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Old 03-30-2017, 08:17 AM   #1
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: On the Road
Posts: 581
Year: 2000
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: 7.3L 210HP Turbo Diesel T444E
Rated Cap: 28 + 3 wheel chairs.
Smile I'm converting!

I finally was able to get my School Bus - after about a year of contemplating and researching. This is going to be an exciting adventure!

Why Get A School Bus?
1. I use to drive school buses in New Hampshire and Montana - and I loved it!
2. I need enough space to take my 3 rescue dogs with me (they don't all get along nicely).
3. I can make it what I want.
4. There are so many other reasons - but I find them safer than an RV.

IMG_6205.jpg
Here is my bus - I bought it at the Tampa Bus Market (Florida).

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Parking the bus - there is not much wiggle room here. It fits perfectly in my backyard.

Seat removal:
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IMG_6263.jpg
IMG_6294.jpg

The seats came out fairly easily - I decided to unbolt them versus grinding them off. It takes two people - but I was able to remove all 8 seats in less than an hour - and that is with the help of two dogs...

The Floor:
The wood under the floor was drenched. I am not sure how - but it was either soaking wet - or dried out dry. I recommend removing the floor. All of it. Just do it. It took me about 2 days to get the floor removed because of the wheel chair tracks - those were bolted in really well. I was able to unbolt most - and only had to grind off a few.

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Removing the rear heater. This was an issue - but I found an easy solution that didn't require any extra parts - I returned the line from the front heater, eliminating the back lines. It seems to have done the job - and I can worry about heat another time - but now I don't have the two one inch hoses running the length of the bus!
IMG_6407.jpg

The Lift was a task - but can be done by one person - Disconnect it from the battery - unbolt it - remove the wires that run to the door buzzers - slide it - push it out of the bus!
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IMG_6418.jpg

There was some surface rust - so I went to ACE Hardware and found some nice rust removers stuff... I am not good with product names...
After that I did some sanding - to remove any rust bubbles - a little more rust stop stuff - and then Primed it with Gripper Primer.

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This took me about a week to do - but overall time was probably about 12 hours of work...

The next step is putting down a new floor!

This is a lot of fun!

- Roger
Dog.rescuer

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Old 03-30-2017, 08:38 AM   #2
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Sweet progress. I'm really liking that size bus.

Jeep, bus, repeat.
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:54 AM   #3
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Location: Fairfield Bay, Arkansas
Posts: 162
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Chevy
Chassis: Ward?
Engine: 8.2 liter ?
Rated Cap: 24 Passenger
Nice work! Looks like about an 8 window bus?
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:57 AM   #4
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Location: On the Road
Posts: 581
Year: 2000
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: 7.3L 210HP Turbo Diesel T444E
Rated Cap: 28 + 3 wheel chairs.
It is - seems to be the perfect size for me! 28' from bumper to bumper.

IMG_6470.jpg



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Nice work! Looks like about an 8 window bus?
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Old 03-30-2017, 12:51 PM   #5
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
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Cool! I have a bus that's roughly the same size. We bought it to take our (rescued) dog on weekend trips with us!

I think this is the PERFECT size bus for driving around a lot and parking without a ton of hassle.

Can't wait to see more!

Are you coming to Travis and Michelle's BBQ on the 22nd?
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Old 04-01-2017, 03:34 AM   #6
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Location: NY
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
I love the size...It's what I was looking for initially.
Congratulations and good luck!

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Old 04-01-2017, 06:12 AM   #7
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Fairfield Bay, Arkansas
Posts: 162
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Chevy
Chassis: Ward?
Engine: 8.2 liter ?
Rated Cap: 24 Passenger
I have a six window and love the size but feel challenged somewhat while converting. Could use another few feet to do all I would like to do. maybe borrow a foot or two from you! Ha!
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Old 04-01-2017, 06:37 AM   #8
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: On the Road
Posts: 581
Year: 2000
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: 7.3L 210HP Turbo Diesel T444E
Rated Cap: 28 + 3 wheel chairs.
It is going to take a lot of reconfiguring from my original plans - but I am looking forward to seeing what my mind can do for me on this project!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rossfree View Post
I have a six window and love the size but feel challenged somewhat while converting. Could use another few feet to do all I would like to do. maybe borrow a foot or two from you! Ha!
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Old 04-08-2017, 11:09 AM   #9
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I'm on Dover Fl if you ever need an extra hand. Don't have a crazy amount of time but willing to help!

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Old 04-08-2017, 01:14 PM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
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Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,442
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
Great progress

Why buy a bus?
I think the pros far outweigh the cons!
But, I'm biased
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Old 04-08-2017, 07:32 PM   #11
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Looks like a great start! I'm just North of Orlando, and I've seen the Tampa Bus Market ad on CL for quite a while now. Were they easy to deal with? Their bus prices seem fair from what I've seen.
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:13 PM   #12
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: On the Road
Posts: 581
Year: 2000
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: 7.3L 210HP Turbo Diesel T444E
Rated Cap: 28 + 3 wheel chairs.
Great! I passed a few buses in this area that looked to be converted - or in the process. I will be parking up at a farm in Dover once I get the thing painted. It barely fits in my back yard!

IMG_6446.jpg

I have about a month left to finish pulling the side walls out - insulating - getting the floor done - and then painted. I hope to be rolling out for long weekends by June!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElDorado View Post
I'm on Dover Fl if you ever need an extra hand. Don't have a crazy amount of time but willing to help!

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Old 04-08-2017, 09:47 PM   #13
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Join Date: Oct 2014
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Year: 1987
Engine: 6.9L Diesel
Rocking a similar sized bus myself, good progress so far- power on brother!
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Old 04-08-2017, 10:32 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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We had to rush our conversion as well. Lease ended abruptly and job changed so went from a 6 month move in date to 45 days... It was hectic but a good motivation to get the ball rolling fast. We are currently parked at a friends farm as well lol

Just off Moore's lake and haynes rd. Let me know if I can help with anything, I'm about to start working on my electrical and undercarriage situation.

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Old 04-09-2017, 02:14 AM   #15
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Location: Sarasota
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Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 3800 7.3L
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skink View Post
Looks like a great start! I'm just North of Orlando, and I've seen the Tampa Bus Market ad on CL for quite a while now. Were they easy to deal with? Their bus prices seem fair from what I've seen.
They're exceptionally easy to deal with and you'll be very pleased. I actually met Roger (Dog Rescuer) while I went to buy it. We all sat and talked for a little while. I too have an 8 window, wheelchair door bus from Tampa Bus Market. Abraham is the man!

I picked it up last Tuesday (4/4) and love it!
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Old 04-09-2017, 07:56 AM   #16
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Quote:
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They're exceptionally easy to deal with and you'll be very pleased. I actually met Roger (Dog Rescuer) while I went to buy it. We all sat and talked for a little while. I too have an 8 window, wheelchair door bus from Tampa Bus Market. Abraham is the man!

I picked it up last Tuesday (4/4) and love it!

Good Deal, thanks guys!
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Old 04-09-2017, 08:35 AM   #17
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,405
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skink View Post
Good Deal, thanks guys!
If you don't need the bus TODAY, you can get a NICE bus for cheap if you watch the auction sites. The non-ebay sites like GovDeals and Public Surplus.

The bus in my signature link was $2150, and the shorty I daily drive was $1760
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f27/ea...ead-17069.html Even came with brand new tires.
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Old 04-09-2017, 09:44 AM   #18
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: On the Road
Posts: 581
Year: 2000
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: 7.3L 210HP Turbo Diesel T444E
Rated Cap: 28 + 3 wheel chairs.
They were very easy and nice to deal with. While the prices really don't seem negotiable - he will make sure that the bus is in good shape - he even replaced the front tires for me - offered to have seats all removed and the lift removed if I wanted (for no additional charge).
I didn't mind paying a little more for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skink View Post
Looks like a great start! I'm just North of Orlando, and I've seen the Tampa Bus Market ad on CL for quite a while now. Were they easy to deal with? Their bus prices seem fair from what I've seen.
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Old 04-09-2017, 05:26 PM   #19
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: On the Road
Posts: 581
Year: 2000
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: 7.3L 210HP Turbo Diesel T444E
Rated Cap: 28 + 3 wheel chairs.
Out for a drive

I took the bus out again - I still need to get the floors done - but I enjoy driving it around.

I notice a bit of a shake when driving about 55mph. I am guessing it is a simple wheel balance / alignment of the front. But then again, I am realize that nothing on the bus is as easy as it seems...

Any ideas on where to get an alignment for a school bus in the Tampa Area?

IMG_6550.jpg
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Old 04-09-2017, 05:34 PM   #20
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,405
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Any truck tire shop should be able to help you out. Or ask the dealer about that "dangerous shake" at 55 mph?!
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