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Old 06-17-2017, 02:39 PM   #1
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Location: Chattanooga, TN
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Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: CAT 3126
4 Curious Georges' 2001 Saf-T-Liner

Okay, We've been working for a couple of weeks and I figured it was finally time to start a thread! The bus is a 2001 Thomas Saf-T-Liner. It is 36' long bumper to bumper and has a rear engine layout. It has conventional springs but rides nicely, I think due in part to the rear engine design. It has the CAT 3126 (which is either the worst engine ever or the best of the early electronic engines, I feel like after researching that it is a decent engine unless until you have to have major work done by CAT, in which case it can be pricey to service), paired with the MD3060 transmission (which most people say is a great unit).

The general progress so far has been to
  1. Remove and recycle the seats
  2. Remove the cabin heater and lines
  3. Remove the rubber floor to discover no plywood only metal
  4. Discover that it is very hard to get the flooring cement off of the metal
  5. And finally, use a sandpaper flap brush on an angle grinder to get the cement off.

I've learned a few things so far:
  1. No matter what, this is just a lot of physical work.
  2. If something seems impossibly hard, you probably aren't approaching it the best way.
  3. Most of the things I've worried about haven't happened.

Finally, here are a list of things I really worried about when trying to decide to do the project/buy this bus:
  1. It would be difficult to drive a bus = not true.
  2. It would be difficult to get it registered = not true.
  3. It would be difficult to get insured = not true
  4. My neighbors would be upset and make me move it = not true
  5. It would not make it the 5 hr. drive home without a breakdown = not true
  6. The CAT engine would be a big mistake = jury is out.
  7. It would be quite difficult to do it on a minimal budget = almost certainly true.

If you are thinking of buying a bus please don't assume you will have the same experience, but thought it might be helpful to share mine.

So far the project has been a great way to collaborate with my daughters and wife in the design and work. It is fun to get to teach them how to use hand tools, and to see our combined effort result in such tangible progress.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to any comments and advice that you may have!
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:27 PM   #2
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Location: Billings, MT
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
Welcome to our collective nightmare! I've a 2003 HDX and am quite pleased with the room as well as the construction.
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:01 PM   #3
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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Welcome

You guys with your long buses, hogging all the parking spots.
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:17 PM   #4
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Year: 2003
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Chassis: HDX
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You're just jealous!
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:35 PM   #5
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Sure I'd like to have the space of a long bus, not to mention the basement, but it wouldn't make it down my driveway. Besides, that would have been about 40% more work during the build process.
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Old 06-17-2017, 10:01 PM   #6
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Year: 2001
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Does anyone know what these were for? They terminated under the first seat behind the driver in a chassis that looked like it was designed to hold a piece of electronics that might be about the size of a small car battery. It had been held in with a key lock mechanism but is long gone. Not sure what to do with the vestigial wiring harness in the picture.

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Old 06-17-2017, 11:26 PM   #7
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Pretty sure those were for the bus video system. Sometimes the leave the recorder in the bus. Mine just had the cameras remaining.
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Old 06-18-2017, 01:12 PM   #8
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Ah, makes sense. Sounds like I just need to follow the lines and get rid of it safely without leaving any open power circuits.
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Old 06-18-2017, 02:48 PM   #9
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Finally got the cockpit cleared and ready to clean the floor!

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Old 06-18-2017, 03:04 PM   #10
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Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
They left the "Silent Witness" in my beastie, too. Even left the tape in the recorder. Got out the Sawzall and removed the device, which opened up a lot of dash space. The camera was easy -- only 3 screws and a pair of diagonal cutters and 'poof', they were GONE!
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