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Old 10-11-2018, 06:18 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Possible Mid-Sized Project

Hello!


To get from a friend who already started the build-out ...


Anyone have a similar vehicle? This is about 30 ft total length. Ceiling is almost 7 ft, i.e. made for adults (fire crew).
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Old 10-17-2018, 11:23 AM   #2
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Anyone have thoughts on converting this? What about building a ramp to put my motorcycle (150 cc scooter) inside?
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Old 10-17-2018, 12:09 PM   #3
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Year: 1946
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The high roof is a big plus but I'd be more concerned with the engine & drivetrain. What motor...what trans...what condition?
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Old 10-17-2018, 03:54 PM   #4
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All I know is "Allison" and "runs great." I have to get back over there in person to check out more detail. (It's an automatic; wish it were manual. Or do I?)


Thanks for responding.
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Old 10-17-2018, 11:37 PM   #5
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Allison makes about 90% of all the heavy duty trannies around. Especially in Skoolies. That one is almost certainly an AT545 unless someone has swapped it out. Good trans in its' day but many consider it a dinosaur because it has no lock-up and only 4 gears. Quite a few folks here have swapped them out for newer 5 & 6 speed units so it might not be a deal killer. And manuals are not common but there are some. Frankly, the right auto will serve most folks much better. They are stout and generally get better mpg's. Just gotta keep them from overheating.



The engine story is critical as well. There are some great motors in buses and others you want to avoid like the plague. Devil is in the details. Make sure to get all the specs you can.


And definitely check the tires. Both for wear & condition as well as date. There are several online guides for reading "tire date codes". They can have tread and look OK but if too far out of date they can be trouble. And remember...there are six of them to replace. Typically at around $1200 or so bucks for a set. Sometimes more, sometimes less.


Others here can add to a checklist.



Oh...and before you buy ANY bus...make sure you have a place to put it! (Store, park, work, etc.)


Best of luck.
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Old 10-18-2018, 10:36 AM   #6
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Thank you! Keep in mind that this bus was used for transporting forest-fire-fighting crews in the mountains, so I assume the transmission, and engine, was adapted to that as necessary. Hopefully I'll have the details soon. I was told that the suspension was modified for a smoother ride.
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Old 10-18-2018, 10:39 AM   #7
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I suppose it would not be a good idea to store a Road King (over 1000 lbs) in the garage, which is behind the rear wheels, correct? Probably need a bike trailer.
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Old 10-18-2018, 12:22 PM   #8
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If indeed it has a softer suspension, then a bike(road king) in the back may not be a good idea, might just need to try it though. A trailer is going to be easyer to load of course but then a short trailer long bus makes backing a bit more interesting.
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Old 10-18-2018, 12:27 PM   #9
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Well, if the Road King comes along then that means my "truck driver" comes along too and he can figure out the details. I'm sure my scooter will be fine inside if I can build a ramp.
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Old 10-27-2018, 08:29 PM   #10
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward Senator
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Engine: DT466
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndiW View Post
Hello!



To get from a friend who already started the build-out ...


Anyone have a similar vehicle? This is about 30 ft total length. Ceiling is almost 7 ft, i.e. made for adults (fire crew).
From my research in looking for a bus, government buses, prison buses and/or fire department buses have gas engines. You really don't want to fiddle with those, but maybe since this one was for the mountains, it is a diesel engine.
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Old 10-28-2018, 11:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RevyRev View Post
From my research in looking for a bus, government buses, prison buses and/or fire department buses have gas engines. You really don't want to fiddle with those, but maybe since this one was for the mountains, it is a diesel engine.
It is a diesel engine.
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Old 10-29-2018, 11:16 AM   #12
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Here's the info I have so far: 1979?? International Loadstar 1850 with Allison MT643 transmission. Plus the enhanced suspension as mentioned above. And the ceiling is definitely 7 feet of awesome space. Odometer shows 3606 miles, which is impossible because I'm told it was driven from Oregon to North Carolina (by the original owner, logistics company) before sale to my friend. There's a lot of light body rust. It looks like there may have been some damage covered over near the front door. I would appreciate any input!
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Old 10-29-2018, 11:32 AM   #13
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Oh yeah, where do I find the VIN number? My friend's girlfriend has the title and she is traveling so can't get it from there. Here's the bus body info: Ward Industries, model ss-29, cap 65, serial no 82695 ... date mfg 5-10-79. Oops, guess it's a 79! Since I don't know the engine for sure, I found this info: 1850 started with DV550 engine. DV550 had gas and diesel models. "In 1976 the DT-466 turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine appeared for use in the 1850 series." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intern...ester_Loadstar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3...ester_Loadstar
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Old 10-29-2018, 12:14 PM   #14
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its probably a 79 body wit ha 78 chassis.. thats def a Loadstar.. the DT466 was offered in it and if it has an auto it would be an MT-643 as the 545 wasnt put behind the 466.. it will be a non-aftercooled 466.. they didnt put charge air coolers on those but they are turbo.



on a Loadstar tilt the hood open and your VIN should be on the firewall under the windshield. , possibly nearer to the steering shaft.. it wont be a 17 digit vin it will likely be an 11 or 13 digit VIN as standardized VINs were not required until 1981.. my Loadstar has a 13 digit VIN.



surface rust may or may not be an issue.. if its bubbling up from under the paint then its a definite steer clear.. if it appears just the paint has worn thin and the metal is a bit browned but still very solid then its not an issue..



Ward didnt zinc coat all their panels like superior did.. and the biggest issues of contention on Loadstars are where the chassis and body floor meet.. it seems on these and early S-series I often see rust problems.. this area would be under the rubber floor right up front in the driver area.. you can crawl under the bus and look up at the floors just about where the engine and trans meet to easily see if that area is still solid or has gotten rusty..



the Ward body and Loadstar Chassis give the bus a classic charm.. most parts for the chassis are still available.. such as breaks, steering parts, engine . trans..



split rims and bias ply tires may be on that bus.. ifthey are truly the 3 piece split rims you may find it hard to get any truck or tire shop to work on them... if they are retainer ring 2 piece rims most shops will do those.. in the case of either type of spit rim the tires will be a 20 inch and will be inner-tube type... ive only had my loadstar a couple months and have already swapped out 4 of those rims for standard 22.5 inch rims tht i can buy standard tires and any shop will work on...

-Christopher
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Old 10-29-2018, 12:39 PM   #15
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I have swapped out all my split rims for 22.5 tubeless, mostly so I can get a tire on the road if need be
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Old 10-29-2018, 12:47 PM   #16
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Year: 1991
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
I have swapped out all my split rims for 22.5 tubeless, mostly so I can get a tire on the road if need be

I just have 2 left to do then ill be the same.. rides better on radials than it did on bias plys too
-Christopher
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Old 10-29-2018, 01:05 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Awesome info! Thanks!



Here are some photos:


https://photos.app.goo.gl/JynVFds25V8merQQ8
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Old 10-29-2018, 01:08 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I just have 2 left to do then ill be the same.. rides better on radials than it did on bias plys too
-Christopher

Steering will be much nicer once you do the front. Will not track ruts as much.
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Old 10-29-2018, 01:38 PM   #19
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
Steering will be much nicer once you do the front. Will not track ruts as much.

I need to get my steering box rebuilt too... lots of Lash plus the input shaft of it moves inward and outward a bit too so the bearing is shot.. at least they are pretty easy to remove on these chassis and I have a great steering shop in town that rebuilds these saginaws all the time.
-Christopher
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Old 10-29-2018, 02:27 PM   #20
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How much do you all spend on this type of maintenance every year? It sounds expensive.
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