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Old 11-19-2018, 10:17 AM   #1
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Hi Everyone:)

Hey, hey!! I'm new to the block, just wanted to stop by, bring you these cookies, and introduce my family and our big giant bus

My name is Hannah, my partner's name is Joe, and together we have 3 boys (15,14,5). We just bought a '91 Bluebird All-American (40'FE) that we will be converting into our traveling home away from home. The conversion will likely not start until January but we are researching every free moment we have so we are ready once it's time to GO!!

June is when we would like it done by, the plan is to spend the summer of 2019 driving to Alaska and then we would like to spend the next year exploring the lower 48.

Thank you all in advance for the wisdom and knowledge you take the time to share, I have no doubt you will be saving us over the next few months

Happy Holidays!!
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Old 11-19-2018, 01:24 PM   #2
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Welcome folks! Nice bus and looks like a good size roof deck on it
Should accommodate your family for sure but watch out for low bridges and underpasses.


Enjoy the ride!


John
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Old 11-19-2018, 03:20 PM   #3
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Bahaha!!

John, that is so funny, I hadn't noticed that but it totally looks like that!! Hmmm, it is a little bit smaller than the one we were planning on... we'll make sure to heed your warnings 😉😁
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Old 11-19-2018, 03:28 PM   #4
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Old 11-19-2018, 07:36 PM   #5
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Nice bus and looks like a good size roof deck on it


Did you eat all the cookies? I didn't get one.
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Old 11-19-2018, 09:13 PM   #6
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Did you eat all the cookies? I didn't get one.

Sorry you didn't get one. I can't remember if I ate them all but the koolaid was good that I washed them down with.


John
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Old 11-20-2018, 12:45 AM   #7
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It appears as if you purchased a former GSA contract bus. The Jobs Corps and military use a lot of them. They aren't bad buses but tend to be a bit under spe'c'ed as far as heavy duty parts and pieces are concerned.

I have seen a LOT of those buses with the Cummins 6BT/ISB with only about 190-210 HP and hooked up to AT540 transmissions. If you are lucky you got one of their buses with the Cummins 6CT/ISC with 250+ HP with the MT643 transmission. With the smaller engine and transmission you will be spending a LOT of time with your foot flat on the floor. Without upgrading to the better transmission and turning up the HP you will spend a lot of time going up hills in the slow lane. With any sort of HP increase you will also need to consider an increase in radiator cooling capacity. If you keep all of the underseat heaters and turn them on while going up a long grade you might be okay. But the removal of the volume of coolant the heater loop contains will be a problem on hot days on long grades with a hotter engine.

Most of their buses are geared more towards highway speed than school bus route speed. So again, you may have lucked out there as well.

The transit slider windows are a plus as well. They don't leak nearly as much and seal out the wind and the rain much better than the dual sash drop windows used in school buses.

Please ask questions even if you think they have already been answered before. Also, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes if you don't know what it is exactly you are looking at and you are wanting help with it, if you post a photo I am sure there will be someone on here that has seen what it is you are questioning and will know how to deal with your problem

Good luck and keep us posted as to your progress.
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:01 AM   #8
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Good news is the 6BT is brick simple to turn the power up on. Just don't go past the trannys limit.
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:05 AM   #9
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Welcome to the site!
Thank you
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:17 AM   #10
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Oh my gosh, cowlitzcoach, I cannot tell you how excited I was reading your message, we were told it was used to transport veterans but that was all we knew. It has 83k "original miles." We thought we were told it had a cummins 8.3 but now we are questioning that lol Driving was definitely foot to the floor on the highway, cruised along about 63mph. We have some research to do, mechanically speaking, but that is beyond intimidating and I don't know where to start!! Knowing there are people out there who have knowledge and are willing to share that is AMAZING and so reassuring!!

We love the windows, they are all in really good shape!! We have big plans for her, about a month before we start tearing in!! Thank you, again, for taking time with that awesome response and information!!
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Old 11-27-2018, 03:59 AM   #11
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If it doesn't tell you what engine and transmission it has on the vehicle data plate there should be a data plate on the engine and on the transmission that will tell you the serial number, model number, and on the engine the HP rating.

Foot to the floor at 63 MPH suggests 6BT/ISC and AT540.

One of the best ways in which to get to know your bus is to crawl underneath and discover everything that is hung off of the chassis to make your bus operate. Just locating all of the filters and knowing what each one does can save you a lot of $$$ down the road.

I assume the bus has air brakes. If it has air brakes it would be a great idea if you got a copy of your state's CDL license handbook and read the air brake section. You won't need to take the test for the CDL or any of the endorsements but knowing how your air brakes work will be a good thing for you.
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:20 AM   #12
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Rather discouraged this morning, I wanted to find some answers so we went last night to visit our bus for the 1st time since driving it home... we could not find a darned thing!! Lots of plates but nothing g that could generate any info on the engine or tranny. I feel silly buying a bus before understanding the mechanics but I do it with cars so I figured what the hell...?? Seeing the 'guts' made MY guts hurt, I am worried that we got into trouble... it's not pretty. I am going to include photos but be gentle ;) I have no idea what anything is or what it is supposed to look like (is it even supposed to be clean/look pretty?) but I do know she drove from Omaha NE to MI like a champ without any issues... she didn't even change her purr once LOL.

I appreciate you so much for taking the time to talk with me!!

Oh, and air brakes are a yes, we will definitely be taking your advice and studying up!!!!
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:35 AM   #13
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Looks like an 8.3 to me.
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:43 AM   #14
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You can call your local Bluebird dealer with the body service number and they can tell you all about your bus.

Does it have a push-button shifter?
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Old 11-28-2018, 10:29 AM   #15
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Does it have a push-button shifter?
It does not?? It is an automatic transmission, is that what you mean? lol
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Old 11-28-2018, 10:32 AM   #16
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You can call your local Bluebird dealer with the body service number and they can tell you all about your bus.
Oh.My.GOSH!! Your advice put me in contact with a super duper helpful man that as able to confirm it is a Cummins 8.3 ISC with an Allison transmission... now to find out more on that ;)

Thank you, everyone!!
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Old 11-28-2018, 10:33 AM   #17
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Looks like an 8.3 to me.
Right on ;) Thank you!! Know anything about them? Lol
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Old 11-28-2018, 10:51 AM   #18
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Right on ;) Thank you!! Know anything about them? Lol
They're the BEST.
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Old 11-30-2018, 03:59 PM   #19
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It does not?? It is an automatic transmission, is that what you mean? lol
The two most likely transmissions in that bus are the MD3060 or the MT643.

M3060 generally has a push-button shifter.

The MT643 has a T handle shifter.
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Old 11-30-2018, 04:02 PM   #20
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The two most likely transmissions in that bus are the MD3060 or the MT643.

M3060 generally has a push-button shifter.

The MT643 has a T handle shifter.
Not always. There are places that spec'd their 3060's with t-handle shifters. Most have the push-button but its not always.
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