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Old 02-14-2018, 12:12 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: WA
Posts: 27
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP EF
Engine: Cat 3126b
Rated Cap: 71
Northwest SAF-T-LINER for 7

We just bought our bus (well a few busses) with plans to convert to a home on wheels for our family of 7 to travel the US for a year.

Our Bus is a 2004 MVP-EF (engine front) 71 passenger Thomas with the 78" ceiling, 3126b and Allison 2000.

We have talked about it for years but this last July our 12 year old passed away unexpectedly (SUDC) and changed our focus, now sharing 200 sf with my wife and 5 remaining kids for a year sounds amazing.

We looked at sticks and staples but cost, safety, and the dificulty of even finding something for a large family pushed us to a skoolie.

We invite you to join us in this adventure and welcome your advice and even criticism.


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Old 02-14-2018, 12:24 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godspyro View Post
We just bought our bus (well a few busses) with plans to convert to a home on wheels for our family of 7 to travel the US for a year.

Our Bus is a 2004 MVP-EF (engine front) 71 passenger Thomas with the 78" ceiling, 3126b and Allison 2000.

We have talked about it for years but this last July our 12 year old passed away unexpectedly (SUDC) and changed our focus, now sharing 200 sf with my wife and 5 remaining kids for a year sounds amazing.

We looked at sticks and staples but cost, safety, and the dificulty of even finding something for a large family pushed us to a skoolie.

We invite you to join us in this adventure and welcome your advice and even criticism.


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My condolences...and good luck with your adventure

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Old 02-14-2018, 02:51 AM   #3
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A bus from WA state should be a pretty good bus--rust is usually not a problem and WA spe'c buses tend to have a lot more "standard" equipment than buses from other states.

I personally do not like Cat engines but it is sort of a Ford vs. Chevy vs. Dodge sort of dislike. My brother has a Cat in his truck and really likes it. So there you go!

Those shorter wheelbase FE engines can get to rocking and jouncing as you go down the road. It can get especially noticeable when you are on a concrete highway and you hit all of the expansion joints.

I might be mistaken but IIRC all WA state spe'c buses were required to have 12" windows starting about 2004. So you most likely have the high roof option on that Thomas.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:25 AM   #4
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Welcome to the family! I look forward to watching your build and your family adventures!
Sandi


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Old 02-14-2018, 06:36 AM   #5
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Welcome to the skoolie family and loads of luck on your build
My deepest sympathies on the loss of your son.
I look forward to watching your build

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Old 02-14-2018, 06:42 AM   #6
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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I can only imagine the pain of losing a child. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss!

Yall enjoy the journey and we'll be here for ya through your bus adventure.
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:07 AM   #7
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Neither of my buses have that arm on the front. I really want one so I can whack unsuspecting passers-by with it. It's the little things.

Sorry about your loss. Your bus project will be a great way to bring your family together.
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:15 AM   #8
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Welcome and good luck with the build!


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Old 02-14-2018, 08:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post

I might be mistaken but IIRC all WA state spe'c buses were required to have 12" windows starting about 2004. So you most likely have the high roof option on that Thomas.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
Best wishes from me too.

Just a note for anyone reading ...

You can always tell Thomas buses with a high ceiling by the bump in the roofline right above the driver's head.

In this one you can see it in the both pictures.

So far I have not found anything in my Saf-T-Liner that has disappointed me.
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:51 AM   #10
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Join Date: Feb 2018
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Year: 2004
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Engine: Cat 3126b
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Thank you all for the kind words, it will be a long road but really drives home how precious every minute with our children really is.


We get to go pick up the busses Monday, I also found a wrecked 2004 5th wheel for around a grand not far from us, what component should I be confirming are still in good shape? It looks like a tree fell on it and about half tje roof is caved in, i know the heater/ac is one thing to look at, what else?

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Old 02-16-2018, 06:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godspyro View Post
Thank you all for the kind words, it will be a long road but really drives home how precious every minute with our children really is.


We get to go pick up the busses Monday, I also found a wrecked 2004 5th wheel for around a grand not far from us, what component should I be confirming are still in good shape? It looks like a tree fell on it and about half tje roof is caved in, i know the heater/ac is one thing to look at, what else?

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I went that route. I donít have specific advice on what to look for other than to say components do often survive but if what you want from it looks smashed...it probably IS smashed.

Make sure you can tow it. I brought one from Orlando and though it was without incident it was scariest drive of my life.
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:36 AM   #12
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: WA
Posts: 27
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP EF
Engine: Cat 3126b
Rated Cap: 71
Thanks for the feedback David, I got the idea from you, i don't have a 5th wheel capable rig so i would have to phone a friend. It is only about 30 miles away and I dont think it is quite as bad as yours was.

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Old 02-16-2018, 11:14 AM   #13
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That actually looks perfect! I wish that I had held out for a bigger trailer because most of the components in the trailer that I bought were scaled to fit the small platform. Unfortunately in many cases Iíve chosen to go with other components just because I was unhappy with exactly the solution that came in the trailer that I got. A notable exception to that was that the propane furnace is plenty adequate for my bus. Even in Weather that was down in the teens it had no trouble keeping the bus comfortably warm. I guess the other thing that I would say is do consider the age of things. The trailer that I got was only 2 1/2 or three years old but itís surprising how age things can become in a relatively short amount of time. That said I think all the components I got were in nearly new condition, but I was surprised at how much rust theyíre already was on the frame of the trailer and other things that just seems like they should be in more like new condition and they were based on the relatively young age of the trailer.
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Old 02-16-2018, 06:06 PM   #14
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Join Date: Jul 2011
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A 5th wheel of that size is going to have a lot more than $1K in parts and pieces you can use.

An RV fridge is going to cost over $2K if you purchase a new one. A residential 110-VAC only fridge is going to be over $200.00.

Tanks (black, potable water, grey, and propane) will easily set you back over $1K.

Furnace and hot water heater over $1K.

Sinks, toilet, and shower over $1K.

Stove, oven, microwave, range hood well over $1K.

The master bedroom bed and cabinets would be worth the cost if they are still in good condition.


I think that if you can get it home in more or less one piece you will be able to get more than $1K worth of value out of it.
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