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Old 07-07-2004, 07:31 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8
Just got our bus!!!

Hello everyone looking forward to spending some time on this forum.
Well heres our story:
Two of my roomates and I all went in on a bus. Its going to mainly used for going to our football games and used for home base while tailgating. Last year we acuired 30 some student tickets to a bowl game and sold them and made a pretty good profit.

The Bus:
Its a '88 IHC Thomas "shorty"
7.? I wanna say 7.3 or 7.4 diesel I forget at the moment
Alyson tranny
180k miles
Got it from the school bus surplus in NC Buncombe county great people
there was a nice surprise when got there to look at it had dual AC, all the history records. Full tank of fuel and new tires. So we got it.

Our plans:
Color scheme, it will look like a giant helmet so mainly orange and blue and some Gator logos on thes sides.
Take all but 1 or two rows of seat out and build some couches and tables in the back.
It will have a 4-5kw generator for tailgating along with a kegerator huge stereo and some tvs

The trip from NC to Florida went great. Out only problem is its only does 55 due to the "moutain" gearing. It was gouverned at 45 but the mechanic took it off for us b4 we left.

Florida for the most part is flat. so we will be looking to do something about the speed. not really for going fast just so when on the high way we dont get run over. most people do 80 85 here on I-75 it be nice to do about 65.

For the most part we have everything we need. We just need a generator some sweat and muscle.

SO Know I have a few quetions.
Is there anything I should keep an eye out on the engine and tranny? From what I have read what we have seems to be a pretty good setup.
What would the pice of a rear end go for any one have any ideas?

well I will keep you all posted on how our work goes thanks and take care.

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Old 07-07-2004, 07:37 AM   #2
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here a link to some photos if you wanna have a look
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Old 07-07-2004, 10:18 AM   #3
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I've seen a couple short buses posted lately and I have never been in one personally. Is the thing in the rear above the door just a heater?

That's a nice in the picture Jag by the way
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Old 07-07-2004, 11:05 AM   #4
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The thing in the back is the rear ac unit. Think woirks great it will freeze u out in the summer heat. Funny thing was we were fight over driving the bus back rather than the jag. By the time we hit Ga we were all arguing over who gets to drive the jag
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Old 07-07-2004, 01:09 PM   #5
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I was messing around with photo shop a bit. Its a start
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Old 07-08-2004, 11:10 PM   #6
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Location: near flint michigan
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Congrats on the bus !
I see you've encountered the same problem almost all of us have: SPEED.
the speed of your bus is equal to that of almost all diesel skoolies. My best advice: Get used to driving 55.

It's probably gonna cost in excess of $1,000 to change the ring gear thus increasing top end speed. The problem you might have after changing the gearing is not enough engine. I assume you have a 7.3 V8 non turbo diesel? This is the same engine used in ambulances and Ford F-series trucks during the early 90's. We have this engine in our "ambulance" on the fire department. it has a Ford truck front end with a big ambulance box on the back. This truck will barely do 65 downhill. IF it were a skoolie, it would weigh nearly twice as much making anything over 55 or 60 impossible. I believe our ambulance has a 4.10:1 rear end and an automatic trans with OD.

If the engine in your bus is a turbo, it may have enough power to do what you want. The newer ambulances will run circles around the non-turbo models.

Good luck!
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Old 07-12-2004, 09:13 AM   #7
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Grundy, Virginia
Posts: 632
Year: 1985
Coachwork: ThomasBuilt
Chassis: International Harvester S-1700
Engine: 9L IHC V-8 Diesel 180HP
Rated Cap: 60

Congratulations on your purchase! I live in SC, but my brothers and son live in FL. I'll tell them to keep their eyes peeled for the bus as you progress along the transformation journey.

I have been looking at the busses on the NC list for a while. I may be ready to buy a bus within the next 6 months (as soon as I can sell my house.) Buncombe county is right near where I live. Can you tell me about what process you had to go through to buy a bus from the NC system?

How do they want payment?

Do they give you a temp tag?

How good does their service history look?

Did they come right out and give you all the records or did you have to ask for them?

Did they tell you about any problems that the bus might have, or about any repairs that it needed?

Did you look at some of the other busses there in Buncombe county? How did they look compared to the one you bought?

How did you end up going to the NC system all the way down in FL, by way of the internet?
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Old 07-13-2004, 07:16 AM   #8
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Location: Florida
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its an Internation dt436 non turbo it has a 6.5:1 rear we read somewhere that a guy with a full size IHC with a dt466 went from a 6.5:1 to a 4.11 and was able to acheive 70-75. This was a fully built camper inside. We figured we had a smaller motor but a maller bus and alot less stuff. It has an eaton rear end so I guess gear sets are pretty easy to come by. But if we have to live with 55 just mean we will be more hammered by the time we get were ever were going! (designated driver of corse)


Payment was cashiers check only, all prices are set so cant really try to get it down at all. The local DMV will give u a temp tag. Yes they just gave us the records. I do alot of restoration on old english cars and if I had records like this for concourse cars I would win on paper work alone. they check everything from the rivits in the body work to the thrust on the crank. They seem pretty up front about the problems. they told us wich ones leaked and stuff like that. They arnt making anything on them the money go straight back to the school system so they arnt trying to screw u like a used car lot. They had a lot of buses some nicer some worse just based on what ya want.

Reason for going all the way up there. We wanted to leave with a bus there were lots of other counties close by so we figured we could find what we wanted if we didnt like that one. Plus it wasnt auction based we knew how much we were going to spend and there wouldnt be any other fees.
I would recomend Buncombe for sure
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Old 07-13-2004, 04:57 PM   #9
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They take money orders as well. We had to get 3 postal money orders to add up to the full sale amount. And we did just find them on the internet, and decide to drive up there. After looking around locally to no avail, and not wanting to go the eBay route, it seemed like the best bet. As far as the temp tag issue, you can get it from the DMV but the school bus depot doesn't actually have the titles (which are required to get the temp tag) they are stored off site. If its not a busy day, and you have a few hours they can get it for you. We didn't, so we took our chances and they mailed us the titled. We received it about 3 business days after we bought it.
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Old 07-15-2004, 07:59 PM   #10
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Tiger Bait!!!! Tiger Bait!!!!

Nice rig, I'm and LSU Alumni...just givin' you a little SEC trash!!! Good luck with the conversion...
One place to hang out is "The Sandbox"....
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