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Old 05-08-2016, 06:20 PM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Ready to pull the trigger

Hey there, long time lurker and infrequent contributor here but finally ready to take that dive and buy my bus. I have a line on a 2003 Thomas RE, 138k miles, Cummins 5.9 with an Allison MD3060. I looked it over, clean and rust free, new tires all around, clean oil although a little accumulation from around the oil pan seal, and only minor cosmetic damage is the skirt on one side which will be going away anyways. I didn't have an opportunity to drive it yet but assuming it runs well and can hold 60mph without screaming I will be going home with a new project! I have a couple of options for where to park and work on this project too which is nice.
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Old 05-08-2016, 08:05 PM   #2
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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Congratulation. Camouflage it, then park it at home. It's not that people don't see it, they're just afraid to say anything to you.
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Old 05-08-2016, 08:16 PM   #3
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I was going to put, "NOT an NSA Surveillance Van" on the sides lol
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Old 05-08-2016, 09:17 PM   #4
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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You can always be the FBI (Female Body Inspector) like has been in several movies.
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Old 05-09-2016, 12:09 AM   #5
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Location: Richmond Virginia
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Year: 1984
Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
How exciting! Look forward to seeing pics and hearing more about the adventure.
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Old 05-18-2016, 03:30 PM   #6
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Okay, now I'm frustrated... I was really excited and planning to test drive / take it home at the end of the month but my diesel mechanic has concerns about the performance of the Cummins 5.9 on hills and that they had a series 53 engine block that was prone to cracking I guess from a thin spot in the casting. Now I'm second guessing myself and quite frankly just paralyzed by the prospect. Sure for the price I can't beat it but I don't want the power train to become a money pit before I even get into the renovation. And if I keep looking around I could find something better but it just seems like it's always something that just doesn't line up and I'm afraid I'll never get past the buying stage at this rate.

Sorry, just venting
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Old 05-18-2016, 05:26 PM   #7
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 4,900
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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Consider how many of us are driving 5.9s. True it kind of feels like a VW motor powering a loaded truck, but it gets you on the highway at speed, eventually. I haven't heard anything about the weak block on this site, but that doesn't mean much. So far I'm pretty impressed that a pickup truck motor is powering something this heavy.

That bus you've been looking at is a nice package with that transmission. If it's not the right bus for you, don't get it. Regret pops it's head up often enough already. Chances are you may own more than one bus in your life, if you get started.
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Old 05-18-2016, 06:02 PM   #8
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Yeah so I talked to another dealer who has buses with engines like the 8.3 and he was not down on the 5.9. Sure I don't expect it to rocket up hills. So based on that I think I will move forward I just needed apparently a third opinion!
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Old 05-18-2016, 06:49 PM   #9
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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It's a very popular engine in a lot of pickup trucks. It can't be all bad. You even got a good transmission in that bus.
If you find a knowledgeable mechanic they can increase the power from that engine or you can do it yourself, but don't take it to far. You can turn up the power but you don't want the heat problems you could get from turning it up to far. Does that make sense. This engine is capable of more power but that creates heat. It's likely you don't want to mess around with a bigger radiator.
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Old 05-18-2016, 06:53 PM   #10
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 7,939
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I just drove a bus with an AT545 a GVWR of 27000 lbs and a DT360 (5.9 innline 6) 400 miles and ran 65 on flat ground and even on some hills only slowed down to 60 or so... and thats with an AT545..

granted i just blew my air brakes compressor up but thats not related to the engine..

-Christopher
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