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vonslatt 01-20-2005 03:53 PM

1989 Thomas Saf-T-Liner
I got mine today too!

1989 Thomas Saf-t-liner with a CAT 3208 (normally aspirated)

The speedometer has been replaced, but the hour meter reads 5105 Hours which I'm guessing is 80 - 100K mile. She's very clean, only small cosmetic rust spots here and there. She comes from Montrose, NY.

I'll be fully documenting the work on my website at but I wanted to give you guys a first look!

Boy it looks big in the driveway. I'll be moving it out back Saturday and I'm ordering an RV cover for it right now - got to keep the neighbors happy!


lapeer20m 01-20-2005 05:45 PM

SHE'S A BEAUTY !!! I"m jealous....

Someday i plan to own a snub nose bus like that one.

just one thing, looks to be the schools fault and not yours, ......The flag above the door is wrong. It's a left side flag on the right side of the bus. The union should always be towards the front.
here's an example of the correct flag for the right side of a vehicle, or person.

I'm in love with that door midway down the bus. Wanna trade buses? Just kidding.

She is a beauty!

Steve 01-20-2005 05:48 PM

How come the inner flashers are clear? They took the red ones off for you?

lapeer20m 01-20-2005 05:53 PM

What trans do you have? Manual or Allison Auto?

I took 5,105 hours, and divided that by an average speed of 25mph and that came out to 204K miles. I am getting ever closer to 200 thousand miles on my skoolie, and she's still going strong.

Have you seen any service records for the bus? Curious if she's had a new trans or a major engine overhaul in her lifetime.

Good luck! I love the look of that bus.

vonslatt 01-20-2005 06:09 PM

Flag: Interesting - so it should always appear as an actual flag would fly - at least if the vehicle is moving forward!

Lights: Yeah, three of the four yellow lenses are gone. I'm planning to remove them entirely and put clearance lights along the roof line. So far the yellow lenses are the only thing I've found missing.

Door: there is another one on the other side too - but they are both in the WRONG place! First order of business after de-seating will be to figure out if the skin section with the door can be swapped with the on ahead of it on the right side and the one behind it on the left side. This would move the right door up 3 windows.


vonslatt 01-20-2005 06:24 PM

Hours/Miles: I used numbers from the School Bus Fleet magazine forum for the average speed of a school bus. They were in the 13-16 mile per hour range as reported by garage managers.

There are also some Bluebirds for auction in Arizona and one is listed with 130K with an hour meter that reads 11K.

My car has a trip computer and it's average MPH over many tanks is just over thirty - and I have a 20 mile comute to work through rural suburbs with few stops. It's also consistant with my experience biking to high school some 25 years ago. I would pass the bus half-way to school and it would pull in while I was locking up my bike.

It has the Allison auto, I hear this is a robust but inefficient tranny, true? - I do wish it had a standard! Maybe someday . . . .


vonslatt 01-20-2005 06:33 PM

Service records: No, unfortuneately not. I bought the bus from a broker so all the paperwork I got was the title. It _looks_ like it has 80-100K on it but for 2000 bucks I thought it a steal even without service records.

lapeer20m 01-20-2005 10:15 PM

I"m sure they know what they're talking about when it comes to average speed. On second thought.....25mph is a pretty high average. Buses tend to spend a lot of hours just idling not to mention all that stop and go.

busone 01-21-2005 02:04 AM

That is the exact bus I want. I like how some like the one you got have the high roof. Do you know what the rear end ratio is? How fast were you able to get it up to? Looks like you got a real good deal, congrats.

vonslatt 01-21-2005 10:10 AM

Thanks Busone!

I don't know what the rear end ratio is and they deliverd the bus to me on a Load-all so I haven't driven it on the street yet (just around the driveway!)

It's not a two speed rear end though. :-(

Will the ratio be stamped on the rear end somewhere?


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