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Old 08-02-2020, 08:01 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Jacksonville, NC
Posts: 8
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas MVP
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 66 passenger
St Thomas Storm Runner

Let me start this with an apology. I'm using an app, tapatalk, that is fairly foreign to me. As is the prospect of posting to a forum. So please forgive any questions or errors.

This post is being started a bit late. I wanted to make sure I could move forward with the project before starting a build log. But here we are. I'll be starting this as if it were from the beginning so that anyone who cares can follow my progress from the start. My intention with this thread is to both chart my progress for my self and others that may be looking for inspiration or ideas as well as to seek help from the community that finds this and undoubtedly has more skill and knowledge than myself.

Meet St Thomas Storm Runner. A 32ft 1998 Thomas Saf-T-Liner MVP ER from the Onslow county schools bus garage in Jacksonville NC. So far everything seems to work great. Very little rust, a few minor hiccups like dash lights that barely work and a governor set to 45 mph, and a lot of work ahead.

DSC_0110.jpg

Here's the setting. My girlfriend and I were displaced from our home after hurricane Florence. This eventually gave way to us finding this community and hatching the idea to build out an RV to live in full time. This is where the name comes from. We aren't content with continued living on the east coast and are looking forward to having a home for us and our pets that can take us out of harms way and on a new adventure. We start this with minimal skill and experience, next to no tools, and a eagerness to start the rest of our lives.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:18 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Jacksonville, NC
Posts: 8
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas MVP
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 66 passenger
We had little luck using auction sites to find busses that fit our needs and had decent documentation within our price range. We would occasionally find a bus that fit, then get outbid and be back to square one. Then I had remembered that an old employer of mine happened to sell busses occasionally. We went to check them out and happened on this.

DSC_0110.jpg
Attachment 47479
Attachment 47476
DSC_0113.jpg
DSC_0114.jpg

Struck a deal with one of the office staff, waited a day for them to get the physical title, signed our lives away, went across the street to the tag office to get a temp tag, and we were on our way. It was incredibly simple and we were stoked.

On the drive home we discovered the governor was set to 45mph and annoyed everyone around us. Other than that, it was smooth sailing all the way home.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:11 AM   #3
Site Team
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: The West
Posts: 1,188
Year: 1998
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 102 EL3
Engine: DD 60
Congrats Mr. Frog! No doubt that 45mph is quiet slow on a major highway. Nonetheless, get used to that 'annoyed everyone around us' feeling. For the most part, drivers do not like big vehicles. You will experience some crazy stuff. All you can do is relax, drive defensively, and do not let others push you. Getting in a hurry is usually when the damage occurs. The 30 seconds you are going to cost another driver is not actually going to ruin their life - in spite of what they may think/indicate.
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Old 08-03-2020, 12:12 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Kansas
Posts: 125
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12v
Rated Cap: 60
Congrats and welcome. Looking forward to seeing what you make!
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:56 PM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Jacksonville, NC
Posts: 8
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas MVP
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 66 passenger
After the painfully slow trip home, the big yellow brick sat in a storage lot for a week. With our busy work schedules, we only have two days a week to work on it, regrettably. But come the next week we started by removing the seats and taking stock of what we had.

We started with this

Attachment 47541
Attachment 47542

Took an embarrassingly long time to finally get the first seat out

Attachment 47543

Then with myself inside the bus and my girlfriend sliding around underneath, we eventually got out all of the seats before calling it a night.

The next day we decided on a trip to lowes for some lumber and odd tools or items we mistakenly thought we needed at that exact moment.

Attachment 47545
Attachment 47544

You see, we got this silly idea to mock up a bare bones RV interior and paint the outside in order to schmooze a dmv inspector into labeling us an official "House Car," which is just the NC equivalent of a RV registration. Luckily, before we started too far down this path, we spoke with Jolly Roger, who is someone from this community who happens to be fairly local to us. He gave us some great insight and that ultimately led to us registering as a bus for personal use. It meant less work and schmoozing upfront and just slightly more money later.

So we ended our second day and the end of our first official bus week with attaching some locks to the front, side, and back doors.

Attachment 47546
Attachment 47547
Attachment 47548
Attachment 47549

We realize this won't stop anyone from finding other ways in, but we felt and still feel safer knowing we aren't just leaving an open door for some crook to make off with our future home and anything that may happen to be left inside.
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Old 08-04-2020, 05:14 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 3,836
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrfrog View Post
After the painfully slow trip home, the big yellow brick sat in a storage lot for a week. With our busy work schedules, we only have two days a week to work on it, regrettably. But come the next week we started by removing the seats and taking stock of what we had.

We started with this

Attachment 47541
Attachment 47542

Took an embarrassingly long time to finally get the first seat out

Attachment 47543

Then with myself inside the bus and my girlfriend sliding around underneath, we eventually got out all of the seats before calling it a night.

The next day we decided on a trip to lowes for some lumber and odd tools or items we mistakenly thought we needed at that exact moment.

Attachment 47545
Attachment 47544

You see, we got this silly idea to mock up a bare bones RV interior and paint the outside in order to schmooze a dmv inspector into labeling us an official "House Car," which is just the NC equivalent of a RV registration. Luckily, before we started too far down this path, we spoke with Jolly Roger, who is someone from this community who happens to be fairly local to us. He gave us some great insight and that ultimately led to us registering as a bus for personal use. It meant less work and schmoozing upfront and just slightly more money later.

So we ended our second day and the end of our first official bus week with attaching some locks to the front, side, and back doors.

Attachment 47546
Attachment 47547
Attachment 47548
Attachment 47549

We realize this won't stop anyone from finding other ways in, but we felt and still feel safer knowing we aren't just leaving an open door for some crook to make off with our future home and anything that may happen to be left inside.
None of your pics are showing up, says "invalid attachment" when I click on them.

BTW, two super-easy ways to get into a bus are 1) climb up on the roof and open one of the emergency hatches, and 2) cut into the gasket on one of the rear windows, grab a cut end with a pair of pliers and twist, and the whole gasket will start coming out. I deleted the lower window on my rear door and I was surprised when it took about 30 seconds to get it out, noiselessly.
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Old 08-04-2020, 07:38 AM   #7
New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Jacksonville, NC
Posts: 8
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas MVP
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 66 passenger
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrfrog View Post
After the painfully slow trip home, the big yellow brick sat in a storage lot for a week. With our busy work schedules, we only have two days a week to work on it, regrettably. But come the next week we started by removing the seats and taking stock of what we had.

We started with this

Attachment 47541
Attachment 47542

Took an embarrassingly long time to finally get the first seat out

Attachment 47543

Then with myself inside the bus and my girlfriend sliding around underneath, we eventually got out all of the seats before calling it a night.

The next day we decided on a trip to lowes for some lumber and odd tools or items we mistakenly thought we needed at that exact moment.

Attachment 47545
Attachment 47544

You see, we got this silly idea to mock up a bare bones RV interior and paint the outside in order to schmooze a dmv inspector into labeling us an official "House Car," which is just the NC equivalent of a RV registration. Luckily, before we started too far down this path, we spoke with Jolly Roger, who is someone from this community who happens to be fairly local to us. He gave us some great insight and that ultimately led to us registering as a bus for personal use. It meant less work and schmoozing upfront and just slightly more money later.

So we ended our second day and the end of our first official bus week with attaching some locks to the front, side, and back doors.

Attachment 47546
Attachment 47547
Attachment 47548
Attachment 47549

We realize this won't stop anyone from finding other ways in, but we felt and still feel safer knowing we aren't just leaving an open door for some crook to make off with our future home and anything that may happen to be left inside.
Attachment 47558
Attachment 47559
Attachment 47560
Attachment 47562
Attachment 47561
Attachment 47563
Attachment 47564
DSC_0136.jpg
DSC_0137.jpg

These are are the pictures re-uploaded. Hopefully this works
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Old 08-04-2020, 07:46 AM   #8
New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Jacksonville, NC
Posts: 8
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas MVP
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 66 passenger
Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
None of your pics are showing up, says "invalid attachment" when I click on them.

BTW, two super-easy ways to get into a bus are 1) climb up on the roof and open one of the emergency hatches, and 2) cut into the gasket on one of the rear windows, grab a cut end with a pair of pliers and twist, and the whole gasket will start coming out. I deleted the lower window on my rear door and I was surprised when it took about 30 seconds to get it out, noiselessly.
That's really interesting about the window gasket. I had no idea. But like I had said, it's just as much for peace of mind as it is a deterrent for a thief. Eventually we'd like to fix these security issues and iron them out, but that's a little down the line.
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Old 08-06-2020, 08:37 AM   #9
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Jacksonville, NC
Posts: 8
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas MVP
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 66 passenger
The next week came and it was time to get back to work. We needed to inspect the bus and get it's permanent tags, as well as continue with the demo. So we went to a place called Advanced Maintenance, which is a fleet maintenance company based out of Wilmington NC. Nice people though I could tell I wasn't a high priority for them. They were a little reluctant but did the inspection and ol' St Tom passed with flying colors. Made another slow trek home and started ripping out the ceiling.

We lucked out with our ceiling. All screws and no rivets. Well, maybe lucked out is an over statement. We still had some 60 screws per line with some 12 or so lines and not all of them were cooperative. We got out a couple full panels
DSC_0149.jpg
DSC_0148.jpg

And decided to finish taking out the screws from the rest before calling it a night.

The next day we finished taking the rest of the roof out

DSC_0155~2.jpg

and scraped up about 3/4 of the floor. The floor also turned out to be a bonus. No soggy plywood to rust the metal sub floor. Just straight rubber over plywood and next to no rust.

Just realized we didn't take nearly enough pictures. That'll definitely need to change moving forward.
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Old 08-10-2020, 03:19 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Cleburne, Texasa
Posts: 121
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas MVP
Engine: Cat 3126B
Rated Cap: 20800
Welcome to the tribe!

We have a 1999 Thomas just like yours only a couple of feet longer. I look forward to following your build!
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Old 08-10-2020, 03:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrfrog View Post
The next week came and it was time to get back to work. We needed to inspect the bus and get it's permanent tags, as well as continue with the demo. So we went to a place called Advanced Maintenance, which is a fleet maintenance company based out of Wilmington NC. Nice people though I could tell I wasn't a high priority for them. They were a little reluctant but did the inspection and ol' St Tom passed with flying colors. Made another slow trek home and started ripping out the ceiling.

We lucked out with our ceiling. All screws and no rivets. Well, maybe lucked out is an over statement. We still had some 60 screws per line with some 12 or so lines and not all of them were cooperative. We got out a couple full panels
Attachment 47662
Attachment 47663

And decided to finish taking out the screws from the rest before calling it a night.

The next day we finished taking the rest of the roof out

Attachment 47666

and scraped up about 3/4 of the floor. The floor also turned out to be a bonus. No soggy plywood to rust the metal sub floor. Just straight rubber over plywood and next to no rust.

Just realized we didn't take nearly enough pictures. That'll definitely need to change moving forward.
There is a typo here its actually just the rubber on the steel no plywood under, Thank God. But the rubber came up pretty good.
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