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Old 06-08-2009, 10:10 AM   #1
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Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas Transit Liner
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Well our Thomas has made it home & is now ready for all we can throw at her! We haven't named her yet but are coming up with ideas... (it was enough coming up with a name for our daughter)

Our bus project was slightly interupted as we had our first child, a beautiful girl, on Mothers day! Man newborn babies are alot of work.

Our busses next life is going to be a conversion that is different than most. We are using it to move to New Mexico in a couple months to a new property & cabin we bought in a little remote town called Datil. We will set the bus up to carry & store all of our business inventory, house my home business office with complete solar power (250w panels) & propane heat. This bus will stay setup on the property till we get the chance to add on the the cabin & to also build some sort of storage for our inventory. Once we build what we need THEN the Thomas will become an RV conversion!

We drove our 89 Thomas Transit Liner home less than a week ago after having some service & repairs done to it & it really drives nice! It is sooo smooth & has good pickup, almost drives like a Caddillac. I just got the chance to start digging into stripping out what is not needed. Yesterday I had planned to remove the seats, got 3 of the 4 bolts out of the 1st jump seat & yup, again it started to POUR! It has been raining everyday here in Florida and not just once a day... Really gets annoying... So I decided to work on the interior instead. The bus had the route display electronics above the front window & a smaller unit that displayed in the window to the left of the entrance door. I originally wanted to try to get this to work but would rather have it gone & gain storage space. That took about 3-4 hours to remove as it appears they had removed the entire interior panel above the windshield when they installed the unit. Needless to say I could not get more than 1 screw loose to remove the panel above the windshield to get the electronics out so it turned into a bleeding knuckle syndrome...







When I bought the bus they said the AC blew ice cold (don't all used car lots say this?) & needless to say it wasn't hot so I forgot to test it out. Of course it doesn't even blow cold much less arctic. So we decided the duct work that runs the length of the bus - gone as it won't be needed in NM! To think I was going to buy some sheetmetal screws - I pulled out well over 300 of them taking the AC ducts down...This gains alot of headroom along the windows & the roof metal behind the ductwork cleans up like new. I almost got all of it out but it got dark & I haven't put work lights in the bus yet. I removed all foriegn metal brackets, plates & all unnessary objects & items that were screwed into the interior to help clean it up. I also removed as many stickers & decals I could without breaking out the heat gun so it is starting to look less like a city bus which is nice! Check out the only leak in the bus... That blue rubber glove was shoved in a quarter sized hole in the ceiling & the fingers are full of water. Will attend to that next dry day... Thinking maybe a cool police cruiser style spot light on the roof to fill the hole!


Hopefully I will be able to take the seats out this week!
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:26 AM   #2
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Re: She's Home! Still Nameless Tho...

That hole looks like where an NMO type antenna mount used to be. I'm surprised they removed that. Most expensive I've seen for one is $30, and most people just leave them rather than leave an empty hole for rain water. I can see some rust in that area already. At a minimum, you need to get on the roof and put a piece of duct tape over that hole.

If there is a commercial communications company in your area (motorola, etc dealer), then you might be able to get a plastic plug from them that will fit that hole. A little plumbers putty around the hole when you put the plastic plug in, and it should stay leak free until you decide what you want to put there.

Looks like you're making some really good progress. I know how good it feels to finally have it home and be able to work on it when the mood strikes you. I had to chuckle seeing the ubiquitous fan and extension cord to power the fan.

Bummer about the A/C not working. On the bright side though, you can remove most of the extra A/C stuff from the chassis and gain more storage/etc space. Also, that second alternator can be rewired to your house batteries when you do your conversion.

Good luck,
jim
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:52 AM   #3
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Thanks Jim, it is a great feeling to have her home & being able to work on her at my leisure
!
I will get that jump seat out & weighed soon for you so I can get an accurate shipping cost to send it to you. Your offer sounds great & consider it a deal! If anyone else is interested in one or more of the jump seats (Jim is going to possibly use one for a folding front seat over the entrance steps so a passenger can sit up with the driver) please let me know! I am always up for trading something & don't want much for the seats, just hate to scrap them if someone else could use 'em & I am always looking for goodies!

The underneath of the bus has all kinds of room & if I remove the AC units (on both sides underneath) I could have a killer full width storage area much larger than the small ventilation holes that are already cut out. I am guessing that all I have to do is start to dissasemble the AC units but the potential problem may be sliding them under the bus to remove them. This beast sits low on the sides & thank god I am a thin dude cause if I had my friends beer belly I wouldn't even be able to crawl underneath!

Jonathan

Here is some more photos of the bus for those who haven't seen it yet:



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Old 06-08-2009, 08:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
You can go to a local home improvement center & get a blank-off for a knock-out in an electrical box, measure the hole so you know what size to get (as they come from 1/2"-2" or so (at least at a local lumber co). Get the style with a bar & nut on the bottom, you'll never have to worry about it coming loose (double nut it just in case).Pick-up an O-ring to add under it or use some good sealant to prevent leaks.[/qoute]

Sounds like a simple & easy solution... had to duct tape it in the meantime - more rain, go figure!
Quote:
Nice lookin' bus
Thanks Smitty, it has really grown on us! We like it as it is different than most... Nothing against the skoolies! I lov'em all!

Question... & I should remember this but it has been about 10 years since I drove truck for a living. Are you supposed to give a diesel engine throttle when starting it? The reason I ask is my air throttle will not work when the air pressure gets down to a certain point (50-60 psi I believe). This then makes the bus hard to start sometimes when I cannot give it throttle because of low psi...

Jonathan
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:32 PM   #5
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Re: She's Home! Still Nameless Tho...

Diesels are fuel injected so the answer is no for the most part. However, my owners manual does instruct you to give it half throttle below a certain temperature and to hold her to the boards AND shoot either below 0 degrees. Of course I have no glow plugs or waffle irons to aid in cold starting. I have had to shoot a little ether in sub-zero temps, but I think extended cranking on healthy batteries is more effective to be perfectly honest. When it's really cold I do have to feather the throttle just a little until the idle smooths out (~30 seconds), but other than that I don't touch it.
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:18 PM   #6
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Our bus will crank a bit sometimes when air tank has gone down but most the time it starts immediately & idles. Thanks for the info!

I couldn't stand the heat anymore so I made a window sunscreen out of some insulation that I had bought when I was working on my '85 C10, that we just sold. Really makes a huge difference in tempurature! Looks cool too




These are 2 of the end pieces from the AC duct that I will use for a template for building into the curve of the roof (how convenient)!




Didn't get too much done today...
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:30 AM   #7
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Re: She's Home! Still Nameless Tho...

mechanically injected diesels like your 3208 have an internal governor in the injecction pump that goes to high idle/max rpm/full fuel position when the engine is not running, as soon as the engine fires up the centrifical force of the flyweights in the governor pulls the internal fuel linkage back to wherever the external linkage or low idle stop is set. this is why when a diesel starts it belches a black cloud of unburned fuel and then settles down to a nice clean idle.
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul iossi
mechanically injected diesels like your 3208 have an internal governor in the injecction pump that goes to high idle/max rpm/full fuel position when the engine is not running, as soon as the engine fires up the centrifical force of the flyweights in the governor pulls the internal fuel linkage back to wherever the external linkage or low idle stop is set. this is why when a diesel starts it belches a black cloud of unburned fuel and then settles down to a nice clean idle.
Thanks Paul, that helps me to understand the diesel a bit more... I used to drive them but never worked on 'em!
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rccipriani
Looks like you'll be spared some of the work of seat removal, given they are so few. Those folding seats might come in handy for some sort of convertible dinette/bed.

I have to admit to being a bit jealous...I'll just have to live vicariously through you for now!

Enjoy NM! I mobilized out of Ft. Bliss, the terrain was a TAD different than Florida ("So, there ARE mountains that don't have the words 'Space', 'Splash', or 'Big Thunder' in front of them!")
We will help you find something if possible! EVERYONE needs a bus project!

I like the idea of maybe a dinette/bed... good thought & will check it out a little closer!

I can't wait to go to NM... You will have to take a long vacation sometime & visit us there!
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Old 06-15-2009, 04:28 PM   #10
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Well I have progressed slowly but am getting things done... Most of the seats are out, had to cut legs off with a sawzall as grinding the bolts was next to impossible with the seat in the way... That made it a little easier... My 12 yr old niece just finished up cleaning the interior windows for us (nasty after many many years as a city bus). Next she will come back & clean the walls & ceiling for us. Big helper!! The seats I have are embossed in some sort of textured metal on the back of the seat. In the middle Thomas is embossed. I had to save the 3 of these I got from the seats & am going to incorporate the logo above the winshield, covering the access door for the upper route window. Might look cool! I have to add photos of the idea...
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