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Old 09-15-2021, 08:35 PM   #1
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Question New member with 0 experience! any advice will do :)

Hello!

Long story short, I am a broke college student. My dad had bought an 89 Bluebird bus that had already been converted to live in (has water, generator, etc.) a few years back and it has just been SITTING there, used as storage from when we moved.

I currently live with them as I am unable to move out on my own due to being in school and not getting enough hours at work.

I was thinking about fixing this bus up (with my money, and his mechanical knowledge) and possibly using it to live in and split the bills of potentially living in a park with my boyfriend.

I really have no idea what the condition is, or if it will even run properly (we are having to charge the battery now, but my dad is confident that it will run... I'm not entirely sure though. But he probably knows more than I do.)

I know it needs a completely new set of tires, but I don't even know what the price for that would be or WHERE to even look for those. I am completely new to bus life, aside from seeing a couple videos converting them in the past.

So if anyone has ANY advice for me AT ALL or if y'all could let me know the average cost of living and repairs are for this type of bus, that would be great.

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Old 09-15-2021, 08:43 PM   #2
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Welcome to the madness. Where are you located? Go to the UserCP above and fill out your profile with location and bus info when you know more about it. Make sure you go through the basics to making it roadworthy. Everything you want to know is contained on this website.
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Old 09-15-2021, 08:52 PM   #3
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Like Marc said, let us know where you are. For example, if you're in Arizona I can connect you with a good source for great recapped tires for $50 each. That can save you a ton of money right there. And...batteries...those can be expensive, but again there are cheaper options. For example, my local Napa store has a pallet of Group 31 batteries for $75 each. Most are more expensive, and granted these only have a 1-year warranty, but they work well and are another money-saving option (at least in the short term...since sometimes it's cheaper in the long run to spend more now).

But regardless of how much you can save with some pointers and advice, you're going to need some funds to make the bus safe and livable. How much money, though, depends upon what condition the bus is in now...so it's hard to say without knowing more. Share what you can and you'll get pointers here.
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Old 09-15-2021, 09:17 PM   #4
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Hey, thanks so much for the reply. I'm in east texas, and I will definitely fill out all the information on the UserCP as soon as I know more. I still have to actually assess the condition of the bus, and have my dad help with that. We are hoping to work on it a little bit tomorrow.
Basically, the last time he ran it, he ran out of diesel, and that's a very big no-no from what I've heard... But he is still confident that he can get it back up and running. He's not sure if it needs a completely new battery yet, but hopefully he can get cheaper access to them because he works at a dealership. That's how he got the previous battery, if I'm not mistaken. As far as any kind of budget, I really only have a little less than 10k saved to my name, so hopefully that could cover any kind of repairs it needs for now... I will ask my dad about getting tires through his work, but he says new tires would run me about $6,000? The number seems a bit inflated, but again, what do I know, haha.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply, and your help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-15-2021, 09:18 PM   #5
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East Texas! Thanks so much, I will definitely fill out my info in the UserCP. And of course, I'd be too scared to even attempt to drive it if it wasn't road safe. Wish me luck !
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Old 09-15-2021, 09:34 PM   #6
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New tires

Gonna run $250 if you find a fire sale, $600 each if you buy Michelin…….

Likely after you look around somewhere in between.

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Old 09-15-2021, 10:00 PM   #7
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lets see some pics
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:27 PM   #8
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sounds good, its dark out now but I will definitely get some pics tomorrow and post them
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:32 PM   #9
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Tires can be expensive but I don't know anywhere it would cost you $1000 per wheel. So, you'll end up somewhere between $100 (or less) for good low-pro recaps, which are a good size swap for 11R22.5 tires, and $600 for top of the line (as the guy from Topeka said above ).

When you take those pics, include some of the tires. Get some good ones of the sidewalls (so we can look for cracks or other signs of aging) and post one of the size...which will be something like 11R22.5 or such.
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:51 PM   #10
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Oooh, thank god, I was scared to spend like half of my life savings on some new tires, but $3600 max is more feasible.
I will definitely get a lot of good pics tomorrow, thank you! The bus doesn't look too pretty right now, because it has just been sitting for a while... Hopefully it could give some insight if it's worth even trying haha. Thank you
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:58 PM   #11
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Are there cracks in the tire sidewalls? Were they shaded or covered...or left in the direct sun? Before you assume you need new tires, take a good look at them. Look for cracks or signs of aging. Feel the sidewalls for bulges, both inside and outside (not inside the tire, of course...on the side facing inside the bus and also on the side facing the outside). If the tires look good and are free of cracking or bulges or other visible defects, then leave them alone for now.`
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:21 PM   #12
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I want to know what engine and transmission it has. You can add that to the registry when you find out.
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Old 09-16-2021, 04:03 AM   #13
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You can't legally use recaps on the front two tires -- those will need to be new.

Determining how much driving vs. sitting parked you plan on will dictate the value in spending more or less on new tires.

Only plan to drive a few hundred miles a year vs. cross-country trips from Baja to Maine?

If you know about where you need to locate the bus find out in advance how much the RV park or Trailer park charges for monthly parking/hookup fees.
It's hard to find inexpensive places to park (legally...)

It's cheap to park behind somebodies barn but be prepared to move if the neighbors (and then) the authorities complain...
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Old 09-16-2021, 07:45 AM   #14
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With respect to Banman, the legal prohibition against recaps in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Title 49 Part 393.75 applies to buses. He's absolutely right about that. But if the vehicle is no longer, legally, a bus then that prohibition won't apply. Now, whether one feels comfortable with recaps on the front is a different story...and I don't want to divert the OP's thread with a rehash of that contentious issue. But legally, it is an option if our vehicle no longer meets the definition of a bus (which falls into the "passenger carrier" category of those regs).

As Banman wisely point out, your travel plans and needs will dictate your tire choices...and all other things.
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Old 09-16-2021, 10:03 AM   #15
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I didn't see that you said you plan to drive the bus on a regular basis, just park it in a trailer park and live in it. If that's true, you're NOT going to drive the bus beyond moving it to a trailer park, and the trailer park is close then it might not be necessary to replace the tires. It'd be a shame to sink money into tires that will just sit and deteriorate.
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Old 09-16-2021, 11:50 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
Are there cracks in the tire sidewalls? Were they shaded or covered...or left in the direct sun? Before you assume you need new tires, take a good look at them. Look for cracks or signs of aging. Feel the sidewalls for bulges, both inside and outside (not inside the tire, of course...on the side facing inside the bus and also on the side facing the outside). If the tires look good and are free of cracking or bulges or other visible defects, then leave them alone for now.`


I snapped some quick pics this morning before going to school, if I need to get some better ones later I will. The tires don't look to great to me, and yes, my dad did not cover them at all... haha. The bus has been sitting in this exact position for months now. And again, it is painful to see how rough it's looking, but I'm mostly hoping to get some insight to if it's worth it to fix up. I will try to get some of the inside soon, and also will ask my dad about the transmission and other details later on today.

Thank you all for helping!


Front of the bus: https://imgur.com/tRcgeZV
Back of the bus: https://imgur.com/mtwrdwN
Side of the Bus: https://imgur.com/sJ0F7mT
Tires: https://imgur.com/nmNRDmC
https://imgur.com/JSkRBAj
https://imgur.com/QCAiwrx (cracking shown in tires)



Also, for everyone wondering, I don't really plan to travel cross country with this thing, at least not now. So just some quick trips within town at the most, at the moment.

I also have this on private land, and would be renovating and working on this on said land. It is hidden in the woods, so no neighborhood complaints for me so far. I would also be interested in if it was feasible to live in on this said land, as I realize it is hard to find a cheaper RV park, especially one that will allow buses. Hope this gives more insight to the bus condition!
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Old 09-16-2021, 12:24 PM   #17
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Well...yes, you need new tires...as you guessed. I see the tire size starts with 11R, but I cannot see if the final numbers are 22.5. Can you tell in person? If so, that's a pretty common size and low-pro semi tires are very close in diameter.

I personally like the look of the old school Dayton open spoke hubs, but that might narrow your replacement or service options somewhat.
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Old 09-17-2021, 07:27 PM   #18
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just asked, dad said 12 valve cummins with allison transmission? hopefully that makes sense to y'all, haha
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Old 09-17-2021, 07:35 PM   #19
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yes, its 11R 22.5 14PR. I've done some research on the tires now and believe I can find some that fit for a decent price. Dad and I tried to get it running again, it's doing better but still won't start. Had to jump it with our van, still didn't start, but there's black smoke coming out of the exhaust, and it sounds a lot better than it was doing yesterday. I feel like we are close to getting it to start up again Also got some pics of the inside.... Previous owners decided to skip insulation, which will be a hassle... :') They prepared it for texas heat, but not the winters we've been having.
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Old 09-17-2021, 08:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratpuns View Post
just asked, dad said 12 valve cummins with allison transmission? hopefully that makes sense to y'all, haha
That covers 75% of all the school buses out there. The important question is which Allison trans it is?
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