Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-12-2020, 05:49 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 10
Birdhouse Build

HI
I am in the works of laying claim to a 1983 Bluebird 40 footer with the "Fuel Pincher" Detroit Diesel Turbo V8. Clock says 54k but it could be 154 as its short a digit. Little if any rust, came from Utah. The guy I'm buying from bought in Texas. I'm buying in Michigan but it was never driven up here.

It is already partially converted, which is great except for the prospect of raising the roof. I stand 6'4 and it has about an inch of hardwood flooring, so yeah it's going to be necessary. I can exist in it on a stool for a while. Lol.

Most of the windows are blanked out, the remaining ones have been replaced with RV windows. Unfortunately this looks to mean that the hat channel method is less likely to be the easiest way to go up. Maybe I just need to pull out the windows and do a little rework. Luckily he did not shoot the spray foam yet. Adding to the complication though, is a plywood shower stall built against the drivers wall at the rear wheel. It may be removable. He did most of the other mods as removable modules so it may not be bad.

It does also have riveted ceiling panels, so an above the windows cut might be tricky?


I'm liable to start living in this thing long before it is finished, so that will add to the fun. Lol!



On the plus side, it's coming with help to build and most or all of the major components needed to finish it, including 7 new tires, generator, 2 rooftop A/C units, a custom built 80 gal propane tank and a 120 gal upright water tank from a 747. Lololz!


Total price $7000.

I'll post some pics soon.
It's ugly as sin- looks like a swamp monster complete with green mossy crap on the roof and gross peely black primer, but it's solid and straight and runs good.
The guy still needs to get his detritus out of it. Hopefully I get to get busy soon. Assuming the Michigan winter permits it. It's been unusually mild so far.

Well, probably enough for now. Direction to an appropriate build thread regarding the roof job (non standard situation) would be appreciated.

Thanks
Franklin

Aka Birdhouse.
Hahaha
Birdhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 06:04 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 20,232
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Sounds awfully expensive. Have you already bought it?
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 06:06 PM   #3
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,116
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Welcome Franklin,

If you are not committed to that bus yet you may want to do a bit of reading on the 8.2 Fuel Pincher and the AT-545 transmission.

I would hate to see you spend top dollar for a bus then spend time and money completing the conversion only to find that the drive train doesn't suit you.

As a frame of reference: my 2002 Bluebird RE with the 8.3 Cummins and MD-3060 transmission with 180k miles was purchased at auction for $3450.

I have seen some reasonably equipped CE's go at auction lately for $1700-$2500.

Don't let the excitement of getting a new bus cloud your view.

Good luck.
PNW_Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 06:06 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,884
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
The 8.2 Detroit isn't one of their better engines, not very powerful and not a lot of parts availability for it either due to its age. Might be fine for moving a couple times a year, not so much if you plan on frequent road trips.


Hard for me to know without some pics but you may have to undo some of the work already done to raise the roof. Price is pretty high considering how much work will need to be done but new tires and other components included with the sale offset that.


I have one for sale here in GA for 3500 if interested. PM to discuss.
Brad_SwiftFur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 06:10 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 10
I dunno, maybe it is out of line.
I really haven't done a lot of homework on the matter, but the fact that most of the important parts are accounted for and it's readily available is important right now. My job may or may not be long for this world and I need something to relo when it goes kaput.

I'm sure I Could back out but ive put 6k in his hand already and I plan to do it.
Birdhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 06:13 PM   #6
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 20,232
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
10-4.
I guess you weren't looking for advice/opinions.

enjoy your bus man.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 06:17 PM   #7
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,116
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdhouse View Post
I
I really haven't done a lot of homework on the matter, ......... ive put 6k in his hand already and I plan to do it.
Sorry to hear that.
PNW_Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 06:20 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 10
All I know about the engine is what he reported about driving it back to Michigan from Texas. Said it was governed to 70, but did quite fine by his estimates. Got it to 120 in neutral. Crazy much?

He says he has much more than 7k into it already, no idea how much.

What is the Detroit 8.2's primary downfall?
Yeah I'd like a Cummins too, but whatever. When the crap hits the fan I can cram a Cummins in there?

I'm sure the $3500 GA bus is just a bus, old tires, etc? And 2500 miles away. Lol

Luckily fabrication is my favorite thing
Birdhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 06:23 PM   #9
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 20,232
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdhouse View Post
All I know about the engine is what he reported about driving it back to Michigan from Texas. Said it was governed to 70, but did quite fine by his estimates. Got it to 120 in neutral. Crazy much?

He says he has much more than 7k into it already, no idea how much.

What is the Detroit 8.2's primary downfall?
Yeah I'd like a Cummins too, but whatever. When the crap hits the fan I can cram a Cummins in there?

I'm sure the $3500 GA bus is just a bus, old tires, etc? And 2500 miles away. Lol

Luckily fabrication is my favorite thing
Dude I really am not trying to be a know it all or sound harsh but that bus hasn't ever gone 120 miles per hour. Just no way no how sorry man. WHoever told that one should not be trusted.
An early 80s bus, converted or not, doesn't go for the 7 grand on a really good day. Typically they sell at scrap or maybe a few hundo over if they have good tires.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 06:30 PM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,116
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Franklin,

We are not trying to pick on you. Quite the opposite. We are offering honest advice in an attempt to help you make a solid purchase.

Everyone who has chimed in so far has been around buses for a while and bring good knowledge to the table..

Don't take any of this as anything other than good intentioned advice from folks who know a lot more about buses than you do.

Once again, Good luck.
PNW_Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 06:31 PM   #11
Bus Geek
 
brokedown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
Posts: 2,965
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
I know this isn't what you wanted to hear but this is why we want people to join the forum and talk about their goals before purchasing. It's easy to end up buying the first bus you see, especially if you aren't aware of the technical differences between them. Then 8.2 Detroit isn't the worst motor ever made but it's not a motor anybody has on purpose.. And the AT545 is the worst transmission they used in school buses in the last 40 years, with serious constraints at highway speeds.
__________________
Keep up with us and our build!
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter
brokedown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 06:51 PM   #12
Bus Crazy
 
musigenesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 1,995
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
custom built 80 gal propane tank
I don't know anything about custom-building propane tanks. Anything risky about this?
__________________
Rusty 87 build thread
musigenesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 07:04 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 10
Yeah I hear your intentions. I appreciate it.
I wish everything in my life came easily and conveniently.
I guess it is the mass layoff at work that we are in the midst of, ongoing that motivated such a purchase in the first place.

While not perfectly ideal in a few ways (apparently a few more than I knew) it seemed close enough.

So what is the major downfall of said transmission? I find it easy to say that things are horrible. Yeah I guess I would love to find "the best bus ever made" but that seems unlikely right now.

He told me he found scads of rusted out piles that folks were asking 10k plus for, nothing cheap.
Birdhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 07:06 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 10
It wasn't a backyard built propane tank. It is complete with a manufacturer sticker, just built to his specs to fit just right.
Birdhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 07:09 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 10
Oh.
The AT545 is an automatic, yeah?

This girl has a stick shift.
5 speed with a 2 speed differential
Birdhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 07:14 PM   #16
Bus Geek
 
brokedown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
Posts: 2,965
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
The AT545 is a 4 speed automatic with a 1.00:1 ratio for top gear (aka no overdrive) and does not lock up in any gear. That means that your input shaft will always be spinning faster than your output shaft (after multiplying for the gear ratio), the transmission is always slipping. At higher loads (highway speeds and HILLS) the amount it slips will increase, on big hills you'll see your tachometer climb while your speed drops... And that slipping is turning horsepower into heat. heat being the common thing that kills AT545s.

In other transmissions where you do lock up, you get a mechanical connection as solid as a manual transmission, there's no slip, and very little energy lost to heat. For example, the MD3060 can lock up in every gear and is a 6 speed, double overdrive unit.
__________________
Keep up with us and our build!
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter
brokedown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 07:15 PM   #17
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 20,232
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdhouse View Post
Yeah I hear your intentions. I appreciate it.
I wish everything in my life came easily and conveniently.
I guess it is the mass layoff at work that we are in the midst of, ongoing that motivated such a purchase in the first place.

While not perfectly ideal in a few ways (apparently a few more than I knew) it seemed close enough.

So what is the major downfall of said transmission? I find it easy to say that things are horrible. Yeah I guess I would love to find "the best bus ever made" but that seems unlikely right now.

He told me he found scads of rusted out piles that folks were asking 10k plus for, nothing cheap.
"he told me" doesn't hold a lot of water here. find out for yourself.
It sure looks to me and probably others here that you're being sold a pig in lipstick.
Got any pics of it?
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 07:16 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 10
K
Please pull that line back and tell me about the 5 speed manual that is actually in this birdhouse?
Birdhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 07:19 PM   #19
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 20,232
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdhouse View Post
K
Please pull that line back and tell me about the 5 speed manual that is actually in this birdhouse?
Spicer 5 speed? No overdrive. Wide gears. Better than a 545.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2020, 07:21 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 10
No, it's a drag queen in pig poop.
It looks bad but I can see through it.

No pics yet

So, I read not-so-positive things about galvanized sheetmetal... ie what patched over the windows. Can this be dealt with if it ever goes for paint or is it a curse?

All that work was just pop riveted, I'm not scared of drilling out his rivets.
Birdhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:53 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×