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Old 10-16-2020, 01:07 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
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I took the plunge

Hi all
My name's Rick and I believe I may be the new owner of a book mobile. I've done considerable reading both here an on other sites. I'm 66 and hoping to retire soon. I'm a commercial electrician (contractor) with a background in motor homes and some commercial solar arrays.
This bus is 1999 Blue Bird, is registered as an MPV in California, has 54007 original miles, a 5.9 L6 and a 3000 series tyranny (push button). The rear end is 5.38, I believe, and it comes with a low hour 15kW, Kohler, diesel generator.i signed up on the Cummins site for diagrams and specs and printed out a wiring diagram from Blue Bird.

https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?fa=Main.Item&itemid=579&acctid=5947

It needs a rinse both inside and out, 2 new batteries and a good going over as it's been parked for a while. It's 4 hours from my house. That's it for now, just checking in
Rick
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Old 10-16-2020, 04:33 AM   #2
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Congrats, and welcome to the community. Sounds like you got a pretty nice foundation on which to build. The 5.9 Cummins is usually a solid package, I believe a '99 would be a 12-valve, which is slightly less power but avoids the injection issues common to the 24-valve. Power isn't much of a consideration though, even with the better transmissions, as these things weren't built to be in a hurry.

The 5.9 does have one Achilles heel -- what is known as the killer dowel pin. This engine has been known to have a certain dowel pin come loose and get caught in the timing gears, doing major damage. I am not certain whether this was a problem only on certain years, or which ones. I'm thinking 1999 may have been one of the affected units.

In its original configuration / usage / titling / registration, such a vehicle technically does indeed require a Class B CDL, with air brake endorsements, and if fitted as a bus, P (Passenger) and S (School bus) endorsements where applicable. HOWEVER... Once retitled and registered as an RV / Motorhome, it is NOT required in most of North America. I remember reading something about this still being in issue in at least parts of Canada, but it is not required in the US once retitled for such purposes. That being said, CDL knowledge is still good to have in the interest of increased safety and prevention of bad situations.

What you should know about the 3000 series. What you probably have is an MD3060 - essentially a six-speed double-overdrive auto. Most skoolies have sixth gear locked out electronically. Not sure if this would be the case with a non-school-service unit, but if it is locked out, you may or may not be able to get that unlocked.

I'm guessing with the rear axle ratio mentioned (tire size affects this, as well as whether sixth gear is locked out), you're probably looking at about 60-65 mph max. Just a guess. Which is fine, you really don't want to push one of these much beyond 60, I am a professional driver with 4-5 years trucking experience, and I have driven an RE with an 8.3 Cummins at 70 mph -- it was a handful, mostly due to some steering issues that needed addressing.

I encourage you to check out my pre-trip safety inspection thread, this will help you spot any problems before they have a chance to become worse, also will give you some real insight into why certain things need to be checked that you normally wouldn't think about on other vehicles.
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Old 10-16-2020, 04:47 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I have been picking your brain from the shadows for a while now. You're chock full of interesting knowledge on busses and such.
Thank you
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Old 10-16-2020, 04:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwnielsen View Post
I have been picking your brain from the shadows for a while now. You're chock full of interesting knowledge on busses and such.
Thank you
You're welcome, and thank you. My knowledge is extensive, but I don't know everything... Occasionally, I AM misinformed until I am enlightened to it. And admittedly, not all of my knowledge is from personal experience -- a bit of it is learning from others, which is, of course, what this community and site are supposed to be all about. ;)
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:59 AM   #5
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Year: 1999
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I saw that Bookie, glad someone got it!
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Old 10-16-2020, 10:08 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I saw that Bookie, glad someone got it!
Sadly, it got away. The bidding, with the buyer's fee, came to about 12000. There's tax on top of that. I was willing to go to 10000 give or take but that got too steep for me. It needed 6 tires and 2 big batteries that I was aware of. I was stretching my budget and wouldn't have had any wiggle room. There'll be others.
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Old 10-16-2020, 11:31 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rwnielsen View Post
Sadly, it got away. The bidding, with the buyer's fee, came to about 12000. There's tax on top of that. I was willing to go to 10000 give or take but that got too steep for me. It needed 6 tires and 2 big batteries that I was aware of. I was stretching my budget and wouldn't have had any wiggle room. There'll be others.
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Old 10-16-2020, 02:46 PM   #8
Almost There
 
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Year: 1999
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwnielsen View Post
Sadly, it got away. The bidding, with the buyer's fee, came to about 12000. There's tax on top of that. I was willing to go to 10000 give or take but that got too steep for me. It needed 6 tires and 2 big batteries that I was aware of. I was stretching my budget and wouldn't have had any wiggle room. There'll be others.
Good judgement. It pains me to see folks on this forum who started with great enthusiasm, took the plunge a bit early, and ended up with something that needs electrical, engine and body work just to get to square zero.

Do your research, be patient. Your bus is out there somewhere.
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Old 10-16-2020, 08:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
You're welcome, and thank you. My knowledge is extensive, but I don't know everything... Occasionally, I AM misinformed until I am enlightened to it. And admittedly, not all of my knowledge is from personal experience -- a bit of it is learning from others, which is, of course, what this community and site are supposed to be all about. ;)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwnielsen View Post
I have been picking your brain from the shadows for a while now. You're chock full of interesting knowledge on busses and such.
Thank you
I second that. More of a lurker than a poster, but appreciate your knowledge and your willingness to share with the community.
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:23 AM   #10
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these things get bid up sometimes. and right now the prices are up.. and with Covid cases spiking again yet people not wanting to be stuck at home, bus frenzy is going heavy duty again. .



if I were saomeone looking to do a conversion and didnt have to move or wasnt planning on beinbg on the road for awhile, i would seriously wait for awhile before buying or just set a low bid limit and be ready to let alot of busses go. and if you get lucky and a good one hits in a reasonable price range then your project takes off. otherwise i just see alot of people buying a bus now for $8000 and building on it for a year and in a year the same tyope of bus sells for $2500 if Covid subsides..



my busses have always gotten attention when oiut and about.. but more than ever now the DEV bus gets lots.. people are bonkers over a bus with a simple table, a stool and a heater that keeps me warm when the engine is off.. I mean really my bus is basically stock but families want to be out of the house and see a bus as a great way to do it (which it is).. but its seriously driving up the prices..



it was not that many years ago that schools were practically giving busses away.. $500 got you a decent running driving used bus..
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Old 10-17-2020, 01:59 PM   #11
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That and some people have more dollars than sense.
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Old 10-24-2020, 06:09 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
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You could change that rear end ratio eventually for better cruising rpm
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