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Old 09-22-2015, 12:39 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: Cummins 5.9L IBS6
Rated Cap: 72C 48A
Brag Bus

I recently purchased a 2002 Thomas Freightliner FS-65 with a 5.9 cummings. Bought at auction from a school district in NY for $3,500 and drove it 1,000 miles home to Atlanta.

Great condition and everything works! Only 110,000 miles. Rust was as to be expected with a northern bus, and i'll work on slowing it down as much as I can. Recently used it to get my CDL so now I'm legit. It's getting painted as I write this and I'll update with photos as I go.

I'll be using it as an occasional camper, and promotional tool for my business the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia. Eventually want bunk beds, trundle, sink, shower toilet, kegerator with outdoor taps, large roof patio (as seen on RAGBRAI Buses), and seating for ~17.

Any advice from seasoned skoolies is welcomed and appreciated. I'll make video's and take plenty of pictures of the conversion.


















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Old 09-22-2015, 12:49 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: Cummins 5.9L IBS6
Rated Cap: 72C 48A
First thing I had to do was change one of the Air tanks that had a pin hole in it. The mount holding it in place rusted through and rubbed a hole in the tank. Got a new primary tank from the freightliner dealer here in atlanta. Ended up using all the same valves after I cleaned them up real good. Had to get a ton of plugs for the tank. tank was $150, brackets/mounts were $56, additional brass and plugs were ~$40 from home depot. Had to get a carbon disc and angle grinder to remove the old bolts from the bracket. After I got the old one out everything went pretty smoothly. Couldnt release the check valve from the air hose, so I just spun the tank around to thread it and to get it tight, then mounted it and all the other valves went on without problems. Cranked it up and no leaks!

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Old 09-22-2015, 12:56 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,165
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Lookin' good! Curious...do the "newer" buses like yours with air brakes still have a "Wig-Wag" alert?
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Old 09-22-2015, 12:59 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: Cummins 5.9L IBS6
Rated Cap: 72C 48A
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Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Lookin' good! Curious...do the "newer" buses like yours with air brakes still have a "Wig-Wag" alert?
Yes my bus has a wig wag, light, and buzzer. Very annoying when first starting but necessary in case of a leak. There are also 3 emergency exit doors, 6 emergency exit windows, and 2 roof hatches, all with buzzers that I need to disconnect.
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Old 09-22-2015, 01:08 PM   #5
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Year: 1946
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Be careful when deleting any alert systems such as buzzers. Many of them will shut down the engine or prevent it from starting if not rewired correctly. Quite a few folks here have encountered that situation and they can be a real bear to track down and correct.
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Old 09-22-2015, 02:05 PM   #6
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Coachwork: International
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Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 71
Welcome and enjoy the ride!
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Old 09-22-2015, 03:01 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: Cummins 5.9L IBS6
Rated Cap: 72C 48A
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Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Be careful when deleting any alert systems such as buzzers. Many of them will shut down the engine or prevent it from starting if not rewired correctly. Quite a few folks here have encountered that situation and they can be a real bear to track down and correct.
Thanks for that advice. Ill test before disconnecting as to avoid any problems. Hopefully emergency exit alarms wont shut down the engine if disconnected.

Im also limited at 65mph. From reading it seems some governers are computer driven in which the dealer will have to edit onboard settings, some are fuel pump governers, and some are something else completely. Im guessing on my 2002 it is computer driven. Does anyone know how to find out? Not a huge deal but some posted limits are 70 here and on road trips even higher.
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Old 09-22-2015, 06:42 PM   #8
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 1,330
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
It's gonna drive me nuts every time I see the G in Cummins (the engine company doesn't actually have a G in their name, but it's a common mistake)!

Being a 2002, I expect yours probably has a valve cover that says "24 valve" on top and that it's computer controlled..? Going from my experience with my 8.3 ISC Cummins, yes there's a speed governor programmed into the engine computer and yes it's very easily changed. The "official" way is to find somebody who has the Cummins INSITE software and corresponding diagnostic link cable to make the change. Cummins Power South is the official distributor for Cummins in your area; if one of their branches is near they could make the change for you. But there are lots of other options too; it shouldn't be hard to find a heavy truck shop with at least one technician who has that equipment. I would expect to pay for an hour's time ($100-something), though it'll actually take much less. The Cummins distributor will charge more. The Edge/Pro-Comp/Smarty tools for Dodge trucks won't work on your engine, but IIRC at least one of them also offers a version that does work with the non-Dodge ISB. Maybe it would be able to change the speed governor.

While you're in there, get the cruise control turned on (if it isn't already) and poke around for any other interesting features you might like to change!
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Old 09-22-2015, 09:26 PM   #9
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Location: Texas
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: Genesis
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 84
Seating past 15 requires a CDL, I believe.
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Old 09-24-2015, 04:09 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: Cummins 5.9L IBS6
Rated Cap: 72C 48A
Thanks for the info family wagon. Yes it is the 5.9 L 24 Valve. I will look for a truck shop with the Cummins INSITE software. Didn't know the bus had cruise! That would be an awesome addition. Drove it for 2 hours the other day and thought the whole time how great cruise control would be.

Updated pic:
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