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Old 05-23-2009, 12:00 PM   #1
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oops, I did it again...

1991 chevrolet 60 series chassis, thomas built body, conventional dog nose, with 366ci gasser, 5 speed manual, 65 passenger rated.

Engine runs smoooooooooooooooth.

Got it for $400 off of the asking price of $1800.

Some of the windows were left open, so there's the expected weather related detritus inside. The seats are in ok enough condition, about what you'd expect from a retired school bus I guess. This unit was geared for running up and down the highway (everything around here is a lot of highway miles).

The rear hang is shorter than I expected for a conventional. There are a lot of similarities in the body design between my two thomas busses.

I do not have any conversion plans for this bus. Basically, I *might* swap the tires over to my bus, and that's about it. I bought this bus to be my conversion shed while I do my conversion.

We have several sheds here on my parents lot, and I have some of my stuff in pretty much each of them. Oh yeah, my main bus is also pretty full.

My solution to this problem is not to spend $3000 on a too-small shed of my own, but instead to spend $1400 on a bus to use.

I plan to store all of MY extras in this bus. I'm not worried about security here.

Also, as I get further along with the conversion, I might need a "big truck" to get supplies. This bus could fill that need. I'm planning to put farm use only tags on it.

Once all of my stuff is out of all the storage buildings here, there will be room in them for the stuff that is in my main bus that doesn't belong there, and I have all weekend to get it all moved around.

The end result here is that I'll finally be able to work inside my bus again.

Towards the end of my conversion project, I should be able to sell this bus, hopefully to someone that will find it good for their conversion. Or, maybe I'll have finally convinced my parents they should do a conversion.

I don't have pictures yet, but I should have some up this evening.

Oh, it also has some kind of video surveillance system inside. I'm itching to play with that thing.

more later,
jim
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Old 05-23-2009, 02:51 PM   #2
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Re: oops, I did it again...

time for pics.

gallery is here: http://gallery.giffords.net/v/shedbus/




































So many choices with a bus... convention or flat nose, gas or diesel, automatic or manual, front engine or rear engine... now I have one of each.

I now have 3 vehicles 30' long or longer in my parent's yard. I think they might kill me. lol

jim
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:27 PM   #3
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Re: oops, I did it again...

Thanks smitty, I think it was a decent deal. I've seen better on here, and definitely seen worse deals.

I forgot to mention that this engine is also fuel injected. Also, there's a pull knob for setting the throttle at a particular level. Since the pedal moves when you pull it, I'd guess it is directly connected to the same area on the throttle linkage.

I'm not sure why a fuel injected motor with no PTO would need that, unless they needed it to keep the idle higher to keep the alternator spinning faster. It's a 105 amp alternator.

jim
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Old 05-24-2009, 12:12 PM   #4
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Re: oops, I did it again...

I noticed last night while taking measurements of the back door that there were some kind of ugly creepy crawlies all over the rear door frame.

The rear of this bus had been parked in the branches of a fir tree of some type. So, I think these were some kind of critters from those trees.

In any case, I've been needing to fumigate the bigger bus for a while now due to the birds that lived in there, so I bought a LOT of fogger today. I put off a can in each bus.

Sometime during the night, the semi-stray male cat that hangs around decided the new bus was his, and he managed to get in via an open window and sprayed the firewall area above the steps. So now there is the lovely cat pee odor. And after the fogger, I'm sure it'll smell even better.

jim
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:37 PM   #5
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Re: oops, I did it again...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
I think I have some left-over skunk essence (from the coyote trapping days) I can send ya, just open the bottle & set it in the bus, I PROMISE you won't smell the cat or the fogger anymore

Smitty
haha! actually, the fogger doesn't smell too bad. Looks like a lot of little critters got dead.

I discovered that the swing arm on the front was removed by taking the arm off but leaving the electrics. Looking at it, I might be able to repurpose it to be able to open and close the door on my main bus. Gotta give it some serious though, as it is annoying dealing with the clip.

Also, the 8-way control is an electronic control in this model.

And, there's a standard diagnostic port under the dash. Makes sense in retrospect with that fuel injected engine. Still, with it being a 91, it's probably pretty primitive.

I found the wires powering the silent witness and yanked them loose. So, no more video. I can't wait to dig into that and play with it. Gonna have to practice picking the lock.

jim
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Old 05-24-2009, 06:16 PM   #6
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Bus # 22: Silent Witness

So it turns out getting the "Silent Witness" removed is easier than I thought.

First, remove the driver's seat. This makes everything else MUCH easier.

Then, to get the front locked cover open, pay attention to the "hinge"... really just tabs inserted into slots. Take a screwdriver and a hammer and tap on the lock to shove the cover in the direction that permits the tabs to come out. Then pry out the tabs, and pull the cover off, bypassing the lock.

Since I only damaged the cover a little bit before I realized the tab trick, I plan to replace the lock with one I have on hand. The lock box will be useful for something I'm sure.

Inside there is a small DC operated VCR with some customized circuitry inside.

There is a D shaped 25 pin connector on the back, which is where power, ign+, brk, stp, and other input signals come into the unit. On this bus, they only had the ones for ign+, brakes, and 8 ways (stp) hooked up. There is a cable just for speed, but it wasn't attached.

There is a separate set of cables (video, audio, and power) that goes into a tiny cable that routes around and feeds the camera. It is easy to fish it back out. The camera has security allen screws all over it, but had standard phillips head screws attaching it to the ceiling panel.

There was still a tape in the VCR. Based on viewing the tape, it looks like my bus was decommissioned in the summer of 2005. Also, it looks like the bus was just a spare/special activities bus for that school year. The guy I bought it from bought it direct from the school system in 2008. So, looks like it sat in the school maintenance yard for 3 years.

While I was messing with wiring, I also found the blasted buzzer and pulled the wires from it. Now there's no emergency exit buzzing.

After spending some time staring at the bus, I've decided I'm going to keep the front 2 rows of seats for now. I plan to remove the rest of them. This will give me some good cargo space for all my "stuff" and also let me drive around with a few passengers if needed.

I'm also planning to leave room free in the back for materials I need to go buy in the future for the primary bus conversion. This way I can load the materials into the bus and not have to move them when I get back home, except upon need for them to be installed.

Watching the video, it appears this may not have been one of the busses geared for highway running. There are some bits on the highway where the bus is being passed by a steady stream of cars. However, until I have a chance to get on the road with it myself, there's just no telling for sure.

I still need to put the driver's seat back in. It's nearly 100% humidity out there today, which is murderous. Every time I go out, it rains a little teeny bit then stops again.

I don't think this silent witness thing will be useful in my conversion in any way. I have doubts about the special lock box being useful. But, you never can tell.

jim

edit: it is security allen screws, not security torx screws. oops.
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:26 AM   #7
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Re: oops, I did it again...

Wow...thats'a lotta busses! Maybe you could build a double wide!
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:08 AM   #8
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Re: oops, I did it again...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezbme
Wow...thats'a lotta busses! Maybe you could build a double wide!
Lol, no. I'm not quite *that* redneck.

And I'm sure there're people with more than 2 busses.



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Old 05-25-2009, 05:10 PM   #9
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Re: oops, I did it again...

hey you could donate one to Smitty
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Old 05-26-2009, 06:17 PM   #10
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Re: oops, I did it again...

Hey if anyone actually has too many busses I could definately use more storage at our new property...hehe... just have to deliver it to New Mexico for us!
Wow, nothing like a cute blond enjoying her uhm cold beer..
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:48 PM   #11
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Re: oops, I did it again...

There is a twin to the one I bought at the place I bought it, and I'm sure they'd be willing to take $1400 for it as well.

You'll be hard pressed to find more storage for less money than an old school bus. Assuming it doesn't leak.

jim
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:51 PM   #12
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Re: oops, I did it again...

Quote:
Originally Posted by baadpuppy
There is a twin to the one I bought at the place I bought it, and I'm sure they'd be willing to take $1400 for it as well.

You'll be hard pressed to find more storage for less money than an old school bus. Assuming it doesn't leak.

jim
I like the idea of a bus for storage & then possibly making it more of a semi-permanent cabin style dwelling instead of RV conversion. That is a good price but I have no way to move it to NM & will probably wait & see what busses may be sitting around NM for sale!
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:00 PM   #13
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Re: oops, I did it again...

Any chance of getting a picture of that diagnostic port? Chances are it's the typical GM 12 pin OBDI connector and if that's the case it's really not as primitive as you might think, provided you can get the scan tool to communicate with it. General Motors was really ahead of the game in terms of diagnostics well before the 1996 OBDII requirement for cars. You can see and do A LOT on old TBI trucks and I would imagine a C60 with a 366 would be about the same. Heck, I'd be willing to bet your ECM is either a 7747 or an 8747. At the very least you should be able to get flash codes with nothing more than a paperclip, a far cry from the Ford breakout box of the same era.
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Old 05-30-2009, 07:05 PM   #14
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Re: oops, I did it again...

The connector:



The funky throttle controller:


The obligatory seats removed pictures:




I didn't get to weigh the bus today after all. Took all afternoon to get some gasoline in the tank.

Turns out the fill port on the tank is about 6" or 8" inside the skin. So, the 5 gallon fuel tanks just won't work.

I had to do some siphoning from the 5 gallon cans into the bus to get them into it. Then I decided to take the gas from the old RV and put into the bus, so I tried to siphon that. Well, the old RV has the fill pipe run the length of the tank and enter the tank after a 180 degree turn, so siphoning was out. Then I thought I'd try to siphon from the fuel line running to the generator. Had to use a piece of steel pipe to adapt the fuel line to the siphoning pump I had, only I didn't know it had a nice hole in the middle. grrr. I gave up on that for a bit and disconnected everything and helped my dad with a project of his. I came back over to the RV and discovered a lake of unleaded. Seems there was still fuel in the line for the generator, and the line fell while I was away and the force of gravity caused the siphoning effect.

After a while, I got the idea to use the generator's fuel pump to pump from the tank into a hose feeding the bus tank. Finally got that working, with only a tiny drip where two hoses attached.

The bus now has 3/4ths of a tank of old gasoline. I need to add some fuel treatment to it before I run it much. The RV should be down to 1/4th of a tank, as the generator is supposed to run dry while leaving fuel in the tank.

I now stink like gasoline. It is all over my hands and shoes and one knee where I had to kneel down to get things hooked up.

Later this evening I discovered one of the clearance lamps was loose, and I tightened it back up.

Mom has plans to try to recycle the plywood out of the old seats, so I guess we'll be disassembling them soon.

All in all, not a bad day's progress.

jim
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Old 05-31-2009, 01:50 PM   #15
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Re: oops, I did it again...

I left the battery on charge all night, so starting was quick and painless. This battery should hold me for a while.

Drove without tags or paperwork or anything over to the farmer's market to get weighed. My niece rode along with me, and enjoyed the drive. The empty weight is 13,960 pounds, so it would be a great unit for someone to convert from that perspective.

The downside is drivability. The tires seem to be rather loud, and I worried they would fly apart on me. Top speed was 57mph but I only saw that a few times. 55mph was the realistic top speed. This bus is definitely geared low. You can snap your neck in 1st or 2nd gear. 5th gear would go all the way down to 30mph without bogging the engine down.

Steering was a major issue. I suspect the tires are the primary reason, but it seemed a bit sloppy. Not as bad as the old RV, but it made me really appreciate my pusher. Some of the windy back roads I took had me a bit worried for a while, but I got there and back safely. Oh, it is definitely worthwhile to put all the windows down on a warm day.

After having driven it today, I don't think I'm going to bother getting it tagged at all. I'll still title it, and keep the tax people happy, but why carry insurance and yearly fees on a vehicle that will primarily sit in the yard storing things? If I find I need to use it to go get something I just can't get any other way, then I can get it tagged then.

jim
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Old 06-01-2009, 12:39 AM   #16
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Re: oops, I did it again...

That connector most certainly is the old GM OBDI style port. That should make diagnostics far easier should you ever have to mess with it.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:32 AM   #17
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Re: oops, I did it again...

Any idea where to find the governor on this thing? The pedal had plenty of travel left at 55, and pushing it to the floor made no difference in the engine behavior.

Also, going up a hill, it kept at 55 and the engine did get faster and deeper sounding. A tach sure woulda been nice. I've never understood why so many vehicles with automatics have a tach and so many vehicles with standard transmissions do not have a tach.

I don't know for a fact that it has a governor, but it sure seems like it. I have no idea how it knows that I'm going 55 and keeps me from going any faster. If I can get it up to 60, I can at least keep up with the slower traffic. The slower traffic going 60 seems to mostly be school busses around here, but still...

I do have to say that the engine ran great. Good oil pressure, steady engine temperature, no overheating, no indication of it having to struggle at any point, no stumbling, etc.

Still on the fence about getting it tagged. I expect that'll end up costing me about $100-$150 a year in fees and taxes, and that isn't even counting insurance. I like the idea of being able to jump in any of my vehicles and hit the road if need be, but is it worth the money...

jim
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Old 06-07-2009, 07:20 PM   #18
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Re: oops, I did it again...

I know that you can check out the computer system on GM cars and trucks by putting a bent paper clip in the correct holes on the hook up for the computer and counting how any times the check engine light flashes on and off. I found this info on line after buying a $70.00 analyzer. Just can't remember where though. Might work on the bus also.
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:10 PM   #19
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Re: oops, I did it again...

Well, this week I decided to get insurance on this bus, just in case I want to take it on the road. I have some "Farm Use Only" tags around here, and that's all it takes to make it legal as long as you have insurance.

I called GMAC, and told them I wanted to add it. They wanted to know if it was a conversion and I said no, that it was being used as a large truck/van. After several minutes on hold, they told me their VIN check system kept kicking it out saying it needed to be insured as commercial, but that if I wanted it to be a conversion, they could insure it for me with no problems.

So, I now officially own two school bus conversions with none of the conversion work done yet.

Anyway, now I can use this bus to go get stuff if I need to, while the big boy is all chopped up. That's a load off my mind.

jim
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