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Old 04-03-2020, 11:15 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 46
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: Caterpillar 3126
Rated Cap: 16
Talking Welcome to the world, Gypsy Bus 😻

Yíall, I finally bit the bullet! I finally found a bus that I just couldnít pass up. Meet Gypsy, a 28 foot front engine Thomas built school bus with a little rust and a lot of personality. She has about 138,000 miles on her, a caterpillar 3126 engine and an Allison transmission.

Her pros include new back tires, removed governor, perfectly working engine, automatic transmission, flat front/more usable space, a very comfortable driverís seat, near perfect length, clean undercarriage and a side wheelchair door that is just BEGGING to be an indoor/outdoor shower.

Her cons include a giant wheelchair lift that needs to be removed, low ceiling height, rust around the back emergency door and back windows, and an engine that feels a little underpowered. On the way home, her top speed on the flats was about 63.

I paid $2966 including the basically new back tires and governor removal. Iíll be posting updates of my build on this thread, but if youíd like a more in depth look, I started an instagram account specifically for Gypsy. Feel free to follow her journey at @gypsytribebus

Now to figure out how I can get her up my extremely narrow and steep driveway. When I tried yesterday, the front end hit the driveway...looks like Iíll be build a ramp today to lessen the angle

Wish me luck!!
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Old 04-03-2020, 03:28 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Fraser Valley British Columbia
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Year: 2007
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Engine: C7 Cat
Hello KatTravels
Congrats on the new bus, sounds awesome.
Good luck with getting her in the driveway, be safe and have fun
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Old 04-04-2020, 08:23 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 46
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: Caterpillar 3126
Rated Cap: 16
Thanks Oscar1! We still havenít gotten it up the driveway but Iím hopeful weíre going to figure it out soon. 😬😬😬
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Old 04-07-2020, 10:50 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Biloxi, MS
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: International 3800
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No photos. #didnthappen Congrats!
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Old 04-07-2020, 01:00 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
Be careful you don’t get yourself stuck halfway. If you drag the rear end you could lose traction and need to be dragged back off. Don’t ask me how I know.
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Old 04-10-2020, 01:42 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
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Year: 2002
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Engine: Caterpillar 3126
Rated Cap: 16
Haha we made it up the driveway, but took out part of the retaining wall fortunately it was the part that is useless and Iíve been wanting to take out anyway Here are some photos!!! We got all the seats out, the ceiling panels out, the rubber and some of the floor plywood out, and the wall panels underneath the windows out!
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File Type: jpg 319BBC63-2BE4-49F1-BF75-4B150C275774.jpg (401.3 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg B316905C-BDC3-4B53-9970-97B5E936F6E8.jpg (485.5 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg D000B62C-37C4-41EB-B8AE-1B6CEC0244C6.jpg (157.4 KB, 20 views)
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Old 04-11-2020, 01:40 AM   #7
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,541
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Great going Kat!
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Old 04-14-2020, 08:52 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Durham, NC
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Year: 2002
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Engine: Caterpillar 3126
Rated Cap: 16
Just a quick update, the batteries are dead. Dead dead. Won't hold a charge to save its life. So that's fun. on the upside, the floor, wall, and roof panels are almost completely out. My nephew and will be working on grinding down all the nails and screws sticking up out of the metal, wire brushing the rust, and taking off the reflection tape/letters/numbers on the outside via a heat gun.

I would never wish this pandemic on us, but it has been amazing how much we've been able to get done in such a quick time frame since his classes are all online right now and I'm an out of work bartender

Stay tuned for bus updates and stay safe out there, folks!
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Old 04-15-2020, 12:12 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: NorCal
Posts: 385
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: E-350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
This is certainly a good time to have a big project at home. Your bus is like the perfect size, good find. I'm looking forward to seeing how you build it out. Any idea of your floor plan or desired requirements?
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Old 04-15-2020, 12:27 PM   #10
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Location: Philadelphia
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Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatTravels View Post
the batteries are dead. Dead dead. Won't hold a charge to save its life. So that's fun.
Yeah, the batteries are the first thing that went on my bus. Next up is your starter!
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Rusty 87 build thread
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Old 04-19-2020, 01:28 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Durham, NC
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: Caterpillar 3126
Rated Cap: 16
TheArgobus, yes! Iíve been drawing up floor plans since before we had a bus haha. Unfortunately, all the floor plans I drew up were for much smaller buses so Iíve had to draw up all new ones for this one Iíll take a pic of the final one tomorrow and post it here. It is a bit different than most floorplans since the primary occupants will be my nephew and I, obviously not a couple. To compensate for that, we have bunkbeds in the back as well as a pull out couch for guests. We also will have a compost toilet and an indoor/outdoor shower thanks to the wheelchair lift door. We plan on using your instructions for building a skylight for our rear emergency hatch, and if we can find a suitable grey water tank, your instructions for mounting a tank under the bus.

Musigenesis, donít jinx me lol
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Old 04-21-2020, 09:28 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 46
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: Caterpillar 3126
Rated Cap: 16
I got the heater out all by myself today!! Ok, I had a smidgeon of help from my nephew, but he was most focused on removing the metal tracks in the floor to secure wheelchairs. I was expecting it to be a terrible ordeal that would take me days to sort out. Instead, I was able to remove the heater and pipes, as well as reconnecting the hoses under the bus in about four hours.
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Old 04-21-2020, 10:57 PM   #13
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Location: Whidbey Island, WA.
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Year: 1984
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Install a battery disconnect switch. When you park you open the switch and it prevents your battery from discharging. Weak batteries hasten a starter failure.
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Old 04-22-2020, 12:36 AM   #14
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Fraser Valley British Columbia
Posts: 424
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: C7 Cat
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatTravels View Post
I got the heater out all by myself today!! Ok, I had a smidgeon of help from my nephew, but he was most focused on removing the metal tracks in the floor to secure wheelchairs. I was expecting it to be a terrible ordeal that would take me days to sort out. Instead, I was able to remove the heater and pipes, as well as reconnecting the hoses under the bus in about four hours.
Excellent work there Kat.
Looks like you're making great progress. I see you saved the seat cushions for under the bus work, I've got all mine stacked up in the barn for that.
Keep at it and keep us posted.
Stay safe
Curtis
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Old 04-22-2020, 12:36 AM   #15
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,541
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatTravels View Post
I got the heater out all by myself today!! Ok, I had a smidgeon of help from my nephew, but he was most focused on removing the metal tracks in the floor to secure wheelchairs. I was expecting it to be a terrible ordeal that would take me days to sort out. Instead, I was able to remove the heater and pipes, as well as reconnecting the hoses under the bus in about four hours.
You sure look happy ... and so you should be! Congratulations!
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Old 04-22-2020, 06:22 AM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 46
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: Caterpillar 3126
Rated Cap: 16
Bus-bro, thanks for the tip! Iíll definitely look into that. We are taking a ton of wiring out of the bus, so weíll have room hahaha.

Oscar1, thatís exactly what I keep them for! My bus is parked in my backyard which can get quite muddy, so no point in getting a roller board. We have been spending a lot of time under the bus with a wire brush and that seat is a back saver 😻.

Native, hahaha I was very relieved. I had built up the heater removal as this insurmountable task in my head and was so intimidated to begin! When I finally jumped in, I realized that it wasnít so scary after all
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Old 04-27-2020, 06:35 PM   #17
Bus Nut
 
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Location: California, Bay Area
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Love the 8-9 window flatnoses!


Wheelbase is barely more than that of the motorcycle!


Do you know the overall length, and the usable interior length?
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:16 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 46
Year: 2002
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Engine: Caterpillar 3126
Rated Cap: 16
dzl_ , I believe the overall length is 27+ or - a foot, and the usable length is 22ft. Waaaayyyyy more than we thought weíd have!

Just a little update, we are official out of demo phase and into prep phase as of today. Prep phase for us consists of installing skylights/the maxxair fan, rust removal, sealing floor holes, rust removal, sorting out electrical, rust removal, sorting out plumbing, rust removal, sanding the outside of the bus/applying the base paint coat,and did I mention RuSt rEmoVaL??? Itís going to probably be the longest phase of the renovation, but it will be worth it in the end.
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:04 PM   #19
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Fraser Valley British Columbia
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Engine: C7 Cat
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatTravels View Post
dzl_ , I believe the overall length is 27+ or - a foot, and the usable length is 22ft. Waaaayyyyy more than we thought weíd have!

Just a little update, we are official out of demo phase and into prep phase as of today. Prep phase for us consists of installing skylights/the maxxair fan, rust removal, sealing floor holes, rust removal, sorting out electrical, rust removal, sorting out plumbing, rust removal, sanding the outside of the bus/applying the base paint coat,and did I mention RuSt rEmoVaL??? Itís going to probably be the longest phase of the renovation, but it will be worth it in the end.
Wow Kat that's awesome! You're rocking right along, making me real envious of your pace.
Keep it up, and keep sharing.
Stay safe
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Old 04-29-2020, 12:36 AM   #20
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,541
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Yeah, this prep phase is indeed a very important part of the build. You go, girl!
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