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Old 07-20-2020, 09:20 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Kansas
Posts: 125
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12v
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96 Ford/Thomas "Soooooosan" 12v Cummins

Welp.....I've lurked here and thought of building a skoolie for years. If I was ever going to do it....this was the bus and time. Our local school district has owned this bus since new and is retiring it for the 25 year rule. It was always shedded and was an activity bus....so it never saw daily country roads. It has the 12v cummins with a P pump and a 5 speed with 2 spead rear axle. It is governed at 72 and cruises well at 65 even loaded according to the drivers. I have full service records since it was new and it has 120k on it.

Its 35 feet bumper to bumper, 27 ish feet behind the driver. I don't see hardly any rust anywhere....the seam seals all seem fresh.....paint is darn near perfect save a couple scrapes. A couple windows need some work. Our local transportation supervisor I have known for years and he is meticulous on upkeep...and he hates to see it go. Says its been dead reliable which means it will probably blow up next week. Even had the clutch changed at 100k.

Only negatives are no air brakes, split rims, and no factory AC, and is 6'4" inside. I can deal with those issues.

The goals are 2 fold....we do quite a bit of tent camping at the lake and some spots we go...or will go....I didn't know if a 40 footer could get there especially with a front overhang. We need a bunch of room with the 4 kids.....hopefully this will give us enough room for everyone and still be able to get in places. We also want to do some of the national parks as the kids grow and this will get us into some campgrounds with a 35 foot limit.

We also travel 6 hours to KC for Chiefs games often....so this will be our mobile cruizer to and from the games....make it a bunch easier because we have to drive down and back most times to accommodate our schedules.

It was sealed bid and I paid 2750....probably more than I should but I figured it checked so many boxes....knew the history....my preferred powertrain and in my backyard. I was just praying nobody else was more crazy than me.

The idea is to gut, pull lights, seal, paint, insulate, and finish over the next 2 years and hopefully hit our first national park in 2022. Also have a 55 chevy pickup we are getting running and a basement in the house to finish....and the deal was we are doing all 3 not just focusing on the bus. So....here we go.

Right now her name is Soooooosan from Monsters Vs Aliens.....we will see if it sticks but that all made us belly laugh when we were coming up with name so thats it for now.

Probably will forego a full bedroom in the back but instead go with a vaulted queen with electric and water tank under, 4 bunks in front of that to the wheel wells....shower and toilet enclosed with a kitchen, couch bed and small dinette that turns into a bed too. Should be able to sleep 10 ish.

Aint she a beaute!!!











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Old 07-20-2020, 09:28 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 25
Year: 1996
Coachwork: International AmTran
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: International DT466
Rated Cap: 65 passenger - 27,500 GVW
That’s a great looking bus! I think you got a good deal on it. It has a great engine and I much prefer the manual transmission. Your kids are really going to enjoy it, I know mine do ours.
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Old 07-20-2020, 09:36 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
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Location: Kansas
Posts: 125
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12v
Rated Cap: 60
The manual trans is a huge selling point for me. Should be most efficient and most reliable....if I do my part it should never wear out. Will be a huge asset on the grades too. I'm kinda over the moon with the bus. I guess when the stars align you just go!
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Old 07-21-2020, 12:38 AM   #4
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Congrats on the fantastic deal
That's a great looking bus you got there.
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Old 07-21-2020, 05:09 AM   #5
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clean bus! Congrats!
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Old 07-21-2020, 10:31 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
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Location: Kansas
Posts: 125
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12v
Rated Cap: 60
Susan went on her maiden voyage tonight and I was not disappointed. Engine pulls well, transmission is smooth when I do my part. 70 is 2500 rpm. I'll switch out the tires for something slightly taller and have a buddy massage the pump just a bit to bump the power probably when she is loaded and she will cruise real nice. Shocks even seem good and for a steel sprung bus it rides pretty nice even empty. A little weight will do her some good.

Wife even drove for a bit. First time in a stick but she was getting the hang of it. I might get her in a semi someday!

Going to take her out and put her in the shed in the morning and won't get back to her for a week or 2. Then it's time to gut.

Anybody ever tried to sell the seats out of the bus? The district asked if I would donate a couple back since they have nice covers and I'll do that...but if a guy coukd pay for a few beers with them why not?
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Old 07-22-2020, 06:48 AM   #7
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Nice bus, the two speed rear is a nice find, have one in my bus and love it.
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Old 07-22-2020, 07:25 AM   #8
Skoolie
 
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Nice bus, the two speed rear is a nice find, have one in my bus and love it.
Thanks. After driving it that 2 speed rear end and manual shoulda been worth a couple thousand more. 60 to 65 is a nice easy cruise. I don't think I could have found a much better power plant and gearing to start!
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Old 07-22-2020, 07:33 AM   #9
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What ratios are in that rear end?
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Old 07-22-2020, 07:44 AM   #10
Skoolie
 
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Posts: 125
Year: 1996
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Not sure I'll have to crawl in and see if I find a tag. Maybe it's on the original order sheet....I have that.
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Old 07-22-2020, 08:38 AM   #11
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great looking bus!!


split rims? if it has 22.5" tires then its not split rims.. just because it has daytons doesnt mean they are split.. i didnt think they were using 20" splits by the mid 90s..



daytons were (and are) in the field to this day so thats no biggie..
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Old 07-22-2020, 08:47 AM   #12
Skoolie
 
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They are splits with 9.00 20's....that's literally one of the only bad things about it.

I'll probably end up putting tubeless Dayton rims and 22.5s on it before it's first big road trip. I can fix split rims but most tire shops won't take them anymore. If my thinking is right without measuring that should give me a little taller tire too for some extra mph and lower rpm.
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Old 07-22-2020, 09:41 AM   #13
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Not sure I'll have to crawl in and see if I find a tag. Maybe it's on the original order sheet....I have that.
Pretty rare on a school bus, so I'm really curious about those ratios.
Most every 2 speed I've ever heard of was Low and SUPER Low.
What a cool, rare, oddball bus you have there, sir. Kudos to you!

Looks to be in immaculate condition, too. Just well done, man- BRAVO!
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Old 07-22-2020, 09:57 AM   #14
Skoolie
 
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Location: Kansas
Posts: 125
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12v
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Thanks. I couldn't be any happier with what I ended up with...and it's even better it was in my backyard. I guess the bus gods smiled on me now it's up to me to make it awesome.
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Old 07-22-2020, 11:00 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by tlzimmerman View Post
They are splits with 9.00 20's....that's literally one of the only bad things about it.

I'll probably end up putting tubeless Dayton rims and 22.5s on it before it's first big road trip. I can fix split rims but most tire shops won't take them anymore. If my thinking is right without measuring that should give me a little taller tire too for some extra mph and lower rpm.

10R22.5 are about 3" taller then 9.00 20's. I gained 5mph at 60 for the same rpm.
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Old 07-22-2020, 11:09 AM   #16
Skoolie
 
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Posts: 125
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Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B
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Rated Cap: 60
Thanks for saving me the measurements....that's about exactly what I'm looking for rpm wise. Now just need the 2k so I can get new rims and tires!
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Old 07-22-2020, 11:33 AM   #17
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I was lucky a friend of mine wanted the split rims for antique trucks, and his trucking company had plenty of 22.5s laying around. So he traded with me.
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Old 07-22-2020, 12:58 PM   #18
Skoolie
 
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Posts: 125
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That is lucky. Most guys around here scrap split rims....so many old grain trucks used them there are piles everywhere.
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Old 07-22-2020, 02:09 PM   #19
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I'm trying to imagine what application that bus was really ordered for... Never heard of a bus anywhere near that new with legit split rims.

Oddest bus to come through here in a minute or two.
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Old 07-22-2020, 02:12 PM   #20
Skoolie
 
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Posts: 125
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12v
Rated Cap: 60
It was ordered new by our district as a mid size activity bus hence the 70 mph governor. I bet at the time the fleet of older busses had the same tires so they ordered it to match. Now it's the last one with this size they have.

The big coach activity bus hauls the big groups and this one hauls the smaller groups...Jr high teams etc.
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