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Generators In this forum we will try to answer any of your questions about the different model generators that can be found on Blue Bird coach's.

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  #21  
Old 04-21-2010
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iamflagman iamflagman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Dupree View Post
why do they call them chicken busses?
The name is appropriate after reading this;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_bus

Here is an album of CHICKEN BUSES http://www.pbase.com/garoessler/chickbus which might help in explaining why Gary labels his photo below as This is the paint plan. We call it conservative "chicken bus".

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  #22  
Old 04-21-2010
GPSGary GPSGary is offline
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OK, a little bit about taking a Bluebird to Antigua and motoring in general in Mexico and Guatemala.

I'm not pretending to be an expert but considering how few "americanos" do it, I'm probably in the top 20% knowledge base just in 4 months.

You can take reasonably good roads at least this far. By "reasonably good" I mean a good 2 lane highway or better. If you stick to the toll roads in Mexico you can travel as far and fast as in rural US. If you're of that ilk, you can make it from Texas to the Guatemalan border in 3 days.

There are quite a few RV specific parks in Mexico and a few in Guatemala but you can park at at least half of the Pemex in Mexico and many hotels with a large enough parking lot will sell you a camping spot for 1/3 to 1/2 the price of a room ... or take a room, rarely over $50.

There is no way any rig over 35 feet should venture too far from the main highways. You could end up somewhere you can't get out of without tremendous difficulty.

If you are taking a toad be prepared to unhook and drive often. Don't even think about driving solo. Take a motorbike instead. If you have a way of taking an ATV, they are legal most places on local roads and would be an excellent alternative to a full size toad.

It doesn't take big balls, just a certain sense of optimism, a dash of "pura vida" and some preparation. It really isn't as hard or scary as people make it out to be. So far everyplace further down the road is bad and dangerous no matter where we are. However we keep meeting Europeans coming north that assure us of no problems. Its amazing how many Europeans ship rigs to South America and spend a year or so going up to Canada or Alaska.

RE: the damage
What happened was, I was making a tight turn on a 10% downhill grade and the right rear wheels dipped into a big indentation in the roadway shoulder. This caused the bus to tip enough that a highway safety abutment caught the generator door at 20 mph and 17 tons, it doesn't take too much to bend the gen tray support rails enough to dump the generator on the ground. The most serious damage was to the radiator and door everything else was just bent support metal.

We can highly recommend the highlands of southern Mexico or Guatemala for wintering snowbirds. You save enough in living expenses over AZ or NM to pay for the fuel and tolls 2X. We're not beach people but have to admit many of the beaches we did visit were better than you can find anywhere up north. We stayed at one beach were a guy came every day in a pick-up loaded with fresh picked fruits and vegetables and fresh shrimp that were so large they could be considered small fish at ridiculously low prices . Three or four shrimp were a decent meal.

A Bluebird caravan to Antigua next winter would be a real kick in the pants. If someone wants to be caravan leader, I will act as consultant and if we have our new custom designed chicken bus, maybe even meet up somewhere.

Pura vida,
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  #23  
Old 04-23-2010
GPSGary GPSGary is offline
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I went to check the progress of repairing the roof panels and was very pleased to see they only use genuine Bluebird parts.


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  #24  
Old 04-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GPSGary View Post
OK, a little bit about taking a Bluebird to Antigua and motoring in general in Mexico and Guatemala.

I'm not pretending to be an expert but considering how few "americanos" do it, I'm probably in the top 20% knowledge base just in 4 months.

You can take reasonably good roads at least this far. By "reasonably good" I mean a good 2 lane highway or better. If you stick to the toll roads in Mexico you can travel as far and fast as in rural US. If you're of that ilk, you can make it from Texas to the Guatemalan border in 3 days.

There are quite a few RV specific parks in Mexico and a few in Guatemala but you can park at at least half of the Pemex in Mexico and many hotels with a large enough parking lot will sell you a camping spot for 1/3 to 1/2 the price of a room ... or take a room, rarely over $50.

There is no way any rig over 35 feet should venture too far from the main highways. You could end up somewhere you can't get out of without tremendous difficulty.

If you are taking a toad be prepared to unhook and drive often. Don't even think about driving solo. Take a motorbike instead. If you have a way of taking an ATV, they are legal most places on local roads and would be an excellent alternative to a full size toad.

It doesn't take big balls, just a certain sense of optimism, a dash of "pura vida" and some preparation. It really isn't as hard or scary as people make it out to be. So far everyplace further down the road is bad and dangerous no matter where we are. However we keep meeting Europeans coming north that assure us of no problems. Its amazing how many Europeans ship rigs to South America and spend a year or so going up to Canada or Alaska.

RE: the damage
What happened was, I was making a tight turn on a 10% downhill grade and the right rear wheels dipped into a big indentation in the roadway shoulder. This caused the bus to tip enough that a highway safety abutment caught the generator door at 20 mph and 17 tons, it doesn't take too much to bend the gen tray support rails enough to dump the generator on the ground. The most serious damage was to the radiator and door everything else was just bent support metal.

We can highly recommend the highlands of southern Mexico or Guatemala for wintering snowbirds. You save enough in living expenses over AZ or NM to pay for the fuel and tolls 2X. We're not beach people but have to admit many of the beaches we did visit were better than you can find anywhere up north. We stayed at one beach were a guy came every day in a pick-up loaded with fresh picked fruits and vegetables and fresh shrimp that were so large they could be considered small fish at ridiculously low prices . Three or four shrimp were a decent meal.

A Bluebird caravan to Antigua next winter would be a real kick in the pants. If someone wants to be caravan leader, I will act as consultant and if we have our new custom designed chicken bus, maybe even meet up somewhere.

Pura vida,
Gary,

We love hearing about yor adventures in Mexico and CA. This is something I would like to do sometime. One of my major concerns is not knowing Spanish. I suspect this essential. I am not a language guy but my fiancee picks up languages pretty quickly. I like the caravan idea.

Been following some of the posts at panamaorbust@yahoogroups.com> Interesting stuff.

Thanks,

NH Bill
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  #25  
Old 04-23-2010
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I missed the part about the roof,whats the story?
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  #26  
Old 04-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GPSGary View Post
When you do the mod to lay the radiator down flat and put the fan above blowing down, how do you keep the pressure cap from leaking?

In this position the pressure cap is at the lowest fluid level of the entire system.

Regards,
Gary on the 87-89 FC the rad is laying down with the fan above, the fill tank is about 2 gallons and there is about 5 feet of hose from the tank to the rad. The top tank on mine does not have a cap. Our rad is mounted in front of the fuel tank behind the rear axle because of the location of the gen on the left rear of the coach, but you should have enough room between the storage and drive shaft to mount the same way. We can't really get to ours for service, it's a pain, but it was the BB way.
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  #27  
Old 04-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Dupree View Post
I missed the part about the roof,whats the story?
I didn't discover this until I owned this bird for a few months but at some time previously it had suffered some roof damage, probably a tree limb or something similar between the front and the fore air conditioner. Whoever did the repair did a really ****** job and the edges of more than one roof panels had begun to rust badly. I had leaks everywhere so the front 7 panels needed to be replaced.

I'll be honest, when I saw them using reclaimed panels I was initially a little concerned but it makes perfect sense. They take 100% good panels off to shorten the chicken buses, the rivet holes line up and they are galvanized and primered.

Similar story with the rear window. Previous owner must have backed into something and the repair was done poorly. My rear window leaks so Jose is fixing that and replacing the fixed window with a sliding window.

Pura vida,
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Last edited by GPSGary; 04-23-2010 at 08:20 PM.
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  #28  
Old 04-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NH Bill View Post
Gary,

We love hearing about yor adventures in Mexico and CA. This is something I would like to do sometime. One of my major concerns is not knowing Spanish. I suspect this essential. I am not a language guy but my fiancee picks up languages pretty quickly. I like the caravan idea.

Been following some of the posts at panamaorbust@yahoogroups.com> Interesting stuff.

Thanks,

NH Bill
Some Spanish is essential but 200 words and 50 phrases are enough to minimally get by.

Pura vida,
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  #29  
Old 04-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GPSGary View Post
Some Spanish is essential but 200 words and 50 phrases are enough to minimally get by.

Pura vida,
Well that sounds pretty doable. How about some phrases to get us going? Heck, if we start now, we could be ready to go south of the border before the snow flies.

Now, how do you negotiate those border crossings? A lot of mainstream press reports make travel anywhere south of the border sound a lot less than inviting. On the way to Q I saw Juarez from El Paso going about 40 mph..... that was plenty close enough to that town for me.

NH Bill
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  #30  
Old 04-23-2010
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"Un cerveza, por favor!" is all you really need!! Juarez is one of the worst areas. When we went down last November, our lead guy was telling us then that it was a nasty place to be. It's gotten worse since then. We went through at Laredo. There are 2 crossings there, one right at the end of town and one west of town. Go to the one west of town. It's typically much less crowded. That's where we got our paperwork done Saturday evening (5:00pm or so) and we were the only ones there.
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