Wednesday, March 11, 2015

2000 International Blue Bird School bus review

Nothing typed here should be construed as a complaint regarding the shop or mechanics.

I know, out of character for me to start with a disclaimer, but once when I was in the shop and I had a weird conversation with one of the mechanics.  I'm not going to recount that, suffice to say that it was weird. Really really weird.

I had this bus for 5.5 school years, and initially I hated it.  I'm almost too fat for the bus, there's just enough room behind the wheel for me to sit/fit.  There are a couple of drivers that are too fat for the bus, I really should befriend them and hang out with them, so I could be the thin one.

This bus came from Anoka or Chanhassen or some other goofy place, I got it with about 120,000 miles in the fall of 2008.  I had just enjoyed a year of a rear engine AmTran, which had a power door and a brand new window.  The sliding window fell in on me one fine day in October, and it didn't get replaced until February or March...when it fell in, it just missed my eye and gashed my cheek, I was not happy about that, let me assure you.

So this Bluebird is a "conventional" bus, meaning it has a long nose that sticks out and it has a huge tailswing.  This means that the area between the back wheels and rear bumper is long, and when turning sharply the driver must be careful because that tail will swing around and decimate things.

The bus had the standard manual operated door, which means my right arm got some use...for every school bus stop, they make us activate the yellow lights, put the transmission in N, set the brake all before opening the door, and all that is done with the right arm.  Of course the lights go off automatically, but the door, brake and transmission all must be reset before departing.  Yes, I kept the door well lubed...I don't see how people got by with a sticky squeaky door.

To the best of my memory, the bus never stranded me. It got swapped a couple times, mid route, because of the transmission not shifting out of first gear, the turbo problem, and an air leak....but each time it was driven back to the shop.

 Developed a problem, it'd wear off a front tire in just a few thousand miles.It was weird, too, when I first got the bus, it would not make the turn around a culdesac. Then for a couple years it would, but then at the end, it would not. Maybe they put different sized tires on it.
 coolant leaking onto alternator. BTW, the alternator quit one day, mid route. Batteries lasted the rest of the trip, thankfully.
 Turbo sucked in a seal and blew an amazing amount of smoke. An impressive amount of smoke. It was awesome.
 hood hinge bolt. disappeared for a while, made it a lot of fun to check the engine.
 "crossover mirror" mount. mirror would swivel around so that it was more useless than normal until they put a screw into it. LOL
 Exhaust pipe would smash half flat going into Lincoln school.  They put on a new pipe, and it smashed flat the first time I went to Lincoln.
 Some body damage that I sort of fixed. After 3+ years like this, the shop did some work to it, the same year the bus was retired.

 cup holder and anti rattle.
 Ran it quite a ways further, about another 20,000 miles, I think.
 Turn signal stalk broke off one day. Fun using a pencil....jamming it in to lever it up or down.
Some one mowed their lawn into a big puddle that I hit. That grass stuck to the bus for a long time...kinda funny.
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