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Old 01-22-2018, 04:26 PM   #1
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Thomas "6 cylinder diesel" VIN decoding

We're starting the process of looking for a bus to convert for full time living. I've narrowed what I'd like down to a Thomas (from NC, like the idea of having an NC made bus) & preferable transit style & pusher with Detroit or Cummins. I've got a few I may want to check out but wanted more info via the VIN. 1T7HR3B is the start of the one I'm most interested in, which using the decoding chart should be an MVP-ER, pusher with 72" ceilings and a "6 cylinder diesel". Which leads me to the question, WHICH 6 cylinder diesel? I've looked and 2 different decoder charts for Thomas busses and both just say "6 cylinder diesel" without specifying the manufacturer. I've googled and haven't found a definitive answer. Anyone know what the generic 6 cylinder diesel listed on the decoder charts is supposed to be?

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Old 01-22-2018, 04:42 PM   #2
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On one of the buses I looked into I had the same issue. In my case it looked like it was a Cat engine but owner could never verify.
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Old 01-22-2018, 04:45 PM   #3
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https://www.gates.com/search-by-vin
try here

i also remember reading somewhere NC busses can tend to be slow, so try and ask seller about gear ratio
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Old 01-22-2018, 04:55 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jjhwick119 View Post
https://www.gates.com/search-by-vin
try here

i also remember reading somewhere NC busses can tend to be slow, so try and ask seller about gear ratio
Thanks! That's exactly what I needed! Looks like the one a county over that if like to check out is a Cummins, which is what I was hoping for.

Seller is the school system so I'm sure it will be slow since school busses in NC are limited to 55. Shouldn't be too much trouble to remove the governor tho.

Thanks again!

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Old 01-22-2018, 05:09 PM   #5
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Location: Swansboro,NC
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Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
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From an NC SKOOLIE if you are lookin at the older busses. Stay away from the 8.2/545 and all the older busses with computers were rear geared engine built for there top speed. So no governors to adjust.
I am stuck at 49 without changing something. Several options just haven't decided.
The activity busses are geared for higher speed but are around 55-59
The newer computer controlled are only limited by the computer parameters as for as I know.
What county are you in?
What type of bus are you looking for?
I know of two flat nose mid size busses in Wayne county that look real good and probably came from the Air Force base so probably maintained and already run highway speeds easily.
Otherwise I would look into counties like mecklenburg and north into the mountain areas for a good drivetrain and capable engine/tranny cooling system for highway speeds/travel.
Good luck
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BullCityBus View Post
Thanks! That's exactly what I needed! Looks like the one a county over that if like to check out is a Cummins, which is what I was hoping for.

Seller is the school system so I'm sure it will be slow since school busses in NC are limited to 55. Shouldn't be too much trouble to remove the governor tho.

Thanks again!

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Glad to help! good luck on the bus!
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
From an NC SKOOLIE if you are lookin at the older busses. Stay away from the 8.2/545 and all the older busses with computers were rear geared engine built for there top speed. So no governors to adjust.
I am stuck at 49 without changing something. Several options just haven't decided.
The activity busses are geared for higher speed but are around 55-59
The newer computer controlled are only limited by the computer parameters as for as I know.
What county are you in?
What type of bus are you looking for?
I know of two flat nose mid size busses in Wayne county that look real good and probably came from the Air Force base so probably maintained and already run highway speeds easily.
Otherwise I would look into counties like mecklenburg and north into the mountain areas for a good drivetrain and capable engine/tranny cooling system for highway speeds/travel.
Good luck
I'm right in the middle, Orange/Durham so I'm pretty well situated to go just about anywhere in the state to look. Thanks for the gearing tip, didn't even think of that. I think I'm definitely gonna expand the search & we're not in a hurry thankfully. Can you send the the Wayne county info?

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Old 01-22-2018, 05:18 PM   #8
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Location: Owasso, OK
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Year: 1999
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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 jjhwick119 View Post
https://www.gates.com/search-by-vin
try here

i also remember reading somewhere NC busses can tend to be slow, so try and ask seller about gear ratio
Yes, that chart should identify the engine. I've only seen CAT and Cummins in the MVP's I've looked at.

Only the buses destined for NC schools have the severe speed restrictions. Those restrictions can be removed but check the final drive gearing too, as one way to keep the speed low is to lower the gearing, 6.14 being fairly common.

That said, the one guy I know who has a CAT engine with a 6.14 FD ratio did get Allison to unlock 6th gear making it a very fine highway bus, and with the lower gearing it's pretty good in town too.
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:18 PM   #9
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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 actually just caught your name/title?
I know the BULL CITY and if that's where you are at then there is a huge bus barn just north of you between Greensboro and MEBANE off of I85 on the left as your heading north and a good bit of those buses should be ready to roll the interstate and the foot hills of the area just fine.
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:22 PM   #10
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 439
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
Quote:
Originally Posted by BullCityBus View Post
I'm right in the middle, Orange/Durham so I'm pretty well situated to go just about anywhere in the state to look. Thanks for the gearing tip, didn't even think of that. I think I'm definitely gonna expand the search & we're not in a hurry thankfully. Can you send the the Wayne county info?

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I will be in the area tomorrow and if I remember I will stop and get pics and contact info.
It is a dealership but both buses are already a deep blue with white roof so I am thinking he got them from Seymour Johnson air base.
I will let you know tomorrow night.
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