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Old 06-15-2014, 10:11 PM   #1
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Heater????

I recently purchased an Thoms, International 3800 with a diesel engine. It is a short bus and was used as a handicap bus. I have pulled the lift and all seats out. In the rear of the bus on the passenger side is what I think is something to do with the heater. It is a black box with what appears to be two fans on the bottom. It has a filter on top and what appears to some type of radiator in it. Question is, what is it and can I remove it? Thanks for the he.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:14 PM   #2
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Re: Heater????

Yep, that's the rear heater. It's possible you won't need it, depending on what what kind of living/camping/driving you plan to do with your bus. They work remarkably well, but only while driving.
Will you have passengers in the back while driving? They may appreciate the heat.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:42 PM   #3
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Re: Heater????

It will be strictly for camping. Probably nobody in the back going to or from our hunting lease. Can it be covered with a bed or other furniture? If I decided to take it out, what would be the procedure?
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Old 06-17-2014, 06:38 PM   #4
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Re: Heater????

To remove it:

In the engine compartment you'll find two valves which look like standard water shut-off valves (which they are) connected to heater hose. Close them both. If you follow the heater hose towards the cab you'll likely find some bleed valves. If so you are a very lucky person Get a bucket and open both valves to drain the coolant from the heaters. If you don't have the bleeder valves then you'll want to undo the hose clamps closer to the previously closed valves and drain the lines that way. Once you have most of the coolant out you can start on removing the heater.

Trace the coolant lines coming out of the heater. They'll go along the bottom of the left wall within some duct work then into the driver's heater (big box that the switch box sits on top of). Remove the galvanized steel ducts. You're going to need to cut the two heater hoses as they exit the rear of the driver's heater and plug them up with something, securing the plug with a hose clamp. I used this style of copper pipe end cap for a while:


Get towels! There will still be plenty of coolant remaining in the lines. Now you can go ahead and remove the heater and give it to me!

Eventually - since I had the heater out anyway - I ended up soldering the ends shut instead of using a plug.
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Old 06-17-2014, 06:42 PM   #5
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Re: Heater????

Otherwise, yes, you can put furniture over it. If you're going to keep it installed, though, you might as well keep it functional. Give it space above and around so it can move the air and work properly.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:48 AM   #6
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Re: Heater????

I would keep it, its nice to have areas warm before you get to spot, and then easier to heat once setup....since its preheated
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:11 AM   #7
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Re: Heater????

You can use a small water heater to heat the fluid and wire a hot fluid circulating pump into the setup to still use the heater core (drop the engine out of the loop or put a shut off valve on it and you can use the heater set up to preheat a diesel engine). We kept our rear heater. But that's just us. We are a bit strange and like to repurpose things.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:25 AM   #8
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Re: Heater????

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
I would keep it, its nice to have areas warm before you get to spot, and then easier to heat once setup....since its preheated
I, too, own a Thomas short bus on an International B3800 chassis, though mine is a '97 not a '98. If the setup is similar to mine then the heater in question is one of three. There is still a huge heater (80,0000 BTU) next to the driver which blasts air through ducts to midship, towards the driver and towards the windshield for defrost and there is a smaller one (30,000 BTU, I think) next to the door. All the ducting paths can be closed or opened.

After insulating the bus I actually ended up removing all heaters except the driver's side big guy and it'll heat the place to unbearable temperatures if I let it. I also added a small heater core and fan from an unknown GM car which tucks under the dash and is pointed directly towards the passenger's feet. My lady, the copilot, appreciates it Note that I'm also driving around in Canadian winters.

Without insulation, I'd still say the short bus will do plenty fine with only 2 of the 3 heaters operating (110,000 BTU total).

Where do you plan on travelling, Bureau602?
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:32 AM   #9
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Re: Heater????

One more thought:

Oh so precious is the space in a short bus

I couldn't integrate the rear heater anywhere. It required too much room when I countered in the air space around it for proper operation.
I have it in the shed still, though! Certainly not getting rid of it. Those heaters have large and useful heater cores which will likely come in handy in the future.

Actually, one project I was thinking of trying with it is turning it into a cheap-ass air conditioner by running cold river water through it...
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:11 PM   #10
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Re: Heater????

I live in Southeast Ok and plan on using the bus for hunting in the fall and winter. Very mild temps in this area. Rarely below freezing. So I traced the hoses from the rear passenger side under the bus to the rear drivers side up through the floor and down the passenger side to the front heater through the firewall and across to the two valves on the passenger side of the engine. Where do I need to plug the lines?
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