tips for the coming conversion on this forum! I'll post the major steps in our project here as well.
Sorry I am such a curious person Thanks a lot in advance for any response!
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RausyRaus View Post
We need answers to questions 5&6
Look at post #14
Caddilac kid covered both items.
Good luck.
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewerbob View Post
Welcome; see responses below.

the shutters on my DEV bus are automatic.. I watch the temp gauge like a hawk anyway being a wet sleeve engine.. those shutters auto close when the engine is under 180-185. or so.. in the summer I turn off the switch so these things cant close at all..

the red bus I leave it as normal since im not running a school route.. my T-stat does its job well so i havent felt a need to cover that bus radiator..
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