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Old 05-16-2024, 12:14 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 25
2004 International Pusher Build

I've had a few posts asking questions about our build but I decided it's time to start an actual build thread so we can post our progress and how we're doing each piece of this. I'll just drop photos up to where we are today in this initial post. It's a 2004 International pusher, 40 footer. DT466 with the Allison 3060.

Just after driving it home from around an hour away:



Seats removed:



Pulling up flooring (first time seeing rust on the bus at all - none underneath):



Flooring up, wire-wheeled, degreased, and rinsed:



After coating with POR-15 system (still wet):



After POR-15 dried or maybe second coat:





More to come. We have the windows out and have started removing rivets for a 16" roof raise. All sheetmetal is on the way along with hat channel extensions.

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Old 05-17-2024, 07:31 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 1,019
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 29
It's amazing to me to see the floors so rusty on a 2004, but I see this all the time. I wonder if they changed the floor metal type from my 94 3Box thomas bus as i had practically no rust at all and was up in West Virginia where it's soaking wet all the time. I have a unicorn for sure in that regards.

Good to see floors all cleaned up and prepped, looked good. I'm at this stage as well. and roof raise is next.

I noticed you don't have side panels removed. Are you planning on removing an inspecting behind them? There could be rust behind those panels as well. You have to remove the windows to remove the panels or you can do what I did and simply grinding wheel them away. You remove all screws and grind wheel just under the windows which will open them up. I had a single hat channel with some rust behind the panels, but you may have more given the amount of rust you had on the floor.

Also where do you plan to make the cuts? Under the windows? or through the Windows?

My build thread is here if you want to follow my progress and comment: https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/s...-fr-42373.html
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Old 05-17-2024, 09:19 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikitis View Post
It's amazing to me to see the floors so rusty on a 2004, but I see this all the time. I wonder if they changed the floor metal type from my 94 3Box thomas bus as i had practically no rust at all and was up in West Virginia where it's soaking wet all the time. I have a unicorn for sure in that regards.

Good to see floors all cleaned up and prepped, looked good. I'm at this stage as well. and roof raise is next.

I noticed you don't have side panels removed. Are you planning on removing an inspecting behind them? There could be rust behind those panels as well. You have to remove the windows to remove the panels or you can do what I did and simply grinding wheel them away. You remove all screws and grind wheel just under the windows which will open them up. I had a single hat channel with some rust behind the panels, but you may have more given the amount of rust you had on the floor.

Also where do you plan to make the cuts? Under the windows? or through the Windows?

My build thread is here if you want to follow my progress and comment: https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/s...-fr-42373.html
Hey thanks! This one is from the Seattle area and we live on the outskirts. So very wet in the winter but dry summers. What we think happened is that the undercoating essentially trapped water and the flooring never dried out for its entire 17 years of service. The wood was very wet.

We are taking the panels off also, haven't posted the most recent photos but will. I've not found rust behind them but I have found wet insulation in at least one hat channel. I'm curious, on yours, was it leaking from the roof into the channel? I don't see evidence of where the water came from unless it was via the windows.

Making cuts in middle of hats, we have all the extensions arriving Monday. I just finished fabricating 8 jacks/braces to hold the roof up. Have most of the rivets out on the rear, all out on front. Will be making cuts this weekend most likely just before getting the channels so we're ready to put them in place.

Will look through your thread! More updates soon.
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Old 05-18-2024, 01:37 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 1,019
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by aerowenn View Post
Hey thanks! This one is from the Seattle area and we live on the outskirts. So very wet in the winter but dry summers. What we think happened is that the undercoating essentially trapped water and the flooring never dried out for its entire 17 years of service. The wood was very wet.

We are taking the panels off also, haven't posted the most recent photos but will. I've not found rust behind them but I have found wet insulation in at least one hat channel. I'm curious, on yours, was it leaking from the roof into the channel? I don't see evidence of where the water came from unless it was via the windows.

Making cuts in middle of hats, we have all the extensions arriving Monday. I just finished fabricating 8 jacks/braces to hold the roof up. Have most of the rivets out on the rear, all out on front. Will be making cuts this weekend most likely just before getting the channels so we're ready to put them in place.

Will look through your thread! More updates soon.
It would be the windows if wet insulation on the sides where the leaks come from. I had a small leak up where the emergency ceiling hatch is, but it has a large crack in it. I plan to skylight it anyway. The bus just survived a recent hailstorm where my truck and camaro didn't go unscathed. The bus didn't have a single dent in it parked next to the other two. Solid body that thing.

I need to raise some more funds before I raise my roof and will need to push out rivets next. Just finished my floor today. I plan to cut under my windows. On my body this is the smarter choice. Just under my window frames is an outside bumper guard rail I can cut in the middle of that, raise the roof plus windows plus frame. This way I don't have to reframe the windows as I plan on keeping the existing windows to keep the Thomas classic look, plus we enjoy the 360 views, and my windows haven't really leaked at all. I'll still likely take the windows out to re-seal them as it is 30 years old, but won't be redoing any framing for windows. While it's more cutting, it's less sheet metal required I'll only need 15 in's in width of sheet metal to replace for the skin for a 12 in roof raise. an extra 1.5 inches for tucking under said bumper guard rail, on top and bottom. It will look factory when I'm done with it as if Thomas did it themselves to begin with.
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Old 05-18-2024, 10:15 AM   #5
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,035
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikitis View Post
It would be the windows if wet insulation on the sides where the leaks come from. I had a small leak up where the emergency ceiling hatch is, but it has a large crack in it. I plan to skylight it anyway. The bus just survived a recent hailstorm where my truck and camaro didn't go unscathed. The bus didn't have a single dent in it parked next to the other two. Solid body that thing.

I need to raise some more funds before I raise my roof and will need to push out rivets next. Just finished my floor today. I plan to cut under my windows. On my body this is the smarter choice. Just under my window frames is an outside bumper guard rail I can cut in the middle of that, raise the roof plus windows plus frame. This way I don't have to reframe the windows as I plan on keeping the existing windows to keep the Thomas classic look, plus we enjoy the 360 views, and my windows haven't really leaked at all. I'll still likely take the windows out to re-seal them as it is 30 years old, but won't be redoing any framing for windows. While it's more cutting, it's less sheet metal required I'll only need 15 in's in width of sheet metal to replace for the skin for a 12 in roof raise. an extra 1.5 inches for tucking under said bumper guard rail, on top and bottom. It will look factory when I'm done with it as if Thomas did it themselves to begin with.



here in ohio there are 2016 and 2017 IC CE busses that the back door and back windows are rusting OUT already... 2004 is 20 years old and on the wet side of the state it doesnt look terrible..
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Old 05-19-2024, 07:53 AM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 1,019
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
here in ohio there are 2016 and 2017 IC CE busses that the back door and back windows are rusting OUT already... 2004 is 20 years old and on the wet side of the state it doesnt look terrible..
Yeah just more evidence that we’re digressing as a society. Not building them like we used to.
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Old 05-19-2024, 01:08 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 68
Year: 1972
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: international
Engine: 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikitis View Post
Yeah just more evidence that we’re digressing as a society. Not building them like we used to.
You should see the IC buses coming off the assembly line since Covid. The only thing that saves IC is Bluebird and Thomas are having the same quality issues.
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Old 05-19-2024, 06:31 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikitis View Post
It would be the windows if wet insulation on the sides where the leaks come from. I had a small leak up where the emergency ceiling hatch is, but it has a large crack in it. I plan to skylight it anyway. The bus just survived a recent hailstorm where my truck and camaro didn't go unscathed. The bus didn't have a single dent in it parked next to the other two. Solid body that thing.

I need to raise some more funds before I raise my roof and will need to push out rivets next. Just finished my floor today. I plan to cut under my windows. On my body this is the smarter choice. Just under my window frames is an outside bumper guard rail I can cut in the middle of that, raise the roof plus windows plus frame. This way I don't have to reframe the windows as I plan on keeping the existing windows to keep the Thomas classic look, plus we enjoy the 360 views, and my windows haven't really leaked at all. I'll still likely take the windows out to re-seal them as it is 30 years old, but won't be redoing any framing for windows. While it's more cutting, it's less sheet metal required I'll only need 15 in's in width of sheet metal to replace for the skin for a 12 in roof raise. an extra 1.5 inches for tucking under said bumper guard rail, on top and bottom. It will look factory when I'm done with it as if Thomas did it themselves to begin with.

Nice! Yeah we're planning to use RV windows and reduce the number overall so we went with using hats in the middle of the window framing. Once we get it boxed in entirely we'll finalize the floor plan and cut those out. I also plan to do a leak test once that's done also. Bought some water sensitive test strips to tape all around the perimeter of the walls and we'll run a sprinkler on it a few hours just to be extra safe. I'll likely do this after coating the roof though. No real point in before since we plan to do that anyway.

Honestly I should probably take it out for a long drive before also, make sure it gets nice and jostled around so anything that might open up due to movement does so when I can fix it lol.
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Old 05-19-2024, 06:33 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
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Got the panels off and we're starting to brace up to do our cuts!

Here are a couple views inside:






Also made the first few hat cuts where I'm mounting the jacks. I didn't really like doing it this way to be honest, because any tension on the hats was able to release without the jacks in place but they have enough play that I'll be needing to fight for square as we weld it back up anyway:

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Old 05-27-2024, 04:06 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 25
Roof raised to position

Today we made the remainder of our cuts and lifted it to 16". Will post more pictures as we progress, ended the evening with hats all placed but no welds yet. Here's a picture of the final height prior to hats being snapped in place:






I made 8 of the "jacks" to hold up the roof just to be super safe. We used car jacks to speed up the process and give us some redundancy.
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Old 05-27-2024, 08:37 AM   #11
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Central Tx.
Posts: 2,091
Year: 1999
Chassis: Amtran / International
Engine: DT466E HT 250HP - Md3060
Nice work!
Alot of hard work too!

I have two roof raises under my belt and I got to say, not again for me!
When I did them I didn't use hat channels, I used square tube and angle.


when welding it all back up you might want to consider putting a square tube inside your hat channel and clamping it all together to that your hat channel extensions are welded in nice and straight. By clamping them in place you won't have to fight any alignment issues.

Also what I did, I created a spacer 18" long that I inserted into the window frame so that when I lowered the roof to weld it in place, I was assured that the window heights were all exactly the same versus just using a tape measure.
The window spacer was made with angle iron, you can use a 2x4 too.

No matter how hard you try, that roof will be flexing and by using window spacers, 4 on each side, so the roof can rest on them will help quite a bit.
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Old 05-28-2024, 08:08 AM   #12
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Nice progress, keep it up.

Ewo1 has some good suggestions. I also have two raises completed, the first one was just hat channel and the second was hat channel with the square tube inside the hat channels. The square tube helps a ton for alignment and at least for my bus, conformed to the say way Thomas did it from the factory (since I have few hat channel sections due to larger windows).
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Old 05-28-2024, 10:37 AM   #13
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,035
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by shortbus4x4 View Post
You should see the IC buses coming off the assembly line since Covid. The only thing that saves IC is Bluebird and Thomas are having the same quality issues.

Thomas seems t obe much less so but they are also pricing in alot more expensive at least on transits from what my friends in the business say...



at a vintage bus gathering a few years ago.. some of my friends did a blue bird display with birds from 1969 up through a brand new 2022 they had.. all conventionals in various chassis.. I think all told we had 7 or 8 iof them in various years...



it seems the wuality on bluebird really started to digress around 06 when the "dustbuster" (1st gen vision) came out.. even though the body was largely the same as a CV.. going to their own chassis seemed to drop the overall quality.. the new one was atrocious.. my friend leases them for his district so they really dont have any longevity cares as its a 5 year deal and they get new ones..



IC has steadily gone down hill from when they stopped calling themselves Amtran and instead went to 'IC'.. id say it really started with the 2005 model year as being the big slide down..


thomas went through a ton of pains wit hthe C2 in its first and 2nd gen but their transits have remained solid.. the HDX had become way better than the bluebird flagship all american... it was 1 step away from being a coach..


thomas has released a new design of HDX which is even more coachlike..



IC is trying to wow customers with features like standard driver dash A/C (its a $500 option to delete it), and advanced camera / collision avoidance features available, but the body quality is terrible.. definitely not the Ward / AmTran its roots came from...



the cummins 6.7 with allison 2000 series or 3000 series is still the most commonly ordered drivetrain but more and more districts around here are purchasing gasoline / propane busses...


a couple districts have some electrics but are having issues with them.. not range related but service issues.. breakage.. the host district of the state champion roadeo didnt even bring one of their EV's to display... all of the busses in the roadeo were bluebird diesels (conventional and FE transit)
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Old 05-28-2024, 11:00 AM   #14
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 68
Year: 1972
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: international
Engine: 345
IC doesn't offer transits anymore, or gas or propane. Only diesel and electric conventionals. They did close the line down for a few weeks on the new model to fix quality control issues, not holding my breath. I've seen one new model that's a demo unit and some of the body on it is horrible, I'm told that will be fixed on production units, the salesman said "At least I sure hope it is". I'm heading off next week for electric bus training, there are currently 3 districts with 4 electric buses in my area but our bus salesman said he's sold 33 more and over 100 Cummins/Allison units.

I have one district that bought 4 Bluebird CEs with the Ford gas engine and trans, the board said no more Bluebirds based on the warranty issues they're having with them. So far one engine and two trans, and the closest Ford dealer that will work on them is about 1.5 hours away.
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Old 05-28-2024, 12:03 PM   #15
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,035
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by shortbus4x4 View Post
IC doesn't offer transits anymore, or gas or propane. Only diesel and electric conventionals. They did close the line down for a few weeks on the new model to fix quality control issues, not holding my breath. I've seen one new model that's a demo unit and some of the body on it is horrible, I'm told that will be fixed on production units, the salesman said "At least I sure hope it is". I'm heading off next week for electric bus training, there are currently 3 districts with 4 electric buses in my area but our bus salesman said he's sold 33 more and over 100 Cummins/Allison units.

I have one district that bought 4 Bluebird CEs with the Ford gas engine and trans, the board said no more Bluebirds based on the warranty issues they're having with them. So far one engine and two trans, and the closest Ford dealer that will work on them is about 1.5 hours away.

I was wondering if IC would completely drop gas / propane when PSI was to discontiniue the 8.8. I have heard of issues with the 7.3 already.. it is however 2nd year .. nevertheless the district I live in keeps buying them.. they have pretty much not bouight any IC since 2017 or so esp since they started having rust issues and LED lights getting water-logged in busses only a couple years old...



hopefully the new IC redesign handles some of the rust issues.. there are a LOT of school busses in northern climates with so many big cities in areas that use road salt regularly
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Old 06-02-2024, 05:06 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewo1 View Post
Nice work!
Alot of hard work too!

I have two roof raises under my belt and I got to say, not again for me!
When I did them I didn't use hat channels, I used square tube and angle.


when welding it all back up you might want to consider putting a square tube inside your hat channel and clamping it all together to that your hat channel extensions are welded in nice and straight. By clamping them in place you won't have to fight any alignment issues.

Also what I did, I created a spacer 18" long that I inserted into the window frame so that when I lowered the roof to weld it in place, I was assured that the window heights were all exactly the same versus just using a tape measure.
The window spacer was made with angle iron, you can use a 2x4 too.

No matter how hard you try, that roof will be flexing and by using window spacers, 4 on each side, so the roof can rest on them will help quite a bit.
Thanks! I did indeed create an alignment jig to get things welded up nicely. I had some ratchet straps in position to keep things as square as they could be.

One thing I did notice is that it's almost impossible to get this thing precise haha. I made all the cuts with the same blade and a cutting jig to ensure they were at 90 degrees from the channels, it still varies by as much as 0.5" depending on where you measure, even on the same side. Close enough that we decided we could eat up any slop with finishing. I grew up helping my dad in his shop with body work, so that came in handy on this project for sure.

Got some updated photos to post but the raise is "complete" in a sense. I have some remaining hats to weld but it's standing on its own again now without the jacks in place, we've just had some adverse weather that's slowing me down sadly.
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Old 06-02-2024, 05:21 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 25
Updates:

This is just how I aligned the hats. Used an old hitch receiver adapter that came with a kit I didn't need years ago. I did end up using 2 more clamps in addition to what's shown here to force better alignment. Then I used front to rear ratchets to ensure the hats formed a 90 with the window seal:




This is just before I removed my welded-on jacks. I fabricated 8. If anyone needs to hear this on a 40' IC bus: 8 jacks using 3/4" steel pipe, 1/4" steel flanges, and 3/4" all-thread was overkill. I did it to be extra safe, but the roofs just aren't that heavy. It did help with confidence on swaying, but we even had a slight incline and had no issues. I would say just position some straps to keep things from moving side to side or front to back and go with 4, maybe 6, but 8 is excessive haha. I also kept our lifts in place until I had the first 4 or so hats (working center out symmetrically). It's now under its own weight again:



Realize I should just keep up with the photos so I went and took a couple with the jacks removed:



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Old 06-02-2024, 06:00 PM   #18
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Central Tx.
Posts: 2,091
Year: 1999
Chassis: Amtran / International
Engine: DT466E HT 250HP - Md3060
Your doin great! Keep up the good work!

I have a '99 and a 2005 Amtran. On the '99 I found rust growth due to water leaking but did not find it on my 2005.

Lift the covers where the rear seats were, there is insulation in there. Take it out and look for rust. Simple task to do and a nightmare to fix later on down the road!
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Old 06-02-2024, 06:18 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewo1 View Post
Your doin great! Keep up the good work!

I have a '99 and a 2005 Amtran. On the '99 I found rust growth due to water leaking but did not find it on my 2005.

Lift the covers where the rear seats were, there is insulation in there. Take it out and look for rust. Simple task to do and a nightmare to fix later on down the road!
Thank you and for sure! We actually did some additional tear down of that area yesterday and found some surface rust, but luckily nothing structural or on the sides. Primarily just underneath that padding they glue to the metal. We're going to strip down as far as we can without breaking seals to the engine bay, use some converter, and top coat.

I'm still pretty nervous about rust in general so as soon as we hit our summer months of dry in a few days (haha) I'm going to open it up and air everything out, then spend a few days hunting down rust and eliminating it. Our goal right now is to have it prepped for spray foam by the end of June.
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