what am I doing?!?

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jokertown
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what am I doing?!?

Post by jokertown »

Hey everyone,
I don't know if I've introduced myself here yet, but I've been lurking. I greatly prefer MrSharkey to the other bus conversion forums that I've encountered online. Everyone here just seems to be... cooler.

I'm planning a school bus conversion that I will full-time in with a friend of mine year round; however, most of the year we plan to fill it with people and take it on the road. I play in a country band here in Minneapolis, and manage another incredibly talented bluegrass group. We plan to go on the road beginning in the fall, and throughout the bitter cold MN winter.

Taking two bands on the road at once will require quite a vehicle. The goal is to comfortably seat, and somehow sleep, 10 people in one bus. We don't require many amenities (a toilet and sink would be nice), but I mostly need a bus that can seat and sleep this many people and travel many many miles.

It's important that it gets decent milage, as this will be our greatest expense while on tour. I would like to get 10 mpg. I'm checking out a 71 passenger flat-nosed blue bird tomorrow that has a 5.9L Cummins diesel in it. It has already been partially converted, and I'm not sure this is a good thing, but it is near by and the price is right.

I also had the crazy idea to equip a mini bird so that it could seat all 10 and sleep half of the people, and then tow a travel trailer to sleep the rest. Is this insane? How would it effect the milage I get in the short-bus. Any one with experience towing with a mini? Any advice will be appreciated.

here's a link to pics of a short bus that I like, I would tow a 4-6 person camper behind it: http://blogs.wayne.edu/rgrant/

here's a link to the full-size bus that I'm checking out tomorrow:
http://eauclaire.craigslist.org/rvs/2352042788.html

thanks to all who read this long post - I look forward to joining the ranks. I can't wait to make the leap, but I need to decide on the right bus first.

cheers,
max

Mark R. Obtinario
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Post by Mark R. Obtinario »

Without even looking at the full size Bird my first thought is go with it over the mini, particularly if you are concerned about fuel use.

All mini-buses, regardless of manufacturer or chassis, are overweight before you put anything in them. Trying to tow anything with one will just exacerbate the problem. If it has a GM chassis with a diesel engine it will most likely be the a 6.2/6.5L. It isn't a bad engine but it is not a engine known for being able to do much of anything.

A full size Bird with the 5.9L will not be a winner in the stop light wars but it will motor down the road very ably. Depending on the rear gears you should be able to maintain 60 MPH on almost any highway and get 10+ MPG while doing so.

Any bus conversion must have most of the seats removed or you will need to have a CDL with a passenger endorsement in order to drive it legally. Remember most standard school bus seats are rated at three passengers, albeit small passengers. And you have to count the driver as well. In other words, the most seats that can be left in is four school bus seats.

To be more comfortable you might want to remove all of the school bus seats and find someone who is converting a motorcoach and get five pairs of recliners.

Another thought about converting, here in WA state, in order to change the title and registration from bus to RV you need to remove seats and have in place a bed, a sink, and a toilet.

Good luck.

longjohn
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Post by longjohn »

Welcome to the forum! You might want to check dot rules if you generate income of any kind and are hauling band equipment you can fall under a commercial rules and reg's to include tags CDL and hours of service(log book). Dont want to see anyone get in trouble with the DOT.......... good luck
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Rudy
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Post by Rudy »

Hi Max.

My favorite guitar player, Leo Kottke, lives in Wayzetta, Minn.

We, on Sharkey's site are blessed to have Mark Obtinario as our resident mechanical guru.

I agree with his suggestion to not get the small bus. Plus, if it is not a diesel motor, it will get poor mileage. Diesels always get better MPG.

The big bus has the Cummins diesel. I understand that they are good motors.

My 1973 Blue Bird bus has a Caterpillar 8 cylinder diesel. Fully loaded, my bus weighs 22,000 lbs. Pedal to the metal I get 8 MPG at top speed of 67MPH.

I doubt that you will have as much weight inside your bus as I do.
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ezrablu
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Post by ezrablu »

Hello Max! The bus you are going to check out is very close to me. In fact, my sister and her kids live there so I go there often...it's only about 45 minutes away. Menomonie is a college town so I'm surprised that bus hasn't sold already...everybody must be broke at the end of the year :D

Looks like a nice bus...good luck!
ezrablu
1991 Bluebird International
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somewhereinusa
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Post by somewhereinusa »


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ezrablu
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Post by ezrablu »

:shock: Now THAT'S a bus!
ezrablu
1991 Bluebird International
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Sharkey
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Post by Sharkey »

More on the Peacemaker buses from Twelve Tribes:
http://www.mrsharkey.com/forum/vwtp.php?t=702

tamangel
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Post by tamangel »

JT, thought I would post pic's of the subject bigger bus from your link, as the Craigs list ad/photos will eventually disappear.. hope thats OK.. looks like a nice rig..price not bad either..

Image

Image

Image

Image

Mike

Rudy
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Post by Rudy »

somewhereinusa wrote:Here's one that sleeps 17
:D
http://rides.webshots.com/album/549608275rEehcF
Thanks for the link. I spent a couple hours and saved over 100 photos from there. An excellent addition to my motorhome folder which contains over 2600 photos.
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tamangel
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Post by tamangel »

Rudy, sounds like you are the 'go-to-source' for old motor home pics.. I'll have a small group of photos too..

Here's one for you.. do you have any Hannomag/Silver Streak MH pics?

Mike

if you need some, I'll send :)

Rudy
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Post by Rudy »

tamangel wrote:Rudy, sounds like you are the 'go-to-source' for old motor home pics.. I'll have a small group of photos too..

Here's one for you.. do you have any Hannomag/Silver Streak MH pics?

Mike

if you need some, I'll send :)
Actually, I just took a recent count, and I am close to 3000 pics. I have been saving them for years. YES, I am a fanatic.

Hannomag? Don't know. I think I remember seeing Silver Streak somewhere in my files.
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tamangel
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Post by tamangel »


jokertown
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thanks

Post by jokertown »

Thank you all for the helpful input, and excellent bus pictures. We checked out the bus in Menomonee, but decided that it was too rusty, and weren't thrilled with several aspects of the conversion that had been started. However, the guy selling it was really nice, and let me drive it. It was my first time :oops:
I had a blast, and really enjoyed the visibility that the flat nose gave me. I'm off to visit my parents farm outside of Madison this weekend, and am planning to take the long way home and check out this bus in Green Bay. It looks pretty cool - go pack!

http://greenbay.craigslist.org/rvs/2427512610.html

Rudy
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Post by Rudy »

The green bus listed above looks like it may just be what you need. Plenty of seating and perhaps even room for musical instruments. Good find.
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