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Old 06-12-2014, 06:03 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 18
Year: 1996
Chassis: Bluebird
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Family Tardis

Hello,
I've been lurking on this site casually for a few years just daydreaming. Well my little family has been semi homeless since Dec. My hubby and I decided to go ahead and buy the bus and make ourselves a home. This is our soon to be new home. Hopefully she takes us through time and space and somehow ends up bigger on the inside. It's a 1996 Bluebird with a Cummins 5.9, a 545 Allison Transmission, and 280,000k miles (high I think?). Not the best engine or transmission from what I've read but I'm hoping they will do. It is 40 foot long, currently has 28 bench seats, which we are in the process of removing. We need to get out of my MILs house so the renovations need to go as fast as possible, though I'm trying to research enough to do them correctly.

This is my tentative plan for the inside so far. I need to sleep 8 people. Come Nov we will have 6 kids, five of which live with us full time. Two will be under 2 so I'm setting up bunk bed cribs. I'm completely open to layout suggestions. I have the bathroom as a separate room because I wanted to use the back bedroom as a playroom and want the kids to be able to run in and out.
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File Type: png Bus.png (883.3 KB, 916 views)
File Type: jpg Bus Layout.jpg (143.1 KB, 924 views)

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Old 06-12-2014, 09:29 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Texas
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Re: Family Tardis

Welcome and the best of luck to you!
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:21 AM   #3
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Re: Family Tardis

Welcome to the world of school bus conversions. We all get into it for different reasons and circumstances. I think a 40 foot bus can certainly be made into a wonderful home. It will give you beds, shelter from the elements, and a place for the family to congregate and build their lives. When your circumstances improve you may even decide that being a full-timer is preferable to paying large rents and mortgages.

The people on this site are wonderful and will be more than happy to give you advice, suggestions, opinions on just about everything related to bus conversions. Best of luck as you take on this adventure.
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:15 AM   #4
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Re: Family Tardis

Hey welcome to the madness. I have been told any Cummins is better than the Cat I have. The best bus is the one you own.
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:32 AM   #5
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Re: Family Tardis

Welcome to the site, I'm sure you will be able to "Doctor" you bus up right once you "Master" some of the knowledge provided here. Don't forget your Sonic screwdriver if you have any questions there are lots of helpful people here. and be sure to post lots of pictures
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:39 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Edmonton, Alberta Canada
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Year: 1992
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Chassis: All Canadian FE
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
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Re: Family Tardis

Yay! Another big family!!! We are 6 plus 2 dogs, though only 3-4 of us are going to the bus full-time. I lurked from January until just this week. $10 says your reno will go WAY faster than ours. We have a prison bus. I call her Clementine (because Clementine is an orange and orange is the new black) and my husband calls her Milkshake (because she brings all the boys to our yard) but I'm almost thinkin' we missed the bus (ha!) on this one not calling her Tardis - she's even the right colour! ;) Looking forward to following your build! Welcome!

~H.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:08 AM   #7
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Re: Family Tardis

Welcome to the Asylum --- great bus and that is an excellent engine which is actually only about half way into it's anticipated life before a rebuild. The tranny is another matter. If you can find a 645 or newer 5 or 6 speed, it would be worth swapping out. Full lock-up and much better mpg.

Go for it and do keep the pix coming.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:39 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 18
Year: 1996
Chassis: Bluebird
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Re: Family Tardis

Thanks for the welcomes! I love all the Dr. Who references. lol We are major fans.

Timelord: Thanks

Gmarvel: I think you are right 40 feet should make a great home. I'm new to trying to live in a small space so I'm learning to rethink usage of things. We're also pack rats and have a 10X20 storage shed (no furniture almost) to purge. I would not at all be surprised if we end up loving it. My husband's job right now will allow us to travel as long as he has reliable internet so I'm excited about that.

Wmkbailey: I think you are correct. Just like your kids, you love what you get. ;)

Preconsul100: LoL love the references.

PictureLove: Are the dogs going with? We are going to leave our dog with my oldest daughter I think. Too much chaise chasing babies by themselves. Our Reno has to go fast! I sure hope anyway. Although it has taken 4 days to do eight seats on the bus. lol That's mostly because of needing equipment and learning what we were doing. Seven of those was in a half hour last night. My MIL is giving us sideways looks so plenty of motivation. LoL I love your bus name. I saw your thread about it. Your daughter looks like she was enjoying the PA system. We have one too and my boys think it's the coolest thing ever. You definitely have a Tardis colored bus. I so wanted to paint ours Tardis blue but I'm thinking a lighter color for heat reasons might be a better idea. Thanks!

Tango: Oh good. I was hoping the millage wasn't to bad. That makes me feel much better. She was only 3500 so I keep waiting for a shoe or something, you know? I will definitely keep an eye out for a new tranny. Thanks.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:40 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 18
Year: 1996
Chassis: Bluebird
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Re: Family Tardis

Also floor plan take 2.
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Old 06-13-2014, 05:08 PM   #10
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Re: Family Tardis

Love the bus name! Welcome to the craziness! Love the layout!
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Old 06-13-2014, 06:04 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Edmonton, Alberta Canada
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All Canadian FE
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Re: Family Tardis

Dangit! I forgot to leave room on my layout for the washer dryer! I love how spacious the play area is!
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:10 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 65
Year: 2001
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 16
Re: Family Tardis

I noticed how both of your proposed floor plans are for a side aisle layout. Is that going to allow enough height? I'm 6'2" so can only stand upright in 3 places in my bus. Under each emergency hatch and one spot behind the engine cover. I have to use a center aisle myself but still have to walk with my head down.

Nice to see another Who fan here. Why not paint the bus blue? Just do white above the windows for heat issues. My bus is going to be red and white, possibly with a bit of black here and there as a separation. I still haven't made any final decisions about paint myself.

My conversion will be much slower than yours as for the most part I am the only one working on it.

I do have a favor to ask of you if you wouldn't mind, or better yet have a child handy who wouldn't mind. I want to build underbody storage boxes like your bus has but have no idea how to attach them. Could you please take some pictures under your bus where the luggage bays attach to the floor or the frame or whatever they attach to so I can figure out how to put mine on?

I have seen a couple of different methods used here but I'd really like to know what Bluebird did.
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Old 06-15-2014, 04:15 AM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Edmonton, Alberta Canada
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Year: 1992
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Chassis: All Canadian FE
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Re: Family Tardis

Quote:
Originally Posted by MistRiver
Are the dogs going with?
Ideally, yes. We will leave them with a sitter while we travel, then do "doggy daycare" with friends or my Mom if needed after we park. Of course, when we got the dogs several years ago, had I but known... Fortunately they are portable pooches (chihuahua and a pug/bichon cross) which makes it a much simpler decision. Now, a great dane - we'd be having an incredibly different conversation lol What kind o mutt do you have?
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fly the coop
Fig. to escape; to get out or get away. (Alludes to a chicken escaping from a chicken coop.) I couldn't stand the party, so I flew the coop. The prisoner flew the coop at the first opportunity.

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Old 06-16-2014, 06:31 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 18
Year: 1996
Chassis: Bluebird
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Re: Family Tardis

Sara: Thanks


pictureLOVE: With three tiny people traveling with us we had to prioritize playspace. Our pup is a golden retriever/black lab. She is 6 and is starting to not like little people all over here so I think a small space with 4 tiny people with her not able to get away much would not be an awesome idea. She loves it with my oldest and her dog so it's all works out well for her.

orangepeel91: That is a good point as I am 5'10" and my husband is 5'11". I'm just not sure how else to do it and have everyone fit. I thought about blue but there are SO many blue buses it seems. We can definitely snatch pictures for you tonight. I'll try to get them posted when the kids go to bed.
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Old 06-17-2014, 07:25 PM   #15
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Rated Cap: 16
Re: Family Tardis

My bus is 10' shorter than yours, but admittedly it will most likely never be used by more than 4. For that matter 2 is going to be the normal max. I'm not just tall but wide also. I'm over 400lbs so a standard 36" shower just isn't going to be good enough for me. I can do 36" wide but want 48" long. That way I will have enough length to build a seat into the shower since I will not be able to stand up in it due to the curve of the roof. I am going with a center aisle. throne on drivers side so it will be directly over the black tank (remember most rv connections for electric and water are on the drivers side. Every public dump station I know of is set up that way). Anyhow throne on the drivers side and shower on the right.
You may want to consider ditching the long desk with bench seating for 6. Seems a huge waste of space when the kids can sit on couches and its easy enough to make lap desks that can store like folding chairs. Couches equal sleeping space after all.
You also may want to consider the bed idea, more specifically the ply area under it. My mattress is almost a foot thick by itself. You have to have enough room to get in and out of it after all. Then there's other things husbands and wives might wish to do from time to time. I have another idea that may just do the trick for you. pulleys mounted to the ceiling if you want to go cheap or linear actuators if you don't want to go cheap. Build a platform for the mattress then when being used as a play area use the pulleys (You did add rope to the pulleys right?) to life the mattress to the ceiling. When you want a bed for all those horizontal type activities lower it down to a normal height.

As for the pics of how the luggage bays attach to the bus thank you very much in advance.
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:39 AM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 18
Year: 1996
Chassis: Bluebird
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Re: Family Tardis

Orangepeel91: I've been thinking about what you were saying and redoing my floorplan to try to use the middle for actual walking more. We are hoping to do a seperatte (sp?) toilet if I can save enough for it. That way I can do away with black tank all together. Do people generally do the wiring in the floor or under the bus? The huge table is/was for eating/stationary computers/ect.. but I think you are right it's a lot of space. I may just see if maybe we just all switch to laptops. Even at a house we almost never actually eat at a table. We can eat on the couch beds. Maybe a cover over them that we pull off at night so the kids don't have crumbs in their bed. It's funny you say that about the pulleys, I was actually thinking about something like that when I was in the bus tonight. Having enough height to um... sit up seems like a good idea. I got your pic too! Sorry I couldn't get them yesterday, it was raining all day. Hope this works. Let me know if you need more than that. The pictures show off a lot of rust I didn't notice. lol
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:49 AM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
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Year: 1996
Chassis: Bluebird
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Re: Family Tardis

Layout take 3. Tried to utilize the middle for walking more and took the kids growing past wanting them in our bedroom into account.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:55 PM   #18
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Re: Family Tardis

I would think that if your kids are old enough for a sleepover, then they are old enough to sleep outside in a tent. I would not figure in extra sleeping for extra people.

So where are you going to put your clothes?
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:56 PM   #19
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Re: Family Tardis

Bunk beds work wonders.... Just a thought for grown kids......
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:00 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Re: Family Tardis

I know a 40' bus looks like a lot of space.
And it is.
Until you try to have 8 people living in it.
It isn't going to take anyone long to get sick and tired of family togetherness. In that amount of space there is NEVER any privacy.
Yes you can shut the bedroom door, but walls tend to be thin to not waste the space, therefore not insulated, therefore sound carries so even in your own room you'll still hear all the belching, farting and whining and that's just from your husband!
Never mind what you're going to hear from the kids.

lornaschinske raises an extremely valid point, you have allotted zero storage other than under beds. That's really going to suck when you go looking for the cereal in the morning. With 8 people to feed every day I don't really need to mention a pantry and food prep area will be necessary.

Easy to move the kid bed space above the cribs. that frees up 6 linear feet of space for large storage cabinets which you are going to desperately need. Also need to allow for some personal storage for each child too. toys books etc.. Play space. There is still murphy bed in the back idea so don't discount that one just yet. Additionally, crib mattresses are thin, easy enough to make the jail bar part foldable and hinge the entire crib platform to the wall. Fold bar part down and bottom part up against the wall and you have clear floor area from one side to the other except about 6" on each side that the folded cribs take up. Having the bar section hinged will make it easier to remove later when they're ready for their big kid beds too.

Back to storage. Did I hear you say something about the luggage bays? Don't. You can kiss at least a third of the space there goodbye. Water tanks have to go somewhere. Going to need space for the pump and water heater too. Propane tanks also if you're going with that.

Thank you very much for the picture. That shows exactly what I wanted to know. Apparently one of the ideas I had dismissed wasn't too far from what Bluebird did. At least now I know it will work. I'm saving the picture into my idea file on my puter.

Thanks again!
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