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Old 10-24-2007, 04:21 PM   #1
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Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

Hi everyone:

I've been lurking here a while and am in the process of looking for a bus now. I'd like to better understand the differences between the All American and TC2000 buses from the mid 90s. Can anyone elaborate on them? I'm interested in the rear engine flavors of both.

thx - Tony
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Old 10-24-2007, 04:40 PM   #2
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

I know that the TC2000's usually have the 5.9L Cummins engine in them. From everything I've read on here, that's a very good engine. I like the All American FE's too. They're about the biggest buses I've seen at 15 windows! WOO HOO! I'd love to have one of those. I've seen some big TC2000's as well. If you're not looking for the biggest bus you can get, I don't think you can go wrong with a TC2000.
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Old 10-24-2007, 05:03 PM   #3
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

Size is an important consideration. I have 5 kids and I'd like to have room for more than just bunks...
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Old 10-24-2007, 06:12 PM   #4
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

GOOD LORD! Five kids? Tie that thing in a knot! In that case, I'd certainly look for a 14 or 15 window bus. I think Phillbus has a 14 window TC2000. I'd have to look at his pictures again. You could have a master bed in the back, and then bunks in front of that. Two or three on each side. I've done some measurements in my bus. I think two bunks is ideal. If you stack three on top of each other, it's doable, but a little cramped. Kids might not care though. You could have two bunks on each side of the bus and have one kid sleep on the couch. Or, make a dinette that folds into a bed. Dinette's aren't big enough for adults really, but they're perfect for kids. At any rate, I would definitely go for a big 14 or 15 window bus with that many people. You would want a full size couch and a dinette that seats 4 people so you can all ride up front when going down the road. I don't think you could go wrong with a TC2000 or an All American FE. One of those two buses will be my next bus purchase a few years down the road.
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:36 PM   #5
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

You might also want to look at some of the Thomas Transit style (rear engine) bus too, while mine may only be a 12 window bus, most I've seen are 13 window units, and I've seen some much longer too, even one with a tag axle on it. You should also consider finding one with undercarriage storage compartment already on it, they are out there but somewhat rare. This will give you tremendous storage capacity for 'stuff' that does not need to into the main cabin area (lawn chairs, grills, etc...)
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Old 10-24-2007, 09:08 PM   #6
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

Quote:
Originally Posted by KC10Chief
GOOD LORD! Five kids? Tie that thing in a knot!. . .
[jack]Hey. . .We've got six (we'd have 9 if they had all lived), c'mon, if WE don't raise the next generation of skoolies, who will?!? [/jack]
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Old 10-24-2007, 11:22 PM   #7
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneCamping
You might also want to look at some of the Thomas Transit style (rear engine) bus too, while mine may only be a 12 window bus, most I've seen are 13 window units, and I've seen some much longer too, even one with a tag axle on it. You should also consider finding one with undercarriage storage compartment already on it, they are out there but somewhat rare. This will give you tremendous storage capacity for 'stuff' that does not need to into the main cabin area (lawn chairs, grills, etc...)
I had started out looking at Thomas, but I was told (by a good source) that their RE buses wouldn't handle as well on the highway as the Bluebirds or others. Is that something that others have also observed? A large part of my use will be interstate highway travel.

I am definitely seeking a bus with storage compartments underneath. I would also like as high a ceiling as possible - though I'm inspired by the people here who have raised roofs, so that might be something I could be flexible on.
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Old 10-25-2007, 05:54 AM   #8
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

Personally, I may be a bit biased here, but I prefer blue bird over thomas. We got 10 new thomas/freightliners at work, and the interiors ceilings rattle like mad. I do like the C2, but I am sure it will be a while before we see those on the market for conversions.
My choice would be the All American over the TC, but only for the size difference.
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Old 10-25-2007, 11:52 AM   #9
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

So are the differences just size and perhaps engine choice? Are they otherwise built the same in general?
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:44 PM   #10
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

They pretty much are the same, just I believe the all american is built to a higher standard than the TC. The TC's we have dont seem to go longer than 10 years without needing MAJOR work. However, if you get a good one from the south or another rust free zone, you would be ok. Our frames seemed to rot out fast. Also, the all american is better equipped option wise too. My bus has a complete gauge cluster, the TC usually just had the basics. IMHO, either one would be good, but if you are looking for a good one, go with the all american.

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Old 10-26-2007, 09:24 AM   #11
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

I am not sure about the TC2000 but the All American's are completely galvanized except the frame and are very heavily built buses, meant to last forever. sportyrick
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Old 10-26-2007, 09:53 PM   #12
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

Quote:
Originally Posted by 91BBAA
Personally, I may be a bit biased here, but I prefer blue bird over thomas. We got 10 new thomas/freightliners at work, and the interiors ceilings rattle like mad. I do like the C2, but I am sure it will be a while before we see those on the market for conversions.
My choice would be the All American over the TC, but only for the size difference.
I too prefer bluebird over thomas. I work weekend trips at the first student by me and I always rather have a bluebird over a thomas. The BB they have are conventional international with a t444e which just seem to run smoother, shake less and smell cleaner and a lot more room up front to put my stuff than the newer thomas freightliners which seem to shake at idle, smell bad and just lack the power and they have a cat under the hood and no room to put anything. The ones I really liked there were 94 and older internationals with 408's and 360's under the hood, jackknife door and loads of room to the left to put my laptop and my cooler for a nice full day of sitting time.

Now this weekend all the BB's and FL's are out on rentals so it looks like I'll be stuck in a new this year international/internaional. I just hope that steering wheel doesn't give me problems with the door.

As for me I have never been in an All American and I've only been in a tc2000 once so I can't compare the two. I was in a transshuttle (tc1000) for more than 6 years and it was a good smooth ride with one engine overhaul, one electrical fire, 3 rear ends 3rd electronic dash and windsheilds that seem to chip easy. The windsheilds may chip easy on any stub nose bus though. I still drive the bus when someone else needs the current one I use now cause I still like driving the real bus and not one of them fiberglass units.
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:54 PM   #13
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

Anyone know of a source for RE All Americans from the mid '90s? They seem pretty scarce. Do they come in various ceiling heights like the Thomas buses or are they all the same?
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Old 11-01-2007, 02:05 PM   #14
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

Well, I haven't been checking this site much the last couple of weeks (life gets busy!) but I've got to comment on this. I have five children and would love to have more. They are the most precious blessing one could ever hope for!!

I regularly drive the All American (I'm leaving on my route in a couple of minutes on a new one), the TC2000 (low end Blue Bird), Thomas MVP, and I own an older Thomas RE. The older Thomas RE are EXCELLENT buses. The new ones are junk compared to Blue Bird. It happened in the '90's when Thomas became Freightliner.

I don't know who told you that Thomas RE buses don't handle as well on the highway, but they don't know what they're talking about. For highway travel the RE is the only way to go. The ride is smoother and quieter. The handling is great. The only advantage of a FE over RE is if you want a big door with a ramp in the back to bring your ATV along with you.

Look for a Thomas RE SatTLiner from the mid 80's to early 90's. They ran the CAT 3208 until '90 (like BlueBird did) and then switched over to Cummins to meet emission standards. The SafTliner compares to the All American. The TC2000 RE is nice but it's a lower end compared to the SafTLiner. Of course I'm talking early 90' and earlier!
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Old 11-01-2007, 07:17 PM   #15
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

I read some stuff on another forum called schoolbusfleet.com, not a skoolie site. One thread listed some differences between the AA and the Tc2000. The TC frame is more of a medium duty frame and the AA frame is more like a HD OTR truck frame. TC's have less options to compete on school bids. I myself don't know anything about TC's. I'll tell you that my 1989 AA RE weighs 22,700 pounds with my butt in the seat. That is with all the seats removed. My rear axle is a 23k and my front axle is a 13,400+/-. It is definately one stout SOB. If you want to haul any toys, don't buy a RE bus unless you have a large door for a wheelchair lift. Maybe some people with TC's can give details about their busses. I do have a 1985 BBAA for sale, but it is a gas FE. Both engine and trans have been rebuilt. It is in WV. PM me if you are interested.
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Old 11-01-2007, 07:28 PM   #16
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

Rick:

Thanks for the info. The kids are great - they are a big part of why I am interested in doing a skoolie conversion.

I think the comment regarding stability of RE Thomas on the highway was meant just in comparison to other RE buses that are available. But I am glad to hear of your experience. Do you know exactly what model year Thomas became Freightliner?

Does anyone know of VIN decoders for Thomas or other bus manufactures like this one for Bluebird?

Can anyone comment on the overall quality of International/AmTram RE buses?

crazycal - thanks for the hint about that forum - I found the thread here. That also gives me a better idea of how the All American is built - and explains the prices I've seen for them...

thx again - Tony
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:12 AM   #17
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

Does anyone know anything about the 8.3L cummins they put in some All-Americans? Does it have the same reputation as the 5.9L?
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:32 PM   #18
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

Better.
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Old 12-22-2007, 10:02 AM   #19
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

I don't hear about too many 8.3's. SOmeone told me that it won't run well on veggie oil. How is the 8.3 better than the 5.9. Doe's it use a lot of the same components, ip, lift pump, injectors, etc?
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Old 12-22-2007, 12:30 PM   #20
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Re: Comparing Bluebird TC2000 and All American

They are in a LOT of trucks. I have one in my 89 BBAA. If I had a choice of all the engines available(in school buses), the 8.3 Cummins would be my first choice hands down. More cubes, more power than most of the other engines in school buses. The Cat 3208 turbo would be good too. I can't see why the 8.3 mechanical would have a problem with veggie juice.
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