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Old 10-04-2020, 09:12 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Corvallis Oregon
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Cat3126
2002 Bluebird FS65 bumper needed

Hi all,
We need to replace our front bumper. We’re working on the rust on the undercarriage and found that the bumper is pretty rotten Where and how much should we expect to pay for a replacement?
Thanks,
Kaleth

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Old 10-04-2020, 09:54 PM   #2
Traveling
 
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Any commercial truck salvage yard should have an FS65 or similar model, it is a common truck for the era. Most skoolies use the same factory bumper the truck chassis on which it is based uses. Honestly, frame-rail-to-frame-rail spacing is pretty much 34" standard, with a few rare exceptions on Class 8 trucks (your skoolie is a Class 6 or 7, dependent on GVWR). Which means as long as you get the brackets with it, most any Class 5-8 truck bumper can be made to work.
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Old 10-04-2020, 09:59 PM   #3
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I did find this one for $250 (shipping likely extra), but ask to see pics of all angles, MD salts their roads.
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Old 10-05-2020, 12:55 AM   #4
Skoolie
 
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Year: 2002
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Chassis: Freightliner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
I did find this one for $250 (shipping likely extra), but ask to see pics of all angles, MD salts their roads.
Thanks so much! We’ll look closer to home where we don’t salt. Nice to know it was common and should be easy to find! Will be our first truck salvage run we hear there’s one up by Portland. Not sure where other good ones are in Or.
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Old 10-05-2020, 05:14 AM   #5
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FS65 and FL70 were actually quite common for the era for everything from beverage route trucks to other types of box trucks and such, as well as school buses.

However, as I stated, I would be willing to wager that most any Class 5, 6 or 7 truck bumper could be made to work as long as the brackets are sourced with it, as that 34" frame rail spacing is pretty standard. It just may not match the lower hood contours exactly. Pretty much any conventional school bus is going to be nothing more than an incomplete chassis of a Class 5, 6, or 7 truck chassis with a bus body built onto it.
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Old 10-05-2020, 06:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
Most skoolies use the same factory bumper the truck chassis on which it is based uses.
Hmm, I could use a new rear bumper myself. What make of truck matches my bus?
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Old 10-05-2020, 08:22 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Hmm, I could use a new rear bumper myself. What make of truck matches my bus?
That depends on what you actually have. Typical school bus rear bumpers that I have seen seem to be custom-made by the coachwork manufacturer as part of the bus body build (Ward, Carpenter, Blue Bird, Thomas, etc.) Conventional skoolies (cutaways are similar) are incomplete chassis for typical Class 5, 6, 7 straight trucks, built by Navistar, Ford, GM, etc. RE's have strikingly similar roots.

To illustrate what I am talking about, here are a few pics of how a skoolie typically starts out... (more info follows)


The fully built trucks the aforementioned manufacturers sell do not use rear bumpers anything like any bus. They usually have an ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission) bumper, also known as a Mansfield bumper. IF indeed they actually HAVE a rear bumper, per se. Not all of them do. Most flatbed and dry van straight trucks incorporate this ICC bumper into the framework for the truck body upfit.

ICC bumpers are pretty much the equivalent of the "cow-catcher" used on old steam locomotives, except they serve to keep smaller, lower-profile vehicles from running under and compressing themselves in the confines of the rear of the larger vehicle. This reduces danger to the smaller vehicle and gives its occupants a better chance of surviving such a crash.

The Mansfield reference has to do with Jayne Mansfield, the actress who was rumored to be decapitated in the process of running under the rear of a large truck before such equipment became law. The truth is that she was indeed in a car that rear-ended a semi truck on the highway. The interesting bit is that while she was not technically decapitated, the truth in the details of her death is said to be much worse in actuality, but close enough to be more or less the same. Hence, her death prompted commercial vehicle code changes to require these bumpers to help prevent such occurrences from happening in the future.

Anyway, it's interesting that buses are exempt from this requirement, especially skoolies, as their original intended purpose is largely stop-and-go with very little cruising, and conventionals largely retain the same typical higher ride height that their straight-truck brethren have.

As for finding a replacement, MG, consider that year models may vary, but as I've mentioned before, the frame-rail spacing on commercial truck / bus chassis is 34" rail-to-rail 99.9% of the time.

Therefore, I'd say that any skoolie with the same coachwork manufacturer on the same type of chassis should have the same bumper you have. For example, if you have a conventional-chassis (dog-nose) Blue Bird, look for a conventional Blue Bird being parted out. If you have a Thomas RE, look for an RE Thomas being parted out. I doubt rear bumpers are going to change much unless there is a total redesign mandated by changes in vehicle code.

If there are secondary brackets, scavenge them with the bumper to help ensure there are no mounting issues. Also, some will have the exhaust pipe angled 90-degrees to the bumper for a side exit, others run out straight under the bumper, and a few actually route the exhaust THROUGH a dedicated hole in the bumper bar itself.
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