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Old 12-15-2006, 10:43 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Pueblo Co
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Year: 1984
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe T Liner
Engine: 3208 turbo
Rated Cap: 84
84 Thomas - The Yankeflyer

A brief introduction, I started my bus in 2003 and have made many changes but have yet to actually start on the inside of the bus.

http://www.yankeflyer.com is where I have posted most of my activities since I retired late 2002.

It's great to see this site with all the progress that others have made and I feel reinspired, if that's the word, to hang in there for one more year and hopefully see this through.

The bus was purchased from a local heavy equipment and truck dealer. In Gillette Wyoming after it was traded in by the Campbell County school District for a new Thomas. The dealer gave the school district $500 trade in and I bought the bus for $800.

The 3208 Caterpillar was reported to be a fresh rebuild with only 15,000 miles on it and the Allison T6 transmission was dry and no leaks.

The Eaton 5:31 differential was replaced with a 2:90 Rockwell. Fuel mileage increased from 6 miles per gallon to 10 miles per gallon, cruise rpm reduced from 3000 rpm at 60 miles an hour to 2300 rpm at 75 miles an hour.

It's great fun to drive and pass all the semi trucks that are governed at 62 mph.

I've added a bay with two 5000 W generators and installed 80 gallon propane tanks underneath. I plan to have tankless water heaters for the shower and kitchen. The toilet is the incinerator's style, hopefully eliminating any need for black water tanks.

The interior is still to be done and the installation of fresh water and gray water holding tanks and all the associated plumbing wiring cabinetry and carpentry, flooring and hardware.

I'm headed for quartzite Arizona next week with my project and my tools.

Tow car is an old 67 Porsche 912 that could stand a few weeks in the garage itself.

Between my interest in guitars, computers, arts and generally just having a good time at being retired takes up most of my day and leaves little time for bus conversions. Good thing I'm not a deadline.

But I do have a question I've converted to LED lights everywhere and I can't remember if the rear clearance lights on the sides were amber or red, does it matter?

Miles B. Mulloy
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Old 12-15-2006, 11:57 PM   #2
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Howdy - I took a quick tour of your site. I envy your location in the summer having spent a a few great vacations in Wyoming. Winter? Not so envious! LOL This is a good forum to bounce ideas around and get those valued "been there done that" comments that save time and money! I think you'll enjoy the place. I know I have.

Larry
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Old 12-16-2006, 06:49 AM   #3
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Year: 1982
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Re: 84 Thomas - The Yankeflyer

Quote:
Originally Posted by yankeflyer
. . . rear clearance lights on the sides were amber or red. . . Miles B. Mulloy
They are red.
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Old 12-16-2006, 06:22 PM   #4
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Hey there...and welcome!

Yeah! Another Thomas bus owner. Jay Smith in Colorado (TomCat here on the forums) also converted a Wyoming Thomas; he's got a photo web site of his conversion here.

Another one in the works in GoneCamping; he's got a site here. There are four pages there and you have to look through the posts to get the photos and narrative.

I've just started on my new-to-me 1982 Thomas Safe-T-Liner. I thought I got a good deal on my bus; you've got me beat by a mile! Mine has a Cat 3208 as well with an Allison MT643 automatic. I've got 4.56 gears which lets me cruise at 60 at 2200 rpm or 65 at 2400 rpm.

Be sure and let us know how your project is going and post some photos in the gallery if you get the chance.
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:09 PM   #5
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Location: Pueblo Co
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Year: 1984
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Chassis: Safe T Liner
Engine: 3208 turbo
Rated Cap: 84
Headlight switch failure

Well after so much boasting of my great accomplishments and work on the bus, wouldn't you know, today's first test of all the LED lights including the new red side Marker lights for the rear, turned up a new problem with the headlight switch.

I have had problems with the switch before when using the switch to dim or brighten the dash lights. The switch would not always perform as it should and yesterday after five hours of having the headlight switch on and a trickle charge on the battery while I removed old lights and installed new ones around the perimeter must've proved too much.

Though certainly no expert with electrical problems, it can`t go without saying I sure wish that I had a Thomas mechanic working on this instead of me. I've pulled the instrument panel and took a look at the headlight switch and it is a full-fledged looking antique.

Gillette is full of heavy equipment and truck dealer parts suppliers so I assume there is a new part available. Very close working quarters.

It is my understanding LED lights use less amps than the old style -- or do I have that just backwards.

Anyway the guy down and Colorado sure is doing some nice carpentry on that bus. To say nothing of the pretty sophisticated infrastructure of electronics and plumbing and all the other modern conveniences.

Lots of great pictures -- lots of good ideas
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Old 12-16-2006, 10:54 PM   #6
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The way LED was explained to me for house lighting was that the LED equivelant to a 40w incandescent bulb would be maybe 1/5 the wattage with slightly lower lumins. In a 12v lighting system the drop in lumins is less.

Larry
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:24 AM   #7
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Good news bad news

Good news is the brake lights still work and the turn signals still work so I guess that narrows it down to the headlight switch. Hopefully I'll be able to find one Monday.

Thanks for the replies.

One other thing to note as I have received a couple of e-mails about the price I paid for the bus, it was probably a mistake to boast of the deal that I got. However Jack's trucking in Gillette Wyoming is still the supplier for buses for the Campbell County school District, the last I heard.

I called back a year later to see if there were any more great deals and the price had gone to 1500, but the buses were newer than the one I bought.

The deal that I got on my bus was more a case of dumb luck and being at the right place at the right time when they had six for sale and of those three were spoken for, I thought at the time that I should try to buy other three, but now after this three years of working on this thing, I'm wondering about the wisdom of buying this one.

School districts in your area would be the first place to make inquiries about the older buses they plan to replace.
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Old 12-17-2006, 01:55 PM   #8
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One quick (I hope) question if you don't mind...

Where did you get your propane tanks; not the name of the business specifically but what kind of place and what (if it's a used tank) was its prior application? Jay Smith has an 86-gallon propane tank on his bus but I've been unable to turn up any of the size you or Jay are using. I suspect I'm just not looking in the right places yet.

Thanks!
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Old 12-17-2006, 02:43 PM   #9
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Join Date: Dec 2006
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Year: 1984
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe T Liner
Engine: 3208 turbo
Rated Cap: 84
Propane tanks

I got the tanks from a local propane dealer. Once again just dumb luck, I had been looking for a horizontally mounted propane tank, at least a 100 pound tank. I don't remember exactly how the conversation went but knowing me when I'm on the hunt for something I asked anyone and everyone everyplace I'm at, and hope to get lucky. Hundred and 40 bucks

Specifically these are called saddle tanks and are actually two 100 pound tanks that had been installed on a light-duty commercial truck that ran off of propane. Loaded to about 85% which is recommended maximum and is approximately 40 gallons.

The thing about the saddle tanks is that the mounting brackets were already welded on, so in my application I was able to fairly easily fabricate mounting brackets to add to the ones that are already on the tanks that I bolted and welded as applicable.

When I get a chance I'll figure out how to post some pictures.
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Old 12-17-2006, 10:05 PM   #10
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Welcome aboard!! I've had my Thomas for a little over a year now, and work on it only for a few hours on Sundays. Wish I could do more, but I'm doing the conversion at my place of work, and it get's in the way where I park to work on it....and they are open 7am - midnight six days a week...so Sundays will have to do.

Right now mine is coming along fairly well. I completed the plumbing today, and next week will start the electrical. That should be faster than the plumbing was.... unlike the plumbing, I actually know what I'm doing with the electrical stuff!!

The link posted above goes to my camping & racing forum, but eventually I'm going to build an entire website around my conversion, which will make negotiating things easier (not to mention I can load larger pictures there too!!). For now I just post away in the forum....
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