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Old 01-17-2015, 08:43 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: ...little north of Toronto Ontario
Posts: 442
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomsass
Chassis: Freightshaker
Engine: 5.9 cummins 5 speed
Rated Cap: 6 passenger 2 ATV's
"mule bus"

Hello All

I haven't got the bus yet, June of this year I'm told.....will see.
Did some work for a bus company for a credit towards the bus in Oct/Nov of 2011. Was to get the bus Aug 2012, standard retirement date for this company for the past nine years I've been dealing with them. The Government here in Ontario changed that Jan 2012 giving the bus companies 2 more years of life to there buses [from 12 to 14 years].....bummer, got to wait 2 1/2 more years. So Aug 2014 came and went, checked in with the company in Sept and they weren't sure when there new buses were coming. Got a phone call in Nov looking for some goods and to tell me that a bus company in the States somewhere ordered 50 buses and they wouldn't be getting there 4 Blue Birds 'til June. First week of Dec, dropping off goods and noticed my bus [#27] in the shop with the hood open. Turns out it needed an annual to run it for the next 6 months, they replaced starter, alternator, front shocks, break drums and shoes and recently done the injectors, also had some minor body work done...mechanic said I could have the repair file for the bus history if I wanted it.
.... Anyway, to make a short story long this is what I'm getting.

2000 Freightliner/Thomas
5.9 Cummins with 6 speed stick
Air ride, Air breaks
72 Passenger
Approx 350000 kms

I know there's a lot of talent on here, I've been trying to keep up for the past 2 1/2 years.
1 Pros/Cons on this old girl? ....what to look for as far as common problems go, cross members rotting, air/fuel lines etc.....lots of salt in this Province.
2 How much paint will I need to spray this project? [keeping all windows]
3 This will not be a home, more of an RV to drag a few ATV's up north for the week end kinda thing....take the wife to drag races...summer months.
4 Was thinking of removing wood/rubber flooring and just replacing with rubber flooring from Home Depot I've seen others use...how noisy will it be?

Thanks
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Old 01-17-2015, 06:21 PM   #2
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Unless the flooring is in bad shape, why go to all of the work of removing the flooring? It not only insulates for heat and noise but it adds strength to the floor.

The bus you have described sounds like a good candidate for converting depending upon what price you are going to have to pay for it.

In the used bus market having a stick shift is a bit of an albatross--few want to have to manually shift any more. I know I don't if I don't have to.

The Cummins 5.9/ISB is a good work horse and a mainstay in the medium duty line. It comes in HP ratings from 160 HP to 285 HP. In a bus the size of yours anything less than 210 HP is going to mean your bus will be rather pokey on any hill and you will be rowing that stick shift up every hill.

Only you can determine if the bus has experienced too much salt or not. For those of us out west our definition of too much salt is much different than for those of you that live in areas that use a lot of salt. My b-i-l lives in MI. To him, not a lot of rust is no rust through or anything falling off. For me, not a lot of rust can be cleaned up with a wire brush in an afternoon.
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:15 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: ...little north of Toronto Ontario
Posts: 442
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomsass
Chassis: Freightshaker
Engine: 5.9 cummins 5 speed
Rated Cap: 6 passenger 2 ATV's
With the bus still on the road I haven't had a really good look at it inside...was thinking the floor could be soggy between the wood and steel floor?

I've got a 1500 dollar credit towards it and owe 500 bucks for the rest.

Wasn't crazy about the stick, but the four that are being retired this year are all stick.

My youngest kid is a licensed diesel mechanic, guess he'll know how to tell what it has as far as horse power goes...might need a little boost.

Again, I'm going to have to get it and dig into it to see how rough it is rust wise.

Any Idea how many gallons/litres of paint I'll need to spray paint this baby?

Also have access to a trucking company and some of there scrap trucks....scooped some mirrors off a Mack, air horns off a Sterling and I'm looking at a seat from a Western Star. Traded some art work labour for 6 Alcoa aluminum rims, and more art work to have 4 of them polished.....so as of right now I have $0. into this project
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:00 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Denver
Posts: 489
Year: 1982
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International S1800
Engine: DT466 Trans: MT643
Rated Cap: 65
Here's my take:
I've spray painted about 6 buses different colors using rustoleum right over the original paint, using a cheapo Wagner sprayer. You can sand before painting over the old yellow for better adhesion, but I've had success with little prep. Masking takes forever. I used 5 gallons for 2 thick coats of a whole, 11 window bus.

I would tear up the old floor, espcically if it's from a rusty area. You need to know what's going on down there--I've done it on several buses and NEVER regretted it! Maybe I'm anal... This will give you a chance to treat any rust and lay down something like POR15 or whatever metal sealing paint you like.

The 5.9 is a good motor, change the fuel and air filters, oil, and check that your coolant is in good shape (I recommend flushing it if you're unsure--I've seen coolant issues ruin more buses than inadequate oil maintenance). I'd be careful about tuning it for more power at this point in it's life. If you want to go fast, drive downhill ;) Besides, the 6 speed will give you a lot more options to keep that lil' thumper right in it's sweet spot!
I sure wish I had 6 speeds, not 4!
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:18 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: ...little north of Toronto Ontario
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Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomsass
Chassis: Freightshaker
Engine: 5.9 cummins 5 speed
Rated Cap: 6 passenger 2 ATV's
Quote:
Originally Posted by charles_m View Post
Here's my take:
I've spray painted about 6 buses different colors using rustoleum right over the original paint, using a cheapo Wagner sprayer. You can sand before painting over the old yellow for better adhesion, but I've had success with little prep. Masking takes forever. I used 5 gallons for 2 thick coats of a whole, 11 window bus.

I would tear up the old floor, espcically if it's from a rusty area. You need to know what's going on down there--I've done it on several buses and NEVER regretted it! Maybe I'm anal... This will give you a chance to treat any rust and lay down something like POR15 or whatever metal sealing paint you like.


The 5.9 is a good motor, change the fuel and air filters, oil, and check that your coolant is in good shape (I recommend flushing it if you're unsure--I've seen coolant issues ruin more buses than inadequate oil maintenance). I'd be careful about tuning it for more power at this point in it's life. If you want to go fast, drive downhill ;) Besides, the 6 speed will give you a lot more options to keep that lil' thumper right in it's sweet spot!
I sure wish I had 6 speeds, not 4!

Thanks for the reply, Like I said I have access to a trucking company and the painter there said he'd paint it if I prep and supplied the paint. Looking at a single stage military matte green colour, ICI brand....through a friend from his work. Would like some extra for touch ups, but don't want to buy more than I need.

I'll get the kid to go over the whole thing, never seize the crap outta everything...bus will sit over the winters, don't want things to seize up.

To go faster...go down a hill, lol. Guess I'll have to road test and see what happens. Gunna drag a trailer for 3 ATV's, and a couple inside.
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:37 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: ...little north of Toronto Ontario
Posts: 442
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomsass
Chassis: Freightshaker
Engine: 5.9 cummins 5 speed
Rated Cap: 6 passenger 2 ATV's
On another note, anyone ever run a super single rear wheel on a single axle? They would look so cool for a mag wheel. Other than the tires are huge $$'s and a road side repair would cost you a kidney and your first born. What would the bus handle like if you ever blew one being a single axle and not having another wheel to hold the ass end up.
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:33 AM   #7
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Posts: 489
Year: 1982
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Chassis: International S1800
Engine: DT466 Trans: MT643
Rated Cap: 65
I bet the bus would handle like...ass!
I've never seen a bus with a super single setup. I do know that in most buses, mine included, I can have one of my rears flat, and still be under the weight rating of the remaining 3 tires and would have no problem driving to safety.
I've driven over 500 miles by accident with flat inner dual on a school bus and didnt even notice! Its embarrassing but true. I had no passengers at the time and was driving a new bus home from purchase.
Id be curious what a ss rear tire costs, what the economy gains would be, and if there is a good re-tread market on those.
I will say that most tires on my personal (not company, read: low annual mileage) buses are discarded due to damage and not treadwear. Usually the sun or road damage take em out but I can get good retreads of namebrand tires for $225 each, mounted.
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:22 AM   #8
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: ...little north of Toronto Ontario
Posts: 442
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomsass
Chassis: Freightshaker
Engine: 5.9 cummins 5 speed
Rated Cap: 6 passenger 2 ATV's
I've never seen either, that's why I asked
Drove tractor trailer for 17 years [off the road in 2000], had a tire blow and it blew out the tire beside it, but it was a tandem axle. Didn't really notice, other than the noise of it blowing and taking out the light assembly.....tire pieces, rust, dirt, light parts, mud flap flying every direction. Had flats before, but that was the only blow out.

Here the tire guy was sayin' there a $1000. each
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Old 01-18-2015, 08:02 AM   #9
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5.9 and manual...would so love it...super singles? mmm wierd in many ways on a bus, you sure? liability "just in cause" would warrant duals

good luck
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Old 01-18-2015, 08:14 AM   #10
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: ...little north of Toronto Ontario
Posts: 442
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomsass
Chassis: Freightshaker
Engine: 5.9 cummins 5 speed
Rated Cap: 6 passenger 2 ATV's
Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil View Post
5.9 and manual...would so love it...super singles? mmm wierd in many ways on a bus, you sure? liability "just in cause" would warrant duals

good luck
No, not sure at all....just puttin' it out there. From the rear the bus would look tubbed. Hey I'm all about getting from point A to point B and back again without laying the bus on its side.
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