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Old 05-02-2019, 12:38 AM   #21
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Palmer, AK
Posts: 279
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf T Liner MVP 11 window 32
Engine: CAT 3126E
Rated Cap: 72
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Originally Posted by knightindullarmor View Post
As long as it just has normal rust for a bus, it's not a big deal - I can weld.

nooooo...stay away from rust. You will save yourself so much time & frustration. Lots of money too!
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Old 05-02-2019, 01:16 AM   #22
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 2,072
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
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Originally Posted by knightindullarmor View Post
As long as it just has normal rust for a bus, it's not a big deal - I can weld.

Why buy a rustbucket for $1500, spend considerable time and money remediating the rust (which will never really be gone), when you can spend $2500 for a mechanically similar bus with little or no rust? Seems foolish to me. The rust free bus may have a somewhat higher price tag but you'll save far more than that in repairs you *don't* have to do.
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Old 05-02-2019, 05:15 AM   #23
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
170 hp pickup truck engine in a 35 footer. That's not gonna be fun in the rockies.
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:56 AM   #24
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,366
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
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Originally Posted by knightindullarmor View Post
2005-2007 Cummins 5.9 is 325HP and 610lbs/ft torque. THAT should pull up hills nicely in a 28 footer.
Unless it's built on a Dodge pickup chassis the horsepower is more likely to be 165hp-235hp.

There are notable differences between the version that went into the Dodge's and the medium duty applications.

Also, the computer HP upgrades for the Dodge's do not work with the MD motors. Different ECM.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:49 PM   #25
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Maryland
Posts: 19
so... I looked at that 85 International Bluebird 35' Dognose today. Was advised by owner that battery was half-dead and would need a jump. Started up easily with jumper cables. Engine is very solid. Chassis has 199k, but I was told that motor was rebuilt 10k miles ago. I absolutely believe it. Quiet, no knocks at all. Exhaust was nothing but clear - even at startup. I drove 1M+ miles in medium-duty towtrucks during the late 90s and early 2000s and this was a very quiet and smooth running motor.



Bus was a MD schoolbus from 1985 until 2000 or so, then was used infrequently by a church in PA. Less rust than I was expecting, but the usual areas are spongy and would need maybe a day or two (total) to cut out the old and weld in the new - (8"x8" section at latch side of rear emergency door floor, 18"x10" section at rear of each of the rear wheelwells, bottom step of entrance). Otherwise, very solid frame and chassis. Since I have years of experience both professionally and as a vehicle restoration hobbiest, this $2k job can be done in about 12 hours for less than $100 in flux-core wire and metal and cutoff discs. Drove a short distance up to 25mph in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and reverse. 5 speed Spicer transmission and clutch seems solid.



I placed bid on Ebay, but saw the final auction price go up over $500 in last 40 seconds of auction. Seller was cool though. Informed me that the winning bid was from overseas and he will sell me the bus for $1600.00 if buyer falls through. My purchase budget is $2k so that leaves me $400 to buy a tire ($125 used for 60% tread steer tire), a battery ($125ish), and glowplugs ($88 for full set that i'm not convinced it actually needs). Driver fans, heater, headlamps, taillamps, turnsignals, etc... all work. Engine doesn't shake in frame upon revs so motor & tranny mounts should be good to go. Altenator putting out 14v at idle. Mechanically, it is a very solid bus.



No roof vents so I don't have to worry about bad/old seals leaking water between outer and inner skins. 1 side window is cracked, but I will be welding in sheetmetal, insulating, and removing half of the windows anyway so no biggie. Probably going to cut out bottom step too - hate the clearance issue from door, will cut down door to accomodate & reposition hinges.



I desparately need a project over the warm months. Even if i put in hundreds of hours and 1k cash only to get out what I paid & move on to another project... it's worth it to me. Some folks pay $100/week to see new movies in theater with their spouse. Me... I would rather save an old vehicle from scrap yard and if I get my cash back and lose on labor, it's awesome. I would have spent that money on entertainment anyway.
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Old 05-03-2019, 06:17 AM   #26
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
Posts: 1,412
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 7.3L
What engine is in that 85 model? As far as the batteries, I would replace both if there are two of them. Not good to pair a new battery with an old one.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:15 AM   #27
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Location: Decatur, Illinois
Posts: 69
Year: 1992
Rated Cap: 35 kids
Welcome....I started transforming my 1992 Mid-size Bluebird bus 4 years ago. Mainly weekend warrior work. Now we are only 27 days away from my early retirement and taking our maiden voyage adventure. We bought the bus for $1700 and probably have spent $15,000 renovating it into the "Gypsy Bluebird"... All the work and money was worth it!! I made it an art project from the beginning and included material that would be considered "Out of the box". Things such as Chairs shaped like Hands, Finger hooks, Penny top easel/table, mosaic tile counter, The use of Fur in fun ways, plenty of hidden storage, great TV and sound system, creative ideas through-out and a comfortable living environment with every window uncovered to reduce claustrophobia. NO REGRETS.
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Old 05-06-2019, 12:25 PM   #28
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,366
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
I envy your patience.....

A 6.9 IDI in a 35' bus...... I would go nuts....

Enjoy the journey!
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:05 PM   #29
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Maryland
Posts: 19
Well... the European bidder came through and paid and arranged shipping on that 85 Bluebird that I looked at.



A 2001 International with ElDorado coach shuttle was available about 250 miles away. Supposedly to have be in great mechanical condition. I was 2nd in line. Seller told the 1st person to call that he would hold it until this morning for the buyer to inspect and make offer. I offered to wire 1/2 the offered price as a non-refundable deposit last night. Buyer didn't show up until this evening, and got the bus. I was a bit grumpy considering that the asking price was only $2k and I offered to buy it for more than the initial asking price & drive through the night to get owner paid in full in what turned out to be 12 hours before the purchaser even arrived to inspect the bus.



Luckily, a 2000 E450 with what appears to be a 6 window Starcraft coach showed up on Craigslist this evening. Local, only about 35 miles away. Also, it is currently registered as a 14 passenger van, so no need to prove an RV conversion to stay away from CDL. Triton V10, but it appears to have led a relatively sheltered life. Owned by a restaurant/bar to shuttle folks to concerts and sporting events - not subjected to salt & foul weather that school buses endure. It has already been repaired/modified to fix the spark plug issue on these engines. It has rear A/C (prettymuch all shuttle bus coaches seem to have this), flatpanel TV, etc... already wired and installed - appears to have a 200ish Amp altenator. I'm going to look at it & test drive tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed.
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