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Old 05-19-2022, 07:35 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 4
Thomas Vista 3600 [1994] - June 2022

Good evening, community.

We've just purchased a Thomas Built school bus for our mobile home conversion!
We are very excited to begin this new journey!

I wanted to create a thread to help document the process, and to see if anyone around could offer advice / opinion about some of the concepts we're playing with. (first build)

We haven't yet picked the bus up - that will happen in the next few weeks.
I will be sharing some pictures here to give an impression of the vehicle.

Mainly, I'm wondering what ya'll think - both of the vehicle, and of the concepts!

I'm so happy to see an active community that discusses these builds!
Let's see if the pictures come across well.

Thank you,
  • Under-coating bus to prevent future rust.
  • Mount stainless steel NEMA 4 junction boxes under frame / skirt.
  • Install hidden storage compartments into the floor of bus.
  • Rooftop deck + Solar array.
  • Fresh water storage.
  • Propane Storage.
  • Heating + Cooling [wood burning / air conditioning?]
  • Ladder access to the roof [Black iron pipe / weather proof]
  • Collapsible storage / hidden storage everywhere.
  • Potential battery system.
  • Provisioned cellular modem - work remotely.
  • Functioning kitchen / refrigerator / stovetop + oven. (propane?)
  • LED lighting / warm.
  • Installed movie projector / movable magnet mounts.
  • Exterior lights (weather proof).
  • Updated instrument cluster (custom face with new gauges?)
  • Master bed / combination wrap around booth table. (conversion)
  • Outdoor (back of bus?) mounted junction box for exterior storage
  • Bus entrance stairs, hinging treads? Hinging hidden storage?

I am currently researching boat / marine hardware since they're so unique and specialty. I've also found the community of narrow boat interior design, and air-stream conversions.

Let's get this thing started!
Thank you everyone!

PS - The bus still needs to be named.

Thomas Built Bus - International Chasis.
Thomas Vista 3600 - 1994. (5) window.
[Pending confirmation] 444E 7.3 Diesel. (Should be turbo-charged)
Allison Transmission AT542, automatic.
Dual wheel rear.
69,000 miles.
Very minimal rust - oil pan / exhaust.
Governor @ 55 MPH.
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:38 PM   #2
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Additional picture viewing passenger side.
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Old 05-19-2022, 09:39 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,370
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
Metallurgy

I donít recommend using stainless steel on a bus made from mild steel. Long term, like 20, 30, 40 years in the future, the surrounding steel will pay a price of increased corrosion.

William
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Old 05-20-2022, 02:36 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Sandpoint, ID
Posts: 468
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Girardin Microbird MB-IV
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: 7.3 Diesel
Rated Cap: 25
Love the Vista style! I used to have one. Top of the list should be full inspection and maintenance of mechanical systems. Then soundproofing the engine as best you can. One person here replaced the transmission on his Vista and gained good cruising speed . It also reduced engine noise considerably.
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Old 05-21-2022, 01:02 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 4
Thank you!
That's a very good point - I wasn't aware that mild steel and stainless steel would enable electrolysis.
Do you have any input about the potential of coating the metals in a bed-liner type application?

Do you foresee any issues if the Stainless Steel boxes were mounted on the body, in contact with paint?

I appreciate the time and guidance.
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Old 05-21-2022, 01:04 PM   #6
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Posts: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by magnakansas View Post
I donít recommend using stainless steel on a bus made from mild steel. Long term, like 20, 30, 40 years in the future, the surrounding steel will pay a price of increased corrosion.

William
Quote:
Originally Posted by peakbus View Post
Love the Vista style! I used to have one. Top of the list should be full inspection and maintenance of mechanical systems. Then soundproofing the engine as best you can. One person here replaced the transmission on his Vista and gained good cruising speed . It also reduced engine noise considerably.

That's awesome advice!
Yes, it would be in my best interest to enable the vehicle to have "fuel sipping" / "cruising" abilities. I would hate for the vehicle to work itself too hard, and for things to be too loud.
That's an interesting concept of sound-proofing the dog house.. hmmm, do you know of any examples / applications?

Thank you very much.
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Old 05-21-2022, 02:19 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Communist State of New Jersey
Posts: 855
Year: 2004
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: CE200
Engine: T444e
Rated Cap: 27,500
Welcome to the forum. Nice looking bus. Not much rust under it. Best thing I noticed is it's no yellow so no painting required, that alone saved you a lot of time and work.
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Old 05-21-2022, 08:22 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 157
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird Mini-Bird 24'
Chassis: Chevy P30
Engine: Chevy 6.2L Diesel
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_keyes View Post
That's an interesting concept of sound-proofing the dog house.. hmmm, do you know of any examples / applications?

Thank you very much.
Pretty much mandatory, IMHO, on any doghouse if you don't like yelling.

Get some rockwool or DynaMat and affix it to the underside of the doghouse. It will help noticeably.
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