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Old 07-30-2009, 09:40 AM   #1
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Re: I'd like to introduce myself

Welcome and yea what Smitty says. Weldless convertion is doable depending on what you decide to do. There are horror stories with anyhing out there. Just check it out or have some who knows check it out before you buy. It's the suprizes that make the horror stories. I prefer diesels over gas motors. Better fuel economy, more low end torque, longer engine life. Goods and bads with both, I suppose.
It's an addiction, I hope your prepared.
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:37 PM   #2
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Re: I'd like to introduce myself

welcome to the site,
with your wise choice of waiting to begin a bus project until spring i would suggest that you spend a considerable amount of time reading up on this site, it seems that everyone has a different idea of what the ideal bus is, think long and hard about what your final goal/use is going to be and then let that guide you in the right direction. there is a search function on the site, i would recommend that you use it, just remember that you are going to be exposed to a lot of opinions that are influenced by our individul needs and choices. look at the pictures in the gllery and cheeck out the individual websites of members. also a good place to start reading is the millicent chronicles for a lot of input on the process.

their is absolutely no reason to weld a new skin on the bus to relacate windows, the manufacturers all use adheesive and rivets or screws for the sheetmetal work to prevent the panels from warping from the heat of welding. that being sid if you want to learn to weld, look into adult education classes thru your local school system and or check with your local welding suply house and have them recommend a book or two on welding, the equipment manufacturers publish some real good information. welding is 5% knowledge and 95% practise.
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:39 PM   #3
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Re: I'd like to introduce myself

Crowns are excellent buses. Last forever. 2 negatives: I understand they used a proprietary fastener of different sizes on the skin and possibly other parts. The tools to take them off may be nearly impossible to find. This shouldn't be too big a deal. Second, these buses are mid-engine. The engine is under the drivers side, in front of the rear axle. Between the engine, transmission, radiator there's much less room underneath for adding storage, waste tanks, battery boxes etc. There is room, but you'll be limited. I also hear they can be warm on a long summer trip.
The Detroit 6-71 is an excellent engine. They were used on the early GM PD-4104, 50's-60' era Grayhounds, many logging over one million miles... But the Crown uses a "pancake" configuration, with the engine on it's side to fit under the bus. A few parts are specific to this configuration, like oil pan and I think oil pick-up. Most parts are common to all, but the pancake only ones may be hard to find. Gillig also made mid engine buses with the pancake 6-71
Good luck!!
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Old 07-31-2009, 01:35 PM   #4
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Re: I'd like to introduce myself

Welcome to the site MrKing! You will be addicted in oh...you already are!

Love the Crown's! What model is the tandem axle Crown Skoolie? Are they hard to find & about how long are they? I love 'em!
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Old 07-31-2009, 03:11 PM   #5
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Re: I'd like to introduce myself

Thanks John for the info! That is the baby I dream of owning one day...

The Postal version is a perfect conversion waiting to happen with the flat roof & tall ceilings!! THAT would be my dream Crown.... But to actually find one for sale - do they even exist anymore??? Are there any available?

Maybe moving to NM will allow me a better chance at finding a Crown one day cause there are next to none in Florida! What states use them as school busses? What year did they produce the rounded bodies till? I never saw the square body Crown before... I like it but then again I have a Thomas Transit Liner which is similiar so i am a bt biased.

Here is a photo of the Crown I own!

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Old 07-31-2009, 05:40 PM   #6
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Re: I'd like to introduce myself

Sorry... I will stop my rambling & let the Mr King enjoy his thread.... ok after this final posting!

Alright... I am lusting the HPO Crown! (that isn't vulgar is it?)

7'3" headroom with square ceiling...DRROOL...

Side doors that open opposite of each other...

Here is a 1966 that sold in Arizona...asking price was $11,500

Odometer reading: approximately 320,000 miles
Built to Postal Service contract regulations for sorting & handling mail in route among smaller Post Offices in low density geographical areas.
Color: White
Body: Aluminum skin construction.
Outer Dimensions: 35' long, about 12' high & 8' wide.
Inner Dimensions: Enclosed area behind drivers seat 30' long, 7'3" headroom.
Features for operation: Air ride suspension & baseboard heating system.
Features added: 143 gal. Sainless steel fuel tank, 6 non-polished aluminum rims with Michelin X radial tires (only 10,000 miles).
Other features: Power steering, 5 speed transmission, Cummins 220 HP Diesel engine, enternal hookup for air suspension with stainless connectors. Two $400 gel-type batteries, stainless hardware used on most improvements.
Condition: Vehicle was always garaged and is free of corrosion including most sensitive areas such as bay doors, etc. Excellent suspension and handling. Clutch was replaced 6000 miles ago. Currently registered as a motor home conversion. Excellent towing capabilities, gets 8 to 9 mpg, comes with misc. extra parts. This vehicle is in excellent running condition.

Priced at $11,500








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GOTTA HAVE IT....
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Old 07-31-2009, 05:46 PM   #7
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Re: I'd like to introduce myself

Ok.. ONE more...

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Old 07-31-2009, 07:52 PM   #8
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Re: I'd like to introduce myself

Welcome!!

You will soon discover great things at this site- I came here after we got the idea. You'll find all kinds of info on skoolies here. My personal feelings on buying a bus. Get the biggest one you can find, then it will be only a little too small for you.

I went with a pusher, only real reason is they are quieter up front- and easier to get to the engine. I origonally wanted a thomas ended up with an Amtran, again reason was the Amtran had the features we wanted. The price was also right.
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Old 07-31-2009, 09:31 PM   #9
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Re: I'd like to introduce myself

I did my entire conversion without welding a single thing. Now if I had decided to raise the roof then that would have required some welding, but I left my roof at stock height. It came out just fine!!



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Old 07-31-2009, 10:07 PM   #10
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Re: I'd like to introduce myself

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John
I really like your Dinky twinkie (is it a Dinky toy?). (And no, I'm not being personal. It's bad enough being a mini-member myself.)

Twinkie-shaped Crowns were made until Crown closed in 1991 - the last Crown ever made was a twinkie, so for the last three years both them and the squarer-end new-style (like mine) were coming off the assembly line together.

Crowns and Gilligs were a West Coast bus (not to be confused with the Thomas WestCoast-ER that I almost bought last year). CA, OR and WA were their usual customers, with a few in AZ and maybe ID. Further east I don't know of any school districts that bought them. Why would a school district in a relatively flat area such as the midwest or FL spend well over $100,000 for such an over-engineered vehicle, when a far cheaper bus would suffice for them? Crowns and Gilligs were especially favored by school districts in mountainous areas of the Sierras and Cascades, where the topography and climate would prevent lesser buses from surviving their first winter there.

Too bad Crown never made a pusher HPO. However, Glenn's Atomic Coach is a close second in desirability - high floors and huge underfloor storage bays, air bags, all the good stuff. Mind you, it has a tag axle, not dual drive, so traction may not be quite so good as a true tandem with a lockable inter-axle differential.

So, Mr.King, have we convinced you yet!? You only buy once, so buy the best you can afford. Besides, it's just plain fun to drive a Crown anywhere. One member of the Crown Coach Junkies forum has driven his Crown many times to Guatamala, another takes his every winter to southern Mexico, and Patrick Young has driven several Crowns and Gilligs to Chiapas. Could you, or would you even want to, drive anything else there?

Best wishes, John
Thanks John for the wealth of information! It's great to learn the history of the Crown. You don't happen to have any photos of the Atomic Coach, I looked online but keywords brought up nothing... ?

Dinky Twinkie! Actually it is a cheapie, a Zylmex. I had this long before I bought a bus not ever thinking I would own one... Dinky makes nice die cast toys as does Corgi...

Yes Mr King, I would buy a Crown by choice...(and I would keep my Transit Liner)

Jonathan
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:20 PM   #11
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Re: I'd like to introduce myself

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKing
I appreciate all the warm welcomes!

I live in washington state so the odds of my finding a crown for sale within a reasonable distance aren't too terribly bad. I know the local school district has a bus the kids call "the twinkie bus." I saw it a few times last year before I started paying attention to buses, but I'm sure it must be a crown.

Have any of you ever called school district offices directly to find out their procedure for decomissioning buses?
Chad, Yes you may get results from local school districts. Some of the schools here in Florida auction their busses thru a broker & they advertise it, but not heavily so you can get some great deals. Only one of the local districts sold their busses from the yard. Most say their liability insurance requires they sell thru a broker to avoid any legal action. That is about what I learned when researching! I agree with you on buying a bus that was just retired... The busses have to pass an annual DOT inspection & they always maintain the busses well as, well, there are kids inside!

Make sure you take the time to inspect the bus thoroughly & if possible, take a diesel mechanic with you or have it inspected at a shop... plus with a mechanic around you will learn alot!
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:41 AM   #12
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Re: I'd like to introduce myself

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKing
I appreciate all the warm welcomes!

I live in washington state so the odds of my finding a crown for sale within a reasonable distance aren't too terribly bad. I know the local school district has a bus the kids call "the twinkie bus." I saw it a few times last year before I started paying attention to buses, but I'm sure it must be a crown.

Have any of you ever called school district offices directly to find out their procedure for decomissioning buses? I'm sure all school districts are different, but I'm curious if anyone has had any luck with such a direct approach. The two Blue Birds I mentioned at the start of this thread both have '09 inspection tags, and consecutive bus numbers from the district (even consecutive serial numbers from the factory) and they're basically just parked on the side of the road, so i have a pretty good idea of what the school district in the next town over is doing. It's not exactly "side of the road" but it's just a small gravel lot with a sign that says "Park and Sell" and a phone number under it that says "please call this number before leaving your vehicle here." Anyway, since they obviously don't contract with an outside seller or auction house I'm thinking maybe next spring before school lets out, I'll just call around the three school districts in my area and see if i can find who's in charge of such things and ask them if they have any buses they plan on retiring. I'd really like to get a bus that's freshly retired, since I imagine the school districts probably keep them well maintained right up until they retire them.
My bus was from an in town school district. I actually bought it from a guy who had purchaced it from the school six months earlier. (He made 400.00 profit for letting it sit for a couple months) Anyway, look for the local bus barns and go in and talk with the shop foreman, mechanics, whoevers in the know. They can tell you a lot. I have talked with the mec who serviced my bus for 12 years. Got him on retainer. Our school district (as I assume all others) have strict guideline on maintenence. You might even score the maint. records for a bus your looking at. And if there is an auction/sale coming up, you could get a heads up on which on is in the best shape.
Good luck.
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