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Old 01-08-2010, 09:23 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northeast CT
Posts: 201
Year: 1999
Coachwork: AmTran RE
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
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Newbie from CT

Hi everyone, I'm Phil. I've been following this forum at a level nearing an addiction for a couple months, ever since my partner and I decided that this year we're going to buy a school bus and make our own custom camper. I love reading about everyone's projects, and I can assure you that from the minute we purchase a bus there will be a topic on here with tons of pictures of every step of the conversion.

Our plan: Purchase a bus this spring or early summer. As of now it looks like it'll be an AmTran RE (rear engine, International chassis). All the old Laidlaw buses (now owned by First Student) are being auctioned off at 10-12 years old, and those REs with the T444E go pretty cheap. It's not the most powerful rig, but they're comfortable to drive, quiet, and spacious, and more importantly, within our price range. We'll do most of the work ourselves. I have a friend who's very skilled at carpentry, electrical, and plumbing. He's also a good teacher and willing to let us borrow tools.

About me: I drive pre-converted campers, the ones that are still yellow and carry a bunch of kids. I've spent some time working with management and learning about the bus industry at several companies I've worked for, and I know a lot about the different makes and models. As everyone knows, no two buses are the same -- with different state requirements, district specifications, and customer preference, there are nearly 10,000 options available on modern school buses. Whenever possible I'll try to help answer technical questions here. I've also spent a lot of time tinkering around with bus electrical systems. I'm not a mechanic, but I can tell you stuff like how to reconnect the lights after removing one of those light monitor boards (many drivers call them ELMOs, an acronym for "Exterior Light Monitor").

I've seen a lot of great projects here, and we're getting plenty of ideas and inspiration. Glad to be a part of such a wonderful website!
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The conversion of Miss Euphegenia, a 1999 AmTran RE: http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=5704
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:44 PM   #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: Newbie from CT

Welcome aboard Phil! I grew up in southern CT myself near the New Haven area. But at this point I consider myself a Texan... a Texan Yankee that is!

I'm just starting work on my bus - still in the "gutting" and rehabilitation phase. I've got a 1996 Thomas high top with a DT466 (mechanical injection) and International chassis. Have you heard anything about the body/chassis/engine of my bus that I should know about? I've heard the engine has a tendency to overheat, and noticed that it does run hot under some conditions.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:58 PM   #3
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Year: 1994
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Rated Cap: 54
Re: Newbie from CT

Howdy Phil!

Take care,
Den
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:39 PM   #4
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Year: 1983
Coachwork: International
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Engine: 8.3
Re: Newbie from CT

Welcome the madness you sound well suited for the mayhem...
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:58 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northeast CT
Posts: 201
Year: 1999
Coachwork: AmTran RE
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 72
Re: Newbie from CT

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpsalmer
Welcome the madness you sound well suited for the mayhem...
As seen on a T-shirt.... "I drive a school bus, what's your excuse???"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel Dan
I'm just starting work on my bus - still in the "gutting" and rehabilitation phase. I've got a 1996 Thomas high top with a DT466 (mechanical injection) and International chassis. Have you heard anything about the body/chassis/engine of my bus that I should know about? I've heard the engine has a tendency to overheat, and noticed that it does run hot under some conditions.
I know many drivers and mechanics who swear by the DT466, although the electronics on the newer models are much more complicated to work on. If we could afford a DT466 we would, but some of those AmTrans go just under 1,000 in roadworthy condition and we're not looking to spend much more than that. Keep an eye on the temp gauge and don't push it too hard, but if you're good to that engine it should be good to you. Thomas body is one of the better ones, the only concern up here is rust.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:26 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northeast CT
Posts: 201
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Coachwork: AmTran RE
Chassis: International
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Rated Cap: 72
Re: Newbie from CT

A little bit to the north of you, up in the woods. A little town called Pomfret.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:18 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
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Year: 1996
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Engine: DT466/AT545
Re: Newbie from CT

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjespers
Greetings from another Lone Star Yankee. Grew up in Westport, and later lived in Stratford, Naugatuck, North Branford, and Franklin. Now I'm deep in the heart of Texas. Looking forward to your conversion story.
Hey pjespers! I grew up in Bethany, CT, the next town south of Naugatuck, just down Rt.63! And now it looks like I'm living south of you again here in TX, except more like 4 hours south down IH-35. If you're ever bussin' down through Austin y'all give me a holler y'hear!
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:16 PM   #8
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Moodus, Ct.
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Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
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Re: Newbie from CT

Welcome!--Moodus (East Haddam) Here!
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:27 PM   #9
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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Re: Newbie from CT

What is this, the Connecticut-bus invasion?!?!
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