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Old 07-08-2021, 10:10 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Fort Myers FL
Posts: 20
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: C7 250hp
Mechanic in SWFL?

Anybody know a reputable mechanic in the SWFL area? I'm in Fort Myers, but willing to go as far as Tampa or Naples if necessary.

My bus is a 31' 2007 Thomas HDX with a 2006 Cat C7, Allison 3000, and air brakes. I'm looking to check all the mechanicals, but fairly sure the brakes may need some service (pulls under some circumstances), steering alignment, and evaluate a minor oil leak. Ideally they'll be able to help unlock 6th gear (already starting this process with Thomas) and can do fluid analysis when it's time for service.

Anybody know anybody?

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Old 08-24-2021, 06:30 PM   #2
New Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 4
Year: 1998
Chassis: TC1000
How do you like your bus?

I'm on this forum because I'm researching the same bus you have, the 2007 Thomas with the 2006 cat c7. I do not know of a mechanic, hope you found one.

But I do have a question for you. Do you like your bus? Any problems with it? Did you find a mechanic?

I have one of these on hold and can't decide to pull the trigger or not or wait for a dognose with a possible Cummins or dt engine.

Thanks!
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Old 08-25-2021, 07:29 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Fort Myers FL
Posts: 20
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: C7 250hp
So far, our bus is good. There's only been one issue so far: it leaks a bit. BUT, that was an expected trade off of buying a bus from Nevada: no exposure to rain means no rust but also nobody notices or deals with failing seals. An easy fix but a bit annoying when you're driving your bus 2,500 miles and through a hurricane.

Our dealer had several nearly identical buses. We picked one that appeared to have a newer alternator and a replaced heui pump.

Thomas has been extremely helpful. If you contact your closest dealer with the VIN they can provide some good info. Mine sent me the elevations, plans, and bill of materials (which tells you everything original installed on the bus along with weight distributions). A little digging and a found an indirect way to query the Thomas portal for all the parts info related to my bus (schematics and drawings of various systems, parts, etc). Thomas was very helpful getting my OEM letter for Allison to unlock 6th gear (officially they only process these quarterly, but they did mine in just a couple a weeks... somebody must have had a spare minute). I have my reprogrammed TCM already but haven't had a chance to drive it around and check it yet.

I also found a bunch of Cat C7 manuals that seem to be correct for my engine, but I haven't gone through them yet.

I haven't found an independent mechanic that I would trust yet, but the local Allison place was easy to deal with and I'm going to talk to the local Freightliner shop about alignment and maybe have them check and service the engine for me. I have a very small oil drip but haven't pin pointed its source yet.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'll try to answer them. If you're buying from Las Vegas Bus Sales, I can share some of my notes.
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Old 08-25-2021, 08:45 AM   #4
New Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 4
Year: 1998
Chassis: TC1000
Oh my goodness, thank you so much for your response!
Yes we will be purchasing from lasvegas bus sales. I'm having it inspected today.
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Old 08-25-2021, 08:55 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Fort Myers FL
Posts: 20
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: C7 250hp
May I ask if you're also in FL? And how were you planning to get the bus "home"?

I ran into some logistical challenges getting the bus back to FL. Nothing to do with the bus, and LVBS were reasonably accommodating, but there are some challenges to address.

Your bus is almost certainly from the same fleet as mine - it will be virtually identical. I can send some info on my bus if it would be helpful.
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Old 08-25-2021, 09:04 AM   #6
New Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 4
Year: 1998
Chassis: TC1000
My husband if flying up with his dad and driving back to Texas. So thankfully not as far as Florida but still a trek. They both have CDL -- but we were going to get Las Vegas bus sales to remove all but 2 seats and register it as an RV.
Yes any info is super appreciated!
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Old 08-25-2021, 09:28 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Fort Myers FL
Posts: 20
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: C7 250hp
NV to TX is a nice drive. LVBS would only release my bus to a driver with a current CDL. I don't have a current CDL and I had two drivers fall through at the last minute. Getting the bus off the lot was a pain.

They'll probably cover it, but if they don't, ask them to go over the starter interlock and how to start the bus from the back. It doesn't take much to trip the emergency exit sensors and prevent starting the bus from the front. I also had minor issues with the side door lock sensor wiggling which makes the buzzer go off (that was an annoying couple of miles) and the door sensor on the lift was stuck which disables the lift. All very minor things, but you can waste a ton of time tracking them down.

I had some water leaks around the roof emergency exits and the front clearance marker lights (which causes water to drip down the front of the windshield). Again, minor issues.
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Old 09-14-2021, 04:20 PM   #8
New Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 1
Hi, First time skoolie owner. It appears we have identical buses, probably from the same fleet. I purchased from Las Vegas Bus Sales in June 2021. Being home based in Michigan I did not want to deal with the rust from a local bus. I too will be seeking out a trustworthy place for service and repairs. I liked reading in your post that Thomas was helpful with documents and info,and was wondering if that came from the dealer or manufacturer? I would certainly welcome and appreciate any info and tips on how to acquire manuals and electrical diagrams. Good luck with your bus. Don S.
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Old Yesterday, 08:39 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Fort Myers FL
Posts: 20
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: C7 250hp
We're first time skoolie owners, too. And we're more than happy to help how we can and share what we know.

I reached out to the manufacturer first. They redirected me to a local/regional dealership. I went back to the manufacturer for the Allison unlock authorization. The only thing I've had trouble with is portal access. I've seen anecdotal comments about dealerships helping owners get access to the Thomas portal. I was told by the dealer and manufacturer that the portal is reserved for "fleets", not private owners. *shrug* I'm not really sure if there's any value to portal access, so I haven't pushed for it.

The dealer I've been working with (Matthews Buses Alliance in Orlando) runs buspartexperts.com - they have a bunch of Thomas related parts online. Twice I needed a part that wasn't online. Once I wasn't sure what the part us and they helped me track it down. The other time I had a part number but didn't see it online - they had it online for ordering the next day.

I'll DM/PM you the same info I sent to Malizzle.

We're tracking our build on Instagram @thegrantrobus. We're a bit slow to get updates posted and are further along than it looks. If you're also on Instagram, give us a follow and we'll follow you back. We've found a couple people converting essentially the same bus.
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