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Old 08-21-2009, 06:16 AM   #1
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Year: 1986
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Is this a good idea, Toy hauler conversion already done

This is a 1986 Blue Bird Bus, 8.2L Detroit Diesel with a 4 speed Allison Transmission with a torque Converter lockup












The guy wants $4500 for it and says the motor and transmission are 2 years old. The hard stuff of the conversion have already been done but is it a good idea? My Ford Diesel Excursion pulling a 24' trailer gets 9-10 MPG and I just sold my trailer to get something bigger when I happened opon this bus.

With a Detroit 8.2 L what mileage should I expect, no idea on the gears that are in it? Is there a source for gears for these Buses? What rear end is in them?


Any thoughts? Will I have to repaint it? What all has to be done to make it legal, I have looked for a Beginners FAQ on here but didn't see one.

Thanks in advance
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:05 PM   #2
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Re: Is this a good idea, Toy hauler conversion already done

The 8.2L Detroit motor isnt the most liked motor out there, but it is better on fuel. There are many rear end ratios out there which would determine what your top speed is. You want to make sure that it isnt geared very low so that you cant get above 45mph. Since the torque converter locks up, it is the MT 643. That makes the fuel economy better than if it had the non lockup AT 545. Wild guess....8-10mpg. Does anybody else agree or disagree?

Painting will depend on your state. Ohio requires you to repaint if it isnt used as a school bus, but your state may not. If your state doesnt require it, you can drive through any state, but titling it in another state may be an issue.

Is it a good deal? I would say not, but it isnt highway robbery either. Im looking for something very similar myself right now. Since the motor and tranny are 2 years old, that may give you years of good life out of it. I would ask for documentation on the swaps. I would also make sure that back end ramp doesnt rattle much going down the road more than you can stand. Another thing to consider: Tires are around $200 each or above. Depending on your state and how it is titled, you may need a CDL, also.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:07 PM   #3
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Re: Is this a good idea, Toy hauler conversion already done

If YOU like the idea of having a bus for a hauler then yea its a good idea, but if you are looking to save on fuel & maintanance costs then no it probably isn't the way to go. We here at skoolie are a bit biased as we all love buses & would gladly take a bus over any trailer. You could always skin over the ramp very easily since the metal framework is already there & it would clean up the look of the bus & protect the wood. I would take it for a drive & look at the manufacturers tags - should be in the interior around the driver. Get that info & then come back & ask more questions. As far as the swap, I agree, ask for receipts to prove the work that was done. As far as the price, a little steep... Just my 2 cents! Good luck!
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:47 PM   #4
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Re: Is this a good idea, Toy hauler conversion already done

I would skin over the rear door and I planned on having a living area up front, I thought that was the point of a "Skoolie"

I would take this to the track and not have to get a hotel room anymore, I make some cross country trips racing my car as it is.


My Excursion pulling the trailer gers 9-10 MPG so this should be close, I am going to see it Sunday and will post pics of my own.


What do yall think is a fair price?
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:30 PM   #5
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Re: Is this a good idea, Toy hauler conversion already done

It's a nice bus, don't get me wrong... The storage areas under the bus are nice & it looks like it is in good condition & the rear door/ramp looks like they did a nice job on it... Is this the first bus you looked at or have you been pricing them for a while?
Now that you explained a little more what your plans are this seems to fit what you are looking for. To not have to stay in hotels is golden!
I would give him maybe $3500 but that is without looking at it & that is under the assumption that the drivetrain was in fact rebuilt & it doesn't have anything that obviously needs to be fixed. Why was it rebuilt & how many miles are on it? Drive it. Depends on the gearing - you may get about the same fuel mileage as you were pulling the trailer...
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Old 08-28-2009, 01:47 PM   #6
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Re: Is this a good idea, Toy hauler conversion already done

My '88 Blue Bird with a 8.2L Detroit Diesel and an Alison 545 gets around 8.5 MPG when I'm hauling my IH Scout II inside. I have a top speed around 60 mph (loaded or empty).

Chad
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