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Old 06-20-2017, 08:08 PM   #1
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Later Crown bus body made of aluminum or steel?

Does anyone know if the bodies of the later more box-like Crown buses were made of a aluminum or steel?

Please see the attached photo of some rust on a late-model crown. I'm wondering if that is just a corrugated steel piece on the outside of an otherwise aluminum body or if the later crowns weren't aluminum.

Thanks
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File Type: jpg crown rust picture.jpg (18.1 KB, 22 views)
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Old 06-20-2017, 09:13 PM   #2
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Looks like steel to me.

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Old 06-20-2017, 09:20 PM   #3
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I guess that was a dumb question wasn't it. lolz... It couldn't be aluminum but i guess I'm wondering if that is a corrugated steel plate on the outside of aluminum.



It seems like the Series 2 Crowns weren't as high quality in some ways. I do know that the front and rear of the Series 2 were made of fiberglass. Perhaps Crown was trying to bring down the price of their bus in a last ditch attempt to stay in business? I don't think this is something Crown enthusiasts talk about... Or is it and i just don't know?
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Old 06-20-2017, 11:30 PM   #4
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The Super IIs, like mine, all had aluminum body panels, aluminum roofs, steel exterior Dry-Wall panels under the windows (they are semi-structural), and reinforced fiberglass front and rear body ends and roof caps. The center section of the body between the two ends was essentially the same as the Twinkie-shaped traditional Crowns. However, not all those Twinkie Crowns had aluminum body panels. Crown built some budget-buster buses with Wet-Wall construction, steel body panels and steel roofs, and those buses would rust. (Ironically, a lot of these buses were bought by Washington districts, and I am led to believe that it sometimes rains in that state . . .) Even the usual aluminum-bodied Crowns sometimes came with steel roof caps, and they also can and do rust. Remember that Ventura CA, one of whose buses is pictured, is on the coast, and sea air rusts and corrodes everything. I have absolutely no rust whatsoever on my bus.

And no, Crown didn't build the Super IIs down to a price. They typically sold for $140,000 to 150,000, at the same time that Thomas or Blue Bird pushers sold for less than $100,000. School districts bought them simply because their long-term cost of ownership was less than other buses. What other manufacturer offered a 20-year warranty on their buses? The Super IIs were not cheap to make - for example, I have what seems to be Mil-spec electrical connectors into my junction box, and there are plenty of other things that just amaze me how well the Crown engineers thought everything through. Crowns and Gilligs were the only two manufacturers to offer true heavy-duty drivetrains and running gear, and my bus has the same drivetrain as an MC9 Greyhound bus of the same era. Typical school bus it ain't.

Sure, it would be nice to have aluminum ends instead of fiberglass, but for only a hundred and something Super IIs ever made the cost to tool up for aluminum ends would have been prohibitive. I don't mind the fiberglass ends, and they'll never rust! The Super II is in no way inferior to the Twinkies - it is merely a long-overdue update of a 1940s design that by the 1980s was beginning to be left behind by other makers. MIT had some input in the Super II's design, and it shows - my bus has incomparably better ergonomics than a Twinkie, much better designed gauge and switch panels, a much better accessible electrical junction box, and lots of detail improvements that make driving it a pleasure. It's smooth, quiet, powerful, has no body squeaks and rattles at all after 277,000 miles and 27 years (compare that to brand-new rattletrap disposabuses these days), everything works now as well as the day it left the factory, and it's laid out for easy servicing and maintenance. For me it's simply a more logical and rational design than other Crowns, and I chose it because it would serve my needs better than a Twinkie. I have no qualms about it not being traditional - it's still just a tool for me, and I don't let emotion color my choices of which bus to buy.

John
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Old 06-21-2017, 01:18 AM   #5
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Shows how much I know.... Thank you so much John for that very informative reply.

I think I prefer the late Gillig Phantom School buses just on appearance. Are they about the same as the Series 2's and are they aluminum?
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Old 06-21-2017, 03:09 PM   #6
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I don't know if the Phantoms have aluminum or steel bodies. A friend of mine has a Gillig tandem older-style school bus which has all-aluminum body panels, and apparently that's unusual for them.

Most Phantoms came with MUI 6V92 engines, but some had Caterpillar 3208 V8s. Super IIs mostly had DDEC 6V92s like mine, but some came originally with a methanol-fueled version of that engine that was subsequently changed to a diesel 6V92. There were also some Super IIs with Cummins CTA 8.3 and Cat 3208, but I've heard that the latter ones were slow! Both Gillig and Crown used either MT64x or HT740 transmissions depending on the engine used. Phantoms have airbag suspension, while Super IIs either had rear airbags only, or full leaf-spring suspension (like mine), or full air suspension.

Didn't someone here recently buy a Phantom for conversion? Yes, they're good buses, but for me a Crown is better for my needs.

That photo of the rust on Ventura no.72 makes me wonder if a drain hole got blocked, or what happened to cause such serious rust in just that small area? It's definitely not normal, and the steel that Crown used is better than average quality so it doesn't rust as readily as cheaper steel would. I've saved all the eBay photos of that bus, and I don't see any other similar rust anywhere else. Strange.

Don't choose a bus (or any vehicle) merely on the basis of appearance! There are many other more important factors to consider, especially for a complex vehicle with expensive parts in it. Condition and service history should be the primary determinants.

John
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Old 06-24-2017, 12:42 AM   #7
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I've got a Phantom I bought last year. 1988 6v92t with DDECII. And yes, aluminum body panels. Happy to answer any questions about it - and have some info on it at my website - www.buslandia.net
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Old 06-24-2017, 12:59 AM   #8
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Our church has a 1979 Gillig Schoolcoach 12-row RE bus with a DT466/MT643. The Gillig does NOT have the extra cost aluminum body panels.

We also have a 1986 Crown Supercoach 13-row mid engine bus with a 6-71TAC/MT647.

I have taken both over the scales to get an idea of how much they weigh empty. The Gillig weighs over 6,000 lbs. more than the Crown.

That is a LOT of steel!
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Old 06-24-2017, 03:06 AM   #9
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Buslandia - Cool! Aren't you lucky. How does it ride? Are you happy with it? Are you selling it?
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Old 06-24-2017, 03:08 AM   #10
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Cowlitz - wow that is a huge difference in weight - almost the weight of 2 or 3 cars.
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