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Old 08-08-2015, 03:40 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Denver
Posts: 89
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 RE
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Rated Cap: 78 passenger
Cummins 8.3 vs Cat 3126B

I bought my bus in June, a 2000 Thomas MVP-ER. As I've gotten into this project, I've discovered that the steel floors are rotted out quite a bit, the transmission is throwing a code for the lockup solenoid, the engine is leaking oil from several O-ring locations, the exhaust is pretty bad, and the rear tires are so-so at best.

On that solenoid, the online price is $50, but apparently Freightliner and Stuart-Stephenson don't know what "F Solenoid" (as it's referred to in the service manual) or "Lockup Solenoid" is or how to find it for pricing/ordering and I'd rather have the part in hand than ordering some unknown object online.

I've pulled the seats, scraped off all the lettering, removed the stop sign and front clearance bar. I've installed a vapor/moisture barrier, framing, and OSB sub-flooring, drilled for a primitive shower, and am about to commence bed and living quarters installation.

This thing is supposed to take us to Burning Man on the 28th, so I've got my work cut out for me.

NOW, there are suddenly a pile of RE buses for sale that I believe will have Cummins 8.3's in them (can't verify until Monday). I have no idea what the price will be, but I'm having serious thoughts about trying to buy one, scrap mine, and start over.

I have 3 weeks. Is the Cummins worth the hassle of starting over?

PS - My Thomas was originally a Montgomery County bus (there are several threads in here about them), built and bought for flat land operation. It does not have any retarder and I've got several mountains to cross in the next month. Not sure that these new prospects have one either, but I would guess they do if they were originally purchased for use in Colorado.

I'm leaning toward the Cummins if the option presents itself. If you know of any definite reason to go with it or to NOT go with the Cummins, please let me know.

Also, if you're familiar with them, what kind of fuel mileage can one expect? On the Cat, I've heard anywhere from 7-10mpg, so that's clear as mud.
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Old 08-08-2015, 08:29 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Hey, I say if you can afford Burning Man, you can afford two buses!
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Old 08-08-2015, 11:30 AM   #3
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Sell your bus and get the Cummins.
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Old 08-08-2015, 11:59 AM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Russell, Kansas
Posts: 1,114
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Is the auction another Maryland sale? If so, well, the rust and mechanical issues will be very similar. Just ask Porkchopsandwiches. If the auction is much further south, then I'd say go for it, use the 2000 as a parts bus, then when the conversion is done, scrap the 2000. Since I don't have deep pockets, heck, I don't even have shallow pockets, I spent three years looking for Heavy. Bought her for the best price, from the most rust-free area of California, and drove her home without any issues. Just sayin'......
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Old 08-08-2015, 12:55 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Denver
Posts: 89
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 RE
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Rated Cap: 78 passenger
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Hey, I say if you can afford Burning Man, you can afford two buses!
Oddly enough, buying the bus wouldn't be the biggest problem, but parking would be beyond challenging. My current spot is $100 a month and I think they're out of spaces...

I appreciate the thoughts.
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Old 08-08-2015, 03:05 PM   #6
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,402
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison 545
Rated Cap: 2
those buses (the roller auction) look real good. im considering one too.
the down side of those buses is the lack of underneath storage or the tall roof. but they are real nice starting platforms.
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Old 08-08-2015, 03:36 PM   #7
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Denver
Posts: 89
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 RE
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Rated Cap: 78 passenger
I'm gonna head over Monday morning, kick some tires, go from there.
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Old 08-08-2015, 07:16 PM   #8
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
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Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison 545
Rated Cap: 2
please share what you see....

im about 150 miles northeast of there so not to convenient to see. if they go for cheap, i'll get my second bus.
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Old 08-09-2015, 03:24 PM   #9
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Edmond, OK
Posts: 529
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 International diesel
Rated Cap: 60
I'd love to get my hands on an 8.3L pusher bus. Would also like to know what's available.
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Old 08-09-2015, 03:43 PM   #10
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Denver
Posts: 89
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 RE
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Rated Cap: 78 passenger
I'll take a look tomorrow morning, try to see if anything stands out as great or terrible...
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