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Old 03-15-2010, 06:44 PM   #1
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Year: 1995
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Engine: 6.6L Turbo CAT 3116
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Introducing my first bus

Been lurking for awhile but today finally bought my bus and pick it up this Saturday. It is a 1995 Chevy with a 3116 Turbo Catipillar motor, Allison automatic transmission, hydraulic brakes, 6 rows of seats, PA and radio, 2 roof hatches, Bud style rims, with 155K miles. The plan is to convert it into a weekend camper. Not sure of my floor plan just yet. I plan to paint it black or maybe grey. I will post pics as I progress with the conversion but might take me awhile since I only have weekends free to work on it. I'm sure I will have questions for the board as I go. Think I will name the bus "Stopbit".

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Old 03-15-2010, 06:51 PM   #2
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Re: Introducing my first bus

Black may look nice, but you would need a good AC unit otherwise you will regret the heat that black attracts! Generally lighter colors stay cooler, and darker colors just make it uncomfortable without AC. This is why most newer RV's are white. The big $$ units are darker, but they have 2 or 3 rooftop AC units to compensate for the sun. Just a thought...
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:03 PM   #3
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Re: Introducing my first bus

I'm a city boy so no chance my bus won't be getting a 13500btu A/C unit and generator(think a small 2500 watt propane). Plus plan on adding a small DC/AC fridge, 6 gallon water heater, 2 burner propane range, microwave, small sink, fresh and grey water tanks, port-a-poti, and an outside shower. Also posting the one pic I have of the inside until I get the bus home this weekend.

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Old 03-15-2010, 07:13 PM   #4
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Re: Introducing my first bus

Bus looks great! Little bit longer than the average short-bus, but not as long as a typical 3/4 length bus. It should be really easy to maneuver and get into tight spots. It should also have all the power you need to pull trailers full of toys or whatever else you take with you. My bus is a 3/4 length Bluebird body, 48 passenger, 8 rows.
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:59 PM   #5
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Re: Introducing my first bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stopbit
... a small 2500 watt propane...
Don't get less than a 3K generator. We have a 2.5K Onan on our RV. We have a 4cf freezer, 3cf refrigerator, 13.5K rooftop Ac unit. when they all cycle on at the same time (and they do at times), it drags the generator down and it lugs hard. The 2.5K is marginal. It will work but I think it might not be too good to operate the generator (or the appliances) like that. The AC unit is the biggest thing. Without the AC on, we have no problem running the TV, DVD player and microwave in addition to the refrigerator and freezer while Wallydocking. Add up all your SURGE wattages. As a rule of thumb, you can double the stated operating wattages. This will most likely give you a higher result than actually use... but the extra "cushion" may come in handy.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:44 PM   #6
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Re: Introducing my first bus

Really just need the generator to power the A/C and fridge while driving to the camp ground to plug in, which is why I was planing for such a small one. I'm sure I will get the biggest one my checkbook will allow when the time comes though since you can never have too much power.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:40 PM   #7
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Re: Introducing my first bus

You can just paint top white and the rest black or grey. That will help on the heat, unless you live way north in which case you might want to paint it all black. Also having awnings to put up when in camp helps the heat problem alot too.
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:09 AM   #8
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Re: Introducing my first bus

I can see in your pictures that you bought the bus from k-s bus.com in Lawerence, KS. I bought my bus from them as well, and they were helpful and easy to deal with. Did you get a good deal? I got a decent deal on my bus - about $700-$1,000 off their asking price as I remember. I recognize the bus you are buying - it's been on their lot for a while.
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:58 PM   #9
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Re: Introducing my first bus

Got them to take $1500 off what they where asking which was still probably too high but since I live in Kansas City the very short trip (about 30 minutes away) to look at it and bring it home was worth some money as well.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:54 PM   #10
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Re: Introducing my first bus

Well picked up the bus and took it to a big truck service center to have looked over and get my Safety insecption. The bus seemed to top out at around 60mph @2700 or so rpm. Was hoping it was going to do a little better than that being a short bus and all. Seems there might be some issue with the drivers side front brake since the rotor was smoking a little and could smell the burnt brake pad smell. That was added to the list of things for the repair shop to check out, hopefully it's not something to major.
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Old 03-19-2010, 07:13 PM   #11
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Re: Introducing my first bus

be careful of that 3116 cat motor its made in japan,,and mexico,,,,not to scared you but its not like its amercan brother 3208 cat,check it out good,,,ask for the service records on it,,,we had 4 in our bus fleet, ,the bluebird body is good one,but after two yrs we got away from them,,only because of the motor....
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:08 PM   #12
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Re: Introducing my first bus

Have a Caterpillar tech giving it a good look over. Seems the 3116 engine is a love/hate kind of thing from all the web searches I did. But both the tech looking it over and the research I did seem to suggest that if it was one with the soft block or valve issues it would have failed and been fixed or replaced by now. Guess the real draw back is the special tools needed to work on some stuff.
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Old 03-22-2010, 02:50 PM   #13
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Re: Introducing my first bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stopbit
Well picked up the bus and took it to a big truck service center to have looked over and get my Safety insecption. The bus seemed to top out at around 60mph @2700 or so rpm. Was hoping it was going to do a little better than that being a short bus and all.
If it's topping out at 2700rpm I wonder if it has some sort of governor on it that is restricting the speed. Seems like if it were a gearing issue or engine size issue then you would be screaming down the road at 3500rpm and 60mph.

You might want to ask the mechanic checking it out about that, and what would be involved in disabling the governor, if in fact it has one.
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Old 03-23-2010, 02:11 PM   #14
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Re: Introducing my first bus

Well talked with the repair shop and good news is engine is in great shape. Bad news is the left front caliper is sticking and needs replaced along with brake pads on the front axle. Also one of lines to the transmission coller is leaking and needs reapaired as well a small exhaust leak. Having them change the oil and replace fuel filters as well so total cost is going to be around $1700. Had that money put aside for a good paint job but guess that can wait or will try and do it myself.
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Old 03-23-2010, 02:15 PM   #15
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Re: Introducing my first bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel Dan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stopbit
Well picked up the bus and took it to a big truck service center to have looked over and get my Safety insecption. The bus seemed to top out at around 60mph @2700 or so rpm. Was hoping it was going to do a little better than that being a short bus and all.
If it's topping out at 2700rpm I wonder if it has some sort of governor on it that is restricting the speed. Seems like if it were a gearing issue or engine size issue then you would be screaming down the road at 3500rpm and 60mph.

You might want to ask the mechanic checking it out about that, and what would be involved in disabling the governor, if in fact it has one.
They said the gearing is what is keeping from going much over 65mph but the sticking front brake was dragging me down some as well.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:26 PM   #16
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Re: Introducing my first bus

I agree with Smitty- for those relatively simple repairs, it seems to me they're gouging you a good bit. I don't know who you're going to and what kind of relationship you have w/ them, but I'd at least get a few other estimates before settling for that price- if you're able to, that is. Good luck!
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:29 PM   #17
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Re: Introducing my first bus

I took it to a Heavy duty truck service center/Ford dealership because they where one of the few places around that had tech's certified to work on the cat 3116. I realize dealers are always on the high end but they do really good work. I had them do a DOT and MO DMV inspection and correct all the issues found. Being a computer geek and not having any experience working on something so big feel better having a shop do it. Since being in a crash 15 years ago because the breaks failed always a little paranoid. At least when it's all done I will know the bus is safe and in good working order. Once I sell my class A RV should have another 3k for my conversion so not too worried.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:34 PM   #18
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Re: Introducing my first bus

Got my bus back from the shop and got it all legal as a shuttle bus. It did have this weird issue about 3 times while driving it home from the shop where the whole front end started shaking real bad until I applied the brakes. It only happened at slower speeds and seemed fine on the highway, talked with the repair shop and they didn't know what could be causing that but asked me to bring it back and have the shop foreman take a test drive with me, which I will do Saturday morning. Also hoping to start prep work on the bus for the paint job. A good friend has a buddy that works at a body shop that is going to paint it for me after I remove all the stickers, letters, and refective tape. It still is going to cost a nice amount for the paint job but the buddy deal is $1000 to $1500 lower than the other 4 estimates I got.
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Old 04-03-2010, 06:26 AM   #19
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Re: Introducing my first bus

So leaning towards a floor plan kind of like a Transvan for my bus. Might move the bathroom/shower to the other side so plumbing is all together. Even saw a link for some shower/toilet pans that have a built in holding tank which would be really nice if I can make it work in the bus.


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Old 04-10-2010, 05:24 PM   #20
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Re: Introducing my first bus

Got the seats out and started on the plywood. The impact wrench snaped most of the bolts so only had to hold the nuts from under the bus on a few. Posted pictures on my blog.
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