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Old 10-06-2016, 03:15 AM   #331
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Location: Winlcok, WA
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School buses have such huge batteries in them in order to have enough juice to operate everything when the bus is at idle.

Back in the day we had a bunch of Loadstar chassis buses with gas V-8's that had one group 31 battery to run everything. On a daily basis they did just fine. But on the first day after a long break, or even a long weekend, if the ambient temperature was down below 30* we would have to jump start almost every one of them.

What we discovered wasn't so much a parasitic load that was killing the batteries but the fact we were routinely taking more juice out of the system than the alternators could produce. On one bus we calculated the load with the crossover lights flashing, interior lights on, headlights on, clearance lights on, and seven heater/defroster fans going the load was almost 100 amps. Most of those old gassers had 100 amp alternators and some had only 90 amp alternators.

It didn't take long for us to figure out that most of the time the buses were out on route, at every stop they were taking more out of the system than the alternator could possibly replace. With the dead head home at the end of the day and on the trip out in the morning when most of the accessories were turned off it did get a chance to build up some reserve in the battery. But constant draining did a real job on our batteries. We were lucky to get them to last two school years.

We ended up updating the alternators to much larger amp rated alternators.

I say all of that to say that you really do not need that much battery in a bus to get the engine started. I owned a Thomas Saf-T-Liner with a 3208T engine that I routinely operated with only two group 31 batteries. Some of the new group 31's have more cold cranking amps than the less expensive 8D's. And to be fair, that bus was on a daily route that went 200 miles per day and didn't make more than about ten stops all day. Plus, it had a 250 amp alternator.
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:22 AM   #332
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I agree on the over-loads on busses being low RPM all the time.. esp when they were all either gassers where the distributor woukd fire at 6 volts... or mechanical diesels that you could run on dead batteries as long as it wasnt shut off..

the alternator thats on my older bus is a Bosch 200 Amp that puts out 140 amps at 1200 Soindle RPM.. I think it has a 2.5:1 pulley on it so that means at 700 RPM engine idle im well over that on the alternator and thus get lots of juice.. but those low RPM high outpout aslternators are recent in the last 15-20 years... but it does work...

the new bus has a GMC SI alternator of some sort.. 160 Amps.. which is interesting since that bus is all electronic engine, and has Air-conditioning.. those triple condensor fans pull about 60-70 amps by themselves..
-Christopher
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Old 10-06-2016, 01:24 PM   #333
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Katy, TX
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Year: 1989
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
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Well, here's some pics from last weekend. This is $90 worth of heated rear view mirrors.

https://pix.sfly.com/Q8AVVU

I'm still trying to find a decent way to share my pics.

Tomorrow I'll have pics of the battery swaps. I have to have my son helping me with these heavy weights........ Good grief they are HEAVY!!!!!!

Here's a better shot of the blanks we're installing as well:

https://pix.sfly.com/4pOf6v
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Old 10-06-2016, 06:37 PM   #334
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Let's try this:



YAY success!!!!! That is $90 of heated mirrors.......



Blanks on the driver's rear.....



It looks a bit odd on just the passenger side, but now I can see along the passenger side............
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Old 10-06-2016, 07:26 PM   #335
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Join Date: May 2009
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I like those mirrors!! Nicely done!!
-Christopher
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Old 10-12-2016, 09:46 PM   #336
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My son and I just shoved around 630 pounds of batteries this evening. My back is killing me, and I'll have some pics tomorrow, IF I can get some time between jobs.......
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Old 10-13-2016, 02:25 PM   #337
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Hendersonville, TN
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Year: 1997
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Chassis: 1T8
Engine: Cummins 5.9
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Great build. N3MFL here from TN... Was wondering if those were ham towers or not. I guess they are. I just read you whole build to here. As for alternators, I just purchased a new one after the last had a melt down. 160a Wilson alternator. Works great, and the needle doesn't even move. I have 2 78lb UPS batteries and I am going to tag off the Alt.2 on my alternator to charge them up. I have to get going on this build, were moving to AZ in DEC, and this is going to be the Beagle Express... Then when i GET there I can do the build they way I want.
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Old 10-14-2016, 10:43 PM   #338
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 172
Year: 92
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nice mirrors, we would like some heated ones too. if i may ask, since i've never installed heated mirrors before, what the heck do you plug it in to if they didnt come with the bus? I'm sure there's a easy explanation.
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Old 10-15-2016, 03:19 AM   #339
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Put a switch close to hand with 12-vdc to the switch and then run a wire to the mirrors.

It is best to wire the switch that turns on a light so you don't leave the mirror heat on when you park the bus.
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Old 10-15-2016, 07:22 AM   #340
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Katy, TX
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Year: 1989
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Put a switch close to hand with 12-vdc to the switch and then run a wire to the mirrors.

It is best to wire the switch that turns on a light so you don't leave the mirror heat on when you park the bus.
My left hand control console already has a switch that when I turn it on the thing glows green. It's kinda cool the way it is set up. I'll have pics sometime this weekend (hopefully)......
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