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Old 07-01-2016, 11:50 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Texas
Posts: 160
Year: 1997
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 5.9L Diesel Engine
Rated Cap: 83
The Beast - 1997 Thomas Conversion

The Beast is just a placeholder name for now. It's just what goes through my head anytime I approach the bus. I am not sure why I am agonizing so much over a name, but it has halted me from officially choosing something. However now that I have used "The Beast" in this post it may be hard to back away from it.

THE BUS

It's a 1997 Thomas MVP 83 passenger. She has a Cummins 6BTA -230 5.9L Turbo Diesel engine in the rear, paired with a MT643. The bus has 268,570 miles (18,660 hours) with a rebuild at 150,889. Air brakes. Power steering.






We picked her up in an online auction in Texas from the Plano ISD. We ended up paying $3,400, which was a bit higher than I wanted since some of the the tires are not in the best shape, but still felt it was not too bad.

THE REPAIRS (so far)

It was leaking a little oil and had to have a gasket replaced. While doing so and having the timing cover off had the dowel pin checked. Also replaced a few power steering hoses, and put in new batteries. I also had the oil changed, and new fuel and oil filters.
There is still a few things I need to do, there are a few wires and hoses that need to be cleaned up and tucked away like this wire I found (I think its my Trans temp guage)



and I need to find a lid for here. (does anyone have any good links for parts stores to find a lid for this?)



CURRENT STATUS

Yesterday I got to drive The Beast to the work site, thirty minutes away from where we got the bus serviced. It was my first time driving anything this size this far. It was a little intimidating, but the bus drove well and it was a blast to be cruising down the highway in it.
It is now sitting in a truck yard waiting for us to start tearing it apart.


NEXT STEPS

So the seats are the first step. I have my angle grinder ready and will begin that this weekend. The other thing I am considering is taking out the AC units. Has anyone stripped something like this out before and have any tips on the process? I am hoping that I can sell them once I take it out, but not sure what they would be worth.




I am real excited to start the conversion, although nervous at the same time. Wondering just what the hell I have got myself into!!!

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Old 07-01-2016, 12:36 PM   #2
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You have air conditioning??? AWESOME!
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Old 07-01-2016, 01:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by RHOMBUS View Post
You have air conditioning??? AWESOME!
I think a good number of Texas busses have some sort of units. I get the impression however that roof top RV style AC units would be better, so I am going to take these ones out.
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Old 07-01-2016, 07:08 PM   #4
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Hey Justin.

Congrats on the new bus! Looks to be a beauty.

If you want AC while driving down the road, you may want to reconsider removing those units. What you have is "coach" or "road" air. It runs off compressors driven by the bus engine. The roof-top units most talk about are "house" air, requiring a 120V shore hookup or an amazing set of batteries.

Many here would jump through many hoops to have coach air in their rigs. These beasts can get really hot while driving down the road, especially in States like Texas!

Good luck!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin McCormick View Post
I think a good number of Texas busses have some sort of units. I get the impression however that roof top RV style AC units would be better, so I am going to take these ones out.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:26 PM   #5
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As BusFiend said, keep those OVR AC units intact if you want bad-ass AC while running that engine.

Most buses with OVR systems are 7.5-15 tonne units; that's a hell of a lot more air conditioning that most houses have...
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Old 07-01-2016, 10:09 PM   #6
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i took mine down and put one under my couch and the other under my kitchen cabinets, dont get in too much of a hurry. lots of ideas on this forum, glad i waited. good luck great bus
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Old 07-01-2016, 10:28 PM   #7
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Built around the 2 on our bus, very glad to have when OTR!
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Old 07-01-2016, 11:32 PM   #8
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Right on! athe pic going down the highway sure captures the joy of these.

I third the motion to leave ac units.

That "what the hell have i got myself into?!" feeling lasted for a few weeks. it was a bit of a shock but i sensed it would fade on its own. Maybe talking with the police every day helped that process... hadn't really considered that possibility, but my point here was i can relate.
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Old 07-02-2016, 02:46 PM   #9
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All good advise, thanks guys. I will rethink pulling those AC units out, and do a bit more research on them. I like what superdave said, "dont get in too much of a hurry." I will take that advice. In the meantime I have lots of seats to pull out.
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Old 07-02-2016, 03:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin McCormick View Post
All good advise, thanks guys. I will rethink pulling those AC units out, and do a bit more research on them. I like what superdave said, "dont get in too much of a hurry." I will take that advice. In the meantime I have lots of seats to pull out.
Yup SuperDave is wise beyond his years. Like a wizard!
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Old 07-04-2016, 04:49 PM   #11
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Made a bit of progress this weekend. Almost have all the seats out. I still have not decided on the AC units. I have to take the evaporator units out regardless since I am taking out the ceilings. If I put them back up I will remove the middle unit if thats possible.



Grinding out the bolts on the seats was straightforward and seemed to work well.












Even found some little vintage toy treasures along the way.



I am out of town for the next couple weeks, but am eager to get back to this and finish tearing out everything.

Oh and as a side note I noticed today that all the windows are tinted, a nice little bonus.
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Old 07-25-2016, 12:44 PM   #12
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Welp, I now have all the seats out. Starting the process of getting all the rivets and screws out of the walls, floor and celling.

Next step is to evacuate the refrigerate from the A/C system and take out the evaporators so I can get the celling out. Still waffling bettwen keeping and getting rid of the system.

Then I will finish gutting the interior. I will feel a whole lot better once I see the condition of the metal floor and see what I am dealing with.


Hauling out the seats.


Mostly empty bus.


We started taping out a floor plan. I am realizing there is lots to think about when creating a floor plan.


All the kids came out to help. Sort of.
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Old 08-02-2016, 07:30 PM   #13
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That high roof, 6'6" in the aisle?

What part of tx you in, im in hempstead going to get my auction bus from sugarland in the morning
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Old 08-02-2016, 07:53 PM   #14
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I think it might be, I have not measured it. I'm in Arlington Texas. Congrats on the auction! what did you get?
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Old 08-02-2016, 09:08 PM   #15
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2000 dognose shorty with a 7.3. Only a party of 3 here and the places i plan to go should be a bit easier not at 40 ft i think
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Old 08-02-2016, 09:46 PM   #16
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Hey Justin, just now came across your build. Great looking bus you have there. Somewhat similar to mine except mine is an International AmTran.

On the A/C units I would consider two things. One is how much do you plan to drive it every year? Because if you're sitting in a campground or RV park they are just taking up valuable space. If you plan to put 15000 miles on it every year then they might be worth keeping. Second is where do you plan to stay when you're in the bus? Will it always be hot where you're going or do you plan to visit cooler climates? Also, will it just be used on the weekends or do you plan to live in it full time? Lots of decesions for sure.

I'm in Houston which is a ways from Arlington but we're both starting at the same time pretty much. My bus gets here next weekend and the seats are already removed so I'll be ripping up the old flooring and then taking down the ceiling and sides panels.

I look forward to watching your build progress. My build here is under "Southern Comfort". Good luck going forward.

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Old 08-03-2016, 10:49 AM   #17
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I will be mostly mobile. I am planning on participating in the Great American RV migration, north in the summer and south in the winter.

After lots of research and deliberation I have decided to remove the split A/C system. Bottom line, its too heavy, bulky and ultimately too expensive to maintain for A/C system that is available only part of the time. I am planning on having a generator that will run a roof top unit when needed.

To that affect I had someone come and evacuate the refrigerant (About 5.5 lbs of R134a)



And this weekend I will begin to remove the evaporators, condensers and the compressor. I will of course try and sell the parts, but not sure if I will have any takers on it.

I took a look at the bus you bought, its a beauty! I will be following your progress. Also like your website, are you planning on updating that as you go along as well?
I have a website that I will be updating with an ongoing blog about the bus here: Wilderness Wandering
I still need to add a section for the bus which I plan on doing latter this month.

If you happen to be in the DFW area, give me a holler and come check out the bus!
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Old 08-04-2016, 09:05 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin McCormick View Post

And this weekend I will begin to remove the evaporators, condensers and the compressor. I will of course try and sell the parts, but not sure if I will have any takers on it.

I took a look at the bus you bought, its a beauty! I will be following your progress. Also like your website, are you planning on updating that as you go along as well?
I have a website that I will be updating with an ongoing blog about the bus here: Wilderness Wandering
I still need to add a section for the bus which I plan on doing latter this month.

If you happen to be in the DFW area, give me a holler and come check out the bus!
I hope you are able to get at least something for those A/C units.

My plan is to update my website regularly with the demo and rebuilding process. And also to post updates here as well.

I get up to Dallas about once every six months so next time I'm heading your way I'll give you a shout.
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Old 08-05-2016, 09:58 PM   #19
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Id like to have those AC parts. I don't even have a bus yet but I'm definitely installing an AC of some sort. The bus I'm looking at tomorrow in Houston doesn't have an AC.

I have a friend who has a Volkswagen Bus and installed his own AC with a compressor driven by a small engine that is mounted to his rear bumper. It's a good conversation starter for him.

Plus it's more efficient than driving an electric motor with a generator.


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Old 08-06-2016, 09:52 AM   #20
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to the buyer of used A/C parts..,

i wouldnt pay much for used Bus A/C parts.. they are often abused over the years and many busses in the junkyards have the same parts that they will practically give you... if you plan on using used A/C parts.. invest in a new compressor... the lines are somewhat useful if the rubber isnt dry-rotted.. you can cut them and put your own burgaclip fittings on... you never want to buy liens that are too short.. splices are bad... but you can shorten long lines easily...

condensors are often abused with bent and dirty fins, fan motors that dont have alot of life left in them...

the compressor may still be good but after a takeout will need its oil changed at a minimum but id replace it...

the receiver / dryer must be replaced when you have opened a system long enough to tear it out, transport it and put it back together..

for the OP id leave it in... you will have a tough time cooling the bus when on the road with a camper A/C or two... the original coach A/C will cool it nicely even down south..

-Christopher
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