Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-15-2020, 10:33 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Northwest PA, USA
Posts: 2
It's time we introduced ourselves....

We're the Nelsons, & we signed up a few weeks ago, just been lurking & soaking up info so far. We're creeping up on retirement, & realizing that the only way we'll ever afford to see all the places we want to see is to go on the road full time. And my motto has always been "Built, not bought"

I've been sketching up floor plans & looking at different options for different vehicles, including box trucks & RV's. Is there a resource anywhere that shows different size buses compared graphically? We're both very visual, & it would help if we could see all (or even some...) of the different sizes "side by each" as it were, at the same or similar scale. It will also help decipher the "secret code" of TC2000's, Vistas, cutaways, P30's, etc. My feeling at this early point is that we'll need a mid-size regular bus (6 window+/-?), dog-nose or flat front, to get everything in that we want, but we don't want to have to drive anything any bigger than necessary....

We've both spent our lifetimes camping & raising our kids camping, with never more than a tent & dining fly, so "hard-siding" will be a welcome addition, but we still love to cook over the fire when we can, & sit about sharing campfire tales with old friends we've just met.

Guess I got a bit wordy, but wanted to say hey, & get a good start on the [mostly] enjoyable information-gathering phase.

Lois & Randy
hidn45 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 05:49 AM   #2
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 19,925
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
6 windows is a shorty.
That's gonna be a "dog nose". Looking at 15-20 feet behind the driver seat.
TC2000 was bluebirds cheaper basic model. The All American was their best bus.
Vista is the worst one built in the modern era.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 09:33 AM   #3
Bus Nut
 
WIbluebird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 664
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
Vista and P30 are junk. Low budget stuff for fleet buyers on a budget. The P30 is built on a GM van chassis and is overloaded even in factory form. The Vistas are ugly and usually have the least desirable engines/transmissions in them.

ECCB has it right, the All American is Bluebird's high end offering. Most of the AAs are full size but there are some AA front engine shorties out there.

The later TCs (early 2000s & newer) are decent buses as well but they only came with 5.9 Cummins and the vast majority of them are low roof.

Best way to get information about a Bluebird bus is to find the body# or the VIN and search here https://vantage.blue-bird.com/Portal/Vantage-Home.aspx

This gives you engine/trans serial number, original buyer/dealer and most importantly the headroom. Bluebird buses could be ordered with 72, 74 and 77 inch roof options. It may only be a couple inches but it can make a huge difference (unless you're planning on a roof raise).
WIbluebird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 09:46 AM   #4
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 19,925
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
TC was available with the 8.3 but they're not very common.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 09:57 AM   #5
Bus Geek
 
brokedown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
Posts: 2,880
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
I had a great experience with my Vista. i'll never understand the excitement of hating Vistas...

With that said, I'd advise you to go bigger than you think you need. you pay a premium for a short bus, and will quickly find that space is valuable even if it's empty. My first bus was a 24 ft Vista (5 window) and we drove it all over the country. We got a great deal on a 32 ft TC2000 and it was like a palace. Currently building a 38 ft All American and looking forward to the extra space there.
__________________
Keep up with us and our build!
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter
brokedown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 10:01 AM   #6
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 19,925
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
I had a great experience with my Vista. i'll never understand the excitement of hating Vistas...

With that said, I'd advise you to go bigger than you think you need. you pay a premium for a short bus, and will quickly find that space is valuable even if it's empty. My first bus was a 24 ft Vista (5 window) and we drove it all over the country. We got a great deal on a 32 ft TC2000 and it was like a palace. Currently building a 38 ft All American and looking forward to the extra space there.
YOu got one of the rare vistas that went together decently. most aren't near as nice as the one you guys had.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 10:04 AM   #7
Bus Nut
 
WIbluebird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 664
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
TC was available with the 8.3 but they're not very common.
Only in the rear engine variant that was discontinued in 1999 or 2000 I believe.
WIbluebird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 10:08 AM   #8
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 19,925
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
Only in the rear engine variant that was discontinued in 1999 or 2000 I believe.
I think they made it into some FE's. If not the 2000 the BBAA.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 11:13 AM   #9
Bus Nut
 
WIbluebird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 664
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I think they made it into some FE's. If not the 2000 the BBAA.
Definitely the AA for sure. Since the TC was Bluebird's budget offering they only offered it with the 5.9 Cummins in the FE configuration I believe. Rear engine was either 8.3 or 5.9.

I have seen one TC with a CAT but it might've been a very unusual special order or a repower.

The All American always got the nicer stuff (axles, transmissions, roof options, engines, etc). Even the interiors had more lighting/audio options, "premium" insulation and nicer driver's area.
WIbluebird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 11:17 AM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,015
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
Only in the rear engine variant that was discontinued in 1999 or 2000 I believe.
Somebody posted a link to an 8.3 TCFE in the "non-affiliated" thread the other day.
PNW_Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 11:28 AM   #11
Bus Nut
 
WIbluebird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 664
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Somebody posted a link to an 8.3 TCFE in the "non-affiliated" thread the needle day.
That's interesting. My understanding is that the TC does not have the drop in the front frame rails to accomodate anything larger than a 5.9.

This thread on School Bus fleet seems to indicate that the TC was discontinued in 04 since they couldn't fit the revised post 2004 Cummins 5.9 ISB in the engine compartment. Can't imagine the substatially larger 8.3 ISC could ever fit in there.

https://www.schoolbusfleet.com/forum...?TOPIC_ID=8081
WIbluebird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 12:37 PM   #12
Bus Nut
 
Mountain Gnome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 514
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
My TC1000 has a 75" high ceiling in the middle (factory floor to factory ceiling), 73" at the sides; the roofline is less curved.


Also no wheel wells.


Rides lower than the TC2000, so access in and out of the back doors is better.


But it rides very bouncy with the short wheelbase and therefore relatively long overhang in the front and rear.


The 5.9L Cummins is really packed in there tight. Can't imagine a bigger motor in there. The frame rails even have cut-out sections (forward of the mounts) to accommodate it.


Working on it reminds me of working on an old AMC Jeep. Not totally cheap crap, but not the modern vehicle quality components and practices you find in modern (post 1980s) vehicles. Wires everywhere that now-a-days would need to be wrapped in protective plastic are left to rub against whatever.


Found two wires with the insulation completely cut through in the harness that leads to/from the fuse box in the dash, because they were rubbing against the sharp steel edge of the dashboard. Luckily found before fire or a melted bunch of "spaghetti"


Anyway, seems to be the size bus you are asking about. I would buy one again.
Mountain Gnome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 02:18 PM   #13
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 19,925
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
The lowrider suspension and 19.5" wheels with low profile tires are what make it ride rough.
But you got flat floors and a low loading height.

Back door of my bus is chest height!
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2020, 02:56 PM   #14
Bus Nut
 
Mountain Gnome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 514
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
The lowrider suspension and 19.5" wheels with low profile tires are what make it ride rough.
But you got flat floors and a low loading height.

Back door of my bus is chest height!
I wouldn't call it exactly "rough", just bouncy. It's a gentle bounce, but it doesn't take much to make it happen. The Jeep I rented was "rough" going across lava flows. I could hardly keep my foot on the gas pedal, it would thrash side-to-side and back-and-forth hard enough to pull my foot off. Of course, that only made it worse.....coil over axle suspension.


I am very limber, but I can step into the back of my bus in one step. I normally use the stub of my aftermarket tow-bar that sticks out under the bumper as a first step, though. Is it less than 1 foot off the ground.
Mountain Gnome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2020, 03:07 PM   #15
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Northwest PA, USA
Posts: 2
Well, I posted a clever, witty reply last week, but obviously it's floating about in the ether, b/c it's not here....

Anyway, THANKS to all who responded so far. This is good stuff. Mountain Gnome- from the sounds of it we may want to keep our eye out for a TC1000, lots to like in your description. I'm not too familiar with the transit-style buses - they don't seem to use them much around here (rural northwestern PA), but they seem more efficient for space, & maybe more maneuverable? A lot of tail-swing though, looks like. We've had a few VW buses, so we're used to sitting out in front of the steer-tires.

The TC was a general model designation then, & could be had in different lengths? Was there a higher headroom option, or was 7'-3" the only choice?

Thanks again, all. I'm gettin' the fever - in full research mode now....

Lois & Randy
hidn45 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2020, 03:15 PM   #16
Bus Nut
 
WIbluebird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 664
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
The TC1000 was a somewhat rare variant of the TC2000 that utilized fiberglass roof caps and a flat floor design with 19.5 inch wheels. They’re desirable among the skoolie crowd for this and their short length. They go for stupid money a lot (I’ve seen 5-6k at auction for ones with AT545s and body damage). Keep an eye out for the Beaverton Oregon auctions this spring, they usually have a bunch of them every time.

TC2000 comes in all sorts of lengths like every major school bus body type. Most of them are low roof 74 inch but Bluebird can and do build special orders. In general you’ll find the premium features like high roof on the All Americans which is what I I highly suggest looking for.
WIbluebird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2020, 01:13 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Las cruces nm
Posts: 13
Year: 97
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International
Engine: T444e
Rated Cap: 25,500
You can design the interior you want and buy the size bus that will handle it or you can buy the bus you want and design the interior to fit. I did the latter and used graph paper and cutouts to scale to see how my furniture and appliances would fit.
Studedude is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:19 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×