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Old 06-26-2010, 07:19 PM   #1
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O.K...what I've discovered about my Thomas.

Well, after wondering about the way Thomas mounts their bodies to the frame, I initially only saw this as far as any form of mounts go:


but after closer inspection all along the outside of the frame and finding nothing, searching along the inside of the frame, I found 4 of these:

If this truly is the total points of connection (6), with the rear 4 being, in my opinion, rather wimpy, then maybe I should recant my initial statement of love for my Thomas bus. Granted, my bus is a shorty- 23' bumper to bumper, I still don't feel good about what I've found. The rear 4 "clips" aren't even very heavy gauge steel- a hair over an 1/8".
Hopefully I'm missing something here, because if not, I won't feel safe maxing out the load, and maxing it out's just my style.

Help, anyone?
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Old 06-26-2010, 07:56 PM   #2
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Re: O.K...what I've discovered about my Thomas.

The industry upgraded the way they secured bodies to the chassis in the mid 80s along with a frame surrounding the fuel tank after a series of nasty bus accidents culminating with the wreck in '85 if I remember correctly in Kentucky on I-64 (I drove by that accident scene often - there's a big sign there). Thus pre-'85ish busses have these issues. You need to retrofit your bus to safely transport the weight you want to load. It should not be too much of an issue with someone who knows what they are doing.
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Old 06-26-2010, 08:22 PM   #3
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Re: O.K...what I've discovered about my Thomas.

Even new school buses use a similar mounting system, although there are usually a lot more clips. The rubber pads provide a cushion, and the clips press the body onto the rubber. Part of the reason for this design is that it allows the body to shift forward or backward in an accident, absorbing crash forces. I saw a bus in a low-speed accident (hit a concrete post in a parking lot) that shifted so that the rear bumper was sticking out 2" from the body. In severe crashes, the body can shift a foot or more, or even detach from the chassis (look for pictures from the Fox River Grove, IL bus-train accident in 1995). It seems violent, but it actually helps to dissipate the severe forces in a crash and protect the passengers. (Although having the body slide forward on the chassis doesn't help the driver very much.)
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:11 PM   #4
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Re: O.K...what I've discovered about my Thomas.

Holy Cow! I guess I should inspect some other buses- more modern, and see how they've got it fitted. I guess my eyes weren't deceiving me. I see the logic to allowing the body to have some moving room in the event of an accident, but personally, I thought I was driving around in a veritable tank this whole time.
I see, at least, that it's very do-able to retro fit it with more "clips"of some sort, but honestly, I'm kind of shocked by my discovery. The picture that comes to my mind is me driving down a mountain road, fully loaded, and the weight of the full load just twisting the body right off of those wimpy clips. Not a pleasant thought. That's potentially several tons being held on by the shear strength of those 4 thin gauge clips, which are holding on to equally thin gauge floor panels by those two half inch bolts you see. Blow me down.
I tip my hat to you, M1031, because if you hadn't discovered those broken u-bolts, I might have just let this stay on the far back burner, too sheepish to inquire further. Cheers!
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Old 06-27-2010, 12:10 AM   #5
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Re: O.K...what I've discovered about my Thomas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bus-ted
I tip my hat to you, M1031, because if you hadn't discovered those broken u-bolts, I might have just let this stay on the far back burner, too sheepish to inquire further. Cheers!
Thanks for the thumbs up. I'm an avid safety-first kind of guy. I've driven about 1.8 million miles in my time so far. In all that milage I can tell you of all the nasty accidents I've seen due to poor maintenance. I figure if I can help anyone avoid such a fate I'm fulfilling one of my many missions in life. As my folks have instilled in me from when I was a kid, I'm too poor to go cheap. Over the 4th I'll post some pics of what I believe is a solid securing system under my bus (and thus one of the biggest reasons as to why I bought it along with all the PM San Antonio did). It's a crying shame the other four identical Fords went to the crusher.
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