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Old 09-29-2016, 11:06 PM   #21
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 34
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird FE
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo Jeff View Post
Jeep hauling toter home help. - JeepForum.com

This totter seemed to work well. two week build with hitch mount 9 inches forward of the rear axle. This is the route I have decided to take over building a place in the bus for a vehicle. I think I'm going to buy a 28ft semi trailer with a large lift gate to drive onto and raise the vehicle into the trailer/shop. They were still left with a 21 ft cabin. I kinda like the idea of the rear door coming out on the back of the bus bed. I plan to have my bedroom in the rear so two ways out seems like a good safe plan.
Hey thanks for the link Geo Jeff!

That build out is almost exactly what I want to do!

I'd even thought about leaving the skirts on the sides like that (probably with no more than a 6" tall rail area over the bed though in case I am towing the 5th wheel over uneven ground).

I'd also toyed with the idea of leaving the back door in place and having a removable 5th wheel hitch. Then I could use if for a "deck" from my office (or if I went hunting/fishing with the bus).



Charles
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Old 09-30-2016, 05:51 AM   #22
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Darrington, Wa.
Posts: 304
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Genesis/Am-Tran Tall Roof
Chassis: International, 643 transmission
Engine: DT 466ci 250hp, International
Rated Cap: 86 screaming Monsters
We were just talking about the rear deck sheet metal when it gets exposed in the application if it wouldn't look nicer to install some treated 2x6's like a deck and cut out the sheet metal all together? Seems like the sheet metal has to be to flimsy and in most cases rusty.
I'm hoping to haul a 32ft semi trailer i found with a big lift gate on it. Pull my car up onto the lift and raise it to trailer height and drive in just like it should be. This is going to give me so much more room in the RV and the shop. Should be able to get all me gear plus two cars. I'm not traveling more than say 100 to 250 miles at time and lock the beast in at 50mph and I'll be just fine. This combo will let me boon-dock a lot more over a low to the ground enclosed car trailer. Plus the extra brakes will be super nice out there in that trailer, with not very much weight on them. I'm new to semi stuff so i assume I'll be able to just tie in brake lines for the trailer. I'm not even sure at this point how the trailer brakes are activated when stopping a semi? always a learning curve. Need to find a roof wind cowling off a semi truck to mount on the bus to get that air over the higher trailer. I think that thread said they were using a cummin's 5.9 engine with a 545. I'm planning on a dt466 and it has 643 Allison in it. I read some where the 545 Allison was rated to 30k lbs and the 643 was rated to 72k lbs. Were building some big frame mounted oil coolers for the engine and transmission to keep it cool and get them out of the radiator. If it does what I need and I need more space a bigger trailer will always be an option. This will surely turn better than any bumper trailer. Hoping down the road on this project that using a trailer will give me a ton of space for solar panels when I'm down south. There is just some thing so cool to think you can take the sun and make ice with it and run the blender.
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Old 09-30-2016, 11:03 AM   #23
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 34
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird FE
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo Jeff View Post
We were just talking about the rear deck sheet metal when it gets exposed in the application if it wouldn't look nicer to install some treated 2x6's like a deck and cut out the sheet metal all together? Seems like the sheet metal has to be to flimsy and in most cases rusty.
I'm hoping to haul a 32ft semi trailer i found with a big lift gate on it. Pull my car up onto the lift and raise it to trailer height and drive in just like it should be. This is going to give me so much more room in the RV and the shop. Should be able to get all me gear plus two cars. I'm not traveling more than say 100 to 250 miles at time and lock the beast in at 50mph and I'll be just fine. This combo will let me boon-dock a lot more over a low to the ground enclosed car trailer. Plus the extra brakes will be super nice out there in that trailer, with not very much weight on them. I'm new to semi stuff so i assume I'll be able to just tie in brake lines for the trailer. I'm not even sure at this point how the trailer brakes are activated when stopping a semi? always a learning curve. Need to find a roof wind cowling off a semi truck to mount on the bus to get that air over the higher trailer. I think that thread said they were using a cummin's 5.9 engine with a 545. I'm planning on a dt466 and it has 643 Allison in it. I read some where the 545 Allison was rated to 30k lbs and the 643 was rated to 72k lbs. Were building some big frame mounted oil coolers for the engine and transmission to keep it cool and get them out of the radiator. If it does what I need and I need more space a bigger trailer will always be an option. This will surely turn better than any bumper trailer. Hoping down the road on this project that using a trailer will give me a ton of space for solar panels when I'm down south. There is just some thing so cool to think you can take the sun and make ice with it and run the blender.
My thoughts on the decking were along the same lines.

I figured that I would cover the deck area with something like Choice Dek or Trex from Lowes instead of 2x6's. It would be lighter weight, never need painting or sealing and since there won't ever be anything heavy on it I believe it would do fine.

I may or may not leave the sheet metal in place. If I did I would probably clean it, prime it and paint it with a rubberized paint before laying the deck over it.

OTOH if I remove it, then water can just run off the deck boards and down.

Either way I think everything below it would get a couple of coats of undercoat to try and stay ahead of the rust.

When I talk to folks about this idea, I usually refer to it as being either "insane" or "insanely brilliant" and say that the jury is still out on that one.



Charles
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Old 10-29-2016, 07:33 PM   #24
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 34
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird FE
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Skoolie as a toterhome - a followup report

First off, a big THANKS to everyone who contributed to this thread!

I am now the proud owner of a 2002 Bluebird All American front engine flat nosed bus!



You can see it here next our 37' 5th wheel:



I bought this bus from a private school bus contractor that had been running bus routes for the past 40 years.

It had a 2015 Tennessee inspection sticker on it and it was in service until this school year started.

It does have a Cummins 5.9 diesel engine in it, but it has plenty of power and according to the plate on the transmission it has an Allison 2000 in it instead of the usual 545.


As an aside, I would have loved to have found a bus that had the DT-466 in it, but felt like the other things in this bus were too good to pass on.

Also the 5.9 drove out well (I had over an hour test ride since the owner lived back in the hills and wanted me to drive it on a big straight road).

FWIW, I'd also driven a T444E the day before (in a smaller bus with a GVWR of 27.500) and I felt like that engine was woefully under powered.


The Allison 2000 is a rebuilt transmission that was recently replaced.

The state inspector had them replace the tie rod ends last year and it had a new alignment when that was done. Steering is good and tight (not like some of those old log trucks I drove as a kid!).

The rear brakes were replaced and the rear end was rebuilt last year as well.

Driving it home was a breeze (it even has a working cruise control - who would have thought it!).

It has a little noise at times from a carrier bearing that will need to be replaced (some speeds and pulls cause it to appear, but usually a change in speed or letting on/off would cause it to stop). In fairness to the seller they did tell me about this before I bought it. and it pulled the grade up Interstate 24 on Monteagle mountain at 55 Mph with no problems at all.

I had a close eye on the temp gauge and there was hardly any rise on the entire run up the mountain.

Overall I think this bus was better taken care of than one I could have gotten from a dealer lot or an auction (it was the one that the owner's wife drove... so we all know what that means ).

The GVWR is 34200 with the 11R 22.5 tires it has on it.

After I pick up the tags for it I plan on driving it out and getting it weighed before I start deconstruction. I want to keep up with how much weight I remove in the seats, body and frame as we go along.

Speaking of which - I also got two nice spare tires and rims as a part of the deal (now I just have to figure out where I am going to carry them).

The only thing that will be a little PITA is moving the fuel tank (it is in a cage between the rear frame members) and also moving the rear air tank forward onto the shortened frame after the fuel tank is moved.

I believe that the easiest route will be to create a new frame to carry the fuel tank and move it forward of the rear wheels on the right side.

If that is a problem, then it was also suggested that I could use a couple of the metal clad fuel cells like they use in race cars (I found some that were 32 gallon). But I think the existing tank won't be that bad to move.

When I get started on the actual conversion project I do plan to start a new thread in the right forum area to keep up with that.

But THANKS AGAIN for the input everyone gave!



Charles
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Old 10-29-2016, 08:18 PM   #25
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Darrington, Wa.
Posts: 304
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Genesis/Am-Tran Tall Roof
Chassis: International, 643 transmission
Engine: DT 466ci 250hp, International
Rated Cap: 86 screaming Monsters
I don't think there is room to move that fuel tank to the front and side. Lowes sells tanks that light fit that go in a truck bed. just need to be less than about 24" wide. I missed this reason for moving it. I assume its a toter build to a goose neck.

There is one built in Texas on Craigslist and Oregon for $6k I think ones red and ones white. There both dog noses
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Old 10-29-2016, 10:22 PM   #26
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 34
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird FE
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo Jeff View Post
I don't think there is room to move that fuel tank to the front and side. Lowes sells tanks that light fit that go in a truck bed. just need to be less than about 24" wide. I missed this reason for moving it. I assume its a toter build to a goose neck.
I have 30" of width on each side (between the frame and outer bus skin).

The old fuel tank is only about 21" wide (the old frame might even fit - but it would be close). That is why I am thinking that a new frame might be an easy answer.

I really don't want the tank up in the truck bed as I am trying to keep as much of the space inside the bus as possible and I want to be able to use the back door

The build will be used to pull a 37' 16,000 lb 5th wheel, but I am going to use a B&W turnover ball and a companion hitch so that I can pull a gooseneck as well.

I also plan to put a Class IV or Class V hitch on the rear when I shorten the frame. That should let me pull about anything I want to, yet still make use of the truck bed (which will be longer than 8') to haul things if need be.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo Jeff View Post
There is one built in Texas on Craigslist and Oregon for $6k I think ones red and ones white. There both dog noses
I'm starting to see more and more of these around and about. That makes me feel better about doing the conversion (since crazy loves company).

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