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Old 10-29-2020, 07:55 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 50
Year: 1972
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: GMC 5500 V-Eight
Rated Cap: 48
Hey all and please help lol

We just bought a 1972 Bluebird Bus.

First off;

No, it doesn't run.
Yes, it's in bad shape.
No, I don't care if you don't think it was a good idea lol

I've including 3 pics of the ID plates on the bus. Neither ID number turn anything up that I can find and searches seem pretty much useless.

There are also pics on my registry of the exterior.

Any type of info you can supply on it, would be greatly appreciated.
My first issue is that the spark plug wires were all cut and yanked out last year. It supposedly was running until that happened. I have no idea what order the wires should go in.

The bus should be here tomorrow and I'll look for a chassis number, and be doing full pics and videos, but until then, that's all I know
Attached Images
File Type: png Bus ID 3.png (432.3 KB, 45 views)
File Type: png Bus ID 2.png (346.9 KB, 47 views)
File Type: png Bus ID 1.png (440.7 KB, 47 views)
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Old 10-29-2020, 10:09 AM   #2
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Pics of the engine would help. It is likely a tall-deck 366/427 Chevrolet big-block (not to be confused with the Corvette / Impala / Chevelle versions of the era)... The 366 being more common of the two, but they share the same firing order as far as I know.

Quoting a source I found for info on these engines....

Quote:
The firing order of the Chevy 366 big block truck engine is 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 Rotor turns clockwise.
This is actually a typical Chevrolet V-8 firing order. Engine cylinders are numbered as indicated below... You may want to look at converting to HEI if it runs okay, sources say it is possible.

A good source for info on these engines is

https://www.tradecraftspecialties.com/bbckb

Good luck with your new purchase. Certain parts to repair those 366 /427 tall decks are getting harder to find, but they run forever if taken care of. However, they are not fond of high RPM and designed to be shifted below 4000 rpm.

Some of these were set up to run on propane instead of gasoline, or perhaps both. If propane, go over your propane connections very carefully before filling the tank and attempting to fire it over... Leaks can cause a big explosion under the right circumstances. I would also go over the entire brake system before attempting travel -- especially if they are hydraulic.

That bus DOES look rough, but its not as bad as some I've seen, could be a diamond in the rough. I just hope you weren't sold a bill of goods on a junker with a bad engine. Keep us posted...
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Old 10-29-2020, 10:23 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
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Posts: 50
Year: 1972
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: GMC 5500 V-Eight
Rated Cap: 48
Thanks for the info. That was a lot more a lot quicker than I expected lol.

Just on the last line. It's costing me more to get the bus brought here than I paid for it lol. By scrap weight alone, I've already made profit so it'll be fine.
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Old 10-29-2020, 10:26 AM   #4
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Even with a blown engine, if the body and frame are fairly rust-free, it might be worth hunting down a good used engine, maybe even swap for a diesel. An 8V53 would be bitchin' in that thing. ;)
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Old 10-29-2020, 10:30 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
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Engine: GMC 5500 V-Eight
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The frame is solid. Beyond that, I make no claims on anything lol

If there is any chance of bringing this engine back it will live again. Worst case scenario isn't the scrapyard, its becoming a tiny home that needs to be towed to the new place in a few years lol
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Old 10-29-2020, 10:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
Even with a blown engine, if the body and frame are fairly rust-free, it might be worth hunting down a good used engine, maybe even swap for a diesel. An 8V53 would be bitchin' in that thing. ;)
Also of note are the 305 V-6 / 351 V-8 / 702 V-12 gassers GMC built in that era. All likely candidates for a cool and easy swap.
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Old 10-29-2020, 10:36 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
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Year: 1972
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Engine: GMC 5500 V-Eight
Rated Cap: 48
There is zero chance I will ever swap this for a diesel... wanna 06 e-350 extended van? Runs great... I hate the thing lol.

Well to be fair, I like it, it runs great, however, if I never work on another diesel again, I'll die happy... likely years later than otherwise lol
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Old 10-29-2020, 10:39 AM   #8
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I don't think an 8v53 would fit in a conventional chassis of that era.
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THCrinstam View Post
There is zero chance I will ever swap this for a diesel... wanna 06 e-350 extended van? Runs great... I hate the thing lol.
06? Ford? Diesel? You poor man. We call them PowerJoke for a reason. The VT365 by another name...
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:08 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Year: 1972
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lol well nice to see I don't have to explain it any further then.

I miss old engines. I grew up playing around a scrap yard and old ****. I miss the days when you could sit in beside your engine and actually work on the damn thing.
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
I don't think an 8v53 would fit in a conventional chassis of that era.
That's what cutting torches and big hammers are for...
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:40 AM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
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Year: 1972
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: GMC 5500 V-Eight
Rated Cap: 48
There are two pics of the engine in my album. Not great pics but its something. Tomorrow it will be sitting 10 feet from me so I'll have better then.
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:43 AM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Engine: GMC 5500 V-Eight
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:57 AM   #14
Bus Crazy
 
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Hell, that almost looks like a small-block... I'm not so sure it isn't, but it's pretty easy to forget a big bus like that can make even a big-block look small. I, for one, think an 8V53 would fit...
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:02 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
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Year: 1972
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Engine: GMC 5500 V-Eight
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Well, the seller said he thought it was a 350...
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THCrinstam View Post
Well, the seller said he thought it was a 350...
Starting to look like it might be exactly that. Exhaust manifolds do not match typical tall deck style. Tall decks usually have four runners hugging the block until they converge at the collector, not the ram's horn style shown here. Probably not factory, but I remember reading about these having *A* 350 option, just not sure it was a small-block.
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:25 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
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Year: 1972
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Engine: GMC 5500 V-Eight
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Well, that one is the easiest issue to solve I'll face with this thing. It'll be answered by tomorrow at this time lol
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:39 PM   #18
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350 was available in the medium duty chevy and gmc's in the 70's. A buddy of mine had one in a dump truck, but I imagine you could have ordered one in a bus. I'd think it'd be underpowered though compared to the 366 and 427.

Good luck finding an 8v53. They were pretty rare when new, and they've only gotten scarcer over the years.

What brakes does it have on it? A lot of those older gm medium duty stuff with juice brakes are getting scrapped due to parts not being available or they're worth more then the truck. I know that was the nail in the coffin for 2 of them that we used to work on.
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:53 PM   #19
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I don.t know for sure just looking but that looks like a small block (350 cu in) to me. There is a small boss jutting out from the engine block just below the front of the valve cover in your picture. On the boss you will find a stamped engine code of 8 letters and numbers in "large" font. In small font there will also be the serial number of the original vehicle in which the engine was installed. All of this is dependent on the engine block not having been resurfaced as that scrapes off the stamped numbers.

The following link is a good source for decoding the engine ID numbers:

https://nastyz28.com/chevy-engine-co...ngs.php#suffix

The last three letters are called the suffix. You will need to look at the "down below" note in red and choose the proper category to begin figuring out the suffix.

Jack
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Old 10-29-2020, 07:33 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Booyah45828 View Post
What brakes does it have on it? A lot of those older gm medium duty stuff with juice brakes are getting scrapped due to parts not being available or they're worth more then the truck. I know that was the nail in the coffin for 2 of them that we used to work on.
Which brings an interesting question to mind... How much work would be involved in swapping axles for air-brake units and converting to air? A few odds and ends aside, I think it might be worth considering for some buses that are otherwise in good shape. I considered this on my old Lucas-Girling Ford / Blue Bird until I had to part with it for other reasons.
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