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Old 02-07-2020, 04:22 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 36
Year: 1997
Chassis: E-450 Collins
Engine: 7.3l Diesel
Mechanics in Denver willing to Frankenbus? (Really Awesome Project!!!)

Hey all,

After selling my shorty project and shipping off to Colorado to start a new job, I am looking at affordable housing options and once again landing on the conclusion that skoolie life is the most affordable way to own a home (especially with rent and real estate in this area.

Which brings me to this option: there is an already converted, super duper duper rad 1960 Chevy for sale in Denver but after consulting with Charlie from Chrome Yellow, it will probably need: a new brake system (it has vacuum assisted hydraulic brakes), new axles (split rim hubs and old components), and new engine components. Buuuut, its so so so so so cool- it was converted by a carpenter / climbing bum back in the 80's and has custom cabinetry, hand made-stained glass lamps, a tool closet on the rear bumper, nautical gauges, and just about as much character as you could possible fit into a bus. They don't make em like this nowadays. Did I mention theres a 60's ford van on top to make a raised ceiling / sleeping area?? But conversion projects aside (it will need new windows, replacement finish stuff for some aging, and new appliances), the mechanical issues are the biggest deterrent of me (or anyone else) picking this thing up.

HOWEVER, there is also the possibility that there is a 2001 Bluebird with a 24V Cummins 5.9 turbo diesel and a Allison MD3060 5 speed automatic with overdrive (160k miles) for sale super cheap due to a rusty body- but the mechanical bits are great. It was converted and then semi-scrapped because of rust in the floor.

Charlie and I were drooling pretty dang hard over the fantasy of combining these two busses to make one awesome bus. Now, it would be really awesome if I had the time and space to make this a project, but I don't. Which leaves me looking for a mechanic who might be interested in considering taking this on.

I realize the amount of labor that would go into this would be pretty considerable but I wanted to at least throw some feelers out there to gauge potential.

Anyone have any connections for reliable bus mechanics that are looking for "fun" projects in the greater Colorado area?
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Old 02-07-2020, 04:27 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 36
Year: 1997
Chassis: E-450 Collins
Engine: 7.3l Diesel
For bonus, here are some pics:
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Old 02-07-2020, 07:59 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
Posts: 3,013
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
I just bought a 2003 Bluebird with 5.9 and MD3060 for cheap, also rusty, just got 6th gear unlocked and progressing with my build. An antique bus sounds cool but the newer bus will be superior in every functional way.
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:49 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 648
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
swapping drivelines....

so I have some experience in doing what you asked..... even that 2001 bluebird has a lot of miles on it. so when you are done swapping axles, engines, driveshafts, transmissions, braking systems.... you are going to have a bus with aroun 200,000 miles on it. IF it is an average bus.

I have a 1954, and all of the chassis is 2010 ford, then engine is 1995 cummins and the transmission is 2004 NV5600 six speed.

every thing has been rebuilt or replaced with new parts along the way.

Keep in mind you will not be driving a new bus, but a worn used bus.

UNLESS you take the steps to go as new as you can afford.

Good luck, I am sorry I dont know anyone that can help you do this.

Do not pay up front, Be prepared to have to haul all of the stuff to a different shop. Pay as you go on the project. Pay promptly, get reciepts on everything. These things have a way of going to the toilet after a while. I suggest to do engine and transmission first, then axles and brakes. Keep the rust bucket so you can strip it as needed. I had a space problem and stripped everything off donor trucks and rented a shipping container, 20 footer $85 a month, to store all the parts and it was packed tight.

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Old 02-08-2020, 10:52 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Colorado
Posts: 278
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmccoola View Post
I realize the amount of labor that would go into this would be pretty considerable but I wanted to at least throw some feelers out there to gauge potential.

Anyone have any connections for reliable bus mechanics that are looking for "fun" projects in the greater Colorado area?

What is your budget ?


If you have a realistic budget their are people out there looking for work. What your talking about sounds like $20k+
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:10 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 36
Year: 1997
Chassis: E-450 Collins
Engine: 7.3l Diesel
Thanks for the input y'all- its good to know at least folks have done similar things.

My budget is probably right around 20k though right now I'm just looking to see if someone will do the project. I'm not sure where to start looking for a mechanic to be honest- cold calls seems a bit crude but my online research hasn't gotten super far. I would like to have someone reliable lined up before diving in just because I would be having to coordinate 2 bus purchases first and I would hate to do that and then be left with 2 busses and no place to put / work on them.
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