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Old 05-01-2016, 11:59 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: MN
Posts: 5
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Skoolie Noob from MSP

Hey everyone, long time reader, first time poster. What a great tool this forum is for skoolie conversion research. I'm so happy to share that I just pulled the trigger on purchasing my first bus for a skoolie conversion. '99 Bluebird TC2000 with 5.9L Cummins and Allison auto. 72 passengers. Front engine, flat nose. 157K miles. Grabbed it on publicsurplus.com for $3K. Would love to hear feedback on if I got a decent deal on this. Will be picking up in Ohio next week and driving back to my folks' farm in NW Wisconsin where I'll be spending the weekends this summer working on The Bug Out Bus 3000 (BOB3K).

My goal for BOB3K will be to have her fit for full time living within a year. I own a business that allows me to work remotely 75% of the time so I also hope to be a point this fall to head south this winter with BOB3K for a month or two. I plan on performing a roof raise and will definitely be documenting that. Thanks to you all for being such an awesome resource. I'm glad to be a part of your community! - Dan

Here is BOB3K pre-conversion and pre-pickup:

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...albums918.html
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:46 AM   #2
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 4,920
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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Off handedly I'd say you've done yourself proud. Not a bad price at all. Did you end up with our dreaded 545?
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Old 05-02-2016, 03:27 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Johnstown, PA
Posts: 248
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 2000
Engine: 5.9
Rated Cap: 83
Hi Dan, welcome aboard. I have the same bus but it says rated capacity is 83. I'm redoing the bus completely. I have already raised the roof. I'm now relocating the door. I removed all the side windows and am now working on removing the windows in the rear. I have most of the insulation in. Let us know any questions you may have. Good deal on your bus.
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Old 05-05-2016, 08:28 AM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: MN
Posts: 5
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Thanks for the warm welcome Robin and Roadrunner! Roadrunner, I'd love to see how you did your roof raise, if you have any photos! Robin, I do have the much maligned 545. Any tips on my maiden voyage with this thing?
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:57 AM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Danglebury, Tejas
Posts: 310
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH 3800
Engine: Navistar DT466E
Rated Cap: 72 passenger
Welcome! Sounds like a good bus to me!

Do yourself a favor: if you have the 545 trans, most school districts seem to run Dexron III in them due to cost concerns and an intermittant duty cycle, but the latest specs from Allison require Transynd 295.

The Transynd 295 fluid is as expensive as all hell, and not easy to find, but totally worth it. It is a far better engineered fluid that retains its composure well beyond the destruction point of Dexron III-type fluids. It also makes for nice, crisp shifts. Plan on paying upwards of $30/gal (you'll need at least 5 gals if doing the fill/drain/fill thing). Allison dealers have it, as does John Deere. Stay away from "Transynd 295 compatible" knockoffs if possible.
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:08 AM   #6
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,173
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
I totally agree regarding the TranSynd fluid. it is worth doing a little reading up on. Far superior performance and heat resistance to typical tranny juice.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:42 AM   #7
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
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Year: 1997
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Found this;

On-Highway Fluids

Former Allison Transmission Fluids Engineer | ATF, Differential, Trans, Brakes, P/S | Bob Is The Oil Guy

Quote: My name is Tom Johnson. I was invited, by forum management, to participate on this ATF forum. I was asked to participate because I was the former Allison Transmission Fluids Engineer from 1990-2009. In this position, I had responsibility for review and approval of all transmission fluids for Allison commercial and military products on a worldwide basis. I'm here to help answer your technical questions specific to Allison fluid specifications (TES-389 and TES-295), Castrol TranSynd, fluid types (conventional vs. synthetics), fluid formulations and how they change with use and how to detect fluid changes (viscosity loss, oxidation and contamination) through transmission fluid analysis.

What I Do Now - Upon retiring from Allison Transmission and GM, I started JG Lubricant Services. We do oil and coolant analysis for many different applications, vehicles and equipment. We specialize in detailed transmission fluid analysis for Allison transmission products from the 1000 Series used in GM pickups and also are specialists in all other models including the 2000, 3000 and 4000 Series in trucks, buses and RVs. We can also analyze samples from the larger Off-Highway (5000-9000 Series) product lines.


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Old 05-05-2016, 11:51 AM   #8
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 4,920
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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I'm not finding any sources under $40 per gallon, and that's in the 5 gallon bucket.

I did find some for $25 per gallon, but it turned out that was in 2009.
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Old 05-05-2016, 03:09 PM   #9
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,173
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
TranSynd is pricey...but...with reasonable care not to exceed max temps...it can go 100,000 miles.

"Extended oil change guidelines for
TranSynd include
50,000 miles/24
months for severe
duty. General duty:
100,000 miles/48
months. Compare
that to conventional
transmission fluid recommended
changes of 12,000 miles/6 months
for severe duty. And 25,000 miles/
12 months for general duty."

And I just read in one of the RV forums, some folks have gone to 150,000 with no issues. That is 4-6 times the life of conventional fluid.
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Old 05-05-2016, 05:38 PM   #10
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: MN
Posts: 5
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Great advice everyone. Adding "track down TranSynd" to my punch list. Will let you know if I find a good price.
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