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Old 08-11-2007, 11:20 PM   #1
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

A pusher bus has an engine in the rear so precludes a rear door. A side rear door might work--guess I'll hafta go look at my bus and see where one would fit.
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Old 08-11-2007, 11:30 PM   #2
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher


Welcome aboard, Advocate!
What are you trying to accomplish? It sounds like you want to roll a vehicle into the bus. That's not realistic with the engine back there -- like a giant VW Microbus. For that sort of thing you would want a bus with the engine up front -- either a Conventional, which has the engine out front like a pickup truck, or a Forward Control, where the engine is inside the bus, under a cover next to the driver.
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Old 08-12-2007, 10:35 AM   #3
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher


Wheel chair doors are wider than normal doors, but I don't think five feet. Front doors tend to be very narrow. You'll need to do some cuttin'. How much steel fabricating experience do you have?
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Old 08-12-2007, 02:05 PM   #4
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher


Anything is possible. Look at my tailgate! (The Millicent Chronicles.) But to have someone do custom work can get expensive.

There may not be room for a wider front door, because the front fender is near there.

Sounds to me like you need to get exact location and size of any and all doors from the seller before you commit to buy this thing.
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Old 08-13-2007, 11:37 PM   #5
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

Hey, I just saw your post. I own a RE Thomas and have transported an airplane wing and an airplane fuselage inside the bus so I think I have a good idea on what you can get inside the bus...
You won't have any problems getting your furniture in the bus...if... you take some seats out. And, taking the seats out is the first fundamental interior thing to begin a bus conversion with.
Getting the seats out isn't an issue... if... you have a decent 4 1/2 inch angle grinder. Go to Harbor Freight or TSC and buy an angle grinder rated at 6 amps or higher. You don't need to pay somebody to take the seats or poles out- it's not a big deal- maybe takes 4 hours at the most. The seats have two bolts on the walls of the bus which unscrew easily. There are two legs on each seat on the interior, aisle side of the bus. Each leg has two bolts in them. On my bus one of the bolts was a lag screw that came out easily. The other was bolted thru with a nut on the bottom (outside) of the bus. Instead of unscrewing it it's easier to use an angle grinder and grind the head of the bolt off. If you've never used an angle grinder before it's kind of fun- sparks and smoke and stuff.
Depending on how much furniture is involved you may only need to take out the first few rows of seats. The front door is about the width of a normal door so no problems there. It's when you twist the furniture around that you realize the seats are in the way.
The airplane wing went through the front door and it was 16 feet long, 5 feet wide and only 6" deep, no problem! The fuselage was 12' x 2' x 3' and it also wasn't a problem.
You'll love a rear engined bus- it rides smoother, it's quieter and doesn't get as hot on the inside. The only reason to have a front engine bus is if you want to chop the back so you can haul cars and weird kinetic sculpture thingies that crazy people that have too much fun make...
Can you tell us more about the bus? What engine is in it, how many passengers, where's it located, how much did it cost, yadayadayada...?
Oh, it'll have a side door on the driver's side that's pretty narrow. The back window is a little over 4' wide and a little over 2' tall.
Let us know how it works out!
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Old 08-15-2007, 06:16 PM   #6
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

I'll get back to you on the battery business (I sell them) when I get off of work, but if you get this message before I get to posting I would look at the Poop Sheets.

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Old 08-16-2007, 09:53 AM   #7
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

If you are not starting the bus below freezing then one battery should be fine. I've been running one battery in my bus for a few years now (also a 8.2).

I don't think you want to put re-treads on the front for safety reasons. New tires will be expensive compared to car tires and you may need to go to a large tire shop or a place that works on larger trucks. I hope my tires last a long time...

You want a jack to lift the bus, like changing tires? I'd get a bottle jack. They are usually fairly inexpensive. I have a couple 12 or 16 ton jacks that were around $20 each.

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Old 08-16-2007, 06:23 PM   #8
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

check around for a matched pair of good used or takeoff steer tires, also look into regrooved tires, large tires are often manufactured with extra rubber on the carcase, the tread is not molded to the full depth and can be recut after the tread is worn off, they will be branded as regroovable (molded into the sidewall). another option would be a late model truck salvage yard and find tires that are already mounted and balanced. (used tires are not landfill friendly and cost a priemum to dispose of.
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:00 PM   #9
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

If your battery went flat that fast either you have something hanging up or more than likely the batteries are toast. My guess would be sulfation from sitting around waiting to be sold. Check the voltage and then put the 10 amp charger on there. If the voltage is at 11.8 you can count on it taking 6-7 hours to charge up a single Group 31. If you have the monsterous 8D batteries it's going to take even longer. You could try charging it up enough and using the 50 amp boost to atleast get it going and then let the alternator work its magic for 45 minutes, but that can get expensive fuel-wise. Either way I think you need to count on getting a new battery or two unfortunately.
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Old 08-19-2007, 03:09 AM   #10
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Re: 1990 Thomas Diesel Pusher

mine has 3, but it also gets very cold up here.
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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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