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Old 09-17-2016, 02:14 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Moving to Missouri
Posts: 4
Year: 1993
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: Unsure, 65 Passanger Front Engine
Engine: 1993 GMC Blue Bird 65-Passenger School Bus 366 Gas
Talking Virgin Bus Owners Looking for Advice!

Hello!

So on a whim my husband and I were looking on Ebay and came across a beautiful '93 Blue Bird for only $1,400 at auction. It seems to be in good condition although we need to get to Mississippi to pick her up! No rust from what I can tell and the tires are in good condition. Looks like we struck a deal and now we are ready to start renovating!

It's been a dream of ours to either build a tiny house or buy an RV or just something so we can travel and lodge for free! I dont have any spec on the bus as of yet just know that is was listed as the following:

1993 GMC Blue Bird 65-Passenger School Bus 366 Gas

Hopefully we didnt make a mistake on this but it is perfect size for our needs!

We want to obviously add plumbing and maybe even solar panels! A murphy style bed and some comfy seating. It's just my husband and I traveling mostly; sometimes his family will want to tag along.

We are so excited for this new adventure and cant wait to meet all sorts of new friends!

So my only question so far is if anyone knows of any common issues with this model of bus? Some things we should look for after we pick her up?

Dealer said the engine is in good condition with less than 150k miles so we assume that will be pretty good.

Let us know if you have any advice or know of anything to look out for!

Greatly appreciated!

- SS Kiddster

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Old 09-17-2016, 03:27 AM   #2
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Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 836
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Usually when people buy a school bus they buy a diesel engine powered bus for several reasons. First - fuel mileage, gassers are fuel HOGS. Best I've seen for a gas powered bus is about 4 m.p.g. Second - longevity, gas engines don't last as long due to being made with less material - steel for the block, heads, etc. Third - gas engines require more moving parts, they have an ignition system the diesel engines don't require for one point, less maintenance means more reliability.

Remember, you asked, so I'm just pointing out one obvious rule-of-thumb. Some people prefer the gas powered buses for other reasons - cold climate (diesel tends to gel at 32*F thus shutting down the engine), cheap to buy (no intention of driving the bus - just making it into a home), and so on.

Sometimes jumping into a conversion works, many times it doesn't. We're on our second build because we didn't properly or thoroughly research our needs or the type of bus we needed in order to make our project work. We were fortunate in being able to have a buyer for our bus at a fair price and be able to get the bus we are now converting.

Best wishes in making your project succeed.

M
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Old 09-17-2016, 03:45 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 891
Year: 1984
Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
Welcome!

I am excited for you both, what a beautiful bus.

I got a 80s GMC with the same 366 motor by choice.
I wanted a gas motor because it is familiar to me. I have been working on the common v8 for years, and parts are relatively inexpensive for these.

Mine does 65 on the highway no problem. I have a friend who is a motor guy and he said this motor was used is lots of tractors, bus, and dump trucks and that if the oil is kept changed often that it would last forever (a common thing to say about a motor)

It was new news to me that these, like diesel motors, are high torque low rpm motors. What this means is that they operate in the 2500 to 3k rpm range max, where as regular V8 motors go qiite a bit higher than that (5k and higher)

Pretty neat motor in that is has 3 piston rings (most have two)
also i love that V8 motor sound.

These really can't fairly be compared to diesel motors, diesel motors are superb motors too, but i thought i would share my fondness for the big block chevy 366.
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Old 09-17-2016, 05:48 AM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Moving to Missouri
Posts: 4
Year: 1993
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: Unsure, 65 Passanger Front Engine
Engine: 1993 GMC Blue Bird 65-Passenger School Bus 366 Gas
Thanks for the reply!

Like I said, it was spur of the moment and I did "attempt" to get a diesel one but the bidding went too high for me.
I do know diesel will last longer and get better gas mileage. This is just a starter one though, and it will most likely be riddled with mistakes upon building, but you have to start somewhere and it was a good deal in my opinion. Cheap, running, and in decent physical shape. Luckily gas prices are still fairly low! Even if we fix it up slightly we may be able to sell it for a profit! Who knows!

Thank you for your feedback! We will opt for a diesel next time! ;)
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Old 09-17-2016, 05:50 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Moving to Missouri
Posts: 4
Year: 1993
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: Unsure, 65 Passanger Front Engine
Engine: 1993 GMC Blue Bird 65-Passenger School Bus 366 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carytowncat View Post
Welcome!

I am excited for you both, what a beautiful bus.

I got a 80s GMC with the same 366 motor by choice.
I wanted a gas motor because it is familiar to me. I have been working on the common v8 for years, and parts are relatively inexpensive for these.

Mine does 65 on the highway no problem. I have a friend who is a motor guy and he said this motor was used is lots of tractors, bus, and dump trucks and that if the oil is kept changed often that it would last forever (a common thing to say about a motor)

It was new news to me that these, like diesel motors, are high torque low rpm motors. What this means is that they operate in the 2500 to 3k rpm range max, where as regular V8 motors go qiite a bit higher than that (5k and higher)

Pretty neat motor in that is has 3 piston rings (most have two)
also i love that V8 motor sound.

These really can't fairly be compared to diesel motors, diesel motors are superb motors too, but i thought i would share my fondness for the big block chevy 366.
Hey thanks for your bode of confidence!! I appreciate it!

It's obviously scary going into new ventures! My husband and I are both very familiar with gasoline engine repair which is a huge plus! No diesel knowledge at all for us really! I am excited to get this girl rolling! I'm hoping the previous owners kept up with the oil changes and stuff, if so it has a lot of miles left to drive!

Thanks so much for the support!

If I have any concerns I know who to contact! ;P
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Old 09-17-2016, 05:53 AM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Moving to Missouri
Posts: 4
Year: 1993
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: Unsure, 65 Passanger Front Engine
Engine: 1993 GMC Blue Bird 65-Passenger School Bus 366 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSKiddster View Post
Hello!

So on a whim my husband and I were looking on Ebay and came across a beautiful '93 Blue Bird for only $1,400 at auction. It seems to be in good condition although we need to get to Mississippi to pick her up! No rust from what I can tell and the tires are in good condition. Looks like we struck a deal and now we are ready to start renovating!

It's been a dream of ours to either build a tiny house or buy an RV or just something so we can travel and lodge for free! I dont have any spec on the bus as of yet just know that is was listed as the following:

1993 GMC Blue Bird 65-Passenger School Bus 366 Gas

Hopefully we didnt make a mistake on this but it is perfect size for our needs!

We want to obviously add plumbing and maybe even solar panels! A murphy style bed and some comfy seating. It's just my husband and I traveling mostly; sometimes his family will want to tag along.

We are so excited for this new adventure and cant wait to meet all sorts of new friends!

So my only question so far is if anyone knows of any common issues with this model of bus? Some things we should look for after we pick her up?

Dealer said the engine is in good condition with less than 150k miles so we assume that will be pretty good.

Let us know if you have any advice or know of anything to look out for!

Greatly appreciated!

- SS Kiddster





we have had a few thoughts so far on how to get this prepared for road travel and one being the electrical consumption.

I've heard great things about solar panels but I'm not sure we will get the most bang for our buck! I've heard of people making their own gas generators that give alot more power!

I'm wondering what everyone's opinion is on Solar VS a Generator VS whatever else may be out there!

Thanks for your input! <3
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Old 09-17-2016, 07:17 AM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Sarasota, Florida
Posts: 160
Year: 1995
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Carpenter
Engine: d466 mechanical
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSKiddster View Post

I'm wondering what everyone's opinion is on Solar VS a Generator VS whatever else may be out there!

Thanks for your input! <3
Solar is expensive regardless of how much it's come down in recent years.
With that being said it's absolutely awesome and I love having it. A giant solar system to power everything is out of my budget and roof space.
But, I do have a 300 watt kit on the roof (renogy company) and I'd highly recommend it. With my solar set up I can run the fridge, fans, and vents 24/7 without a problem. Perfect for when I'm gone and our puppies are in the bus
I can charge my system from the bus's alternator when driving, when connected to shore power anywhere, from solar, or pull out the generator if I truly need to.
You'd rather go small electric wise and figure out what your needs are before investing in it. It's a common question on here and most will reply with about the same answer.
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