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Old 12-17-2023, 08:26 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Hello from Minnesota

Hello from Minnesota,

We just jumped into buying a bus without much research.

A bus came up for sale near where we live and the price was in our budget so we just went for it.

Time will tell if we have a paper weight or a solid base to build out

Since we bought without any forward thinking we have to store it at an RV outdoor storage unit.

Can any advise what at a minimum we should check before storing outside in the MN weather?

Right now winter has came in like a lamb .. barely any snow and temps above average but we still have many more months ahead.

The bus is a 2008 Thomas Thomas Saf T liner, cat c7 engine and Allison transmission, about ~175000 miles

Prior owners bought it out of Texas.

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Old 12-17-2023, 09:37 PM   #2
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We took possession of the bus but not having it all check out, etc. we opted to have it stored nearby where we purchased it.

We removed the batteries but other than that I am not sure what else I should do to ensure its safe for outdoor winter weather.

We did put some fuel in it -- fuel gauge is just under half.

Now I have to figure out how to get it insured. Its not converted only has the seats removed and the outside has been painted.
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Old 12-18-2023, 12:37 AM   #3
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Ensure the radiator has antifreeze in it and not water. If it has water only it can freeze and crack the engine block as it expands. It likely does have antifreeze coolant but check.

Sitting for long periods of time are bad for buses. Battery disconnect is good, might want to bring the batteries with you home to keep out of the cold.
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Old 12-18-2023, 06:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikitis View Post
Ensure the radiator has antifreeze in it and not water. If it has water only it can freeze and crack the engine block as it expands. It likely does have antifreeze coolant but check.

Sitting for long periods of time are bad for buses. Battery disconnect is good, might want to bring the batteries with you home to keep out of the cold.
I did take the batteries and have them kept indoors.

I was not able to locate the bus nearby as I had no place to store it so I will be traveling back next weekend to make the bus more secure.

While there I want to start it again and run it - check fluids, etc.

However, I have no knowledge base on this bus or its mechanics.

Is there a guide or something that would I can review for general operating, etc. Checking fluids, etc? I was told its a CAT7 engine. I am not sure how to verify the engine or transmission.

Also, when its really cold or the bus has sat for a long period of time are there any precautions that need to be taken before starting or driving it, etc?
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Old 12-18-2023, 09:27 AM   #5
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adding ant-gel to the diesel before you parked it would have been a good idea. If you add it now I would drive the bus around for a few minutes so it mixes well and gets a chance to get into the motor/fuel lines.

anti-gel is more important though when driving in cold weather vs just bring parked but helpful nonetheless.
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Old 12-18-2023, 09:30 AM   #6
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Where does one get this anti-gel and how much is added?

One other question - How do I find the specs for this bus?

Is there a look up by VIN or are there badges on the bus I should be looking at?

I do not know if this is HDX or not and do not know the engine/trans other than the seller saying its a C7 with Allison transmission.
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Old 12-18-2023, 09:44 AM   #7
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I used a VIN decoder but only got this .. nothing about engine or transmission.
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Old 12-18-2023, 01:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by TheForkInTheRoad View Post
Where does one get this anti-gel and how much is added?

One other question - How do I find the specs for this bus?

Is there a look up by VIN or are there badges on the bus I should be looking at?

I do not know if this is HDX or not and do not know the engine/trans other than the seller saying its a C7 with Allison transmission.
Any truck stop ot parts store will have the Gel, especially in cold weather country like Minnesota.


or Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Lucas-Oil-108.../dp/B00UIEI4HO

Follow the directions on the bottle.


For bus specs contact any Thomas bus dealer (google search), provide them the vin number and they should be able to help you with that.

C7 is a caterpillar engine. Id your tranny a push pad or does it have a handle/lever?

If you go under the bus, on the side of the tranny will be a metal nameplate with the tranny info on it.
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Old 12-18-2023, 01:45 PM   #9
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I did fill out a form on the Thomas website to see if I could get the specs. I will also try dealer too.

As far as the transmission goes all I know is there is a floor shifter to the right of the drivers seat.

All I can see about the engine until I get back up to it is that it's a yellow motor. I think I saw some where there was an option for Mercedes and those were silver.. I could be mistaken - but in any even the engine is yellow.
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Old 12-18-2023, 01:50 PM   #10
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Since this is all new to me I am wondering if anyone has suggestions how to store this out on a gravel pad.

Since its outdoors and then is going to be plenty of snow in the next months. I am wondering if I should park the bus on top of plywood sheets or rubber mats, etc so it does not sink down.

The temps have been above average and this lot where its stored was really wet from a prior snow fall and just driving the bus in left some ruts.
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Old 12-18-2023, 02:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheForkInTheRoad View Post
Since this is all new to me I am wondering if anyone has suggestions how to store this out on a gravel pad.

Since its outdoors and then is going to be plenty of snow in the next months. I am wondering if I should park the bus on top of plywood sheets or rubber mats, etc so it does not sink down.

The temps have been above average and this lot where its stored was really wet from a prior snow fall and just driving the bus in left some ruts.
I would for sure park the bus up on wooden boards/planks, at least 4 inches off the ground and cover the tires maybe with some plastic and an old blanket.

I know your not experienced but maybe blocking all 4 wheels and caging the rear brakes so that they shoes do not freeze to the drums....but hey I could be wrong about this after living the last 32 years of my life in sunny Miami fl.!
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Old 12-18-2023, 04:55 PM   #12
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Hi Fork!
Also in MN and working on a bus conversion.

Anti-gel products can be found at a farm store. Just figure how much fuel in your half full tank. There are advantages to keeping the tank FULL when over wintering, I sure do!

My bus is sitting on pieces of 2"x8" lumber arranged 3 per wheel, I rock the bus and climb onto the first piece. That's been working well. About creating ruts, move the bus when the ground is frozen, this time of year that might be early morning.

Keep the batteries somewhere warm and put them on a maintainer.
Find out what you have for pre-heating the engine. You'll need to plug it in to start it in winter.

It'd be nice to see more pictures under the hood... folks here will be able to help you with more information.

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Old 12-18-2023, 05:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timeline View Post
Hi Fork!
Also in MN and working on a bus conversion.

Anti-gel products can be found at a farm store. Just figure how much fuel in your half full tank. There are advantages to keeping the tank FULL when over wintering, I sure do!

My bus is sitting on pieces of 2"x8" lumber arranged 3 per wheel, I rock the bus and climb onto the first piece. That's been working well. About creating ruts, move the bus when the ground is frozen, this time of year that might be early morning.

Keep the batteries somewhere warm and put them on a maintainer.
Find out what you have for pre-heating the engine. You'll need to plug it in to start it in winter.

It'd be nice to see more pictures under the hood... folks here will be able to help you with more information.

I purchased the bus in a whim and it was out of town so I didn't get a chance to spend much time with it. I am hoping to go back this weekend to check things on out it and get it better suited for the winter.

I did get the spec/order sheet today from Thomas and the the bus was ordered by the Beaumont School District in Beaumont TX. So with that I am guessing it does not have pre-heating.

I attached the order spec that I got... some of the items listed I am not sure what is important and what is not.

What part of MN are you in... I am in SW Minnesota.

Would be interested to see how you put the bus up on the 2x8.
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File Type: pdf order-specs.pdf (788.4 KB, 7 views)
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Old 12-18-2023, 06:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheForkInTheRoad View Post

Would be interested to see how you put the bus up on the 2x8.

The picture in my registry shows the boards, 2" tall, easy to drive up...
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Old 12-19-2023, 10:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
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The picture in my registry shows the boards, 2" tall, easy to drive up...
Perhaps you mentioned this already but do you keep your bus outside during the winter? If so, other than battery maintenance/removal, fuel management (anti-gel) - is there anything else that should be done to the bus from a mechanical perspective to ensure it remains safe during the winter?

One other question - is there a go to place for bus replacement parts?

My bus has damage to the drivers side mirror and I am wondering where I can source a replacement. (see attached example of what the mirror looks like)
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Old 12-19-2023, 10:34 PM   #16
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I'd drain and replace the windshield wiper fluid with the sub-zero rated juice.



Quality Bus may have used parts or vanderhaags in northern Iowa. May be others, I'm a newbie too...
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Old 12-19-2023, 10:54 PM   #17
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A Thomas bus dealer can help you with the mirror
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Old 12-20-2023, 08:25 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I'd drain and replace the windshield wiper fluid with the sub-zero rated juice.

Quality Bus may have used parts or vanderhaags in northern Iowa. May be others, I'm a newbie too...
I spaced off the windshield washer fluid - glad you brought that up.

Since I know nothing about the bus and didn't have time to have the prior owner go through every aspect I have been trying find details on the bus.

I did find one YouTube video of a bus tour where the bus is almost exactly the same with the exception of the engine... That tour had a Mercedes and the one I have is a Cat C7-210.

That said watching the video it appears there should be more than one key to open the side door to expose the fuse panel and possibly a key for the front nose compartment. Not sure about the doors on the front for windshield so if they too require a key I will not be able to get them open since all I got was an ignition key.

I have been trying to find a 2008 Thomas Saf-T-Liner HDX manual online but no luck so far.

Does anyone here know anything about how to get these keys or a way to get the compartments opened and them rekeyed -- or is this merely a locksmith call ?
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Old 12-20-2023, 08:30 AM   #19
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Are they all locked? If you can remove one you can take it to a locksmith and they will make a key for you.
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Old 12-20-2023, 08:31 AM   #20
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If they are all locked a locksmith can pick one of those in about a minute if they are chatting with you at the same time
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