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Old 12-19-2016, 03:04 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Crown opinions please

Hello everyone,
I have been lurking for a long time enjoying all of your conversions. I am ready to start shopping and would like your opinion. I'm already set on a crown for multiple reasons. I found this one by me. https://losangeles.craigslist.org/lg...906796894.html

Says it has no mechanical problems and the engine and tyranny were rebuilt a few years ago. I guess my questions is about mileage, it has over 1.5 million on it. Is that excessive? I understand that a used vintage bus will have high Miles but that number kinda blows my mind. Any other tips on what to watch out for would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:08 PM   #2
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What a beautiful bus! Hope you can get it. I drove a semi truck for years and my first truck had a Detroit in it. I rebuilt it when it hit a million and a half miles. I sold it after I had put nearly another million on it after the rebuild. Of course I had to replace things along the way; starter, air compressor.. etc but the engine itself was basically bullet proof and I had minimal blow-by. Started right up each day and drove like it was new. Every oil change I religiously added 2 gallons of Lucas to the engine. I changed out the differentials once a year and added a gallon of Lucas to each one of them as well. Did the same for my transmission too. Never had to open up the diffs or tranny for any repairs. I guess I'm saying that diesel engines and supporting drive trains are designed to go the distance. Check the blow-by and have an engine oil analysis done to see if there is anything nasty in the oil. If all come back clean I'd say you got a jewel waiting to be polished.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:28 PM   #3
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thats a pretty cool bus!

the tandem drive is bad ass. i don't know much about crowns, but what i think i know is that should be an aluminum skin? mid engine pancake 671?. the doors on the side expose the motor and are not underneath storage.

the price seems low IMO. the mileage is probably on the replaced transmission, but i bet the motor has lots of miles on it.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:45 PM   #4
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She's a buet, If I didn't already have mine I'd go for it.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:59 PM   #5
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Crowns are great buses and built like the proverbial brick outhouse.

All of the exterior panels except for a few pieces are all aluminum. Rust is not a problem with them unless it has been around salt and the frame is attacked. Sometimes you will get rust around the windshield frames and the rear emergency exit is also prone to rusting.

Looking at the curb side of the bus, the first compartment is usually the spare tire compartment. Many have that space converted to a luggage compartment and either don't carry a spare or have a spare suspended up between the frame rails behind the front bumper much in the same way pickups carry their spare.

The second compartment door is the right side engine compartment. The transmission and engine dipsticks are accessed here. The oil and fuel filters are in this compartment as well.

The third compartment door sometimes just opens up into empty space. Others have an additional luggage compartment added in this space. On many of the older Crowns the third compartment is the battery compartment.

On the driver's side of the bus the first compartment door is screened and protects the radiator. There is usually a little door that opens to add coolant.

The second compartment is the access to the engine compartment. The cooling fan will be at the front of the bus and you will see the head(s) of the engine right in front of you. If it has a turbo it will be right there as well. The auxiliary engine control panel is here. Make sure the ignition switch here is in the inside position. If it isn't, the key inside will NOT engage the starter. You will also be able to see the throttle linkage and the throttle pull off that will kill the engine. Most of the time the pull of is air operated. As a consequence the engine will NOT shut down until you have about 90 PSI built up.

The third compartment will usually have vents in it to allow air to enter the air cleaners. It will also usually have the batteries on newer buses.

This particular bus has been listed on CL many times over the last several years. The company that owns it doesn't really want to sell it but the clean air cops have given them a hard date beyond which they can longer operate the bus. Right now as a private individual the clean air cops will still let you operate it in CA but commercial use of 2-cycle Detroit Diesel engines is just about 100% eliminated now.

1.5 million miles isn't that many when you consider how old the bus is and how it has been used. A motorcoach of the same age could easily have 3x that many miles.

The asking price is not a bad price for that bus. It is about 1/3 of what A-Z Bus got for the last Crown they sold and less than half what the asking price was on this bus the first time it was offered for sale.
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Old 12-20-2016, 07:21 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your response. I hope to go look sometime next week!
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Old 12-20-2016, 07:40 PM   #7
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I'd snap it up if I had a way!
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Old 12-21-2016, 12:04 AM   #8
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Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
This Crown is well known to several members of the Crown Coach Junkies forum. It was originally owned by Mark IV, then by Laidlaw, then by American Transportation. If it was a factory automatic it may have been built as a Demo for Crown. Apparently there are lots of waves in the body panels.

My friend has a tandem Crown with a turbo 270HP 6-71T and 10-speed Road Ranger (and it's for sale!), and it has pretty decent power for climbing, not as good as his Gillig tandem with a Big Cam Cummins that romps up anything at 60MPH, but still a decent performer. When we were bringing it back from Northern California it climbed Tehachapi in 9th and 8th gear, so you should get similar performance with an HT740 that locks up in 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

Check it thoroughly first, get oil samples done for the engine, transmission and differential, and watch for overheating on your test-drive. Make sure the transmission shifts correctly - they're very tough, but nothing lasts forever.

And if you buy it, please repaint it! Day-Glo snot green is not worthy of one of these fine buses!

John
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Old 12-21-2016, 12:43 AM   #9
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It's sweet! Since you've already decided on a crown, this is probably all irrelevant, but thought I'd say it anyway. People have already covered the pros - reliability, simplicity, aluminum body, and amazing looks! The cons of this would be 10 tires to replace when they need replacing, rather than 6 - so 40% more expensive on an already expensive item. The midship engine means a more complicated job of finding good spots for your fresh/gray water tanks, and you have to leave the engine access hatch accessible inside the bus, so can affect floor plans. The windows slide down into the space below the windows, which makes it harder to insulate the walls (unless you're removing the windows).

I've got the same tranny in my 1988 gillig (HT740) - hoping for a long life with no problems. So far only put a couple thousand miles on it, and mine came with around 300k miles on the clock, so a much lower mileage bus (although I'm not really sure that matters too terribly much).
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Old 12-21-2016, 10:03 AM   #10
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Iceni John got any info on your friend's crown? Length, conversion status, fuel eco (roughly), price range (pm if needed) etc?
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Old 12-21-2016, 10:18 AM   #11
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I had no idea Laidlaw ran Crowns in their fleet.

Back when they were still around in WI the only thing they bought were stripped down Internationals and they kept them for years until they got super rusty.

Laidlaw was like First Student, only way way cheaper. They only bought the absolute cheapest busses money could buy.
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Old 12-21-2016, 10:31 AM   #12
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Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
Dalez,
It's 40 feet (as all tandems are), has all its seats out but otherwise not converted yet, got about 10MPG when we brought it back along 99 and 58, and I have no clue how much he's asking for it! I'll email him and try to find out what he's wanting. It has some surface rust on the roof front cap panel, but otherwise seems to be in OK condition from my recollection. It's located in the Southern California high desert about 100 miles from Los Angeles.

John
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Old 12-21-2016, 01:18 PM   #13
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Iceni John PMd you. Are these Tandem Crowns "twin screw" drive? All rear wheels powered?
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Old 12-21-2016, 01:41 PM   #14
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Year: 1990
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Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
All Crown tandem school buses are twin-axle drive. Only the Atomics and tour bus 3-axle Crowns had tag axles. There is an air-actuated inter-axle differential lock that can be used in slippery conditions to improve traction, but it must be kept off when driving on hard-surface roads. With grippy tires and chains fitted, there's not much that will stop a tandem Crown or Gillig! Some Crowns also had sanders for use in snowy/icy conditions.

John
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Old 12-21-2016, 01:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
All Crown tandem school buses are twin-axle drive. Only the Atomics and tour bus 3-axle Crowns had tag axles. There is an air-actuated inter-axle differential lock that can be used in slippery conditions to improve traction, but it must be kept off when driving on hard-surface roads. With grippy tires and chains fitted, there's not much that will stop a tandem Crown or Gillig! Some Crowns also had sanders for use in snowy/icy conditions.

John
How are they on a muddy field? Can air-lockers be installed in the diffs too? How long is the driveshaft on these things, room for a driveline magnetic retarder?
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Old 12-21-2016, 02:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
All Crown tandem school buses are twin-axle drive. Only the Atomics and tour bus 3-axle Crowns had tag axles. There is an air-actuated inter-axle differential lock that can be used in slippery conditions to improve traction, but it must be kept off when driving on hard-surface roads. With grippy tires and chains fitted, there's not much that will stop a tandem Crown or Gillig! Some Crowns also had sanders for use in snowy/icy conditions.

John
Some had auto chains similar to this, a air switch on the dash move them into position.

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Old 12-21-2016, 04:04 PM   #17
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Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
Dalez,
My concern on a muddy field would more be about sinking into the ground rather than lack of traction. Tandem Crowns have GVWRs in the high-40s, so even with ten tires that's still a lot of weight. I've never heard of anyone putting air lockers into those differentials - they're usually big Rockwell or Timken axles, so who knows if it's even possible? The driveshaft is very short, but a Focal version of a Telma should still fit. However, many Crowns have Jakes, so you may not need a Telma, and if they have the Big Cam Cummins the Jake works very well.

John
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Old 12-21-2016, 04:27 PM   #18
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Heh, I'm getting stuck in my 6 wheel'd front engine on fresh morning wet grass. GVWR is 32k, but empty I doubt it's over 20. Surface mud a few inches deep is usually my downfall, rather than sinking it to the axles.

I'm reading that parts availability on this thing is getting pretty bad... like, finding live unicorns bad. I get the engine is reliable, but things need maintained... Curved windshield glass would be unattainable...

And can it tow ~3klbs?? Frame to the back bumper?

I assume your friend's is a mid engine model?
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Old 12-21-2016, 04:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalez View Post
Heh, I'm getting stuck in my 6 wheel'd front engine on fresh morning wet grass. GVWR is 32k, but empty I doubt it's over 20. Surface mud a few inches deep is usually my downfall, rather than sinking it to the axles.

I'm reading that parts availability on this thing is getting pretty bad... like, finding live unicorns bad. I get the engine is reliable, but things need maintained... Curved windshield glass would be unattainable...

And can it tow ~3klbs?? Frame to the back bumper?

I assume your friend's is a mid engine model?
My 40 foot FE is pretty decent in sand and grass. The driveway is all sand and slightly uphill and i've never gotten close to stuck. I haven't hit any mud, though.
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Old 12-21-2016, 05:20 PM   #20
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I'm really curious now if lockers can be put in those axles... 8wd and balanced weight might be just the ticket for my issues on the properties I travel on...
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