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Old 01-22-2021, 07:23 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Texas
Posts: 35
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: T 444
Rated Cap: 71
1997 bluebird international 3800 for sale or trade

I am in the process of converting this bus, purchased in March of 2020. It has just under 60K miles (was used as substitute for most of its Texas school life). No rust. Starts, runs and drives great! I have been going slowly with the conversion, trying to do things "right" and with an eye toward aesthetics, flexibility and accessibility for potential future modifications.

I am having a blast with the process, but when I think about how we might actually USE the bus, I am wishing I had purchased a smaller bus. Mostly would be for weekend trips, just my husband and me. This bus is really bigger than we need and want, although it is a great bus and is in great shape. No rust. T444 engine. Tires have good tread, but are older, and I personally would replace before taking out on a long trip.

I am an amateur welder and woodworker, so mostly I am doing this for the "project" aspect of it. I'm not looking to make a profit or reimburse my time, just be able to get a smaller bus that will be more useable for us.

Here's SOME of what I've done so far:
-completed process for registration as motor home in Texas.
-complete engine maintenance and service at professional diesel shop.
-gutted seats, floor and side panels.
-all windows removed, thoroughly cleaned and resealed.
-3/4" plywood subfloor over 1/2" foam insulation and vapor barrier.
-opted to leave metal ceiling in place (rivets!!!), although this could still be removed without difficulty.
-insulated upper and lower walls, floors, front and rear bulkheads with rigid foam.
-painted metal ceiling (still may opt to do headliner)
-custom front wooden front bulkhead unit with speakers mounted and storage area
-custom wooden cabinet to replace driver's electrical box with new switches and copper anodized switch panels
-opted to leave vehicle AC and heaters in place (Texas is too hot AND too cold to drive without them) and had extensive professional service ($3800), with placement of two new compressors, all new coolant hoses and wiring.
-90% of original bus wiring has been traced and either labeled, repurposed or removed. New vehicle fuse block.
-120v ac shore power with 6 circuit breakers installed
-"house" 12v wiring started for lights, chargers, etc.
-repaired/replaced locks on front and rear doors.
-installed junkyard driver and passenger seats from a Chevrolet Uplander with new covers, proper grade 8 installation, retractable 3 point seat belts, seat heaters and custom swiveling pedestal bases
-rear view cameras (one high and one low) and monitor installed
-extensive thermal and sound insulation to driver's area, stepwell and firewall... lowered ambient noise from driver's seat from 78 dB to 66 dB
-all new LED marker lights
-flashers repurposed to additional "off road" lighting
-new custom floor mats for front area (thick rubber stall mats)
-minor exterior blemishes/holes repaired with body filler and/or epoxy resin

SO, what I'm wondering is if anyone out there has a 5-8 window short bus they would like to trade or if anyone would like to purchase my bus for a reasonable price so I can buy a short bus. Thinking I would prefer a van cutaway style, but would also consider short dog nose.

The price will vary, depending upon what options the buyer/trader would like to have vs. what I would be able to keep for my next build. I am not looking to profit, just come out "fair". I paid $4500 for the bus, plus about $1000 for maintenance and service, plus about $3800 for the AC and heater repair. I have all receipts and can provide them if anyone is seriously interested. I probably will need somewhere between $10-12k (which could be partially or completely offset by short bus). I plan to upload some new pics on my profile soon.

Thanks for reading! Sorry for being longwinded.

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Old 01-23-2021, 04:01 PM   #2
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Interested

Posting so I can be notified when pictures are uploaded.
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Old 01-23-2021, 06:26 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Texas
Posts: 35
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: T 444
Rated Cap: 71
Pics of 1997 Bluebird

I’m sorry. I don’t know how to add pics to this thread...

But if you access my profile (rustymetalgirl) and look at the sub9bus album, they are there.

If there are specific other shots you would like to see, please let me know, and I can add them. Thanks!
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Old 01-31-2021, 11:39 PM   #4
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Question

Pictures??
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Old 02-01-2021, 01:01 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Texas
Posts: 35
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: T 444
Rated Cap: 71
Please access my profile, RUSTYMETALGIRL, and view album sub9bus. Sorry, but I am unable to post photos to this thread.
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Old 02-01-2021, 11:33 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Texas
Posts: 35
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: T 444
Rated Cap: 71
Guessing that means I just don’t know how to post them! Thanks,
Rossvtaylor!
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Old 02-01-2021, 11:45 AM   #8
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I'm happy to help! Good luck with the sale. Looks like you did some good things to it.
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Old 02-01-2021, 12:03 PM   #9
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Chassis: CE 300
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustymetalgirl View Post
Guessing that means I just don’t know how to post them! Thanks,
Rossvtaylor!
You can't post pics until you've made at least 5 posts on this forum (spam protection). You're up to 8 now so you should be able to do it yourself.
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Old 02-01-2021, 12:33 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Texas
Posts: 35
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: T 444
Rated Cap: 71
Thanks! Will give it a shot!
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Old 02-04-2021, 11:18 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Texas
Posts: 35
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: T 444
Rated Cap: 71
I’ve had a fair amount of interest in this bus. The one question, commonly asked, that I can’t answer, is which transmission it has. The engine is T444, and it seems like this is commonly paired with the AT545, which no one really wants. But I don’t have any info from Bluebird VIN search or paperwork that came with the bus to answer it...

Can anyone tell me what I can do to identify it from the bus itself? Are there any identifying characteristics I can find on the bus or the transmission itself?

Thanks!
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Old 02-04-2021, 07:25 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Posts: 26
Did you try emailing BlueBird with the VIN? I did that for an International Genesis bus from Navistar and they were able to tell me what transmission it was built with.
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Old 02-04-2021, 07:38 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Texas
Posts: 35
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: T 444
Rated Cap: 71
Will try that! Thanks!
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Old 02-04-2021, 07:47 PM   #14
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Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Posts: 2,490
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f33/h...pecs-1641.html


AT545 vs MT643 transmissions.
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Old 02-04-2021, 08:39 PM   #15
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Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
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Elliot's link is helpful and I agree that looking at the "simple" or "complex" mounting pad mentioned in that discussion is right on. But I've found it easier to identify the difference by looking for the bolted section at the aft/back end of the transmission, or the lack of that, especially when it's caked in grease and dirt. This page might help show what I mean...

Screen Shot 2021-02-04 at 7.31.44 PM.png
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Old 04-30-2021, 08:38 PM   #16
Almost There
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 85
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Girardian Handicapped Commercial
Chassis: E-450
Engine: Ford 7.3L
Rated Cap: 9,000
Any news on the trans?
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Old 05-01-2021, 01:47 AM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Texas
Posts: 35
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: T 444
Rated Cap: 71
Turns out my transmission is an AT 545. Has posed no problems to us in terms of operation or overheating, but we haven’t really stressed it, either.
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Old 05-01-2021, 07:33 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Texas
Posts: 35
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: T 444
Rated Cap: 71
Have continued work on this bus as time allows, while searching for my “perfect” short bus. Currently have my heart set on a Chevy Collins 5 window (or preferably 6 with a WC door school bus.

Have now completed priming, sealing all seams and rivets and painting the roof with rustoleum canvas white (sort of a cream color). Have not listed for sale elsewhere until I complete a few more odds and ends.

Have been watching all the usual places for Chevy Collins in the Texas area without finding the right one. Anybody know of any less than 500 miles from Tyler, TX?

Thanks!
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Old 05-01-2021, 08:08 PM   #19
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Freedom Field, New Mexico
Posts: 299
Year: 1998
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Amtrans
Engine: 444E
Rated Cap: 84 pas
At 545

Quote:
Originally Posted by rustymetalgirl View Post
I’ve had a fair amount of interest in this bus. The one question, commonly asked, that I can’t answer, is which transmission it has. The engine is T444, and it seems like this is commonly paired with the AT545, which no one really wants. But I don’t have any info from Bluebird VIN search or paperwork that came with the bus to answer it...

Can anyone tell me what I can do to identify it from the bus itself? Are there any identifying characteristics I can find on the bus or the transmission itself?

Thanks!
I believe the tranny in our bus is also the AT 545 linked to the T444E. It cruises down the highway at 73.5 MPH (darn Governor), Has no troubles on the hill climb. No overheating. We towed a Jeep liberty on a U Haul trailer from Colorado Springs Back to deming with no problems.

We've put 14,000 miles on it since we bought it. Mostly desert driving with a lot of up and down hills on hot days.

Just my opinion, but it's not a junk tranny.
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Old 05-20-2021, 09:56 AM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Texas
Posts: 35
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: T 444
Rated Cap: 71
Update:

Have purchased a 2009 Chevy Collins from Hudson Bus Sales in Cleburne, TX. Very happy with my bus and the purchase experience with Hudson.

Have now listed my Bluebird locally for what I have in it, but the price is negotiable ... if it doesn’t sell fairly soon, I may place it in Cleburne for consignment sale at Hudson Bus Sales.
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