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Old 04-17-2021, 09:44 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Illinois
Posts: 12
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 77
Bustav

So, I figured after a few weeks of working I should probably start a build thread to maybe unwittingly offer up some nugget of information that someone down the line may be able to use.

A little background on the bus- it's is a 77 passenger 2001 Freightliner FS-65 with a Thomas body. The bus is from one of the Denver school districts. I believe it is the higher roof variant (the ceiling was 6'5") The total length is just shy of 40ft and it's got a 5.9 Cummins with an Allison MT 643 transmission.

So far I have just been stripping it down to the outside skin and ribs(so many screws). I've removed all the plywood and rubber flooring and found a few spots where it had rusted a bit too thin for my liking and welded some plates over those spots. I've got a mechanic coming out early next week to double check how the bus is doing mechanically (I drove it from Denver to central Illinois without any issues) and then I will be proceeding with converting the rust on the floor and getting that sealed and the doing a 14" roof raise.

More to follow.....
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Old 04-18-2021, 08:34 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: New Hampshire
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas 4 window w/lift
Chassis: G30~Chevy cutaway
Engine: 5.7/350 Chevy Vortec
Rated Cap: Just me and my "stuff"?
Sounds like you'll be a "Busy Beaver" with your potential plans! Sorry, I couldn't help myself;-0

Good luck and post pics of the project, if you can...
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Old 04-18-2021, 05:13 PM   #3
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Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quick tell if it's a high roof is to look at the side windows in relation to the drivers window, if the sides are higher than the driver, it is high roof. Low roof will be in line with the drivers window.
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:19 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Illinois
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Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Quick tell if it's a high roof is to look at the side windows in relation to the drivers window, if the sides are higher than the driver, it is high roof. Low roof will be in line with the drivers window.
Cool, then it definitely is a high roof, gonna make it higher.

I've spent the past few days grinding, cleaning, grinding again, and then cleaning a few more times to prep for the rust converter which I just rolled on today.







I've also removed the interlocks for the back door and the emergency exits as well as thinned out some of the unnecessary wires (speakers, interior lights, interlock system etc)

Have a mechanic coming by in the morning to give the bus a professional once over. Fairly confident but I'm not a diesel mechanic.
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Old 04-25-2021, 09:44 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Illinois
Posts: 12
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 77
Corroseal went on without a hitch. I think I laid it down a bit thin, I used about 3/4 of a gallon for 250 sqft(coverage should have been 1 gallon for 200 sqft) It still seemed to work well and today, we will be painting the floor with a top coat.

Mechanic took a look at everything and besides tires(which you could see were bad from space), the only thing was the airbags for the rear suspension were showing some signs of dryrot.
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Old 04-25-2021, 11:39 AM   #6
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I noticed your "so many screws" comment, many have rivits instead. You had it easy. Put your location in your profile, it'll help you out.
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Old 04-25-2021, 07:31 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Illinois
Posts: 12
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
I noticed your "so many screws" comment, many have rivits instead. You had it easy.

Oh I know, I saved most of the decent ones and was toying with the idea of reusing them for the reskin. Pop rivets are not cheap. Think the best I found so far for 3/16" stainless closed end rivets was around $0.13 a piece. I should need about 1500 or so. Which means get 2000...

Any ideas I might be overlooking? I've thought about solid rivets (and have the tools to work with them) but don't know if I want to deal with them...
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Old 04-25-2021, 11:42 PM   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 9,663
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Crafty Beaver View Post
Oh I know, I saved most of the decent ones and was toying with the idea of reusing them for the reskin. Pop rivets are not cheap. Think the best I found so far for 3/16" stainless closed end rivets was around $0.13 a piece. I should need about 1500 or so. Which means get 2000...

Any ideas I might be overlooking? I've thought about solid rivets (and have the tools to work with them) but don't know if I want to deal with them...
My International was mostly screws, but some rivets. Where ever a rivet got taken out, it was replaced #10 panhead square drive screw.
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Old 04-26-2021, 07:37 AM   #9
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Crafty Beaver View Post
So, I figured after a few weeks of working I should probably start a build thread to maybe unwittingly offer up some nugget of information that someone down the line may be able to use.

A little background on the bus- it's is a 77 passenger 2001 Freightliner FS-65 with a Thomas body. The bus is from one of the Denver school districts. I believe it is the higher roof variant (the ceiling was 6'5") The total length is just shy of 40ft and it's got a 5.9 Cummins with an Allison MT 643 transmission.

So far I have just been stripping it down to the outside skin and ribs(so many screws). I've removed all the plywood and rubber flooring and found a few spots where it had rusted a bit too thin for my liking and welded some plates over those spots. I've got a mechanic coming out early next week to double check how the bus is doing mechanically (I drove it from Denver to central Illinois without any issues) and then I will be proceeding with converting the rust on the floor and getting that sealed and the doing a 14" roof raise.

More to follow.....
Looks like you got a pretty sweet bus to begin with. Good on ya!
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Old 04-26-2021, 10:41 AM   #10
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Location: Huntington Beach CA.
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Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
I noticed your "so many screws" comment, many have rivits instead. You had it easy. Put your location in your profile, it'll help you out.
My Ingersoll rand compressor "Garage mate" and 2 new IR air hammer guns and my buddy helping, we removed all of the ceiling and all of the sides in 2 days. This was a 28 foot bus. You certainly need more infrastructure to remove rivets and a good source of air but with the right equipment it went pretty fast. Also. my bet would be on a few of those screws stripping out and needing to be chiseled off any way... Finally, a pancake compreesor is not a good source of air to run 1 air hammer and trying to run 2 air hammers would be futile.
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Old 05-02-2021, 02:03 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Illinois
Posts: 12
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 77
So, been steadily chugging along, I've gotten the steel for the roof raise and the rivets should be arriving sometime in the next few days, pulled out all the windows and am working my way through the row of rivets above the windows. I found that if you cover the rivets with duct tape and then drive them out, the duct tape keeps them from flying off all over the driveway/yard. I have also welded in the brackets for the threaded rod for the roof raise to keep everything stable. Still have about 30% of the rivets on the top row to go, still glad that the entire interior was not done with them lol.



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Old Yesterday, 12:17 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Illinois
Posts: 12
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 77
Just dropped a video on youtube about the rust conversion and floor painting



I've also successfully raised the roof and started reskinning the bus in the last week or so, had a few days of calm wind and no rain and couldn't pass it up. Things went as smoothly as I could have hoped for and I haven't run into a issue worse than stubborn rivets. Having the bus roof sitting up on 4 bolts and nothing else was..... interesting, definitely glad I waited for a day with next to no wind. Once I got about 4 of the new columns welded into the hat channel everything firmed up considerably. Now I just need a few more days of clear weather to continue working on the skin and I can enjoy the oven that the bus will become....
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