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Old 01-28-2015, 12:24 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: MA USA
Posts: 17
Year: 1978
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: SuperCoach
Engine: Detroit 6-71
BLUNDERBUS "bad idea" Mayflower

I have just returned, alive, from the biggest adventure of my life. A week-long ordeal spanning the east coast from Virginia to Mass. With my intrepid co-pilot we faced: tire-blowouts, dead batteries, low-bridges, hill-stalls, cops, tainted diesel, the DMV, insurance agents, sleeping in rental cars, partying with the late-night train station homeless, city-driving, snowstorm driving, and let's not forget simply learning to drive a diesel stick-shift 40ft bolt-bucket that's 12 years your senior. Even the people met on this adventure were uncannily colorful: Super Mario, Indian, Lone Star, both Officer Ryans, and Rooster to name a few.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me present you with BLUNDERBUS "bad idea" Mayflower. The 1978 Crown Supercoach.



Ballparking the expenses:
  • The Bus ($2500) + $250 in diesel
  • Replaced 4 aft tires ($1800)
  • Replaced 2 fore tires ($1200)
  • Tainted the diesel with gas >.< ($2000 inc. towing and purging)
  • New Batteries ($500)
  • 3 Rental cars and 1 hotel night ($400)
  • cops/fines/attorneys ($600)
That's about 1/3rd original purchase, 1/3rd expected repairs, 1/3rd unexpected expensive lessons... AKA 50% more than I would have liked to spend >=( Now I know to double check the left-side pump (hint it's not always diesel). Oh well.

Next-up: A full mechanical checkout at the local truck garage (mid February urgh), proper DMV RV registration, better insurance, a better permanent location other than the driveway, and clearing out the figurative and literal squirrel's nest from inside the cabin. Once those essentials are checked off, restoration, insulation, and installation can begin! Starting with that ugly carpet, the half dozen broken lights, and those sorry broken windows.

Pictures from the adventure can be seen IN THIS ALBUM. Eventually I'll put this stuff up on a website I think, probably wordpress. Questions? Comments? bring it on.
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Old 01-28-2015, 01:52 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: MA USA
Posts: 17
Year: 1978
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: SuperCoach
Engine: Detroit 6-71
What major things should I ask garage to check for specifically? I've notice some issues and have thought of some ought-to-check things (below) I'm sure I've missed stuff. Tires, Fuel line/tank/filters, and batteries should be good so that's done. All the service people who've checked it out have said good things about the integrity of the chassis.
  • Air-brake air-system integrity. Could an auxiliary output be installed to use the compressor for air-powertools?
  • Suspension. It was a harsh bouncy ride at times. One day with funds I'll look into air-rides maybe.
  • Steering Tie Rods. The steering was a bit floaty, scary on bridges with narrow construction lanes
  • Electrical Hazards. It's only got DC power but several lights are broken with exposed wires. I'll probably redo all the wiring anyways later, plus I don't trust it, what with the squirrel's nest in the dash.
  • Speedometer only worked 90% of the time. It'd get stuck around 40 mph sometimes.
  • Original Tachometer doesn't work, though an aftermarket looking one does. Can't tell what current mileage is though I was told ~429k miles (the odometer's stuck at 200-something k)
  • Radiators/cooling. One the drive back the hot engine light would come on typically at 160deg F (but sometime lower, almost like a stuck needle). Dunno if that's a normal warning level, tended to happen on hills and above 50-55MPH, even in a blizzard.
  • Integrity of transmission. It's a 5 speed manual and I am a novice stick-driver.
  • Oil sample/change?
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Old 01-28-2015, 03:01 AM   #3
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,136
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
I love the adventure of bus retrieval.
Sounds like you had quite the time. I'm surprised by a couple things.
The "greatest coach made" doesn't have air ride?
How many friggin batteries does it have for $500? I replaced two for $150!
I think you may have been taken advantage of with some of that servicing. 2000 to tow and drain the tank sounds egregious.
Glad you made the journey in one piece and aren't in the klink.
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Old 01-28-2015, 03:55 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 63
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
Most Crowns were built with spring suspension. Air-ride was always
an extra cost and customer specified option. Some just rear, some
all around. From the looks of those tires I'd say having air bags to
worry about would have enhanced the pucker factor and expense
to get it home. Springs are simple and generally low maintenance.
Air-ride systems with plumbing, leveling valves, the bags themselves
are just another thing to break that costs money to fix. 8D batteries
can easily cost $225 new unless you know how to find them at a
battery specialist company that rebuilds them, then you can get it
down to around $100 each. The "I got it and you need it" factor is
always an unfortunate fact of life on the road and the really serious
downside to not having your bus in the best condition you can get
it in before the trips. I know this was a ferry trip and you were stuck
with whatever was there when you picked it up. That's unfortunate
but should give you incentive going forward to do the best you can
with it before making road trips. It always costs a LOT more on the
road. That Crown will be very solid and reliable once the important
systems and equipment is checked and brought up to a reasonable
maintenance level and your confidence in and enjoyment of it should
increase so you can capture the spirit of owning and driving the
Crown as it has always been for those of us who have experienced
it already. You've learned some lessons and will learn more, but try
to not get blindsided. Try to find a bus or truck mechanic or shop
who can give you advice and help you do the basic stuff to get it
back in shape. And Welcome the exclusive Crown owners club.
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Old 01-28-2015, 04:06 AM   #5
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,136
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Even if that 8d was 250 or even 300, how many hours did they charge for installing it?
And regular springs break, too. Not just air springs. I'm just a bit shocked that they weren't spec'ed with air ride. Learn somethin new every day.
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Old 01-28-2015, 04:29 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 63
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
Crowns have two 8D batteries standard equipment.
$225 X 2 if paying new prices plus labor, if any.
Usually in compartment on left side in front of rear
tire, next to intake air cleaner. Crowns were built
for school districts mostly and springs were cheaper
and easier to maintain. Charter companies like the one
I worked for did order full air-ride equipped Crowns,
but we also did all kinds of charter runs as well as
school related work. The air-ride was a classy thing
to have and cost money but attracted more customers,
plus we put some very serious inter-city and inter-state
mileage on some of the trips we did and the air-ride was
a big bonus, and almost an essential requirement. School
districts didn't care, they hauled kids from home to school
for usually short runs, and short time frames.
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:09 AM   #7
Site Team
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: southwest lowsyana
Posts: 542
Year: 1988
Coachwork: ward
Chassis: international
Engine: dt360a
Rated Cap: 65
i wanna hear about the POPO!
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:15 AM   #8
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,136
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by claydbal View Post
i wanna hear about the POPO!
yes, as do I.
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Old 01-28-2015, 07:09 AM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Iowa
Posts: 120
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Honey Badger RV Co
Chassis: tc2000
Engine: 5.9 cummins
Rated Cap: 74
Make sure mechanic checks belts,hoses and brakes (shoes and drums). Looks like the start to a great project bus.
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Old 01-28-2015, 07:37 AM   #10
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Location: MNT CITY TN
Posts: 5,045
You cant leave us, with out a full story
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