1980 Thomas Bus
Hello all. I have been lurking here for a while gleaning information and admiring the work that everyone puts into their projects. I am a class 8 mechanic by trade and have wanted to do a "Skoolie" for a while. I have recently purchased a 1980 Chevrolet with a Thomas body. When I went to pick it up it had been sitting for a while. I was prepared to tow it but decided to install a new battery and the engine fired on the first try. I let it run for a while while I was airing up the tires and checking everything over. The temperature stayed good, battery charging, and the lights all worked so I made the 60 mile trip home with no troubles. I am well pleased for less than $800 investment to make it home without a wrecker.
The bus has a small block Chevrolet 350 4 bolt main engine. The transmission is a 4 speed Allison. Even with a two barrel the engine pulled the bus amazingly well. I had plans for an engine swap with either a 5.9 cummins or an LS 6.0 gas engine. I have both left over from other projects that have been completed. I understand the benefits of the diesel engine very well but am considering keeping it a gas burner for a several reasons. The gas engines are very quiet, easy to find parts and repair on the road, and it fits the look of the bus. I have not really made up my mind on this one yet.
I enjoy learning from everyone here and am impressed at the skills possessed by the forum group. Thanks for the great site and all the knowledge within.