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Old 01-02-2005, 04:45 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 5
Newbie Insurance Question


I bought a 1990 Thomas short bus with an International engine and chasis 2 weeks ago. The bus has 210k on it and runs ok. I bought it on Ebay from a company in NY - Don Brown Bus sales. I drove the bus down to Maryland and other than the brakes not really working it was uneventful. It turns out that the hydrolic fluid was very low and the backup electric pump had a loose wire. The intrument panel does not work at all. I suspect that the circuit board is blown.

I plan on converting the bus to run on fryer grease and then turn it into a mobile home. But first I have to paint it and get it through inspection. Everything is going well except for the insurance.

I got the bill today and it $1250 for the year. I am with Allstate but I have read that most of you pay a lot less. I am 23 so that may factor in. Any suggestions? I called GM's insurance company and they said they would not insure it because it will not be profesionally converted into a motorhome. Too much of a risk if my wiring sets it on fire is what I was told.

Is there anybody on this forum in Maryland?

Two more questions:

1. How do I get rid of the extra seats? Is there really a demand for them? I dont want to just take them to the dump.

2. Where should I look to find a used intstrument panel

Thanks in advance and if anybody is curious about the grease thing please drop me a line. I would be more than happy to answer questions. I have a vw jetta running on grease and it really is a nifty way to run a diesel engine.
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Old 01-02-2005, 07:17 PM   #2
Bus Nut
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Idaho
Posts: 448
The thing you need to do first is get a new title that says it is a motorhome. Then when you shop for insurance you tell them it is a motorhome and they will not hassle you about it. In some places you can insure it as a personal truck or bus and the rates are normal. When you say "short bus" is this a van/bus or a regular bus that is not very long? If it is a van/bus the VIN should indicate that it is a van or van conversion. Insurance companies hate the words "school bus"
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Old 01-02-2005, 07:46 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: New England
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Year: 1993
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Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/MT643
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Since it's an International, it can't be a cutaway van--gotta just be a "shorty".

A gauge cluster from any International MDT from the late-80's to ~2001 (any truck with a front clip that matches yours has the same dashboard) should work. Getting one from a truck with the same driveline (engine/tranny) will help to ensure the tach will hook up properly. If you can find a junked recycling truck (look for the bizarre-looking folding door & extended windshield on the right-hand side of the cab & the "projecting" bumper if the body has been removed), you should get a cluster with a tranny temp gauge--nice if you have an automatic.
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Old 01-03-2005, 06:56 PM   #4
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Location: Maryland
Posts: 5
Thanks for the info. I am going to register it first and then worry about the insurance. Finding parts sudenly seems less daunting knowing that just about any international will work. I have just remebered that there is a jumper on the circuit board (I took it apart to see if anything was visibly wrong with it) so I imagine each variation in engine and tranny is simply a variation in jumper settings.

Any suggestions on seats?

Yeah it's a classic shorty. Everything is the same as a full size bus except the length. I am trying to come up with a catchy slogan for it! (Get on the bus, you know you want to ride the short bus again...)

Thanks again.

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Old 01-04-2005, 06:40 AM   #5
Almost There
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Fir Island, Washington
Posts: 83

Hi Alex , I have to laugh when I see the question about seats pop up now and then. I think all of us have gone through the same situation. I was fortunate to have a fellow Crown owner/converter in the area. He allowed me to dump two seats a week in his dumpster. It was a long process but it was free. I did keep two seats for the temp dining area. When those came out I placed them in the driveway and it only took two days before they were gone. I know one guy who stripped the upholstery off of the seats and sold the metal as scrap. That may be an option as the price of steel is high right now. In any event when you figure it out let us know.

Good Luck, J.B.
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:30 PM   #6
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i just insured my "motorhome" last week for $198 per year.
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Old 11-08-2014, 05:27 PM   #7
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Year: 1997
Chassis: International Amtram Genesis
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Re: Newbie Insurance Question

Curious if you got it past the maryland inspection? I need to get mine inspected in the next few days or it will be towed
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