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Old 02-24-2009, 12:29 PM   #1
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My new 1999 Bluebird P30

I guess it's time to stop lurking since I now have a bus! It's a 1999 Bluebird P30 with a gas Chevy motor.

I've been talking with a guy down in New Mexico about a bus for the last week or so, and this last weekend I drove down to look at it. I ended up doing more than looking!

I saw this bus advertised as being for sale from a guy who helps manage the fleet for a school on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico. There were a few problems with the bus that he told me about right away, but for the asking price, I thought it might still be worth checking out. The biggest problem was the cracked exhaust manifold. He told me that it had an exhaust leak but when I got there and looked it was more than just a leak. But since I do a lot of mechanic work, I didn't see that as being too hard to fix. Among the other things wrong with it were a cracked windshield on the passenger side, a cracked panel in the glass on the door, and a non-functioning defrost.

It made the 850 mile trip back to Idaho without a hiccup. At first the gas Chevy V8 seemed a little underpowered but it seemed to clear out little by little. By the time I crossed into Idaho I could climb all but the steepest and longest hills at nearly full speed. I'm guessing that the engine was full of junk from all the low speed stop and go driving of the bus route plus the cracked manifold didn't help. On the freeways I was able to stay at about 70 mph. It would have done more, but I didn't want to push it too hard until I got it back and fixed the exhaust problem. I averaged about 10 to 11 mpg on the trip back even with the exhaust not working properly.

So here is my new baby! For $1000 I think I got a good deal!



Yesterday I spent the day working on a few things that were wrong with the bus. Had to do some rewiring for the defroster blower motors and got them working. I removed the wiring for the upper flashers and strobe so that I don't accidently turn them on. I also removed the big fish-eye mirrors on the front. I started on removing the seats but quickly realized that it's going to take 2 people to do unless I want to keep running back and forth from inside the bus to under it. I'll probably end up having to do that anyway.

Time to go out and get some more done on the little monster.
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:40 PM   #2
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Re: My new 1999 Bluebird P30

It's a BEAUTIFUL bus!!! Of course... I'm prejudiced. I have a similar bus. 93 BlueBird on the same P30 chassis. Mine is diesel.

I removed the heater/defrost assembly from mine in order to make room for a passenger seat up front. If you need any of those components let me know. If you want a home for those fish eye's you removed, I'll take them!! I have them on mine, love them, wouldn't mind spares.

I'd love to hear more about your plans for your new bus!

-Ray
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Old 02-24-2009, 03:29 PM   #3
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Re: My new 1999 Bluebird P30

Hi Ray! Yes, it's a beautiful bus! Truth be told, your bus was the inspiration for me getting this one. I like the mid-size of the P30 and having a full-height ceiling was mandatory.

This is actually my 2nd bus. I also have a 1951 Chevy bus with a Wayne body. Most likely I'm going to be selling the Chevy bus to help finance the buildup on the new P30.



As far as the fish-eye mirrors, if you want them they are all yours! I'll take the brackets off the body too so you can have a complete parts set. We'll just have to figure out getting them to you.

Right now I'm sitting out in the bus taking a break from removing seats. What a nightmare... The bolts aren't terribly rusty, but having to do this myself is a pain. Put two breaker bars on seat bolts, crawl under the bus and take the nuts off, repeat process... I don't know why Bluebird didn't weld the nuts to the underside of the body. It would make installing and removing the seats SO much easier!
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:17 PM   #4
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Re: My new 1999 Bluebird P30

That 51 is AWESOME!!! When I was a kid our church had one very much like it. It broke down one time on a very bad stretch of road. No shoulder, just cliff. The police came along and because the bus was in such a bad place they insisted it be towed right away... and to get us all off it they called in several more police cars so we could all get out of there safely. Passers by were honking and shouting... they thought our "hippie" group was getting busted. I have fond memories of that bus and would love to have yours! Wish I had the time, energy, and money!

As for the mirrors... Box them up. I'll paypal/western union/send a money order for postage.

Post more pics of that old bus!

-Ray
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:04 PM   #5
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Re: My new 1999 Bluebird P30

Here's a picture of the front of the 51. I have an album of various pics right here at Skoolie.



LMAO about the "hippie bus" thing! The 51 used to belong to a church too. In fact, my older brother used to ride it to church when he was a kid!

As for the mirrors, Paypal sounds good to cover the postage. Check your PM for some info.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:27 PM   #6
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Re: My new 1999 Bluebird P30

Im not sure if you've tried this, but many have used an angle grinder on the bolts to get them out. It might save you the trips in and out of the bus.
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:45 PM   #7
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Re: My new 1999 Bluebird P30

Quote:
Originally Posted by fireguy9993
Im not sure if you've tried this, but many have used an angle grinder on the bolts to get them out. It might save you the trips in and out of the bus.
I would much rather do that, but I can't right now. I'm at my sister's house for the next few days and all my power tools are about 150 miles away. I'll be heading out of here soon so if I can't get them out while I'm here, I'll get out the grinder when I get home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Webb
I really like the black old school bus too!
Ya, it's a cool bus. I really like it, but it just won't work for what I want. If I didn't have so many project vehicles I would keep it and do some work on it. But with this new bus I now have 5 vehicles and a travel trailer. And of those 5 vehicles, 3 are big. I have the two buses and a 2 1/2 ton '52 Studebaker military truck. I really need to thin down the herd a little.



I got 7 of the seats out in a few hours. Over half way there...




I also got the stop sign and all it's hardware removed from the driver's side. Looks much cleaner. Now I just have to weld up those holes for the mounts and for the sign's air hose.




The bus has an air tank mounted to the frame for the operation of the stop sign. I don't have air brakes so it serves no other use. I haven't really looked to find out what kind of compressor runs the system, but if it can keep up with the demand, I have an idea for it. I'm going to run lines to both the front and rear of the bus ending in NPT air fittings so that I can connect an air hose for filling up tires etc. Assuming the compressor can keep up, that is. If it can't, I still have some ideas to make it work.



My entertainment system while working on the bus...



What was really funny was all the kids getting off the bus from school and coming over to see MY bus! I even had a couple of friends of my sister's kids hang around for nearly 2 hours while I was working on it.
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:26 PM   #8
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Re: My new 1999 Bluebird P30

Probably not going to get much done on the bus today so I'm going over to my storage and taking the Class IV hitch off my military truck to put on the bus. The nice thing about these bigger commercial vehicles is that the frames are almost always 34 inches across the outside of the frame. My bus frame happens to be 1/2 inch wider so this hitch will work fine. The only snag is that the bumper hangs down quite a bit lower than the frame so that means I'm going to have to cut a small square out of the bumper for the receiver to protrude through. Not a big deal though - it just means that the install will look cleaner since nothing will hang beneath the bumper. Clean is good!

My boss at work gave me an older 27 foot travel trailer that isn't in very good condition externally. What I'm planning is to gut the trailer and take all the useable appliances and other components and use them in the bus. After I get through gutting it, I'm going to tear apart the shell and dispose of it so I can use the frame and axles. The axles are rated at about 2400 lbs each. I plan on shortening up the frame to about 14 feet, moving the axles forward, and welding in new crossmembers to strengthen it. Then I'll have to make a new deck for it. If all goes well, it will be strong enough to transport my PT Cruiser or whatever else.

On a side note, here are a few crazy bus pictures for your entertainment. Just random stuff I've found on the net.





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Old 02-27-2009, 09:58 PM   #9
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Re: My new 1999 Bluebird P30

You probably know this, but it's not a Chevy...a 1999 will be a Workhorse chassis.

Is it a 350 (5.7) or a 454 (7.4) engine? ALso, what are the axle gears? Is there a tachometer?
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:27 PM   #10
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Re: My new 1999 Bluebird P30

Just got back from the Vegas area a couple of days ago, so not a whole lot has gotten done. Over the last couple of days I've managed to get some of my tools collected up and have gotten the seats out, pulled up the plywood and rubber floor, installed my Class V receiver, removed the AC unit in the rear of the bus,

Here's the mandatory pic of a pile of removed seats! At least mine is a short bus and I didn't have 400 seats to remove!


I was doing most of this work at my brother's house since he lives out in the country and there's no one to whine about me working on a bus. But my camera battery went dead after only a couple of pics and not being at home, no way to charge it. Maybe I'll get pics of the completed stuff a little later today.

I've also decided that I'm going to sell my 1951 Chevy Wayne bus. Planning on putting it up on Craigslist and Ebay.

Ray, I haven't forgotten about your mirrors either. Been out of state and very busy the last couple of days.
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