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Old 05-21-2018, 09:29 AM   #1
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Hi all,

Just saying hi and reading everything I can. Looking for a bus. Family of 3 looking to travel and work over the next 3-5 years. Fully off grid capable and will most likely be towing a jeep. 6'1" tall, so looking mainly for a Thomas high head coach and preferably an RE. Not set on that as I imagine a lot of dirt road traveling and worry about the ground clearance. Were on Cape Cod and our house is just about to go on the market....Will be re-locating to western Wyoming for the build.....Tickled Pink...

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Old 05-21-2018, 12:29 PM   #2
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welcome. you will find more info and help that you could even imagine on here. Hopefully you are handy because there is a lot of work involved in a conversion. I have an international with high head clearance and a flat floor because it had a wheelchair lift. I love the flat floor as there are no wheel wells to design around. there are pros and cons to each bus type. have fun researching on here.
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Old 05-22-2018, 08:03 AM   #3
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Welcome,

Sounds like you're well on your way to defining your first bus
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Old 05-22-2018, 01:58 PM   #4
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The biggest issue I am having is determining our requirements and then trying to figure out what model I am exactly looking at online....
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Old 05-22-2018, 06:56 PM   #5
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The biggest issue I am having is determining our requirements and then trying to figure out what model I am exactly looking at online....
So ... you are looking for either a Thomas Saf-T-Liner MVP RE, or a Thomas Saf-T-Liner ER (it's slightly heavier duty than the MVP), or a Thomas West Coast. The West Coast is a unicorn, built to compete with Gillig and Crown, and it excelled at it.

Engines will likely be Cummins 6CTA8.3-250 (pre 99) or Cummins ISC (electronic version of 6C). Transmission will be either MD3060 or MT643.

Those big Thomas buses also come with CAT engines.

Many (I hesitate to say most) come with the high ceiling as standard. I only hesitate because I've seen a few with the regular ceiling.

If you are looking a bit newer than, say, '01, you may also find Thomas HDX starting to appear. Little difference between it and the Saf-T-Liner MVP.

They are all good platforms to convert to family use and to tow with. Get a good one and you will be very happy with any of the above.

A good MVP with a high spec is going to cost around $4000 at auction or at least $10000 from a dealer. They are available rust-free and ready to go.
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Old 05-22-2018, 08:23 PM   #6
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IC/AmTran are my favorite buses. I like the lines and the way they're put together.
Bluebird is also a great choice.
Thomas are ok, but MY PERSONAL OPINION of them is that I just don't like them as much.
Everyone's opinions will vary- so go look at as many buses as you can.
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Old 05-22-2018, 08:32 PM   #7
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IC/AmTran are my favorite buses. I like the lines and the way they're put together.
Bluebird is also a great choice.
Thomas are ok, but MY PERSONAL OPINION of them is that I just don't like them as much.
Everyone's opinions will vary- so go look at as many buses as you can.
Charlie's right, each has their adherents. I only posted about Thomas because the OP specifically mentioned them.

That said .... I wouldn't buy a Thomas if I was planning a roof-raise. I bought mine specifically because I wanted the higher ceiling so as to not need to raise the roof. The ceiling height is doable, it's not as good as a roof raised 10-12". One advantage of Thomas that is not to be sniffed at is that they are screwed, not riveted together, for the most part.

If you are raising the roof I would steer clear of Thomas Built. They slope in 6 degrees from the lower window line. That makes a raise a good deal more complicated than it needs to be.

Other than that, I don't think there is a great deal to choose between them.

One point ... If you buy a bus with an MD3060 transmission, Thomas have a track-record of allowing 6th gear to be unlocked.
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:09 PM   #8
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Hello!

Iím new to the Skoolie world. When I was a kid I dreamed of converting a bus, but thought it was unrealistic and too expensive. So I was going to do a van conversion, when I decided to look anyways and saw that buses are much cheaper than I thought! So converting a bus is going to be literally a childhood dream come true. Iím still trying to nail down which bus is exactly what I need. And Iím not sure where to find the relevant information needed to figure out the type of bus I want. If anyone could give any advice that would be great!
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:15 PM   #9
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Nail down a place to park it and work on it.
That can be harder than finding the right bus.
Hope you like getting dirty!
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:25 PM   #10
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Well that is most certainly true! I haven’t put much thought into that aspect yet, so thank you. And I don’t mind at all. ��
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:55 PM   #11
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if you are still searching for a bus here is a helpful thread to aid in your hunt! http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f14/pl...bus-20823.html
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Old 05-22-2018, 10:30 PM   #12
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I typed in the search bar " What bus should i buy" and there were lots of posts answering the question.

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f6/wha...buy-22544.html
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Old 05-23-2018, 09:31 AM   #13
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I do overthink things...Well maybe not....But my brain is tired from the search and I only really began 2 weeks ago...HAH....
TWIGG, great info regarding the different models of Saf-T-Liners. Most auction and sales sites do not have that info posted and to the unknowing eye, *MINE*, I cannot decipher the differences.
I had a revelation yesterday on the Pusher vs Front Engine models....I'm thinking on building a partition wall in the back that is accessed from the rear door. I will carry all my tools, chocks, and lighting equipment for my photography business. If I get a pusher, I won't be able to have that partitioned off area. I also want to build a larger roof rack/basket system in the back to carry our SUP's and mountain bikes. All the racks I have seen are accessed via the rear of the bus with a built in ladder system.....

Further checking around is revealing that the front engines are more numerous, and a tad cheaper as well....

I'm 6'1" and need the height. I'm not afraid of a roof raise, I just think that aesthetically not as pleasing to the eye....

I did find a nice Thomas RE with full air ride....Its sitting awfully low to the ground and am trying to find out if the air ride height is adjustable or it's a set ride height and is lower than conventional spring.....
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Studio19 View Post

I did find a nice Thomas RE with full air ride....Its sitting awfully low to the ground and am trying to find out if the air ride height is adjustable or it's a set ride height and is lower than conventional spring.....
It's probably out of air and should rise to normal height once the engine is running.

If it were simply "listing" on one corner, that would indicate a problem.
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
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It's probably out of air and should rise to normal height once the engine is running.

If it were simply "listing" on one corner, that would indicate a problem.
This ^^^^
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
So ... you are looking for either a Thomas Saf-T-Liner MVP RE, or a Thomas Saf-T-Liner ER (it's slightly heavier duty than the MVP), or a Thomas West Coast. The West Coast is a unicorn, built to compete with Gillig and Crown, and it excelled at it.

Engines will likely be Cummins 6CTA8.3-250 (pre 99) or Cummins ISC (electronic version of 6C). Transmission will be either MD3060 or MT643.

Those big Thomas buses also come with CAT engines.

Many (I hesitate to say most) come with the high ceiling as standard. I only hesitate because I've seen a few with the regular ceiling.

If you are looking a bit newer than, say, '01, you may also find Thomas HDX starting to appear. Little difference between it and the Saf-T-Liner MVP.

They are all good platforms to convert to family use and to tow with. Get a good one and you will be very happy with any of the above.

A good MVP with a high spec is going to cost around $4000 at auction or at least $10000 from a dealer. They are available rust-free and ready to go.
There is a handful of West coastER Thomas on govdeals right now
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Old 05-23-2018, 02:51 PM   #17
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Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
If dirt roads are on the agenda go for a conventional "dog nose" bus.
Some open shoulder rear tires on the rear and you're good. But any bus can get stuck if you're not careful.

My shorty does REAL well on dirt roads.
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Old 05-23-2018, 03:26 PM   #18
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What ever you get drive it like you stole it.
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