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Old 05-03-2020, 07:43 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Bennington, NH
Posts: 45
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E Navistar
Rated Cap: 28,900
And the Twinkie Saga begins.....

So I guess it's time to start my build thread. I finally got the bus to it's permanent parking/building spot today. I'll post with updates as often as I can, although this is going to be a slow moving project because it's a one man gig. I'll bring all my hats, and probably get a few new ones. I'll start by reposting the story of the original purchase and pick up story. And I have a couple of other little stories to throw in for now. My plan is to share it all with this build, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I hope you enjoy, Smitty
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:01 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Bennington, NH
Posts: 45
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E Navistar
Rated Cap: 28,900
So here is my original purchase & pickup story to start thing off

So my buddy Jay picks me up at 9:00 am and we leave New Hampshire and head for Connecticut. Get to the dude's house at noon on the money. I start looking it over and going through it. Everything is pretty good, not as good as the photos I posted, but I was pretty much expecting that. Those photos were from when he originally bought the bus, I had found them on my own

Still has the Alcoa's on it, which I love.

Fired it up with no issues, and it did all the stuff it's supposed to do. Oil looked okay, coolant looked ok, lights all worked. Check, check, chech. The body nice and straight, couple small rust spots, but nothing serious. Underneath looked fairly well, frame has got some typical surface rust, but nothing eating away.

Most of the floor supports we're good as well, except for the ones that surround the rear wheels wells. They are going to need attention, most likely replacement.
My plan is to oil the entire undercarriage once it's all straightened out, so I'm not worried.

Then it was test drive time. About a 15 minute ride with some good hills and some highway. I did get it up to a little over 60 with room to go in the operating range, so I ruled out the 545 transmission. Got back to the guy's house and we went into his garage and he included an awning setup that needs a new swing fabric, a set of 20 gal propane tanks on their own mounting system, a bunch of cushions, a hot water heater, an inverter electrical system scavenged from an RV, a replacement rear door, and a couple of other odds and ends. I got a little more flexibility from him because of the floor supports, and we settled at $3800.

I paid the man, thanked him, and we hit the road. I headed for RT 8 south to get me back to RT 84 headed for home. I'd say we were about 2 miles in to RT 8 when she just quit. No stumbling, no gradual loss of power, just OFF. I coasted to the side and was able to go far enough to get passed the barriers so we could be 5 feet off the side instead of stuck right on the white line. I was in freak out mode. It has not been 15 minutes since I paid for this rig and dead!

Jay and I got to looking for the issue. He looked around under the hood for abnormalities and I looked through the fuse / breaker box. Zip..no smoking guns. Now the reason I'm in panic mode is because in order to go to Connecticut and pick this bus up and get everything done in one trip, I had borrowed a license plate to put on the bus and drive back to New Hampshire with. So If a police officer had stopped to check on the situation, my new bus would be going to impound on the back of a tow truck at a cost of at least $1,000 for the tow. So first thing we did was remove the plate, that way it was just an unregistered vehicle and not misuse of license plates as well.Jay and I tried a couple other things to no avail.

So I got on the phone, at this point I wanted to get it off the highway before the police had to take a look. I called a dispatcher at the closest heavy duty towing service and spoke with dispatcher and gave her the lowdown. got a call back within 10 minutes from a tow truck operator who was about an hour and a half away. He asked me what the situation was and I explained exactly what had happened. He asked me if I was mechanically inclined and I enthusiastically responded yes.

He gave me three things to check to see if they made a difference. The first one was to check the fuses that were in the battery box. There were a couple sets of fuses in there but the first one I opened up looked pretty suspicious. The two female parts of the fuse holder were a little wonky and didn't hold the fuse tabs tightly. I pulled the fuse out and bent the tabs in opposite directions so that maybe it would create a little spring tension and touch both sides of the fuse holder. Damned if it didn't work! The bus fired up and idled.


We made a couple more checks through the plate back on the back side of the bus and hit the road. I ran it for about an hour after that and then stopped at a rest area north of Hartford just to have a look over. Couldn't find any problems everything looked, good so on we went. We cruise the rest of the way up 91, I watched the gauges like an eagle. The bus held 60 to 65 running 25 to 2,600 RPM, and the temp ran a needle's width over 210 most of the trip. I could hear the fan clutch kicking in as we went along so I knew that was doing its job as well.

We took the Brattleboro exit to get on route 9 heading for Keene New Hampshire. That section of road has some pretty steep inclines most of which I climbed at 45 mph. We went through Keene on route 9 and got into more hills and the second round of trouble started.

While keeping my eagle eye on the temp gauge, watched it start to creep up. It never got to the red zone but it was probably a needles width away once!

crested the last hill. Then I cruised another five or so miles with the temperature right back down in the 210 area, and she quit again.

I pulled off to the side of the road went around to the battery box again and just made sure everything looked good there, which it did. Not the problem. I got the bus started again and it would idle fine, but as soon as you try to go anywhere it would stall. It started up again, revving it up in neutral it was fine. And it would idle in gear and move the bus, but as soon as you put a load on she would shut down. I was able to finagle the bus onto a little dirt road side pull off, so that it was in a safe place out of the way. I went and knocked on a door and was lucky enough that the people who owned the little dirt road said I could leave the bus there overnight.

I contacted a couple people who know their way around these motors and decided I would go to get a fuel filter and throw that thing on where it's at. Once once I did that earlier today everything was good. drove it to a friend's house and there it will sit till it has a real set of plates.

Wow. Thanks for reading, that was a long one!
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:30 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Bennington, NH
Posts: 45
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E Navistar
Rated Cap: 28,900
Here are some pics, at the permanent parking / building spot

Pic 1 ~ Heres my Turbo Twinkie

Pic 2 ~ Backed up to where all my tools and build stuff will be.

Pic 3&4 ~ Tried to line it up w the end of the building, I think I pulled it off
Pic 5 ~ Here's the view from inside the storage unit. Got it close enough so the door swings all the way open.


More Twinkie coverage tomorrow
Smitty
Attached Images
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:37 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 1,316
Year: 2007
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Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
Nice of that towie to give you tech support!

That’s a long bus
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:53 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Bennington, NH
Posts: 45
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E Navistar
Rated Cap: 28,900
That guy RULES

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
Nice of that towie to give you tech support!

Thatís a long bus

Yeah that dude was my hero! He definitely saved my arse, had he not given me those things to check I would have been paying to get it moved or paying fines and impound/storage fees and towing. I tried to get him to give me his address or email or something so I could send him a bottle, or a gift card, some token of my appreciation. He said " As long as you learned something and everybody's safe, it's all good"

She is a big bus
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Old 05-03-2020, 10:12 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,195
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: 7.2L Cat 3126 turbo diesel
Rated Cap: 71 passenger 30,000 gvwr
Is that an FS65 freightliner chassis?
Figure out what model tranny you have yet?
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Old 05-04-2020, 12:18 AM   #7
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I am pleased to have founnd your build thread. I just loved your "origin" story and have been following since.
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Old 05-04-2020, 04:44 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Bennington, NH
Posts: 45
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E Navistar
Rated Cap: 28,900
3800 Twinkie

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Originally Posted by banman View Post
Is that an FS65 freightliner chassis?
Figure out what model tranny you have yet?

No, it's an International 3800. I have not, there are no labels giving the transmission model in the engine compartment, I'll just have to figure out how to visually identify it. Transmission pan shape, or maybe there's a ID tag on the transmission itself I can find once I'm underneath there again.
Smitty
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Old 05-04-2020, 04:48 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Bennington, NH
Posts: 45
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E Navistar
Rated Cap: 28,900
Quote:
Originally Posted by Native View Post
I am pleased to have founnd your build thread. I just loved your "origin" story and have been following since.

Well thanks for following along
Smitty
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Old 05-04-2020, 07:48 AM   #10
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Brazoria County, Texas
Posts: 500
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 32 Passenger
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smittybilt View Post
No, it's an International 3800. I have not, there are no labels giving the transmission model in the engine compartment, I'll just have to figure out how to visually identify it. Transmission pan shape, or maybe there's a ID tag on the transmission itself I can find once I'm underneath there again.
Smitty
Cadillackid was able to show me what tranny I had just by describing it to him. The knowledge this guy has shouldake him about 104.
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Old 05-04-2020, 03:04 PM   #11
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Join Date: Sep 2015
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Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smittybilt View Post
No, it's an International 3800. I have not, there are no labels giving the transmission model in the engine compartment, I'll just have to figure out how to visually identify it. Transmission pan shape, or maybe there's a ID tag on the transmission itself I can find once I'm underneath there again.
Smitty
Crawl under the bus with your camera. There is a label on the passenger side of the transmission body which will identify the make, model, and serial number. All good things to have anyway.
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Old 05-04-2020, 06:59 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Bennington, NH
Posts: 45
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E Navistar
Rated Cap: 28,900
Quote:
Originally Posted by Native View Post
Crawl under the bus with your camera. There is a label on the passenger side of the transmission body which will identify the make, model, and serial number. All good things to have anyway.

Will do next time I'm over there, thanks Native.
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Old 05-04-2020, 07:09 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Bennington, NH
Posts: 45
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E Navistar
Rated Cap: 28,900
So I ended up with this parking/building spot totally by chance...

This idea of parking her in front of the storage unit, I'd like like to sincerely thank Joe for not only letting me park it here, but making the suggestion for it to begin with. I had contacted him with my interest in renting a single unit to combine my 2 10x10 units into. We were discussing the details of his particular storage units and he asked me what my intention was with the unit. I semi reluctantly explained that I was planning on buying a full size school bus, and needed a place large enough to hold all my shop stuff and the necessities for the bus build. He then said to me, well I've got a guy in the end unit that is supposed to be moving out in April. If you're willing to wait until he moves out you can take that unit, and park the bus right in front of it. I proceeded to slowly blink and managed to immediately accept this offer! I couldn't have come up with a better idea, and it never even crossed my mind to ask.
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Old 05-04-2020, 07:21 PM   #14
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Minnehaha Co., SD
Posts: 1,026
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smittybilt View Post
Will do next time I'm over there, thanks Native.
If you've got a pic of the shifter, post it. People have IDed a transmission from that before.
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Old 05-04-2020, 09:46 PM   #15
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 2,741
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Serendipity!
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Old 05-05-2020, 10:51 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: NE Oregon
Posts: 53
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Thanks for sharing your story. I don't envy the feeling you must have had when your bus died that first time. Great you got it home.
Did you say what engine it has?
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Old 05-06-2020, 04:43 AM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Bennington, NH
Posts: 45
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E Navistar
Rated Cap: 28,900
Mountain Yawp, it's a DT466E. Yeah, I have not been that stressed out/ cranked up in a LONG time. It's probably good for ya now and then.
Smitty
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Old 05-06-2020, 04:46 AM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Bennington, NH
Posts: 45
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E Navistar
Rated Cap: 28,900
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew Bru View Post
If you've got a pic of the shifter, post it. People have IDed a transmission from that before.

I'm headed over there today for a bit, I'll snap a shot of the shifter. Maybe even crawl around underneath it and look for that ID tag.
Smitty
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Old 05-06-2020, 09:02 AM   #19
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Unity, NH
Posts: 439
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466E (195hp, 520tq)
Rated Cap: 29,000
Glad you have the bus home now. The gearing seems topped out at 65 if you're pulling 2600rpm. From our local International dealer, the dt466 will run there all day, no worries. Does it still have the rear heater? We use the on/off heater valve in the cab to help cool the engine if it starts to get hot. Like the Alcoas!
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Old 05-06-2020, 09:11 AM   #20
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,852
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
indeed the 466E is maxxed at 2600 RPM in the computer.. I can reprogram them to do 2800-2900 however according to Navistar running over 2600 SIGNIFICANTLY shortens the life of the engine.. at least thats how the book says it..



Transmissions in 1997 on those if automatic are likely either an MT-643 or an AT545.. the AT545 was the most common..



a FEW of the 3800s got the MD3000 series.. which if you have that has an electronic shifter with a single-digit digital display .. those were not common on the 3800 chassis..



a Pic of the trans will def show us what it is.. the shifter on the 545 and 643 auto are the same..



Looks like a kickass bus to build on!!
DOnt overheat it.. be mindful of that since it is close to summer.. even 230-240 degrees on the temp gauge can ruin it...



-Christopher
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