Hi Folks, we're new at this and (hopefully) days away from buying a bus and taking the plunge. We are a family of 6, hoping to convert a bus, and live in it full-time while traveling around this beautiful country of ours. We've been looking for the right bus with a big engine/tranny combo that will be useful for flat-towing a car behind us without slowing to a crawl on mountain roads. I'm looking at this bus (picture attached) and it looks perfect for us -- but I wanted to ask you experts before writing a check. The bus is a 2002 BlueBird Commercial bus with a Cummins ISC rear-engine, and Allison B400. I may need to buy 'sight unseen'; but the owner says everything works well, no leaks, no rust, low miles.
- Any concerns about it being a commercial bus and not (technically) a school bus?
- Any concerns with the transmission? Mostly I see the MD3060 recommended in this forum, but nothing about the B400... I've read the B300 & MD3060 are the same medium sized World Transmission, and the B400 & MD3066 are the heavy duty version. Does the B400 sound like a good pairing with this engine and a good tranny for our use-case? Foresee any issues with top-speed, towing power, or get-up-and-go? (I've attached a spec-sheet on Allison 'Bus Series' tranny's, for those of you who know how to interpret those spec's... it's Greek to me.
- Any concerns with the ridge vents (I assume they're vents) that run along the roof ridge on either side? Has anyone dealt with those before? Any suggestions on keeping the A/C vs. removing? Would be nice to put in some upper cabinets inside; but the interior ducting encroaches on that space.
- Anything you can think would be super important for me to consider, or ask the owner before making the purchase?
I'll let others comment on the engine (what size?) and tranny...but...what I am seeing on the roof appears to be something most of us would stand in line for.
That looks like sun shield with an air gap (keeps the main roof out of direct sun like the old safari style Land Rovers). Rarely seen is this country but common in the Middle East and other desert areas. Very cool if that is what it is.
That looks like sun shield with an air gap (keeps the main roof out of direct sun like the old safari style Land Rovers).
I was able to get another pic of the roof and it looks like you're right. Our plan is to configure our build for boondocking - any concerns with adding solar panels to the roof with that sun shield in place?
Here's another bus I'm looking at. Same situation - seller says no rust, no leaks, everything works, low miles, etc. It's a 1997 MCI MC-12 with a heavy duty Detroit 6V92TA engine and an Allison HTB-748 transmission. Looks like it's in good shape. I've done no research on MCIs... been focusing on school buses... but this one has caught my eye. Which of these two would you advise for our use-case (i.e., family of 6, rv conversion, full-time, towing, etc.)?
I was all set to bid on the BlueBird... it was my 'unicorn bus'... then I saw the MCI (from the same seller) with its higher ceiling and large storage capacity... and... with 5 hours left to bid... I bought it. Here's to hoping I didn't make a big mistake.
For those of you who liked the Bluebird, here's where you can bid on it... ends tomorrow night... good luck! (maybe we'll see each other in CA this weekend when we pick it up):