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Old 02-28-2020, 07:52 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 60
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: RE
Engine: CAT 3126
Rated Cap: 78
Valentino

Hello and welcome everyone to my official bus build thread! First of all, thank you to the entire skoolie community for inspiring me to build my own skoolie! I could not have started this project without the people who contribute to this forum and I hope my build inspires others. Second, I want to thank my family for supporting me during this build. Suddenly, deciding to park a 40ft bus in the driveway and spend months rebuilding it would test any family! I especially want to thank my father who was immediately on board and whom I dare say is more excited than I am!

On to the build!

Meet Valentino! Teaser alert...there's going to be a surprise paint job at the very end.
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Old 02-28-2020, 08:04 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 60
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: RE
Engine: CAT 3126
Rated Cap: 78
I bought my bus from the NC state school system and overall I had a very pleasant experience. I had no problem calling the state bureaucrats who oversee the surplus buses and they were very helpful. For anyone interested in purchasing a surplus bus from NC, I have included the url below. You can search/sort through all 100 counties in the state and see what buses are up for sale. If you are after an activity bus, those are sold by individual school districts not through this state portal.

Just for your information *most* of the surplus buses currently for sale have the AT545 transmission. If you have any questions feel free to PM me, I did quite a deep dive into their system.

Link:
https://itre.ncsu.edu/ncbussurplus/how-to/

P.S. I am not 100% competent with uploading images yet. Bear with me as I figure it out.
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File Type: jpg 20200219_155137.jpg (170.7 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg 20200219_123510.jpg (143.2 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg 20200219_151325.jpg (377.3 KB, 11 views)
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Old 02-28-2020, 09:14 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,941
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Thank you for posting the link to the NC surplus sales. Folks here can use it.


I am pleased you have started your build thread. Valentino looks like a fine project!
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Old 02-28-2020, 09:19 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 2,343
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Convert your pics to PNG (and ensure they're rotated to the correct orientation in that format) before posting to fix the orientation problem. JPEGs usually contain EXIF data that includes an orientation flag that messes up how they're displayed on web sites (EXIF data also often includes personally-identifiable information like location etc.).
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Old 02-29-2020, 06:56 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 60
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: RE
Engine: CAT 3126
Rated Cap: 78
Test of the PNG file type... and to show you the most popular picture thus far of the bus. Everyone seems to love this picture; I was just trying keep out the rain after removing the windows. I bought this giant tarp at Harbor Freight if anyone is curious.
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Old 02-29-2020, 11:08 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,941
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
The PNG format does work!


That is a strange picture. All cocooned like that your bus sort of looks like a large worm or caterpillar. I know, it has a Caterpillar in the rear.


I must say, that is one LARGE tarp!
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Old 03-03-2020, 08:35 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 60
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: RE
Engine: CAT 3126
Rated Cap: 78
Phase one of the 21 inch roof raise went smoothly this past weekend. We had perfect weather and the new welder worked great! I decided to bolt strapping around the lower half of the hat channel during the lift. This kept everything nice and secure while still allowing vertical movement. Once the desired height was reached, I welded the bottom half and removed the strapping. Two of us did the raise with a jack, 2x4s scabbed together, 1" tubular steel, welding equipment, and patience. I leveled the bus first, and then we went slowly and watched closely for shifting, but there wasn't any.

I'll post a few pictures here and if anyone has questions feel free to ask.
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File Type: jpg IMG_0895(1).jpg (264.7 KB, 30 views)
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Old 03-03-2020, 05:56 PM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,941
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
I see ... the straping gives you a little piece of mind that the 1" tubing will not move too far out of alignment before you have it welded in place.
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Old 03-03-2020, 09:06 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Alaska
Posts: 33
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: IH3800
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 77
Hehe at the welding pic, it looks like you're just a beard under a helmet bro!! Beards ftw!! Also, nice job on knocking that raise out so quickly, you got skills!
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Old 03-05-2020, 12:05 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: NE Oregon
Posts: 37
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Thanks for posting and good luck on the build. Nice job on the roof.
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Old 03-07-2020, 05:35 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 60
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: RE
Engine: CAT 3126
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maligator. View Post
Hehe at the welding pic, it looks like you're just a beard under a helmet bro!! Beards ftw!! Also, nice job on knocking that raise out so quickly, you got skills!
Thanks! I guess nearly 20 years in construction comes in handy every now and then. Plus I hate metal work, so I like to get it done as quickly as possible.
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Old 03-07-2020, 05:40 AM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 60
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: RE
Engine: CAT 3126
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Native View Post
I see ... the straping gives you a little piece of mind that the 1" tubing will not move too far out of alignment before you have it welded in place.
Exactly Native. It was great for peace of mind. It also served as a visual indicator when the roof wasn't going up evenly on both sides. You could watch the gaps between tubular steel and the strapping/H channel and see any unevenness.
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Old 03-07-2020, 05:56 AM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 60
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: RE
Engine: CAT 3126
Rated Cap: 78
CAD Drawings

While waiting on materials to arrive, I've put together a rough draft CAD drawing of my skoolie. I've been using a program called FreeCAD and I like it a lot! Here's the link for anyone interested.

https://www.freecadweb.org/
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Old 03-15-2020, 11:34 AM   #14
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: SW New Hampshire
Posts: 1,326
FreeCad works great on Linux! Thanks for the pointer.
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:22 AM   #15
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Central missouri
Posts: 107
Chassis: 2000 Int Amtran
Engine: DT466HT
Rated Cap: 84
You hate metal work... Guess I won't be hiring you to do mine!! lol
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:29 AM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 60
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: RE
Engine: CAT 3126
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacC View Post
You hate metal work... Guess I won't be hiring you to do mine!! lol
Haha nope! There are companies out there that will.
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