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Old 11-15-2014, 05:43 PM   #11
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
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Re: Projekt: Freedom Panda begins!

I ended up winning a 1992 Ward Senator in Kentucky. The weather looks like its gonna be shite, but I'm headed out tomoorow morning to pick it up monday morning.
Yeah, I saw that Gillig hanging out at the 500 dollar range! THe last I saw on the Washington Crowns was about 2600 for the nicer one.
Congrats again, be safe and have fun!
Cheers!
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Old 11-19-2014, 03:18 AM   #12
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 82
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
The Bus Pick Up & Journey 'Home!'

So today was the pick up day...get to meet the Gillig Monster for the for the first time. Woke up early for the 3 hour trip to Merced, CA, and had a fun ride up with friends. Random banter about all sorts of inane and important stuff, like who was in the old 80's band Asia, the bands that the members of Led Zeppelin were in first, Ralph Macchio is almost 60, and the characters & cast of 'The Outsiders' and 'Lost Boys.'

We finally made it up to the yard, and I was just hoping it would start, run, and make it home without blowing a tire or breaking a belt. When I finally got to see her...yeah. I am was STOKED!



These are some shots from the auction website...







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Old 11-19-2014, 03:34 AM   #13
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 82
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
The Drive Home

The bus hadn't been started up in about 2 years, and they were charging the batteries when we got there. She started right up, the batteries were progressively gaining a charge, and she was blowing off some pent up smoke. The tires were full, and in pretty decent shape. It was just as described...only better. Absolutely beautiful, and the engine ran like diesel infused butter. The last trip it took was 2 years ago, a full load of student going to Los Angeles.

The "Merced County Sheriff" had been scraped off the side, so that saved some time. It didn't have plates, nor did I have air brake certification. There was a quick discussion of whether or not to swing by the DMV before the 175 mile trip home...nope. I'd drive her home, and cross my fingers!





Saw this great sign on the way out of the yard...


First stop before hitting the highway was gas. The gas gauge read 'empty' so I filled her up...and she still read empty. The first fix is identified!

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Old 11-19-2014, 03:41 AM   #14
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
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Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
On the road...

Once on the road, she ran beautifully. There was very little rattle, and what little there was was easy to identify: the driver window, the random seats thrown everywhere, and a latch on a cabinet door.






The Gillig, my two friends and me...selfie.


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Old 11-19-2014, 04:01 AM   #15
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 82
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
Back home & the tear down starts!

The trip back was great. Really enjoyed driving such a beast. I used to drive for a trolley company, and we had one trolley almost this long...but not this beastly or heavy. From what I understand, this is about 16 tons of California made metal muscle machinery. But she drove straight & smooth, it was almost like I was just along for the ride. I kept glancing back at the bus interior, and felt like getting up and starting to measure things out...then the autopilot scene from 'Anchorman 2' popped into my head. Better keep driving, I guess....

Got home, it was dark, and decided to start by taking out the seat cushions & backings. Quick trip to OSH and my niece's 16th birthday party, then to work!






Found a magnet that was right above the driver seat on the ceiling. I approve. It will stay.


And one final shot from Day 1:



One thing that was funny was how many people had plans for the bus! Wine tasting tour...football game party bus...I'm trying to explain, "But...this is going to be my HOME!"

My favorite though, and the one I totally agreed to:
My niece asked if I'd drive her and her friends to her prom in about 18 months. I melted. Of course. I would have LOVED to go to prom with a group of friends in a decked out monster bus. So, they'll be decorating it for the night with lava lamps, disco ball, and 'groovy' carpets, pillows, lights, and beads. I'm a sucker for my nieces...fell in love with her little face 16 years ago, and am more so today. So prom it is.

There's day one...I'm exhausted. Apologies for the photos not showing immediately, they're all links...this is my first time posting photos and I created a photobucket just to upload photos here.

Dug
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:30 AM   #16
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Re: Projekt: Freedom Panda begins!

looks great, I edited your pictures, not sure why the links were dead, I normally pic the bottom "tag" in the link window, they look like what I fixed yours to

again welcome and great bus!
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Old 11-19-2014, 06:39 AM   #17
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Re: Projekt: Freedom Panda begins!

OH WOW!!
Excellent pics, man. I just got in from Kentucky to Orlando area with the Ward yesterday, had a very similar experience to yours. I'll post it here in a bit, although it won't be as nice as yours! VERY nice, good work sir.
I'm still beat from the 800 mile trip. The mountains in Tn were an experience for sure.
btw- Bansil, your sig line is so true!!!
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:59 AM   #18
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Re: Projekt: Freedom Panda begins!

Welcome! What a great looking bus. I'm in CT I'm so jealous of for well vehicles age in CA, I was in the Anaheim area this summer and couldn't believe the condition of the older vehicles, if that bus was here in the Northeast there would be little left by now. I'm just starting work on my newly purchased 2003 Amtran too. Good luck, keep us posted.
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:30 PM   #19
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 82
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
Re: Projekt: Freedom Panda begins!

Thank you, Bansil. I pressed the "Img" button above, and then copied the Photobucket images. I'll try another way next time, maybe URL?

EastCoastCB, looks like you had a longer trip than I did, but we got in on the same day! Looking forward to your pictures!

Nebadchunezzer, thank you! Yes, the west coast is easier on metals than the easy coast for sure. There's a little bit of rust but really nothing some sanding & Rustoleum won't fix.

I crawled around the bus today a little more in the daylight. Very little underbody rust. There are 3 undercarriage storage compartment doors. One actually runs from one side to the other, both accessed through 2 of the doors, pretty roomy and floored with both metal bracing and wood panels. The other, on the driver's side just below & behind the driver, is just metal braces, pretty sturdy looking.

I'll spend some time today, work willing, taking out some seat frames. I work 11:00am until 2:15am, and the bus is parked in our work lot, so I'll be able to jump out throughout the day when it's not busy and chip away here and there.

I measured the entire bus & am going to start fleshing out the interior. Does anyone have a good program they've used to do that? I have a very basic program on my tablet that works great, but it's just a CAD drafting style.
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Old 11-19-2014, 05:04 PM   #20
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Re: Projekt: Freedom Panda begins!

If you were able to get it home without any issues it most likely means you got a really good bus.

In regards to tires, it would appear as if you have tube type tires all the way around.

You will hear all sorts of horror stories about how dangerous split rims are and how hard it is to get anyone to work on them.

For your purposes, when it finally comes time to get new rubber spend the extra and get tubeless wheels. The cost of the rim and the lower cost of the tire will end up costing less than getting tubes and tube type tires to fit. If you upgrade to 24.5 tires you will also get a few more MPH at the top end over what you can do now.

In regards to the prom, make sure you do not have any more than seven couples on board. If you go over 15 passengers your RV insurance will be void and you could be facing some serious fines and penalties if you should get caught--serious as in multi-thousands of dollars.

Good luck and happy trails.
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