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Old 06-13-2009, 02:19 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Claremore, ok
Posts: 102
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3208 Turbo
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"Double Deuce"

Well the conversion has began. I picked up our 1991 Thomas for $2500 here locally. It is rust free with 128k on the clock. I was also able to speak to the head mechanic of the school district it came from before I made the purchase in order to build some confidence of my purchase. He had all good things to say about the bus as he was able to recall tons of useful info on the bus by sheer memory.

It has the CAT 3208 turbo backed by a Allison 643 tranny, and air brakes. It drives down the road like a dream. It likes to go 60mph on the highway at about 2500Rpm but will top out at 64 at 2850rpm. It also has plenty of acceleration power.

The name just kinda hit me one day after about a week of trying to come up with one. "Double Duce" kinda has mulitple meanings I guess, but mainly it is based on the buses history as being bus number 22 from the district. It will house 2 adults and 2 children, and I was later reminded that it was the name of the bar on the moive Road House. (Get it, Road...House...) Anyway we all agreed with it so there it stands.

Our plan for the bus is to be able to not only camp at the lake during the summer but for all vacation purposes, year round. We want to be completely self contained if needed for up to a week. The plan is to build it to be pretty Plush inside since I figure if it was just to sleep in we would have bought a pop-up. However we plan on using it as we build it so at first that is what it will be, a place to sleep and stay dry. It will also serve as a tow vehicle, pulling our boat to the lake and my Rock Crawler to the trails.

Here it is at the house. We have plans for the outside to make it look not so much like a school bus by removing some of the rub rails and removing the drivers emergency door and rear emergency door, repalcing the front door with a motorhome door and replacing the windows with a few selectivly placed motorhome windows among some other items.


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Old 06-13-2009, 02:26 PM   #2
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Claremore, ok
Posts: 102
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3208 Turbo
Rated Cap: 84
Re: "Double Duce"

We have been collecting some items for the build up So far we have the following items for the build

Not sure how many gallons this is yet. I'm guessing 40??

Also not sure on the size of this a/c. It was in a 24' TT. It cools nice and was affordable.




My Captian gave me this inverter. He said it didn't work but may be fixible. Lets hope so

I have six 75AH UPS dry cell batteries for the inverter if I can get it working
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Old 06-13-2009, 02:31 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Claremore, ok
Posts: 102
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3208 Turbo
Rated Cap: 84
Re: "Double Duce"

I need to find out where I can get replacement body panels for the bus. I dont even know where to start looking. It has a little body damage on the drivers side and I want to cover the emergency door with a new panel to make it flow with the rest of the body. Any suggestions where to start looking?

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Old 06-13-2009, 08:40 PM   #4
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Re: "Double Deuce"

call your mechanic friend at the bus barn and ask him where they get thomas boby panels from, also check around for used body parts at the salvage yards in your area.
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:07 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Claremore, ok
Posts: 102
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3208 Turbo
Rated Cap: 84
Re: "Double Deuce"

those are one piece panels from the windows down to the very bottom. I was thinking about pulling the bad one and either me trying to work it or take it to a body shop for them to do it. But I still need at least one full panel to cover the emergency door.
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:44 PM   #6
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Re: "Double Deuce"

Looks like a good buy, 14 windows and the highest factory roof... Mine is only 12 windows and has the low roof, so you're already ahead of the game. Great place to buy RV windows is from Tri-State Surplus on EBAY... good seller and fast shipping...
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*Cliff*

You just might be a Redneck if...
...your motor home used to be a school bus!
...Your living room has a steering wheel!
...Your home has brake lights

1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee
1989 Thomas Diesel Pusher (Cat 3208/Freightliner)
Chesapeake, Virginia
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:23 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Claremore, ok
Posts: 102
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3208 Turbo
Rated Cap: 84
Re: "Double Deuce"

I've got a question. We took out the under seat heaters inside the bus. We will be using a propane fired furnace for heat in the winter while driving so I can't see why to incorporate them into the design plus I would have to build around those long coolant lines. However, that is also how the bus gets it's heat for the defroster, right? I think I may try and run the lines under the bus and use 1" copper tubing along the floor beams instead of the hose to get me from front to back. Does this seem like a good idea? I would isolate the copper for vibration and just use the hose on each end.

Also, I have two switches on the dash on the right side. One does nothing and the other, when it is turned on, you hear a little breif hiss of air around the electrical access panel and then the idle increases on the engine. I assume this is just a high idle switch but for what reason and what is the hiss of air from?
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:58 AM   #8
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Re: "Double Deuce"

Quote:
Originally Posted by tfdfyrman
Also, I have two switches on the dash on the right side. One does nothing and the other, when it is turned on, you hear a little breif hiss of air around the electrical access panel and then the idle increases on the engine. I assume this is just a high idle switch but for what reason and what is the hiss of air from?
I have a high idle switch and another switch that does nothing as well. I believe the high idle switch is an air switch with electric light indicator, and that the idle is adjusted with an air control. At least, that is how it works on my bus. The fast idle is a separate unit from the air throttle, but both are directly tied to the throttle lever on the engine.

My shed bus aka "the stowaway" is also bus number 22.

jim
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:24 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Claremore, ok
Posts: 102
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3208 Turbo
Rated Cap: 84
Re: "Double Deuce"

Got some tape down for the floorplan Tuesday and bought some Brand new 2008 Honda Oddesy Bucket seats for the driver and passenger seats. Only $130 for the pair! Score! I know some of you swear by pulling out the old floor and putting a new one down. I looked it over thoroughly for any signs of rust or moisture on top and bottom and found nothing so we decided to save some headache and keep the plywood and seal it with some good exterior paint. I think we will have a combination of carpet and wood floors.

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Old 06-23-2009, 06:56 AM   #10
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Claremore, ok
Posts: 102
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3208 Turbo
Rated Cap: 84
Re: "Double Deuce"

So progress continues. I have ordered all of the sheetmetal for to cover the windows It is going to be 18ga. in 60x120" sheets. I will have them sheered to a 30x120" This should cover four windows at a time. Starting at the back and over laping three inches or so just like the factory skins. I also located a new skin for the side. The come in "two window" and "three window" lenghts. Right now the damaged piece is a two window piece with a bull nose end. I will be getting the three winow piece without the bull nose and it will cover all of the damaged area and cover the emergency door opening to look like there was never one there.
I picked up some building matereials Sunday for Fathers day. I will be furring my ceiling down a 1/2" and insulating with foam board. I'm using 1/4" plywood for the ceilng and walls on 16" centers. The walls will be furred out 1 1/2" for insulation as well. I do have a question though. Why do so many of you use such heavy materials when building your buses? I have seen full 2x4" framing, 3/4" plywood walls, etc. This seems like way overkill and just adds weight and takes up extra room. Am I missing the point? I just want to do this right the first time. I will be pulling a 5k lb trailer with my bus so I want to keep the weight down inside as much as possible.

I aslo picked up some waste tanks and a toilet Sunday for $90. The tanks were mounted perpendicular to the side of the bus therfore the dump valves are on the ends. I want to mount the tanks paralell with the side of the bus so I will have to put an elbow in the poop tank drain. Will this give me drainage problems? I guess I can mount them across if I have to though.

One more question. Wiring. I have seen pics of people using romex 12/2 soild wire in the walls. But I have also read that you should use stranded wire. I see the reason behind the stranded but have any of you that ran soild had a problem? I am trying to avoid having to run condiut through the walls and using stranded wire. 12/3 extention cord is out. Cords are very expensive. Plus me being an electricain, I have quite a bit of romex at home already.

Thanks, Chad

P.S. I still can't post pics in the gallery. I have tried contacting Steve about it twice with no reply. Anything else I can do?
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