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david.dgeorge07 06-17-2017 02:39 PM

4 Curious Georges' 2001 Saf-T-Liner
 
5 Attachment(s)
Okay, We've been working for a couple of weeks and I figured it was finally time to start a thread! The bus is a 2001 Thomas Saf-T-Liner. It is 36' long bumper to bumper and has a rear engine layout. It has conventional springs but rides nicely, I think due in part to the rear engine design. It has the CAT 3126 (which is either the worst engine ever or the best of the early electronic engines, I feel like after researching that it is a decent engine unless until you have to have major work done by CAT, in which case it can be pricey to service), paired with the MD3060 transmission (which most people say is a great unit).

The general progress so far has been to
  1. Remove and recycle the seats
  2. Remove the cabin heater and lines
  3. Remove the rubber floor to discover no plywood only metal
  4. Discover that it is very hard to get the flooring cement off of the metal
  5. And finally, use a sandpaper flap brush on an angle grinder to get the cement off.

I've learned a few things so far:
  1. No matter what, this is just a lot of physical work.
  2. If something seems impossibly hard, you probably aren't approaching it the best way.
  3. Most of the things I've worried about haven't happened.

Finally, here are a list of things I really worried about when trying to decide to do the project/buy this bus:
  1. It would be difficult to drive a bus = not true.
  2. It would be difficult to get it registered = not true.
  3. It would be difficult to get insured = not true
  4. My neighbors would be upset and make me move it = not true
  5. It would not make it the 5 hr. drive home without a breakdown = not true
  6. The CAT engine would be a big mistake = jury is out.
  7. It would be quite difficult to do it on a minimal budget = almost certainly true.

If you are thinking of buying a bus please don't assume you will have the same experience, but thought it might be helpful to share mine.

So far the project has been a great way to collaborate with my daughters and wife in the design and work. It is fun to get to teach them how to use hand tools, and to see our combined effort result in such tangible progress.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to any comments and advice that you may have!

CaptSquid 06-17-2017 03:27 PM

Welcome to our collective nightmare! I've a 2003 HDX and am quite pleased with the room as well as the construction.

Robin97396 06-17-2017 04:01 PM

Welcome

You guys with your long buses, hogging all the parking spots.

CaptSquid 06-17-2017 04:17 PM

You're just jealous!

Robin97396 06-17-2017 04:35 PM

Sure I'd like to have the space of a long bus, not to mention the basement, but it wouldn't make it down my driveway. Besides, that would have been about 40% more work during the build process.

david.dgeorge07 06-17-2017 10:01 PM

Does anyone know what these were for? They terminated under the first seat behind the driver in a chassis that looked like it was designed to hold a piece of electronics that might be about the size of a small car battery. It had been held in with a key lock mechanism but is long gone. Not sure what to do with the vestigial wiring harness in the picture. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...120f55c021.jpg

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Robin97396 06-17-2017 11:26 PM

Pretty sure those were for the bus video system. Sometimes the leave the recorder in the bus. Mine just had the cameras remaining.

david.dgeorge07 06-18-2017 01:12 PM

Ah, makes sense. Sounds like I just need to follow the lines and get rid of it safely without leaving any open power circuits.

david.dgeorge07 06-18-2017 02:48 PM

Finally got the cockpit cleared and ready to clean the floor!https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...0eb185adab.jpg

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CaptSquid 06-18-2017 03:04 PM

They left the "Silent Witness" in my beastie, too. Even left the tape in the recorder. Got out the Sawzall and removed the device, which opened up a lot of dash space. The camera was easy -- only 3 screws and a pair of diagonal cutters and 'poof', they were GONE!

david.dgeorge07 06-18-2017 10:16 PM

Between the floor and wall there is some kind of tar like sealer. When you get your wire brush in it, it just smears everywhere. Any tips on how to navigate this when preping/painting?https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...1afa343fab.jpg

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Robin97396 06-18-2017 11:56 PM

That kind of looks like butyl. It's going to be burried by time you put the floor in, so rather than remove the butyl and then reseal the area why not just leave it there.

If you do want to remove it a putty knife is about the only way. It's sticky and gets on everything, but it's good stuff. It's been there for about 20 years.

david.dgeorge07 06-19-2017 08:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaptSquid (Post 209758)
They left the "Silent Witness" in my beastie, too. Even left the tape in the recorder. Got out the Sawzall and removed the device, which opened up a lot of dash space. The camera was easy -- only 3 screws and a pair of diagonal cutters and 'poof', they were GONE!

Ah, makes sense! Thanks for the info!

david.dgeorge07 06-19-2017 08:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Robin97396 (Post 209835)
That kind of looks like butyl. It's going to be burried by time you put the floor in, so rather than remove the butyl and then reseal the area why not just leave it there.

If you do want to remove it a putty knife is about the only way. It's sticky and gets on everything, but it's good stuff. It's been there for about 20 years.

Yes, I'm not worried about how it looks. Just seems like a mess to deal with. Oil based primer might act like a solvent, but I don't want to stay completely away from it because I need to get the metal all around it. I guess I'll try to keep it organized and paint up to it but not slather over it.

Robin97396 06-19-2017 10:14 AM

You could make a little test area where you've already disturbed the butyl to see if there's any reaction. Butyl is a very old sealant and I'm sure people have painted over it before, although I'm no expert on the subject.

david.dgeorge07 06-19-2017 10:27 AM

Just about ready to prime the floor. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...64ad5d4d49.jpg

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Robin97396 06-19-2017 12:22 PM

You're making pretty good time. Are you pulling the ceiling and wall panels?

david.dgeorge07 06-19-2017 02:51 PM

Well, that was easy compared to all the prep! Yes, I am planning to pull walls and ceiling for insulation. Very thankful to have screws instead of rivets. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...9a400a7057.jpg

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Robin97396 06-19-2017 02:56 PM

I've never had the luck to get a bus with screwed ceiling panels. I have a strong aversion to rivets.

If you're having your insulation sprayed in by a contractor, don't accept foundation grade foam. It's like sawing wood during the trim process.

david.dgeorge07 06-19-2017 03:04 PM

That's a good tip! Is there a name for what you do want?

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Robin97396 06-19-2017 03:49 PM

I was told that mine was a 3 pound closed cell foam normally sprayed on the exterior of new foundations. I don't know enough about foam to tell you what to get or not get. This guy sprayed my bus for the cost of a larger 800 sf do-it-yourself spray foam kit. If I were to do the insulation again I'd buy the kit and do it myself. The contractor spray guy didn't really give a carp about doing a good job on my bus. If I were to use spray foam again I'd get the kit and do it myself. Nobody will do the quality of work that you'll do on your own bus. That's my best tip.

david.dgeorge07 06-19-2017 10:33 PM

I have found that to be totally true with hiring someone to work on your house, so it makes sense that it would be true in this case.

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superduty_59 06-25-2017 09:46 AM

Good looking bus! Good luck on the build!

david.dgeorge07 06-25-2017 08:57 PM

Thanks! It's coming along!

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david.dgeorge07 06-25-2017 08:58 PM

Patching the holes with flashing tape. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...36ca212ea5.jpg

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david.dgeorge07 06-25-2017 09:02 PM

Finally finished getting the coolant loop out of the rear passenger compartment. It wasn't much fun, but got easier when I found an access panel with four screws. It allowed me to get right at what I needed to!https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...fb12fc06ad.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...f0c04391e1.jpg

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david.dgeorge07 06-25-2017 09:08 PM

Getting the floor insulated. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...87b10aab9d.jpg

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cadillackid 06-25-2017 09:35 PM

remember if you completely remove the heater loop that goes from the back to the front in a rear engine bus without replacing it.. you will not have any heating or defrosting capabilities for the windshield or while on the road...

-Christopher

david.dgeorge07 06-25-2017 11:58 PM

Yep, project for a later date. Plan to route lines underneath.

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david.dgeorge07 06-26-2017 09:35 AM

Does anyone know what the wire is that runs along with the coolant lines from the back of the bus to the front? It is kind of strange.

Two coolant lines and a seemingly random wire all the way from the back to the front. Looked like it was grounded out to part of the plumbing in the back in disappears into the dash in the front.

Any light you can shed is appreciated.

cadillackid 06-26-2017 09:40 AM

maybe a heater boost pump? would be controlled by a switch on the dash. and inside the "plumbing" could be the pump motor and not a ground out.
-Christopher

david.dgeorge07 06-26-2017 09:59 AM

I bet you that is it. There is a switch by the dash with a water faucet icon.

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cadillackid 06-26-2017 10:04 AM

you might also have electric solenoid valves to enable or disable the coolant flow through the heater loops.. most busses just have a physical knob to turn.. at least the front engine machines.. so maybe in an RE it could be the valve that opens or closes the heat? I have little experience with rear engine busses..
-Christopher

david.dgeorge07 06-26-2017 04:30 PM

Mine has two manual valves. Not sure why there are two (isn't one enough?) Pretty sure it is for a booster pump.

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cadillackid 06-26-2017 04:36 PM

some busses have 3 valves.. depending on hopw the heater system is layed out.. some busses have 2 valves under the hood (supply and return. prevents heat from radiating through the coolant return to one of the coils).. and a valve at the driver seat in which the driver can alter the heating of either the driver console.. or in the caee of my bluebird. the supply line to the whole bus..

on my carpenter I installed 2 electronic valves under the hood, plus the driver, and mid combo units (heat and A/C) have their own electronic heat valves.. so i have full control of my heat with the touch of a switch.

-Christopher

david.dgeorge07 07-02-2017 09:33 PM

Have any of you use this stuff? Is it essentially just elastomeric paint? I've got to say I'm really impressed with it so far. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...61930a795d.jpg

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david.dgeorge07 07-04-2017 06:47 PM

Just finished the oil change. It would not have been half bad if my tween kid helpers hadn't bailed on me and it hadn't decided to gullywasher thunderstorm halfway through. Found a way to park it that allowed me to fit 5 gallon buckets under the drain plug.https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...b32a3eb95f.jpg

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cadillackid 07-04-2017 10:50 PM

ive used flex-shot to fill in holes and seal around a hatch and it works pretty decent for that.. ive not yet used the rollable liquid.

10 gallon Sterilight or rubber-maid bins work perfect for lower oil change tubs.. mine are about 8-10" tall and are like 18 x 30" in dimensions.. they fit under even low busses and are big enough that I can catch the oil off the filters without making a mess. put the lid on, toss it in the back of my pickup and take it to jiffy-lube where i can pour it in their big oil bin.. take it home.. and clean it up with dawn and water.. works perfect.
-Christopher

david.dgeorge07 07-05-2017 08:46 AM

Good call on the rubbermaid! The worst part was pouring oil back into the 1 gallon bottles.

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cadillackid 07-05-2017 10:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by david.dgeorge07 (Post 212818)
Good call on the rubbermaid! The worst part was pouring oil back into the 1 gallon bottles.

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it doesnt have to be bottled to go to a Jiffy lube type place.. only an auto parts store.. when i go to a jiffy place they let me pour it right into their big oil drum.

to re-bottle, take the 1 gallon juck and set it inside a 5 gallon bucket.. and then a funnel and the jug wont fall over.

-Christopher

david.dgeorge07 07-07-2017 06:21 PM

Guess what I'm up to? ...after recovering from sticker shock. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...4c4021888d.jpg

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cadillackid 07-07-2017 07:11 PM

Well crap I wish I knew you were going to use that I have 5 gallons of the stuff I'll never use

brokedown 07-07-2017 07:21 PM

BTW - Walmart sells Rotella in a 5 gallon jug.

When I changed mhy oil (somewhere in Missouri) I bought a plain white 5 gallon bucket from Walmart and took a few shifts o draining into a oil pan that would fit under the bus and then pouring it into the bucket. I left it as a gift for the fine folks at AutonZone under cover of darkness. Ok it wasn't actually dark it was noon but I gently placed it next to their oil recovery tank and said the magic words "thanks fellas" as I drove away.

Putting the new oil in was interesting, My bus is a stub nose, so half the engine is in a doghouse inside the bus. I put down a few plastic trash bags as tarps and used a complex system of dipping a red solo cup into the new oil and then pouring it into the not quite long or wide enough funnel. The additives in the oil are all totally great for your skin and won't cause a variety of cancers at all.

I actually tried to get Walmart to do my oil change. I told them it was just like a F350 only it needd way more oil, but they were really scared to touch a vehicle that they couldn't look up in their computer. Rather than give them years of nightmares I decided do do it myself.

david.dgeorge07 07-07-2017 08:19 PM

Well it isn't too late! I'm sure I could take some back! Guessing the shipping would probably be steep though. Buying locally was cheaper than ordering online because of that. Btw why aren't you using yours?

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david.dgeorge07 07-07-2017 08:21 PM

@ brokedown your oil change sounds worse than mine! I got caught in the rain, but all that solo cup action sounds even more miserable!

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cadillackid 07-07-2017 08:34 PM

Curios -,I ended up using a poly organic synthetic coolant. In the 7.3s there have been reported issues with standard ELC coolants, supposedly the later versions were ok if which mine is listed as ok but I took no chance and installed amsoil synthetic coolant which also had a better coefficient of heat.. when I did my cooling update I needed ever bit I could get.. now with my new trans the thing cools fantastic..

I also looked at using the final charge in my DEV bus but navistar dealer said no in a DT360... so I have 5 gallons in my garage
Christopher

LectricLance 07-07-2017 08:57 PM

Yes the switch with the faucet is for electric heater circulation pump, to help keep the kids warm in subzero areas. I drove schoolbus for awhile and they said have it on during the winter. My bus has wires ran with the coolant lines for the heater blower fan motors.

david.dgeorge07 07-08-2017 10:08 AM

Everything I can find seems to suggest that final charge is the best coolant for my cat 3126b. I also have a new coolant filter with the rattling briquettes of extender inside. Does anyone see a problem with using these products together?

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cadillackid 07-08-2017 10:10 AM

if you are using an ELC coolant like finalcharge you need a blank coolant filter and not one with the SCA's.. too much SCA's settle out and clog up the cooling system.

I run the blank filter in my Bluebird with the AMSoil coolant.. I dont have the part number off hand or if the same one fits.. but I can get it when im over at the bus later today to drive it if you want.

-Christopher

cadillackid 07-08-2017 10:13 AM

you also want to COMPLETELY flush your system down to go from the green or other ELC into finalcharge... I flushed mine completely to clear water.. then blew air hose through it.. then wasted several gallons of distilled water to flush through.. blew the system with an air hose.. (DONT BLOW WITH AN AIR HOSE ON FULL PRESSURE!!!!!) I had my air set at 15 PSI regulator and used a high volume air nozzle. and of course has a place for the water to flow out.. in my case I flushed while replacing the water pump and steaming the radiator so it was easier to flush.

-Christopher


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