So, armed with a fistful of cash, my best negotiating face, and a lot of fluids, we bumbled down to Kankakee Illinois to pick over some mid length and shorty Thomas front engine buses the other day. I just knew we would find our bus there.
It wasn't simple, there were many to choose from. So, we had a lot of help from one of their mechanics, Miguyver, they called him because his real name is Miguel. He proved it over and over, making one bus run after another, tips on things, what to look for, how to fix one thing or another, sourcing a few small parts. Over and over he came through.
In the end, we found our bus at the end of the line, after a bunch of test drives. Some of these buses are pretty nice, some are less so. Some are actually quite zippy, for some reason. We ended up with one that isn't the fastest, but it was the best all around. Sixty passenger, thirty one feet, big door in the back with hydraulic lift. We are hoping it will come in handy for the dirt bikes, though it seemed a bit weak. We shall see. If it doesn't work out, we have ramps too.
Air ride, air drivers seat (needs some work though) but hydraulic brakes, as I understand. No big deal, I am glad to have onboard air available. Now I can put another tank on, and plumb some lines for filling tires, running blender...
Four hour drive home was flawless. Some occasional complaining from the power steering, but it rides quite nice. Airbags doing their thing!
The paint appears to be new, like real new. It's going to be a bit of a shame to cover it up this summer, but the yellow has to go!
Can't figure how the flashers work, I think they may have been disabled. No worries, as they will be removed anyway. Headlights are rotten, holy moly, I could barely see when it got dark. Misaligned, and weak anyway. i will be investigating modifying the nose to accept some different lights, with HID. Once I went HID on my bike, it's hard to go back.
The tilt/telescope lever is missing from the steering column, I will investigate that at some point. Looks like it could be replaced though, just missing the lever and the pin. For now, it's fine.
Drivers seat is wrecked! Who sat in this thing?
Luckily I had a replacement already, I drug it out last night and dropped it inside. I will get to it today, depending on what it needs. Still haven't picked up a welder, though I know what I want now.
Heater is as good as can be expected. Which is pretty sorry, frankly. Switch works, most of the time, someone smashed the heaters in the back, so they probably don't work that good. Too much trouble to straighten a milion fins, so if I keep them, I will probably replace them.
Needs a stereo and some speakers in the worst way! I used a mini ipod boombox on the way home, which works, but not ideal.
Wiring, boy is there going to be some wiring to do. Lots, and lots of it. To start, there is no power plugs up front, or anywhere of course. I have a few though.
The bus is loaded with wheelchair tie downs, which is awesome, way more than we will need for bikes. They aren't E track though, so I don't know if it will work out very well. I got a lot of assorted straps with the bus, so maybe it will do for now. Maybe I will hang up a hammock first.
Also badly needs more sound deadening on the engine shroud/front area. It would go a long way. Need to figure out the best way to do that. There is already a blanket thing underneath, but I think it's pretty insufficient. Either needs replaced, or just need more.
I really wanted to stop by some RV salvage places, but we spent so much time getting the bus, that we ran out of time to stop out. I have lots of money people, please stay open! Nope, didn't work. Going to have to wait til next week, at least. Might go on Friday morning, and stay over if I don't get everything in one day. We sold our DentedVW, which was a bit sad, but it allowed us to make this purchase, and all the parts we will likely need for our conversion. Well, most of them anyway.
Pictures when I get dressed, and go back outside.
A few words about Midwest Transit. These guys were great. I was able to pay my sales tax there, they take care of titling, and I got a thirty day plate.
Did I mention the bus was only $2000.00
Yeah, for real. If anyone needs a smallish bus, I would hurry over there, because that's a pretty great deal. Even though some of them need a bit of work.