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Old 05-02-2018, 04:32 PM   #1
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New Bus - Purpose Built..

Hi everyone, the Grand.Wizard has been viewing and diligently trying to read up on topics similar to what the Grand.Wizard and his wife are trying to build. If this posting belongs in another place Grand.Wizard hopes an Admin will blast this sucker into the right forum.

Let the Grand.Wizard begin with a little back story -
- Grand.Wizard is an outdoorsman at heart with surfing being the number one passion in his life.
- To no surprise of the Grand.Wizard, he is bound to a smokin' She.Warlock who has the sharpest eye behind the lens of a camera.
- Naturally enough both of our lives dictate us to be outside - in remote areas - sometimes far off grid.
- We own a dog of no magical talents, but we have to take him with us on our quest which led us to choose a skoolie for all of us to conjure comfortably.



This leads the Grand.Wizard to the next point. We have decided decided to purchases a 98' Thomas Vista 5 window bus with the t444e motor, and the AT545 transmission (dont hold the Grand.wizard to that - he will not know until he gets to arizona to drive her back home )

We will be converting this into our home for the winter time as we embark on our journey south into panama to see family who reside down there, along with filming a movie for both of our professions. This has led the grand.wizard to look deeply into more rugged over landing rigs .

So, the Grand.Wizard is requesting knowledge to certain things for anyone with mechanical inclinations the Grand.Wizard only wished he possessed to further extents.

- Do both wheels receive power or do only one set of duals receive power.
- ( if it was the latter of the two in the prior question ) do they make a certain ' Posse trac ' or " LS locker " that can be installed?
- The Grand.Wizard doesn't have an interest or truly see the super big point to fabbing a 4x4 conversion on it - from what the Grand.Wizard has read, its apparently not worth it?
- would Super Singles be worth placing on the back axle if power goes to both wheels? OR replacing the axles entirely to fit two bigger regular sized Truck tires (say 35' x 12.50 tires ) seeing as how the bus is a medium duty truck class?
- can anyone explain gear ratios in ' Barney Style ' levels so that the grand.wizard can easily or more easily understand what would be needed.

if you have any other tips or advice it is greatly appreciated, we intend on definitely putting a cable winch - keeping a shovel and a set of maxtracs with us at all times. we aren't looking to take our skoolie ripping through the dunes of baja sur catching air with the pre runner trucks. But be confident that we can have the clearance below us, and we have some extra grab n go should we have to get through a small rio - or over some more rugged, softer sand areas. thank you again so much.
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Old 05-02-2018, 04:44 PM   #2
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The Grand Wizard could have bought that bus right from the auction for a couple grand about six months ago. Its at AAA bus sales, eh?

Having seen a Vista get stuck on a dirt road, and having dug said vista out, I'd recommend an aggressive open shoulder design for the rear tires. If its on 19.5's its not gonna be a very good "off road" bus.
Yes- all four rear tires are driven on duals.

Vistas are ok, I've driven one and ridden in another, but there are better short buses out there with more clearance and a better ride- IMO.
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Old 05-02-2018, 04:51 PM   #3
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The Grand Wizard could have bought that bus right from the auction for a couple grand about six months ago. Its at AAA bus sales, eh?

Having seen a Vista get stuck on a dirt road, and having dug said vista out, I'd recommend an aggressive open shoulder design for the rear tires. If its on 19.5's its not gonna be a very good "off road" bus.
Yes- all four rear tires are driven on duals.

Vistas are ok, I've driven one and ridden in another, but there are better short buses out there with more clearance and a better ride- IMO.
thank you, and yes spot on, we have already paid the piper on the deal and i fly out the 17th to go pick it up. i noticed the very small tires it had on it once i saw better pictures of it and then thought maybe if both sides receive power i could sell off the small duals in exchange for a set of Super Singles, they say they aren't ideal for truckers like their advertised to. but i figured for something smaller it could give that wider and larger clearance we would need and with both tires receiving power assuming the gearing ratio would be okay to run with it that it would be enough to serve the purpose we seek.
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Old 05-02-2018, 04:52 PM   #4
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also open to any recommendations as far as putting larger more aggressive tires on the front of the bus as well. thanks again
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Old 05-02-2018, 05:18 PM   #5
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also open to any recommendations as far as putting larger more aggressive tires on the front of the bus as well. thanks again
With a Vista you may be limited on wheel/tire size.
I'd think duals would give you much more traction than singles.
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:52 PM   #6
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I've got a 96 vista 3600 and the rear portion of these busses is not going to be your limiter for clearance . they have a the front axel square thing of sorts that sits reaaaaally low to the ground . I actually stopped by aaa and probably looked at the exact bus you bought. It like mine leaves a lot to be desired in the clearance relm.
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Old 05-03-2018, 05:18 AM   #7
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I've got a 96 vista 3600 and the rear portion of these busses is not going to be your limiter for clearance . they have a the front axel square thing of sorts that sits reaaaaally low to the ground . I actually stopped by aaa and probably looked at the exact bus you bought. It like mine leaves a lot to be desired in the clearance relm.
Yeah, they're NOT offroad machines by any stretch.
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Old 05-03-2018, 01:55 PM   #8
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"Yeah, they're NOT offroad machines by any stretch".

Sure they are. All you need is an orchard of money trees, well watered.
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Old 05-03-2018, 03:29 PM   #9
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"Yeah, they're NOT offroad machines by any stretch".

Sure they are. All you need is an orchard of money trees, well watered.
LOL But only one bushel of money could buy an actual off-road capable bus.
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Old 05-03-2018, 06:02 PM   #10
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I do not know what is standard in a bus, however would venture to guess it is an "open" rear. That is no locker or posi traction. The easy way to find out once you have the bus is to jack up one side and turn the tires, if they turn it is not a locked or a posi. No brakes on for this test, please block front wheels to avoid un needed excitement.....

My bus does have a locking rear, made by Detroit Gear. These are fully locked normally and unlock to allow a turn, you will hear it clicking when turning.
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