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Old 06-20-2017, 07:06 PM   #1
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Possible buy, advice?

Considering:
Local sale

Year: 1993

Make: Thomas

Mileage: 103,000

Engine: 8.3L Cummins

Transmission: Allison Auto trans

Capacity: 60 Passenger

Drive: RE

Price: Best offer -hinted on 5k range (What do you guys think for an reasonable price on this?)

Condition: His words "last yr of mechanical injection 8.3L, which is a very good thing, yearly inspection done by diesel company, only 103,000 miles new tires all the way around, everything works good, body good, interior fair. Air breaks."



My situation: I am currently in a bind needing to move to CO springs from MI by the end of 2017 for up to 1 year living in CO due to Mission style work. I would like something a bit more affordable than the $$$$$$$ apartments in the springs and I'm more attracted to a minimalist style living (solar/compost) anyways. I was originally going to do a tiny house however a schoolie would be much more adaptable to what I will be doing (traveling more often than not).

Obviously I'll be doing some driving near the mountains and/or in somewhat snowy conditions. Is the RWD engine in the back going to cause an issue with that??? Also I read on the forums about different locations for plumbing vs the engine in the front. Would having a 60 passenger bus be kind of small in the long run with a toilet/shower etc, should I look for a longer bus?

Sorry for any questions that have already been answered about a bus similar to this one! I've done some skimming on the forums the last couple days attempting to gain as much knowledge about my plans before going through with anything. I didn't find to much for information on this bus. Thanks for any answers!!
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Old 06-20-2017, 07:40 PM   #2
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Thomas Blue Bird? Two different manufacturers. Thomas does their own coachworks, as does Bluebird.

Sounds like a conventional bus from your description. We need some pix and you need to do a more thorough inspection. MI is known as a Rust-Belt state, so you may be buying a sieve!.

RWD only means that it is Rear Wheel Drive. It doesn't mean that the engine is in the back. Those are known as RE buses, as opposed to FE (front engine) buses.

Is it a transit style bus or a conventional bus (without or with a hood)?

Transit style buses have an advantage if RE. More usable floor space. That, and they have basements, because the drive train is all in the rear. FE buses, transit style, have an engine intrusion into the passenger compartment. Conventional buses (with a hood) usually don't have basements, but the engine is more accessible.

Colorado Springs is on the front range of the Rockies. While not exactly mountainous, it DOES get COLD there.
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Old 06-20-2017, 07:51 PM   #3
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Thomas Blue Bird? Two different manufacturers. Thomas does their own coachworks, as does Bluebird.
Sorta reminds me of my first Oldsmobuick. What a car.
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Old 06-20-2017, 07:59 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply.

Not sure exactly why he has Thomas and Blue Bird, It does say Thomas on the front of the bus. Yes MI is a rust belt! Terrible, however the bus seems to be in good shape. I'll stop by and check the under body better if this bus is even something I should be looking at for a conversion.

It's a transit style bus. I'll link a couple photos.

Yes thankfully not all mountains but yes COLD

http://i.imgur.com/3V5Hqzf.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/DInnPgK.jpg
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:02 PM   #5
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1993 Thomas Blue Bird, 103k, 8.3/Allison (545?), 60 Pass, new tires, air brakes; Best offer

I thought the last year of mechanical engines for the 8.3 was '97 or '98?

There's a few problems with the description. Is this a rear engine (RE) bus, front engine (FE) or a class C (dognose) that you're considering? You did make mention of a RE running in the snow. Sounds like you're going to need chains.
You'll have to speak to a RE owner about how they drive in the snow. I'm a FE driver. It seems the RE buses have much greater storage capacity underneath because there is no driveshaft to deal with. Storage compartments and tanks should be easier to mount. How crowded your bus is depends on how many people you'll have in there with you. If you're alone a bus that size should easily be enough room. We all intend to put lots of cool things in our buses, then reality hits.

You're doing fine by asking questions. Everyone here would rather answer questions than see you buy a bad bus. Give this thread a couple days and you'll have more opinions than you need.

Overall that sounds like a pretty nice bus. As for a value I'm sure most of us would want to at least see pictures to give a conservative value. What's inside? Seats, or has it been partially converted? You're going to want very good insulation if you're spending time in the Rockies during the winter.

Many of us take a couple years to convert a bus but I'm sure you could get the basics installed and get there by the end of this year. You've been reading, so tell us about what you are wanting. I think you've done well on your bus find so far.

They don't exactly make a Thomas Blue Bird as far as I know. It should be either a Thomas or a Bluebird. Also you apparently live in the rust belt. How far would you be willing to go to retrieve the right bus? Consider that some of the better buses come from CO. Are you going about this the wrong way? Another thing is we usually judge the length of a bus by the number of windows, or actual bumper to bumper measurement. I'm guessing your 60 passenger would be about a 30' bus. A few feet makes a difference when you're putting in a bath and toilet, but you've got to balance length with what you can actually drive in the Rockies.

Folks here are glad to help. Have you looked at the classifieds on this site yet?
Good luck in your search.
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:09 PM   #6
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:17 PM   #7
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OK, it's a RE Thomas. Looks like a partial conversion. Now, how about a price-tag?
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
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1
Overall that sounds like a pretty nice bus. As for a value I'm sure most of us would want to at least see pictures to give a conservative value. What's inside? Seats, or has it been partially converted? You're going to want very good insulation if you're spending time in the Rockies during the winter.

Many of us take a couple years to convert a bus but I'm sure you could get the basics installed and get there by the end of this year. You've been reading, so tell us about what you are wanting. I think you've done well on your bus find so far.

Posted a few pics above, the inside of it isn't in as good of shape, mainly dealing with all the seats (rips etc) which I'll be tearing out anyways. So pretty much zero conversion done on the bus. I've got construction knowledge, it's what I currently work in and know very knowledgeable people in that field. So I feel somewhat comfortable about some of the conversion and as for the rest - there is some amazing posts filled with info I have found on here with solar power setups and plumbing etc.

I was planning on going for a pretty nomad conversion, for longer periods of time. So Solar and compost toilet etc. As for insulation I'm still looking on posts for the best idea in cold weather. Pipes freezing etc is my real fear rather then the insulation of the walls, ceiling.

Thanks again for the reply!
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:24 PM   #9
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OK, it's a RE Thomas. Looks like a partial conversion. Now, how about a price-tag?
He didn't give an actual price tag on it more of best offer, However he hinted on 5k price range. Which seems a little high from what I've been seeing.
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:26 PM   #10
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Home depot provides some very nice insulation panels, double-faced. You will need at least 1" or more on the sides. For heat, I'd recommend Wave 8 Catalytic Heater. One will keep the "bedroom" warm, if you have that area partitioned off. Water, OTOH, is a separate matter. It WILL freeze, even in the passenger compartment, unless you have it wrapped in fibreglas insulation.
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:28 PM   #11
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$5k is a bit much for such an old dog. I paid $8K for my 03 with 128 on the clock.

Try offering him $2500 and see what he says.
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:39 PM   #12
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$5k is a bit much for such an old dog. I paid $8K for my 03 with 128 on the clock.

Try offering him $2500 and see what he says.
I'd pay more for a nice older bus than a newer one. Just my 2cents.
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:45 PM   #13
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Yes I was looking at the insulation panels at Home depot. And thank you for the recommendation on the heater! I'll check it out. As for the freezing pipes- I'm up for anything that is going to stop them from doing that including Fiberglas insulation.

I'll probably take a look at the bottom of the bus for rust and possibly offer $2500 based off what I find. One question on the bus being an "old dog" haha. Would this be a concern when dealing with possible repairs? Obviously being so old parts may be harder to find. Is that the case with this style engine etc?
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:51 PM   #14
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Not really. The mechanicals are pretty common.
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:45 AM   #15
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older busses like that gebnerally have very few if any electronics.. which makes them much easier to work on for soneone who doesnt have electronics knowledge or exepsnive computer software.. with a mechanical bus most likely if you can turn wrenches you can fix most things that would go wrong with it, or an independent diesel shop as opposed to having to go to the dealership.

swhile the newer electronic busses may have easier to get used to throttles, cruise control, and the like, the suspension technology hasnt changed a lot in the bus world so the ride quality of an older vs newer is negligible.. some of the newer stuff has things like road A/C and better insulation, but you are gutting it anyway and will ne insulating so thats a non issue..

many here find it a prize to land a fully mechanical bus with a big engine.. if you have an 8.3 you likelty have an MT-643 transmission which is a pretty desirable combo.. the one thing to see if you can get is the rear gear ratio and tire size.. then we can calculate what your maximum road speed would be.. some schools geared their busses all for in town driving which means you may have a very slow highway ride.. you are talking of travelling far, so you will want to see what gears are in it.. with the VIN number you may be able to call thomas and get that info.. some busses list it on a placard inside the bus near the driver window (above) OR on the front header panel inside above the windshield.

-Christopher
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Old 06-22-2017, 03:13 PM   #16
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Actually, you can take the VIN to any Freightliner dealer - Thomas is part of them.
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Old 06-26-2017, 06:31 AM   #17
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I think that's a good size, if I were to look at that bus even with the low miles on it I would want to pay under $4,000, otherwise it looks like a pretty nice Skoolie candidate. Having the engine in the rear will actually give you a little better traction but those rear engine buses tend to ride a little lower than a conventional bus and in Colorado they get snow by the Foot that may be your only obstacle. You may have to wait for the snow removal cruise to lead the way on occasion 👍
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Old 06-26-2017, 09:11 AM   #18
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I think that's a good size, if I were to look at that bus even with the low miles on it I would want to pay under $4,000, otherwise it looks like a pretty nice Skoolie candidate. Having the engine in the rear will actually give you a little better traction but those rear engine buses tend to ride a little lower than a conventional bus and in Colorado they get snow by the Foot that may be your only obstacle. You may have to wait for the snow removal cruise to lead the way on occasion ��
Or put a big V-plow on the front of it and lead the way yourself!
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Old 07-06-2017, 04:16 PM   #19
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Yes! Cummins rock. And that engine isn't even broken in yet. Easy to work on too. Allison trans are the best.


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