2003 Thomas Saf-T-Liner

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by Omi Masika
Published: May 12, 2023 (7 months ago)


It’s with a little sadness and relief that I post my school bus for sale. I don’t have the desire/capacity to complete my conversion alone. I’ve put a lot of work into it, but it’s time to let it go.

About the Bus

Bus is currently located in Philadelphia. Registered in VT with ease.

The bus is a 7-9 window 2003 Thomas School Bus that had a wheel chair lift on the passenger side. Living area is about 22ft x 8ft. Bus length is about 26ft. The perfect sized bus. Has two wheel wells in the front, but none in the back. Has two rear doors, with one the passenger side (where the wheelchair lift is. Mileage on odometer reads 83,257 (Photo is current), however I did not notice until I got home after purchasing the bus that the title (which came from the King William County School District) says “*228,638*” and has a prior title number.

Caterpillar 3126 Diesel engine and an Allison 2000 transmission. It also has air brakes.

I have receipts for all labor.

I bought the bus in 2020 from a school district in Virginia via auction. Before driving it to NJ (where I stored it and demoed on my friends farm), I took it to a truck stop for a safety inspection and oil change. They recommended a couple new tires after driving home, but before epic adventuring begins. There’s also a hole in the exhaust pipe from rust that needs to be fixed, but no other major rust. The drive was easy and there were no issues. She ran like a champ.

Bus lived in NJ for about 2 years where I worked on it occasionally and in ADHD adjacent bursts. I moved the bus to Philadelphia (where I live) hoping I’d work on it more consistently, but the bursts of inspiration waned. I’m letting it go after staring at it from my apartment window for almost 6 months with no work on it.

What’s been done

  • Gutted the bus, including removing the wheelchair lift
  • Removed unnecessary wiring for “bus” lights (flashers,etc)
  • sanded floor, treated rust, patched holes, and painted metal floor with rustoleum
  • removed internal ac unit, hosing, and ac system drained (this was done by Bluebird Bus and Truck Company and I have receipt
  • removed two heaters from passenger area of bus, had the heating loop closed (also done by Bluebird Bus)
  • 90% insulated with Havelock Wool
  • insulated floor with Johns Manville R-5 foil faced insulation
  • framed and installed subfloor, minus area where shower was going to go and area I needed to move shower area to
  • pained roof of bus with elastomeric paint
  • installed skylight
  • installed fan-tastic rv fan in ceiling (not wired)
  • framed sides of bus
  • framed ceiling of bus to allow tongue n groove panel to attach to it
  • installed back up camera (not wired)
  • built queen size bed frame with hatch to access water tank
  • installed 55 gallon water tank under bed frame (not plumbed, but have plumbing parts
  • installed water inlet on outside of bus
  • deleted one window
  • underbed storage/“garage” area walls installed
  • deactivated rear exit emergency alarm

What’s included
Some of these I ordered these during the shipping/back order crisis of 2020/2021

What it needs

  • new tires eventually
  • oil change
  • hole in exhaust repaired (doesn’t affect how it runs), just a nice thing to do for other humans

The bus is still yellow, has the school district blacked out, and since it’s been parked in Philly has been tagged with graffiti a few times on one side. Nothing that won’t come out when you do the external paint job.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, so just ask questions! Photos attached.

Paid $4,300 for the bus, and I’ve put a lot of work into it. Asking $12k, but open to negotiation. Trying to move the bus fast.

I have more photos and video to share of process.

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