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Old 12-14-2019, 05:55 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
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We Got A Buuuus! Hi everyone

Hi,

My name is Bruce, and the better half is Brittney.

We just purchased a 1997 FE Bluebird with an 8.3 Cummins engine with only 150k miles from a Public Surplus auction in Nevada, and we are really excited about what is coming on the horizon. After 6 solid months of anxious auction searching, it feels relievingly good to finally be moving forward.

The total cost with sellers premium was $6050.00.

We fly out to pick up the Bus this Friday, December the 20th, and will spend the following weekend making the 27 hour trip down from Nevada to a town just north of Houston, Texas.

In preparation, we had two mechanics go and give us their opinion and they both said that everything looks good, and safe to make the trip; great tires, no blowby, exhaust and oil are clean, and everything checks out on the gauges. They both even asked to let them know if we didn’t buy it so that they could come in and make the purchase, which was reassuring. The only issue that we need to address soon is replacing the two 8D batteries.

We want to do the full built-to-last conversion with 2500 watts of solar, a roof raise, and a small toy-hauler gate style ramp on the back to park a smart car or something similar. (If you see anybody selling one of the diesel smart cars or scion IQ’s, we would be happy to buy it.)

We hope to establish ourselves with jobs that we can work from a distance, so that we can be off the grid full time, and preferably traveling to whatever seasonal amenities that nature has to offer that year.

Thank you guys for the wealth of information that we have been silently collecting from your conversations, as we never would have been able to get this far without your collective encyclopedia of all that is Bus. I feel confident that we will get to know many of you pretty well over the coming years, and I hope that we can eventually have some information to share and continue to help this community grow.

I hope you are all doing well through the holidays. And have a great new year.

-Bruce and Brittney (Truffles)
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Old 12-14-2019, 05:56 PM   #2
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Very cool. Great choice!
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Old 12-14-2019, 06:06 PM   #3
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Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
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So you got one of the rare All Americans with the 8.3 in a front engine config? What transmission came with it? There was a gal on Facebook that bought one with a MD3060, she ultimately decided she really wanted a rear engine and posted it for sale within a week of buying it.. And nobody believes her that it's an 8.3 with MD3060 so it's still for sale.
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Old 12-14-2019, 06:38 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
So you got one of the rare All Americans with the 8.3 in a front engine config? What transmission came with it? There was a gal on Facebook that bought one with a MD3060, she ultimately decided she really wanted a rear engine and posted it for sale within a week of buying it.. And nobody believes her that it's an 8.3 with MD3060 so it's still for sale.
Yep. That really limited our searches to just one or two busses at any given time, across the 15 or so auction sites that we were constantly dredging through. (Those auction site User Interfaces are all a pain to search accurately)

So far, we weren’t able to find any FE 8.3’s with the MD3060’s. But we ended up switching our searches to the mechanical engines that can’t accommodate the electronics in the MD3060 anyway, for the increased ease of repairs.

We really wanted the 8.3 to be able to easily make it up steep inclines, and we needed the front engine to be able to turn the back into the garage ramp for our exploring vehicle.

Overall, the FE Blubird 8.3’s aren’t super Rare, but they definitely qualify as ‘hard to find’. And they will probably become rarer as time goes on. When Uber announced “Uber Freight” in September of this year to allow anyone to start hauling loads cross-country, we felt some pressure that the auction services might get an influx of bus-buying competition from people trying to make a quick buck.
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Old 12-14-2019, 06:43 PM   #5
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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
One of the first buses I really bid on was a 93 BBAA with the 8.3 in FE configuration.
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Old 12-14-2019, 06:47 PM   #6
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Uber freight is only open to owners of dry Vans and reefers. In other words, the same 18 wheelers already carrying freight. If they open it up to DIY rigs I could see people buying buses cheap and replacing the body with a plywood box.
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:40 PM   #7
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 751
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
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I don't think the 8.3 FE All Americans are necessarily rare, especially in the older <1998 model year buses. Many sellers incorrectly list it as a 5.9.
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:34 PM   #8
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Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
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Year: 1996
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Congrats and good luck with the build!
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Old 12-15-2019, 08:22 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
I don't think the 8.3 FE All Americans are necessarily rare, especially in the older <1998 model year buses. Many sellers incorrectly list it as a 5.9.
Do you think that the 8.3’s are labeled as 5.9 due to a miscoded vin number?
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