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Old 09-21-2010, 04:17 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Toledo, Ohio
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 3800
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Buckeye Pair-a-Docs


OK... I did it. I just pulled the trigger on a 1997 International Blue Bird short bus.

It is a model 3800 with a T444E Diesel, 231K miles with hydraulic brakes. I am blaming all of this on Brad, since his party machine gave me the idea. Picked it up on E-bay, the bad news is it's near Washington, DC, so a road trip is in the planning. Pretty sure my wife is going to kill me.








Countdown to November 27th- I maybe optimistic, but my goal is to have it ready for the Ohio State vs. Michigan game. Suspect a lot of beer will be required as I start calling friends for favors. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

I do have a few questions as I start out... I'll send you a "virtual" beer.

Floor: I see most people paint then insulate the floor with foam board and furring strips for the frame. Has anybody used those 2' x 2' interlocking OSB underlayment boards that have the plastic feet, like you use one concrete floors? I have been thinking about that, screwing down with self tapping screws.

Power:Looking for a good plan for inverter and battery bank. I will likely run two 30amp/125v shore power lines that can be used to either plug into standard 110v with an adapter, a generator, or 30amp/125V twist connectors.

Sound systems: I would like to have a decent sound system in the bus, put I am going to put in an external access panel to plug in TV's, satellite dish, and have outputs for external speakers, decent JBL or similar like a DJ would use.

Roof rack/decks: I would at some point like to install a metal deck for storage, and possibly drop rails in to create a deck. Not sure how much it would be used as a deck, not sure anyone should be up there the way we tailgate. Any way, any plans or thoughts would be appreciated.

Heads: I have no plans for a head, but I am thinking about a small porta-pottie just in case. The ones on campus during the game get pretty disgusting, doesn't bother me so much, but I am sure my wife will appreciate it.

Satellite system: Pretty sure I am going with the VuQube Model VQ3000. It can be used while moving, it is portable, and I can use it on my boat. Most dedicated marine dishes are over 4K, but I really use my boat as a floating cottage, so this should work except when underway. That's my plan, anyone with any experience with these dishes.

Finally, looking for some floor plan ideas. This is my first drawing.


I will have a web site set up for the bus soon, actually would like to get it first! look for http://buckeye.pair-a-docs.com coming soon.

Thanks to all... Woo Hoo.
GO BUCKS

Chuck
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Old 09-21-2010, 08:23 PM   #2
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Re: Buckeye Pair-a-Docs

cant wait to see the progress
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:51 AM   #3
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Re: Buckeye Pair-a-Docs

I did a Rutgers tailgate bus so you can check out my signature for reference. IMO the sound system is a total waste of money. We bring a 20 watt stereo and it works fine. Make sure you budget, definitely get an angle grinder and ask questions.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:53 AM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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Buckeye Pair-a-Docs: Info needed

OK, probably should have checked with my office manager too when I bought the bus, it's like having 2 wives! She backed off when I told her that Ebay had some pretty cool airplanes for sale. On the serious side, I am trying to research the bus I bought. Reading what I can from the placards, it's a Blue Bird bus from the North Georgia plant built in 1997. Actually says "Blue Bird Body Company" "Date: 3/97". Capacity is listed as 34. I am looking for anything I can get- specs, dimensions, etc. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks, Chuck
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:06 AM   #5
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Re: Buckeye Pair-a-Docs

I have a Thomas shortie, you should have about 16' behind the drivers seat, real close anyway, you can start your drawings from there until you pick er up
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:15 AM   #6
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Re: Buckeye Pair-a-Docs

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBucks614
Holy crap I created a monster..... Nice Pickup!!!
Yes you did... Pretty excited about it. I was worried about the length, it's a six windower. Talked to OSU and I still think I am OK. Bringing a tape measure to the game tomorrow. I think the wheel base is only about 20" longer, hopefully most of the length is behind the rear wheels. Posted it on Facebook and got a huge response... lots of offers from friends to help. Doubt this will be inexpensive, but once done will be really cool. I have several friends that do the graphic stuff, a good mechanic, and we all have boats, so working the electric and such should be OK. My neighbor is a DJ, so looking for some used stuff there. Another guy did custom interiors for vans... I just need to get the thing!

See you Saturday... Go Bucks..

Chuck
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:01 AM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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ROAD TRIP!! We have the bus!!

Road Trip Sunday, October 17th 2010 we drove to a place in Maryland (outside of Washington, DC) to pick up the bus. We got there around 11:30pm. The seller left the bus outside the gate and hid the key. It looked pretty good! We had to jump it but it started right up. As Gary, Steve and I looked around- it sputtered and died. We were a little concerned, but after a few minutes and another jump, it started back up. We found the lights, but nothing else electrical worked. We decided to drive for a few hours to try and get outside of the DC area. At 1 minute after midnight, on the 18th of October, the bus left on it's "maiden" voyage with Gary at the helm. We drove for a few hours and stopped for the night. The next morning it started right up and we headed for home. Things went well- but it would not go past 57 MPH. We need to work on that governor. We took turns driving and pulled into Caper's at 7:00pm. On the way we stopped and picked up 5 cases of Yuengling just in case. At 9:30pm I took the bus to pick up my daughter from her driving education class- not sure why, but she seemed a little embarrassed.

Getting insurance was a little tricky. I called my agent, USAA and they said no. I called a friend at Nationwide who promised he'd get something, only to receive an email he couldn't do it. Finally, I asked Gary, who had a full size bus in the past and he gave me Peg's name. State Farm came through and for about $60.00 a month, I had full coverage. If anybody needs contact info, email me and I will hook you up.

Haven't posted much recently, but hadn't much to say. Suspect that things will change now.

I will try to post pictures and progress. I will also post my electrical drawings, sizes and things like that as we go along. If anyone has any idea where to start with the electrical issues let me know. Is there a main cutout switch hidden somewhere? Anyway- need to go back to my day job.

Chuck
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:11 AM   #8
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Re: Buckeye Pair-a-Docs

Sounds all good, minus the poor embarrassed little lady.. and the electrical. Figure out what is up with that?
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:45 AM   #9
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The work begins...

We started working on the bus Sunday. Still haven't tracked down the electrical issues. My friends helped out, Steve, Kevin & Sarah, and my wife Carolyn, and youngest son Mikey all took turns with the grinder. We ripped out all of the seats except 2. My girls still want me to take them to school in the "short bus", so I am leaving the 2 seats in for now. The floor has a little surface rust, but otherwise is pretty solid. I started cutting holes in the body to mount the "shore power" outlets for the generators and running some conduit. That was going well until it started to rain. All in all things went well and we had a good time with everyone pitching in.

I ordered ceramic additive for paint this weekend too. Hopefully I will get it this week and can get the floor painted and subfloor down. If interested, the link is http://www.hytechsales.com/. It's about $11.00 per package which is enough for 1 gallon of paint.

Took several pictures, will post them soon. BAck too the day job, hopefully will get more done tonight.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:09 AM   #10
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Re: Buckeye Pair-a-Docs

what did you use to cut the hole for the shore power? A hole saw?
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:22 AM   #11
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Shore power inlets...

Quote:
Originally Posted by putterspitt
what did you use to cut the hole for the shore power? A hole saw?

No, the best thing to use is a "Greenlee" punch. Used for punching holes for electrical conduit. It will make nice clean holes. If you know an electrician, they may have one you can borrow. Another thing that is very useful is one of those cone shaped universal bits. I have a few sizes and find I am using them all the time.

With respect to the "head", I found a Sun-Mar Mobile RV/Marine head at http://www.thenaturalhome.com for a decent price and it includes shipping. Best price so far. I also found a 4500 watt Pure sine wave invertor for around 600.00 on sale. For those considering a battery bank, I came across an idea which seems pretty good. Buy 6 volt golf cart batteries and configure several pairs in series to get 12 volts, then wire those in parallel. The site gave a specific brand, I don't recall off hand but will post later.

I have most of the floor stripped and sanded and removed the aux heating unit. I have been playing with the electric, I found when I jumped a solanoid that the stop sign flashed and came out and the flashers starting working, so I need to see if the solanoid is bad or if the feed to it is not working.

My ceramic stuff came yesterday. I plan to add it to a gallon of rustoleum and paint the floor and other spaces. I have a friend making diamond plate for the steps. I am also thinking of having the cab portion sprayed with rhinoliner or something similar if not stupid expensive.

Probably need to get things wrapped up this weekend and move it back to my storage site. Pretty sure the neighbors aren't happy with all the junk in my drive.
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:27 PM   #12
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 3800
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Re: Buckeye Pair-a-Docs

Bus is moving along. Kenny the mechanic was over last night and looked it over, thumbs up. He is going to order all the filters, lube it up and change the oil. My buddy Chris thinks he can get me a new Coleman Heat Pump for it for free. The head, stereo, amps and all that kind of stuff is here or on order. I have everything ripped out and having been sanding the floor. The cockpit area is almost painted and ready to have the seat back in. I think I think I have figured out the electrical problem and should have that fixed today. Started using a heat gun to remove the stickers on the outside.

I have detailed measurements I will post later. I also have the electrical stuff worked out. I am using a Hellroaring battery isolator, a trimetric battery monitor, and have a charger that can charge up to 3 separate battery banks. I tore out the old diesel powered axillary heater and plan to put in 6 6volt Trojan golf cart batteries for the inverter.

I need to make the templates for the diamond plate for the steps and cockpit area. Also for the windows that I am going to block out. I also still need the refrigerators, a ladder for the back and 2 110V breaker panels. I also need to measure for TVs and pick up some Direct TV boxes. A little slow here because I am changing over from my cable provider back to Direct TV.

The ceramic additive for the paint really makes a difference. I would recommend it to anyone painting their bus. It's about $11.00 per gallon. You can feel a temperature difference just by touching the painted vs. unpainted floor.

Found a great Pioneer stereo at Best Buy, open box- I am making a new panel for the front and will mount it there. I can hook it to the bus video system and watch TV on it. I also ordered the backup camera for it.

I found this site- and really got some great ideas. http://www.imagimotive.com/ My bus is about the size of theirs minus the grilling area. I plan to do about the same. The side mount pull out TV area will not work in Columbus, so I will make a row of bench seating along that wall. I really like the wood work though. I don't have as much height, so my roof cabinets will be smaller. My bus is only 75" at the center, and that's before the sub-floor and floor goes in.

Thanks to my brother in law Jimmy, Steve, and Trevor for their help Sunday. Pictures coming soon. Gotta go- damn day job getting in the way of my bus!

Go Bucks,
Chuck
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:26 PM   #13
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 3800
Rated Cap: 34
More electrical stuff...

I fixed the electrical issues today. Bad relay, I used a starting solenoid and everything now works. Talked to the people at Hellroaring, I will need two isolators in parallel, but otherwise the wiring plan is good to go. I will be using the trimetric battery monitor http://www.bogartengineering.com/products/TriMetric and that should be here in a day or two. I am working on the plans for the head. I am using a Sun Mar composting toilet, http://www.sun-mar.com/prod_self_mobi.html.

CJG
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:40 AM   #14
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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Re: Buckeye Pair-a-Docs

Last night I had the mechanic go over the bus in more detail. All thumbs up- I was worried about a small oil leak, it turned out to be a stripped oil pan drain plug. $3.99 later and fixed! So far I have spent about $200.00 on new batteries, $20.00 for a relay to fix the electric and $3.99 for the oil pan plug. Also about $200.00 for oil, new filters and the labor to change everything. At this point everything is working and in great shape.

Now the big work will start for the conversion. This is were I have spent all the big money. This bus is going to be awsome.
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:03 AM   #15
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Toledo, Ohio
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Year: 1997
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Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 3800
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Bus measurements:

I took some measurements for general reference. Before I picked up my bus, I was looking for something to get a general idea of the size and start planning. Hope this helps someone.

Overall size: ~15' X 7' 6" This is the "box" portion of the bus, it does not included the cockpit area, stairs, etc.
Height at center: 75" To bare metal floor


Wheel Wells: 24" X 45"
Front of bus to wheel well: 65" Measured from behind driver seat, same point as "drop off" of steps
Wheel well to back of bus: 72"
Side to back emergency door opening: 26 1/2"
Emergency door: 37 1/2"

Floor to bottom of window: 30 1/4"
Standard windows: 23 5/8 H X 25" W; I have 5 on my bus
Long Window: 23 5/8 H X 32" W; I have one one my bus
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:20 AM   #16
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Inspiration

http://www.flickr.com/photos/imagimo...7622583772940/

I like this interior. I plan to do about the same layout up to the grilling area. My bus is about the size of the front part of this monster. I am also not doing the slide out media center, it just wouldn't work in Columbus. I am going to do several flat screens on the inside and plan a long bench seat on the starboard side instead.
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:26 PM   #17
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Detailed Electrical Plan: Buckeye Pair-a-Docs

OK, this is the best I could do with MS Visio. If the whole image isn't visible, right click on it and click on "Show Image". You can then magnify it to read the smaller text. If anyone has any questions, let me know.



Hopefully this will help.
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Old 11-19-2010, 11:27 AM   #18
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More electrical...

I have been reviewing my drawings and came up with one more addition to my wire diagram. I have 2 AC breaker boxes for flexibility, and I don't plan to use anything that is 220VAC. I have one Honda EU2000 generator and a friend has another that I can use. I came up with using a boat rotary selector switch to bridge my AC Bus panels.

If I use a Blue Sea Systems PN9009 http://www.polarismarineelectricsupp...uct/5285/9009/ switch, I can hook Source 1 to Bus 1, Source 2 to my shore power Bus 2 input, and the Load to Bus 2. Doing so will give me several options: First, if I needed to run something on the Bus 2 circuit from the inverter while driving, I could do so. Second, if I use 2 EU2000 hooked together with there combining harness, I could feed the combined generator power (4000W) to supply both AC buses in the "Bus". It would also give me the ability to run a larger single generator to power everything should the need arise. This would also keep the male SP2 outlet safely off- no back feed and risk of someone getting shocked.

The hard part is adding it to my drawing!
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:22 PM   #19
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 3800
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Buckeye Pair-a-Docs

On November 22nd, Gary took the bus to a garage that works on Internationals. They charge $90.00/hour and agreed to adjust the governor. It took about five minutes: the mechanic said he could set it anywhere from 30mph to 100mph, the engine and RPM's will ultimately decide the final speed. Gary had it set to 70. The guys at the garage were members of Buckeye Nation and great fans and didn't charge us anything.

After a few beers, we decided to take the bus to this yearís Ohio State Michigan game. It's nowhere near being ready; I was hoping to be so much farther. I haven't even transferred the title yet. So Wednesday Gary took the bus (after he re-bolted the driver seat and seatbelts) to the title bureau, along with a signed POA. We had been using a folding Ohio State chair to drive back and forth up until the plan for the inspection! Not surprisingly, they hassled him about the changes I made on the title, they wanted a release from Prince George's County School Board, etc., etc. After talking to them and special thanks to "Kim", whom I spoke with when I first got the temporary tags, everything was finally taken care of. The bus now has truck plates and is titled as a van.

So now we plan to take the bus to Columbus. No subfloor, no TVís, no refrigerator- nothing! Itís still school bus yellow! But the plan is to throw in a few couches, a few coolers, grab the grills and go! I plan to hang a few OSU banners and flags, but itís going to be a little rough to say the least. But Buckeye Pair-A-Docs is going to be at the game! So Carolyn and I, my brother-in-law Jimmy, Gary, Steve and my son Chuckie are heading to Columbus tomorrow. I am sure there will be several stories to post next week, so stand-by!
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:39 PM   #20
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Re: Buckeye Pair-a-Docs

We want pics!!!

Be safe and have fun...
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