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Old 11-03-2016, 04:54 AM   #11
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 935
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
This is what my bus aspires to be...........
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Old 11-03-2016, 07:37 AM   #12
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 1,837
Year: 1999
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, AT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Oh I like!! Didn't recognize the name so I thought I stop by to see if there were any pictures. That isn't a school bus from any school I went to!! I only recently found this site so wasn't expecting anything like your bus on here. Good to see I was wrong.

So, if you don't mind answering, how much did it set you back? How many miles are on it? What maintenance is needed right away and what will that cost?

I'd love to get into something like this.
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Old 11-03-2016, 08:51 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
I am glad that bus has found a new home. It looks like you will be able to have a lot of adventures with that bus.

A couple of things you might need to know if you don't know about already.

First, if there isn't a pyrometer you need to install one. The 335 was a great engine with a lot of go to it. But, like all big Cummins, you can't get them very hot or you will burn a piston. Unlike a Detroit 2-cycle diesel that because of the design can't get too hot a Cummins will get hot very quickly on a good grade. I am referring to the exhaust temperature and not the coolant temperature. I had a Crown 10-wheeler with the small cam 262 with an Allison. I never saw the coolant temp ever get close to hot. But I saw the pyrometer get into the danger zone relatively easy if I kept my foot on the throttle while climbing a grade.

Second, I see on the left panel below the window a couple of air controls. I would imagine one is for the axle interlock and the other one most likely a brake limiting control. The axle interlock will make the front and rear drive axles turn at the same speed. You can still get stuck on soft or slick surfaces but it isn't as likely as if you had a drive and a tag axle. Do NOT use the interlock on dry pavement or engage it while the axles are turning--that is a good recipe for breaking axles or grinding gears in the diffs. It is about the same as running in 4wd on dry pavement. The brake limiter takes away about 60% of the air pressure from the front axle. It is supposed to keep the front axle from locking up when you are on a slippery road. I think you will find that 99% of the time it is best to keep it on the dry road position.

If you don't already know how to take care of a heavy duty diesel you would be a good idea to get a shop manual so you will know what needs to be done. Probably the most important thing to know is to keep the pH as neutral as you can get it. You should have a water filter somewhere, most likely in the driver's side engine compartment. It will have an additive package in it. That needs to be changed annually whether the engine has been run very much or not. The additive helps big time to curb electrolysis in the engine.

I don't know if your Road Ranger has OD or not. If you don't have OD and want OD you can swap almost any other RR that has OD in with very little modification. Redline should be 2100 and you shouldn't pull below 1500. Perfect cruising speed should be around 1700.

Good luck and happy trails to you.
I was thinking about getting a pyro because water temps can't be a good gauge of engine temp in something this size. I'll change the water filter/additive immediately. I have a little experience maintaining my f250 with a 7.3 powerstroke, but I imagine this is going to be a great bit different.

I cruise it around 1700, but the speedo is not working so I'm not sure how fast I'm going (should be about 70-75 judging traffic)

All that said, this is a really informative post and I really appreciate it. I have a lot to think about.
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Old 11-03-2016, 08:55 AM   #14
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Ohhh but I do love me a good RoadRanger tranny..... I'm guessing that's a 7 or a 9 speed? I didn't see the shift pattern decal in the photo but I also didn't see the flipper switch on the left side of the shift knob that the 13 and 18 speeds have....
It is effectively a 9 speed, since low range with the flipper down is only for starting on hills or creeping around parking lots.

R 2 4
L 3 5
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Old 11-03-2016, 09:07 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Brewerbob View Post
Oh I like!! Didn't recognize the name so I thought I stop by to see if there were any pictures. That isn't a school bus from any school I went to!! I only recently found this site so wasn't expecting anything like your bus on here. Good to see I was wrong.

So, if you don't mind answering, how much did it set you back? How many miles are on it? What maintenance is needed right away and what will that cost?

I'd love to get into something like this.
It really wasn't bad. I bought it for 15k. The PO used it regularly and was also a full time truck driver so he knew the ins and outs of what the vehicle needed to be maintained, so its good to go as is. He replaced the water lines with PEX, the flooring as well because the old lines broke and flooded it last year.

I don't know the mileage, the speedo is busted. The previous owner thinks it was rebuilt not long before he bought it(a couple years ago), and it runs that way. No smoke at start up, a little oil leak while the seals expand, and it burns a pretty typical amount of oil.

Some complaints-
The insulation is terrible, it will have to be fixed before the next Texas summer (plus sound insulation is very much needed)
A working speedo would help with gear selection in traffic
No leaks, but the roof looks like it was sealed with flex seal.
The AC units are loud

All in all, I feel like I have a great foundation to start with.
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Old 11-03-2016, 09:32 AM   #16
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 1,837
Year: 1999
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, AT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lokeasy View Post
It really wasn't bad. I bought it for 15k.
Maybe because they are so big or because the RV dealers charge so much, I keep getting surprised by prices I'm seeing here. It's a commercial bus. For $15k it should need an entire engine and an exterminator to remove the herd of possums living under the dash.

Quote:
The PO used it regularly and was also a full time truck driver so he knew the ins and outs of what the vehicle needed to be maintained, so its good to go as is. He replaced the water lines with PEX, the flooring as well because the old lines broke and flooded it last year.

I don't know the mileage, the speedo is busted. The previous owner thinks it was rebuilt not long before he bought it(a couple years ago), and it runs that way. No smoke at start up, a little oil leak while the seals expand, and it burns a pretty typical amount of oil.
So (knock on wood), barring exploding transmission and imploding turbos, you're fairly good to go mechanically.

Quote:
Some complaints-
The insulation is terrible, it will have to be fixed before the next Texas summer (plus sound insulation is very much needed)
A working speedo would help with gear selection in traffic
No leaks, but the roof looks like it was sealed with flex seal.
The AC units are loud

All in all, I feel like I have a great foundation to start with.
I think I'd be ok with that herd of possums for $15k as long as they didn't eat all the wiring. Or maybe I just need to get off my ass and start seriously looking at ads, auctions, whatever.

I'd want at least an odometer. Speedo I could take or leave. Working odometer is a must as a backup to the fuel gauge. My Dakota has a random fuel gauge. I ran it out of gas at 3/4 of a tank. Trip meter was spot on but I thought the now-ex might have driven it and put half a tank of gas in it and not reset the trip. No engine codes for low fuel pressure or anything. I was about ready to rip the engine apart for a broken timing belt. Luckily I dropped the fuel pump gasket into the gas tank. I reached in and pulled it out. Hey, wait a minute... my hand isn't wet.

Does it have a tach? No need for a speedo for shifting. I do that by sound. Doesn't matter if it's a 5 speed or 6 speed (auto), half the time I'm shifting to only find out I'm out of gears.

Mayhaps, I'll peruse the classifieds section today.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:40 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Brewerbob View Post
Maybe because they are so big or because the RV dealers charge so much, I keep getting surprised by prices I'm seeing here. It's a commercial bus. For $15k it should need an entire engine and an exterminator to remove the herd of possums living under the dash.

So (knock on wood), barring exploding transmission and imploding turbos, you're fairly good to go mechanically.

I think I'd be ok with that herd of possums for $15k as long as they didn't eat all the wiring. Or maybe I just need to get off my ass and start seriously looking at ads, auctions, whatever.

I'd want at least an odometer. Speedo I could take or leave. Working odometer is a must as a backup to the fuel gauge. My Dakota has a random fuel gauge. I ran it out of gas at 3/4 of a tank. Trip meter was spot on but I thought the now-ex might have driven it and put half a tank of gas in it and not reset the trip. No engine codes for low fuel pressure or anything. I was about ready to rip the engine apart for a broken timing belt. Luckily I dropped the fuel pump gasket into the gas tank. I reached in and pulled it out. Hey, wait a minute... my hand isn't wet.

Does it have a tach? No need for a speedo for shifting. I do that by sound. Doesn't matter if it's a 5 speed or 6 speed (auto), half the time I'm shifting to only find out I'm out of gears.

Mayhaps, I'll peruse the classifieds section today.
The tach/my hearing works just fine, so I don't need the speedo for knowing when to shift. More for finding a gear when I have to slow down immediately in traffic and can't work my way down through the gears. Or in other words, when I pull out of gear at 50 mph, slow down to an unknown speed due to traffic/lights/UFO/etc... then have to put it in gear and move forward at what could be 15-30 mph

I see a gas gauge on there, and it works, but I do not trust it for that exact reason. One day I'll get a new one with a better sending unit...maybe

And I'm very afraid of exploding turbos, so I'll get a pyro sooner than later.
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:36 PM   #18
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,546
What is wrong with the speedo? Usually it is an easy fix with a new drive cable if it is a mechanical gauge. The most likely location for the drive cable would be on the tail shaft of the transmission. Many times in order to get the right speed reading there will be a little transmission on the speedo gear. Over time the case on the speedo transmission will break and fall off rendering the speedo inoperative.

If it is an electric speedo it will have a magnet driven off of the left front wheel.

It might be less expensive and a lot easier to install a GPS that will also have a speed and distance function.
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Old 11-04-2016, 12:39 PM   #19
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 1,837
Year: 1999
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, AT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
It might be less expensive and a lot easier to install a GPS that will also have a speed and distance function.
Good call. Not sure I would have thought of that. Why do it easy and cheap when there are knuckles to bust?
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Old 11-05-2016, 06:47 AM   #20
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Location: Louisiana
Posts: 205
That is an awesome looking coach! Good purchase!!

I should stop coming into the welcome section as I frequently get green with envy at everyone elses purchases!!
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