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Old 10-26-2020, 08:23 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 1
Newbie with a BB TC1000 (kinda) Red Cross bus conversion.

Introducing ourselves (Michael and Alejandra) and our 2001 BB Red Cross bloodmobile, "Bertha", that we are currently gutting for renovation into a mini class A.

About the bus:
We decided to convert a bus for a cross country trip with the kiddos and grandma. We'd obviously continue using the bus well beyond that trip for quick weekend getaways. Safety concerns led us to a bus conversion vs. buying an RV. Oh - and we are "DIY gluttons for punishment". I think that's the #1 prerequisite to end up on this forum.

The bus was found on CL, but it was listed under "barter". This made it a hidden gem. And it was only 50 miles away from me! The bus was retired from the Red Cross (ghosting from the decals still visible) and sold to a construction company, which managed to beat it pretty hard on the inside and side swipe the passenger side against a building. It was then sold to a third owner, who planned to make it into a party bus. He clearly never had the time for it, and sold it to us for an easy $3k. Best part - someone along the line had managed to get this thing titled as a passenger vehicle. No issue at the DMV here in NY. It's an 18,000lb SUV according to them. Allstate considered it an RV right off the bat - $350/year full coverage. It has 128k on the 5.9 ISB. Allison tranny, and hydraulics. When I picked it up, the brakes froze up and smoked down the highway on me. Three locked calibers necessitated a trip to a heavy equipment mechanic who charged a tidy sum of money for researching and installing NOS calipers that matched the original part numbers. In the end, they did a great job with all new brakes (lines, calipers, rotors and pads), new exhaust, some lenses and lights, and a valid NYS inspection - $4.5k.

My neighbors FREAKED about this thing. They filed complaints with the town to force me to remove it, but that effort failed. Not only did they lose that fight - the resulting delay actually forced me to give up the rental space I had secured for the bus during renovation. So now they get to look at Bertha everyday for the foreseeable future. That's the price they paid for not speaking to their neighbor, that they've known forever, before trying to rat him out to a code enforcement officer who can't stand their constant complaining!

Anyway - here is the plan. This is not an attempt to build a house on wheels. So we aren't taking the interior panels out or insulating the floor. The walls and ceiling do have some basic yellow fiberglass-ish insulation. We did replace some of the plywood flooring, but the rust under the busted pieces of plywood was shockingly minimal. It will have a twin bunk bed, jack knife sofa, kitchen, bath, and small garage. We saved a couple bus seats to reinstall for the kids' car seats.

Where we could use some help: these things have a wild roofline, making ceiling options a real head scratcher. I can't even imagine getting 1/4" plywood to make that bend without first soaking and forming it against a mold. We would love to meet other TC1000 owners who have solved this problem. Other than that, you all have already been a great resource for us with seat removal, heater removal, and various floorplan ideas!
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Old 10-26-2020, 09:23 PM   #2
Bus Nut
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 275
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Blue Bird All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 2 adults and two pigeons
Thats a great looking bus! Being registered as an RV, your neighbors really have no recourse. Congrats on the bus and winning the fight against your neighbor

Found my Bus at AAAbus in Phx!
Bus'n it is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2020, 09:27 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Bus name is Farley
Posts: 20
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue bird
Engine: 5.9l 12v Cummins
Nice ride. We have an older version (1997) that we bought a couple years ago. Our conversion is 98% complete with just some details left to sort out over time. To answer your question about the ceiling we just left ours as is. No regrets there as we just vacation in it.
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Old 10-27-2020, 03:44 AM   #4
Bus Geek
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,630
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Nice bus! What's to complain about, neighbor?
Native is offline   Reply With Quote

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