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Old 06-02-2018, 09:50 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2018
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FS65 Conversion Project

Greetings all,

Been a long time lurker, and finally decided it was time to join the hype! Picked up my 2002 Thomas Freightliner (5.9 Cummins / Allison 2000 Transmission) with about 150K miles for $2500 after a very prolonged search. I took a risk on buying local (Milwaukee, WI area resident), and surprisingly my rust issues are seeming to be minimal.

Iíve spent the last 2 weeks removing seats, the rear heater, sub floor, and patching some holes near the wheel wells. Some pics of the early progress, all subfloor has since been removed, and rust holes taken care of.

If I play my cards right, Iím hoping to avoid paying extra to title it as a bus, and meet the 30 day window the WI DMV ďallowsĒ for you to transfer a title and have conversion paperwork completed by state patrol to officially make the bus a motor home. Lots of work ahead to get 4/6 state recognized basic life components installed in that time window. Wonít be pretty at first if I can pull it off, but Iíd rather spend $700 on practical parts and rearrange later than give that money away to the DMV for a title! Weíll see how that goes.

Overall, excited to see where this project takes me, and Iím excited to be a part of the Skoolie community!

Cheers
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:24 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 17
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3 DT444E
Rated Cap: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by logman View Post
Greetings all,

Been a long time lurker, and finally decided it was time to join the hype! Picked up my 2002 Thomas Freightliner (5.9 Cummins / Allison 2000 Transmission) with about 150K miles for $2500 after a very prolonged search. I took a risk on buying local (Milwaukee, WI area resident), and surprisingly my rust issues are seeming to be minimal.

Iíve spent the last 2 weeks removing seats, the rear heater, sub floor, and patching some holes near the wheel wells. Some pics of the early progress, all subfloor has since been removed, and rust holes taken care of.

If I play my cards right, Iím hoping to avoid paying extra to title it as a bus, and meet the 30 day window the WI DMV ďallowsĒ for you to transfer a title and have conversion paperwork completed by state patrol to officially make the bus a motor home. Lots of work ahead to get 4/6 state recognized basic life components installed in that time window. Wonít be pretty at first if I can pull it off, but Iíd rather spend $700 on practical parts and rearrange later than give that money away to the DMV for a title! Weíll see how that goes.

Overall, excited to see where this project takes me, and Iím excited to be a part of the Skoolie community!

Cheers
This is pretty much the exact bus I was looking for, but I never was able to make it happen. Finally gave in and just bought something to get going on

Looking forward to your build! Hope you beat the DMV deadline

Just curious, what would be the worst case scenario if you didn't get it all the way there in 30 days? How bad are the penalties if you just waited to register the bus when it was done? I ask because I've just bought mine and I'm quite certain I won't make that kind of deadline, even if the appliances fell out of the sky into my lap.
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:01 AM   #3
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Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 419
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
In Arkansas you can register whenever you want after the 30 days you just have to sign something saying you haven't driven it since it was parked.
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Old 06-03-2018, 07:30 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Calibuslife View Post
This is pretty much the exact bus I was looking for, but I never was able to make it happen. Finally gave in and just bought something to get going on

Looking forward to your build! Hope you beat the DMV deadline

Just curious, what would be the worst case scenario if you didn't get it all the way there in 30 days? How bad are the penalties if you just waited to register the bus when it was done? I ask because I've just bought mine and I'm quite certain I won't make that kind of deadline, even if the appliances fell out of the sky into my lap.
Thanks for the encouragement! I was pretty set on finding this exact model too, it took about 4 months to find. I looked at a ton of Thomas EF models. They are all over the place in WI, most were in decent shape too. I was glad to finally find this FS65 that wasnít completely rotted away.

There arenít any real penalties per se, but according to the DMV ďspecialistĒ I talked to, I have to complete the title transfer within 30 days of purchase. The simple answer is if I have to complete the transfer and still have it be a bus, the DMV charges based on the GVWR which would put my registration fees near, if not over $1000. To title as a motor home would be closer to $300. As far as just not getting it titled period after 30 days, Iím really not sure. What I do know is in WI the seller also has a 30 day deadline to report the sale to the DMV, so I donít want to risk other penalties. Maybe there is someone in the DMV world who can somehow grant me an extension or waiver if I donít complete the basics in time...I suppose Iíll find out when I get to that point.

Without the help of friends there is no way I would be as far as I am, the seat and subfloor removal was not an easy task! I also ran into a little issue with the dim running lights for the tail lights, marker lights, etc not working when the lights were turned on. Thankfully it was only a bad relay, but just another hurdle!
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