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Old 09-04-2017, 03:46 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Arizona
Posts: 43
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Engine: Cat 7.2 C7 I6 Turbo
Rated Cap: 66 ankle biters
A bus named Tank

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has given such great advice in this forum as I have been lurking for several months. I promise once I get well-versed in some of the intricacies of owning a tank, I mean a bus, I will be more than happy to give back to the forum.

A little bit about me
I am looking to live in my skoolie full time after I retire which will be some time in the next 2 to 7 years (based upon when I want to start taking Social Security). Until then I will be taking Tank out for weekend boon-docking jaunts to the forest and places like Quartzsite and Ehrenberg, AZ.

A little bit about Tank
2007 Blue Bird Vision
Cat 7.2 C7 I6 with Turbo
Allison transmission
Original capacity: 66 ankle biters
115,000 miles

I wanted a relatively new bus because I want it to last awhile. The Blue Bird Vision also has the anteater front end which is better for wind resistance and also to see what is in front better (hence the name "Vision"). I also wanted a motor in front of me to protect for any front-end collisions.

Why do I call it "Tank"?

This bus comes from an Indian reservation school district that had problems keeping their buses within code after being run on so many bumpy reservation roads. So they ordered their buses with increased structural integrity. You should see all the rivets on this bus! In spite of the potential wear-and-tear, this bus appears to be in very good shape structurally and passed the test of a mechanic who checked it out before I bought it.

Why is my nickname "Oddball"?
Oddball was the character played by Donald Sutherland in the movie "Kelly's Heroes" who drove a tank.

Progress on the build

I just bought the bus last week. The seller agreed to remove the seats for free. When he found out I was converting it to an RV he also offered (for a price) to remove the floor, repair any rust damage, fill in any holes and put in insulation and new plywood. I have been reading here that the floor is one of the hardest tasks in the conversion.

I have a friend who is an electrician so I hope to get him to help me put in electrical wiring/generator/solar. I'm hoping he might also be able to hook up the propane system. I will be able to put in the remaining components with a little help from my friends.
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Old 09-04-2017, 04:57 PM   #2
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Welcome!

Well Welcome to the community. Our bus is named Journee. My wife loves everything about France. I took her there awhile back on my reward points. Plus it ties in with our youtube channel "The Bowser Journey". We plan on going full time once the build is complete.

This web is a great resource of information and has helped me more times than I can count!
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:47 AM   #3
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Thanks for the welcome Bowser.

Your wife has good taste. I had a chance to visit France earlier this year and I just loved it. The food and wine is most excellent of course.



I can't wait to go back!
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Old 09-05-2017, 08:48 PM   #4
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Welcome! I'm looking forward to watching your build. If the guy doesn't charge too much you might want to consider his offer....you supervising of course ;)

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Old 09-06-2017, 11:12 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by tobeamiss View Post
Welcome! I'm looking forward to watching your build. If the guy doesn't charge too much you might want to consider his offer....you supervising of course ;)

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Thanks for the kind welcome tobeamiss!

I've already contracted out the floor removal/replacement. I can't wait to pick up my bus with the new floor installed. I'll post pics in this thread when it's done.

As far as the rest of the conversion that is still being worked out.
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:43 AM   #6
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Nice. Good luck

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Old 10-17-2017, 07:52 PM   #7
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Just thought I would update the progress.

The guy I bought my bus from offered to remove the seats for free. He and I agreed that I could pay him to remove the original floor, clean the metal from any rust and put in a new plywood floor.

Here is how it looks facing the rear after the original floor was removed:
Bare metal floor looking back.jpg

Here is how it looks facing the front after the original floor was removed:
Bare metal floor looking front.jpg

Here is how it looks facing the rear with the new 3/4" plywood put in:
Plywood floor looking back.jpg
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:03 PM   #8
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Now turn the bus back on its wheels and you'll be good to go.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Oddball View Post
Just thought I would update the progress.

The guy I bought my bus from offered to remove the seats for free. He and I agreed that I could pay him to remove the original floor, clean the metal from any rust and put in a new plywood floor.
Yeah, Arizona people. I betcha he wouldn't touch a Michigan bus for triple the $$. He'd be weeks into that job.

Looking forward to the tank. Just remember where the Tiger's weakness is....
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:47 PM   #10
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Now turn the bus back on its wheels and you'll be good to go.
Thanks for my humor for the day.



I don't know why the pictures are sideways. I first started posting to boards using this same software back in 2003 and never had that happen. I'll try to fix that.
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:48 PM   #11
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Yeah, Arizona people. I betcha he wouldn't touch a Michigan bus for triple the $$. He'd be weeks into that job.

Looking forward to the tank. Just remember where the Tiger's weakness is....
One of the reasons I bought a 2007 instead of an older bus is because I thought it would have less rust. I've read here (and other places) that rust is one of the worst things you can have on the exterior.
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Old 10-18-2017, 03:22 PM   #12
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One of the reasons I bought a 2007 instead of an older bus is because I thought it would have less rust. I've read here (and other places) that rust is one of the worst things you can have on the exterior.
So it depends. If you have decent welding skills, fixing modest rust is way easier on a bus with its flat panels and simple curves, than on a car with thinner metal and complex curves. Avoid anything with significant rust to the chassis and running gear. You can get a lot of bus, very cheap, if you can repair rust.

If not, then the dry western states are a good bet. Many of those buses have little to no rust ... ever.
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Old 01-28-2018, 08:51 PM   #13
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Just thought I would post an update on the progress of my bus. I'm starting with painting the outside since that will show when I'm driving down the road.

I'll post more pictures as the painting progresses.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20180128_164020.jpg (171.1 KB, 29 views)
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:01 PM   #14
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OMG! it's the Partridge Family!!!
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:44 PM   #15
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OMG! it's the Partridge Family!!!
Yes. I'm trying to keep the pattern as true to the original but my bus has 4 windows behind the back tire and the original Partridge Family bus only had 2 windows behind the back tire so I'm improvising.

Much of the paint needs a second coat so it looks kind of rough and I have to also paint the black stripes between the colors like the original. I think doing that will really make it look a lot more like the original.
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Old 01-29-2018, 09:00 AM   #16
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That, my friend is a very bold artistic statement!
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Old 01-30-2018, 02:53 AM   #17
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Nice!!

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Old 01-30-2018, 10:23 AM   #18
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Most Excellent Choice

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Old 01-30-2018, 11:41 AM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Nice!!

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Thanks tobeamiss. It will look better once it's finished.
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Old 01-30-2018, 11:43 AM   #20
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I love it!



The light part of the bus looks almost gray. In other pictures it looks light blue. I chose light blue because I think it looks better.

It's also odd that in some pictures the color around the letters is yellow but in others it is a gray or light blue. I guess I'm not going to get it exactly right since the model of the bus isn't the same so I'm going with what I hope to be close enough.
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