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Old 07-18-2019, 08:27 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thomas vista 3600 shorty? Good idea?

Hi guys been reasearching for a little over a year.

Want a weekend/ cross country camper for me and my fiancee was locked into getting a 4-5 window cutaway,

But just discovered the thomas vista shortbus 3600 looks like the best option for us since it has the most conversion space to vehicle lentght and width. Looking for the 23' shorty (anything bigger might be a paint to park in my driveway.

If anyone has input on these I would appreciate it.
(Or best place to find one)
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Old 07-18-2019, 09:41 AM   #2
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Vista has a crappy ride quality and engine hard to work on. Not a very well liked chassis in the bus world.
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:41 PM   #3
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Ok I'm torn between a f450 4-5 window with 10-13ft of living space. And 19-23ft long. Not alot ot undercarriage space for water tanks, propane..ect


Or 3600 with 16 ft of living space ar 23ft. Maybe easier to work on than the f450s? More undercarriage space.

So are they crappy ride and hard to work on compared to other buses?

What about compared to a cutaway f450 7.3?
Would also want to add that usually th 3600 is double the price.

The f450 would be better geared for highway speeds right?
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bpjr07 View Post
Sooo a cutaway f450 better?

Amything longer than 24 feet in my driveway will not fit.
What body style?
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:55 PM   #5
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aaaaaaaaa
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:56 PM   #6
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What body style?
A 7.3 ford powerstroke 4-5 window thomas cutaway.
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
Vista has a crappy ride quality and engine hard to work on. Not a very well liked chassis in the bus world.
Nice that we have a mod who doesn't sugar coat stuff and gloss over the fails.
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bpjr07 View Post
Ok I'm torn between a f450 4-5 window with 10-13ft of living space. And 19-23ft long. Not alot ot undercarriage space for water tanks, propane..ect


Or 3600 with 16 ft of living space ar 23ft. Maybe easier to work on than the f450s? More undercarriage space.

So are they crappy ride and hard to work on compared to other buses?

What about compared to a cutaway f450 7.3?
Would also want to add that usually th 3600 is double the price.

The f450 would be better geared for highway speeds right?
Crappy ride and general low build quality.
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:06 PM   #9
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aaaaaaaaa
Ive seen F450 with a cowl, but I dont recall seeing any school buses made out of them, just shuttles. Ive also seen shuttles on F450 pickup truck bodies Id sure take either body style over anything that stuffs half the motor halfway inside the cab (uh, like mine).
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:47 PM   #10
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I’ve seen F450 with a cowl, but I don’t recall seeing any school buses made out of them, just shuttles. I’ve also seen shuttles on F450 pickup truck bodies I’d sure take either body style over anything that stuffs half the motor halfway inside the cab (uh, like mine).
I'm sorry!!!! Brain fart! E450 the standard ford 7.3 powerstroke school bus shorties.

So a thomas 5 window shortie e450
Vs a 5 window vista is really my dilemma

Both duck for engine location. But in the long run I feel that a full size bus will outlast a van body cutaway?
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:03 PM   #11
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I'm sorry!!!! Brain fart! E450 the standard ford 7.3 powerstroke school bus shorties.
I cant speak to the quality of that engine and drivetrain, but Im really happy with the build quality of my 07 Chevy Express-based Thomas. I think the drawback of the Thomas is that the domed roof design makes mounting solar panels more challenging and the ceiling is coincidentally less uniform in height. The Collins design has a flatter roof that I think is preferable.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:22 PM   #12
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I cant speak to the quality of that engine and drivetrain, but Im really happy with the build quality of my 07 Chevy Express-based Thomas. I think the drawback of the Thomas is that the domed roof design makes mounting solar panels more challenging and the ceiling is coincidentally less uniform in height. The Collins design has a flatter roof that I think is preferable.
Yes I have done my research. I'm almost sure I'm going with a cutaway school bus Chevy or ford.

I heard about vistas being not the best... but comparing a cutaway chevy or ford 5 window to a vista 5 window I would have imagined the vista being better since more usable space to vehicle length, and more robust heavy duty equipment.
But sounds like a nice cutaway is ideal and can get it half the cost.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:32 PM   #13
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In my opinion a Vista would be better than the shuttle type van chassis. Your typical Vista would have a T444E (7.3L same as Powerstroke) but probably mated with an AT545 which is not a desirable tranny to most, but some of us including me have no complaints.

The van chassis will accelerate faster and probably have better gearing for highway traveling, but van chassis is really hard to work on engine stuff compared to the Vista. Are you able to test drive your choices?
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:36 AM   #14
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In my opinion a Vista would be better than the shuttle type van chassis. Your typical Vista would have a T444E (7.3L same as Powerstroke) but probably mated with an AT545 which is not a desirable tranny to most, but some of us including me have no complaints.

The van chassis will accelerate faster and probably have better gearing for highway traveling, but van chassis is really hard to work on engine stuff compared to the Vista. Are you able to test drive your choices?
Great advice will see if I can check both of them out, since it's going to be used as primarily as weekend camper, might be to impatient with a slower bus, will definitely test both out if I see a 3600 on sale.
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:18 PM   #15
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Didn't see where you are, but I recently saw a short Vista on Dallas C/L.
117k miles, has a lift.
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:00 PM   #16
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Didn't see where you are, but I recently saw a short Vista on Dallas C/L.
117k miles, has a lift.
Think I saw that one somewhat stripped used as a toy hauler... will look again!

aw one sell in cali for 7k with 54kmiles! Regret not knowing enough to jump on it at the time 2 weeks ago!
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bpjr07 View Post
I heard about vistas being not the best... but comparing a cutaway chevy or ford 5 window to a vista 5 window I would have imagined the vista being better since more usable space to vehicle length, and more robust heavy duty equipment.
That's what I was thinking too, but now that I've read this thread I'm having second thoughts. I really like the idea of more usable space in the same length, but not if the ride is going to beat me to death!
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:51 PM   #18
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It will beat AND roast you to death. As you list to one side or the other.
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Old 07-20-2019, 02:50 PM   #19
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It will beat AND roast you to death. As you list to one side or the other.
Good info I'm now pushed more toward a e450 4 window.

Know a guy here in california that can get me a 97-03 ford 7.3 e450 with about 100k miles thomas registered as rv, stripped, will insulation and flooring done for $6000 might go this route and save me a bunch of time and hasle!

Clean slate to do my interior
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Old 07-24-2019, 05:27 PM   #20
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If either are a diesel, go with the diesel I have a 1996 International 3600 Thomas Vista shorty (5-6 window with wheelchair lift) it's an incredible beast! In the process of converting for my travel/ remote life/ daily local living rig and the engine on those things will last forever if you take care of them.
The only reason I would go with a shuttle bus over a skoolie is for the larger, better insulated windows.
Then look for rust and the tires. Tires can be super spendy, so those are important to consider when purchasing a rig- how much life is left and if it's a dually, those are not as easy to change out if one blows.
Just my two cents..
BEST OF LUCK!
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