School Bus 101, long technical post

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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 01, 2008 2:31 pm

:D
There is an online government surplus auction that carries a lot of school buses nationwide, but I cannot think of the name. Search and ye shall find! I would still start with the local school districts. Ask for the Transportation Manager. Remember to always be cheerful and upbeat when approaching people with such a request -- works much better than the sad-sack I-need-your-help look.


Say, Toolmaker, any chance you can find time to chronicle a roof raise for educational purposes?

To be clear... Millicent's roof raise is fairly well detailed, with photos, on the skoolie forum.


...just look at the sexy grills folks are adding to change the look.


Funny you should mention that.

Image

That's Millicent's new look as of a few months ago! Genooine Peterbilt, yes. Just wait until I paint her!
:D
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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 01, 2008 2:42 pm

:D
Regarding pusher-bus cooling issues.... One of the old-timers on the skoolie forum says that the buses are designed by reasonably competent engineers, and cooling problems are usually caused by a gunky radiator.

Also important to make sure the fan is running properly.
:D
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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:22 pm

:D
Here is the nationwide auction site I had in mind earlier. PublicSurplus.com:

http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/browse ... e=&region=

:D
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Postby Toolmaker » Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:36 pm

Elliot wrote:
Say, Toolmaker, any chance you can find time to chronicle a roof raise for educational purposes?

To be clear... Millicent's roof raise is fairly well detailed, with photos, on the skoolie forum.


Funny YOU should say THAT, I learned how to raise the roof from YOUR chronicle LOL.

I do it a teeny bit different since I have different equipment available.

Where you use a sleeve to guide I use a piece of flat stock clamped with Kant-Twist Clamps above and below and place my "extension" in the middle.

While you jack it up from the inside I hoist from the top at two points.. one in front and one in the back. I put a steel plate on the roof inside and use a mag clamp on the outside of the roof. This is done in both locations.

Everything else I learned from you, Steve, Les, Timbuck et al secretly via skollie.

If I ever get around to making one I get to keep for myself it will be something I can be proud to share and I will be sure to document. Often when a customer is involved in decision making my artistic view is ignored in favor of something "normal" and I wind up being disgusted somewhat with the finished product. I really should get off my ass and take pictures of shit to share on here.. I've made some cool shit and have a bunch of it still sittin around.

Another tip when it comes to veggie oil is to redirect your coolant hose into and through your fuel tank to help keep the oil hot. Make sure you do it good and proper so you don't have cross contamination of the fluids.
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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:41 pm

:D
Funny YOU should say THAT, I learned how to raise the roof from YOUR chronicle LOL.


Damn, I'm good!
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:lol:
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Postby cullen » Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:47 pm

now i'm really wanting to do a lift.
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Postby lapeer20m » Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:21 pm

Sail Man wrote:Elliot, you are so correct! :D Jason, aka The Bus Driver.

I met him when I worked for a county EMS system in Michigans thumb. I had gone to our Admin bldg one day for business and there was the bus. I got to check it out. I was very impressed that he was able to run it on cooking oils etc and the system he had in place to filter and heat it up prior to burning it. Of course the hot tub was a nice bonus. This was I believe in 06. He mentioned he had just came back from a trip, when asked where he told me Burning Man. I knew about the burn, hadn't made it out there yet, so he gave me the impetuous to go. He did bring the bus out to a Nascar race at Mich speedway when we were there, my wife certainly enjoyed the hot tub. I know at the time that he had gotten another bus. I wasn't aware that he was up to 4! Sounds like he has a budding business :)


what a small world! How is everybody? It's me, Jason the bus driver. I will be unable to make it to bm09 as i am getting married just a couple weeks before the burn. though i made 4 in a row, i might never make it back again....who knows. I do love talking buses though.

What an excellent post elliot started with. He is an exceptionally smart and witty man. I am honored that i had the opportunity to meet him on the playa.
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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:46 pm

:oops:
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.
.
.
Getting married in 2009! Congratulations! Well, you and The Missus will be on the Playa in 2010, then!
:D
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Postby gyre » Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:34 am

Don't forget to look at ready built rvs.
The diesel pusher I found for $3500 was a complete rv, not a project.
The better ones tend to hold their value, but you never know.
And there are salvage yards for rvs and trailers too.


Elliot, since you're dressing up the front, have you thought about the large truck headlamps?
I can get you the euro version of the big Volvo truck and bus lamps.
Biggest single lens headlight in existence.
I have the parts catalog and an importer for all hella industrial lamps.
These have never been imported, so very rare here.
Quite reasonable last I checked.
9 by 14 inches, if I remember correctly.
Available with leveler too.

There is a catseye almost as large too.
Also the BIG truck and bus projector lamps, about 5 inches plus each.
Sets of fog, low and high are available in HID and quartz.
Any of these can be ordered.
The catch is you need the part numbers.
I have a few german catalogs.
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Postby Elliot » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:06 am

:D
Thanks Gyre, I'll keep that in mind, but fancier headlights are rather far down the list -- and I'm on a very tight budget.

About pusher cooling issues again... Three posters on the skoolie forum now assure me that cooling problems occur only if there is something wrong with the cooling system. The fan shroud is very important (occasionally, a mechanic will leave it off to save time and scraped knuckles -- big mistake).
:D
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Postby Sail Man » Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:25 am

LeChatNoir wrote:
Sail Man wrote: Sounds like he has a budding business :)


Or a festering addiction.


:lol:


lapeer20m wrote:
Sail Man wrote:Elliot, you are so correct! :D Jason, aka The Bus Driver.

I met him when I worked for a county EMS system in Michigans thumb. I had gone to our Admin bldg one day for business and there was the bus. I got to check it out. I was very impressed that he was able to run it on cooking oils etc and the system he had in place to filter and heat it up prior to burning it. Of course the hot tub was a nice bonus. This was I believe in 06. He mentioned he had just came back from a trip, when asked where he told me Burning Man. I knew about the burn, hadn't made it out there yet, so he gave me the impetuous to go. He did bring the bus out to a Nascar race at Mich speedway when we were there, my wife certainly enjoyed the hot tub. I know at the time that he had gotten another bus. I wasn't aware that he was up to 4! Sounds like he has a budding business :)


what a small world! How is everybody? It's me, Jason the bus driver. I will be unable to make it to bm09 as i am getting married just a couple weeks before the burn. though i made 4 in a row, i might never make it back again....who knows. I do love talking buses though.

What an excellent post elliot started with. He is an exceptionally smart and witty man. I am honored that i had the opportunity to meet him on the playa.


I often wandered BRC looking for your bus this past burn. Was looking forward to a soak in your hot tub :D but had to settle for getting hosed down by a powerwasher at a body wash station behind where we were camped. Do you have any pictures of your buses you can post here, there seems to be a few on the brink and maybe you can push them over :lol:

Oh wait, checking your profile I found this site, BAS... :wink:

http://www.geocities.com/blackplaguetour/
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Postby TomServo » Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:58 pm

I used to work at Nationwide auction systems in Benicia, Ca. While I don't remember a whole lot of "school" buses coming through, we did get our fair share of buses. Buses at live auction go dirt cheap..as most people there are looking for cars or trucks. I was planning on making a bid on a prison bus...complete with cages.. but chickened out. Turns out, the bus sold for $100. Good thing, however, I didn't have a class B or passenger endorsement. The shitty thing about live auctions, is that you don't have the chance to actually drive the vehicle. You can start them..poke around..whatever, you just can't put them into gear. safety reasons. I always advise people to smell the transmission fluid. If it smells metallic or like ozone, somethings wrong. School districts do maintenance on their vehicles, as do companies like PG&E and AT&T..and are generally the vehicles to look for.

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Postby BAS » Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:07 pm

Well, I can't afford to buy the Black Plague II, even if he was willing to sell it to me!

I saw the Black Plague II twice in 2006, both times from a distance. The first time I was on my way somewhere-- and later realized I didn't remember where I had seen it! The next time it was heading for the exit at the end of the event.


About pusher buses-- actually, it was the availability of parts which concerned me more than the cooling problems (which sound like I was more worried about than I should have been/can be avoided with good maintainence.)
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Postby Xtevan » Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:16 pm

Hi Elliot,

Great posts! It was good to meet you and see Millicent.

I was inspired by Elliot & Jason's exploits over at Skoolies.net and bought a 1991 Bluebird TC2000 almost exactly a year ago. It took 6 of us to Burning Man & back rather nicely. It was wonderful to have a safe haven from the dust storms. The white paint/micro sphere coating on the roof keep the interior cool enough that we never fired up the AC on the playa.

I passed on the RV Idea because I knew I could never get all the playa dust out of the carpet/upholstery. I have spent at least twelve hours sweeping, vacuuming, hosing out and still found playa I missed this weekend. I shudder to think what would be left of carpet after this years storms.

Image

I took it out to the Fall Freaktacular last weekend after celebrating the holiday with my family. I was in a pretty down mood loading up- but when that diesel fired up & I got on the road I perked up immediately my body knew I was headed to burner event.

My build is documented in the conversion forum here:

http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=9

I have been fantasizing about a full roof deck, but I need to finsh the bathroom and freshwater plumbing first.

I'm not even close to done but have really enjoyed the bus trips I have done in my Big steel tent on wheels.

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Postby lapeer20m » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:12 am

Sail Man wrote:
I often wandered BRC looking for your bus this past burn. Was looking forward to a soak in your hot tub :D but had to settle for getting hosed down by a powerwasher at a body wash station behind where we were camped. Do you have any pictures of your buses you can post here, there seems to be a few on the brink and maybe you can push them over :lol:



here are links to youtube vid's of two of the buses. I wasn't into video yet with my first 2 buses.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLnQDr-_fYg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCjscVquzBg

this next bus was much too nice for the playa, it was sold to a limo company.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG2Cz9Uze6s


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIcHcOCIBU4[/url]



Image



wonder where we are going here......

Image

Image

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Postby Sail Man » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:59 am

HOLY SHIT BUS DRIVER!!! :shock:

Damn!! You have really stepped it up a notch!! Compared to your bus I saw at the admin bldg the Limo bus is truly in a different class, not surprising you didn't want to take that one to the playa. Shit!!

Nice vids, good music, and a fine selection of, ahh, accouterments :lol:

Are you still powering them with oil?
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:33 pm

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LFnLdB5LPk[/youtube]
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Postby cullen » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:36 pm

bendy bus mod?
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:43 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LFnLdB5LPk[/youtube]


Thanks Crypto!!!

i laughed so hard i cried.
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Postby klondike_bar » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:02 pm

haha, that made me smile very broadly.
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Postby Sail Man » Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:30 am

Awww geeeee, its gone already :cry:
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Postby FilXeno » Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:31 pm

I have been tentatively looking into purchasing a school bus for my band to tour in. Is there any reasons this would be a bad idea (as opposed to a cheap Ford Van)>?
Thanks
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Postby Elliot » Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:49 pm

FilXeno wrote:I have been tentatively looking into purchasing a school bus for my band to tour in. Is there any reasons this would be a bad idea (as opposed to a cheap Ford Van)>?
Thanks


Hopefully we'll get responses from people who know something about the band touring business, but I can think of just two possible problems right away, and they are both solvable.

The first is cruising speed.

School buses are generally intended for slow driving, with steep rear axle gearing. So, for hammering long distances from gig to gig, you may need to have the rear end changed to a higher ratio (lower number), which would cost a bit of money.

An other way to increase top speed is to raise the engine's governed speed, which would cost less. Typically, school bus engines are governed far below redline. But higher RPMs usually means worse fuel milage, so in the long run, a rear end change would perhaps cost less.

As for fuel milage in general, a diesel bus might very well equal, or even better, a gasoline van.

A great advantage to a bus is that you would have room for bunks and/or reclining chairs for the band members to rest while in transit. Myself, I cannot sleep in a bed in a moving vehicle, but I think a Lazy-Boy, firmly bolted to the floor, might work.

Which brings us to the other possible issue:

For so much driving and resting, I would suggest lining the interior with lots of carpeting, to dampen noise. It's kind'a loud in a school bus what with the all-metal interior surfaces.

Let's see.... You would want to install some secure door locks, since school buses usually have no locks at all. Some stout hasps and padlocks schould do it.
:D
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Postby FilXeno » Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:49 pm

Elliot wrote:
FilXeno wrote:I have been tentatively looking into purchasing a school bus for my band to tour in. Is there any reasons this would be a bad idea (as opposed to a cheap Ford Van)>?
Thanks


Hopefully we'll get responses from people who know something about the band touring business, but I can think of just two possible problems right away, and they are both solvable.

The first is cruising speed.

School buses are generally intended for slow driving, with steep rear axle gearing. So, for hammering long distances from gig to gig, you may need to have the rear end changed to a higher ratio (lower number), which would cost a bit of money.

An other way to increase top speed is to raise the engine's governed speed, which would cost less. Typically, school bus engines are governed far below redline. But higher RPMs usually means worse fuel milage, so in the long run, a rear end change would perhaps cost less.

As for fuel milage in general, a diesel bus might very well equal, or even better, a gasoline van.

A great advantage to a bus is that you would have room for bunks and/or reclining chairs for the band members to rest while in transit. Myself, I cannot sleep in a bed in a moving vehicle, but I think a Lazy-Boy, firmly bolted to the floor, might work.

Which brings us to the other possible issue:

For so much driving and resting, I would suggest lining the interior with lots of carpeting, to dampen noise. It's kind'a loud in a school bus what with the all-metal interior surfaces.

Let's see.... You would want to install some secure door locks, since school buses usually have no locks at all. Some stout hasps and padlocks schould do it.
:D

Awesome. Very helpful.
I'll definitely keep it as an option.
Thanks! :)
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Postby cullen » Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:16 pm

lapeer20m wrote:here are links to youtube vid's of two of the buses. I wasn't into video yet with my first 2 buses.


i have a question about your jacuzzi bus and the playa dust. how well is the jacuzzi filter work for the dust. or are you using an additional in line filter?
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Dec 04, 2008 6:52 pm

Yeah, I was just about to ask the same thing! I've had a back-burner idea to bring a hot tub to Burning Man for almost a decade (but have brought other large heavy things instead so far).
I'm good at fabricating things and understand the logistics of making it happen but what about all that playa dust in the water?
I always assumed that if I brought a tub I'd need to keep it inside a truck/bus/trailer and do my best to keep the playa dust from reaching it in the first place, maybe requiring potential tub-guests to strip and rinse before entry.
Please see fit to enlighten us with your infinite mobile jacuzzi wisdom!
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Postby cullen » Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:00 pm

i was thinking an air compressor for air pressure cleaning before hopping in.
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Postby Elliot » Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:55 pm

cullen wrote:i was thinking an air compressor for air pressure cleaning before hopping in.


Negative. No. Nyet. Nix. Compressed air is very dangerous to the human body. The jet of air can get into bodily orifices and cause serious internal injury. The jet of air can also penetrate the skin like a needle; likewise.

One of the first rules of any mechanical shop is never to horseplay with compressed air, and never use it to clean oneself. Sure, people do it all the time. And once in a long while it goes horribly, horribly wrong.

I've been experimenting with "metered" water in Millicent's shower. A person can get reasonably clean with just a gallon or two.

Now.... Has Jason explained or shown pictures of the hydraulic lift?
:D
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Postby cullen » Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:23 pm

new question i take it you fill up the hot tub before leaving reno? or some where closer to burning man?
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Postby Toolmaker » Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:24 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:Yeah, I was just about to ask the same thing! I've had a back-burner idea to bring a hot tub to Burning Man for almost a decade (but have brought other large heavy things instead so far).
I'm good at fabricating things and understand the logistics of making it happen but what about all that playa dust in the water?
I always assumed that if I brought a tub I'd need to keep it inside a truck/bus/trailer and do my best to keep the playa dust from reaching it in the first place, maybe requiring potential tub-guests to strip and rinse before entry.
Please see fit to enlighten us with your infinite mobile jacuzzi wisdom!


rainbow vac/water bong style filtration?
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