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Old 06-17-2017, 02:39 PM   #1
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4 Curious Georges' 2001 Saf-T-Liner

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!
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:27 PM   #2
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Welcome to our collective nightmare! I've a 2003 HDX and am quite pleased with the room as well as the construction.
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:01 PM   #3
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Welcome

You guys with your long buses, hogging all the parking spots.
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:17 PM   #4
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You're just jealous!
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:35 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 06-17-2017, 10:01 PM   #6
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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.

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Old 06-17-2017, 11:26 PM   #7
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Pretty sure those were for the bus video system. Sometimes the leave the recorder in the bus. Mine just had the cameras remaining.
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Old 06-18-2017, 01:12 PM   #8
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Ah, makes sense. Sounds like I just need to follow the lines and get rid of it safely without leaving any open power circuits.
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Old 06-18-2017, 02:48 PM   #9
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Finally got the cockpit cleared and ready to clean the floor!

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Old 06-18-2017, 03:04 PM   #10
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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!
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:16 PM   #11
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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?

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Old 06-18-2017, 11:56 PM   #12
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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.
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:08 AM   #13
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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!
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:10 AM   #14
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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.
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:14 AM   #15
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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.
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:27 AM   #16
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Just about ready to prime the floor.

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Old 06-19-2017, 12:22 PM   #17
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You're making pretty good time. Are you pulling the ceiling and wall panels?
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:51 PM   #18
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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.

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Old 06-19-2017, 02:56 PM   #19
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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.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:04 PM   #20
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That's a good tip! Is there a name for what you do want?

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