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Old 04-19-2010, 02:20 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 16
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 6BTAA 5.9
Rated Cap: 84
New guy

Hello all. Just bought a 1993 Bluebird TC2000FC 84 passenger this week, just off of a route in Indiana. It's got 117K miles on a Cummins 6bta/Allison auto combination. Made a deal for $3500 and drove from NC last Friday. Ended up sitting all weekend when I ran out of time and noone would give me insurance. Finally got Geico on Monday, headed out at rush hour and my pace car blew a radiator hose not a mile from the shop. They brought their rollback to get our car, and the owner of the place let us stay in his big fancy RV for the night, with use of one of their vans to get around town, and access to the shop to play with buses and watch TV. The next morning we got the car going again, and pretty much made a straight shot back to NC. The bus ran without a hitch, would cruise 75 mph+ but seemed to settle right in at 65 or so. I probably could have found this bus cheaper, but it was too perfect to pass up. With the service/help he rendered for the 5 days I was in his hair, I think it was well worth the money

Now its parallel parked between my house and shed, 45' between structures, 40' bus with a lot of pine trees to wiggle between.. I'm sure it was an amusing 20 minutes or so if the neighbors were watching.

Day one: Learn how to remove seats
Day two: Refine technique, got the rest of the seats out pretty quick
Day three: remove all trim, move heaters out of the way, and pull up the rubber floor
Day four: remove all plywood and started removing rust
Day five: reserved for skydiving

Thats where I am now.

Tentative plans:

-Angle grinder+wire brush to remove rust.
-Plug up holes with fresh nuts/bolts and some caulk.
-Lay a gallon of rust preventative primer, then a gallon of paint to floor.
-2x6 joists across the bus, with foam insulation inlaid

-Non formaldehyde plywood, sanded with some kind of finish for the floor (do I need joists if i'm using plywood for the floor? or should I just bolt straight through the plywood, foam and metal body? what width plywood should I consider the minimum?)
-Cut and connect the heater hose as close to the motor as I can (two elbows or just connect it with a straight fitting?).. Place severed hoses that run to the under-seat heaters in a bucket and power up the inline pump to drain the lines and heaters out before removing them?

From there I have no idea I had time off of work and knew if I wanted a bus, now was the time to do it. I am going to continue to draw up floor plans until I find something I like, then draw a few dozen more. Ultimately I want to downsize and live in the bus, in my back yard, using the house for business, which is about all it is now. Whenever I can find some land to purchase, I could theoretically drive out and "move right in", without a whole lot of getting used to.

Anywho, glad to be here. Thanks for all the knowledge I've already received by reading through these threads! Here are a few pictures of the journey thus far:




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Old 04-19-2010, 11:47 AM   #2
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Re: New guy

Yes if you do take out the hoses you will not have defroster or heater up front in drivers area. I took out the aux heater in the back but left the drivers heat functional.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:04 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 16
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 6BTAA 5.9
Rated Cap: 84
Re: New guy

The drivers heat/defrost doesn't come from the first underseat heater that is about 10' back, does it? If I cut and loop the lines between there and the dash, I should be OK, right? Maybe do it right next to the driver seat, which will also serve as an early warning system. Feel the left side of your face being scolded off? You've sprung a leak there buddy! Hit the burn clinic and then repair that hose before proceeding.

The bus came from K&B Enterprises in Bright Indiana. The owners Tim and Nancy were great to deal with. They said more of there 93 fleet will be for sale come new years, and I plan on keeping in contact with them until then, as they will have 5 or so to liquidate.

I was going to lay the joists on their broad side, as to only raise the floor 2 inches not 6. Bear with me here, I've never done this I'm just trying to figure out if I need ANY lumber down there for support, or if I should just lay it right down on the foam.

Funny story, actually. The only thing I left for Indiana with was GMAC's phone number, per the recommendations I read on here. They shot me down every way they could! Said I was wrong, that they do NOT insure ANY school buses, except maybe if it was already converted and you had a referral from Camping World? Those conversations pushed past 5 oclock, which is why I ended up waiting until Monday to get something done. I'm going to walk up to the DMV right now and switch the title, but not apply for plates, then i'm going to drop Geico. Will they drop me? Wouldn't surprise me, at first he said no, but he called back while I was on the phone with Camping World, nonetheless, to say he researched more and found where it says Geico can insure ANY(?) vehicle with liability only. Either way, the bus is going to be parked for a while.. Which brings me to leveling!

I was going to get some UV tarps to cover the tires up.. Do I need to get them off of the earth? Will the contact with moisture rot them? Any other maintainence I should perform knowing it will be sitting for a while?

My only problem with floor plans is I hate most RV floorplans! Not much guidance there. I feel like half that crap isn't necessary. Going to keep workin at it.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-19-2010, 05:19 PM   #4
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Location: Austin, TX
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Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/AT545
Re: New guy

Hooooooeeey! That's a lot of windows! My problem is squeezing everything I need into a limited space; I think you will have the opposite problem of what to do with all that space! Welcome!
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:10 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 16
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 6BTAA 5.9
Rated Cap: 84
Re: New guy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
OK....a 2X6 (or 2X anything) is only an inch & a half, which would be prefect for 2 layers of 3/4" rigid insulation. How much will that affect your height? If you're shorter, and have plenty of headroom, then by all means, add the insulation.

If you're parking on dirt/sod, I'd probably park on some wide boards to help prevent sinkage....exactly how long will it be parked?

Who cares about RV floorplans? You've got a blank slate.....you're free to do whatever you like.....that's the best part!

Smitty
I know this is probably against the norm, but I plan on leaving it parked til its time to move it to a 'permanent home'. IE when I find some land. When I'm fairly certain it won't move again, I'm going to use the motor for something else. I love traveling, but honestly this thing is too big for that. I'd rather just sleep in the truck.. ideally a 6x12 cargo trailer stealthily towed by the truck or similar.

I was already planning on backing it onto some boards to keep it from sinking.. Then leveling it with some scissor jacks sitting on wide boards, too.
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Old 04-20-2010, 01:36 PM   #6
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Location: Lethbridge, AB, Canada
Posts: 637
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford B-600
Engine: Ford 370 Propane
Rated Cap: 48
Re: New guy

To build a skoolie that will not move is definately against the norm. Taking out the motor will leave you with nothing more than a metal shell to build in. Have you looked into getting a 40' shipping container? I have seen some very nice semi-portable living spaces made from shipping containers. Standard sizes are 20' and 40'. This may be more suited to your project.
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:46 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 16
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 6BTAA 5.9
Rated Cap: 84
Re: New guy

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkindt
To build a skoolie that will not move is definately against the norm. Taking out the motor will leave you with nothing more than a metal shell to build in. Have you looked into getting a 40' shipping container? I have seen some very nice semi-portable living spaces made from shipping containers. Standard sizes are 20' and 40'. This may be more suited to your project.
I have considered that. It would have cost about the same, but then I can't move the thing. When I do have to up and leave, it would involve a semi truck, a crane, dealing with low clearance powerlines on property, etc. For about the same price I got a rolling box with a motor that lots of folks around here are paying 2000-4000 for a junked 90's ram, just to pull the motor. My buddy just paid $700 for a used inline fuel pump, the same one the bus has. That's a good value to me, value you can't find in a Chinese shipping container. If you are looking to build a house, though, something 100% stationary, i'm all about those containers. They are doing some cool stuff with them.

Got no added formaldehyde plywood priced out, along with linseed based 'marmoleum' and some other stuff. Going to try to build this thing as non toxic as I can.
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:13 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 16
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 6BTAA 5.9
Rated Cap: 84
Re: New guy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Since you've posted your intent.....I'd buy an Amish built (or similar) 12X20 shed. They're cheap, well build, and they deliver & set on your lot. Then simply sell it with the land when it's time to move-on. It would be simple to finish it interior of one, easier than a bus.

Smitty
I'm 22, and renting a house right now, so permanent construction is a 100% waste of money when it comes to property value. Well-built sheds cost about the same per sq ft, without wheels and a kickass motor to swap into my PSD when it eats dirt ;) Trust I've considered all of these options. It is too late, anyways I've been dabbling with the bus/land idea as a survival method since I got kicked to the street at 16; plenty of time to think it over.

Cheers
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:26 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 16
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 6BTAA 5.9
Rated Cap: 84
Re: New guy

It's hard to tell on a text based forum, but are you guys somehow offended by my re-purposing a 17 year old school bus as a cabin? I am not feeling the warmest welcome at this point. I know the alternative suggestions were in good faith, still my gut just feels a "He isn't going to travel in his bus? TREASON. He isn't one of us" vibe. ;) Am I wrong, or..?
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Old 04-21-2010, 09:49 PM   #10
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Location: Lethbridge, AB, Canada
Posts: 637
Year: 1981
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Chassis: Ford B-600
Engine: Ford 370 Propane
Rated Cap: 48
Re: New guy

I do not mean to offend you, just giving you other options to consider. If you already have the bus, you are one step closer to having your own home. Being on your own since 16 must have been very tough for you. I am looking forward to seeing how your bus conversion turns out. There are lots of helpful people here, don't be afraid to ask questions.
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