School Bus Conversion Resources

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-   -   We're in, we bought a Skoolie! (http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f6/were-in-we-bought-a-skoolie-18421.html)

Megs_PB 07-07-2017 01:27 PM

We're in, we bought a Skoolie!
 
Hi everyone, meet Suzie Bee!

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture16487.jpg

Over the next couple of months we're (Meg & I) going to be transforming Suzie Bee into our full time residence. We acquired her just about 2 weeks ago from a guy who I would recommend anyone looking for a bus should go see, our new friend Kaylin in Cartersville, GA. She's a 2000 3800 International / 11 window Blue Bird with the 7.3 T448e / AT545 combo, and as rust free as I've ever seen a vehicle. She drove the 1300+ mi home from GA to ME needing only a new fuel filter and some air in the tires too! We couldn't be happier with the condition she's in or how she runs, and we've already gotten the limits on the engine ECU removed & the gutting process underway.

Meg & I are looking forward to being part of the community, thanks to all of you who contribute here!

cadillackid 07-07-2017 01:40 PM

bring it on!! awesome bus.. you have a longer version of mine!! welcome to the jungle of fun and freedom!!!
-Christopher

brokedown 07-07-2017 02:04 PM

Christopher's bus is for sure the little brother of yours, mine is more like the step-brother. Same engine, similar transmission, nice full frame bus, but mine is 5 windows and only 22 feet head to toe.

If you look on your engine's valve cover, there will be a plaque with some information, including which power configuration your T444E has. Hopefully you've got more than my 175hp version to move that big boy bus!

Megs_PB 07-07-2017 02:11 PM

Our 7.3 T444e is the 175HP version. One more thing to upgrade..gently!

brokedown 07-07-2017 02:17 PM

Well you knew you weren't buying a race car! The lower spec version should get better economy (on relatively flat ground, at least!) and may have increased longevity by now working as hard as the higher tuned versions. I've just been driving mine in the mountains and I would say it has enough power for my bus but not enough cooling capability at high altitudes.

cadillackid 07-07-2017 02:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Megs_PB (Post 213318)
Our 7.3 T444e is the 175HP version. One more thing to upgrade..gently!

im in the middle of working at getting my 190HP tuned to 210.. its purely a computer program change.. one that navistar seems to hold close to the chest.. I have the software and the interfaces and knowledge to repgram many pieces of that computer.. however to change the horsepower parameter requires codes from navistar .. I have a case open with them.. as mine is a completely custom bus.. (ive modified the cooling system, fans, dash, swapped the transmission, added electronics, etc) so im playing it off to navistar that its a custom rig and thus obsolving them of any legal liability to turn up the horsepower..

see they may come back and state that the transmission isnt capable or the U-joints, or the brakes, etc etc.. so as I progress ill keep my thread update to hopefully help.

higher HP doesnt necessarily mean poorer economy.. a severely lugged engine or one run at open throttle high RPM results in more heat than power being made ..

from what ive seen mosrt all the skoolies in the earlier years of the T-444E when it ran the 3 box computers.. 94-early 97.. were all 175HP regardless... the later years.. mid-97 - 2001 were 175 HP unless the bus was equipped with factory A/C (mine). and then 02 and up I havent seen any 175 HP versions.. then again Ive only peeked at a couple of the late years of the 444E busses.

ive seen Rear engine full size busses with MT-643 transmissions or MD-3060's running with the 210 or 230 HP variant.. the 230HP variant has different hardware so its more than just a computer change, the turbo, head gasket, and I believe cam are different in the 230s.
-Christopher

Megs_PB 07-07-2017 02:37 PM

Engine & tranny upgrades are on the agenda some day! Good luck with getting yours dialed up!

Megs_PB 07-07-2017 02:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brokedown (Post 213320)
Well you knew you weren't buying a race car! The lower spec version should get better economy (on relatively flat ground, at least!) and may have increased longevity by now working as hard as the higher tuned versions. I've just been driving mine in the mountains and I would say it has enough power for my bus but not enough cooling capability at high altitudes.

We got about 8mpg with almost entirely interstate driving over 1300 miles at about 65mph. I'm positive when we hit the road for real and keep it <50mph things will improve at least a bit! As for cooling, Suzie Bee did fine in the Atlanta area traffic we had to make our way through on the way back home. 3 hours or so of stop & go and the engine coolant never topped 200! We'll find out how she does in the mountains of CO later this year.

jmcustom 07-07-2017 05:54 PM

Welcome!
I have an 01 international Amtran 84 passenger RE and it has a t444e 230hp and an Allison 3060 trans. I still have toget her to the dealer and have 6th gear switched on. On our short 2hr ride home she ran warm when cruising at 65mph. 6th gear should help considerably at keeping the rpms at a manageable level. I'll be replacing the coolant overflow tank and she'll be getting a new thermostat and finally a flush. If that doesn't help I'll pull the radiator and have it rebuilt with an extra core. Just my 2 cents.



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mmoore6856 07-08-2017 01:51 PM

we just bought our blubird too same size 1997 cat power tho getting ready to cut roof and raise 20 " got lucky as ours only had 112 k miles and 3 grand straight from a school that retired it because of age

jmcustom 07-08-2017 01:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mmoore6856 (Post 213513)
we just bought our blubird too same size 1997 cat power tho getting ready to cut roof and raise 20 " got lucky as ours only had 112 k miles

Ours has 130,000 and some rust were dealing with.

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mmoore6856 07-08-2017 02:48 PM

got a little rust also 2 spots but not hard to fix them also planning on 4 inches of insulation on roof so only getting 16" of xtra ceiling

jmcustom 07-08-2017 03:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mmoore6856 (Post 213525)
got a little rust also 2 spots but not hard to fix them also planning on 4 inches of insulation on roof so only getting 16" of xtra ceiling

I plan to raise the floor up enough to cover the wheel wells. That should allow enough depth for fresh, grey, and black water tanks, along with the 2 factory heaters relocated more towards the center aisle for heat while we're driving.

Since I'm 6' 1" tall the final floor height will dictate how much insulation we go with for the ceiling. At least I'd like to have 3".

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