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Old 02-02-2016, 09:56 PM   #1
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Hello From Vermont!

Greetings all! Long story short, I was in an accident of no fault of my own and insurance totaled my car that needs less than $400 in parts so I'm fixing it and should have an extra $3000-$4000 to play with. I was pretty indecisive as to what project I should attempt (I'm always trying to build or fix something) and when I came across the idea of the skoolie I just knew immediately it was for me. I love the idea of being totally off the grid and making a bus into a home.....eventually. My plan is to start off with something that would be fine for casual camping/music festivals and build up to something I can live in permanently. I found this recent posting on CL 1996 Lnternational Blue Bird CUMMINS 5.9L DIESEL Will Trade and was wondering what you guys thought? Obviously make sure tires are good and see what kind of service records are available. I'm more concerned with the powertrain. I've read the 5.9's have headgasket problems. Any input? Low cruising speeds don't really bother me too much. Also it has hydraulic brakes, not air. Anyways, happy to be a part of the website and it seems like there's a wealth of info here. Sorry for the extra long 1st post.
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Old 02-03-2016, 08:24 PM   #2
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Location: Moodus, Ct.
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
Sure-if works for you. Check out close for rust. If you can get it for $ 2k, The rest of the $ would be a good starting point.
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Old 02-03-2016, 08:42 PM   #3
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I have no idea why the CL lister says it is an International Blue Bird. What you are looking at is a Blue Bird TC2000.

The TC2000 was a bargain basement bus model that allowed Blue Bird to get customers into a Type 'D' bus for about the same price as a conventional. Safety was not compromised but components are not nearly as heavy duty as the All American. Thomas did the same thing with their MVP line of Saf-T-Liners. All good buses but much lighter duty than the heavy duty Type 'D' buses.

This bus looks like it is a really bargain basement version with hydraulic brakes. I have never seen or worked on one so I don't know any of the problems that are associated with wet brakes in a Type 'D' bus. Suffice it to say, the brakes will be adequate but could be problematic over time.

Since the seats are already out, the title and registration are swapped over to RV, and some of the yellow paint is over painted with blue it should give the bus a little bit of value over a seated bus. But the age and mileage says $2K for a bargain, $3K for a reasonable price, and definitely not over $4K. For $4K you can usually find some pretty decent buses out there.
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Old 02-03-2016, 09:09 PM   #4
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Cowlitzcoach, by less heavy duty are you talking less weight bearing ability/not as strong of a frame or do you mean less heavy duty regarding the longevity of the mechanicals? I'm really trying to get something where I won't have to do major internal engine work for some time (100k or more). Luckily I'm pretty good repairing passenger vehicles (we'll see how buses go) and have a good friend who's a diesel mechanic. My worst nightmare would be me getting it almost completely finished and then need to drop a new engine or trans in when I'm low on funds.
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Old 02-03-2016, 09:20 PM   #5
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Less heavy duty as in lower GVWR, smaller cross section of frame rails and cross members, etc.

The body and roof bows as well as all of the body panels are all about the same regardless of which model of bus we are talking about. It is much easy to stock one window, one roof bow, one body panel than to have different ones for every model.

The engines and transmissions in all of the buses, regardless of make, are all about the same whether they are mounted in the front or the back of the bus or under the hood outside.

The differences will be in HP/torque ratings and the size of the radiators and coolers. I have seen Cummins 5.9L engines in buses with HP ratings as low as 160 HP and as high as 250 HP. Most of the mechanical engines can have their HP boosted but if you don't increase the size of the cooling capacity you run the real risk of overheating on any sort of grade.

One district I worked for ordered 10 1990 TC2000 12-row buses with 190 HP Cummins 5.9L engines. Every single one of them had to have extra capacity transmission coolers installed because they overheated on the hills when fully loaded and the ambient went over 65*. In 1993 they ordered 12 more but they opted to go with the 210 HP engine and the MT643 instead of the AT545. They also came from the factory with radiator shutters and extra capacity transmission coolers. We never had overheating or running cold issues with the newer buses.
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Old 02-03-2016, 09:40 PM   #6
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Good to know. Adding that if it's necessary shouldn't be too much of a job. I'm checking out the bus Saturday. I'd probably be looking for something with a bigger motor but figured since I found one that's so close (about an hour drive) and is already titled as an rv I have to check it out.
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