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Old 01-03-2018, 10:38 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thomas HDX: Anyone build one? I have questions?

Hi Guys, I am getting closer to making my first bus purchase and settled on the HDX and need some help with inside workable dimensions from behind the steps to the existing rear wall over the engine bay and also the interior workable width.
I would like to communicate with bus owners who know a few basic answers such as that. To be clear, I am speaking about the 40' bus.

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Old 01-03-2018, 11:27 AM   #2
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I have the predecessor, the Saf-T-Liner MVP ER

It is 35 feet from the rear edge of the stairwell to the back window.

Mine is the 140 +10" ... that is, 14 body sections (windows) plus 10".
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Old 01-03-2018, 12:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertMax View Post
Hi Guys, I am getting closer to making my first bus purchase and settled on the HDX and need some help with inside workable dimensions from behind the steps to the existing rear wall over the engine bay and also the interior workable width.
I would like to communicate with bus owners who know a few basic answers such as that. To be clear, I am speaking about the 40' bus.

A word of caution:

This model has an electrical issue with a recall. The issue is the battery cables were sandwiched between the body and chassis at the factory. BE SURE this problem is solved BEFORE you buy. A school district I worked for lost FIVE of these buses due to this issue alone.

In addition to that be ready to rebuild the dashboard. The plastic used to save weight on the bus is in the sun due to the large windshield design. All of these buses I drove had issues with the dashboard buttons and whatnot breaking due to dry-rot.

One final note: notice how the rear view mirrors have only ONE solid connection point. These mirrors tend to vibrate from the engine/road/whatnot vibrations from general use. There are reasons why Thomas did not continue this design. The mirrors vibrate to the point they are useless in backing, passing, and generally any kind of use. Parts for these mirrors are used from a rare alloy called unobtanium - good luck in finding parts. You're better off converting those mirrors to more standard configurations with common parts.

Just my two cents for what it's worth.

M
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Old 01-03-2018, 02:09 PM   #4
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Those mirrors always remind me of an old stud bunny I used to have. His ears used to droop like that just before he called to his harem, "NEXT!"
Then they stood at attention again.

John
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Old 01-03-2018, 03:21 PM   #5
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Hi Steve & thanks for your response.. so I understand the length but a bit foggy on your width?
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Old 01-03-2018, 03:24 PM   #6
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Interior width is like my '89 Thomas. 7' 6", actually just a bit shy of that.

M
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Old 01-03-2018, 03:29 PM   #7
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Cool, thanks!
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Old 01-17-2018, 09:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
A word of caution:

This model has an electrical issue with a recall. The issue is the battery cables were sandwiched between the body and chassis at the factory. BE SURE this problem is solved BEFORE you buy. A school district I worked for lost FIVE of these buses due to this issue alone.

In addition to that be ready to rebuild the dashboard. The plastic used to save weight on the bus is in the sun due to the large windshield design. All of these buses I drove had issues with the dashboard buttons and whatnot breaking due to dry-rot.

One final note: notice how the rear view mirrors have only ONE solid connection point. These mirrors tend to vibrate from the engine/road/whatnot vibrations from general use. There are reasons why Thomas did not continue this design. The mirrors vibrate to the point they are useless in backing, passing, and generally any kind of use. Parts for these mirrors are used from a rare alloy called unobtanium - good luck in finding parts. You're better off converting those mirrors to more standard configurations with common parts.

Just my two cents for what it's worth.

M
Glad I stumbled across your post...

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Old 01-21-2018, 09:11 PM   #9
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Thomas HDX

Hi, I work in the parts department at a Thomas Dealership. A few words of advice in dealing with these busses, basically all of the flatnose models (Engine Rear and Front) can be difficult to work on to say the least and parts get pretty expensive. Another issue with these busses is that they are not nearly as universally equipped as the conventional models. That being said the size advantages to these busses had me thinking about one for a conversion for a long time, but I finally settled on a conventional. Let me know if you need any help figuring out parts and I will do what I can!
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richy_04@hotmail.com View Post
Hi, I work in the parts department at a Thomas Dealership. A few words of advice in dealing with these busses, basically all of the flatnose models (Engine Rear and Front) can be difficult to work on to say the least and parts get pretty expensive. Another issue with these busses is that they are not nearly as universally equipped as the conventional models. That being said the size advantages to these busses had me thinking about one for a conversion for a long time, but I finally settled on a conventional. Let me know if you need any help figuring out parts and I will do what I can!
Thanks for the offer.

What do you mean about not as well equipped? Mine seems to have about everything I could have wanted.
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Old 01-22-2018, 11:26 AM   #11
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Richy ::: Thanks for the great response!

I would love to see some pics of your bus...
To be honest, I'm not going to be ready to make my purchase until late March or possibly April of this year so have lots of time to ponder which to end up buying. I have become very interested in the Freightliner chassis dog nose models I am seeing at dealerships like Las Vegas Bus Sales and others. These are not school buses and are white which is the color I would have painted the skooly should I have purchased the yellow!!





As far as where to buy, the auctions such as Gov etc seem to be some really good deals but cumbersome in that there may be a lot of travel to actually check them out and then potentially loose the bidding and so on...

As with many others, I am only interested in the HDX for 2 reasons actually, the interior build space of course and I always wanted a diesel pusher...
It does seem to me that driving the dog nose buses could be a bit less stressful and perhaps easier... I will update as the time goes by..
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Old 01-22-2018, 12:09 PM   #12
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White buses are almost always worth a second look.

If they have been owned by schools then they are trip or activity buses, and often come with better equipment and drive-train. Don't be fooled by the lack of lights and stop signs.

The Federal government mandates the equipment required on "route buses", defined as buses that transport students from home to school.

Trip buses go through the same inspection but are not required to have all the extras.
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Old 01-22-2018, 12:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DesertMax View Post
I would love to see some pics of your bus...
To be honest, I'm not going to be ready to make my purchase until late March or possibly April of this year so have lots of time to ponder which to end up buying. I have become very interested in the Freightliner chassis dog nose models I am seeing at dealerships like Las Vegas Bus Sales and others. These are not school buses and are white which is the color I would have painted the skooly should I have purchased the yellow!!





As far as where to buy, the auctions such as Gov etc seem to be some really good deals but cumbersome in that there may be a lot of travel to actually check them out and then potentially loose the bidding and so on...

As with many others, I am only interested in the HDX for 2 reasons actually, the interior build space of course and I always wanted a diesel pusher...
It does seem to me that driving the dog nose buses could be a bit less stressful and perhaps easier... I will update as the time goes by..
Once I replace my scooter(stolen)I wanna start surfing the auction sites but my income is stupid tight...I think I'm not going to be able to compete in the auction game...there is a sales lot offering layaway but twice the price...Idk...I ain't there yet

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Old 01-22-2018, 12:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
White buses are almost always worth a second look.

If they have been owned by schools then they are trip or activity buses, and often come with better equipment and drive-train. Don't be fooled by the lack of lights and stop signs.

The Federal government mandates the equipment required on "route buses", defined as buses that transport students from home to school.

Trip buses go through the same inspection but are not required to have all the extras.
When I see white buses I think prison...lol...the only white on my bus will be the Henry's on the roof

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Old 01-22-2018, 02:20 PM   #15
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Sorry, poor choice of words. When I said not as universally equipped I meant the parts are not nearly as interchangeable from one Thomas flatnose bus to another as they are on the conventional models. I see parts getting discontinued without possible replacements on busses that are less than 20 years old. As far as sales options that the busses come equipped with the HDX is often "loaded". I love Thomas busses and think that they build one of the best bus bodies on the market, just personally think they should leave the chassis work to Freightliner.
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Old 01-22-2018, 02:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertMax View Post
I would love to see some pics of your bus...
To be honest, I'm not going to be ready to make my purchase until late March or possibly April of this year so have lots of time to ponder which to end up buying. I have become very interested in the Freightliner chassis dog nose models I am seeing at dealerships like Las Vegas Bus Sales and others. These are not school buses and are white which is the color I would have painted the skooly should I have purchased the yellow!!





As far as where to buy, the auctions such as Gov etc seem to be some really good deals but cumbersome in that there may be a lot of travel to actually check them out and then potentially loose the bidding and so on...

As with many others, I am only interested in the HDX for 2 reasons actually, the interior build space of course and I always wanted a diesel pusher...
It does seem to me that driving the dog nose buses could be a bit less stressful and perhaps easier... I will update as the time goes by..


Yes, the interior build space and the look of the HDX are definitely tempting. Trying to work on one and paying for parts on one not so much! The Freightliner chassis is a definite win. Thomas built the FS-65 (conventional body on Fliner chassis) for over 30 years and they are GREAT busses. Fairly easy to work on and parts are generally readily available at any Freightliner dealer and sometimes even at your local Napa/Oreillys. The white busses are often a good deal because they don't need painted to converted and if they were a trip bus then they were not seeing the severe duty of constant stop/go that a school bus on route sees. Government auctions are good, also watch your local school districts, generally once a bus gets retired it is listed as surplus property and sold at sealed bid auctions.
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Old 01-22-2018, 02:47 PM   #17
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Thanks to all for the great responses.. Very informative and again to Richy, really great to hear about the white buses and the FL line in particular... White Freightliner it is!

Speaking of prison busses.. I really wanted this one but it quickly sold and I'm not ready yet anyhow...
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Old 01-22-2018, 03:54 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by DesertMax View Post
Thanks to all for the great responses.. Very informative and again to Richy, really great to hear about the white buses and the FL line in particular... White Freightliner it is!

Speaking of prison busses.. I really wanted this one but it quickly sold and I'm not ready yet anyhow...
Lol...looks like a Texas bluebird...not fond memories for sure...

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Old 01-22-2018, 10:20 PM   #19
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"Lol...looks like a Texas bluebird..."

Great name would be "The Midnight Special".
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:41 PM   #20
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"Lol...looks like a Texas bluebird..."

Great name would be "The Midnight Special".
'...let your lights shine on me...' or something like that

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