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Old 01-29-2020, 05:16 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Western PA (Outside of Pittsburgh)
Posts: 17
The Harmony Express Bus - Build Thread

Hi all! Wanted to officially start our Build Thread for our Skoolie since we finally have a BUS at home!!!


Meet "Harmony Express Bus". He is a 2008 Thomas HDX, 72 passenger (due to handicapped access) rear engine high headroom bus. Power plant is a MBE 900 mated to an Allison 3060 transmission.

We bought the bus through 422 Auctions from R.E. Wilson and Son's in Crownsville, MD. Paid just a little more than I originally wanted to, but after going down to look at the bus during the auction and seeing just how clean it really was inside, I couldn't pass it up.



My wife and I went down to Crownsville on Sunday Night, January 26 and to the bus barn early in the morning on 1-27 to pick up Harmony Express. The folks at Wilson were REALLY accommodating and friendly. (of course they were... they got my money!). Had a nice uneventful drive home (about 5 hours). The bus drives extremely well.



I've sent off the title, paperwork and money to the Vermont DMV on Tuesday, and now will await my Vermont plates.


The bus will need new shoes soon, but for now, we'll be driving it only very short distances as we perform the build. We'll be scheduling time with a mechanic soon just to give it a once-over once we have the plates on it.

We are just SO excited to start tearing out seats, floor, ceiling, walls, and every other non-essential thing during the cold weather up north so that we can get ready for when it warms up enough to allow us to seal and paint so it lasts.



I've been reading this forum and the Facebook forums voraciously, and feel that I'm in good shape to at least get started. It feels good knowing that we have such a supportive community here to come to for help when we get stumped. I hope that I can impart some knowledge to others after I learn it from the gurus here!!


For now, here are some pics of "The Harmony Express" formerly known as "Bus 743" of Crownsville, MD.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Harmony Express - Excited.jpg (210.3 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Harmony Express - Happy Couple.JPG (256.6 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg Harmony Express - What Have I Done.jpg (153.9 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg Harmony Express - Nose.JPG (183.4 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Harmony Express - Tail.JPG (138.6 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Harmony Express - Lift Extended.JPG (356.0 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Harmony Express - MBE 904.JPG (141.1 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Harmony Express - Cockpit.JPG (152.6 KB, 8 views)
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Old 01-29-2020, 05:32 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Unity, NH
Posts: 368
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466E (195hp, 520tq)
Rated Cap: 29,000
Cool bus. Love those mirrors too! (Aluminum wheels and an airhorn to boot!) There aren't too many MBE engined rigs in here, but the tranny is a good one. Welcome aboard!
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Old 01-29-2020, 06:03 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Western PA (Outside of Pittsburgh)
Posts: 17
Yeah. The MBE Engine was one of the potential downsides for us, but this bus was SO clean and started up with one small turn of the switch (cold...they didn't really know I was coming to inspect). It really put me at ease.

That being said, the engine is still the part that makes me the most nervous. It's a 2008, so it has all of that EGR stuff and electronics on it, so there is MUCH more to go wrong. But, I'm NOT looking at making this my full-time home... just a REALLY KICK ASS Skoolie, so I am willing to take a gamble.

This bus was REALLY easy to drive. Can't wait to get going on the build so we can "get going" on some awesome trips!
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Old 01-30-2020, 03:41 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,402
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Congratulations! That is a nice looking rig. I can hardly wait to watch your progress.
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:44 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 279
Cool bus
Take care of the after treatment side on the exhaust. That is the biggest worry not the engine
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:56 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Western PA (Outside of Pittsburgh)
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seriousracer View Post
Cool bus
Take care of the after treatment side on the exhaust. That is the biggest worry not the engine

By after treatment side, do you mean the DPF? There is no DEF injector on this bus (thankfully)...


I was planning a cleaning of the DPF... do you have to replace the clamping rings on the filter when they are taken off or are they reusable? Finally, is there any recalibration that is needed after cleaning the DPF or will the ECU recalibrate when the engine is started after cleaning the DPF?


Thanks!


Mike
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:18 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 279
Yes clamps are reusable ptcm should recalibrate itself.
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