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Old 02-07-2021, 01:59 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Ohio
Posts: 28
Year: 2009
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: 5 window micro-bird.
Engine: Chevy 6.0L Gas.
Rated Cap: 30 passenger
2009 Chevy 6L V8 Gas - First Conversion

After years of talking, and quite some time of searching and seeing a few buses (and having a couple fall through our hands), my partner and I got a bus!

We were looking for a short bus, gas, ideally the GMC/Chevy 6.0L V8 Vortec. We're wanting to build out a road trip warrior/weekend camper, and don't have any plans to live full time in the bus. We would consider doing a cross-country trip at some point to visit family, we'll see. Furthermore, we wanted to mitigate worst-case costs as much as possible - and decided we'd rather put the money into a gas engine (even if needs to be rebuilt in the future) as opposed to a diesel. Mileage was pretty great on the way home, 10-12 MPG - and the bus had no issues getting to 70.

With our price range (ideally 7k max - i.e. including potential travel/mechanic etc. costs) we were finding a lot of late 90s or early 00's shorties, but with really bad rust etc. (we're in the midwest). Anything newer and with lower rust were selling from 8-12K if not more - depending on if from dealership or private seller. I'd read the shortie market was inflated, but it was nonetheless surprising.

Eventually stumbled upon a fleet maintained 2009 chevy blue bird shortie well within our budget - the owner sent us lots of information and pictures and the rust seemed very manageable (surface rust, but we'll do our best to treat/prevent). We drove to see it the next day (even though it was quite a drive). Some of the rust wasn't ideal, but nothing was flaking or coming apart to even the hardest of screwdriver-proding. We ended up buying it.

Unfortunately, the bus did end up needing a medium-amount of work done at the shop (thanks @Cadliackid for the suggestion on good local mechanics - we went to one of your suggestions); however, the mechanic says it's a nice find and should do us well. Our total costs is just a bit over what we wanted to spend, but overall still significantly lower than any other options we'd looked at.

Here's some shots of the bus. Undecided on names, though I'm really rooting for "Bobbie the Bus".







First step is going to be demo of course. I'll keep this thread updated with our progress. In the meantime, can anyone identify what this under our seat? Doesn't look like most of the heaters I see, if it is that. I can figure it out when we get it back from the shop, I'm just impatient...


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Old 02-07-2021, 02:12 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,141
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas 4 window w/lift
Chassis: G30~Chevy cutaway
Engine: 5.7/350 Chevy Vortec
Rated Cap: Just me and my "stuff"?
Looks like a nice bus to build out.
Especially like those Alcoa rims!

Yes, that is an auxiliary heater.
Good luck, and post pics of your conversion if you can...
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:29 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Huntington Beach CA.
Posts: 903
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
Rated Cap: 2
Lady liberty rides again

Actually between flying, Covid, moving my Mom to Florida, my wifes impromptu year off and all the crazy ship this last year, somehow the bus is turnkey with the interior the next goal. It runs as good as it looks. Just finishing up new clearance lites, side markers along the rub rail on the bottom and a LED floodlight to go in the exhaust pipe hole in the bumper. Am looking forward to the interior. Painting is done Diesel rebuilding is hard.
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:31 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Huntington Beach CA.
Posts: 903
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
Rated Cap: 2
Wow, my post was supposed to go in the forum I have been away for a while...
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Old 02-08-2021, 07:00 AM   #5
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 5,378
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivetboy View Post
Wow, my post was supposed to go in the forum I have been away for a while...
Welcome back Rivetboy!
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Rusty 87 build thread
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Old 02-08-2021, 12:51 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Ohio
Posts: 28
Year: 2009
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: 5 window micro-bird.
Engine: Chevy 6.0L Gas.
Rated Cap: 30 passenger
Quote:
Originally Posted by peteg59 View Post
Looks like a nice bus to build out.
Especially like those Alcoa rims!

Yes, that is an auxiliary heater.
Good luck, and post pics of your conversion if you can...
Thank you! And will do. Hoping to get started on demo soon.
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Old 02-08-2021, 08:42 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: May 2017
Location: Windham NH
Posts: 1,319
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International RE
Engine: International T444e
Rated Cap: 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivetboy View Post
Wow, my post was supposed to go in the forum I have been away for a while...
That is a super cool little bus you have there...
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Old 04-10-2021, 05:48 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Ohio
Posts: 28
Year: 2009
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: 5 window micro-bird.
Engine: Chevy 6.0L Gas.
Rated Cap: 30 passenger
Well, we finally got our bus back from the mechanic! (Thanks again for the rec. @cadilackid .)

Bus got:
  • Front brakes
  • Rear brakes
  • Engine oil cooler lines
  • Rear shocks
  • fuel pump
  • ball joint
  • oil change
  • oil pump
  • ECM & Harness

Mechanic was amazing, was trouble shooting a few things with the bus for a while, ultimately thought the issue was the oil pump, so he replaced it. However, once the new pump was in it didn't solve the issue - so he said "Well you didn't need it, but I'm not taking it out, so you get it for free." (Ended up being the bus needed a new ECM, which apparently is quite rare? Thats what took most of the time getting it replaced, since it had to go to the dealer to be reprogrammed).

Anyway, we got it back a week ago and we got started on taking the seats out today. Made good progress in one day, all but the front two seats out. Using an angle grinder and a grinding wheel - just pretty much shaved the bolt heads off.

Someone working on a construction site a couple houses down saw us working on the bus - and asked if they could have the seats. Wanted to use them for a fire pit he's building for his kids - so we helped him load them up!

Got anxious to rip some of the floor up too, and it's looking alright - at least in the one corner we got to.



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Old 04-26-2021, 08:10 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Ohio
Posts: 28
Year: 2009
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: 5 window micro-bird.
Engine: Chevy 6.0L Gas.
Rated Cap: 30 passenger
More progress this weekend. Got the heater out and looped the coolant lines. @magnakansas had some great input on how to do so best, and ultimately suggested we delete the entire coolant lines and loop at the engine instead. For now, we just looped back under the bus so we could move forward with demo - but we may loop at the engine later on.

We also got all the plywood and rubber flooring out (except for a tiny bit at the front). I think we're pretty happy with the condition of the floor? We'll definitely be sanding al of it and using rust oleum, but I feel like I've seen worse floor conditions in a lot of the videos I watched online.





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