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Old 10-26-2015, 09:58 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 58
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 77
Tiny House Bus - 1996 Thomas International

Hello everyone! My name is Nick and my wife is Julie. We started our skoolie journey in July when I received our security deposit from our last apartment (after moving states) to see $75 docked for "cleaning". After a few very frustrating days of trying to get it back (it was illegally taken) we turned our energy towards the future. Today I try and consider that $75 as a down deposit on our future skoolie life.
After many hours of research and contemplation we found/bought our bus on August 26th for $2,400. It's a 1996 Thomas International DT466 7.6L 6cyl 77 passenger conventional 5-speed, purchased from eastern Minnesota from a small town bus contractor. It is a rusty bus, but none of it is structural and we consider it to be in pretty good shape.
Our bus sits at a local storage unit facility with open air RV storage. We do not have electricity or water at the site so all of our power tools are cordless. To date, we titled and registered the bus, removed the seats (gave away free on craigslist), removed ceiling panels and insulation (free on craigslist), removed side panels and insulation (kept metal, trashed insulation), removed heaters (recycled), and painted the roof white and sides green (keeping the black rub rails and accents).
Last week we ordered sheet metal and hat channel for our roof raise occurring this week.

Stay tuned for the rest of our build. Our blog is on Wordpress and we frequently post on Instagram/Facebook. Videos will be on youtube sporadically (we have limited internet). We welcome suggestions and hope to hear from you! Cheers! Nick

Wordpress: tinyhousebus.wordpress.com
Instagram: instagram.com/tinyhousebus
Facebook: facebook.com/tinyhousebus
Youtube: youtube.com/nickfish03
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Old 10-26-2015, 10:00 PM   #2
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Welcome!...
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Old 10-26-2015, 10:58 PM   #3
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
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Welcome to the Madness! --- Sounds like a great platform to build on. Five speed standards are pretty rare ducks around here but should give you reasonable top end if the rear gearing is right.

And please...do post some pix.
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Old 10-26-2015, 11:16 PM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Wisconsin
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Welcome to the Madness! --- Sounds like a great platform to build on. Five speed standards are pretty rare ducks around here but should give you reasonable top end if the rear gearing is right.

And please...do post some pix.
Thanks and will do. Not sure about the gearing but the rpm governor is set at 2800. One of these days I'm gonna open up the adjustor port and click it up a couple times. Driving it home I was getting 60 mph max. 60 is ok with me, but I'm afraid it will diminish with interior and rear load (flat tow vehicle). Don't need the extra speed but doesn't hurt to have the capability as long as adjusting the governor doesn't run the engine hot or spew out smoke, which I don't think it will.
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Old 10-27-2015, 01:40 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,161
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
It won't slow it down to load it up.
Mine does 62, I'll be leaving it as is for now.
I don't know how much more rpm I'd ask of a stock 466 in a school bus, though. Mine redlines at 2500 but the meat of it is under 2000.
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Old 10-27-2015, 09:26 AM   #6
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You might look up the engine specs to see where the "sweet spot" is on the tach. The 7.6 has a very low RPM peak torque as I recall (around 1300) and max HP is also down fairly low. Getting the most out of almost any diesel means keeping it close to those numbers as much as possible. If geared to run over the road within that range at reasonable highway speed, they will be happy, get peak MPG and last for a half-million plus miles.

BTW...you can check your rear axle ratio by jacking up the driver side of the axle...putting a mark on both the tire & the ground...then putting a mark on the driveshaft. Then, rotate the wheel one full revolution while counting the number of turns the driveshaft makes. The resulting numbers are your ratio. Example: If the shaft makes a little over four turns to the wheels one...it is probably a 4.11:1. If the shaft makes 6 turns...you are in the 6.0:1 range. By checking what axle ratios were available on your rig, then running a count you can determine exactly what's in your pumpkin.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:04 PM   #7
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Welcome! I just got here, too. It will be helpful to watch your conversion progress as I am just starting mine, too.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
You might look up the engine specs to see where the "sweet spot" is on the tach. The 7.6 has a very low RPM peak torque as I recall (around 1300) and max HP is also down fairly low. Getting the most out of almost any diesel means keeping it close to those numbers as much as possible. If geared to run over the road within that range at reasonable highway speed, they will be happy, get peak MPG and last for a half-million plus miles.

BTW...you can check your rear axle ratio by jacking up the driver side of the axle...putting a mark on both the tire & the ground...then putting a mark on the driveshaft. Then, rotate the wheel one full revolution while counting the number of turns the driveshaft makes. The resulting numbers are your ratio. Example: If the shaft makes a little over four turns to the wheels one...it is probably a 4.11:1. If the shaft makes 6 turns...you are in the 6.0:1 range. By checking what axle ratios were available on your rig, then running a count you can determine exactly what's in your pumpkin.
There is no way you will get it that low. On my trip back from Texas with the DT408 and the AT545, I was at 2500rpm at 55mph. I chose to drive between 45 and 50 keeping the rpm in the 2000 to 2200 range.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:44 PM   #9
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,161
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
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Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
On my return trip from KY to FL I did the same- 2000-2200. That's where my 466 likes to cruise.
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Old 10-27-2015, 05:08 PM   #10
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Year: 1946
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Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
2200 is max for a mechanical 466 if I remember correctly. I can't imagine anything but maybe a marine engine pulling at 1300, but then again, the "sweet spot" won't be at the upper limit either. I would be interested to find out just where it is on that engine.
B series Cummins are between 17-1800 but they are totally different critters.
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