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Old 08-12-2019, 11:40 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2018
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Decisions Decisions.... HALLLPP!

Hello fellow Skoolies.



My name is Caleb, and the time is near.


Ive been looking into doing a conversion of my own for almost 10 years now.. Back before they were "cool". Never got the cash and time to actually do it though. Ive got a ton of ideas, and have read a bunch on what I want, what works, and how its visioned in my mind. I need some insight though.

Im pretty dead set on a FC (flat front transit) mid sized bus. Im not so worried about the noise of a FE, although would settle for a Rear Engine with a bed on the top in the rear. I know about the 5.9 cummins, with the not so ideal transmission and am particularly handy mechanically with all engines, so if its not a major blowout i can fix it.



Yes, im talking about a bluebird tc1000.



Thats the style thats stuck out with me, and ive basically designed my build around. What im wondering is if there are more sought after Flat front models around this size with bigger engines, or different drivetrain setups. Ive seen some rare RE 8.3 TC's but theyre few and far between, and not cheap.



Im shooting to be around 30ft max length, flat front either FE or RE, no mid ship. I like the turning radius to be as small as possible.



Some things to consider if you must... My plans include a wood stove, Gas/electric stove, sink, bathroom, solar, and the living area will be a music studio as well. The studio part is pretty specific on my end, as I have that designed to work into a stow away style desk/display keeping my keyboard/electronics safe while traveling. Something ive been designing/reworking a long time without hands on expierence. (havent built her yet). Im interested to hear your suggestions.



My budget for the bus purchase... Id like to stay under $5000, as im a little over halfway there with my expendable cash, and would like to save my "Checking change" to budget out the build. If i could get a bus for 3, and spend 3 building it id be a happy camper, but in total im figuring my cost would be around $10k completed.



My father just converted a 30foot enclosed trailer to a mobile ski lodge and he did it right... so I have some hands on knowledge on what goes into a build.



Its a long time coming, and if i have to ill settle for a 5.9, do some "hop up" truck work on it, and a transmission swap down the road. Pretty savvy with my diesels. I work in the seismic industry so ill be getting paid to live in it while were working.



Excited to embark on my new life, and will be purchasing sometime between october/december, building this winter, and road worthy by May. Thats the plan anyways.



Let me know your thoughts!!!


Caleb.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:01 PM   #2
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nothing? Anyone?
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:05 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2018
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well,

You sound like you have a plan, the ability and idea of budget. So, go for it.

william
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:29 AM   #4
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Sometimes it takes awhile for others to chime in... The advice I'll offer at this stage is nothing newer than an '01. Emissions control and aftertreatment systems make them a nightmare. If you want something newer, I would suggest a gasser if you can find one. And don't EVER, EVER buy anything with a MaxxForce engine. PowerStroke engines are to be avoided as well. I would also recommend MT643 trans or better if driving in the mountains, as well as air brakes. And read up on a Commercial Driver's Manual, it's good stuff to know, as these were commercial vehicles in their original configuration.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:36 AM   #5
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,552
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
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Engine: T444E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
Sometimes it takes awhile for others to chime in... The advice I'll offer at this stage is nothing newer than an '01. Emissions control and aftertreatment systems make them a nightmare. If you want something newer, I would suggest a gasser if you can find one. And don't EVER, EVER buy anything with a MaxxForce engine. PowerStroke engines are to be avoided as well. I would also recommend MT643 trans or better if driving in the mountains, as well as air brakes. And read up on a Commercial Driver's Manual, it's good stuff to know, as these were commercial vehicles in their original configuration.

The PowerStroke (Ford version of the IH engines) from '03 back are good engines - basically the 7.3 which is very similar to the IH T444 (same block and many parts interchange). It's the Ford/IH diesel 6.0 which came out in '04(?) that had issues though if they are "bulletproofed" (at no small cost) they can have a good reputation afterward. Not to be confused with the GM gas 6.0 which has an excellent reputation.


I think Cheese_Wagon is referring to the PowerStroke engines from '04 and newer which, sure enough, were plagued with problems, but just know that the 7.3 was also referred to (at least for some years) as a PowerStroke as well and is a good engine.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:18 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Foot of the siskiyou mountains Oregon.
Posts: 99
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The 7.3's are good, better than many, but not at all on top of the list in my opinion. Go with inline 6 if you can find one. Cummins 5.9 are really serviceable even if a little small and would totally be my choice over a.7.3 esp in. Smaller bus
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