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Old 04-21-2018, 10:30 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Interior BC
Posts: 28
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: 8.3l Cummins
1998 Thomas MVP Pusher 40ft

Hello!

Myself, my partner and our two kids (<3yrs) have just bought a school bus and we wanted a place to share our story. We are based in interior BC, Canada. We have been talking about this for about 1.5 years but recently got serious and, after a few months of stalking this forum and other resources, purchased a beaut of a bus. Details below -

- Thomas 1998 MVP Saf-T-Liner
- Rear Engine ('Pusher') - Cummins 8.3l
- Allison MD3060 Transmission
- 305,xxxkm
- Air brakes
- Cost = $5,500 (CAD)
- Name is TBC

We bought it from a commercial operator in a local (2.5hrs drive, that's 'local' here!) town. We had a toss up between this and an International bull-nose with a DT446e but decided we needed more floor space for our family. We also loved the visibility (It's what the 'V' in 'MVP' stands for) out the front. It was perhaps a little more than we wanted to spend, but the bus was in great shape, within the province (didn't need any of the 'Out Of Province Inspection' BS) and it included delivery. This was a huge advantage because neither of us have an air brakes cert (needed in BC to drive it) and we don't have to worry about tags or insurance until we are further down the line.

We have it stored in a great location about 10 mins from our house. It's looking pretty good so far, the area has a commercial vibe and loads of people working on vehicles etc. There are a few hardware stores in town but they are expensive because we live in the middle of nowhere.

A bit about us - We've only lived in Canada for 18 months. My partner is a creative type and I've worked office jobs for most of the adult portion of my 30 years. Our mechanical ability is non existent. I can change a tire, that's about it. Our other hands-on experience is fairly limited, we've done plenty of DIY for residential stuff but this is by far the biggest thing we've taken on by ourselves.

We plan on exploring West Canada in the bus during vacations over the next few years but maintain the dream of going full time longer term. We have some cool and ambitious ideas for travelling, but I'll leave that for now. Either option involves a lot of off-grid boondocking for us, we like the outdoors and want to teach our kids about nature whilst having less of an impact on the environment (*cough cough*, Diesel bus).

I've read through a couple of conversion threads on here - wmkbailey & porkchopsandwiches, who both have shorter Thomas buses. They have been really helpful, though the writers are both significantly more experienced than us going into this. We've also watched a bunch of stuff on youtube. If anyone knows of any more good resources then please let us know.

We have decided to start our own thread and intend on being as thorough as possible, both to help others and so that friends/family can keep tuned as to what we are doing.

That's it. Fear not, future posts will be shorter and will involve less humility.
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Curious Slug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2018, 10:41 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Pendleton Indiana
Posts: 257
Year: 2010
Coachwork: IC
Engine: MF DT466
Rated Cap: 81
Looks like a solid foundation. Time to get chopping.
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Old 04-21-2018, 10:50 PM   #3
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
You have the same bus as me.

Good choice (well I would say that).
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Old 04-21-2018, 11:13 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,911
And here I thought MVP stood for More Value Package. Who knew?

It would appear as if you got a pretty good bus for a decent price. The fact you got the bus for that price delivered is outstanding!

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 04-22-2018, 07:57 AM   #5
Almost There
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Central MN
Posts: 78
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE
Engine: 8.3TA
Congratulations on your new project. Truly a great price delivered to your door. Always interested in pics and updates.

GaryC
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Old 04-22-2018, 02:53 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Interior BC
Posts: 28
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: 8.3l Cummins
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
You have the same bus as me.

Good choice (well I would say that).
Lovely stuff, I'm about half way through your build thread. Looks like you're a few months ahead of us, which is ideal!

Thanks for all the kind words.
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Old 04-22-2018, 03:03 PM   #7
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 3,289
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
And here I thought MVP stood for More Value Package. Who knew?

It would appear as if you got a pretty good bus for a decent price. The fact you got the bus for that price delivered is outstanding!

Good luck and happy trails to you!
Surely you, of all people, say that sarcastically. You should know that MPV stands for Maneuverability, Visibility, Protection.
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Old 04-22-2018, 03:10 PM   #8
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious Slug View Post
Lovely stuff, I'm about half way through your build thread. Looks like you're a few months ahead of us, which is ideal!

Thanks for all the kind words.
Tomorrow I will get the steel for deleting 10 windows. That should appear on the thread this week.
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Old 04-22-2018, 04:00 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Interior BC
Posts: 28
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: 8.3l Cummins
First Day

So we got cracking yesterday. First thing is seats. I read loads about this before I started and there doesn't seem to be a commonly accepted best way for a one-man team. Having someone below the bus holding the nuts would have made it super quick. Angle grinder was my best choice.

I'd like to take a moment just to talk about angle grinders. Up until yesterday my formative experience with these tools was back at college when the clubs used to have dancers on stage called 'Grinder Girls' who would grind away at their metallic lingerie. My experience yesterday was distinctly less sexy.

Got all the seats out but I ran out of discs. I used 11 cheap cut-off discs on the seat legs and on removing 6 of the base plates, where the seat attaches to the floor. The discs are over $3 a pop here in town so I've ordered 50 on Amazon for $40. Before and after pics from day 1 below. We are leaving in the front two rows for the time being, we want to re-use them so I'll need to take them out properly.
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Old 04-28-2018, 12:12 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Interior BC
Posts: 28
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: 8.3l Cummins
Managed a half day today, the big pack of cut off discs arrived and I got out all the seat base plates. Things are slow going at the moment, just not finding the time to get 'er done. Next step is to use an impact driver to get rid of all of the internal screws holding the ceiling panels and flooring in place. Plenty of demo to be done. Lovely, lovely unskilled demo.
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