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Old 10-13-2020, 04:34 PM   #1
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Bus weight

Hello all.
I am considering picking up a Skoolie bus and was wondering what everyone's weights were.
I am trying to do some research before pulling the trigger on the deal, but can't get it to a scale beforehand. I'm also curious to see how much some of these finished projects weigh.
If anyone can help me with the approximate starting weight of the bus I'm looking at, I would appreciate it.
The bus is a 85 Bluebird full size with 12 windows on each side( if that helps)
Thanks Folks.ad_4_1602528941976.jpg
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Old 10-13-2020, 04:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumpy5oh View Post
Hello all.
I am considering picking up a Skoolie bus and was wondering what everyone's weights were.Attachment 49913
It really will vary. Seating capacity, equipment and options all are a factor. There are a few here who have actually weighed a similar bus before and / or after build-out, but that will be specific to their bus and how it was built and converted, essentially a shot in the dark speculation to any other bus. It's likely they will be close, but as an OTR truck driver, I've seen scales that weren't accurate as well... Just my $0.02.

I would venture a guess, however, that this one you're looking at is likely around 10,000 - 14,000 lbs empty. And even that could be way off.

One thing I notice is that this one appears to have split rim wheels. If it does, that can be an issue getting tires - many shops won't touch them, as they make it highly dangerous to mount and dismount tires.

Being an 80s GM chassis, I am curious what engine it has. The 8.2 Detroit Diesel is an okay engine, but hard to find someone who knows these engines, they are a bit obscure. The exhaust smell is overpowering as well due to its injection setup.
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Old 10-13-2020, 05:16 PM   #3
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Thank you for the response and the great articles you PM'd me.
I am just looking for ballpark weights and understand the huge number of variables that affect everyone's numbers.
The engine in the bus is a 6.0l 366 gasser with a 4sp automatic transmission.
Is it possible to have the rear wheels upgraded?
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Old 10-13-2020, 05:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Lumpy5oh View Post
Thank you for the response and the great articles you PM'd me.
I am just looking for ballpark weights and understand the huge number of variables that affect everyone's numbers.
The engine in the bus is a 6.0l 366 gasser with a 4sp automatic transmission.
Is it possible to have the rear wheels upgraded?
I think it might be easier to swap axles (front and rear) if it is split rim. However, that's not totally a bad thing if it's hydraulic brake, can give you the opportunity to upgrade to air brakes, though both are a bit involved to do. Would also give the opportunity to upgrade to a rear axle gear ratio more suitable to your intended driving.

The wheels I speak of that are dangerous to mount are referred to as Dayton wheels. The safer, more modern design are known as Budd wheels. They have two to five handholds and are a solid one-piece design (essentially two pieces welded together, but essentially one piece, as opposed to the Daytons).

The 366 is an excellent engine, but keep it below 4000 rpm, it isn't designed to spin any faster. My guess would be you would probably be looking at about a 12,000-lb empty weight before build-out and about 55-60 mph top speed cruising...

The 4-speed auto you mention is likely an AT545, not the best one out there, unfortunately. It's okay if you're not doing a lot of highway cruising or mountain driving, but it's the basic offering and fairly weak compared to the MT643, its beefier sibling...

Here is a way to tell the difference... The MT643's fluid pan has a temperature sensor, usually on the driver's side of the pan. The AT545 does not. The MT643 also has a different trans mount pattern than the AT545... Here is a quick ID guide to Allison automatics...


I don't mention these things so much as a 'walk-away' if the bus will still serve your purposes (a tiny home that spends 98% of its time parked doesn't have as much cause for concern for these sorts of things), but more of a consideration for bargaining power on price should you find it will serve your purposes.
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Old 10-13-2020, 05:48 PM   #5
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37' flat front, no seats, not sure if walls and ceiling were down yet, but hit the scales at 19400.
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Old 10-13-2020, 10:07 PM   #6
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Mine's a "6-window" shorty that weighed 14,180 more or less "as built".
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Old 10-13-2020, 10:42 PM   #7
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The answer is "too much"
Pretty much 20,000 to 25,000 empty, and with a 40ft space, crammed full of a household, probably 30,000. If weight is an issue, don't even think about a school bus.
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Old 10-13-2020, 10:50 PM   #8
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I think OP may be concerned about CDL requirements. Not required when titled and registered as a motorhome.
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:08 AM   #9
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Thanks for the input guys.
My main concern is carrying capacity. I'm looking at shrinking the living quarters and carrying a 6000lb jeep on the back. I know the GVWR of this particular bus is 11560kg (aprox 25500lbs). I may be pushing the limits with this bus.
I was drawn to this bus because it is already registered as an RV and I was going to be able to make a trade for the things I have that the bus would replace.
Thank you again Cheese.
The bus has already been converted to air brakes, so I'd have to look at my options on wheels.
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:30 AM   #10
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I can not see from the picture ... the empty weight is usually stenciled on the passenger side under the fuel door.


What I *can* see from the picture is that there are rust streaks running along EVERY one of the ribs! It looks like the ribs at the windows are very rusty. No telling what other rust deposits there are.
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Old 10-18-2020, 07:35 PM   #11
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40' rear engine with the seats out was 22,000. GVW is 36,000 with 4 - 11R22.5 14PR tires on the rear and 16PR steer. I'm thinking of putting 16PR on the rear to add another 2,400 to my max if i start getting close with my tow and build weight.20200714_150737.jpg
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Old 10-18-2020, 09:47 PM   #12
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12 windows means 72 kids; if you assume 100 pounds per kid (not an unreasonable assumption in the land of corn syrup) that's a 7200+ pound load as just a normal part of the operation of the bus. Being all on the back axle would be different, though.
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Old 10-19-2020, 06:29 AM   #13
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My bus was 11 windows, and converted it weighs just under 18,000 with water and fuel full.


By the way if it really does have split rims it is easy to buy non split rims. The modern tubeless rims that fit on Dayton wheels are 22.5" diameter, and would take a 10R22.5 tire. for your application.
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Old 10-19-2020, 06:40 AM   #14
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It is hard to tell from the picture but they might already be the newer 22.5 rims. See what size the tires are. If they are 9.00-20 then they would be on a split rim, if 10R22.5 then it is the modern tubeless rim that any tire shop should have no problem with.\


Dayton hubs are not a problem , no need to change the hub.
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Old 10-19-2020, 09:33 PM   #15
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My 65 passenger (11 window) conventional bus came in at 21,400 lbs after conversion with a full 75 gallon water tank and 40 gallons of diesel in the tank
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Old 10-21-2020, 04:30 PM   #16
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Rex is that you?
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Old 10-21-2020, 05:12 PM   #17
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2009 Bluebird FE All American 33,000 lbs. 28 ft bumper to bumper. Conversion in process.
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Old 10-21-2020, 05:31 PM   #18
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Lumpy:
My1976 All American BB weighs in at 23,000 with conversion, loaded probably 26,000 with food, motorcycles or what ever. I think the All American is a heavier bus than newer models I have looked at, mine is @ 33,500 gross. That big block will turn 5,000 RPM easy but most torque and HP is in the 4,000 RPM area, much below that and power drops off fast.The old grain trucks ran the crap out of them and ran for ever, they even put 16 speed double stick trannys behind them to keep them in their torque range, exhaust manifolds red hot past the pipe junction if you peaked through the fender well while they were climbing a hill. Ah the good ol days.
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Old 10-21-2020, 08:00 PM   #19
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I can't help you with an all-up weight, but if you want to know how much weight you can shed by stripping the interior, here are the actual numbers from my '02 Thomas:
Attached Files
File Type: doc Component Weights word.doc (75.5 KB, 11 views)
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Old 10-21-2020, 08:06 PM   #20
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REX? Is that you?
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