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Old 04-09-2018, 11:59 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 129
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Vista 36pp
Engine: 7.3 L diesel
Desert Sands AKA The Window Lickkin Good Bus

So I think its about time I gave this bus its own build thread.

About three weeks ago or so me and my wife bought a 1996 Thomas Vista 3600. After lotsss of research we decided this was the bus for us. We wanted a full bus style body (no van conversions front end ) but it had to be under 25 feet. Our goal is to live and travel to rock climbing destination in the bus and many of these destination have max 25 foot truck trailer combo size limit. So after looking at different options we landed on this odd duck. Its sort of a full size bus sort of short bus and perfect for us.

Picked it up in Hemet California ( so far literally no rust on the bus not an ounce. lots of sand but no rust! yeah california ). Started driving it back to flagstaff that night. made it all the way to joshua tree ish before it mysteriously started only going 35mph. well after a few hours of going super slow on the 40 we pulled off in Kingman. Next day after diagnosing ripped the DPF filter off and was on our way again .0401181709.jpg


Since getting it home we have done an oil change (rotella 5w 40) new oil ,gas and transmission filter. Also put a external derale racing hyper cool transmission cooler on. Put on a Magnaflow straight through muffler to take the place of the DPF filter and quiet down the straight pipe . and lastly we are working on tearing out the inside and prepping it for its new life!

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Old 04-10-2018, 05:05 AM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Indiana
Posts: 23
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Engine: DT466
nice looking bus! what kind of engine/trans specs does it have?
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Old 04-10-2018, 09:16 AM   #3
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
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Welcome...and that is a great start. Get the running gear and engine in shape before investing time and money inside.
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Old 04-10-2018, 09:22 AM   #4
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 9,260
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
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nice!!!! but 5W40 in a 444E? Im hoping thats a typo and you are running 15W40?

-Christopher
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:10 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
Posts: 457
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 7.3L
Sweet bus! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:14 AM   #6
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 129
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Vista 36pp
Engine: 7.3 L diesel
15w40! That was a typo .
And it has the 7.3 international engine with 80xxx original miles and a AT545 behind it. I could have waited out for a better tranny but with the short nature and lighter weight of the bus I'm hoping the at545 will do just fine.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:21 AM   #7
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 129
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Vista 36pp
Engine: 7.3 L diesel
I'm also thinking about changing the rear differential oil while im on the fluids train . still trying to decide if its worth buying that much 80w90 . the stuff in there appears fine....
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:54 AM   #8
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,625
Year: 1999
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
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Originally Posted by mikerob643 View Post
I'm also thinking about changing the rear differential oil while im on the fluids train . still trying to decide if its worth buying that much 80w90 . the stuff in there appears fine....
Send a sample to Blackstone Labs and have it tested. They will tell you if it is fine, and also be able to let you know the general condition of the unit.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:36 AM   #9
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 129
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Vista 36pp
Engine: 7.3 L diesel
That sounds like a good idea . if I am going to send a sample in I would like to send in a engine oil sample too. I just changed the oil though so I would guess I need to put some Miles on it before I can send it in for an analysis
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:38 AM   #10
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Join Date: Sep 2017
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Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
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Originally Posted by mikerob643 View Post
That sounds like a good idea . if I am going to send a sample in I would like to send in a engine oil sample too. I just changed the oil though so I would guess I need to put some Miles on it before I can send it in for an analysis
Yes, the more miles the better. It allows them to make a more accurate assessment of bearing wear and coolant in oil.
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