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Old 05-05-2016, 08:26 PM   #1
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My Not Quite Short, Short(er) Bus Conversion!

I've been looking to do a bus conversion for the longest time but never got around to actually pulling the trigger. That has all changed! I knew I wanted a short(er) bus, preferably with a high ceiling and I preferred the look of a dog nose.

I started my search and came across the typical 4-5 window buses but those were too short for my liking and the ceilings were really low. I'm not a tall person (5'9"), but I really wanted the extra headroom for insulation and just an overall roomier look.

I saw a few 6 window buses pop up on my local craigslist and I started making some calls. One of the salvage yards I called said they had just sold the 6 window bus but they had another for sale, it was a 7 window! I had not come across too many 7 windows so I went out to take a look at it. It had everything I wanted, including the holy grail of roofs! It sloped up after the driver seat, it measures 6'8" in the center!

2002 Thomas Freightliner
201,000 mi
28' long (20' behind driver's seat)
6'8" ceilings
7'9" wide interior

Cummins 5.9 ISB Turbo
Allison 2000 transmission.

I was a little bummed about the engine but I'm quite mechanically inclined and figured I can always swap it for something with more power later on. I love how easy it is to work on these engines and the dog nose makes everything incredibly accessible.

Here's some pictures of her:










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Old 05-05-2016, 08:32 PM   #2
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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Congratulations. Sounds like a nice bus.

Your photos didn't stick. You need to upload them to photobucket then transfer them here.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:24 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 7,914
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
nice lookin rig!!! looks to be in pretty good shape!! allison 2000 with Overdrive will be nice!
-Christopher
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:27 PM   #4
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Day 1 - Seat Removal Begins

I started to peel back some of the rubber around a problem area I identified prior to purchase. I wanted to get an idea of how far it extends.



Water definitely got in here over the years and just ate it up. The sheet metal is pretty much gone in this area and I will definitely be breaking out the MIG as I envisioned.



I found some additional rust over behind the driver seat, I'm guessing it spread from the same area. Good thing I'm ripping up everything and laying fresh metal!

Time to break out the air compressor and kill these seats!



I got the first seat out, however it was not the way I envisioned it going. I assumed the nuts the seats were bolted into were spot welded to the floor so I could be able to just use my impact driver and make quick work of the removal. That is not the case, the nuts are just tightened on the backside of the floor requiring two people which I didn't have at the time. So out came the angle grinder and a cutoff wheel.



Second seat out, the cut off wheel cuts through the steel like butter it really wears the wheel down quickly.



Nine seats down, seven to go!



Found some more rust by the wheel wells on both sides. This metal will be coming up as well. From what I've seen on other threads these are pretty common areas for rust.





To be continued...
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:44 PM   #5
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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Nice work. There's a lot of time that goes into these things.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:13 PM   #6
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,158
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Yep...wheel wells and entry steps are routine bad spots. Glad to hear you have a mig...it will no doubt come in handy.
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:32 AM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,107
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Nice to own a mig.
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:02 AM   #8
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 7,914
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Nice to own a mig.

I need to get me one of those.. and then learn how to use it.. so many things I could do if I could weld!
-Christopher
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:32 AM   #9
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,107
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I need to get me one of those.. and then learn how to use it.. so many things I could do if I could weld!
-Christopher
Despite what some may say, its actually pretty easy to learn.
I'm not even a great welder, but I've been welding on and off since I was 17. Never pretty, always holds. When I raise my roof, I'll have my neighbor Angel do the welding on my machine. He does welds for the DOT and is AMAZING.
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Old 05-07-2016, 11:32 AM   #10
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Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,158
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Hey Cadillac --- Roger the new migs being easy to learn. I call'em Monkey Welders...they are that simple. I taught a housewife how to do basic welding and in about 20 minutes she was knocking it down.

Millers are great but you can buy an almost identical machine for a lot less from Hobart which is made by Miller. Just get one that is gas shielded. The ones that use the coated wire are a RPITA. Smokey and splatter all over the place.

I have two Millers, both gas shielded. One is straight 110v and the other is a "Dual Voltage" that can operate off of 110 or 220. Love'em both.
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