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Old 03-14-2015, 05:09 PM   #351
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Danville, California
Posts: 345
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: DD6-71T
Rated Cap: 78
Re: Journey Begins - 1988 Crown Conversion

No problem. Walnut Creek is about 10 or 15 minutes away. You may see me in my Crown when it is finished. We could schedule a visit so you could see what I have done first hand. I am hoping to have it finished in about another four or five weeks. We have a few big projects to complete like finishing the plumbing to the Fecal Matter Control Center (FMCC). It is the little things like side LED lights in the bathroom overhead cabinet door so the women can do their thing with makeup, etc. Can't be too bright or too dim, but just right!!! The counter tops are being fabricated offsite and are due to be installed on Tuesday. The front marine grade white speakers were on back order, but are due to arrive this week. Two more holes in the front bulkhead above the front windshield. Scary but necessary if you want music. Most of the electrical testing is finished and passed inspection, so walls are getting finished up. Again, it is the little stuff.

Concerning your two questions:

1) Be on the lookout for Crowns.

I just talked to one of my clients and they will be replacing five or six Crowns. This school district is not getting any grants which would require them to be crushed. So, I am hoping that they will be put up on the open market. I believe five are 1980 Crowns (could be 35' or 36'), and one is a 1990 Crown. As soon as I know more I will let you know.

Send me a personal message so we can exchange email addresses and contact information.

2) Resources to inspect a bus when purchasing.

A lot of times school districts sell their buses via on-line auction houses. Most times that will preclude being able to take the bus to a mechanic to have it inspected. Private sellers should not be a problem. It is these on-line auction houses that cater to public agencies that can be a pain. However, keep in mind that you might be able to physically inspect the buses at the location where they are stored, like their District yard or the auction firms vehicle lot. You could bring an experienced heavy duty diesel mechanic (hopefully one that has worked on Crowns) to inspect the vehicle.

Keep in mind that buses this old will have mechanical issues. Some will be minor, while others could be major like a shot engine. Since most of the Crowns that come on the market were used as school buses, they will probably be in pretty good shape or the Highway Patrol would not have allowed them to operate. For buses this old you can count on original bushings needing to be replaced (not overly costly as a part expense, but the labor can get pricey). The same with original suspension air bags. Air bags on Crowns were extra cost options. The older Crowns generally never have them, while the newer ones probably will have them, but are in need of replacement. Radiators in Crowns are huge. Original radiators will probably need to be reconditioned. It is money well spent as you don't want your expense diesel engine to get damaged because of overheating.

Many of the older Crowns have rebuilt engines. Hopefully, you can find out when the rebuilt was done. A recent in-frame rebuilt would be a great find. These diesels are designed to go a million miles. However, in-frame rebuilts are not unusual after 300,000 miles or so. It all depends on how well they were maintained.

Rust is generally not a problem in Crowns. First, the California environment is very easy on schools buses (generally no road salt and overly wet weather). Second, they are designed to minimize rust problems (aluminum skins, etc.).

If you are serious about getting a Crown and you have the opportunity to have one inspected, I can put you in touch with experienced Crown mechanics that you could pay to inspect the vehicle for you and give you an assessment of the condition.

I also have numerous school districts that will work on Crowns for a fee. They set you up as an outside customer and will then charge you an hourly rate (depending on the school district usually between $55 and $85 per hour) that is well below standard market rates. In the San Francisco Bay Area, heavy duty truck and bus shops are charging $120 to $150 per hour in the private sector.

I hope this is helpful. Thank you for your kind words about my conversion. We have learned much about how to do a conversion. Our next Crown (our tandem) will go much faster and we will not make some of the same mistakes and do overs that we did with the first one.

Again, don't forget to PM me so we can exchange contact information.
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Old 03-15-2015, 09:14 PM   #352
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Are All Crown's available with such classic and classy, 'bug' looks? One look and wow, in love and impressed!

Newbies,

Anndru & Chuck
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Old 03-15-2015, 09:41 PM   #353
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Year: 1988
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Chassis: Supercoach
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Crowns from the late 1940's on had the classic art deco rounded look. Then in the late 1980's they came out with the Super Coach II, which had a more modern squared off look. They sold both of these models side-by-side until they shut down in 1991. Even after the more "modern" look came out with the Super Coach II, most school districts still purchased the classic looking original coach style. I tend to be "overly" enthusiastic about Crowns (just ask some of the Blue Bird lovers on this site). Crowns were made to last 50 years. They were the only school bus that had a 20 year warranty. The oldest school bus in California retired last year, and it was a 1949 Crown. No other school bus manufacturer comes close in terms of the quality and longevity of Crowns. Unfortunately, GE bought them out in the 1980's and then shut them down because they were not financially performing up to the corporate return on investment standards that GE had at the time. You can spot a classic Crown from a mile away. Its unique signature look tells you it is special.

If you are in the market for a Crown to use for a conversion, the best place to look is California. Ebay, Craig's List, etc.
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Old 03-16-2015, 03:37 PM   #354
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Crown Search

Thank you so much for your response--I'm all kinds for happy! Heading to Craig's list and if we find one, from here to there isn't that far.

Anndru & Chuck
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Old 03-16-2015, 08:26 PM   #355
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Send me a private message and I can let you know when I become aware of Crowns becoming available. There are two batches of Crowns that I am aware of that may be coming up soon. I will not go into details publicly. I have another skoolie member who is also looking for Crowns so I can keep both of you in the loop.
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:26 PM   #356
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Year: 1988
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Chassis: Supercoach
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Re: Journey Begins - 1988 Crown Conversion

NEW INTERIOR SHOTS OF THE CROWN

More work has gotten done.

Back Bedroom Reading Lights
The back bedroom area now has the reading lights in. These are LED 12 volt lights. As you can see they sit on top of a flexible goose neck. There is one for each side of the bed.


Went With the Black Trimmed LED Dimmer Switches
We were deciding between the black trim backlit LED dimmer switches or the brushed nickle trim. We decided to go with the black trim. There will be a master switch and then five different switches to cover each side of the under cabinet lights, the center lights running down the center, the bathroom area lights and the rear bedroom area lights. All will be hooked up to these dimmer switches.


UPPER CABINET DOORS ARE IN PLACE
The upper cabinet doors have been installed. There are two doors with frosted glass fronts in the kitchen area, and the rest are solid wood European Birch with a cherry stain, like the rest of the wood in the bus. All of the lighting under the cabinets are installed.

Driver Side Cabinets




Passenger Side Cabinets




Upper Kitchen Cabinet Fronts


Shot Towards the Front


Shot Towards the Back


Piston Style Cabinet Door Hardware
We looked all over at hardware stores to find just the right piston style hardware to hold up the upper cabinet doors. We noticed that a lot of Class A motor homes have upper cabinet doors that you have to hold up with one of your arms in order to get to stuff. It seemed better to us to have hardware that would hold it up for us. So, we found the piston-style that you see below. The shorter upper cabinets have one piston, while the longer upper cabinets have one on each side. When you raise the cabinet door, it stays up. When you lower it by about one inch the piston takes over and gradually drops the cabinet door back into its closed position.


Tomorrow the counter tops arrive and will be installed. Things are moving along. Exciting to be nearing the finish line. I am predicting another four weeks of on and off activity to finally claim we are over (if you ever can be with this kind of project). However, I have blown through prior deadlines like this before like a hot knife through butter. So, who knows!!!
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Old 03-16-2015, 11:24 PM   #357
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Outstanding workmanship guys! --- Very professional and good looking to boot!
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Old 03-17-2015, 11:39 AM   #358
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Year: 1988
Coachwork: Crown / Pusher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmarvel View Post
Send me a private message and I can let you know when I become aware of Crowns becoming available. There are two batches of Crowns that I am aware of that may be coming up soon. I will not go into details publicly. I have another skoolie member who is also looking for Crowns so I can keep both of you in the loop.
Yesterday while passing thru Sacramento at the Longview exit northside I saw a school bus yard that had a Crown parked next to the fence, I don't know if you work with that School District or not
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Old 03-17-2015, 09:18 PM   #359
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Year: 1988
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Chassis: Supercoach
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Rated Cap: 78
That is San Juan Unified School District's Transportation Department. I know the Director and will ask her about that Crown.
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Old 03-17-2015, 09:54 PM   #360
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Danville, California
Posts: 345
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: DD6-71T
Rated Cap: 78
Re: Journey Begins - 1988 Crown Conversion

COUNTER TOPS ARE INSTALLED

This is exciting. The counter tops are installed. Pictures are below. We originally were going to go with 1/2" granite. However, no one we could find carries 1/2" granite as a stock item. We would have to have it cut down from the standard 3/4" granite slab. The cost was equal to the debt of a small nation and we decided to go in another direction.

We selected the ECO brand of solid counter tops. This is a recycled product that combines recycled glass, earthenware, porcelain, mirrors and vitrified ash. At least 75% of the slab is recycled material and has a hard surface that is easily cleaned with soap and water. It is highly resistant to impact, chemical products, scratches and stains.

Fireplace/TV Cabinet Counter Top
The counter top is fixed in the front. The rear will be the European Birch wood you have seen with the rest of the cabinets and will be attached to the rear of the cabinet via a piano hinge style setup. That way, when the TV rises out of the cabinet it will just lift the rear counter top area up and out of the way with the hinge feature. We had two drink holder holes drilled in the slab. The holders are brushed stainless steel designed for the marine environment.




Kitchen Counter Top
The counter top is one slab covering two base cabinets. We originally were going to have an induction cooktop installed in the slab and then were advised not to do it as the slab would have too many massive holes in it. The installers were worried that it might crack. So, the area to the left of the sink will have a portable induction cooktop that we will pull out of the drawer and use when needed. The rest of the time it will be open and available for other uses. Actually, this is probably a better setup than the original plan.

The sink is a brushed stainless steel model and matches the kitchen faucet which has a pull out spray head. We hunted around a great deal to find this particular type of faucet. Most kitchen faucets are too large for a small RV kitchen area. This is a small version that works perfectly in the scaled down kitchen area of the bus. It is actually listed as a bar sink faucet.

There are lots of lights under the kitchen cabinets for the prep area.







BATHROOM COUNTER TOP
You can see a theme here. We went with the same counter tops for all three areas. The bathroom sink is small but deep and again carries over the brushed stainless steel look from the kitchen area.
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