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Old 06-01-2019, 11:55 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Tampa Bay
Posts: 2
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: CAT 3126B with an AT 545 trans
Rated Cap: 65
Getting Started

I just recently bought a 2002 Thomas Built Freightliner 65 passenger bus and have done a good portion of stripping out the interior. I am looking to do a roof raise since there is only about 6 feet of clearance from floor to ceiling (before insulating the floor) and I am also going to be taking out the engine to do an unnecessary tear down/rebuild. I'm doing a tear down/rebuild of the CAT 3126B since I have to do one for class anyway as a student in a diesel technology program so I may as well do my own engine. It also gives me an excuse to keep the bus on school property rather than having to find a home for it for the time being.

I look forward to bouncing ideas off this community and eventually being someone who can offer advice.
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Old 06-01-2019, 12:24 PM   #2
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Year: 2002
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Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Way to go leveraging your school needs to assist with your skoolie build.

Regarding the roof raise, the Thomas's have a slight inward tilt on the upper wall that makes the roof raise a bit more challenging than on some other buses. Several people here have done it successfully. I would suggest that you search and read what others have done with their Thomas to deal with the 'slant'.

Good luck with your conversion.
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Old 06-01-2019, 01:01 PM   #3
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Location: E Central Tejas
Posts: 1,997
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
Engine: T444E w/ Spicer 5-speed MT
Rated Cap: I prefer broad-brims hats
Excellent that you've a parking spot that's covered by tuition. That's using your smarts!
Sometime in between classes, labs, and keggers, fill in the bus' details in your profile. Makes it easier for folx to lend a hand to any questions that may arise for you, w/o having to ask.
F'instance: what tranny's in it? If a 545, might be a good chance to swap it out while the engine's out...
Welcome to the jungle!
(We got fun n games)
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Old 06-01-2019, 03:42 PM   #4
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Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
Posts: 1,994
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Locybin View Post
I just recently bought a 2002 Thomas Built Freightliner 65 passenger bus and have done a good portion of stripping out the interior. I am looking to do a roof raise since there is only about 6 feet of clearance from floor to ceiling (before insulating the floor) and I am also going to be taking out the engine to do an unnecessary tear down/rebuild. I'm doing a tear down/rebuild of the CAT 3126B since I have to do one for class anyway as a student in a diesel technology program so I may as well do my own engine. It also gives me an excuse to keep the bus on school property rather than having to find a home for it for the time being.

I look forward to bouncing ideas off this community and eventually being someone who can offer advice.
good for you - I was just thinking as l read another post, that one thing a skoolie owner needs to be is self reliant and resourceful - you are already showing that you have those attributes - stick with it and you're going to do great - it's the ones that need advice about where their left hand is at the moment that are in for a difficult time with their skoolie
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Old 06-02-2019, 01:12 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 783
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
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Originally Posted by haz.matt.1960 View Post
F'instance: what tranny's in it?

Most liely, an Allison AT2000.
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:45 AM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: E Central Tejas
Posts: 1,997
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
Engine: T444E w/ Spicer 5-speed MT
Rated Cap: I prefer broad-brims hats
Who knows? Could be.
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Originally Posted by Native View Post
Most liely, an Allison AT2000.
Just a f'instance on a well filled out profile!
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:13 PM   #7
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Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Tampa Bay
Posts: 2
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: CAT 3126B with an AT 545 trans
Rated Cap: 65
It is an AT 545. I'd like to do a swap but not sure where to look to get one that isn't going to break the bank. Is there a particular type that you would recommend?
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:25 PM   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 7,464
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Locybin View Post
It is an AT 545. I'd like to do a swap but not sure where to look to get one that isn't going to break the bank. Is there a particular type that you would recommend?
Allison MD3060, find one with 6th gear unlocked.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:11 PM   #9
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Join Date: May 2017
Location: Windham NH
Posts: 206
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International RE
Engine: International T444e
Rated Cap: 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Allison MD3060, find one with 6th gear unlocked.
I've thought about this, but how is this even done? I asked the International dealer I've been buying parts from if they swap engines / transmissions and they gave me a funny look...


I have a T444e/545 combo in an International RE and have been wondering if its worth it/not worth it, what is even required, who can do it, how much does it cost, am I good for mountain trips as it is, etc.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:44 PM   #10
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: E Central Tejas
Posts: 1,997
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
Engine: T444E w/ Spicer 5-speed MT
Rated Cap: I prefer broad-brims hats
Brotha, are you ever in the right place!
BTW, you'd best get used to the funny looks. School bus transmogrification doesn't sit easily in many's world view...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
I've thought about this, but how is this even done? I asked the International dealer I've been buying parts from if they swap engines / transmissions and they gave me a funny look...


I have a T444e/545 combo in an International RE and have been wondering if its worth it/not worth it, what is even required, who can do it, how much does it cost, am I good for mountain trips as it is, etc.
It is definitely worth investigating. The 545 ain't exactly a prize pig, and the 444 will never win the Kentucky Derby, unless in the off-season...
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