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Old 10-14-2011, 01:13 AM   #1
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Love to read about conversions.

I would love to see more posts about bus conversions. My dad and I have done three. Our first was a 1941 Flixible, former church bus. It had been a Trailways for many years. It had a straight 8 Buick engine and was a pusher. We updated the engine to a Detroit diesel, with a Allison trans. I was only 16 when we did it, however I was the electrical person in the family, and I did all of the wiring. Don't laugh, it turned out well.Our second project was a 1966 Silver Eagle. It was also a former Trailways bus. It turned out well, however it was too large to launch a boat, and impractical for the campgrounds in the 70's and 80's. Few campgounds had more than 15 amp circuits, and the sites were usually small. The Silver Eagle has a complicated drivetrain. It is expensive to maintain and repair.The third bus and the one Dad still owns is a 1974 Thomas school bus. It is on a Ford F650 chassis, with a 361 engine, 5 speed trans. It came with air brakes, and power steering. The bus obviously looks like an ex school bus, however Dad did it right. No shortcuts. He installed a two speed axle for more available gears and a Jake Brake magnetic style brake system that is in the drive line between the transmission and rear axle. The unit has 7 positions, on it, requires a special altenator and extra batteries. It will hold the bus at 15 MPH on a 14% decent with an loaded enclosed car trailer behind. One uses that system to control the rig, and save the air brakes for stopping when needed. We installed all RV appliances, a 6500 Onan Propane genset, twin roof top A/C's with heat strips, a gas furnace, gas range, dual fuel water heater, twin 30 amp services, a 25 foot awning, oak cabinets, and a fiberglass shower stall. It hauls 250 gallons of fuel, a 100 gallon fresh water tank, 60 gallon grey tank, 40 gallon black tank, and all of the tanks are made out of welded aluminum. Dad and I converted the bus in the late 80's for he and Mom to travel in when they retired. We finished it in 1994, and Mom got sick the same year. She was terminal, and would not see the end of the year. The first trip out for the bus was also her only trip. They traveled the eastern side of the country for a month during October. The bus performed flawlessly, and they enjoyed the trip. Mom passed in December. The worse thing about this bus is the fuel economy. 2 MPG, uphill, downhill, does not matter. The biggest mistake was not holding out for a diesel powered bus. Dad had ideas of doing a diesel conversion, but never got around to it. He still owns the bus, and maintains it, however it does not see much use anymore. He is 79 and battling prostrate cancer. I think it makes him feel good just to go and sit in it. He lives in south GA, and I live 2 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I tried to talk him into parking the bus at my house, and drive his car back and forth to save fuel. Since he loves to camp in the mountains, it seemed logical. My stepmom put the brakes on that idea, and the bus mostly sits now.
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:50 AM   #2
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Holly Molly, you sure do like run-on.

I didn't read your post because of the very long single paragraph.

Ed
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:07 AM   #3
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I read it ! It's interesting , so keep writing !!
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Old 10-14-2011, 04:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed-Sommers View Post
Holly Molly, you sure do like run-on.

I didn't read your post because of the very long single paragraph.

Ed
The post was originally 5 paragraphs, but due to incompatability issues between computer programs it posted as one long paragraph.

If you don't like long posts, then don't read it, however you don't have to be rude about it.
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:19 PM   #5
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I second it, rude doesn't get it. nice story. thank you.

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Old 10-14-2011, 08:54 PM   #6
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I second it, rude doesn't get it. nice story. thank you.

Outlaw
i agree i read every word i was interested in your story NOT you grammar skills
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:03 PM   #7
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Enjoyed your post and I really don't think the critizism was necessary. There have been many times that I wish I had your skills.
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed-Sommers View Post
Holly Molly, you sure do like run-on.

I didn't read your post because of the very long single paragraph.

Ed
What's the point in writing the above? I sincerely doubt if anyone cares whether you read it or not.

I read it and enjoyed the description of your conversion projects. Write some more.
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:41 PM   #9
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i agree i read every word i was interested in your story NOT you grammar skills
brianj
Hoooked on Fonics wrked for me.
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:59 PM   #10
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Thanks for the compliments about the content. Lets get some discussion and input from everyone who has built, wants to build, or just likes to look at bus conversions. I found a book mobile one time that would have made a great motorhome.

Sorry, grammer is not my strong suit. I know that it makes stuff difficult to read, and rest assured I try hard to get it right, but it just does not come out that way. Thank goodness for spell check....


It's sort of funny since I work in the medical profession, hold two undergraduate degrees and a master's degree, however I never could learn grammer or spelling. Being from the south does not help either, as our accent is full of slang terms and it is too easy to write that way. Thankfully for my patients, I function better than I write.
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Old 10-15-2011, 12:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed-Sommers View Post
Holly Molly, you sure do like run-on.

I didn't read your post because of the very long single paragraph.

Ed
For a moment I thought that I had logged on to RV.net, that's how some people act over there. Anyway....loved the story. I really like the old buses.
My dad had Buicks with the straight eights in them, early fifties models. I remember them having a funny sound when they started up. We also had the Fords with the flathead V-8's, that post took me way back. Flooring the
gas pedal to engage the starter, stuff like that.
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Old 10-15-2011, 11:14 PM   #12
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Dad had a 49 Buick straight 8, that looked like a torpedo. It had the gas pedal starter. My parents moved a lot since Dad was in the Airforce. We were moving when I was about 3, and Dad was loading a U-Haul hitched to the Buick. I was playing in the Buick, and for some reason sat on the gas pedal engaging the starter. The ignition switch was off, so the car would not start, but it would move. Dad came out of the house just in time to see the Buick and trailer moving away from the porch. Needless to say, we were not allowed to play in the car anymore.

I will try to find some decent pics of a Flixible/Flexable bus (yeah it is spelled both ways). Some of you may remember them, some of you may not. They were designed and built to be Trailways road buses, from the late 1930's to the late 1950's. If you have seen the movie with RV with Robin Williams, the fulltimers in the movie drive a Flixible.

The buses have a low profile, and are aerodynamic in design. The fact that the engine is in the rear and it is a pusher design, allowed the bus to have a lowered center isle for better headroom. The isle was built below the frame rails.

Early Flex's used the overhead valve straight eight Buick, about 320 CI displacment. Later buses used a GMC truck engine. The engine was connected to a 4 speed manual trans and the drive shaft was around 18 inches long to the diff. They had air brakes. The engine bay was accessable via a dog-house cover inside of the separate luggage comparment in the rear of the bus. The compartment has a hinged door that opened on the right hand side of the bus.

Flixible's were low profile, sleek, sort of smallish, and fast for the day. It was not uncommon to cruise at 75 MPH all day long in a Flex.
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Old 10-16-2011, 08:30 AM   #13
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Flxible - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The model I am talking about is the Clipper.
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Old 10-16-2011, 08:33 AM   #14
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http://flxibleowners.org/Pix/kpix1.htm

Some good Flex pics. Note that I made a mistake about the years built. According to the data, late 30's to mid 60's, not late 50's.
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