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Old 01-11-2017, 03:40 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 5
looking for a little advice

Hello guys,

I am currently looking at a vintage bluebird and any comments or advice would be very helpful. the following is the ad:

Ford SuperDuty V8 534 powered Bluebird 31' motorhome. Yes, a 534. Runs well, two new front 22.5 tires, and four, used, take-off commercial tires on rear approximately one year ago. Tires have 1200 miles on them.

All new items approximately 1.5 year old. 4 deep cycle RV batteries, 3000 watt Inverter, CO detector, faucet, showerhead, window gaskets, window molding. CD player, and 4 Pioneer speakers. 30 inch led tv, wall mounted. Various plugs and extension cord adapters.

Maintenance done since I have had it (last 15 months); New exhaust on generator, generator oil change, oil change, air filters, and radiator antifreeze change on main engine, tires, batteries, resealed all windows, packed and sealed (aluminum roofrack) bolts to body, new items above, new teak laminate floors with lots of extra flooring, new Italian tile on steps and in bathroom, antifreeze overflow bottle, side paneling. Includes leather passenger chair (similar to driver chair but is not air-assisted), but removed from bus for floor installation. Bus has been plugged into 30amp service for last year. Batteries kept fully charged and maintained properly.

Roof -- railing recaulked and sealed, all vents and covers resealed. Two, new Fantastic Fan covers replaced. Can walk on and store additional equipment on roof, and inside large cargo shell. Dual air horns (not working), multiple antennas for radios. Secondary aftermarket radiator (not operating, needs pulley belt, overflow antifreeze bottle.). Both roof AC units worked when tested a year ago, and when on generator the few times I ran them.

Body -- All bay doors work and have retaining chains. All glass intact, some have age-hazing, and degraded tint film that is in the dual-pane sandwich layer. All lights work. Various decal peels and several spots repainted over the years. Awning works well and was replaced with new fabric sometime before I got the bus.

Mechanical -- Front engine fires up and runs strong! Ford V8 monster. About 10mpg when I drove it down from Michigan to Florida. But no I did not have generator on. Steering pump will need rebuilding and have reduced the price since I can't seem to get to that issue with my current workload. Gas tank just drained and fresh gas added recently. Run bi-weekly. Have not tested or run the propane (OEM tank is 1/3 full), or various heaters in-cabin. I planned to have removed if I kept the bus. Small air leak in the air pressure system, but it operates correctly when braking, and operating bus. Fridge and freezer work great, except inside light. 2 Fantastic fans work, but seems to be a ground issue as they sometimes don't work and will flicker. Lots of LED lights in cabin. All seem to work and previous owner was a light business owner and upgraded many lights. A LOT of gauges, toggles, switches, buttons and assorted widgets on dash that I have never operated and really have not looked into. Holding tanks are still installed and have not been used. The freshwater tank under bed was removed and some frozen waterpipes repaired, and was replaced in original position. Tank was tested and put back, including new subfloor, but has not been used. 5-gal Hot water tank under bed is still there, but not tested. Toilet and shower not tested or used.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:56 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Danglebury, Tejas
Posts: 310
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH 3800
Engine: Navistar DT466E
Rated Cap: 72 passenger
Missing one critical bit of data: Price.
"You can finally say you have enough horsepower when you leave two black streaks from corner to corner"
(Mark Donohue, famed TransAm driver)
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Old 01-11-2017, 07:25 PM   #3
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You are correct. It was going for 8,000.
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Old 01-11-2017, 07:37 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,382
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
Originally Posted by GreyCoyote View Post
Missing one critical bit of data: Price.
And year, or did I miss that?
I once complained I had no shoes....
Until I met a man with no feet
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Old 01-11-2017, 07:44 PM   #5
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1977 Vintage Bluebird Wanderlodge RV
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Old 01-12-2017, 03:34 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,211
Wanderlodges were one of the better RV's on the road. The older ones were school buses that were pulled off of the main production line and run next door to be completed on the Wanderlodge production line.

While there were supposed to be "standard" floor plans and amenities, almost all Wanderlodges were custom orders. I don't think Blue Bird ever made a single bus or RV that hadn't been ordered by someone. They never build anything on speculation.

I think whomever wrote the description is into writing fiction. In my experience nothing with a 534 Ford V-8 ever went someplace at 10 MPG, even downhill with a tail wind. School buses with that engine were lucky to see 4 MPG on a trip and 3 MPG on routes. The average was usually more like 2-3 MPG. A friend's father had a C-800 10-wheel flatbed dump with the 534. They got 1 MPG when it was fully loaded. I have never heard of the Ford 390 or 429 truck engines getting over 5-7 MPG on a good day.
To be fair, on the flat ground that big V-8 can get stuff going pretty fast. But as soon as you get to any hill you have to start down shifting in order to keep the RPM's up in the power band.

Since there is obviously some issues with the onboard potable water system there is more than likely problems with the black tank as well. That vintage may or may not have a grey water tank. Regardless, if water was left in the potable water system and it froze then there was probably water in the hot water and waste tanks as well which could have caused freeze damage there as well.

$8K sounds a little high to me for a gas powered RV that needs some help.

I would go through the coach and identify everything that needs fixing, maintenance, repairs, or updates. Replacing the fridge with an RV fridge is a minimum of $1K. Replacing the roof top A/C is going to be another $1K. Hot water heater $200.00. Subtract those costs from the asking price and you might get the price down to a more reasonable price. I would think $4K-$5.5K sounds a lot better to me.

If it had the Cat 3208 under the hood it would be well worth the asking price because the Wanderlodge is one of the best RV's on the road.

But with that big gas hog under the hood, no way.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:34 AM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
The older Wanderlodges are very solid units. One of the best ever built. But...personally, I would not own one with any gas engine. The "10 MPG" is pure fantasy. Maybe coasting with the engine off coming out of SoCal on Hwy 8.

I only see two viable options:

If it could be bought with enough $ room to repower with a proper diesel and the right tranny. Or...

It will be parked 99.99% of the time and never moved farther than 1/4 mile at a time.
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Old 01-12-2017, 09:15 AM   #8
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Thank you for your responses. As a new comer to this site I can not express how helpful everybody has been taking the the time to answer my responses. We are very excited about buying a bus soon and your responses are very valuable to us during this learning process.
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