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Old 05-04-2018, 07:52 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Woodstock, GA
Posts: 25
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9 L6
Rated Cap: 78
Talking The deed is done - New Bus and semi-new Member

After nearly a year of lurking, failing a few auctions recently, and having moments of uncertainty, the deed is done. We're welcoming our newest member to the family, a 2001 BB transit that I won today on a govsurplus auction.

https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...68&acctid=1873

I would be totally lying if I didn't say I'm a bit nervous about picking up the vehicle and getting it the 300 miles to my buddy's house in North Georgia (Ranger, by Calhoun, for you locals) where I've been granted the space on his farm to work on and prep what will be our mode of transportation as soon as we can get everything road-worthy.

Lurking as I have been on this forum primarily, I feel inspired by the other skoolies that I've read about through the builds, comments, successes, and failures. While far from being an expert in any of the skills necessary to convert, I'm not getting any younger, and my wife and I are committed to making this project work, seeing it through.

Here's what I know from talking to the shop manager (real friendly guy, talked to him about 2 hours before winning the bid) about this vehicle :
  • Cummins 5.9 24v motor, 133k'ish miles actual
  • Allison 2500 Transmission
  • Was used primarily as an activity bus (The storage bays I have plans for, they were critical in the decision to try and buy this bus)
  • Geared such that it was routinely driven 65-67mph on the highway
  • Starts without needing a boost, no major issues in the time the school had it
  • 1 set of two tires I'll need to deal with before taking a real trip, there's enough tread to move it around and drive it back - manager stated he felt like I should just be able to hop in, get some fuel, and hit I-65s straight away

Shop manager did state it was restricted to top speed 65-67, not sure what that means and how it was implemented, but I have a feeling I'll be figuring that out real soon LOL.

To be honest, the only nervousness I feel is in driving it the first time. I'm planning a route to take me with the least amount of turns and non-highway from point A to point B. I've been watching a ton of youtube to kind of see how turns work out (especially right turns) in a Transit. I have drive large commercial straight bodies before (well, 28-34" straight bodies) and know enough to watch my rear end, but am understanding driving a transit is a bit more technique in how corners and turns are approached. I'll take any and all advice, and make no claim to being anything like an expert in this vehicle type.

I look forward to continuing to learn on this forums, and am super thankful it exists. To be honest, if this forums didn't exist, I'm not sure I would have made the jump out in to what feels like some deep waters. I'll take any/all comments if anyone cares to make them - I may not learn fast, but I don't forget what is learned ....

Hopefully, we'll see some members out on the highways once we make things comfortable enough to travel. Thanks for sharing so much already, I have a ton of resources I've gathered just from using that search button right here.

Have a nice weekend ! Wish me luck next week getting our new (to us) bus home !

/Matt
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:19 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 8,555
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Welcome neighbor, what are your plans for the build? That bus is very much like what I'm wanting, except for the 5.9.
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:25 PM   #3
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Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
Posts: 1,264
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 7.3L
Welcome aboard. Not a bad bus at all, but if it were mine, 4 new drive drive tires would be first on the list if it makes it home with no issues.
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Old 05-04-2018, 09:13 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Woodstock, GA
Posts: 25
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9 L6
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Welcome neighbor, what are your plans for the build? That bus is very much like what I'm wanting, except for the 5.9.
Thank you much - I'm going for setting expectations low and aiming high. Wife and I are thinking as follows to get this party started:

- Strip out seats, get the floor stripped down, and see what we're working with rust or plywood wise. insulate and put new planks down, still not sure what's going on as the finish. Open to ideas

- Strip down the paint, smooth out the body as best as possible, and get it painted. Thinking leave the top alone, but paint everything below the top liner with aluminum color. Not too flashy, kind of gives it in my eyes a classic RV kind of feel

https://www.amazon.com/Rust-Oleum-77...R779Y0PAKYCCBQ

- Strip out sides and roof, insulate, re-cover with wood. Not decided yet how or what type yet. Still searching these forums and collecting ideas

- Frame up the basics : Bunk bed for kids, queen frame for us, frame in some basic counter top area for sink/cooking and small bathroom area

From there, not sure. I work in IT, but just need a decent internet connection to work with, so definitely going to put in a 4G/LTE booster and wire in wireless to that.

I'm looking around now for a shop that is close by to where we'll park it (Ranger, GA) so that I can get it reviewed and inspected as we start to gather resources to work this summer on it.

Ideally, the goal is to sell our house, take the kids out of school for the year, and home school while we spend a year on the road taking in some national parks and places I haven't been. My wife is a green card/soon-to-be citizen, and she wants to learn all that America has to offer. I'm a USC myself, but will admit that I haven't traveled nearly as much as I want to. As for our kids, they're 10 and 11, so if we're going to do a journey like this, now is probably the best time to get it in.

I'm currently looking at land in CO to purchase and eventually build on, that will likely be home-base once we sell the house here.

All of that said, I'm steadily researching and looking for ideas - these forums have been a great start. So many cool skoolies and ideas. I feel more confident the more I read.

Now, if I can just get this bus home in 1 piece, we can begin...

/Matt
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Old 05-04-2018, 09:14 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Woodstock, GA
Posts: 25
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9 L6
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
Welcome aboard. Not a bad bus at all, but if it were mine, 4 new drive drive tires would be first on the list if it makes it home with no issues.
Agreed, I looked at those tread depths and the 1 side worries me. The shop manager opinion'd that getting it home should be no issue, but to definitely get tires.

You can be sure I'm already researching now in the forums where and what to put in there. Re-treads versus new, etc. Was coming to the opinion that treads are OK out back, but drives should be new. That makes sense to me, I'd like to actually turn when it's time to..... turn.

/Matt
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Old 05-04-2018, 09:59 PM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by atl_oldskool View Post
Agreed, I looked at those tread depths and the 1 side worries me. The shop manager opinion'd that getting it home should be no issue, but to definitely get tires.

You can be sure I'm already researching now in the forums where and what to put in there. Re-treads versus new, etc. Was coming to the opinion that treads are OK out back, but drives should be new. That makes sense to me, I'd like to actually turn when it's time to..... turn.

/Matt
You should be fine with re-treads on the drive wheels, and economy new tires on the steer wheels.

I know you see lots of rubber thrown from big-rig re-treads, but bear in mind you are unlikely to be traveling as far, or as fast, or as heavily loaded as a semi.
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:14 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Woodstock, GA
Posts: 25
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9 L6
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
You should be fine with re-treads on the drive wheels, and economy new tires on the steer wheels.

I know you see lots of rubber thrown from big-rig re-treads, but bear in mind you are unlikely to be traveling as far, or as fast, or as heavily loaded as a semi.
Thanks for the confirmation - I was thinking the same. While I want to be economical, safety is my primary concern, especially if I'm going to have my kids in there. I get enough excitement without bringing more on myself

/Matt
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:35 AM   #8
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Location: Wisconsin N.E.
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Rated Cap: 72
I worked in a truck shop, we used alot of retreads. Check where the tread comes together some are almost seamless some are a bit off, a gap or over lap there is a hint they will come apart sooner. Can't ever tell for sure but the seem will let you know if they were done with care
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:42 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Woodstock, GA
Posts: 25
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9 L6
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatthefak View Post
I worked in a truck shop, we used alot of retreads. Check where the tread comes together some are almost seamless some are a bit off, a gap or over lap there is a hint they will come apart sooner. Can't ever tell for sure but the seem will let you know if they were done with care
Thanks ! Noted and added to the growing list of items in my carry around as we get this thing started.

/Matt
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Old 05-05-2018, 11:05 AM   #10
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Year: 1946
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Rated Cap: 15
For the record...

recaps on steers are prohibited by DOT.

And for good reason.
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:10 PM   #11
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 5,767
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
I have always assumed that the tire treads that I have dodged on the highway were caps that had separated from retreads. Then I heard that if you see steel cords showing it is not a cap as the cords are in the "carcass" not the cap.

What is the straight scoop?
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Old 05-05-2018, 02:02 PM   #12
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,712
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
I have always assumed that the tire treads that I have dodged on the highway were caps that had separated from retreads. Then I heard that if you see steel cords showing it is not a cap as the cords are in the "carcass" not the cap.

What is the straight scoop?
It is fairly rare for recaps to separate on their own, the recap industry has their work down to a science. Yes, they can, and do separate, but usually for the same reason "virgin" tires do. Heat is a tire's enemy. Several things cause heat - direct sunlight exposure, heat from the road, but more than anything is heat from flexing. Tires are designed and engineered to handle a certain amount of flexing and dissipate the resulting heat, but when they are underinflated, they flex more, and consequently build up more heat. Moving slowly across a parking lot, this may not be a problem but cruising 65 down the highway, it does a lot more flexing, a lot faster, building up much more heat than it can dissipate. It builds up to the point it literally melts the rubber, at which point the cap can come off, or the tire itself comes apart (and it doesn't matter if it's a recap or a virgin tire at this point).

And now you know, folks, why to keep your tires properly inflated (in addition to other reasons such as proper handling, lower rolling resistance, and reduced tire wear).
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Old 05-05-2018, 07:25 PM   #13
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Billings, MT
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Year: 2003
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Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
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Let's throw one more Munke Wrench into the works:

Construction of truck tires (this includes large tires found on buses) is that a belt is applied to a carcass. This belt is where the tread is found. Now, per federal mandate, the steer tires CANNOT be made with retreads. The drive tires can.

The "gators" you find on the interstates and other highways are usually the result of BAD bonding characteristics. In other words, they aren't stuck well enough to the carcasses.
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