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Old 06-26-2014, 11:43 PM   #21
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Re: A Crown for Burning Man

There are 40 foot two axle mid-engine Crowns. They were made in the late 1980's until Crown closed in 1991. I have my eye on one that is still being used in one of my client school districts. It is a 1991 40 foot two axle with a Detroit 6-71 Turbo with an Allison automatic. There were also some 40 foot two axle pusher Crowns made in the late 1980's as well. However, most districts went with mid-engines. I have another client that has a 40 foot mid-engine two axle with a 5 speed manual that is from 1989.

I was just at a California state-wide school bus maintenance conference (I did a couple of workshops). There was universal complaining about the quality of the "new" buses out there from Blue Bird, Thomas and International. The old timers amongst the 200+ vehicle maintenance supervisors and mechanics spoke fondly of the relatively trouble free Crowns and their build quality.

So, in my humble opinion, I would forgo some extra storage in order to get a more reliable build quality. Crowns were made to last many decades. My Crown conversion has plenty of underfloor storage for things like waste water, generators, etc. True, not as much as a pusher, but plenty. When you factor in the huge trunk space on a mid-engine Crown, I bet you have almost as much storage, with a far superior build quality for the overall bus. Someone should measure to determine what the actual difference is between the two types of configurations.

You must also consider the ride and inherent safety considerations with a mid-engine Crown. Just like a mid-engine sports car, Crowns handle better than front or rear engine configurations. It is all about weight distribution. Pushers tend to bounce more going down the road because of all the weight in the back (this is coming from bus drivers who have driven both types). Also, mid-engine Crowns are almost impossible to spin out. The California Department of Education would take mid-engine Crowns and pusher buses from the other builders and test them out on the oil skid pan track at the California Highway Patrol Academy. Those pusher transit school buses would spin out very easily on the oil slick track and Crowns almost never.

So, in the final analysis, I would recommend staying with Crowns with mid-engine configurations that are 40 feet with two axles. Second choice would be 40 foot pusher Crowns (again the build quality outweighs the uneven weight distribution), Third choice would be a 40 foot mid-engine three axle (tandem) Crown. You do lose some of the extra underfloor storage space in the tandem Crown because of the extra axle. However, more 40 foot tandems were built than 40 foot two axle configurations. It is just a matter of supply. If the overriding concerns is getting 40 feet of interior space then either type of 40 footer will do. By the way, I have never heard of a 40 foot tandem Crown with a rear pusher configuration. I don't believe one was ever built or at least not mass produced. However, since Crown prided itself on custom orders for customers, there might have been one made out there, but don't count on it still being around.

The great thing about the bus nuts on this site is that each can do their own thing and be happy. There are very capable people on this site who swear by Blue Birds, while others insist that Thomas is better. The bottom line is what you like and want. You can't go wrong with any of the major transit style buses available for conversion. It is just a matter of personal preferences.

By the way, on the comments that people have made about sand at Burning Man, believe it and then some. I have talked with numerous people who have gone with bus conversions and it took them months to get the sand out of their buses. It gets into everything. Also, I would hate to have a wonderful paint job destroyed by the natural sand blasting you will get with the wind out there.

Good luck on your build and we all want pictures, pictures and more pictures.
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Old 06-27-2014, 01:01 AM   #22
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Re: A Crown for Burning Man

PD is absolutely correct --- Primer is meant to go on...then get a protective layer of real paint. Primer alone is only good for maybe a couple of weeks or so. After that...rustola blooms all over.
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Old 06-27-2014, 02:51 AM   #23
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Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango
PD is absolutely correct --- Primer is meant to go on...then get a protective layer of real paint. Primer alone is only good for maybe a couple of weeks or so. After that...rustola blooms all over.
This is good to know. It looks like will be painting the whole thing at the start.
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Old 06-27-2014, 02:59 AM   #24
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Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmarvel
There are 40 foot two axle mid-engine Crowns. They were made in the late 1980's until Crown closed in 1991. I have my eye on one that is still being used in one of my client school districts. It is a 1991 40 foot two axle with a Detroit 6-71 Turbo with an Allison automatic. There were also some 40 foot two axle pusher Crowns made in the late 1980's as well. However, most districts went with mid-engines. I have another client that has a 40 foot mid-engine two axle with a 5 speed manual that is from 1989.

I was just at a California state-wide school bus maintenance conference (I did a couple of workshops). There was universal complaining about the quality of the "new" buses out there from Blue Bird, Thomas and International. The old timers amongst the 200+ vehicle maintenance supervisors and mechanics spoke fondly of the relatively trouble free Crowns and their build quality.

So, in my humble opinion, I would forgo some extra storage in order to get a more reliable build quality. Crowns were made to last many decades. My Crown conversion has plenty of underfloor storage for things like waste water, generators, etc. True, not as much as a pusher, but plenty. When you factor in the huge trunk space on a mid-engine Crown, I bet you have almost as much storage, with a far superior build quality for the overall bus. Someone should measure to determine what the actual difference is between the two types of configurations.

You must also consider the ride and inherent safety considerations with a mid-engine Crown. Just like a mid-engine sports car, Crowns handle better than front or rear engine configurations. It is all about weight distribution. Pushers tend to bounce more going down the road because of all the weight in the back (this is coming from bus drivers who have driven both types). Also, mid-engine Crowns are almost impossible to spin out. The California Department of Education would take mid-engine Crowns and pusher buses from the other builders and test them out on the oil skid pan track at the California Highway Patrol Academy. Those pusher transit school buses would spin out very easily on the oil slick track and Crowns almost never.

So, in the final analysis, I would recommend staying with Crowns with mid-engine configurations that are 40 feet with two axles. Second choice would be 40 foot pusher Crowns (again the build quality outweighs the uneven weight distribution), Third choice would be a 40 foot mid-engine three axle (tandem) Crown. You do lose some of the extra underfloor storage space in the tandem Crown because of the extra axle. However, more 40 foot tandems were built than 40 foot two axle configurations. It is just a matter of supply. If the overriding concerns is getting 40 feet of interior space then either type of 40 footer will do. By the way, I have never heard of a 40 foot tandem Crown with a rear pusher configuration. I don't believe one was ever built or at least not mass produced. However, since Crown prided itself on custom orders for customers, there might have been one made out there, but don't count on it still being around.

The great thing about the bus nuts on this site is that each can do their own thing and be happy. There are very capable people on this site who swear by Blue Birds, while others insist that Thomas is better. The bottom line is what you like and want. You can't go wrong with any of the major transit style buses available for conversion. It is just a matter of personal preferences.

By the way, on the comments that people have made about sand at Burning Man, believe it and then some. I have talked with numerous people who have gone with bus conversions and it took them months to get the sand out of their buses. It gets into everything. Also, I would hate to have a wonderful paint job destroyed by the natural sand blasting you will get with the wind out there.

Good luck on your build and we all want pictures, pictures and more pictures.
I feel like your are dropping Crown knowledge bombs on our brains here! This is great. We are dead set on getting a 40' crown.

As for the paint job, we are hoping that the alkali sand blast may add some character to the bus. If not, this may turn out to be a bit more like a boat than a bus, in that we will have to repaint parts of it every few years.

On the sand, it's more about taking steps to minimize it and its harmful effects. For instance, some folks have recommend that you apply masking or painter's tape around window seals and the body panel gaps in storage areas. We will also be adding an additional filter to the intake to keep some of the finer sand out. If we stay on schedule, 2015 will be my first year going. For my friend who is helping, it will be his second time going.
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:26 PM   #25
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Re: A Crown for Burning Man

gmarvel, I really appreciate your knowledge of Crown buses, and I think your build is wonderful (I'm quite jealous of what you've accomplished thus far.) However, I'm going to disagree a bit here and approach this from a perspective of someone who has experienced a bit more from a Burning Man point of view rather than long-term expert Crown driver and maintainer point of view. Seriously though. *hugs*
(I really do love your knowledge and experience of Crown's and hope we can share more down the road.)

...Reymac & company:

Unless this build completely changes the outlined requirements, a mid-engine Crown is not a good idea for something you want with any sort of underfloor storage (F that it is the best handling of buses.) Things will end up above ground, or you get a different bus. It can still be a Crown, but it had better be a pusher. (And even then, I'd argue that there are many better Skoolies for that type of purpose.)

I'm not about plugging in to a camp site w/hookups, and neither should someone expect from a machine they expect to live in, in the desert of Black Rock. (Unless they're spoiled and have someone else bringing half their camp crap and essentials.) ...or maybe half the things listed in the requirements are just miniature in size? ;)

I've spent countless days with multiple designs in the desert in question and feel that I can bring up a valid argument here...

(1) You're not keeping the playa dust out of your bus. Especially if it is a Crown, unless you want to do major work sealing the spots that leak and never open the doors or windows. This dust isn't sand, it's more like a fine talcum powder but it conducts electricity and is highly corrosive when left to sit on bare metal. Expect your **** to be f'd up, more so the longer you stay. You can do things to minimize this but it's best to just embrace the environment and deal with it the best you can. P.S. it's not going to sand-blast your paint. More likely someone else will bring **** that randomly bashes into your bus during wind storms that causes unfortunate scratches/dents in the paint/body.

Yes, you can put painter's tape on the windows, and every other spot that has a seam. Too bad, so sad, everything that keeps the bus moving will still get covered. And, don't open the door to let people in or out, never mind when there is a dust-storm. (I don't know about you, but I like to keep open doors to welcome people...)

(2) Don't expect to build some sort of engine compartment that keeps out the dust on a mid-engine Crown. The engine damn near rides 10 inches off the ground; it's going to get dusty, belts will eventually crack, and anything exposed will need to be cleaned and serviced regularly. (But don't we all do that on our buses?)

BTW- I don't recommend restricting air-flow on these engines by adding more filter-type contraptions; just keep two different filters for leaving and going and change them. The engines in these Crown's can handle the dust; just perform maintenance like an old tractor owner would do on a farm in Kansas during a Tornado. :P

(3) 11 gallons of propane for your generator when you expect to run a DJ booth, lights, and A/C? I think not. Unless you're a 'weekend warrior' this isn't enough fuel unless you're sticking with crapped up low amperage systems. The most fuel efficient low-wattage generators I've seen will still consume .5 gallons every 8 hours @ ~800watts output.

(4) You want a 'sleeper' bus? I wish you the best of luck, but honestly, you're not putting accommodations for even 5 people in a mid-engine Crown without someone knowing it's a freaking 'Burner' bus. Maybe a better idea would be to implement towing capabilities (a Crown has none, nor frame to support it in the rear without extensive work) and put half your **** in a trailer.

I know... I'm probably a rude ****. But I've brought a few different vehicles to the 'Burn,' spent 100's of days out there (volunteering and not, while boon-docked), and from what you've outlined Reymac, I'm concerned enough to type this stupid **** up.

You and your friend have picked an awesome bus to build on. I only want to let you know what you might want to expect before you begin.

I wish you the best of luck, I only hope that I can say 'hi' when you're there and hear that you're happy with your choice.
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:38 PM   #26
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Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reymac
This is a good point, but we are not planning on stripping it down to where it's a white body. The conversion will take place in a warehouse away from the elements. Did you mustang project go don to the bare metal or was thee any top coat left?
The Mustang was stripped to bare metal, so if you were planning to only roughen the surface of the existing paint, then prime over that, I think you might get away with leaving the primer for a while (if it's kept indoors or under cover), but primer really isn't any kind of protective finish at allóif you get anything on it before you paint, the porous nature of the primer will make getting it clean a real bear.
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Old 06-28-2014, 01:32 AM   #27
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Re: A Crown for Burning Man

No offense taken Serpent. We all have different opinions and there is almost never a complete right or wrong answer. Personal preferences are the foundation of all of our builds. I would love to see your bus in person.

Crowns probably have the worst basement storage of any major transit bus because of their mid-engine design. I agree, you will absolutely get more storage from a pusher than a mid-engine. However, their rear trunks are huge. I intend to use the storage to the maximum. I do not want to be seen carrying things on the roof. It wrecks the "twinkie" look and design. I just wanted to express my view that safety and handling can also be a consideration and mid-ships provide a better handling and ride experience. However, as with all things in life, compromises and conflicting imperatives raise their ugly heads.
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Old 06-28-2014, 05:24 PM   #28
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Re: A Crown for Burning Man

If you are set on a 40ft Crown and can live with the 3-axle Tandem configuration I know where
there are currently two available here in LA. One is a '76 the other a '79. For some more information
on what a Tandem Crown is like check out this old site and contact me direct and I can take you to
see these available Crowns. I agree completely with serpent and gmarvel and can confirm also that
at this time it's pretty hard to find any 40ft 2-axles because most operators will be keeping them
until they are pried from their cold clutching hands. I have a line on some but not until December
because they are going to keep them and make money with them as long as possible. Also I've
heard that the 40ft 2-axles don't turn or maneuver as well as a regular 35ft Crown. Some changes
made to steering geometries to accommodate the larger front overhang. I don't have personal
experience with it since I haven't driven many of them, mostly just the oldies.

http://www.elegantnetsol.com/crown/
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:39 PM   #29
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Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Quote:
Originally Posted by serpent
gmarvel, I really appreciate your knowledge of Crown buses, and I think your build is wonderful (I'm quite jealous of what you've accomplished thus far.) However, I'm going to disagree a bit here and approach this from a perspective of someone who has experienced a bit more from a Burning Man point of view rather than long-term expert Crown driver and maintainer point of view. Seriously though. *hugs*
(I really do love your knowledge and experience of Crown's and hope we can share more down the road.)

...Reymac & company:

Unless this build completely changes the outlined requirements, a mid-engine Crown is not a good idea for something you want with any sort of underfloor storage (F that it is the best handling of buses.) Things will end up above ground, or you get a different bus. It can still be a Crown, but it had better be a pusher. (And even then, I'd argue that there are many better Skoolies for that type of purpose.)

I'm not about plugging in to a camp site w/hookups, and neither should someone expect from a machine they expect to live in, in the desert of Black Rock. (Unless they're spoiled and have someone else bringing half their camp crap and essentials.) ...or maybe half the things listed in the requirements are just miniature in size? ;)

I've spent countless days with multiple designs in the desert in question and feel that I can bring up a valid argument here...

(1) You're not keeping the playa dust out of your bus. Especially if it is a Crown, unless you want to do major work sealing the spots that leak and never open the doors or windows. This dust isn't sand, it's more like a fine talcum powder but it conducts electricity and is highly corrosive when left to sit on bare metal. Expect your **** to be f'd up, more so the longer you stay. You can do things to minimize this but it's best to just embrace the environment and deal with it the best you can. P.S. it's not going to sand-blast your paint. More likely someone else will bring **** that randomly bashes into your bus during wind storms that causes unfortunate scratches/dents in the paint/body.

Yes, you can put painter's tape on the windows, and every other spot that has a seam. Too bad, so sad, everything that keeps the bus moving will still get covered. And, don't open the door to let people in or out, never mind when there is a dust-storm. (I don't know about you, but I like to keep open doors to welcome people...)

(2) Don't expect to build some sort of engine compartment that keeps out the dust on a mid-engine Crown. The engine damn near rides 10 inches off the ground; it's going to get dusty, belts will eventually crack, and anything exposed will need to be cleaned and serviced regularly. (But don't we all do that on our buses?)

BTW- I don't recommend restricting air-flow on these engines by adding more filter-type contraptions; just keep two different filters for leaving and going and change them. The engines in these Crown's can handle the dust; just perform maintenance like an old tractor owner would do on a farm in Kansas during a Tornado. :P

(3) 11 gallons of propane for your generator when you expect to run a DJ booth, lights, and A/C? I think not. Unless you're a 'weekend warrior' this isn't enough fuel unless you're sticking with crapped up low amperage systems. The most fuel efficient low-wattage generators I've seen will still consume .5 gallons every 8 hours @ ~800watts output.

(4) You want a 'sleeper' bus? I wish you the best of luck, but honestly, you're not putting accommodations for even 5 people in a mid-engine Crown without someone knowing it's a freaking 'Burner' bus. Maybe a better idea would be to implement towing capabilities (a Crown has none, nor frame to support it in the rear without extensive work) and put half your **** in a trailer.

I know... I'm probably a rude ****. But I've brought a few different vehicles to the 'Burn,' spent 100's of days out there (volunteering and not, while boon-docked), and from what you've outlined Reymac, I'm concerned enough to type this stupid **** up.

You and your friend have picked an awesome bus to build on. I only want to let you know what you might want to expect before you begin.

I wish you the best of luck, I only hope that I can say 'hi' when you're there and hear that you're happy with your choice.
Thanks for the input.
But this bus will not be exclusively used for burning ma (so this is not a burner bus). We intend to make this a camper that can also handle the annual one week torte of burning man.

So let me go point-by-point with you so you can better understand where we re going with this.

1.We are aware that the sand on the playa is very fine and is actually an alkali dust to turns to goo when it rains and is erosive and corrosive. Again, our goal is not to dust proof the Crown or make it some hermetically sealed wonder. Rather we are implementing strategies to reduce the amount of dust that can get into annoying places such as the belts and the internal ventilation system.

2. Again it is more on dust management my goal is to have a simple fix. Some sort of faring or shroud to cover the belts. Some engines have them, some don't. We are choosing to add it for some extra protection.

3. We are not using our LP generator 24-7. You have to attack trips like this with a strategy. For instance, the people who are going along with us know that the A/C will only be on towards the afternoon. We don't expect to be the group of people who will be inside the camper all day watching the events go by. We anticipate that bus will be empty most of the day and will be mostly used in the evenings when people are winding down and getting ready to sleep. We will also have a fairly large battery bank as well. Our generator is small 22 hp Honda engine that generates 10kW/hr. Its consumption rate is right around 1 gal/hr. That means we will have 0.1 MW of power at our disposal. We are planning to trade the power for other gifts and goodies while we are there. So in short, think of the generator as a last resort option when we are at burning man. When we are on other trips there will be less than half as many people, we won't be in the desert, and there will far less need for power.

4. Burning man is mostly about self reliance. People will be packing lean. We will have more have more have enough space. Unless you think a 40' bus can't handle 9 suitcases in it's trunk. I think it can handle 9 suitcase/duffle bags no problem.

5. You're more of a salty **** than a rude **** (that was joke btw)
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:45 PM   #30
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 16
Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crown_Guy
If you are set on a 40ft Crown and can live with the 3-axle Tandem configuration I know where
there are currently two available here in LA. One is a '76 the other a '79. For some more information
on what a Tandem Crown is like check out this old site and contact me direct and I can take you to
see these available Crowns. I agree completely with serpent and gmarvel and can confirm also that
at this time it's pretty hard to find any 40ft 2-axles because most operators will be keeping them
until they are pried from their cold clutching hands. I have a line on some but not until December
because they are going to keep them and make money with them as long as possible. Also I've
heard that the 40ft 2-axles don't turn or maneuver as well as a regular 35ft Crown. Some changes
made to steering geometries to accommodate the larger front overhang. I don't have personal
experience with it since I haven't driven many of them, mostly just the oldies.

http://www.elegantnetsol.com/crown/
Thanks. I will reach out to you soon.
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