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Old 06-25-2014, 11:53 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 16
A Crown for Burning Man

Hi all,
I'm new to the site, though I have been reading this forum for months. I am located just outside of Los Angeles in Pasadena,CA. A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine and I decided that we are going to buy a bus and convert it into a camper for Burning Man 2015. Our plan is to purchase the bus before October of 2014 and work on it for about a year.

Here are the parameters for the build.
  • 40' Crown Supercoach (2 axle diesel preferred)
    No windows will be boarded up or covered from the exterior. We want the bus to be something of a "sleeper" (meaning most people should recognize the camper as a bus and not a camper) even though the bus won't be yellow.
    Bus will be re-insulated
    Generator for on-board power
    A way to manage sand intrusion from dust storms (keeping sand out of interior and engine compartment)
    Amenities for 8 people.
    Limited use of cabinetry in kitchen
    Full LED lighting
    Wooden Floors
    Off Grid Compatibility (solar power, solar hot water heater)

My friend and I are very well versed in design, electronics, and engineering (We run an augmented reality startup). So the bus will have these special features as well (which we will design and have fabricated):
  • Head Up display for driver
    One of a kind LED Tail lights and turn signals
    A DJ Booth
    Rearview camera
    SNES emulator derived from a RaspberryPi
    One of a kind A/C system that will automatically separate the sand from fresh air.

Here is how we plan to tackle our ambitious project.
Phase 1 Body Work and demo:
  • After sourcing the Crown we will remove all decals, and sand the paint.
    Remove seats and flooring
    Remove all of the windows, mirrors, and exterior lights.
    We will then coat the exterior with grey primer
    Finally paint the stripes with metallic black paint. We will resume painting the exterior once all of the interior has has been completed.

Phase 2 Underbody Utilities:
We will be installing all power, HVAC, plumbing in this phase. We want to ensure that we can fit everything want underneath the bus to keep our sleeper appearance.
Additionally we want to know where all of our holes for vents, pipes, etc will be coming through before we install the floor and ceiling.
  • Install LP Generator, 11 Gallon Tank, and route exhaust
    Install Fresh Water tank
    Install Grey/Black water tank
    Install in floor drink cooler
    Install breaker box
    Install Battery bank
    Install beer lines for beer taps
    Install Sand shield for engine bay
    Reroute air inake for engine and install bypass route for sandy conditions
    Create additional storage areas underneath
    Service engine, fluids, brakes, and tires

Phase 3a/b Interior Mock Up/Install:
We will be making a 3D CAD model of the interior of the Bus, so we can have an idea of what fits inside of the bus before purchasing and installing it. We will be starting at the back of the bus and working our way forward. Additionally, to hide the wiring, HVAC, and wireless routers will be installing a dropped ceiling inside of the bus. The dropped ceiling gives us the flexibility to change the lighting and location of outlets, and add new components without rewiring the whole bus.
  • Install rear sleeping quarter
    Install toilet room and shower
    Install kitchen area
    Install Media/living area

Phase 4 Testing:
We will be driving the bus around some pretty horrible roads looking for anything that is loose and listening for squeaks and rattles so that we can fix what we can. We plan on owning this Crown for decades and plan on this being a labor of love (and squeaks and rattles will make me love this a lot less)
  • Reinstall windows
    Drive. Find a problem. Fix it. (repeat)
    Cycle generator and charge batteries

Phase 5 Finishing Touches:
  • Paint the bus in Vanilla color
    Paint roof white
    Install roof rails
    Install new headlight and turn signals
    Install antennas

This will be a pretty different Bus conversion and I will be posting updates as they happen on here. We are looking for feedback and help with questions as we go along. I will be posting pictures and youtube videos as well. When we are done, I will post a link to the 3D CAD model of the interior and some of the custom components as a resource for others who want to do a Crown conversion. I figure the more info the better.

Thanks for reading this far. We are really looking forward to this!
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:23 AM   #2
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Welcome to the Asylum Raymac & company --- Sounds like a plan to me. Crowns are great platforms to build on and there are several folks here in various stages of completion with whom you can share war stories. And given all the references to "keeping sand out", it sounds like you've been to Burning Man before. And no ordinary sand it is. Very fine and caustic as well. Really nasty stuff. Especially when propelled by 40 mph winds.

Good luck on the build. It sounds like you have an excellent talent pool so please...do keep the pix coming as you progress.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:52 AM   #3
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Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Welcome aboard. We love Crowns and their owners.
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Old 06-26-2014, 11:11 AM   #4
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Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Welcome, too bad the DMV in Pasadena just closed down, registering my bus as RV was easy at that location.

http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/auctio ... uc=1143419
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:15 PM   #5
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Location: Black Rock City
Posts: 110
Year: 198x
Coachwork: Crown & MCI
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Rated Cap: 47,000lb/38,000lb GVWR
Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Welcome Reymac!

My only thoughts on your build with the requirements you've outlined is that you're going to need to find a Crown pusher, or no Crown at all.

The Crown's with the mid-ship engines don't have a lot of room underneath, but you might already know that.

Good luck!

-serpent
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Old 06-26-2014, 01:14 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 16
Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Quote:
Originally Posted by serpent
Welcome Reymac!

My only thoughts on your build with the requirements you've outlined is that you're going to need to find a Crown pusher, or no Crown at all.

The Crown's with the mid-ship engines don't have a lot of room underneath, but you might already know that.

Good luck!

-serpent
Thanks! I was wondering if the volume was any different since we would lose the trunk with the pusher?
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Old 06-26-2014, 01:16 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 16
Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Quote:
Originally Posted by juliol
Welcome, too bad the DMV in Pasadena just closed down, registering my bus as RV was easy at that location.

http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/auctio ... uc=1143419
Good to know. Were there any sticking points or any surprises with registering your bus as an RV?
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:04 PM   #8
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Black Rock City
Posts: 110
Year: 198x
Coachwork: Crown & MCI
Chassis: 40ft Tandem/40ft MC-9 Tag
Engine: Cummins 855 BCT/6V92TA, RTO-910/HT-740
Rated Cap: 47,000lb/38,000lb GVWR
Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reymac
Quote:
Originally Posted by serpent
Welcome Reymac!

My only thoughts on your build with the requirements you've outlined is that you're going to need to find a Crown pusher, or no Crown at all.

The Crown's with the mid-ship engines don't have a lot of room underneath, but you might already know that.

Good luck!

-serpent
Thanks! I was wondering if the volume was any different since we would lose the trunk with the pusher?
I don't believe the volume actually changes. You'll lose the trunk but gain more usable floor space with the storage compartments underneath, at least for a 'sleeper' camper build. Some conversions with the mid-ship Crowns end up installing roof racks and putting things like water storage/etc. up top in order to keep usable floor space inside.

Like you, I intend to keep my Crown looking more like a Crown than a camper. No ugly stuff on the roof, etc. But, I'm already running into certain issues without having the underfloor storage that most 'regular' buses have:

All my electrical, plumbing, water and grey tanks are all above the floor, and I have to install things like waste pumps to move things around. I'm basically wasting quite a bit of floor space to build all the systems that make it a camper.

But, I also don't intend to have accommodations for 8 people, and I won't have a DJ booth, media lounge, LP, on-board generator, or black tank. Hell, I may not even install a place for a shower and will probably build something more portable for outside use. ;)

However, either way you go (pusher or not) you're going to have a great time building it. You might just have to reconsider your requirements depending on the Crown you get.

BTW- when you say 2-axle 40' Crown I think the only option is the pusher. I'm not 100% sure (some other Crown guy jump in) but I think all the 40' Crown's with mid-engines were 3-axle tandems.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:18 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 16
Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Quote:
Originally Posted by serpent
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reymac
Quote:
Originally Posted by serpent
Welcome Reymac!

My only thoughts on your build with the requirements you've outlined is that you're going to need to find a Crown pusher, or no Crown at all.

The Crown's with the mid-ship engines don't have a lot of room underneath, but you might already know that.

Good luck!

-serpent
Thanks! I was wondering if the volume was any different since we would lose the trunk with the pusher?
I don't believe the volume actually changes. You'll lose the trunk but gain more usable floor space with the storage compartments underneath, at least for a 'sleeper' camper build. Some conversions with the mid-ship Crowns end up installing roof racks and putting things like water storage/etc. up top in order to keep usable floor space inside.

Like you, I intend to keep my Crown looking more like a Crown than a camper. No ugly stuff on the roof, etc. But, I'm already running into certain issues without having the underfloor storage that most 'regular' buses have:

All my electrical, plumbing, water and grey tanks are all above the floor, and I have to install things like waste pumps to move things around. I'm basically wasting quite a bit of floor space to build all the systems that make it a camper.

But, I also don't intend to have accommodations for 8 people, and I won't have a DJ booth, media lounge, LP, on-board generator, or black tank. Hell, I may not even install a place for a shower and will probably build something more portable for outside use. ;)

However, either way you go (pusher or not) you're going to have a great time building it. You might just have to reconsider your requirements depending on the Crown you get.

BTW- when you say 2-axle 40' Crown I think the only option is the pusher. I'm not 100% sure (some other Crown guy jump in) but I think all the 40' Crown's with mid-engines were 3-axle tandems.
This is more good info! Some of the parameters will change once we have the bus in hand and once we scale it up. For instance, the original goal was to bring 10 people with us, but there was no way for us to this because of the trunk/engine bulkhead. I think that by the time everything is done capacity may be reduced to 7.

I just assumed most of the crown's out there were mid engine. We'd prefer is if it were a mid-engine tandem for more under floor storage and the air suspension. BTW how does the ride on the air suspension compare to that of the conventional leaf spring? Are your airbags in pretty good condition (not dry rotted)?
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:19 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 16
Re: A Crown for Burning Man

Does anyone is the LA are have a crown? We'd like to take some measurements and poke our heads around a bit.
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