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Old 08-19-2010, 06:19 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Central Iowa
Posts: 36
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford
Engine: 5.9 Cummings
Rated Cap: 65
Scratchy's 1996 Thomas

Howdy Friends and Neighbors.

I've been a member of the website for almost a year now, but never started my own project thread. I've enjoyed reading and sleuthing through all the different posts - definitely a wealth of knowledge was received. Thank you to all. I thought I would return the favor and give back so maybe someone else can benefit from my trials and tribulations I experienced through my conversion. I certainly appreciated reading those that were here before me.

I realize I'm kind of doing this backwards - the whole idea is to post as you go. I bought the bus in Aug '09 and I'm actually pretty close to being done with this project.... well I don't know if I could actually ever really say I'm done, done. There will always be things to improve upon, I guess.

This is my first bus conversion. My intensions are for summer use mainly. I built it for Ragbrai and college football tailgating. Maybe an occasional drive in movie night with some friends and family too.

Below are the details:
1996 Thomas - Ford Chassis
104,000 miles
5.9 Cummings
AT 545 Trans.
$1500 bucks
Bought from a dealer.

Here's a couple of pictures to get the thread rollin':

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File Type: jpg 0917091734.jpg (386.5 KB, 852 views)
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Old 08-20-2010, 01:18 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 1,489
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/AT545
Re: Scratchy's 1996 Thomas

Wow, you got a great deal on that bus - especially considering you got it from a dealer! Welcome aboard, and don't forget to post some pics of the conversion! What have you done inside? Have you painted the outside?
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:20 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Central Iowa
Posts: 36
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford
Engine: 5.9 Cummings
Rated Cap: 65
Re: Scratchy's 1996 Thomas

Yeah, I feel I must of done alright on the price based on what I've read of others having spent on their bus purchases. I feel pretty fortunate I guess.

Here's some pictures of floor. I was pretty happy with the condition of the floor overall. There were some spots that had some surface rust. Wire brush wheel on the grinder took care of most of it. I used a product called Ospho on the rusty spots prior to putting the Rustoleum down. I read about Ospho through the threads on here. I was pretty impressed with it and would recommend it to others.



One gallon of the rusty red primer
One gallon of the white paint.
1/2 inch insulation
3/4 inch plywood
Holes were all silconed




The great vabor barrier debate had me indifferent on the subject, so I decided against it. I don't really have any intentions of using it much if at all during the winter and if the bus last's me 10-12 years I'll be happy. I don't have any concerns of the floor rusting through before I'm done with it.

1/2 inch of insulation was mainly for noise. I secured the plywood down with TEK screws. The rear heater was removed and the lines were capped next to the driver's seat. There's a blower fan below the instrument panel next to the driver's seat that I utilized later - pictures yet to come.
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File Type: jpg 1127091714a.jpg (333.5 KB, 705 views)
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:27 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Central Iowa
Posts: 36
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford
Engine: 5.9 Cummings
Rated Cap: 65
Re: Scratchy's 1996 Thomas



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File Type: jpg 1127091714b.jpg (76.5 KB, 705 views)
File Type: jpg 1127091714c.jpg (22.1 KB, 705 views)
File Type: jpg 1127091714d.jpg (14.9 KB, 705 views)
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:47 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Central Iowa
Posts: 36
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford
Engine: 5.9 Cummings
Rated Cap: 65
Re: Scratchy's 1996 Thomas

It’s been a while since I posted any pictures. I finally found time tonight to do some uploads. I didn't really have a floor plan drawn out in paper - just in my head. Shot from the hip, I guess you could say. But all things considered, I don't think I would change anything.

I started from the back with shelving. I built the bus for mainly Ragbrai - hence the reason for all the storage space. Each rider packs their belongings in a 18 gal tote for the week. The top two tiers of the shelves are built as one unit. I did this so in the event I wanted to remove the top unit, the bottom 'base' would serve as another bed on each side.

I spend some time with a router and created uprights between each window to help secure the shelves. I put screws through the window sleeves and applied silicone all the way around them. Don't know if the upright 2x4s were actually needed though in retrospect, the shelves were solid enough fastened to the floor.

One thing, I wasn’t expecting though was the curvature of the walls. For lack of better words, I refer to it as the ‘covered wagon’ design. As I progressed upward with the shelves the walls started to come inward. It was obvious from looking at the bus shell from the outside, just something I didn’t take in consideration in the beginning, but it all worked out in the end. Side affect from shooting from the hip, I guess.





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Old 09-18-2010, 03:12 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Central Iowa
Posts: 36
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford
Engine: 5.9 Cummings
Rated Cap: 65
Re: Scratchy's 1996 Thomas

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