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Old 06-22-2016, 06:52 PM   #21
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Year: 1991
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Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
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from my perspective I wouldnt wish having to dig down into an RE on anyone... from what i have seen popping open the doghouse on an FE gives pretty decent access.. at least for stuff on the top.. though ive never tried to change anyting omn the front of an FE like a water pump for fan clutch...

on my conventional wit ha mechanical DT. thus far ive found everything accessible.. I suppose the radiator and air shitters are a little less accessible because of the hood... but if I were doing a major repair id pull that off completely.. it doesn look hard .. conventioals with V-8s look a little harder to me to get to stuff on..

in general I find working on a bus easier than any automobile project ive gotten myself into other than the sheer weight and size of compoinents.. which juist means I need bigger tools than I had with my hotrods.. .. ie I dont think I ever had my 1"+ wrenches and sockets out hardly at all on a hotrod project.. yet they are out for lots of things on the bus...

the pure simpl;icity of a non-electronic bus is pure bliss to me for making repairs additions and mods...

some of the normal maintenance tasks look easier on an RE like changinf belts as they are right there when you pop the hatch... I casnt say what it would be like to have to pull a head or something on an RE as ive never attempted it...

-Christopher
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Old 06-22-2016, 07:59 PM   #22
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Just from appearances, I'd guess a conventional is easiest with the rest of the (front, mid or rear engine) type D's being any varying degree more difficult in most cases beyond basic routine maintenance. And in almost every case I don't imagine most of us have the facilities or equipment heavy duty enough to remove and replace a power package regardless of where it's located. Suffice to say that unless someone here has the facilities that they're willing to make available to fellow skoolies, most of us are going to face the difficult decision to pay someone big money for this type of work or else end up taking a loss by just scrapping the entire vehicle if repair is beyond our budget. This is to say nothing of the expertise required to perform an overhaul by ourselves. I'm glad we have well experienced mechanically minded members here who share their knowledge but even that is only going to get a novice so far.
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:04 PM   #23
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My FE bus doesn't seem like its gonna be too hard to work on. Its all mechanical. Not too many hoses and virtually no wiring.
Getting the engine out wouldn't be fun, though. But not really needed since it can be rebuilt in-frame.
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Old 06-23-2016, 10:46 AM   #24
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Well, your statement makes it pretty clear why they can be a hell of an expense for a private owner/party. Using proprietary cages and fixtures to work on the drivetrain is certainly not accessible to the owners, nor available around the country. If major problems occur, that's going to be a financial hit of pretty stout proportions...more so than your average rear engine or front engine bus.

I have a chance to get one now pretty cheap but, I'm passing on it.
You can always keep your eyes open for a RE Crown, tho they are kinda rare.
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Old 06-23-2016, 06:16 PM   #25
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Okay, I have to say that this thread has me thinking I want to get my RE skoolie and do up some of the bodywork to reflect the Crown tradition. Is that sacrilegious?
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Old 06-23-2016, 06:34 PM   #26
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Okay, I have to say that this thread has me thinking I want to get my RE skoolie and do up some of the bodywork to reflect the Crown tradition. Is that sacrilegious?
It's your Skoolie, do what you want.
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Old 06-24-2016, 07:58 PM   #27
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Year: 1998
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I have worked on every type of bus out there including Type 'A' buses on van cut-away chassis, Type 'B' buses on P-30/Freightliner rail chassis, Type 'C' buses on conventional truck chassis, and Type 'D' buses with engines in front, in the middle, in the rear, on OEM vendor supplied chassis (GMC, IHC, Oshkosh, National, Spartan), and integrated chassis. I have worked on commercial buses, school buses, transit buses, and highway coaches. Of them all, the Crown and Gillig buses with the engines mounted in the middle are the easiest on which to work. Once the side rail is removed there is nothing to get in the way of getting to the engine. The only things that are not accessible from down below are the starter and water pump on the DD 6-71 engines. There is nothing on the Cummins that needs the floor boards taken up to be able to reach.

So what I am saying is yes it costs less to work on a mid-mount Crown or Gillig because you do not have to pay for a lot of time for a technician to burrow down through rat nests of wires and hoses to reach the engine. Except for a few of the late '80's vintage Crowns all were totally mechanical. And the later models that had electronics had DDEC/ATEC I/II which were pretty simple.

Changing the water pump on any Crown does not require the removal of the radiator.

Setting the rack, changing injectors, changing the pump, changing the turbo, changing the thermostats, etc. can all be done without spending time digging down through stuff to get to what needs fixing.

Crowns and Gilligs are like any other mechanical beast out there. They all have parts and pieces that are attached in an odd or different fashion. But once you learn the why then you can understand the WTH stuff. And most of the WTH stuff was done because it made things easier or made things work better.

IMHO the Crown and Gillig are still the crown jewels as far as buses are concerned. If you have an opportunity to purchase one that isn't all beat up it will be well worth it to you to do so.

Good luck and happy trails.
I definitely wouldn't have projected them to be easier in terms of maintenance and major overhaul. I haven't worked on them as you have though, so I suppose I stuck myself with the tough Rear Engine position. I have to admit though, I'm surprised that bus manufacturers, who very certainly market themselves on serviceability which leads to a companies incurred maintenance costs, haven't stuck with this mid-engine architecture.

I'm hesitant to buy into what you're telling me here, but you're experience preceeds you, so I'm weighing that information.

A converted skoolie mid engine Crown is the most affordable, easiest to maintain and most accessible...I didn't see that comin...I'll admit.
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Old 06-24-2016, 09:59 PM   #28
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Quick answer as to why the OEM's don't make mid-mount engine buses is the engine manufacturers do not make those sort of engine applications any longer.

Back in the day, besides Crown and Gillig you had Twin Coach, Yellow Coach, and a couple of other OEM's that were making buses with mid-mount engines. In the truck world there were a lot of special application truck chassis that used mid-mount engines--fire trucks and garbage trucks come immediately to mind. In the military world there were also quite a few different applications that used mid-mount engines. Even the railroads used engines laid over on their sides to power commuter trains that were self-contained--the power unit was under the floor and the train did not need an engine to pull or push the car.

In today's world, right off the top of my head, I can't think of any application that uses an engine laid over on the side.

I would agree that a mid-mount engine in a bus is an ideal location--you don't have the engine dog house (with noise and heat) next to the driver and you don't have an engine compartment in the rear to keep you from having a full size emergency door in line with the aisle. Getting 16-rows of seats would be very easy in a 40' bus without any engine intrusion at the front or rear of the bus.
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Old 06-25-2016, 02:56 AM   #29
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Maybe continuing cowlitzcoach's thought, manufacturers today want to avoid specialized application in favor of one size fits most. If the same engine and transmission can work in a conventional, front-mounted or rear-mounted transit style bus, this reduces the amount of components they have to source and the amount of spare parts a fleet has to maintain. If the only odd duck in your fleet is this mid-engine bus with specialized parts required, even for all of its pros and popularity it still ends up being an administrative headache to maintain.
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Old 06-25-2016, 09:51 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by RC000E View Post
I definitely wouldn't have projected them to be easier in terms of maintenance and major overhaul. I haven't worked on them as you have though, so I suppose I stuck myself with the tough Rear Engine position. I have to admit though, I'm surprised that bus manufacturers, who very certainly market themselves on serviceability which leads to a companies incurred maintenance costs, haven't stuck with this mid-engine architecture.

I'm hesitant to buy into what you're telling me here, but you're experience preceeds you, so I'm weighing that information.

A converted skoolie mid engine Crown is the most affordable, easiest to maintain and most accessible...I didn't see that comin...I'll admit.
I have a Crown Supercoach II, and so far I've not had any problem accessing whatever needs attention in the engine room. The air compressor and hydraulic pump at the rear of the engine are easily reached through the access hatch under the rear seat, and everything else is easy to get to. I recently rebuilt the Jake brakes and reset the DDEC injectors' height, and even the driver-side bank wasn't too awkward to reach. If I had to take the engine out, it just slides right out on a cradle - all I would need is some wooden cribbing and a forklift to make it easier. I have friends with mid-engine Crowns and Gilligs - the biggest problem I see with them is that they get damnably dirty so close to the road.

Give me an intelligently-designed pusher bus any day!

And just in case any long-time Skoolie readers here are wondering, I just rejoined this forum after a few years of absence. My bus is still a perennial work in progress, but it now has 2kW of solar panels on the roof to give me free power from the sun. My current project is to recore the radiator and replace the fan and hydraulic fan motor - always something to do!

John
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