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Old 01-19-2023, 01:03 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2023
Location: California
Posts: 3
Year: 1985
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Engine: Cat 3208
Gauge cluster for 1985 Blue Bird

Hi everyone,
This is my first post! I just bought my first skoolie! It's a 1985 Blue Bird All American 40ft with rear engine. The first few days were a nightmare as the seller left it without any fuel! Within a mile I broke down. All is well now and I drove it to the place where I would be building it out.
Before getting into the build, I want to make sure the bus itself is taken cared of. Most gauges on the cluster are either outright broken, or spin endlessly.
The only gauges that do work (somewhat reliably from what I can tell) are the air pressure, volt meter, amp meter. RPM sometimes shows correctly and sometimes just spins in circles. The speedo is reading about 12mph above the actual speed.
I am hoping to buy all new gauges and redo the bezel to resolve these problems but have no clue where to start looking. From what I could see behind the gauges, they each have 2 or so wires held on with nuts. Does anyone have advice on the type of gauges to look for online? Are they technically mechanical or just analog? Are there specific value (ohms?) That each gauge is supposed to be? I'd also be into getting a digital dash screen to monitor everything if that's something that's available without redoing all of the sensors around the bus.
Any help, electrical diagrams, or advice is super appreciated!
The picture below is a shot of the dash my friend grabbed when we were doing the test drive.
Thanks!
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Old 01-19-2023, 12:33 PM   #2
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Location: Swansboro,NC
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upper right is a search bar.
look for bluebird dash or guage.
there are many years of discussion about them.
also look into bluebird portal.
there is also
tacbusparts
unity.parts
midwestbusparts
that i can remember off the top of my head
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Old 01-20-2023, 12:52 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2023
Location: California
Posts: 3
Year: 1985
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Engine: Cat 3208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
upper right is a search bar.
look for bluebird dash or guage.
there are many years of discussion about them.
also look into bluebird portal.
there is also
tacbusparts
unity.parts
midwestbusparts
that i can remember off the top of my head
Thanks for the reply!
It seems like only MidWest carries gauges but they seem to be for Thomas models and to have a different connection on the back. My gauges do have a similar teal blue casing to them on the back as well. Any other resources you could share would be super useful. The forums unfortunately only have info for the newer busses that have computerized gauges or an all in one cluster.
Do you know what company supplied Blue Bird with those gauges in that era? From what I hear Ford, GM and Freightliner might all have had their hands in the company as some point. I think that might be the easiest way to find a suitable source for these.
Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2023, 03:37 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 1,363
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Crown, integral. (With 2kW of tiltable solar)
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
I've replaced most of my bus's original Teleflex gauges with Speedhut and VDO gauges. I like Speedhut because you can choose from so many options to match other existing gauges, plus they are very accurate and are made in USA. Just make sure that the new speedometer and tachometer are driven by the same method as the old ones. GPS speedometers are accurate (unless you're in a tunnel...) and don't need any external connection.

Have you checked if the gauges' signal/ground/power connections are good? If they're not (and on a 38-year old bus who knows how much they're corroded), that will cause wildly erratic readings.

I suggest that you do not drive the bus at all until you have reliable accurate gauges.

John
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Old 01-22-2023, 02:36 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2023
Location: California
Posts: 3
Year: 1985
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Engine: Cat 3208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
I've replaced most of my bus's original Teleflex gauges with Speedhut and VDO gauges. I like Speedhut because you can choose from so many options to match other existing gauges, plus they are very accurate and are made in USA. Just make sure that the new speedometer and tachometer are driven by the same method as the old ones. GPS speedometers are accurate (unless you're in a tunnel...) and don't need any external connection.

Have you checked if the gauges' signal/ground/power connections are good? If they're not (and on a 38-year old bus who knows how much they're corroded), that will cause wildly erratic readings.

I suggest that you do not drive the bus at all until you have reliable accurate gauges.

John
That was super helpful! I will run some tests to make sure the wiring is all there.
I'll post an update soon!
Thanks!
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