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Old 04-23-2018, 06:43 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3
Year: 2019
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Ford F-53
New here

Hi everyone my name is CJ Iím new here.

I stumbled upon this site because I am researching the cost of refurbishing a bus based RV. I want to do this later in the future.

I want to use the 1989-1990 Blue Bird WanderLodge Forward Control. Itís based off the Blue Bird All American School Bus.

Hereís the thing, if I get one; I want to replace everything a full gut out of the rv and redesign and refurnishing. Possibly upgrading the whole chassis. Replacing the existing Ford Super Duty V8 chassis and replace it with a brand new Ford F-53 Motorhome chassis, It has the Triton V10 and thatís the big thing. Now Blue Bird actually uses this so I know I can make it work.

Because that would require that the bus be lifted, Iím not sure if shops would do this on an old bus.

Iím not really worried about cost because it will still be cheaper than going new.
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Old 04-24-2018, 02:35 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: MD near DC
Posts: 1,070
Welcome to the craziness!

If you are going to strip this thing out to the bones, why not start with a real live school bus body? The drawback is that you would have to cover the windows you don't want and install the ones you do; the advantage is that you get to install the windows where you want them.

Seriously, a WanderLodge is a collectible. You'll be bidding against people who worship them (unless you happen to already have one lying around). Old buses OTOH you can get as a prize in a box of Crackerjacks if you're lucky. If you want to re-make one just as you like it, start with something that will take a whole lot less demolition to get to go on.
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Old 04-27-2018, 02:07 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,809
I think you will have a hard time finding any bus at this late date with a gas Ford V-8. Blue Bird went almost exclusively to GM engines in their gas powered buses starting in about 1990 or so up until the advent of the propane option.

Swapping your bus body onto a Ford moho chassis is going to be a lot of work and you will be going downhill in regards to stoutness and ease of service.

Blue Bird is now putting the Ford V-10 propane engine in full size buses and it has been great for city routes but not so good for longer distances. The transmission used is a super duty version of the latest version of the E4OD transmission. It isn't exactly what I would call durable.
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Old 05-01-2018, 06:33 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3
Year: 2019
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Ford F-53
RE:New Here

cowlitzcoach and dan-fox:
You're right originally I was looking for 1989-1990 Blue Bird WanderLodge Forward Control to gut out since the outside is the way i like it. What I didn't realize, is that Blue Bird makes their own chassis; and a gas engine while cheaper is not practical. I was thinking of the Blue Bird Vision chassis which has a V10.
So I've decided to buy a New shell. (Blue Bird All American FE) With nothing in it. The only question is, does Bluebird sell to the general public?
The reason I want to buy new is simple: starting with a bus with new or almost new mechanicals and a 5 year unlimited mile warranty.
I won't have to deal with any rust. I can spec'd to look and function like a WanderLodge with all the 'utility bells and whistles (A/C and heat units) Bendix Air disk brakes, PASS-THRU LUGGAGE, WEBASTO SCHOLASTIC HEATER, AIR SUSPENSION SYSTEM, BLOCK HEATER. ECT.

Then all I have to do is have someone do the rv conversion, or do it myself.
I know these buses are relatively cheap (Under 100K) compared to say a D.C. or N.Y. Metrobus (over 100k). If I do it this way, while I will initially pay more up front, it will pay for itself in the long haul.
Attached Images
File Type: png Shell-Commercial-Bus-main-1490-936.png (266.7 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg T3FE-Undercarriage-Luggage.jpg (145.3 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg Blue-Bird-S3FE-Interior-Shell.jpg (163.1 KB, 4 views)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BB+Shell+Brochure.pdf (299.1 KB, 3 views)
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Old 05-01-2018, 06:43 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 2,351
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
I looked at brand new Bluebird A3RE's last year and they ran about $160k.

And, yes your local Bluebird dealer will sell a bus to anyone with the $ in their pocket.
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:02 AM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,809
I would tend to agree with PNW Steve that the price you will have to pay for a brand new unit is going to be a lot more than what you have suggested. Your option list is not cheap.

If you get an FE you can't have pass through under the floor luggage compartments--the driveline gets in the way. All you can get are skirt mounted.

I am not familiar with which engines are available in BB's these days. I think the only one available in the FE is the Cummins ISB. There is a CNG option but I don't think you want that.

Not sure exactly why you would want air disc brakes over air drum brakes. They are an expensive option with relatively no difference in performance with much more expensive repairs down the road. You can usually get new drums, shoes, pins, and bushings for both sides of one axle for the cost of one disc.

I think that if you use the WA state school bus quote you will be able to price out a bus pretty close to what you will have to pay for a one off bus. Or at least you will be able to see what the options will cost.

Good luck and happy trails to you!

2017-18 State Quote Specifications
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:55 AM   #7
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3
Year: 2019
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Ford F-53
RE:New Here

Not having all the options aren't a deal breaker; even if I Spent over 100k it's still better than paying 250-300K for a new or used fiberglass rv. I haven't ruled out an RE, but if I decide to get an FE then I can just get a DOUBLE LUGGAGE compartment instead.

I'm a technology buff, I want the Bendix air disc brakes over air drum brakes and the latest and greatest technology.
Here's why:.
And .

Both the FE and RE have a the Cummins ISB 6.7 and 8.9. They even have a new 5.0 offered.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg options-brochure jpe_Page_03.jpg (276.9 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg options-brochure jpe_Page_04.jpg (229.7 KB, 0 views)
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File Type: jpg options-brochure jpe_Page_14.jpg (215.5 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg options-brochure jpe_Page_15.jpg (240.9 KB, 0 views)
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File Type: pdf isv5.0-web.pdf (179.8 KB, 0 views)
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