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Old 02-22-2015, 07:30 AM   #11
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Andrews,Indiana
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
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Why might one ever have to use the access panels?
Probably only in the event of some major engine or transmission repair. It's not a good idea to make them completely inaccessible.

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What year is your Bluebird? I was looking at your web page...I like how the steps in yours go straight up.
Mine is a 91. You're most likely to find straight steps in a rear engine bus.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:04 AM   #12
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Location: Florida
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Year: 1988
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: I.H.
Engine: DT360
My steps don't curve like some. I kinda wish they did. Mine is a front engine 88 Bluebird.
I got it from a guy that was selling it for a church. He was their mechanic and previously worked for the schools as their mechanic. The bus was used by GA schools originally.
To your other point, I am leery of buying from a school district. Once a bus has x miles, they know they will be letting it go to auction soon so the last year is not a big one on upkeep. Some are used as parts buses until they get enough together to send to auction. Just be cautious and not presumptuous. I worked for a district that was not always thinking right.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:11 AM   #13
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
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Originally Posted by HolyBus View Post
My steps don't curve like some. I kinda wish they did. Mine is a front engine 88 Bluebird.
I got it from a guy that was selling it for a church. He was their mechanic and previously worked for the schools as their mechanic. The bus was used by GA schools originally.
To your other point, I am leery of buying from a school district. Once a bus has x miles, they know they will be letting it go to auction soon so the last year is not a big one on upkeep. Some are used as parts buses until they get enough together to send to auction. Just be cautious and not presumptuous. I worked for a district that was not always thinking right.
I would ONLY buy from a school district.
For what individuals and dealers try to charge, I could buy two or three buses direct from the source.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:28 AM   #14
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Florida
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Year: 1988
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: I.H.
Engine: DT360
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I would ONLY buy from a school district.
For what individuals and dealers try to charge, I could buy two or three buses direct from the source.
I don't have room for 2-3 parts buses. I just wanted one good bus.
No offense and I am not looking to get into a spat over it. I just know the district I worked for. They sat on old buses that they let go until they had enough to auction. They used old parts to get them running for auction time. Some that were just up in miles were used for parts to keep others usable. Its sad but budget and careless people will do what they do.
Just look over the bus, listen to it, try the buttons, wipers, lights, brakes, etc. Same as you would for a used car but bigger. I didn't pay too much for mine and got a good one. It needed wipers and a rear brake cylinder is leaking now but I drive it hard around town and as much as I can.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:33 AM   #15
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Sounds like you worked for a FLORIDA school district!
No offense taken. We all have different opinions.
I can't believe that folks think that FL buses are so great. They sell for double what they should here, and out schools are some of the most under-funded in the nation.

Why would we get into a "spat" though??
Differences of opinion don't HAVE to turn negative just because its the internet!

And yeah- I DO have room for LOTS of parts buses!
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Old 02-22-2015, 01:52 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Well, I can't afford to buy three buses. lol I can't afford to pay dealer mark-up either. No, "afford" isn't even right. I *don't have* the money. That's why I have to cut out any middle men and buy from a source - be that the school, through the auction house, or at the church down the road.

I'm doing this out of the living allowance portion of my student loans. Loans I'll still be paying off out of my Social Security when I retire at 90. Loans that currently allow me to live on about $11,000 per year (after tuition). If I'd thought of this sooner, and had a way to do it, I would have less loan debt racked up at this point (from paying rent) but I'm a senior now and so living cheaper will allow me to better pay off those loans. Currently I'm living rent free in exchange for remodeling work, and that's the only reason I have *any* money for a bus project.
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Old 02-22-2015, 01:56 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I think I need to ask a bus mechanic about this access panel thing. My plan is to put my bedroom in the back. While that doesn't mean I would have to make the panels inaccessible...the possibility of having to ever have mechanical work done through my bedroom is NOT appealing, to put it mildly.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:52 PM   #18
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
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Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
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Yep no way of getting around the fact that a bus is gonna have an engine.
Talk to a mechanic. There also may be some youtube videos that may show something helpful.
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:34 PM   #19
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 1,328
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
Here are photos from the rear of a model year 2000 Blue Bird with a rear Cummins 8.3L engine with the access door into the cabin visible. The rear bench concealed it on the inside. This one isn't a skoolie, but I assume the school bodies would be similar.


As I understand it, this engine is designed for in-frame rebuilding which would include replacing the cylinder liners (replace the bore instead of machining it). They're about the size of a #10 food can, aka coffee can to some. Certainly the access would be invaluable for that job. I've replaced one fuel injector line back in that area and had no need to open the access. Haven't done a valve adjustment yet, and although it might be easier for the back few cylinders, I think there'll be room to get the valve cover off and do the job without opening that access. Other engines (I'm thinking the 5.9L) may not be designed for in-frame service and it's anybody's guess whether those bodies would still have the access door.

I think you'll do fine to assume that it's remotely possible, but quite unlikely, that this access door would be needed during your ownership. If the work to be done were that major you'd be living in a hotel while it was done. Or you might just sell it for scrap and get another bus.

The State of Utah is considering legislation that would result in districts here retiring about 170 year 2002-and-older buses over the next few years. If Utah isn't too far for you to travel, you could tune in to that process and learn where and when their inventory will go. Far and away the majority of school buses here are flat-nose.
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:35 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I may find that I am better off to put up with the hump and hatch in the front though. I'm still figuring this out.
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