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Old 12-29-2017, 09:16 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Maine
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Year: 2004
Engine: T444E
Hello from Maine

Hi everyone,

I'm Brian and my wife Anna and I are proud new owners of two 2004 Thomas 66pax busses on international chassis with T444Es. One is manual, one is auto. I only wanted one but they came as a package deal from the local school district. Our intent is to keep the manual and sell the auto. We have two little kids and plan to travel the country eventually. From the research I've done, it seems as though it's fairly easy to get the RV registration in Maine. Also, once I get the RV registration I will no longer need a CDL with air brake endorsement to drive it. I came across this site while looking for lay-out ideas. I've already learned a lot, stolen a few ideas, and hope to contribute some of my own. I am extremely grateful to the kind souls who posted the complete service manuals for my buses. They have already come in handy.

A little background, I'm an engineer in the US Merchant Marine and met my wife while overseas in the Philippines. We lived there for a few years while we went through the immigration drama. Once here in the states we were on the highway one day and saw a little old-timer driving this enormous land yacht of an RV. She'd never seen anything like it and asked what it was. I told her it's a house you can drive around the country. She asked if we could get one. I said Of course, when we win the lottery. She asked if we could make one (those Filipinas are resourceful!) I'd seen a couple bus conversions over the years, mostly tailgaters made from short buses but I'd seen a few bigger ones at biker ralleys and stuff. I went to the school district maintenance garage in my town and said I was interested, how to get one, and if they had any with the T444E because I'm familiar with the 7.3l Powerstrokes. They said they had two and to put a bid into the state. 6 months later they are in the yard! Both run and drive great, minor rust, 170k and 150k miles, good tires. My job requires me to be away for lengths of time so I've only begun hauling the seats out of the manual but we are excited about the project!
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Old 12-29-2017, 10:14 PM   #2
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Coachwork: BlueBird
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Welcome !

Wow ! That's a first! His-and-hers buses.

Sounds like you have quite the project. Looking forward to your resourceful build.
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Old 12-29-2017, 10:18 PM   #3
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Congrats on the twins.

Actually what perfect timing. One could be the workshop while working on the other.

Do you have pics of your new family members?
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Old 12-31-2017, 05:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Congrats on the twins.

Actually what perfect timing. One could be the workshop while working on the other.

Do you have pics of your new family members?
Just the one that's for sale, but the other one looks about the same
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Old 12-31-2017, 05:21 AM   #5
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One more pic stolen from my wife's FB, hard to see but there they both are. My neighbors love their mountain view with the two buses in the foreground hehe
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:54 AM   #6
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nice!!! before you decide which one to sell. be sure to drive that auto around a bit.. your 2004 may have better gear ratios for highway than your manual.. it may have the 2000 series overdrive transmission.. whereas if you have a spicer stick you may not have that.. so I would drive both up to 65 and check the RPMs. on each.. you DONT want to run your T444E in the summer times at the top of your RPM range if you dont have to... without knowing the gearing on your manual it may have the better gearing.. im just saying if you plan to road-trip in hot summer lower RPMs are better for the 444E engines!.

Nice to score 2 busses.. maybe just hang onto both
-Christopher
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Old 12-31-2017, 06:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
nice!!! before you decide which one to sell. be sure to drive that auto around a bit.. your 2004 may have better gear ratios for highway than your manual.. it may have the 2000 series overdrive transmission.. whereas if you have a spicer stick you may not have that.. so I would drive both up to 65 and check the RPMs. on each.. you DONT want to run your T444E in the summer times at the top of your RPM range if you dont have to... without knowing the gearing on your manual it may have the better gearing.. im just saying if you plan to road-trip in hot summer lower RPMs are better for the 444E engines!.

Nice to score 2 busses.. maybe just hang onto both
-Christopher
Thanks for the info and advice! Is there a way to tell which trans/gears are in it without driving it? VIN? There's about two more feet of snow around them now since that last picture was taken. They are stationary until spring now
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:07 PM   #8
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Bearing in mind that these can occasionally be wrong ...

https://www.gates.com/search-by-vin

That will give you the basic spec. It might give you the transmission serial number. If it does, the Allison site will tell you what is fitted.

If it doesn't, any International dealer can pull up the build sheet.
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Old 01-04-2018, 02:54 PM   #9
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You might want to work up both of them for travelling. As I recall, it's sometimes very useful with children to tell each of them to go to their room and shut the door.
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by briandleblanc View Post
Just the one that's for sale, but the other one looks about the same
How much?

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