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Old 12-20-2016, 11:58 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Posts: 581
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas Vista
Chassis: International 3600
Engine: Navistar T444E 7.3 Turbo Diesel
New Florida member

Hi all! I've been lurking for a while, this place has tons of great info and it seems like no end of ideas that make my conversion process longer.... But that's 1/3 of the fun, right?

I just picked up a 1995 International 3600 short bus, also knows as a Thomas Vista. It was hauling kids the day before I bought it in the hot and humid town of Miami, and I carefully drove it back to St. Petersburg this past weekend. It's got the 7.3 turbo diesel (T444E) and Allison 542 transmission. I'd looked at a bunch o busses that were immediately written off for various obvious flaws, this one was super clean (for a 20 year old bus) and the motor runs so smooth... And the dual AC will chill you.

This is my first RV project but I also have a sailboat (Pearson 35) so many of the concepts are similar. My GF and I have a basic layout in mind, and hope to have it functional enough to sleep in within a few days.

What I've done: removed the seats, cleaned the rubber floor, and lots of poking and prodding.

What I'm doing as fast as I can (this week):
. sealing seat bolt holes (great stuff), plus a layer of undercoat on the outside
. removing the metal ceiling and installing rigid foam insulation
. Laying 1/4 inch OSB on top of the rubber floor
. Laying linoleum (lowes claims its vinyl now) on top of that
. Adding a wood rail system on the floor to hold a futon firmly while allowing it to fold/unfold
. Light blocking curtain to separate the drivers area

Longer term items already in flight:
. 400W solar (I use Renogy on my boat) with separate battery bank
. LED lighting
. Propane on-demand water heater+pump
. 2000W power inverter
. Chest freezer used as a refrigerator
. Backup camera
. Fresh water tank

Areas requiring additional research/planning
. Wood burning stove for heat?
. Improved wall insulation
. TV wall mount for combination computer monitor/television
. Overhead cabinets
. Grey water tank

Being a used bus, there area bunch of little things I need to take care of as well. Many of the switches on the switch panel are mis-labelled, broken, or not actually hooked up to anything. The windshield washer fluid bottle is busted, one of the wiper arms is about to explode into dust. It's the little things.


Of course, everyone loves pictures. Here's my bus as I bought it.


And of course the first thing I did...
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:10 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 6,726
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I love that Vista Look!! one of my busses is a T-444E too.. im a fan of it in a short bus!..

I also have a place in st pete.. (and one in columbus ohio) where in the burg are you?

-Christopher
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:28 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Posts: 581
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas Vista
Chassis: International 3600
Engine: Navistar T444E 7.3 Turbo Diesel
My boat is parked by Madeira Beach, and I've got a workshop in Largo for the next month or so.

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Old 12-20-2016, 12:37 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 6,726
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
way cool.. one of my bus storage spaces is up off of belcher rd by (roosevelt?) im fairly new to the area.. still learning it..

my apartment is Downtown.

quite a few from florida on here!
-Christopher
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Old 12-20-2016, 01:28 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 10,724
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Welcome!
The sunshine state seems to be a hot spot of folks doing the bus thing.

I'd love a lil Vista like that, such a sweet lil bus!
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Old 12-20-2016, 01:43 PM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Pensacola and Crystal River, FL
Posts: 552
Year: 1998
Coachwork: AmTran International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar 7.6L
Welcome !

Geez that is a sweet bus, but a "sport bus" ??????

I guess it is no worse than a "sport van", LOL.
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Old 12-20-2016, 01:48 PM   #7
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Posts: 581
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas Vista
Chassis: International 3600
Engine: Navistar T444E 7.3 Turbo Diesel
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleO7 View Post
Welcome !

Geez that is a sweet bus, but a "sport bus" ??????

I guess it is no worse than a "sport van", LOL.
It's clearly faster than the non-sport model!


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Old 12-20-2016, 01:50 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Posts: 581
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas Vista
Chassis: International 3600
Engine: Navistar T444E 7.3 Turbo Diesel
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
way cool.. one of my bus storage spaces is up off of belcher rd by (roosevelt?) im fairly new to the area.. still learning it..

my apartment is Downtown.

quite a few from florida on here!
-Christopher
We have been here a few years, but rarely go to downtown St Pete. Sounds like a bunch of people in this area, would love to meet up with fellow skoolies.

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Old 12-20-2016, 02:10 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Pensacola and Crystal River, FL
Posts: 552
Year: 1998
Coachwork: AmTran International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar 7.6L
The St. Pete-Clearwater airport will be our airport of choice soon.
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Old 12-20-2016, 04:40 PM   #10
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 10,724
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
We have been here a few years, but rarely go to downtown St Pete. Sounds like a bunch of people in this area, would love to meet up with fellow skoolies.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
Feb 10th we are having a sort of gather/roof raising here in Sorrento. Near Apopka.
Come on out, with or without bus.
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