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Old 11-27-2023, 11:24 AM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: East TN
Posts: 295
Year: 1999
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
White Prison Bus Build Thread

Hi All!

I'm beginning a thread to document my build with this white bus I picked up last year. Quick stats:

30K miles
T444E
AT545 (for now)
34 feet long
4.44 gears
Dana Spicer N190 Rear End

It was used as a prison bus after the school system finished with it and somewhere along the line got a remaned engine! She runs and starts perfectly! I purchased it fairly cheap and it had a known rear end leak which I'm 75% complete with repairing. It actually was leaking in three places so is taking a while. The pinion, hub and passenger axle were all leaking. Two of the three are fixed with the pinion remaining. None of my tools have enough umpf to get the yoke nut off.

I have also blanked off two windows which were missing/broken and am close to getting an entry door installed. The entry stair treads were removed this past weekend and thankfully only revealed some surface rust, which will be treated. There is no rust underneath on the chassis.

I may do a trans swap. Top speed is around 65 mph.

For the skoolie part my plan is a full build, shower, solar, bed, dishwasher, etc. I'm slow though as time is always at a premium, still working full time.
Attached Thumbnails
Door For Entryway.jpg   Interior With Seats.jpg   N190 2.jpg   Stairs Demo.jpg   Hood Up.JPG  

Leaky Axle.jpg   Saturated Brakes.jpg  
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Old 11-27-2023, 01:02 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: NM USA KD6WJG
Posts: 1,315
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE 40 FEET
Engine: Cummins 8.3
How captivating! The fun is just beginning.
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Old 11-27-2023, 05:17 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 1,075
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
Quote:
Originally Posted by s2mikon View Post
How captivating! The fun is just beginning.
Yeah it is. The mechanical on mine was pretty involved. Even though it sat in a warehouse for 16+ years, everything is dated or needs to be looked at...or is over 16 years old
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Old 11-27-2023, 07:56 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: East TN
Posts: 295
Year: 1999
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
The tires are from 2011… breaks my heart with so much tread left!
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Old 11-27-2023, 09:01 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 1,075
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diverdude0075 View Post
The tires are from 2011… breaks my heart with so much tread left!
My steer tires were new...in 2006
$1300
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Old 12-06-2023, 06:00 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 631
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: 3126b 210hp
Rated Cap: 48
What’s your plan for the door?

It’s good to have glass in the door to see out when you’re driving. ��

☮️Dave
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Old 12-06-2023, 06:24 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: East TN
Posts: 295
Year: 1999
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meathead View Post
What’s your plan for the door?

It’s good to have glass in the door to see out when you’re driving. ��

☮️Dave
Hi Meathead, I have a thick, heavy solid wooden door I cut to fit. I painted it with marine grade primer and paint a nice blue color. (Like the Tardis in Dr. Who)!

I need to get the door functional and would like to add a window later. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 12-18-2023, 07:59 AM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: East TN
Posts: 295
Year: 1999
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Worked on the bus a little this weekend. I fight the pinion nut fit two hours and still it remains tightly on the bus! I tried a 3/4 drive impact, heat and then the impact, and just using a long cheater pipe! Nothing worked. I read a suggestion to shorten the air , secure the yoke better with large pipe wrench so that the impacts are more effective, and to upgrade to half inch air hose. I’ll start trying these ideas next weekend. To not feel totally defeated I did some prep work on the entry by scuffing the area with a wire wheel and applying some concrete and metal etcher. Oh, I also tried a torque multiplier but it kept slipping off.
Attached Thumbnails
IMG_0553.jpg   IMG_0551.jpg   IMG_0549.jpg   IMG_0555.jpg   IMG_0550.jpg  

IMG_0548.jpg   IMG_0556.jpg   IMG_0559.jpg  
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Old 12-18-2023, 03:46 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 795
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 29
What year is this bus?
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Old 12-19-2023, 12:35 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: East TN
Posts: 295
Year: 1999
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Nikitis 1999
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Old 01-15-2024, 10:39 AM   #11
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: East TN
Posts: 295
Year: 1999
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Well, I spent 2-3 hours yesterday trying to remove the gosh darned pinion nut so I can replace the seal. I even went and upgrade my impact wrench from 3/4 to 1 inch drive. I drilled holes into a piece of angle iron to immobilize the pinion and yoke too. I sprayed generous amounts of PB Blaster. I even tried the manual torque multiplier. I've upgraded my air hoses to 3/8 inch. Nothing has worked. Bus 2-3, me zero!

Does anyone have ideas? Is there an electric impact wrench that can do it? I hate to have to upgrade my compressor for one nut!

The plan today is to return to Hobo Freight and upgrade my one inch impact wrench to a bigger better one inch impact wrench and upgrade to 1/2 hose. My compressor doesn't put out the required SCFM though. I would think it doesn't matter since I am not running it all day. I just need 10-15 seconds of air (hopefully) to get this stupid pinion nut off. What are they torqued to anyways? Rear end is a Spicer N190.

I would like to get this done so I can go ahead and install my door. Then I can drive the bus out of my workshop, freeing up some space to get my short bus ready to go camping next month. My other vehicles need a little shop/maintenance time as well.
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Old 01-15-2024, 10:49 AM   #12
Almost There
 
Join Date: Dec 2023
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 81
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Thomas (Thomas Vista)
Chassis: International 3600
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 60
Helped a neighbor do this with a single axle dump truck before, have you used a propane torch to heat it any? applying some heat helps use physics to break it loose some. I wish you good luck!
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Old 01-15-2024, 11:40 AM   #13
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: TX
Posts: 125
Year: 2010
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird (6-window Handy Bus)
Engine: Cummins 6.7l ISB
Rated Cap: 15 + 3WC
If you have an auxiliary (portable) air tank you can hook that to your compressor to give you more volume. I did this when painting my bus - had a 5 gal compressor and attached a 7 gal reserve tank to get sufficient continuous flow…
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Old 01-15-2024, 11:53 AM   #14
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: East TN
Posts: 295
Year: 1999
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
I did warm it up a bit with a torch. I have seen lots of warning not to so I didn't get too crazy on the heat.

The added volume tank isn't a bad idea. Unfortunately, I don't have anything to add at the moment to increase the volume.
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Old 01-15-2024, 12:03 PM   #15
Almost There
 
Join Date: Dec 2023
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 81
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Thomas (Thomas Vista)
Chassis: International 3600
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 60
bad idea warning, breaker bar and a ratchet strap...bad idea but if it'll break it loose...
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Old 01-15-2024, 12:07 PM   #16
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: East TN
Posts: 295
Year: 1999
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
I've already bent a one inch breaker bar with a cheater pipe...

This pinion nut is the most mechanically I've been challenged in a good while! haha
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Old 01-15-2024, 12:10 PM   #17
Almost There
 
Join Date: Dec 2023
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 81
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Thomas (Thomas Vista)
Chassis: International 3600
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 60
Sir you have a stubborn nut to be sure, I hate to say it but, more heat from a propane torch and impact wrench. that is about the only option I got
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Old 01-16-2024, 08:52 AM   #18
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: East TN
Posts: 295
Year: 1999
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Yesterday I returned the 3/4 drive impact and upgraded to the one inch impact, 1/2 inch hose and fittings. This impact boasts 2500 ftlbs of power! We shall see. I will also use the torch a bit more too. This pinion nut will not beat me!!
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Old 01-16-2024, 10:00 AM   #19
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: mid Mo.
Posts: 860
Year: 1976
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: F33695
Engine: 427 chevy converted to 466
Rated Cap: 84
Most of those pinion nuts are "nylocks" or deformed thread lock nuts. Pay attention to the nylocks because if you burn that out you will have to replace the nut. Use oxy-acet and get it pretty hot but I personally would't get it so hot it changes color or worse gets red. If you are pretty handy with a torch and that doesn't work the give that nut a slice with the torch and that will relieve the pressure and it will come off easily. Try to not cut into the pinion.
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Old 01-16-2024, 12:55 PM   #20
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: West Ohio
Posts: 3,645
Year: 1984
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 1753
Engine: 6.9 International
Rated Cap: 65
Have you tried hitting it with your purse? I kid, I kid.

All pinion nuts are retained in some fashion. Be it thread locker, nylock, castle nut/cotter key, or interference fit like a distorted(crimped) thread, or flex-top expanding end. It's kind of an important thing, so they'll definitely do something to make sure it doesn't come loose. A lot of times they say do not reuse a pinion nut, that's because the locking mechanism is a one time use thing usually. I've successfully reused pinion nuts, just be sure to put thread locker on it if you do.

I've never met one that our 1 inch ingersoll rand pneumatic impact couldn't get off. It has something like 1600 foot pounds of breakaway torque, which is hard to imagine. Then again, it requires 10 cfm at 90 psi minimum, and the shop has a 20 cfm@175psi compressor that feeds 2 inch pipe and then 1/2" air hose. So it's probably delivering what it's rated at and then some. The last pinion nut I did I couldn't find the cotter key due to the grease, and using the gun on it ended up shearing it off without an issue.

Sometimes you have to hold the yoke like you are, I've got 2"x2"x8' angle iron that sits in the corner of the shop just for that reason.

I think the n190 used threadlocker, so try applying heat, approx. 500 degrees or so. Check it with an IR temp gun if you're worried about getting it too hot. I wouldn't, as you're replacing the seal anyways. I googled it quick and txstreetman on youtube managed to get his with an m18 1/2" impact, so I'd say this is doable with what you have, it's just that the threadlocker is your hold up.
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