Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 06-13-2009, 02:19 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Claremore, ok
Posts: 102
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3208 Turbo
Rated Cap: 84
"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.


tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2009, 02:26 PM   #2
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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
tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2009, 02:31 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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?

tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2009, 08:40 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: downriver, detroit mi
Posts: 794
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.
paul iossi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2009, 09:07 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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.
tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2009, 12:44 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
GoneCamping's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 704
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...
__________________
*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
GoneCamping is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2009, 06:23 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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?
tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2009, 09:58 AM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 362
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
baadpuppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2009, 10:24 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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.

tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2009, 06:56 AM   #10
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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?
tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2009, 10:38 AM   #11
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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"

Well I am not versed in motorhome wiring but I will be wiring the bus based on code for a house. You can get up to 6 recept on a circuit. so really you can probably wire the whole bus on 2 or 3 circuits. All of my lighting will be 12v DC. Most likely LED to keep the current draw down plus it is already wired for it in the ceiling.

As far as the breaker panel I would recommend you buy arc fault breakers for each recept circuit. They are more expensive than a regular breaker but it is cheaper than buying a bunch of GFIC recepts. Grounding is very important on a vehicle because you don't have a good earth ground since you are isolated on tires. If you are on Shore power you will have a ground supplied from the power supply. But if you are on Gennie power, you rely on the GFIC's to protect you. Unless you drive a ground rod when you are parked (who's going to do that, right).

Wiring a breaker panel is very simple. Keep it clean that way you don't get confused. Wire one circuit at a time, landing the ground to the ground bar and then the neutral (white) to the neutral bar (there should be a bonding bar that connects the neutral bar to the ground bar.) If you are using the arc fault breakers, the breaker will have a white pig tail that lands on the neutral bar the the white wire from the romex will land on the breaker. Then connect the black wire to the breaker. I know this sounds confusing but it will make sence once you look at it.

LOL. Yes there is a HUGE difference between a electricain and a electrical engineer much less, a mechanical engineer.
Good luck. I'll be here if you need me
tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2009, 11:59 AM   #12
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 280
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: 65
Re: "Double Deuce"

Im dont know much about electrical but I believe that many posts say to keep the neutral and ground seperate in the panel on a bus/rv etc. The bonding will happen on the pole or in the genny. I used Romex throughout, ran it in conduit along any metal surface (ran along the bottom of the chair rail) and came out of the conduit in the wood walls, I dont know how in the world this stuff would break from vibration, it is a pain to work with. From reading everything that I could find, it seems that the solid vs stranded arguement has equal support on both sides although I do see the merit in using stranded, my wallet did not. This is a little off subject but maybe it will give you some future electrical ideas. I posted some (silly to an electrician) questions here about misc wiring ideas: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=4264 and used their suggestions.
I'm wiring the shore inlet (twist Marinco 30 amp) using an old camper power cable to a 30 amp TT outlet next to the fuse panel and the inverter will be wired into a 15 amp outlet using a short extension cord with the female end cut off. Out of the breaker panel I will use the male end of the TT cable that was cut off and wire that to the 30 amp main. When I want shore I plug into the 30 amp outlet, when I want inverter Ill plug into the 15amp with an adapter. There will be no permanently mounted generator so the marinco will either be plugged into a pole or a generator which simplifies my setup a little. All lighting is DC wired with 12g cross linked automotive wire rated for a higher heat range from Delcity, got some flourescent lights from randpcarriages on ebay for main lighting and will add a few more. All DC is connected with either heat shrink butt connectors or DC crimp nuts with heat shrink on them.
kamoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2009, 02:20 PM   #13
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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"

Quote:
Originally Posted by vanguy67
Quote:
Originally Posted by tfdfyrman
Well I am not versed in motorhome wiring but I will be wiring the bus based on code for a house.
You'll need to follow code for a "manufactured" home, not a "stick built" house.
DO NOT bond the neutral bar to the ground bar! This can end up making the skin of your bus "hot" and could give you a shock. Codes only allow ONE neutral-to-ground bonding point. In an RV campground, this point is at the pedestal you plug in to for power.
If you're not 100% sure how to do this, either don't do it yourself or buy a book ( or 2 or 10) on wiring motorhomes or mobile homes. We're not playing with flashlight batteries here....your life and/or the lives of people you love could depend on it.......
I agree with you on the manufactured home code. And you are correct as far as bonding. NEC states that you shall bond the system at the first means of disconnect. At a camp ground that is already estabilished, however, Gennies don't make their own ground, only a neutral. That is why gennies have a ground lug on the frame for you to ground it to the earth.(which no one ever does.) Therfore your panel would be the first means of disconnect. So for the record, I won't bond the two.
I don't think you were trying to insult me but I have been commercial/industrial electrician for 15 years, I realize I am not working with flashlight batteries
tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2009, 04:16 PM   #14
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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"

It has a ground, per say....But it is not a "True" ground unless it makes contact with the earth. that is why is it called a "ground" The ground it uses when not bonded is merely a neutral.
tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2009, 08:09 PM   #15
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 280
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: 65
Re: "Double Deuce"

Sorry if this has already been addressed but if you were to permanantly mount a portable genny, would you wire the ground lug to the body? Would the frame of the genny sitting on the ground (provided there is no rubber wheels or isolation) be suffucient in a portable situation?
kamoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2009, 07:00 AM   #16
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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"

Bolting the frame of the gennie will ground it to the frame. Sitting the gennie on the ground, in theroy, will not provide sufficent grounding.
tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 09:33 PM   #17
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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 framing done this past weekend. I also have my outer steel skins in hand. I have to go have them sheered tomorrow so I can get them on. What is the best way to drill out these darn screws that won't come loose and rivets? I have burned up at least six bits. I have also been using a air chizel on parts that I am not concerned about damage.

Also does anyone have experience with buck rivets? Is this the best way to go? I have a mixture of screws and rivets on the outside of the bus. Most being screws. I think I may attach my sheet metal with new screws but will need to match the rivets in some places.

I will be making a trip to Colaws this week for some parts and maybe ordering windows from Tri State if I can't find them at the salvage.


My wife was incharge of pics and for some reason I was in everyone she took. lol. Sorry your just gonna have to look past my ugly mug.

tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 09:46 PM   #18
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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"

We decided the bus itself wasn't a challenge enough so we sold the rooftop air we had bought for $25 more than we paid for it and we are going to buy a couple of window shakers and do a basement style a/c system. I haven't decided if I want to split the evaporator and condensor or keep the whole unit together and duct the return and supply into the bus. Any thoughts on this?

I plan on building a large basement in this thing, most of the belly in fact. So things should be protected.

Oh We got a bunch more parts this weekend too. Bought the shower pan from a mobile home store. It is 32"x32" as well as a kitchen sink and bathroom sink. We also bought some insulation studs and some #1 pine to build the batroom cabinet. This is my first time building cabinets so I figure I would start with the smallest in the bus.
tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 10:46 PM   #19
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 280
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: 65
Re: "Double Deuce"

I think the Thomas factory puts super glue on the screws and strips the heads when they build them to ensure you dont take their bus apart. We used a square bit on most of the screws (interior and exterior), went real slow and if they were going to strip I tapped them with a hammer to try and break them loose. The ones (many of them) that would not break free we cut straight down into the bolt heads with an air cut off wheel and then used an air chisel to pop the heads off. You can try to cut a slit in the head and use a flathead screwdriver if you dont want to dick up the metal around them. All of the rivets we did like this and it was really fast, with a slit cut into the head they pop right out. Wear safety glasses, the heads will hit you in the face with quite a but of speed.
kamoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 10:07 PM   #20
Skoolie
 
tfdfyrman's Avatar
 
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"

Woohoo. Got all my window steel cut today. It is ready to go on as soon as I get all those darn screws out. What type of adhesive/sealant should I use behind the sheeting in addition to screws? I think I will go back with some matching stainless steel screws to hold the sheeting on rather than rivets. I will save the rivet work for other areas. I also bought new led 6" oval tails, turns, and reverse lights today. It will be nice to get rid of all those school related lights.

Here is the two different configurations we are looking at. What say yee skoolie BB?

tfdfyrman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
1986 Intl/Thomas Conventional, DT466 5speed, "Big Blue Bus" thrash Skoolie Conversion Projects 8 08-25-2013 12:57 PM
"Short" bus or "Regular" bus? TygerCub Conversion General Discussions 11 03-03-2012 01:37 PM
up for auction!! 1972 GMC "New Look" "Fishbowl" Coachbus35ft Stuff Classifieds | Buy, Sell, Swap 0 01-18-2011 11:39 AM
"Tutorial" and "How To" internal error dunnwright Conversion General Discussions 6 11-16-2010 08:02 AM
Spring Brake Service and "How it works" Info (General) lapeer20m Conversion Tutorials and How-to's 1 09-27-2007 05:31 PM

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:32 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×