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Old 12-05-2017, 02:28 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: NY,NY
Posts: 16
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: Cummins 8.3 Mechanical (6CT)
Rated Cap: 80
Smile Evergreen the Bus

I've posted a few times around here but wanted to finally introduce myself now that I'm a bus owner!

The bus is a 1992 40' Thomas RE, it has a Cummins 8.3 mechanical and an Allison MT643. Currently has 210,000 miles and 7,000 hours on the engine. The engine has never been rebuilt but has been well maintained. This bus started life with the Omaha school district and was bought by Arrow Stage Lines in 2011, it was used for school district contract work until this year. Rust isnít too bad, some minor surface rust, and lots of hoses that will need to be replaced, but no major frame or body rot.

Arrow had four identical buses for sale while we were thereÖI'm happy to refer anyone who is interested, the owner and his son were great to work with and fully inspected/prepped the bus for our 1500 mile trip back to NY.

We only broke down once on the way home! We started to lose oil pressure on I-80 somewhere in Pennsylvania and ended up getting towed to a truck yard close by. Upon investigation, the secondary oil fill plug had rattled itself loose somewhere on the drive and fallen out. One $300 tow and a free plug later we were back on the road.

The next items on the list are registration, demolition, and finalizing the floorplan.

Some pics of the bus are below, and I'll be posting more as time goes on. This weekend we will be moving it to permanent storage for the conversion and will start the demo.







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Old 12-05-2017, 02:54 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,573
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mydogisgreat View Post
I've posted a few times around here but wanted to finally introduce myself now that I'm a bus owner!

The bus is a 1992 40' Thomas RE,


Ahoy ! Looks like you caught a good one !

Looking forward to hearing about your build plans.
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Old 12-05-2017, 03:29 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Sorry about that plug but it sounds like you found a great engine/tranny combo. Keep the pix comin'.
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Old 12-05-2017, 03:40 PM   #4
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
Welcome and congrats on your purchase.
It's a good thing you guys were keeping an eye on the oil pressure.

It should make you angry that the plug fell out since it was serviced by the seller. Then on the other hand, one fatty to much and things don't necessarily get tightened like they should.

Dang that thing has a lot of windows. Let the deconstruction begin.
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Old 12-05-2017, 03:54 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,602
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
nice big bus!! and kudis that you watched your gauge and caught the issue before you burnt up the engine!!!

-Christopher
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:36 PM   #6
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Billings, MT
Posts: 1,260
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
Don't like pix #3. But the rest are really nice. Once you strip out the seats, you'd be amazed at the room you have inside.
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Old 12-05-2017, 05:29 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
I tried to buy one of those. The guy was in contact via text, asked me to call then never answered his phone or called back.

He put one of them on eBay, then a few days later took down the Craigslist ad.

They looked like good buses.
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Old 12-11-2017, 11:12 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: NY,NY
Posts: 16
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: Cummins 8.3 Mechanical (6CT)
Rated Cap: 80
Thanks for the kind words on the bus everyone! We had some good progress this weekend (photos to come).

I couldn't get the bus to start on Saturday so spent all morning trying to figure out what was wrong. Turns out the fuel shutoff solenoid wasn't engaging, the current fix is to hold it open place until it catches, I'll be replacing it before we hit the road again though.

We got the seats out this weekend! All of the bolts we could reach from underneath came out easy with some WD40, the ones we couldn't reach \ I ground out with an angle grinder. It also came with overhead storage, which we managed to get out this weekend.

On the agenda for next weekend is 1) getting the sheeting off the roof and walls, and 2) assessing the rust situation and deciding how to address it.

Does anyone have experience with using rust converter in cold weather? It looks like it'll hit 40 degrees next week, but most of the time will be around freezing temps, I'm wondering if Ospho will be effective?
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Old 12-11-2017, 11:18 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: NY,NY
Posts: 16
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: Cummins 8.3 Mechanical (6CT)
Rated Cap: 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
I tried to buy one of those. The guy was in contact via text, asked me to call then never answered his phone or called back.

He put one of them on eBay, then a few days later took down the Craigslist ad.

They looked like good buses.
It doesn't surprise me that you had a hard time getting ahold of the initial contact. The phone number listed was the owner's son. Once I got the owner's contact information he was significantly more helpful.

Looks like you managed to snag a different bus anyways, so seems it turned out well!
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:10 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: NY,NY
Posts: 16
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: Cummins 8.3 Mechanical (6CT)
Rated Cap: 80
It's been a while since I've posted. Here are some pictures of the progress. We have the bus completely stripped and are now on to sealing it up before we insulate.

I have a question for folks who have done this before! We are planning to keep all of the bus windows, we will frame and insulate over some, but most will still be functional windows. With that said, I have an issue with the gasket that holds the window glass into the metal window frame assembly. They're old and cracked/failing.

Has anyone replaced these gaskets before? Any thoughts on where I could find replacements?

Thanks!

Roof and walls out:

Floor removed and ready for sealing:
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:33 PM   #11
Almost There
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 99
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: Cummins ISC 8.3 Allison MD3060
Hey welcome to the forums!

Your bus is similar to mine.. I am jealous that yours is home.. Mine won't be home until next weekend.

I bought a 1995 Thomas RE with a cummins 8.3 and a Allision 3060.

Keep up the progress and I look forward to the updates!

James
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Old 05-16-2018, 05:30 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: NY,NY
Posts: 16
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: Cummins 8.3 Mechanical (6CT)
Rated Cap: 80
No pictures this time. Wife (and resident photographer) broke the camera last week while working on the bus...not the first piece of tech the bus has claimed, I also managed to bust my phone a few weeks ago...

Current status is as follows:

- Interior completely stripped, rust converted, holes patched
- Interior framing nearly done, everything from the drivers seat back has been framed in
- Rough in electrical is done!
- Rough in Plumbing is done!
- 30lb Propane tank mounted!

Next step big project is spray foam insulation, but I have a few things to wrap up before then:

-Rough in propane (happening this weekend)
-Pressure test water and propane lines (this weekend)
-Frame in the drivers area...?

I'm looking for advice on a couple of fronts.

Framing

We had originally planned on leaving the front of the bus open, as is most common from what I've seen. This seems to have two major drawbacks. Firstly, you lose a ton of heat/cool through the giant windows in the front. Second, we would likely need to replace the current air door on the bus with an RV door to minimize air intrusion.

Because I really don't want to replace the air door (I'm not a good metal worker) I've been thinking about completely partitioning off the front of the bus. We would lose a lot of natural light, and some precious square footage, but it would solve my door issue by essentially creating a 'mud room'. This would also greatly reduce the cooling/heating load because we would have a very well insulated cabin area. Also...no co-pilot..not sure if that's good or bad.

Thoughts on this subject are welcome!

Electrical

With rough in electrical done the only thing left to do before we spray foam is put in conduit for the solar system. Our end goal with solar is still to be completely self-sufficient. I, unfortunately, don't have the 20K for the 4KW/2000AH system right now...so getting it ready so we can add over time is the current plan.

Also still looking for a generator, ideally a 3KW diesel so we can tap into the main tank...if anyone has some good leads (less than the cost of a kidney) I'm interested .
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:27 PM   #13
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 3
I don't have a bus yet I am looking. You would be better off with a rv. door. As far as sheet metal work it's not that hard if you can do wood working you can do sheet metal. Just some different tools if there is anyway you can it would be better if you closed all of the windows with sheet metal I know the dreaded word then put in good rv windows. Start looking around for a water damaged rv it is amazing how cheep some of these are you will need a lot of stuff that you can get out of the rv.
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