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Old 04-18-2016, 12:34 AM   #1
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Hi, I'm shelley, and I'm on board!

After 4 or 5 years of saying I wanted to live in a bus, the opportunity fell in my lap. Tomorrow I put my deposit down on a very loved converted in the 70s. 1956 gillig coach. It's going to need a little updating, but is very functional. The biggest undertaking is going to be replacing the split rim tires, and learning how to work on such a beautiful beast. Salutations from alaska! And any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:48 AM   #2
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Gillig buses of that vintage were brutes--built tough to last a long time!

Areas of concern are in the drip rails. For whatever reason Gillig used a different kind of steel in their drip rails or perhaps the bending process used to make the drip rail had some sort of negative effect upon the rust proofing. For whatever reason, I have yet to see a Gillig that didn't have rust in the drip rails. If left unchecked it can create serious structural problems as the rust moves into the roof panels and roof bows.

Most of the Gillig RE buses of that vintage had IHC RD450 or RD501 diesel engines. A few left the factory with Cummins C-170/180/190 diesel engines. The mid-mount engines were usually big Hall-Scott gas engines or Cummins NHH220 diesel engines.

If your bus is an RE with an IHC RD engine or the small Cummins engines or a mid-mount with a H-S, be prepared to have major problems finding any repair parts for them. Parts for those engines were becoming hard to find 30-years ago.

The upside for the RE buses is the Cummins 5.9/6BT engine will fit with very little fabricating. The IHC DT466 will fit but as it is a larger engine it might take a little more creativity to make it fit. The Cummins 8.3/6CT engine will fit as well but it too is larger and will take more to make it fit in the space.

Most of the axle, suspension, and brake parts were standard off the shelf truck parts so most of the wear parts are still available.

Upgrading to tubeless wheels should be pretty straight forward since your bus has the standard 10-hole Budd wheel on it. You may want to look at going to 11x24.5 as it is a more common size and it will give you a little higher top speed. If going faster isn't a concern then go with 11x22.5. The cost will be pretty similar for either size.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 04-18-2016, 06:38 AM   #3
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
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Welcome!
Pics PLEASE!

Better have deep pockets... buses, especially vintage, are like boats- BUST OUT ANOTHER THOUSAND.

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Old 04-18-2016, 12:21 PM   #4
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All i know so far about the engine is it is a RE 6cyl gas. I will definitely check for rust today! The gentlemen who converted it in the 70s was a mechanic, I think he had intentions of building something that would last. This thing is incredibly retro and we'll done. Cant wait to get my hands dirty in it. I will get some pics today!
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Old 04-18-2016, 04:05 PM   #5
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Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
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At least most 6 cyl rear engines can be fairly easily updated. Much easier to work on than any of the "under the floor" mounted.
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:39 AM   #6
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Location: Fresno, California
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Year: 1966
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: Cummings 8.3 diesel pusher, Allison auto trans
Hi Shelly!

We are brand new here and just bought a '66 Gellig. We are pretty excited about it. I am concerned about some roof rust issues on ours, and hoping to get ideas on the best ways to go about repairing those areas prior to laying on some new paint.
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Old 06-30-2016, 02:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBopps View Post
We are brand new here and just bought a '66 Gellig. We are pretty excited about it. I am concerned about some roof rust issues on ours, and hoping to get ideas on the best ways to go about repairing those areas prior to laying on some new paint.
Gillig buses of that vintage were really bad about rusting the drip rails off. If the rust wasn't dealt with properly the rust would eat into the roof panels and roof bows and put the bus out of service.

The only cure is to cut out the worst and weld in replacement steel.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:08 AM   #8
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Join Date: Jan 2015
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Posts: 23
Year: 1959
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: 1959 Chevy
Engine: 350
Hi

Love to see photos, keep those vintage bus rolling. Think of the story's they could tell

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Old 06-30-2016, 10:11 AM   #9
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Year: 1966
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: Cummings 8.3 diesel pusher, Allison auto trans
Rusty Roof

Yes, that's the story on ours. Just wondering if for the sake of a clean looking repair if it's better to replace the whole panel, or just the patch.
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