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Old 07-28-2020, 10:58 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Evansville, Indiana USA
Posts: 58
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American RE
Engine: Cummins 3126
Rated Cap: 66
The Wandering Jackalopes

We might call the bus Jack, or maybe Jackie, but regardless, we're definitely the Jackalopes on this journey!

Our bus is a 2000 Blue Bird All American RE that's a little beat up body-wise, but really solid, rust-free, and with tons of potential! We're planning on taking our time and doing it right. Past projects include a motorcycle garage (Tim), converting the 2nd floor of a barn into a music recording studio (Tim) and building a cottage from a kit (with some professional help) that started as a place for guests, but evolved into an art studio for Dharma Cowgirl, Jewelry (Tim and EJ).

This bus will certainly be our most ambitious project to date and will require LOTS of learning! We have some advantages, as I've been doing woodworking for many years and have some machining skills, though I suck at welding. Fortunately we have a friend who is an expert welder and metalsmith.

Today we began our work in earnest, using a hydraulic ram to push out some dented in body panels from a previous driver clipping some corners too close. This is one of those times when Harbor Freight is actually a great resource, as this potentially one-time-needed tool only cost $170 and did the job in about 30 minutes.

Here's the Ram kit that we bought. It worked well. I don't know if we'll ever need it again, but I think it might come in handy around the property.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Harbor Freight Hydraulic Ram.jpg (495.4 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Getting ready to use the ram .jpg (409.3 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg The undercarriage of our bus.jpg (285.9 KB, 11 views)
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Old 08-10-2020, 11:29 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Evansville, Indiana USA
Posts: 58
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American RE
Engine: Cummins 3126
Rated Cap: 66
Making small steps of progress...

The demolition work on our bus has commenced! This past week we removed the exterior reflectors, all of the seats, and we also fixed the door that had a bent frame by removing the glass, torquing the door frame until it was straight, and reinstalling the glass.

When it's just me working on the bus, I focus on things that are more of a "one person" type job, like sorting out the wiring and pulling dents with a stud welder and slide hammer.

The only seriously rusted part of the bus (that I have found so far) is the floor of the circuit breaker panel. Apparently water would get in through the gasket and sit in the bottom, oxidizing and eating away at the metal. It's not serious, but I'll definitely want to address both the cause and the result.

Most of the seats we were able to remove by unbolting with one person underneath the bus with a crescent wrench or socket wrench, and the other inside, with an impact driver. You can guess who was underneath the bus.

The last 3 rows were easier to remove by splitting the bolts with a cut-off wheel and then using a chisel or grinder to knock the remaining pieces off. It wasn't too bad, and I only wore out 1 grinding wheel and 1 cut-off wheel.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_0023.jpg (437.6 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0024.jpg (181.7 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0026.jpg (195.9 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0029.jpg (175.1 KB, 3 views)
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