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Old 12-09-2017, 09:29 PM   #1
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The Busted Flush

This is the build thread for my shorty.....some of you will understand the reference.....if you don't, rest assured it is not related to faulty plumbing.

Particulars -- 1997 Blue Bird, 34 passenger, DT466E, Spicer 5 speed manual, 180K miles.

I plan on removing the seats and vinyl floor, addressing any rust issues and priming, then start using it for weekend camping trips as I visualize where I'll be putting what. Long term plan is to hit the road in my retirement (about 7 more years) and travel west of the Mississippi, to revisit places I've liked and hit up the new ones on my bucket list.....and stopping along the way to hopefully buy many of you a beer or two, as thanks for all the fantastic info you've posted on this site.

I feel like I've got a head start as this bus is already a solid platform in a mechanical sense....runs great, steering and shifting are fantastic, and all the gauges and lights work. It got 11.2 mpg on its maiden (to me) voyage home, and hovered at 185-190 degrees for the entire trip over the Smokies from Kentucky to North Carolina. Oil and filter change and fuel filter change coming in next couple of weeks.

First items up are new rear tires and a trip to the International dealership to optimize the engine parameters.....then, the usual --

couch/bed, counter space/desk area, propane cookstove (to start), sink, shower, bucket toilet, overhead cabinets

And the slightly unusual --

install 2 swiveling captains chairs up front, skin over the main entrance, cut a new door (probably 2nd window behind driver's area), roof deck, insulate roof interior then rehang existing skins

And the highly unusual (or at least I have yet to see these on this site, and there may be reasons why )--

cut off the bottom step at the main entrance for better ground clearance, build a door there for access to house batteries, a 4-6" "awning" over the windows (at eyebrow level) to keep out the rain, a long, low box over the driver's side windows to store a roll-up awning (lift the lid and unroll), and a 12" square x 8" tall protrusion under the deck (on the outer curve of the roof) to house a 'rainwater' type shower head (I HATE crouching to shower, but don't want to lower the floor), and a bucket toilet that will be housed on the shower floor, but will roll through the wall and into the aisle for showering.

All subject to change, of course......but those are the plans going in. Let the good times roll !

(.....I will hold onto the 'vomit control' until our next bar-hopping night....it may come in handy.....).


Don
Attached Images
File Type: jpg driver side.jpg (208.8 KB, 136 views)
File Type: jpg pass side.jpg (312.2 KB, 122 views)
File Type: jpg interior front (2).jpg (127.4 KB, 98 views)
File Type: jpg interior front (1).jpg (176.0 KB, 93 views)
File Type: jpg tail end (2).jpg (136.1 KB, 78 views)
File Type: jpg engine2 (1).jpg (162.7 KB, 79 views)
File Type: jpg engine2 (2).jpg (182.4 KB, 89 views)
File Type: jpg vomit control.jpg (100.7 KB, 107 views)
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:44 PM   #2
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Congrats. As shorties go, that is the size everyone wants. That's the engine everyone, who knows, wants.
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:44 PM   #3
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What size tires does that bus have on it?
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:51 PM   #4
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What size tires does that bus have on it?
Right now it's got 265/75R22.5s all around.....but that will soon change.

Odd thing is that the VIN sticker above the driver's seat says 19.5 wheels, but the build sheet spec'd 22.5s.

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Old 12-09-2017, 09:54 PM   #5
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Right now it's got 265/75R22.5s all around.....but that will soon change.

Odd thing is that the VIN sticker above the driver's seat says 19.5 wheels, but the build sheet spec'd 22.5s.

Don
My shorty had 22.5's on the back and 19.5's on the front originally. School switched em all to 22.5's with 255/70r22.5's.

What are you gonna go with? I know 10R's will fit mine, but I'm wondering if I can squeeze 11R's on, at least in back.
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Old 12-09-2017, 10:10 PM   #6
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Congrats. As shorties go, that is the size everyone wants. That's the engine everyone, who knows, wants.
Yes sir......searched for 18 months because I was holding out for that drivetrain, or at least a 466 with a MT643.

Happy I waited now, but the last year and a half was definitely a trying time for me.


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Old 12-09-2017, 10:21 PM   #7
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I know what you mean.

I wanted this bus 20 years ago when I first saw it. I found it on auction with 90 minutes remaining. Didn't have time to look at it first. But I think you may have been anxious longer than I was.
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Old 12-09-2017, 10:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
My shorty had 22.5's on the back and 19.5's on the front originally. School switched em all to 22.5's with 255/70r22.5's.

What are you gonna go with? I know 10R's will fit mine, but I'm wondering if I can squeeze 11R's on, at least in back.
My cousin has a 'tire guy', so we're going to experiment.

I'm hoping for 11Rs, or at least 295/80s.


Don
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:25 AM   #9
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That is a nice sized bus with a great drivetrain! I also have a shorty and love it so far. Currently building it right now.
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:57 AM   #10
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great bus!!!! almost the same as mine body-wise.. you have a morew powerful drivetrain!. my step is super low too.. I dont worry about it.. but insteresting idea to cut it off.. though some of my friends that ride with me. like that low step as it helps with a bum knee or such for them to get in and out..

nothing a fold out step wouldnt solve though..

-Christopher
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:33 PM   #11
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Got initiated into the Schoolie Club today.......60 minutes of rolling around on the cold wet ground removing all the seat bolts. My helper arrived late, so I only got half of them completely detached, but at least I'm finished with the underneath-the-bus part of it.


While waiting, I removed the rear view mirror and visor. The visor will be trashed....I'm going to see if I can refurbish the mirror and mount it at the top of the windshield, under the front cap. Glad to get it further away from the driver's seat, because I've already banged my head on it at least 5 or 6 times.

And removed those half-moon mirrors from the hood......they've got me 3-4 times too. Thankful there are no sharp edges on this bus, or I would have bled to death already.




Don
Attached Images
File Type: jpg my 97 (2).jpg (137.9 KB, 45 views)
File Type: jpg mirror mount (1).jpg (106.9 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg my 97 (1).jpg (314.1 KB, 51 views)
File Type: jpg mirror mount (2).jpg (142.0 KB, 38 views)
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:43 PM   #12
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I've taken chunks out of my scalp on those bugeyed mirrors. I pulled them off too, taped the heater wires and pushed them into the body.

The only use I had for those bugeye mirrors was they were flat on top and it was a good place to put a cup of coffee.
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:47 AM   #13
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Nice bus! I bet that thing's fun to drive with a 466 and 5-speed.

I cut the bottom step off, too. It kept getting smashed up by boulders Also, I put the house batteries in a hatch under the stairs. It works ok. A little tight for the batteries. Takes a half hour to get them all in or out. Watering the most forward battery (I have 3) takes some care since the clearances are tight.

"Body fluid clean up kit". EWWWWWWW....
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Old 12-11-2017, 11:59 AM   #14
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I kept and use my visor.. even with shades on that bright summer sun is nicely dimmed with that visor... the student mirror i keep too simoply because my bus is never going t ohave its back windows covered so i can use it. id probably ditch that mirror if I was going to convert where the back windows were covered over..

Locve my bug-eye mirrors too.. since I drive my bus to the grocery store, coffee shop, restaraunt, hotel, etc its nice to be able to see all around it when maneuvering.. in fact i think im going to install cameras on the back of it too..
-Christopher
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Old 12-11-2017, 01:10 PM   #15
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I removed both of my bugeyed mirrors. I did mount one mirror, without the frame, at the top center of the windshield. With that mirror mounted on the interior at the top of the windshield I can still see my front bumper. The big plus is I don't hit my head on those darn mirrors in the dark anymore.
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:11 PM   #16
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Nice bus! I bet that thing's fun to drive with a 466 and 5-speed.

I cut the bottom step off, too. It kept getting smashed up by boulders Also, I put the house batteries in a hatch under the stairs. It works ok. A little tight for the batteries. Takes a half hour to get them all in or out. Watering the most forward battery (I have 3) takes some care since the clearances are tight.

"Body fluid clean up kit". EWWWWWWW....
I see that now.....I've been following your build but didn't notice the step removal.....that's exactly how I want mine to look. Since I'm moving the door, I'll have all of the step area for house batteries.....the plan is to put them on heavy-duty drawer suspensions so I can pull them out for servicing.

It is mucho fun to drive! The handling's not as tight as it was on my old 944T, but, on the flip side, everybody gives me lots of room.


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Old 12-11-2017, 09:19 PM   #17
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I kept and use my visor.. even with shades on that bright summer sun is nicely dimmed with that visor... the student mirror i keep too simoply because my bus is never going t ohave its back windows covered so i can use it. id probably ditch that mirror if I was going to convert where the back windows were covered over..
-Christopher
I really like all of my windows, so I'm going to try to keep open sight-lines to them all.....the aisle will be open to the rear door, and almost everything will be built no higher than halfway up the bottom windows. The only stumbling block will be the closet. I really dig the student mirror....I can see three lanes of traffic and half the median strip in that thing.


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Old 12-11-2017, 09:30 PM   #18
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I really like all of my windows, so I'm going to try to keep open sight-lines to them all.....the aisle will be open to the rear door, and almost everything will be built no higher than halfway up the bottom windows. The only stumbling block will be the closet. I really dig the student mirror....I can see three lanes of traffic and half the median strip in that thing.


Don
I only have one 500-mile drive to go on but I didn't use the student mirror much. I have a rear engine, so the rear view is limited to the narrow emergency hatch above the engine cover.

Properly adjusted side mirrors gave me a great view of everything around except a car tail-gating too close. I figure that's his problem. I've seen pictures of cars that hit the back of a school bus, it ain't pretty.
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plfking View Post
I really like all of my windows, so I'm going to try to keep open sight-lines to them all.....the aisle will be open to the rear door, and almost everything will be built no higher than halfway up the bottom windows. The only stumbling block will be the closet. I really dig the student mirror....I can see three lanes of traffic and half the median strip in that thing.


Don
indeed.. i use that mirror all the time.. plus when I have friends in the bus I feel like i can actually look at them and talk.. even though the yare usually just yelling at me that they are frying in the back.. oops left the back heater on high..
-Christopher
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:44 PM   #20
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I took my student mirror and visor out. If I'm looking in that mirror while I'm driving it's not good. The side mirrors are what I'm accustomed to using.

There don't seem to be a whole lot of other uses for those student mirrors, but I'm thinking of putting it on my tractor for a wider field of view while backing.
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