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Old 04-16-2017, 12:35 AM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Glencoe, Ca
Posts: 8
Year: 1980
Coachwork: Crown
Engine: 855ci Cummins
Smile 1980 3 Axle 40' Crown

Hello!!!

Long time listener…first time..poster. I'll be documenting my 1980 Crown conversion here and on my instagram page @EndLineCreations.

First off thanks for all the kind people here who have dedicated their time and energy posting such valuable information. I've been on the site for about two years after considering the skoolie route instead of a trailer(I lived in a trailer for a couple years in the Cleveland Nation Forrest in Orange County before moving back up to Northern California). I've learned a good deal from the various threads but I know I'll be learning a lot more once things really start going. Before this website and others I had no knowledge of skoolies so I am very excited to learn from this build.

So far all I have done is got the Crown towed in front of my shop from the local school yard and began taking out the seats(I got the bus last year but have been busy with other projects-sawmill-that will come into play later). I grew up in the area(lot of small towns-my town is pop. 189) so I know a handful of the bus drivers when I road the bus and played sports growing up with the supervisor's son. I feel good about the information they gave me about the bus and got to meet the mechanics and talk with them a few times at length. There was 4 Crowns to choose from and this was the best of the bunch so I signed the papers and here we are.

Specs: Cummins 855ci turbo diesel, Allison transmission, 3 axles, 40' long, ~457k miles(240kish on the rebuild).

~The reason it got towed home was it was sitting for the past 6 years in need of a head gasket. That's number one on the fix list so I can have the bus mobile and see what else needs tuning and fixing before I start cutting and gutting. I have a friend that is a diesel mechanic that will be helping me with that aspect of the build.


Now onto the fun and interesting part.
Conversion Thoughts
1. Roof Raise-this is something that I want done right after the bus is running. I'm a little over 6'1" with my shoes on and won't have much space after insulation and flooring. I saw a 12" crown roof raise documented online so that is the plan. I'm not really afraid of this one bit. I'm a compentant metal fabricator and my father puts up skyscrapers for a living so a 12" roof raise isn't anything serious to him.

2. Take out 11' and the 3rd axle-this area I don't feel so sure about as this thought just came up in the last couple weeks. My real plan for this bus was to build it slow(I live in a tipi now so don't need housing) and make it real nice to sell to pay for a shorter bus with good ground clearance but after looking at how things could line up I think this could work. This also saves me the need to get a class B driving license. Please feel free to give me any warnings here but here are some of mine.

*I am concerned about the-air brakes, locking mechanism for the axles and suspension.
*I am not too worried about the muffler, emergency exit, or gas tank as they can be moved to new locations.

3. Custom Milled Interior-I built a bandsaw style sawmill specifically so I can mill up my own custom counters, table, bed frame, siding, floors, etc. on the bus. I have access to big oak trees, cedar, dug fir and blue stained pine at my disposal. My mill can cut up to 43" wide x 4" thick and unlimited length so sky is the limit.

4. Open Floor Plan-No walls will be had. I'll put in a shower that swings open when you open the emergency exit door and will serve as a composting toilet area as well.

5. When you first walk into the bus it will have a log cabin feel and as you exit the kitchen I'm going to have big windows to the floor so it feels as though you are stepping out into the forrest with carved logs serving as seats and log couch. Thinking of doing a wrap for the roof to get the outdoor feel flowing.

6. Undecided on what color to paint the bus but that is fine as it will be one of the last steps of the build. Could consider doing a wrap.
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:20 AM   #2
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 186
Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
Why remove 11' and the 3rd axle? Why not just buy a 35' 2-axle Crown instead? The shortest Crown I know of is the 29'-long Firebus built for a fire department - are you trying to make a Firebus from a tandem? In CA a non-commercial Class B is needed for any RV over 40', or for a non-commercial bus over 26,000 GVWR, so that's not a reason to chop up a nice old Crown.

Just bear in mind the structural ribs of the body - you can't cut through them without serious reengineering to compensate for the lost strength. For example, the chair rails inside and the steel panels below the windows outside all contribute to rigidity of the side walls. The hollow box-section rib above the windows ties the roof ribs and body ribs together, and is critical to body integrity - you can't just cut through it. Crowns are not built like other buses! At least get yourself the original Parts Manual for your Crown - it shows the entire body construction and the location of all the ribs and frame members.

John
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Old 04-16-2017, 09:12 AM   #3
New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Glencoe, Ca
Posts: 8
Year: 1980
Coachwork: Crown
Engine: 855ci Cummins
John thanks for the reply

1. I got the bus for basically the cost of ink so you can't really beat that deal. If I didn't get this bus it was going to be given to a firehouse(oddly enough now with my build idea) to be chopped on as a learning tool and then scrapped or maybe put in a lake for Scuba Steve. Maybe I can borrow their jaws of life???

All of the crowns the school district had were 40' 3 axle design made for the up country kids like myself. I actually spent many hours riding to school on this bus so that makes it kinda cool. The bus drivers who I know are really excited about the build as well and ask about it every time I see them.
*Of all the ideas of the bus I'm probably most excited about the chop of the bus. I love to learn knew things so this is another learning experience. I'm going to learn a lot more than I probably ever wanted but it'll be worth it.

2. I actually got motivation that it was possible to make it 29' from the firehouse crown. I'm planning to go into tight places and spend time being a campground host in rural areas so 29' would be a much more manageable length.

3. From the little research I did through dmv and talking to people it seems as though the weight requirements are different for a 2 axle vs. a 3 axle and I would need a class B NC.

4. I have looked at various photos of the body construction as well as heard the concern you are raising from various people online. The design is what sold me the idea of a crown in the first place so I'm up for the challenge. As I wrote my dad puts up skyscrapers for a living, who happens to be a perfectionist, so structural integrity is not really my concern when chopping up the bus. I'm planning to connect all the lines and panels back together so it will still look like a beautiful crown when I piece it all together.
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Old 04-16-2017, 11:36 PM   #4
New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Glencoe, Ca
Posts: 8
Year: 1980
Coachwork: Crown
Engine: 855ci Cummins
Some pictures of the bus...guest appearance by my pup Lucy.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg bus in front.jpg (87.7 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg bus side back.jpg (322.7 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg side pic of lucy.jpg (87.9 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Lucy inside bus.jpg (115.3 KB, 11 views)
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Old 04-17-2017, 03:33 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,397
Because of the shape of the bus the best way to raise the roof is to start at the floor level. If you do it anywhere above the floor level you are going to have a hard time getting things to line up in a straight line. If you don't line things up it will look like a cheap chop shop mess.

As far as making the bus shorter, your bus equipped the way it is with a Big Cam Cummins and automatic is one of the holy grails of buses. You will severely chop the value as you chop the length of the bus.

A non-commercial license is no big deal and not worth the time, $$$, and effort to chop that bus down just so you don't have to upgrade your driver's license.
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Old 04-17-2017, 03:13 PM   #6
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Northern California (for now)
Posts: 5
Sell the bus to me and get yourself a short, tall bus that will meet your needs. This really is one of the best bus models out there...
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Old 04-17-2017, 03:57 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 186
Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
Crowns do not have parallel straight sides. The windows angle in slightly, making it a challenge to raise the roof on a Crown without making look like a dog's dinner. You can't just chop through the vertical posts between the windows and insert extensions there, like you can with lesser brands of bus. Some folk have raised the roof of Crowns, but it's a LOT of work to do it right.

I'm thinking that maybe a bus, Crown or otherwise, may not be the best choice for what you need. How about a reefer box truck - good ground clearance for light off-roading, already insulated, high roof, lot's of interior space for the length, and still room to hang storage boxes underneath. It's not a Crown, but it may work better for you. Maybe a rural fire department personnel transport - 4WD, higher ground clearance, and probably made to the highest standards for a public-service contract?

I would hate to see a beautiful Crown tandem turned into a weird-looking mongrel with a cropped tail. If you did that, the enforcers from the Crown Coach Junkies forum may put a price on your head!

John
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:34 PM   #8
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 2
I think if you are going to raise the roof on your Crown, it would be a good idea to leave the cab portion of the roof standard height, and then transition to the raised portion further back just like Crown did on their raised deck tour/intercity buses. If you raise the roof all the way to the front, the bodywork above the windshield ends up looking really awkward and disproportionate. The Crown intercity buses with the raised passenger deck would be good to take a look at. If you fashioned your raised roof the way they did, but kept your floor at the standard height, you'd get a lot of headroom, and the bus would still look like a proper Crown.

Also, I think a raised roof bus needs to be more than 29' or else it's going to look really disproportionate. Maybe keep it to at least 35'?

One question. You mentioned that the district you bought your bus from had several other Crowns. Are they available? It would be nice to know if they can be purchased so they could be kept from being cut up by a fire department.

Best wishes with your project!

Dave
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:39 PM   #9
Almost There
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Tepme AZ
Posts: 88
Year: 1976
Coachwork: Crown
Engine: Detroit Diesel 6-71
Rated Cap: 52 pax
[QUOTE

One question. You mentioned that the district you bought your bus from had several other Crowns. Are they available? It would be nice to know if they can be purchased so they could be kept from being cut up by a fire department.

Best wishes with your project!

Dave[/QUOTE]


I too would be very interested in obtaining a tandem. Bliss got a nice one with the big cam. I want one.
__________________
-Chevy
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:45 PM   #10
New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Glencoe, Ca
Posts: 8
Year: 1980
Coachwork: Crown
Engine: 855ci Cummins
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevydude01 View Post
[QUOTE

One question. You mentioned that the district you bought your bus from had several other Crowns. Are they available? It would be nice to know if they can be purchased so they could be kept from being cut up by a fire department.

Best wishes with your project!

Dave
I too would be very interested in obtaining a tandem. Bliss got a nice one with the big cam. I want one.[/QUOTE]

Looks like they are trying to get grant money for them now. They were driving them last school year but new regulations happened so they would've had to get a new exhaust system which wasn't worth it since they won't be able to drive them in 2018(for more than 1,000 miles a year). I just lucked out on getting mine in time. I think they are going to keep a couple for themselves as back up vehicles.

270 hp will be nice
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