Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-04-2021, 11:00 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
Don"s conversion 2.0

Decided to start a build thread.

I found a really nice looking 5 window bus on CraigsList. It was located in Brandywine, Md. I tracked down a guy I knew in Hughesville, Md who runs a school bus service. Offered to pay him a couple hundred bucks to look at that bus for me. He said he would but that he had a bus he had to retire and would sell it to me for $2500. About half the price of the 5 window. I made the trip to Md and bought the bus in October 2019. I hired the seller's son to paint the bus (same guy painted my first bus) also the seller agreed to remove the handicap lift and replace the A/C compressor for the front A/C system. Weather and schedule issues prevented the bus from getting painted until July 2020.

I drove the bus from southern Md to my home in Ohio last August. Bus drove fine but certainly pitched and bucked over a couple of serious bumps on Rt 270. I think new front shocks will help with that. Bus was fine at 65mph but the temp gage would climb when I exceeded 65 and when I was climbing the hills (mountains) of western Md. That will have to be addressed by a mechanic, radiator flush? Fan clutch?

My insurance agent wrote a policy with Progressive which was promptly cancelled by Progressive...but not before I drove the bus home...which was all I wanted anyway.

Since getting the bus home. The interior has been gutted. Metal floor painted with rust converter and rust holes repaired. I had to replace a coolant fitting that had rusted away and I had a A/C tech come out to charge the front A/C system, he had me replace the charge ports then he returned and vacuumed the coolant from the rear A/C and put that coolant into the front A/C system.
The front A/C system now works. I did have an issue with the underbody fans staying on, stuck relay somewhere. I installed a toggle switch for the fans. The rear A/C unit was then removed.

I purchased Matt66 auto sound dead off eBay and installed that in strategic places under the dash and on all vertical portions of the stair well. Working on the stairwell revealed another rust hole which I repaired with galvanized sheet metal. The sound deadening material was then covered with aluminum diamond plate. I kept the original stair treads since replacing them was expensive...almost $200 each.

I have water tanks ordered along with a underbody tool box. I have accumulated a few other items as well. 12V water pump, Heng's power converter, lockable fresh water fill door and a 30amp twist lock power connector.

Pictures are stairwell, I need to use tan caulk around edges of treads. Other picture is just a scrap piece of Formica. I wanted a visual of how low the underbody tool box would hang. Other pics of bus are in my album on this site.
oops...Time stamp on my camera needs to be reset.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PTDC0074.jpg (192.9 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg PTDC0075.jpg (231.8 KB, 16 views)

BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2021, 11:50 AM   #2
Bus Geek
 
o1marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 10,212
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Always nice to fall into a better deal. Sounds like you're runniing an AT545 transmission. Your explanation of it's heating issues at highway and mountains is typical for that trans as it has no locking torque converter, so it's always working against the fluid , heating it if put to extreme use. Get a quality trans cooler.
__________________
I Thank God That He Gifted Me with Common Sense
o1marc is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2021, 12:35 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
I thought the AT545 was phased out before 2005.
BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2021, 01:13 PM   #4
Bus Geek
 
o1marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 10,212
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnYardCamp View Post
I thought the AT545 was phased out before 2005.
Thought I read an older model year. sorry.
__________________
I Thank God That He Gifted Me with Common Sense
o1marc is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2021, 01:55 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
I still want to ID my tranny. Tried taking a picture of the plate, exhaust pipe is in the way. I tried the old pencil on white paper to get the numbers..hard to read but I think it may be a 2000. I found some info on the web about Allison 1000/2000 series. Both should have a "Park" position. Mine does not. Next time I get parts from the Thomas Built dealer, I'll ask them to check the vin.
This is the best pic I got of the tranny ID plate. Looks like "2000" in top left.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PTDC0078 (1).jpg (175.5 KB, 11 views)
BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2021, 03:11 PM   #6
Bus Geek
 
o1marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 10,212
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
What does the shifter look like? It'll help identify the tranny.
__________________
I Thank God That He Gifted Me with Common Sense
o1marc is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2021, 03:42 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
shifter has R,N, OD, D, 2 , 1
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PTDC0083.jpg (193.9 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg PTDC0084.jpg (202.3 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg PTDC0085.jpg (177.1 KB, 10 views)
BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2021, 10:21 AM   #8
Bus Nut
 
johnbloem1974's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Montana/Texas
Posts: 660
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Crown by Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: 230 HP DT 466e/MT 643!
Rated Cap: 16
That is definitely *NOT* an AT545!

Woohoo!

John
johnbloem1974 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2021, 06:53 AM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
Some progress this week. Floor insulation is down. 3/4 inch foam. I also installed a length of conduit midway between the wheel wells and the the drivers seat so I can run wires across safely. While I had help available, I placed 2 sheets of plywood in the bus. They are not secured to the floor yet.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PTDC0092.jpg (152.5 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg PTDC0091.jpg (194.4 KB, 13 views)
BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2021, 09:36 AM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
plywood floor is installed. Except for area at top of stair well. Carriage bolts will be used to mount the waste water tanks and to secure other heavy items. That will help keep the floor down in the event of a accident. I'll make sure that every sheet of plywood has at least 4 carriage bolts.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PTDC0093.jpg (171.2 KB, 7 views)
BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2021, 06:40 PM   #11
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
The underbody tool box arrived today. The braces for these tool boxes cost $80...I'll be sending those back as I think 12" "L" brackets from the hardware store will be quite sufficient. I used 1" angle steel across the top of the box and down the sides. The angle covers the gap between the bus body and tool box. Angle is bolted to the box with 1/4 -20 screws, flats and lock nuts. Sheet metal screws across top into the bus body, 1/4 20's down the sides where I could use nuts instead of the sheet metal screws.
I also pulled out the wiring that went to the side mounted "Stop" signs. Still, inside the switch panel is a rats nest of wires. I'm hesitant to remove too many wires as I have no idea what many of them do, best leave well enough alone...the bus still runs after removing the wires today.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PTDC0095.jpg (224.7 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg PTDC0094.jpg (251.3 KB, 16 views)
BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2021, 10:30 AM   #12
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 791
Year: 1993
Chassis: IH 3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 66
Progress is looking good and I like the box install. I've been keeping an eye out for a deal on one for mine.
Mr4btTahoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2021, 02:23 PM   #13
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
I ended up using the overpriced braces for the tool box after all. My trip to the hardware store didn't go well. Store employee wasn't very helpful, store didn't have much to choose from in galvanized carriage bolts. I let them keep their "L" brackets as a reward for their not so Steller service.
Tool box came from Northern Tool...with a previous purchase, I enrolled in their "Advantage" program which gets me free shipping. I may buy another underbody box to use for my "house" batteries. Not sure about that just yet.
BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2021, 02:24 PM   #14
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbloem1974 View Post
That is definitely *NOT* an AT545!

Woohoo!

John
Thomas Built dealer says it's a Allison "2000"...per the VIN.
BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2021, 08:14 PM   #15
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
Yesterday I read DeMac's post about corrosion caused by a reaction between steel and aluminum. He had aluminum channel on his roof which had supported a A/C unit. Something that my bus also has, and something that I hadn't thought of.
Anyway, I pulled the aluminum channels off my roof and sure enough, there was plenty of rust. Fortunately, the rusty area was only about 10" long. So I scraped off the copious amount of caulking, sanded, cleaned w/paint thinner, scraped more with a razor blade, sanded some more then treated the rust with rust converter. I cut 4 small metal patches from scrap galvanized metal. Hope to finish the roof repair tomorrow...if the weather cooperates.
I did discover that once most of the caulk was removed, I could wipe over it with paint thinner, then the remaining thin film of caulk would come up pretty easily with a razor blade.
Today I also cut a whole in the back of the bus and installed the 30amp twist lock RV electric connector. Not ready to wire the bus yet, but it's one less thing cluttering my desk.
After I cut the hole in the outer bus skin I wanted to drill through the inner "skin so that the holes would line up. However, the drill bit wanted to grab the insulation and twist it. To prevent that, I pulled the insulation apart just enough to poke a short piece of hose through, the hose being just a little shorter than the drill bit. I'm probably not the first person to use this idea, but it sure made life easier.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PTDC0094 (1).jpg (264.3 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg PTDC0095 (1).jpg (206.1 KB, 3 views)
BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2021, 09:53 AM   #16
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
I was able to patch the roof this morning. Paint will come another day, I think the rain will start any minute. The rust on one side was pretty bad. Metal seems solid but is very pitted. I was concerned about the unseen rust where the roof panels overlap and also about the rivets, has the rust compromised the seal. So I patched over the entire section. The other side wasn't nearly as bad so I just patched over the holes. Smeared a little extra seam sealer over a couple rivets and along the overlap seam because I was there.
3rd pic, You can see the corrosion on the underside of the aluminum rails.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PTDC0097.jpg (168.2 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg PTDC0098.jpg (165.6 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg PTDC0096.jpg (271.0 KB, 6 views)
BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2021, 02:22 PM   #17
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
This week I received my max-air vent fan and my EcoTemp water heater. Max air recommended a specific sealer which is back ordered.
Deleted the passive air vent today. My patch is approx. 12 x 12. Drilled holes around the patch parameter with drill press, holes about 2" apart. Laid a bead of seam sealer around vent hole and old rivet holes, then around the patch covering the screw holes. Used self drilling sheet metal screws to attch to bus.
BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2021, 03:50 PM   #18
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 242
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
While waiting for my water tanks, I'm doing what I can to move forward. Here is what I did to utilize my H-Cap lift door. I purchased a SS food prep table, 30" x 60". I removed the "cups" from the underside where the legs would attach, attached 1/2" plywood and used "T" hinges to attach the table top to the bus. I suspended the table from the bus with chains which eliminates having to fabricate adjustable, fold out legs. The table will hang level off the bus no matter what the ground has to offer.
Top of the table is about 40 inches...that's with the air out of the bus suspension system.
To finish this, I'll need a couple screw eyes and a bungee cord to keep the table in place when the door is opened, I'll shorten the chain that holds the door open so that the door stays flush with the side of the bus. And paint the exposed wood. I'll give the chains some time to stretch before I start making adjustments, the left chain is a bit too long...1/2 link or so. Maybe I'll insert a spring in the chains to absorb the shock should someone lose their grip when letting the table down.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PTDC0102.jpg (141.4 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg PTDC0103.jpg (166.8 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg PTDC0104.jpg (132.0 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg PTDC0108.jpg (137.0 KB, 2 views)
BarnYardCamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:13 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.