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Old 09-07-2016, 11:35 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Gold Hill, OR
Posts: 138
Year: 2004
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: 2002 ISC / MD3060
Rated Cap: 40 ft, 36,200 GVW
El Pesado

This is my build chronicle. I'm starting the thread now so that it can be motivation to get things done. By "now" I mean that I don't have the bus yet.

Reasoning:
My family makes cross country treks A LOT. I live in Oregon, my wife is from Illinois. We travel back there generally four times a year. We drive a Corolla and have three children. You can figure it out from there. We also like to camp a lot and Oregon has a lot of good camp grounds. Finally, my wife and I would like to travel the country when we retire and this would be a good start. By the time we retire, I should have a 50 year old bus.

Goals:
Most reliable engine, DT466 or 530, possibly a Cummins 8.3
Most reliable tranny, Allison MD3060 or something (overdrive enabled).
Roof raise
40 footer
Pusher
Full belly cargo build
Towing capability
Solar Panels (eventually)
Engine driven air conditioning (it's just nasty in the central time zone)
Air brakes
Air ride (preferred)
100 gallon fuel tank (Preferred, two would be even better)

Something like what Vlad is doing only without the slideouts.


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Old 09-08-2016, 02:25 PM   #2
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Location: WNC
Posts: 96
Where are you buying a bus from?

+1 on the full belly cargo. I'm def doing that too.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:38 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 932
Year: 1984
Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
Yea i too ak craving that full belly cargo. No reason not to use all the great space.
Will wait until i am parked near shore power and a welder to dig into that project though...and it is in line behind a 3ft porch for hauling the motorcycle.
Ahhh BUS always provides the space for my mind to dance with a project.
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:09 AM   #4
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Gold Hill, OR
Posts: 138
Year: 2004
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: 2002 ISC / MD3060
Rated Cap: 40 ft, 36,200 GVW
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainHooligan View Post
Where are you buying a bus from?
Don't know yet. This area is serviced by First Student which has a poor reputation for maintenance and used bus quality. I've found some decent leads down in Northern California. Keeping my eyes open. Don't want to get impatient. Don't want impatience to end up costing me tens of thousands of dollars.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:42 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,253
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiredForStereo View Post
Don't know yet. This area is serviced by First Student which has a poor reputation for maintenance and used bus quality. I've found some decent leads down in Northern California. Keeping my eyes open. Don't want to get impatient. Don't want impatience to end up costing me tens of thousands of dollars.
If Cali is within range then the best buses are yours to choose from!
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:55 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Gold Hill, OR
Posts: 138
Year: 2004
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: 2002 ISC / MD3060
Rated Cap: 40 ft, 36,200 GVW
Yes, I live about 20 miles from the border. Have seen some in Yuba City, but I must expand my search.

Followed a beautiful Blue Bird on the freeway down there last week. The perfect conversion bus, freeway capable 40 pax pusher! The only thing I don't like about the bluebirds is the flares above the windows. They have to come off or they look odd above deleted windows.
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Old 04-27-2021, 01:01 AM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Gold Hill, OR
Posts: 138
Year: 2004
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: 2002 ISC / MD3060
Rated Cap: 40 ft, 36,200 GVW
Getting closer

Has anyone else done anything with the window flares?

I found a good example with a custom drip edge replacement for the flares.

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Old 04-27-2021, 11:12 AM   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 9,702
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Some of the best buses with the least rust come from the PNW. What you are looking for is a rare find.
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Old 04-27-2021, 11:54 AM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Gold Hill, OR
Posts: 138
Year: 2004
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: 2002 ISC / MD3060
Rated Cap: 40 ft, 36,200 GVW
Certainly not common. If one were to want a 40 foot pusher without air conditioning, one would not have to look far. I have been waiting for a while for the right one to come along. There have been several that I have found with the wrong engine, wrong year, tons with no AC, etc.
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Old 05-06-2021, 06:48 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 506
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Blue Bird All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 2 adults and two pigeons
Plenty of used buses in Phoenix, but almost all of them for sale do not have working A/C's. One of the main reasons they get put out of service. Mine had two Phillips screws in the lines that I discovered when I stripped the interior down. I am sure they must have been chasing leaks for years and finally gave up on it. Love the gray bus pic. I too want to do something with the rain gutter. Im far gone the point of cutting it out so was thinking of just putting a long thin strip of stainless steel to make it look continuous.
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Old 05-07-2021, 11:55 AM   #11
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Gold Hill, OR
Posts: 138
Year: 2004
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: 2002 ISC / MD3060
Rated Cap: 40 ft, 36,200 GVW
The Millennial Falcon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bus'n it View Post
Plenty of used buses in Phoenix...
I just got home with my 2004 (maybe) Bluebird All American 84 RE, #87 from Tempe Union High School District. It has AC, but currently isn't working. I tried to charge it but couldn't figure out how to get the compressor to engage. I can't tell through the sight glass if it's full of oil or no oil.

I have all the maintenance records and it has had to be recharged every few years. No record of it not working presently, just been sitting for two years. I would like to get it working to use the bus this summer as a tent, just taking out most of the seats. Later, I will raise the roof, so the system will have to be re-jiggered anyway.

Seems to have a minor hydraulic leak also, need to run that down.

Trans has sixth locked out, need to find the guy who does that. Speed limiter is set at 68. 5.38 differential.

Runs well, started right up with new batteries. Redline is 2600, turns 2150 at 68, 2000 at 60.

Appears to have the 100 gallon tank, the tank is huge, between the frame rails, and hanging down significantly. I filled it at 1/8 on the gauge and got 79 gallons in it. Got 8.25 mpg.

The skin is broken at the front joint above the driver's window, causes all the driver's side front windows to be loose and rattle. But since the roof will be raised, all that was going to be reworked anyway.

One thing I've decided I want to get rid of is the unibrow, the ridge on the front edge above the warning lights. Fortunately, my father restores old cars and is a master sheet metal worker (hint for anybody that wants some custom work done, if you're in the Medford Oregon area). You can see what I'm talking about in the picture of the gray Bluebird I posted above. I just want a smooth transition from the flat above the windshield to the roof, no unibrow.

One thing I would like to figure out if possible is manual control of the hydraulic radiator fan. I would like to be able to turn it to full on for descending mountains, to use as a minor engine brake. I don't know if this is possible, I don't know how the fan is controlled, not like in a truck with an air clutch fan. But if it is possible, I would like to do it.
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Old 05-07-2021, 04:14 PM   #12
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 9,702
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiredForStereo View Post
I just got home with my 2004 (maybe) Bluebird All American 84 RE, #87 from Tempe Union High School District. It has AC, but currently isn't working. I tried to charge it but couldn't figure out how to get the compressor to engage. I can't tell through the sight glass if it's full of oil or no oil.

I have all the maintenance records and it has had to be recharged every few years. No record of it not working presently, just been sitting for two years. I would like to get it working to use the bus this summer as a tent, just taking out most of the seats. Later, I will raise the roof, so the system will have to be re-jiggered anyway.

Seems to have a minor hydraulic leak also, need to run that down.

Trans has sixth locked out, need to find the guy who does that. Speed limiter is set at 68. 5.38 differential.

Runs well, started right up with new batteries. Redline is 2600, turns 2150 at 68, 2000 at 60.

Appears to have the 100 gallon tank, the tank is huge, between the frame rails, and hanging down significantly. I filled it at 1/8 on the gauge and got 79 gallons in it. Got 8.25 mpg.

The skin is broken at the front joint above the driver's window, causes all the driver's side front windows to be loose and rattle. But since the roof will be raised, all that was going to be reworked anyway.

One thing I've decided I want to get rid of is the unibrow, the ridge on the front edge above the warning lights. Fortunately, my father restores old cars and is a master sheet metal worker (hint for anybody that wants some custom work done, if you're in the Medford Oregon area). You can see what I'm talking about in the picture of the gray Bluebird I posted above. I just want a smooth transition from the flat above the windshield to the roof, no unibrow.

One thing I would like to figure out if possible is manual control of the hydraulic radiator fan. I would like to be able to turn it to full on for descending mountains, to use as a minor engine brake. I don't know if this is possible, I don't know how the fan is controlled, not like in a truck with an air clutch fan. But if it is possible, I would like to do it.
You do realize you will only have AC in your tent if the engine is running?
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Old 05-07-2021, 04:38 PM   #13
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Gold Hill, OR
Posts: 138
Year: 2004
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: 2002 ISC / MD3060
Rated Cap: 40 ft, 36,200 GVW
Are you sure?

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