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Old 01-09-2017, 01:40 AM   #1
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Blue Bird grill extension - why, what?



What is this? Why is there a "bubble" on the front of this bus?

The top part, with all those angles in all directions, is added on and could be fiberglass or steel.
The bottom part, with the headlights, is a second flavor of the normally flat steel headlight panel.
And the bumper is mounted equally far forward of normal.

This bubble seems to lengthen the engine compartment around six inches. Why? What's in there? A longer engine? Target acquisition radar?
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:22 AM   #2
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Looks to be sheet metal due to the tiny hinges at the top.
Maybe someone did an engine swap and needed those few extra inches.
Or there is a big aftercooler now in front of the o.e.m. rad?
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:14 AM   #3
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:02 PM   #4
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I'm pretty sure this is from the BB factory. I have seen the same a few times over the years (in photos).
And while the multi-angle panel looks hokey, the headlight panel looks very much factory.

Millicent is the same year, and she has the aftercooler in front of the radiator, and it all fits inside the normal flat front, with something like 1 1/2 " to spare.

And there is no sign of air-conditioning in this bus. Though... room for an air-conditioning condenser is a possibility.

There are similar buses with Cummins 8.3, which I assume is longer than the common 5.9. I think I have even seen one or two with the IH DT466. But BB seems to build dog-houses to fit whatever engine. (Boy howdy, they have a lot of different ones! LOL)
And I think I would have noticed if I had seen this extension on a bus with the 8.3 or 466.

So... still looking for the answer.
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:04 PM   #5
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That is a standard front grille from Blue Bird on a series of TC2000 buses from the '90's.

I don't know that I ever heard why they had the grille extension but I would guess that the engines in those buses were longer than the Cummins 5.9L. Perhaps a Cat C7 or Cummins 8.3L.

Or perhaps they were ordered with bigger radiators, intercoolers, or transmission coolers and needed the extra space.

But it was standard from the factory.
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
That is a standard front grille from Blue Bird on a series of TC2000 buses from the '90's.

I don't know that I ever heard why they had the grille extension but I would guess that the engines in those buses were longer than the Cummins 5.9L. Perhaps a Cat C7 or Cummins 8.3L.

Or perhaps they were ordered with bigger radiators, intercoolers, or transmission coolers and needed the extra space.

But it was standard from the factory.
Yep. your right.
Found this youtube of what is described as a 1992 with 5.9L Cummins.
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Old 01-09-2017, 07:20 PM   #7
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My Millicent is also a 1992 TC2000 with 5.9. But no extension on the front.
So yes, the extension probably covers some sort of option. The question is... what option?

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Old 01-09-2017, 07:24 PM   #8
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:05 PM   #9
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Maybe they were trying something out for serviceability?
It'd be easier to 'pop the hood' to get to the front mechanicals, I would think.

Or pull the two hinge pins and get the hood totally out of the way.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:00 PM   #10
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Year: 1992
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Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Hmmmm.... I finally thought to try Wikipedia. And they have a page for BB TC2000.

  • 1991: ... ... As a running change, front bodywork TC/2000 Front Engine is redesigned with a flip-up access panel. This allows for better access and serviceability for drivers and mechanics; it requires the headlight bar and front bumper to be moved forward several inches. On front-engine models, the grille is redesigned for better cooling; 4 chrome bars replace the 4 slots (rear-engine versions use a blank version of the 1988-1990 bodywork). Inside, a redesigned engine cover takes up less space in the driver compartment.
  • 1992: TC/2000 front bodywork redesigned on both versions. Similar to the All American, three hinged access panels allow access to service points and the engine radiator (on front-engine models).
So.... Looks like the bulge was a running change in 1991, then back to flat in 1992.

The bus in question is a 1992 by the VIN, but there is often overlap between years -- especially with "running changes".

Maybe there is nothing in there after all? But I do not see why they would need to move headlights and bumper forward just to create a single top-hinged access panel.

And the extra length makes the 84 pax version exceed 40 feet.
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