Originally Posted by TJones
From your profile it looks like you got the bus! There have been several of these on ebay they all looked to be low mile, top spec busses. I thought about buying one and selling the one I have.
Yes, we did. We didn't get the exact one in the post, but one of that same group of buses. I've been in touch with the person that won the auction, as we've been going through the peculiarities of how they built these.
Just checked out your thread. Your bus looks quite similar. What's making you consider swapping? [sounds much easier than it is, having to drive another one across states (and pay gas for it)] Challenges you're running into with it might be better than those on these buses.
They have an awesome drive train setup, low miles, and underbelly thru storage. Those were the main drivers in our purchase of it. It drives great (80 mph not on a grade, and it holds speed fairly well on lower grades), is geared right, and has a retarder (which I absolutely love). Also, just found this out, it has a thin layer (not uniform - 1/2" to 1") of spray foam inside the bus ceiling and likely walls -- can see it through some gaps I've created, but still working on removing those panels, as I have to leave the windows in it to be able to move it for a few tasks.
For a Texas bus, they have quite a bit of corrosion/rust that I'm going to have to clean up underneath and clean up the various mechanical pieces. I'm not looking forward to that and have been looking for solutions. I looked into media blasting, but it's not cheap nor simple to find someone willing to tackle it on a running machine -- plus guarantee they won't inadvertently cause problems. DIY is not really feasible, as the masks you need for it are $300+ and you need a SERIOUS air compressor to push the volume/pressure required -- no Home Depot rental or even big box store purchase comes close. I found an item that may speed this up and be less dangerous... will see how it works and report back in my build thread (once created).
Depending on what you want to keep of the rest of it, there could be pluses there also. We're going to be removing the roof AC units to regain height for a roof raise, and removing the rear AC unit, as it's large (lose 2 1/2 ft of bench space for the bed above the engine), loud and requires an intrusive ducting system. That rear AC unit delete may be a huge PITA, as there's a dual purpose drive in the belt line tied to it and a second alternator for the bus -- need to figure out a solution there. We're also replacing the RV windows, as none of them open and we don't want all of our windows with privacy tint -- more natural light!
I'll also add that it does not look like yours has the 2nd roof skin, which could definitely be a plus. I found someone that bought a bus with a similar 2nd skin, though not Blue Bird and the sheet metal for that skin was done slightly differently, but it had rust issues inside even though the outside was completely clean. With this bus having spray foam, I can't check that out. All I can do is hope the vapor barrier the foam created also kept the moisture out enough that the roof will rust at a much slower rate if there are any loose rivets (which judging by removing those on the inside panels, definitely seems a possibility).
And the final larger challenge we're having is regarding the electrical. They modified the buses for border patrol use and they had guard equipment, so a video recording system, gun locks/controls, extra lighting, controls for the toilet/sink up front... lots of oddities all wired in via some custom design that we have no documentation on. The fuse panel is completely custom and the awesome labeling Blue Bird had on the door is useless. The other person that bought the auction bus had an electrician come out and work through it. I'm going to try tackling it myself with a Power Probe master kit.
I'm going to be starting a build thread (demo at this point) on a day I'm not over working on it. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot them over.