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Old 10-30-2017, 08:45 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: The Lovely PNW
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Year: 1986
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
Engine: Cat 3208
Rated Cap: 84 px
Trying again 40' 1986 Saf T Liner

https://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/r...366172361.html

https://www.ebay.com/itm/322844329365

For sale, 1986 Thomas Saf-T-Liner School Bus, 40' rear engine diesel.. Retired in 2015 from the Arlington (WA) School District.

$2500 OBO. I will consider all reasonable cash offers. No trades. I will also take PayPal. Cash in hand offers talk the loudest.

286K miles, fair condition (see pictures). Starts/Drives/Stops.

Would make an awesome starting platform for a Skoolie, Custom RV, Tiny House on Wheels, or Bugout Vehicle! I've seen these turned into Food Trucks, Rolling Businesses, your imagination is the limit!

The bus is located near Marysville in Washington State. Local pickup only.

Bus is sold as-is, no warranty.

Tabs expired August 2017. Tab renewal (at my home address in the RTA taxing district) is $153.75

Clean title in hand.

I strongly encourage you look at the bus before making an offer.

I am available most weekends if you want to meet to inspect the bus (currently parked near Marysville in Washington State). However, it is not insured and the tabs are expired, so a test drive isn't possible. I live about an hour from where the bus is parked and do not get home from work until too late to show it weekday evenings.

I drove this bus from Arlington WA to Everett WA, then drove it from Everett to Marysville WA (where it sits right now) with no issues. It has not been driven since September 2015, but I have started it and ran it for 30 minutes at least once every month. It starts every time with no problem.

I started stripping the inside for a Skoolie conversion, and all of the seats are removed except the very last row (see pictures).

Features:

•CAT3208 diesel rear engine. Engine Serial Number 02Z23825
•Allison Automatic model MT643
•Transmission Fluid and Filters were changed at 272,541 miles
•Huge amount of inside space. Once finished, it should net over 200 square feet of living area.
•Large luggage bays under the floor, lots of space for water tanks, waste tanks, solar power battery banks, anything you can imagine.
•I have some inspection and maintenance work orders that were in the bus.

Known issues:
•The bus will not start from just the ignition key. It has to be started from a switch in the engine bay while the ignition key is in the on position.
•The emergency exit open door alarm goes on and stays on as long as the bus is running. Maybe be an easy fix, maybe just pull the alarm fuse. This started when I pulled out the seat next to the emergency exit door.
•Interior and exterior minor rust.
•Soft spots in the subfloor.

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Old 10-30-2017, 10:20 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
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Year: 2002
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Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Sorry for the misunderstanding.
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:32 AM   #3
Skoolie
 
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Location: The Lovely PNW
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Opinions vary. Personally, I would run away from a bus with a Cat motor, 280k miles and rust.

There are plenty of buses out there in the $3-5k range with Cummins or International motors and under 200k miles.

Good luck with your quest.


Edit: just noticed that it is in Marysville. I graduated from high school there. It's a small world.
I see thread-crapping is still in style here.


Thanks for reminding my why I quit coming to this site.
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:36 AM   #4
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Join Date: May 2016
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Forgive me for trying to be helpful.
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:39 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: The Lovely PNW
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Forgive me for trying to be helpful.
Announcing to everyone on the forum to run away from the bus I'm trying to sell?


You have a strange definition of 'helpful'.
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:51 AM   #6
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Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
My apologies. I misunderstood. I thought you were asking if you should buy that bus.
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Old 10-30-2017, 11:04 AM   #7
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,948
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
My apologies. I misunderstood. I thought you were asking if you should buy that bus.

why all the hate for CAT? sure its more expensive to fix.. that is IF you need to fix it...

I read alot of threads about cummins with killer dowel pins and tappet cover oil mega-leaks, DT-466E's with failed liners, VT-365 meltdowns, even an occasionbal 444E with busted rings or dropped lifters...

I dont read much about internally damaged CATs.. even when an owner dumb-asses it and runs the temperature off the scale.. doesnt seem to be as sensitive as others..

so why is every other thread here "dont buy a cat".. one of the local districts here has a bunch of 3126's in freightliner and GMC based busses.. dont know their service records but they are all pretty old and still taking rug-rats to school..

-Christopher

P.S. as for this bus the emergency alarm and no start are likely one in the same.. fix that and you'll have a key start that works.. (the rear start is mechanic start so it bypasses the driver-safeties.).

MT643 and 3208 - seems a person could do a LOT worse than that.. esp for the advertised price.. mechanical engine / lockup trans.

-Christopher
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Old 10-30-2017, 05:34 PM   #8
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
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Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
I know the stories of tha cats but I wish I would have ended up with one instead of what I have.
It might cost more money but I am surrounded by mobile cat mechanics because of the heavy equipment industry around me but I will be danged if I can find a mechanic that even knows much less will touch my 8.2 Detroit.
Good luck
It sounds like you have the platform for a nice build including underbelly storage which I have to build from scratch
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Old 10-30-2017, 09:38 PM   #9
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Oberlin, Kansas
Posts: 1,394
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
why all the hate for CAT? sure its more expensive to fix.. that is IF you need to fix it...

I read alot of threads about cummins with killer dowel pins and tappet cover oil mega-leaks, DT-466E's with failed liners, VT-365 meltdowns, even an occasionbal 444E with busted rings or dropped lifters...

I dont read much about internally damaged CATs.. even when an owner dumb-asses it and runs the temperature off the scale.. doesnt seem to be as sensitive as others..

so why is every other thread here "dont buy a cat".. one of the local districts here has a bunch of 3126's in freightliner and GMC based busses.. dont know their service records but they are all pretty old and still taking rug-rats to school..

-Christopher

P.S. as for this bus the emergency alarm and no start are likely one in the same.. fix that and you'll have a key start that works.. (the rear start is mechanic start so it bypasses the driver-safeties.).

MT643 and 3208 - seems a person could do a LOT worse than that.. esp for the advertised price.. mechanical engine / lockup trans.

-Christopher
I WHOLE heartedly agree with Christopher! As a CAT owner on MANY occasions and putting well over one MILLION miles on EACH CAT engine, as an owner AND a driver I can attest to the quality of a strong CAT. Those who hate upon CAT are like those who hate upon Dodge. The copyrights are retained by the manufacturer to - in theory - retain the higher quality of the OEM parts - whether or not it actually meets reality depends upon a number of factors. The manufacturer is attempting to at least have some input to the quality of repairs. Sometimes this works, other times it doesn't. Either way that is the running theory. All I know is the CAT engines I have owned have given me outstanding performance under extreme duress and never once faltered. With that said, I understand full well some people don't like the thought of digging into their pockets to pay for something they figure should be less expensive. This point is very understandable. However, in this case, you actually do get what you pay for when talking about a CAT engine. They are a high quality engine. When they are properly maintained, they can deliver performance most other engines balk at. I've run Cummins engines in the same conditions as CAT. The Cummins, for the engine they are do the job as can be expected. However, Cummins does not build their engines to the same specs as CAT so they can compete for more business. I have several friends from World of Tanks that work for Cummins and they confirm to me from the FACTORY these engines have specs that CAT would reject. This IS a FACT. Dispute it all you want, but the numbers DO NOT LIE. The tolerances are greater and the volume is greater and the prices are cheaper because they ARE NOT built to the same specs as a CAT engine. I'm waaaaaaay too poor to buy cheap. I much prefer to spend my money once and be done with it.

Christopher nailed it perfectly, a 3208 CAT matched to a 643 transmission is a combination that is TOUGH TO BEAT!!!! I know because I own this combination and I have changed the gear ratio in the rear axle and I now cruise at 70 m.p.h. comfortably with this combination.

The OP has a solid bus to sell, no doubt. I can easily vouch for the drivetrain. The electric issue is most likely either a ground issue, or a short in the utility box by the driver's area. Hard to tell just by reading the description, but that's my hunch.

Best of wishes to selling that Thomas! Whoever buys it will have a solid bus in which to create an outstanding conversion. I'm doing the same with my Thomas. I'm enjoying every moment of this conversion and wouldn't have any other platform. Remember, not everyone has the same needs. Christopher has shorties because his needs require short buses. My needs are more family oriented, so this set up is what we need. But to say a particular engine or transmission is worthless, when track records prove otherwise is, at best, unwise.

Better to say nothing and let people wonder if you're a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt - Abraham Lincoln.

M
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Old 10-30-2017, 09:42 PM   #10
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
I WHOLE heartedly agree with Christopher! As a CAT owner on MANY occasions and putting well over one MILLION miles on EACH CAT engine, as an owner AND a driver I can attest to the quality of a strong CAT. Those who hate upon CAT are like those who hate upon Dodge. The copyrights are retained by the manufacturer to - in theory - retain the higher quality of the OEM parts - whether or not it actually meets reality depends upon a number of factors. The manufacturer is attempting to at least have some input to the quality of repairs. Sometimes this works, other times it doesn't. Either way that is the running theory. All I know is the CAT engines I have owned have given me outstanding performance under extreme duress and never once faltered. With that said, I understand full well some people don't like the thought of digging into their pockets to pay for something they figure should be less expensive. This point is very understandable. However, in this case, you actually do get what you pay for when talking about a CAT engine. They are a high quality engine. When they are properly maintained, they can deliver performance most other engines balk at. I've run Cummins engines in the same conditions as CAT. The Cummins, for the engine they are do the job as can be expected. However, Cummins does not build their engines to the same specs as CAT so they can compete for more business. I have several friends from World of Tanks that work for Cummins and they confirm to me from the FACTORY these engines have specs that CAT would reject. This IS a FACT. Dispute it all you want, but the numbers DO NOT LIE. The tolerances are greater and the volume is greater and the prices are cheaper because they ARE NOT built to the same specs as a CAT engine. I'm waaaaaaay too poor to buy cheap. I much prefer to spend my money once and be done with it.

Christopher nailed it perfectly, a 3208 CAT matched to a 643 transmission is a combination that is TOUGH TO BEAT!!!! I know because I own this combination and I have changed the gear ratio in the rear axle and I now cruise at 70 m.p.h. comfortably with this combination.

The OP has a solid bus to sell, no doubt. I can easily vouch for the drivetrain. The electric issue is most likely either a ground issue, or a short in the utility box by the driver's area. Hard to tell just by reading the description, but that's my hunch.

Best of wishes to selling that Thomas! Whoever buys it will have a solid bus in which to create an outstanding conversion. I'm doing the same with my Thomas. I'm enjoying every moment of this conversion and wouldn't have any other platform. Remember, not everyone has the same needs. Christopher has shorties because his needs require short buses. My needs are more family oriented, so this set up is what we need. But to say a particular engine or transmission is worthless, when track records prove otherwise is, at best, unwise.

Better to say nothing and let people wonder if you're a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt - Abraham Lincoln.

M
I have no hate for CAT engines at all, but let's be clear about one thing. CAT retains full control to support the profits of their dealerships. There is no other reason even if they might like to pretend there is

John Deere have tried the same thing in attempting to exert copyright control over the software in their equipment (they lost) ... even Ford have dipped their toes in that water.
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Old 10-30-2017, 09:50 PM   #11
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Oberlin, Kansas
Posts: 1,394
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
I have no hate for CAT engines at all, but let's be clear about one thing. CAT retains full control to support the profits of their dealerships. There is no other reason even if they might like to pretend there is

John Deere have tried the same thing in attempting to exert copyright control over the software in their equipment (they lost) ... even Ford have dipped their toes in that water.
I have a one name response to this observation - Lee Iacocca. When he came to Chrysler he did it with the blessing of Congress. Ever since then any company associated with Chrysler became privy to the same set up - Mercedes, Fiat, Maserati, et. al.

M
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:44 AM   #12
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 1,503
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
Curious ...What parts of a cat are more expensive compared to Cummins? I figure most people would at a junkyard.

Later j
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Old 10-31-2017, 01:07 PM   #13
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: The Lovely PNW
Posts: 145
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
Engine: Cat 3208
Rated Cap: 84 px
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
P.S. as for this bus the emergency alarm and no start are likely one in the same.. fix that and you'll have a key start that works.. (the rear start is mechanic start so it bypasses the driver-safeties.).
-Christopher

Thanks, I'll look into that. I'm not sure that they are related though, as the start problem predates the door alarm issue. The bus was sold without the key start working, and the door alarm didn't stay on until I pulled the seat next to the emergency exit door some weeks later.


FWIW this bus has "Ether Start". A guy that works in the bus barn says the key start won't work because that needs to be repaired.
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