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Old 08-19-2007, 09:18 PM   #11
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

My bus will start down to 0 degrees (never tried colder than that) willingly on a single Group 24 battery. That's the same size battery you would find in a Toyota SUV. I also would not recommend that. It's what I have and it works with the space I have, but it leaves me no insurance. If I need extra power I have to use the deep cycle "house" batteries and that is not good for them at all.

We're going to need more information like what size battery you have. I'm willing to bet it's an 8D (you'll know...it will be a monster) in which case I think a single battery will be more than sufficient for starting it. You get into a whole different mess when you're talking about running other electronics when parked.

If it is a single Group 31 (or smaller) I would recommend an additional battery. The most common configuration on medium duty trucks I see is this...

three Group 31 batteries

Advantage-more cold cranking amps (cranking power)
Disadvantage-less reserve capacity (cranking time)

A single or pair of 8D batteries

Advantage-A LOT of reserve capacity for long cranks
Disadvantage-less cold cranking amps


For me having more reserve capacity is better because my engine just plain needs to spin to start...sometimes for a long period of time. People with glowplugs or an intake grid heater will be better suited by higher cold cranking amps because they won't have to crank as long, but the electronics will require more instantaneous juice.
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:29 PM   #12
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

sure, 2 is always better then one.
Just make sure when you shut down your engine that the key is in the right position, on mine its very easy to go astep to far and then some circuits are powered (I'm not even sure which ones) and your batteries will drain. What also happend to us is that the kids would be playing in the bus and open a window which in turn would activate an alarm if the key is in the wrong position. (it is possible to pull the key in the wrong position and hence it took me a while that was what was happening)
Best is if you will not be using the bus for a few days to just turn the main switch in the engine compartment to "off" then your sure nothing will drain the battery.
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:54 AM   #13
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

It could also be your alternator. If the battery voltage is not up around 14 volts while the bus is running then I'd suspect the alternator (many auto parts stores will test for free). If that is bad then you could have drained the batteries on the way home. Your problem is one of three things, a drain on the battery, a bad alternator or a bad battery. Adding a second battery will not solve the problem, you could potentially damage a new battery. Hopefully it's not an expensive repair.

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Old 08-20-2007, 06:06 PM   #14
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

Group 31 with screw type posts....common medium duty truck stuff.

Like I said, most MDT's use three of those. Some of the smaller chassis rigs like ambulances use 2. I don't think it would hurt you to get another one, but here's the thing. If you're going to run two batteries you should get two new ones. Running a new battery with an old battery is no good. Neither will really charge correctly and your new battery will only be able to perform as well as the old battery for all intents and purposes. Check your battery box and see if an 8D will fit in there. It will cost the same as a new pair of 31S batteries and will give you more reserve capacity (at the expense of a few CCA's, but no biggie there). No fiddling with parallel wiring the batteries and an 8D is good enough for a semi (ok...a pair of them) so I think it will do you just fine.

Just my $.02
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Old 08-20-2007, 10:26 PM   #15
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

Most states are in the 13-14 foot height limit and 8-8.5 foot width limit including everything. It will be important to check in your locale (google should help) and then check the route to make sure that even if you are legal you will still fit.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:50 PM   #16
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

i think 13'6" is the standard maximum height. You'll be ok on pretty much every expressway in the US, but local roads can be a problem.
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:58 AM   #17
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

regroovable tires, check with the tire shops that deal with truck tires, or google tire grooving iron and jump in feet first, start/practice on a rear tire or better yet a junk tire. set the cutter depth plug it in and recut the grooves that were originally molded into the tire.
people involved in dirt track racing, tractor pulling or mud bogging will also have info that is useful.
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:48 AM   #18
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

double check the law about regrooved steer tires, I know that retreads are not legal for steer tires but regrooved tires do not involve adding rubber to the carcass, it's just removing excess rubber that was installed in the original manufacturing process. If you have virgin rubber on the rear moving 2 tires forward is a good option, the dual sets should be matched up by diameter to prevent 1 tire from carrying a disproportionate load (the taller tire carry's more weight) use a framing or drywall square to match the tires up 1/2 to 3/4 inch difference in dia is acceptable in a set of duals. put the taller tires on the right side of the bus to help compensate for the crown in the road.
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Old 08-22-2007, 11:20 AM   #19
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

if you change up again and take the dog pens with, put a couple pieces of plywood or osb on the roof to distribute the load and protect the roofstack the fence panels and tie them down with rachet straps (2"X23' @ SAMS club $14 ea) either hook them in the windows or go to the bottom of the bus, or slot the rubrails for the hooks. make sure to loop the strap around the kennel panel frames on 1 side to tie the panels together and help keep them in place
as for a ladder on the side, it would be suseptable to sideswipe damage think trees and brush as well as you are limited to 102 inches wide. I'm a big fan of a "little giant" style or basic extension ladder,it seems like everyone has or knows of an aluminum extension ladder that is no longer sake to use as designed that begs to be cut down and used for something special like a bus ldder or scrap metal before some one gets hurt.
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Old 08-23-2007, 02:00 PM   #20
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

For a school bus the minimum tread is 4/32" in the front and 2/32" on the rears. $300 per tire is a little high. As for transporting panels on the top, it's not a big deal. We had 2' high boxes on our bus coming from CA and it didn't seem to negatively affect mpg. Strap down to the gutters- it'll hold just fine. We used a step ladder (stored underneath) to get on the roof. My sons don't even use a ladder- they climb up the tires and windows to get on top. Oh, to be young and foolish again... Anyway, our load wasn't as heavy so it might be best to sell and buy new when you get to your destination....
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