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Old 10-31-2016, 11:53 PM   #1
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Location: Bay Area, California
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Take 2: Should I buy this bus?!

I am considering buying a bus again!
Different route this time-
1996 Thomas Safe-T Liner ER MVP Cummins 5.9 Allison Auto.
We went and checked it out- next to a 1992 Blue Bird 5.9 Engine Front.




The Thomas caught our eye as a better option.. It is a newer bus, has less miles, is significantly more quiet and easy to access the engine on, has 4 inches more headroom ect ect.

The bus has 175,000 miles on it, and we are assuming the engine has the same.
Here is a Video of it idling:
https://youtu.be/a4Np5ZqYx0M

It runs really well- kicked over right away like 12v cummins' do.
The owner- who is the fleet manager for the YMCA, had the bus in service for around 3 years. Pulled off service because they got 3 new busses. Before that it was in service for a school district.

They are asking $3500 for it, but will take $3k.

It runs great, but the throttle, which is a pneumatic system, is not working. It is stuck at 1500 idle speed.

Couple questions

1. We have read some about this engine, and were previously fans... since we have a 5.9 Dodge D350 which has always been a great truck.. But were reading about how this engine is underpowered for busses, and how it has problems with reliability and the lift pump fails ect ect.
We aren't planning to drive it around daily, as it will become our house... but it being drivable and possible long trip-able would be a must.
(Do you have positive experience with this engine and trans setup?)

2. Can the bus be driven without throttle?
I know that is ridiculous.. but the bus is parked about 7 miles down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere and it would be hard to get a truck down there to tow it out. With the idle stuck at 1500 I would assume theres a possibility to drive it without adding giving it any additional throttle....
(No way?)

3. We are thinking of repairing the air leak and getting the throttle working with the bus parked where it is. The system in question is a Williams controls throttle, and the leak is coming from this junction block:

Video of air leak:
It is leaking from the Yellow lines that come in and out of this block.
https://youtu.be/Q40ZG5jDG84
HOURS on clock say 11,319.
Milage 175,739

Thanks and Im glad to be back here considering another skoolie project
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:05 AM   #2
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The Thomas is surely the choice if your not raising the roof. is it a 35ft it looks like its short a couple windows from being full size. I don't think its worth loosing that extra space myself if its not a 40ft. There is so little room and to give up 35 sqft if that's the case.
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Old 11-01-2016, 04:18 AM   #3
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The throttle air line is an easy fix. My bus has the exact same set up. If I recall a 7/16 open end is all you need along with a pocket knife, some Teflon tape and reuse the brass ring that is inside the fitting. 10 minutes later you're underway. Super easy fix.
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Old 11-01-2016, 05:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisMetalMess View Post
I am considering buying a bus again!
Different route this time-
1996 Thomas Safe-T Liner ER MVP Cummins 5.9 Allison Auto.
We went and checked it out- next to a 1992 Blue Bird 5.9 Engine Front.




The Thomas caught our eye as a better option.. It is a newer bus, has less miles, is significantly more quiet and easy to access the engine on, has 4 inches more headroom ect ect.

The bus has 175,000 miles on it, and we are assuming the engine has the same.
Here is a Video of it idling:
https://youtu.be/a4Np5ZqYx0M

It runs really well- kicked over right away like 12v cummins' do.
The owner- who is the fleet manager for the YMCA, had the bus in service for around 3 years. Pulled off service because they got 3 new busses. Before that it was in service for a school district.

They are asking $3500 for it, but will take $3k.

It runs great, but the throttle, which is a pneumatic system, is not working. It is stuck at 1500 idle speed.

Couple questions

1. We have read some about this engine, and were previously fans... since we have a 5.9 Dodge D350 which has always been a great truck.. But were reading about how this engine is underpowered for busses, and how it has problems with reliability and the lift pump fails ect ect.
We aren't planning to drive it around daily, as it will become our house... but it being drivable and possible long trip-able would be a must.
(Do you have positive experience with this engine and trans setup?)

2. Can the bus be driven without throttle?
I know that is ridiculous.. but the bus is parked about 7 miles down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere and it would be hard to get a truck down there to tow it out. With the idle stuck at 1500 I would assume theres a possibility to drive it without adding giving it any additional throttle....
(No way?)

3. We are thinking of repairing the air leak and getting the throttle working with the bus parked where it is. The system in question is a Williams controls throttle, and the leak is coming from this junction block:

Video of air leak:
It is leaking from the Yellow lines that come in and out of this block.
https://youtu.be/Q40ZG5jDG84
HOURS on clock say 11,319.
Milage 175,739

Thanks and Im glad to be back here considering another skoolie project
I move mine around quite easily, typically at idle. But, we're talking about all within a mile radius.
7 miles might be a stretch... If there were any hills, I'd think it would be 'no go'
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:34 AM   #5
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Engine: Cummins 8.3/Allison MD3060
Rated Cap: 84
Depending on how bad the air leak is, you might have a hard time keeping the air charged enough to keep the parking brake off to move it.

Regardless, try to fix it first. Like M1031A1 said above, it should be a really easy fix. Often times the ferrule (the little brass donut inside the compression fitting on the airline) will need to be replaced. If that's the case, you should be able to pick one up at Lowe's. They aren't expensive.
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:47 AM   #6
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Location: Bay Area, California
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Thanks for the info! I will definitely tackle the repair before trying to move the bus.
Any word on if the cummins is a good engine for this bus and if people have experience with it?
Thanks
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Old 11-01-2016, 04:45 PM   #7
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So this (full?) size bus has a 5.9 cummins and an Allison 545 trans... Input?
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Old 11-01-2016, 04:50 PM   #8
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the 5.9 and AT545 will be fine if you plan to not do a lot of mountain climbing with it, and dont expect to go the 80+ that california drivers like to run on the highways..

if you are planning to go up in the hills at all the AT545 will slow you down or overheat... in a big bus like that the 5.9 probably is under-powered also...

im a fan of the AT545 on flat ground or smaller mountains in a short bus but I wouldnt want it out west on the highway in a big bus... esp with the downhills.. unless that bus has some type of retarder...

what are your main plans for travel?


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Old 11-01-2016, 06:32 PM   #9
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Find out about the rear axle ratio.
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