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Old 06-06-2024, 09:02 AM   #1
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New guy from IA

Hello everyone! I've been on this forum for a few years now (not registered, just reading), been wanting to do a skoolie for a very long time. Well, finally pulled the trigger on one. What I ended up with is a 2004 Blue Bird with a CAT C7 and Allison transmission (unsure of model at the moment). I'm paying $2000 for it, 130k miles. The seller has already removed the seats, walls, and ceiling, and started insulating the floor. He said they treated the floor with a rust preventer (couldn't remember what), and laid down some insulation. Here's the good part, they are including everything they had purchased to do the conversion so far. Several sheets of plywood, fresh/grey/black tanks, a new toilet, new water heater, and several other things were on the pile. Basically their story was medical emergencies and life got in the way and they just want it gone.

Not gonna lie, engine might need a little work. I know it needs a starter, I'm having the bus towed to my house (it's only about an hour away from me). I am a parts guy at a Peterbilt dealership, and we are a CAT dealer as well. So I have access to SIS and employee pricing on CAT parts as well. (Let me know if you need CAT parts looked up ). I also know several good diesel mechanics that can help me if engine needs opened up...I can do the starter and oil changes and basic stuff.

As far as what I want to do, basically just gonna make this a cheap camper for weekend trips and a week long vacation or two a year. I am not a master carpenter by any means, but I can frame, do plumbing/electrical, have most of the tools I'll need to at least get moving on it. For the first few years planning on just keeping it basic, we are a family of 4 with two young children. Basically a queen bed, 2 twin bunks, a small bathroom and kitchen. Mostly gonna try and stay at campgrounds that have water and power hookups.

Pretty excited, I will post pictures tomorrow when I get it here. I look forward to getting started and will do my best to post photos and descriptions along the way!

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Old 06-06-2024, 10:41 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 1,019
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 29
Welcome.

We can always use a parts guy, or someone who knows good diesel mechanics.

We also like to see pictures. If you have any of your bus.

Your transmission type will be on the transmission under the bus on the passenger side. Should be a plaque there labeling what type it is.
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Old 06-07-2024, 10:00 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,039
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
in 2004 if your Shifter is a handle with no digital display (R-N-D-4-2-1) or (R-N-(D)-D-2-1) then its an allison 2000 series.. probably 2500 PTS...


if it is a pushbutton panel with a red digit display then its a 3000 Series (MD3060 is the most common)..


both are solid transmissions


mae sure your bus REALLY needs a starter.. a no start no crank condition on a gutted bus can easily be that it needs new batteries or that the wires to a starter interlock were cut, (such as a rear door lock, or ZONAR pre trip inspection system)..
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Old 06-07-2024, 01:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
in 2004 if your Shifter is a handle with no digital display (R-N-D-4-2-1) or (R-N-(D)-D-2-1) then its an allison 2000 series.. probably 2500 PTS...


if it is a pushbutton panel with a red digit display then its a 3000 Series (MD3060 is the most common)..


both are solid transmissions


mae sure your bus REALLY needs a starter.. a no start no crank condition on a gutted bus can easily be that it needs new batteries or that the wires to a starter interlock were cut, (such as a rear door lock, or ZONAR pre trip inspection system)..
Good suggestions! I'll have it home later today so will check that out. He already yanked the starter out maybe I'll stick it back in and see what it does. Will take some pictures and put them up later with hopefully some more info.
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Old 06-07-2024, 01:55 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Central Tx.
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Year: 1999
Chassis: Amtran / International
Engine: DT466E HT 250HP - Md3060
Not to scare you in any way but $2,000 for a bus that you don't even know that the motor will turn because the starter is out ?
What if she is water/vapor locked??

What if it does turn but has a rod knock, rings shot and engine smokes?

Put the starter in and see what you got.

also, since you got mechanic friends, connect a laptop to the bus and read the computer. See if there is any history DTC showing....

to me, a bus that does not run is worth no more than $500 bucks.

Do what you gotta do to ensure your not jumping into a deep money pit!
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Old 06-10-2024, 10:34 AM   #6
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Uploaded some pictures. I did stick the old starter in, no crank on it. There are some wires cut....I called the seller to double check and he told me the bus started fine after all wires were cut. No idea if he's blowing smoke or not. Either way I am going to get a battery charger and have a new starter coming. Will try that first before I go down the rabbit hole of chasing wires. I appreciate the responses and suggestions!

Edit: It is the Allison 2500 transmission btw.
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Old 06-10-2024, 12:18 PM   #7
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,039
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
the thing to do is make sure the battery is charged.. and place a volt meter on the large wire going to the starter .. which should be hot all the time fro mthe battery.. (the really big Positvie). check for voltsage on that wire (to ground..ie the frame)..


then cli the lead to the smaller solenoid activation wire and when you turn the key to the start position that wire should have 12 volts (or so ) on it... if it doesnt then wiring is your first issue and not the starter.. if you get 12 volts on that wire and no crank then a starter (or solenoid) is a good place to start..


troubleshoot it.. dont just throw parts at it
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Old 06-10-2024, 01:43 PM   #8
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: mid Mo.
Posts: 905
Year: 1976
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: F33695
Engine: 427 chevy converted to 466
Rated Cap: 84
Great to have a person that knows "CAT" talk and is a parts person. I have a front hood from a 2005 BB if yours is questionable, mine is not perfect thou. I also have a new set of mirrors..that's 4... for a bus like yours if you need them. Where you at, I'm in Fulton, Mo. So please tell everyone what batteries cost at Peterbuild dealers this summer, usually cheaper then most places in my experience.
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Old 06-10-2024, 06:37 PM   #9
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I'm up in Sioux City, western edge of Iowa. My dealership has group 31 925CCA batteries about $100 a piece. Not sure what other dealers are doing. They're pretty decent too.

I haven't had a chance to really test voltages and stuff...just jammed the old starter in and tried to start. I'll try and get out there tomorrow.
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Old 06-10-2024, 07:28 PM   #10
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: arkensas
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
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welcome i am from iowa but since i retired we been down here in arkensas. i also got a cat in my 98 bluebird (97 chevy chassie) but i got the 3116 which i love. 11300 miles when we bought it. just had a issue when we were driving the batteries shorted internally and started boiling. i took the fuel soloinoid off , unhooked the batteries and jumped started it. drove it to a buddys house parked it and stuck my finger into the hole to shut it off. soooo glad im obd free
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