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Old 04-23-2018, 09:39 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 43
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 1998 TC/1000 Bluebird Handybus
Engine: 6BTA 5.9 Cummins Diesel AT545
Rated Cap: 25 ft
Smile A Woman Obsessed -- Into the Bus Realm

Hi!
My mother impulse bought a short skoolie with the intent to flip it and make it a mobile art gallery. Unfortunately for her, and fortunately for me, she has a million other projects going on and cannot really do much with it for the next several years. She purchased the short skoolie for about $600 and put about $800 of work into it. It runs pretty well now is my understanding, however probably needs the fluids flushed and some other mechanical work.

The problem with it at this point is the split rims. I have been doing a lot of research on how to fix this problem.

Anyway-- at this point, I'm floor planning in my head and because it's an older bus it has a very short ceiling. I haven't started any work on it yet and there is a bus auction in my area very very soon.
I'm wondering if I should go try for a newer bus that is a little closer to the specs that I want or if just going with the one that is mine if I say the word.

If anyone has any advice there I would gladly take it.

I'm 26, a full time river guide in the summer on multi-day stretches, and a social worker in the wintertime. This bus really fulfills a lot of my lifestyle needs and I'm so, so, so excited to embark on this journey with whatever bus I end up starting to convert =]
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Old 04-23-2018, 11:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagnythedoodle View Post
Hi!
My mother impulse bought a short skoolie with the intent to flip it and make it a mobile art gallery. Unfortunately for her, and fortunately for me, she has a million other projects going on and cannot really do much with it for the next several years. She purchased the short skoolie for about $600 and put about $800 of work into it. It runs pretty well now is my understanding, however probably needs the fluids flushed and some other mechanical work.

The problem with it at this point is the split rims. I have been doing a lot of research on how to fix this problem.

Anyway-- at this point, I'm floor planning in my head and because it's an older bus it has a very short ceiling. I haven't started any work on it yet and there is a bus auction in my area very very soon.
I'm wondering if I should go try for a newer bus that is a little closer to the specs that I want or if just going with the one that is mine if I say the word.

If anyone has any advice there I would gladly take it.

I'm 26, a full time river guide in the summer on multi-day stretches, and a social worker in the wintertime. This bus really fulfills a lot of my lifestyle needs and I'm so, so, so excited to embark on this journey with whatever bus I end up starting to convert =]
How many times can you convert a bus? Financially? I don't think I'll get even one...if that's your scenio...then look for one more to your liking...my 2 bits
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Old 04-23-2018, 11:56 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 43
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 1998 TC/1000 Bluebird Handybus
Engine: 6BTA 5.9 Cummins Diesel AT545
Rated Cap: 25 ft
Yeah definitely thinking about purchasing one that is newer with better specs. I've been scouting out more in the area with higher ceilings, better mechanics and no split rims.
They're definitely more expensive but overall might save me a lot of money and stress.
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Old 04-24-2018, 12:03 AM   #4
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It would be helpful to know the specs on the bus in question - and the specs you desire. Split rims can be changed, some fairly easily, others will require some searching. The 20 and 22" Dayton style wheels will interchange to the 22.5" and 24.5" wheels, respectively, with no modifications needed.
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Old 04-24-2018, 12:24 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 43
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 1998 TC/1000 Bluebird Handybus
Engine: 6BTA 5.9 Cummins Diesel AT545
Rated Cap: 25 ft
I was going to call the mechanic of the bus my mom bought tomorrow and see what the specs of that one are. Because if the split rims can be converted easily, I know that the engine is very sound and then it's a matter of just getting a bid on some welding work to raise part of the ceiling.

If the split rims are really difficult to convert I just dont know that I'm well-versed enough in mechanics to even know how to find what I need.
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Old 04-24-2018, 12:36 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 43
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 1998 TC/1000 Bluebird Handybus
Engine: 6BTA 5.9 Cummins Diesel AT545
Rated Cap: 25 ft
Pictures

Here's some photos of the bus that *could* be mine.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_7516.jpg (263.7 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_7518.jpg (258.0 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_7520.jpg (218.4 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_7521.jpg (227.5 KB, 8 views)
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Old 04-24-2018, 02:50 AM   #7
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It appears to be Ye Olde IH LoadStar series bus chassis which was last built in the late 70's. Most of these had gas engines which are getting hard to find parts for, and not known for fuel economy. I would expect the gas engine to deliver in the 4-6 MPG range on the highway, and it's not going to ascend any hills quickly. The 6.9 did not come out until the 80's so if it's a diesel, it might have the IH 9.0L. Other people may feel differently, but the 9.0 isn't a horrible engine. Parts are getting scarce for them too, so if it suffers a major engine failure ... (however, as long as it's kept serviced and diligently *NOT* run hot, they have long life expectancies). The 9.0 I would expect to deliver between 8-10 MPG, depending on gearing and how it's driven.

Personally I would pass on the gas engine if you plan to do any amount of driving more than once a year, a short distance. The 9.0 (if it has one, which I'm unsure) is sort of a toss up. I'm willing to bet most folks will advise buying something newer and to the specs you want (and if it were my money, that's what I'd do, too).
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagnythedoodle View Post
Here's some photos of the bus that *could* be mine.
I like the lines...but it is a old fellow...if you like it then go with it...a good mechanic would have no issues keeping it rolling...and I'm sure there conversion kits for the wheels...in the front, just change hubs...Idk about back...
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:09 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 43
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 1998 TC/1000 Bluebird Handybus
Engine: 6BTA 5.9 Cummins Diesel AT545
Rated Cap: 25 ft
Awesome-- Thank you so much for your advice. I'm going to talk to the mechanic to get a little bit more information, but from what little my mom has passed on it sounds like our mechanic has pretty much confirmed everything you just said. I believe it's a gas and not a diesel and he was worried about being able to replace the rims due to the age. It's a bummer because I think this thing is really cute and has the potential to LOOK great. But there's that saying you know-- looks arent everything ^_^.

I'm definitely leaning towards buying something newer at this point.
This is an example of something close to me I'm thinking about going for instead I just want to make sure I'm not being taken on the price.
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:13 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 43
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 1998 TC/1000 Bluebird Handybus
Engine: 6BTA 5.9 Cummins Diesel AT545
Rated Cap: 25 ft
The mechanic we use is really awesome, and he is comfortable doing the tires should anything go wrong. I grew up in a very, very rural farm town where working on split rims isn't unheard of, and that's where the bus currently is.

I think for what I need the bus to do, I'm leaning towards getting something newer. But I agree with you- the bus IS really aesthetically pleasing and maybe once I get a little more experience I can flip this one in the future.
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:13 AM   #11
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
awe thats a classic!!! a classic WAYNE!!! too bad its gutted with that roof rack.. or id take that off your hands in a heartbeat!! still an awesome classic bus regardless!!
-Christopher
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:31 AM   #12
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Would make a cool resto-mod build. But for actual regular use a more modern diesel powered bus would probably be best.
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:37 AM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 43
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 1998 TC/1000 Bluebird Handybus
Engine: 6BTA 5.9 Cummins Diesel AT545
Rated Cap: 25 ft
Yeah, I think you're right. I think I'm going to pour most of my resources towards a more modern diesel but I might try to convince my parents to sit on that one for awhile so once I get more experience I can turn it into something neat later on.

Or sell it so someone else who already has more experience can do some cool restoration on it. It kind of kills me that I dont know enough to be able to do that quite yet. It's so dang cute.
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:47 AM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 43
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 1998 TC/1000 Bluebird Handybus
Engine: 6BTA 5.9 Cummins Diesel AT545
Rated Cap: 25 ft
oops. Still figuring out this forum set up. It's so old school
hhaha.
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:49 AM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 43
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 1998 TC/1000 Bluebird Handybus
Engine: 6BTA 5.9 Cummins Diesel AT545
Rated Cap: 25 ft
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
It appears to be Ye Olde IH LoadStar series bus chassis which was last built in the late 70's. Most of these had gas engines which are getting hard to find parts for, and not known for fuel economy. I would expect the gas engine to deliver in the 4-6 MPG range on the highway, and it's not going to ascend any hills quickly. The 6.9 did not come out until the 80's so if it's a diesel, it might have the IH 9.0L. Other people may feel differently, but the 9.0 isn't a horrible engine. Parts are getting scarce for them too, so if it suffers a major engine failure ... (however, as long as it's kept serviced and diligently *NOT* run hot, they have long life expectancies). The 9.0 I would expect to deliver between 8-10 MPG, depending on gearing and how it's driven.

Personally I would pass on the gas engine if you plan to do any amount of driving more than once a year, a short distance. The 9.0 (if it has one, which I'm unsure) is sort of a toss up. I'm willing to bet most folks will advise buying something newer and to the specs you want (and if it were my money, that's what I'd do, too).

Dammit, I thought I had replied to this already but for some reason it never popped up. Thank you so much for all of your input. From what I know about the bus through my mom, it sounds like the mechanic has confirmed most of what you just said. I'm pretty sure it's a gas not a diesel but that he did say the engine was really sound. I'm calling him in a couple of hours to ask some more questions but based on what I've gathered so far I'm really likely to just start looking for a newer bus with closer specs.

Here are some examples of things closer to what I want (except the price obviously).
I don't want to get taken on price but I'm definitely willing to pay a little bit more to make sure I get something that I can travel a little bit more frequently in. Maybe not quite this year per say, but next year or the year after I'd like to be able to go some distance in it.
1993 Ford Collins Bantam 9+1 ADA School Bus - B65162-Used1993Collins BusBantam
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Old 04-24-2018, 10:03 AM   #16
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Van cutaway type busses will give you more options when it comes to getting them services, as the mechanics in them are very similar to the standard vans sold at auto dealerships for years.. a dealer, neighborhood garage or other auto repair facility almost always has the tools to work on them.. the mechanics are often stufed in the doghouse pretty good however...

a more modern diesel drivetrain.. (sticking with 04 and earlier for the least amount of emissions equipment on them).. will likely give you the best driveability on the highway.. while i totally miss my classic Gasoline bus (burned in a fire).. i can surely say that both of my current diesel busses are hands down much better on the highway than that bus ever was.. both in driveability and in Fuel economy.

your budget dictates what you likely can or cannot find as far as diesel busses.. obviously the most powerful units command the highest prices.. but there are plenty of good deals still out there to be had at the auctions on nice mostly rust-free diesel rigs.. if you want stick shift your search is a bit harder as automatics are the majority for sale...

if you are just planning weekend getsways and bee-bopping around, your classic wayne is a fantastic righ with a high classic and Cool-factor to it.. not that you probably cant drive it all over the country{if it were mine id still probably drive it everywhere like i do my current busses} (assuming its geared to go at least 55).. its just likely not going to have the driveability a diesel rig will..
-Christopher
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Old 04-24-2018, 10:25 AM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 43
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 1998 TC/1000 Bluebird Handybus
Engine: 6BTA 5.9 Cummins Diesel AT545
Rated Cap: 25 ft
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
Van cutaway type busses will give you more options when it comes to getting them services, as the mechanics in them are very similar to the standard vans sold at auto dealerships for years.. a dealer, neighborhood garage or other auto repair facility almost always has the tools to work on them.. the mechanics are often stufed in the doghouse pretty good however...

a more modern diesel drivetrain.. (sticking with 04 and earlier for the least amount of emissions equipment on them).. will likely give you the best driveability on the highway.. while i totally miss my classic Gasoline bus (burned in a fire).. i can surely say that both of my current diesel busses are hands down much better on the highway than that bus ever was.. both in driveability and in Fuel economy.

your budget dictates what you likely can or cannot find as far as diesel busses.. obviously the most powerful units command the highest prices.. but there are plenty of good deals still out there to be had at the auctions on nice mostly rust-free diesel rigs.. if you want stick shift your search is a bit harder as automatics are the majority for sale...

if you are just planning weekend getsways and bee-bopping around, your classic wayne is a fantastic righ with a high classic and Cool-factor to it.. not that you probably cant drive it all over the country{if it were mine id still probably drive it everywhere like i do my current busses} (assuming its geared to go at least 55).. its just likely not going to have the driveability a diesel rig will..
-Christopher
AH awesome. Thanks so much for the insights. I really appreciate it.
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:08 AM   #18
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That looks like a IHC Loadstar chassis and Wayne bus body from the late '60's to early '70's.

I don't see any sort of dog house under the dash board so I doubt it has a I-6 of any kind. The most probable engine would be either the SV304 or SV345 gas V-8. I doubt a bus that small would have the SV392. The SV series of IHC engines were built for stout and will run next to forever if you keep good oil in them. All of the standard wear parts, fuel system parts, and even the carbs are still available from places like NAPA and CARQUEST. Sometimes you have to be creative in finding how the parts are listed. I still drive on a regular basis my 1965 IHC Travelall that has an SV304 and have had no trouble keeping it going with parts from NAPA and CARQUEST.

I didn't see a button on the gear shift so I would guess that it most likely has a 5-speed transmission. If it is only a 4-speed then I would guess the engine is more likely the SV304.

Buses of that vintage were usually geared to have a top speed of either 47 MPH or 57 MPH. Fuel mileage on route with the SV345/5-speed was usually in the 6-8 MPG range. Even if you were to change the rear end gearing you won't ever be able to travel much faster. While the SV engines were great engines they were known better for their low end grunting ability than their high speed power production. The SV engines were plodders and not sprinters or racers.

As far as wheels are concerned, it sort of depends on what bolt pattern the wheels have. If it has 10-holes it will be a standard 10-hole Budd wheel and your options are vast and relatively inexpensive. If it is the 5-hole or 6-hole disc wheel it is going to be very difficult to find a tubeless wheel to fit the bolt pattern. If you do it isn't going to be cheap.

The biggest concern and probably the biggest expense is going to be the brakes. IHC has always been very good at supporting their products a LOOOOOOOOONG time after the sale. Even the after market is good at supporting IHC trucks and buses. Finding brake drums, wheel cylinders, brake shoes, wheel bearings, seals, etc. for an IHC that old is relatively easy. I have found brake parts for IHC trucks that are twenty years older than that bus. It just isn't going to be cheap when compared to a car or pickup.

If the plan is to use the bus to travel short distances this bus would be a great choice.

If the plan is to use the bus to travel to far way places going up steep hills and on fast highways this bus is probably not your best choice available.

Good luck and happy trails!
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:50 AM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 43
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 1998 TC/1000 Bluebird Handybus
Engine: 6BTA 5.9 Cummins Diesel AT545
Rated Cap: 25 ft
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
That looks like a IHC Loadstar chassis and Wayne bus body from the late '60's to early '70's.

I don't see any sort of dog house under the dash board so I doubt it has a I-6 of any kind. The most probable engine would be either the SV304 or SV345 gas V-8. I doubt a bus that small would have the SV392. The SV series of IHC engines were built for stout and will run next to forever if you keep good oil in them. All of the standard wear parts, fuel system parts, and even the carbs are still available from places like NAPA and CARQUEST. Sometimes you have to be creative in finding how the parts are listed. I still drive on a regular basis my 1965 IHC Travelall that has an SV304 and have had no trouble keeping it going with parts from NAPA and CARQUEST.

I didn't see a button on the gear shift so I would guess that it most likely has a 5-speed transmission. If it is only a 4-speed then I would guess the engine is more likely the SV304.

Buses of that vintage were usually geared to have a top speed of either 47 MPH or 57 MPH. Fuel mileage on route with the SV345/5-speed was usually in the 6-8 MPG range. Even if you were to change the rear end gearing you won't ever be able to travel much faster. While the SV engines were great engines they were known better for their low end grunting ability than their high speed power production. The SV engines were plodders and not sprinters or racers.

As far as wheels are concerned, it sort of depends on what bolt pattern the wheels have. If it has 10-holes it will be a standard 10-hole Budd wheel and your options are vast and relatively inexpensive. If it is the 5-hole or 6-hole disc wheel it is going to be very difficult to find a tubeless wheel to fit the bolt pattern. If you do it isn't going to be cheap.

The biggest concern and probably the biggest expense is going to be the brakes. IHC has always been very good at supporting their products a LOOOOOOOOONG time after the sale. Even the after market is good at supporting IHC trucks and buses. Finding brake drums, wheel cylinders, brake shoes, wheel bearings, seals, etc. for an IHC that old is relatively easy. I have found brake parts for IHC trucks that are twenty years older than that bus. It just isn't going to be cheap when compared to a car or pickup.

If the plan is to use the bus to travel short distances this bus would be a great choice.

If the plan is to use the bus to travel to far way places going up steep hills and on fast highways this bus is probably not your best choice available.

Good luck and happy trails!

Wow! Incredible beta. Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of this. I really appreciate it!
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