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Old 12-27-2015, 10:46 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Silvana, WA
Posts: 65
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: DD 6V-71
New guy with a Gillig

Hello there!

My name is Ryan, I've been stalking the forums for a while now. Finally pulled the trigger on a bus after looking for the right one for 2 years. My patients paid off; this morning I drove home my new (to me) 1973 Gillig bus. She was a prior school bus-turned- church bus. Odometer says just under 24k miles, though I suspect it's rolled over at least once.

I work for Fluke, in Everett Washington, I suspect some of you might own one of my meters. I don't make meters, though. My guys build temperature calibration baths, I do all of the setup and testing of the refrigeration systems. If you want to know more just ask me.

I spent 6 years in the US Navy as an engineman, where I went to school for Detroit's and HVAC. I suspect that training will come in handy in this new bus adventure.

Anyways, can't wait to get started on my new project, and I'm happy to have you guys as a resource for prior experience and general "been there, done that" type questions.

Now who's the Gillig expert?
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:00 PM   #2
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Farmington, IL
Posts: 146
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: AARE 3903
Engine: Cummins 6CTA 8.3
Rated Cap: 84
Welcome! A Gillig trasit coach is my dream project! I settled on my 3rd favorite though, as the gilligs seem to be getting too few at a decent price and condition.

Also an ex-navy guy, was stationed at Whidbey.

Looking forward to your build.
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Old 12-28-2015, 07:03 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,107
I assume you are talking about a classic Gillig Schoolcoach.

Do you know which school district purchased the bus originally?

Marysville and Arlington both had almost 100% Gillig fleets at one time.

Is your bus a rear engine or an amidships? Which engine and transmission?

That vintage it could have had any one of several different engines. I have seen DD 6-53, Cat 1160/3208, Cummins 555, and the Ford gas 534 V-8 in the RE's and DD 6-71 or Cummins 220/262 or 270/335 in the amidships. I have seen 5-speeds, 10-speed Road Rangers, 5/2-speed, and Allisons. Older models had the Cummins C-170/180/190.

I owned four former Castle Rock Gillig Schoolcoaches and our church still owns a former Toppenish Gillig Schoolcoach.

The church bus originally had a Cummins 555 and 5-speed but the Toppenish shop repowered it to a DT466 and an Allison MT643.

Most Gilligs in the NW have rust issues starting at the drip rail and the lower rub rail. Most of the time it can be fixed and controlled. But the drip rail acts like it was made out of a really cheap piece of material compared to the rest of the body and they seemed to just dissolve over time. When it got bad enough it would take out the roof bows.

So what exactly do you want to know about a Gillig Schoolcoach?
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:29 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Silvana, WA
Posts: 65
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: DD 6V-71
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
I assume you are talking about a classic Gillig Schoolcoach.

Do you know which school district purchased the bus originally?

Marysville and Arlington both had almost 100% Gillig fleets at one time.

Is your bus a rear engine or an amidships? Which engine and transmission?

That vintage it could have had any one of several different engines. I have seen DD 6-53, Cat 1160/3208, Cummins 555, and the Ford gas 534 V-8 in the RE's and DD 6-71 or Cummins 220/262 or 270/335 in the amidships. I have seen 5-speeds, 10-speed Road Rangers, 5/2-speed, and Allisons. Older models had the Cummins C-170/180/190.

I owned four former Castle Rock Gillig Schoolcoaches and our church still owns a former Toppenish Gillig Schoolcoach.

The church bus originally had a Cummins 555 and 5-speed but the Toppenish shop repowered it to a DT466 and an Allison MT643.

Most Gilligs in the NW have rust issues starting at the drip rail and the lower rub rail. Most of the time it can be fixed and controlled. But the drip rail acts like it was made out of a really cheap piece of material compared to the rest of the body and they seemed to just dissolve over time. When it got bad enough it would take out the roof bows.

So what exactly do you want to know about a Gillig Schoolcoach?
Mine has the DD 6-71. It also does have some rust issues, but from what I can currently see its nothing major, just small bubbling at seams and hinge points. I don't know who originally owned it just yet, that will have to come later, as I literally just got the bus Sunday morning.

I am considering doing a roof raise on it, because I'm 6'2", and my wife is right there with me. We plan to summer in this thing on the east side of the state, and maybe eventually retire in it while we build our house over there, so comfort is a must. I know it would be complicated with the Gillig's shape, but can it be done? Safely? Have you ever seen one done?
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Old 12-28-2015, 10:49 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Farmington, IL
Posts: 146
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: AARE 3903
Engine: Cummins 6CTA 8.3
Rated Cap: 84

This one has been raised 10".
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Old 12-28-2015, 11:30 AM   #6
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Cuyahoga Falls Ohio
Posts: 278
Year: 1997
Chassis: Ford e-350 single wheel
Engine: 5.4 litre
Rated Cap: 12
Bus sounds so cool. USN 1985-1989. Still have my Fluke meter from the service. Great product.
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Old 12-28-2015, 06:03 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,107
With enough time and $$$ anything can be accomplished. I have seen some incredible build ups of both Gillig and Crown buses that included roof raises.

The issues for a Gillig are much easier than with a Crown because the Gillig has straight side walls and not curved ones.

Wonderhut's very old Gillig had the roof raised. He has an album that shows the bus while it was in the process of having the roof raised. IIRC, it was cut at the drip rail all the way around the bus. A new section was added and then was reskinned. When you look at his bus it is hard to tell the roof was raised.

Depending upon who purchased your Gillig originally you may find you have aluminum body panels and more likely to be found on a bus with an amidships engine. It was an extra cost option that some districts purchased. Aluminum body Gilligs still had issues with rust because the body panels may have been aluminum but front and rear caps, drip rails, and other parts and pieces were still steel.

If your bus has aluminum body panels it will make the roof raise easier because your roof will weigh considerably less.

Our church has a Crown and a Gillig that are the same length. The Gillig empty weighs more than 6,000 lbs. more than the Crown.
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Old 12-28-2015, 07:41 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Silvana, WA
Posts: 65
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: DD 6V-71
Mine seams to be all steel construction, with the engine in the rear. The more I crawl around in this thing, the more I'm starting to think the roof raise may not be necessary. It would be nice, but the overall plan for the bus is to be a mobile elk/deer camp, and various trips throughout the year camping here and there. Retirement is a long way off for me, by them I may very well have started another build on a more modern platform. I'll still keep it in the back of my mind, but for now I'm going to start collecting the various pieces of the puzzle.

I'm anxious to start on this project, but I am holding myself back from jumping in without a very specific plan. The way I see things through to the end is to have a well thought out plan and execute specific tasks through to the finish, or as close to finished as possible. That way, I don't lose motivation, or feel like I'm in over my head. I don't intend to start the tear down until I have the majority of the pieces on hand to complete the first stages of my build. In holding off on the tear down, I also leave myself open for the opportunity to have a complete, functioning bus to sell if I find a better candidate for the build, or lose interest all together. Hopefully that's not the case, but it is worth considering beforehand, given the curve balls life has been known to throw at us all.
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Old 12-28-2015, 09:10 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Gonvick MN
Posts: 220
Year: 1975
Chassis: Gillig
Engine: Cat 3208t/10 speed transmission
Greetings Ryan.
Enjoy your new project.
Looks like you found a good bus.
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:20 PM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,107
If your bus is a rear engine bus then it could NOT have the DD 6-71.

It might be a DD 8.2L 4-cycle or a DD 6V-53 or 6V-71 2-cycle but it can't be a DD 6-71. A DD 6-71 would be too long to fit into an RE configuration without going to a drop box like in a Flxible Flexliner. And to my knowledge Gillig never used a drop box configuration.

The model number of the bus should tell you what it had when it left the factory.

636 would be a Cat 1160/3208. 190 would be a Cummins C-190. 534 would be a Ford 534 V-8. 555 would be a Cummins 555. 501 would be an IHC RD501. 736 would be a Cummins 220/262. 855 would be a Cummins 270/335/350. 426 would be a DD 6-71. 318 would be a DD 8V-53.
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