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Old 09-28-2019, 09:32 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Oregon
Posts: 11
Year: TBA
Coachwork: TBA
Chassis: TBA
Engine: TBA
Rated Cap: TBA
Smile Hello from NW Oregon!

Hello all!
We are just beginning the planning stages of a great new adventure!
After many years in the tech industry I went back to school in 2016 and earned my BA this last June. After looking around for a while I finally found the right position teaching English online. This was the first step in transitioning to a new life aboard a converted school bus!
Now we are in the process of selling five acres of property in NW Oregon that will finance the bus conversion. We are looking at a Rear Engine 84 pax. There are various makes that I would be willing to start with, but the two that seem to keep coming up over and again are Thomas and Bluebird. I am leaning heavily on finding one with either the CAT 3126 or the Cummins 8.3, either one coupled with an Alison transmission. I am certainly willing to entertain other options based on advice I receive here. At this point, since we're still in the planning stage, there is a lot of advice to get before we move on to purchasing the bus, but we're pretty much sold on the 84-pax rear engine no matter what.
We are interested in hearing all about your successes, problems, things you wish you would have done while the bus was totally torn apart and didn't think of until you put in everything else in, where you got your bus and where you wish you would have gotten your bus, and anything else you think I forgot to ask about.
If you have time, please feel free to post links to other threads in the forum that you think would help us the most, no need to reinvent the wheel, but there is a ton of information on here and a little help with the winnowing would be appreciated.
We are looking forward to being part of this community.
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Old 09-28-2019, 11:14 AM   #2
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Foot of the siskiyou mountains Oregon.
Posts: 177
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas / international
Chassis: International
Engine: Dt 360/ spicer 5 speed
Rated Cap: 42
Congrats and welcome! My advice is to Skip the cat engine and stick with Cummins 8.3/5.9 or international dt466. I think pretty much all busses use Allison automatic transmissions, some models are.better than others. Stay away from the Allison 545 if atall possible. Look for a.645 or a 2000/3000 series.
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Old 09-28-2019, 12:28 PM   #3
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 7,947
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
International makes one heck of a quality bus. Their engines (DT466) are sought after.
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Old 09-28-2019, 02:42 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Western Oregon
Posts: 486
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue-Bird
Chassis: TC RE 3408
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12V Mechanical/Allison MT643
Rated Cap: Blue-Bird says 72 pass.
Welcome to the forum from Coos County. There's lots of info here, and it's usually very easy to find.

Good luck with your search for a suitable bus. I bought mine this spring. Due to my personal circumstances at the time, including having a large dog who goes where I go, I decided to let someone else do the auction thing and all that for me. I was prepared to pay extra for someone to do this because it just wasn't feasible for me to go away for more than a few hours.

So, I contacted Kurt. who runs Wolf Creek Motors, which is on I5, not too far North of Grants Pass. I was looking for an International or a BlueBird with mechanical fuel injection and either a manual transmission or an Allison MT643 automatic.

I'm very pleased with what I got, so if you're like me and have neither the time nor energy to do the whole auction thing, then I can strongly recommend Kurt.
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Old 09-28-2019, 05:00 PM   #5
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 5,341
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
I got my Bluebird in Salem. Oregon turns out some nice buses.

I scored an RE with the 8.3 and the MD-3060 transmission. I love it. The only gripe is that Bluebird won't cooperate with us getting 6th gear enabled.

Good luck!
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Old 09-28-2019, 06:54 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Oregon
Posts: 11
Year: TBA
Coachwork: TBA
Chassis: TBA
Engine: TBA
Rated Cap: TBA
Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
I got my Bluebird in Salem. Oregon turns out some nice buses.

I scored an RE with the 8.3 and the MD-3060 transmission. I love it. The only gripe is that Bluebird won't cooperate with us getting 6th gear enabled.

Good luck!
OK, so I'm a newbie. Why would you need Bluebird for a 6th gear? (Ugh, I hate sounding like an idiot...)
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Old 09-28-2019, 06:59 PM   #7
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 7,947
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimN View Post
OK, so I'm a newbie. Why would you need Bluebird for a 6th gear? (Ugh, I hate sounding like an idiot...)
Most of the MD3060 trans only have 5 gears enabled in the buses. 6th gear can be opened but requires BB sending a request letter to Allison to get them to approve it. Allison has been hard nose on unlocking anything 2000 or older.
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Old 09-28-2019, 07:03 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Oregon
Posts: 11
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Coachwork: TBA
Chassis: TBA
Engine: TBA
Rated Cap: TBA
Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Most of the MD3060 trans only have 5 gears enabled in the buses. 6th gear can be opened but requires BB sending a request letter to Allison to get them to approve it. Allison has been hard nose on unlocking anything 2000 or older.
OK, good to know! I take it by your reply that it's easier for buses 2000 or newer?
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Old 09-28-2019, 07:12 PM   #9
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 7,947
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimN View Post
OK, good to know! I take it by your reply that it's easier for buses 2000 or newer?
That seems to be the experience. But even still they may deny for tire speed rating. If the 6th will allow faster speeds, they may decline. My bus is plenty fast right now, I just want the second over drive for fuel economy.
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Old 09-28-2019, 11:22 PM   #10
New Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Oregon
Posts: 6
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: Cummings
Hello! Just bought our 2002 bluebird just outside of Salem Oregon. He had 3 others still available, but no back engines, but for 2000 it was right for our budget. Happy hunting!!
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Old 09-29-2019, 12:01 AM   #11
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 246
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
i would stick with the cat or cummings i do run a cat 3116 obd free and always hear these people saying crap about them. truth is they do average longer life than those dt motors and after 20 years working on both i chose to have the most dependable engine. a inline 6 is easier to work on than any v8 and will always have more torque or them hills. i also enjoy not having a oil slick for a driveway. get what you want
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:13 AM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Oregon
Posts: 11
Year: TBA
Coachwork: TBA
Chassis: TBA
Engine: TBA
Rated Cap: TBA
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
i would stick with the cat or cummings i do run a cat 3116 obd free and always hear these people saying crap about them. truth is they do average longer life than those dt motors and after 20 years working on both i chose to have the most dependable engine. a inline 6 is easier to work on than any v8 and will always have more torque or them hills. i also enjoy not having a oil slick for a driveway. get what you want
Getting the benefit of other people's experiences is why I am here...
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:43 AM   #13
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 246
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimN View Post
Getting the benefit of other people's experiences is why I am here...
remember this is the internet that al gore invented find a certified mechanic for all important questions as to engine average life and reliability also go to you tube and research mistakes people made building buses.
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:46 AM   #14
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 246
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
we plan on spending lots of time there as we have a daughter there in Eugene
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Old 10-09-2019, 01:10 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Oregon
Posts: 11
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Coachwork: TBA
Chassis: TBA
Engine: TBA
Rated Cap: TBA
Cool Plans...

OK, so these plans are loosely based off of an 84 passenger RE bus. I realize that somethings are a bit messy, but plans being what they are have a tendency to change.
I'm putting them out there in the hopes of getting some constructive criticism.
Thank you for your time.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf electrical-plan.pdf (412.4 KB, 2 views)
File Type: pdf floor-plan.pdf (219.3 KB, 7 views)
File Type: pdf roof-plan.pdf (196.8 KB, 1 views)
File Type: pdf underbus-plan.pdf (238.6 KB, 3 views)
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