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Old 09-23-2014, 06:22 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Portland, OR.
Posts: 40
Year: 1972
Coachwork: Homemade
Chassis: Crown Supercoach
Engine: Cummins NHH 220, E-F10spd
72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

I have been reading here on the forum for a while and figured I should start a conversation on our build now that there is progress!
Im in Portland Or. Trying to get this thing sealed before the rain comes.

I've got a 35' 1972 Crown Supercoach, Eaton-Fuller 10spd manual trans.
It's been converted to an rv and has some shoddy work that we are rebuilding into our home on wheels. The previous owner installed solar panels, inverter, converter and battery monitors, shower and toilet with plumbing, grey and black water tanks.
All the windows have been removed and 3/4" ply was secured to the inside from the floor up 4' and sheet metal on the outside that looks professional.

As it stands the interior is gutted down to the bathroom and I'm scratching my head on all the options for ceiling cover to replace the poorly done sheets of wood that were up there. The roof already has foam custom cut to fit between the ribs and it just needs a skin that will be durable and not break the bank.

I've got some windows out of an old camper that we stripped down that are 5' wide that would look slick on this bus, looks like I'll have to cut out a few uprights between the old windows and weld in a frame to support the unsupported gaps. I've read on here about people cutting out multiple uprights and didn't see any horror stories about roof failures. I wouldn't have to cut out two next to each other for the windows I've got so it seems like it would work out and still have a sturdy roof.









Here is my fiancÚ's blog about the ordeal, more pictures and story.
http://artbywinona.blogspot.com
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Old 09-24-2014, 12:28 AM   #2
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Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

Welcome Guys! --- Great lookin old Crown...we love'em here. Keep the pix coming.
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Old 09-24-2014, 01:37 AM   #3
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Year: 1972
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Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion









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Old 10-01-2014, 12:24 AM   #4
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Year: 1951
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Engine: SD240 / 4 sp.
Rated Cap: 39
Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

I like your bus. Sure would be nice to find a better spot for your spare tire. Or maybe just a better looking spare! Armour All that rubber beast and put one of those spinning hubcaps on it.
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Old 10-01-2014, 10:15 AM   #5
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Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

I have to agree --- But only because the front ends on Crowns are just too pretty to hide behind a tire.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:48 PM   #6
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Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

Wonderful old Crown. I agree with those who say the front of a Crown is too pretty to hide it behind a spare tire. Crowns have spare tire compartments just behind the front passenger door. The tire could go there, unless it was used for something else (real possibility). Giant bus tires and wheels are way too heavy and dangerous to try and change on your own. If the spare tire compartment has been used for something else, you could consider putting it in the trunk. If you ever need it, a very inexpensive membership in Good Sam Club with roadside assistance and a call to them will get you quick service without the real possibility of endangering yourself or others trying to change the tire.

Brown Crown has an excellent Crown conversion thread on this forum. He has a Crown of similar age and has done wonders with it. Check it out!

Welcome to our madness and best of luck!!!
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Old 10-04-2014, 11:58 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
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Chassis: Crown Supercoach
Engine: Cummins NHH 220, E-F10spd
Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

The spare tire compartment has the black and grey water tanks, I'm wondering how much that tire weighs? I can't stand to have it cover the beautiful front end of this bus. I was thinking of building a jib pole off the roof that could be set up to raise gear or a spare onto the roof rack (to be designed and built ) I'm a rigger by trade and could build and operate lifting systems safely.
The interior is going slowly, striping everything down and re doing the ceiling, walls, cabinetry and installing giant windows. I'm sure people block all the windows up for heating/ cooling reasons, I just can't live in a cave. I've got 3 - 5' windows and 1 - 3' window from my old camper that happened to be a 72 aswell that will fit perfectly.
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Old 10-08-2014, 01:02 PM   #8
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Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

ive been cutting holes and reinforcing the removed ribs, heres pics of the windows test fit and the process.










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Old 10-09-2014, 12:32 PM   #9
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Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

Some of the Crowns, specifically the Embree ordered ones, had spare tire compartments behind the front bumper. It allowed Embree to have another luggage compartment instead of a spare tire compartment.
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Old 10-19-2014, 12:48 PM   #10
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Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

The windows are all sealed in and the roof vents are almost sealed up.
I have to replace/ repair one of the front leafsprings and replace the bushings. I noticed the bushings on the shocks have little to no rubber left, while I'm doing the shock bushings should I replace the shocks or reuse them?
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Old 10-19-2014, 12:52 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
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Year: 1972
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Chassis: Crown Supercoach
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Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach
Some of the Crowns, specifically the Embree ordered ones, had spare tire compartments behind the front bumper. It allowed Embree to have another luggage compartment instead of a spare tire compartment.
Mine has the compartment up front on the passenger side but my grey and black water tanks are in there. I couldent imagine squeezing my tire up behind the bumper, maybe it will go on the trailer.
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Old 10-20-2014, 12:44 AM   #12
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Join Date: Sep 2014
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Year: 1951
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Engine: SD240 / 4 sp.
Rated Cap: 39
Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

I would definitely change the shock bushings. While you are changing the bushings you can test the shock. Worn bushings can make thumping noises or worse. It will ride better with new bushings and feel tighter. I like your ideas on the windows. Good work. Looks plenty strong. On my old IHC/Wayne I am keeping all the windows but one where my propane fridge is going. I like the light and the view and mostly the ventilation. All my windows are screened. The interior of my bus has no walls and never will. I have basically a 7'x15' living space and normal window coverings[blinds] and curtains. Anyone I feel I need to be "walled off" from just aint gettin on. I like your solar setup. I'd keep it and tweek it how you like. Nice to have a couple of hot deep cycle batteries at the end of every day for free. I have a similar setup I got from Harbor Freight. I haven't installed it yet but I have tested it all. My 1951 IHC does not even have shocks but I wish it did. When you try to test your shocks make a crude jig you can apply leverage and cycle that shock at least a dozen full strokes. Flaws in the shock do not always appear until after a few strokes. I learned all this the hard way. Hope it helps. Good shocks are not cheap in the truck world. That's a great bus you have. Maybe one of those "hairy eyeball" spare tire covers would be cool?
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Old 10-29-2014, 08:24 AM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Portland, OR.
Posts: 40
Year: 1972
Coachwork: Homemade
Chassis: Crown Supercoach
Engine: Cummins NHH 220, E-F10spd
Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

Thank you on the shock testing procedure, I'm going to have Betts Truck shop here in Portland do my bearing seals and fix the broken leafspring in a week or so.
I am wanting a transmission temp gauge because my cluster has nothing for transmission gauges. Where do I plug the sensor in and why sort of gauge and sensor should I get?
I'll admit I've never had such a big machine and it's kind of a lot to soak in, you guys are awesome for all the help so far!

I'm driving this bus to Wilkes barre Pennsylvania for work this winter and wondering what I have to do to keep my engine and drive train safe in -20 degree nights? I don't have an engine block heater, is there an option to screw an element into the coolant system or block?
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:07 AM   #14
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Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

No idea what engine you have, but nearly all water-cooled diesels can be fitted with block heaters. Even a few aftermarket units that fit into any convenient freeze plug. Just located a plug for one on my little Cummins. Best of luck on the road trip.
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Old 10-31-2014, 05:35 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Portland, OR.
Posts: 40
Year: 1972
Coachwork: Homemade
Chassis: Crown Supercoach
Engine: Cummins NHH 220, E-F10spd
Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

Once again Cummins NW comes thru. new block heater, bolt on 110v or 220v in stock
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:57 PM   #16
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Join Date: Dec 2013
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Posts: 141
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

Just a couple of random ideas for you to consider. Regarding the desire for a transmission temp. gauge you should
know that in most cases, and barring internal mechanical problems or failures, the transmissions just don't get that
hot. The main reason for heat generation would be the amount of power being carried through the transmission and
the weight of, or load on the drive-line, resistance being overcome, of the vehicle or application in question. Your
Crown is probably not going to gross out over 50k lbs. all tanks full etc. The transmission you have is most likely a
Fuller RTx-910 (if just RT, not OD, but, if the X=O it's an overdrive). By the way where is 4th/9th gear located? If it's
up and to the right it's not an overdrive, if it's down and to the right it is an OD transmission and 9th is direct 1:1
and 10th is the OD gear. The "9" indicates 900 ft/lbs of input torque capability. based on the year and photo of your
engine I would guess it's most likely a Cummins 220 HP (non-turbo). If it runs well it's a very fine engine and with
a 10 spd. behind it it's very close to a perfect combination. The NHH-220 specs: 743 cubic inch 220 hp @ 2100 rpm,
606 lbf/ft TQ @ 1600 rpm. The key is that the engine only produces about 600 ft/lbs of torque and the transmission
is built to take 900 ft/lbs and pull 80k lb. trucks all day long. You just can't stress that transmission enough with that
engine or fully loaded Crown to cause any real heat build up. Of course you can get the gauges anywhere, it's just a
normal automotive gauge available from any supply house, even take-outs from a big truck scrap yard is a good
source. We all like more gauges and you have many places to put one even if it means fabricating a custom panel
for more instruments. Your imagination is the only limit.

One other personal observation regarding the shift knob I see in one of your pics. It looks like the late style Fuller
knob with the hi-low shift valve integral to it. I have the same thing on my Crown and I really don't like it much.
I will be taking it out and putting in the old style valve on the column. They only cost about $40 new and are way more
user friendly on a Crown. We shift from the side-rear and the later knob is meant for trucks where the driver is sitting
higher and usually reaches down by his thigh, at least that's the way is was for me in my cab-over Freightliner tractor.

If you feel for instance like the bus is hard to shift or difficult to control the shifting it may be due to that knob/valve
layout. I realize you are new to driving a big vehicle like a Crown and I only mention this to re-assure you that some
difficulties you perceive may be due more to equipment shortcomings and not your own. I have many years of
professional experience driving all manner of Crowns and for my money the very best combination for control and ease
of use was the older style hi-lo valve that straps on the shift column some inches down and oriented any way you feel
is comfortable to use. Then I (opinion) prefer to get a nice "CAT" handle (straight plastic/metal-core) handle screwed
in at the top. This gives excellent hand/arm position to grasp from the side and and provides full hand and arm leverage
to the control inputs which makes it all very precise with lower effort. In normal use the transmission is only in lo range
until about 30 MPH and then hi range for most highway driving. By the way don't be afraid to skip gears 2-4-6 for
instance, it won't hurt the engine, remember that a 5-spd trans is almost the same as 2-4-6-8-9... whatever. Another
good tip is to be thinking of a goal of getting good enough and use to the sounds of the engine and road speed so you
can get comfortable to try shifting without using the clutch. This is not hard and the transmission is actually built to
run this way if you don't try forcing things into gear. The trick is to back out of the throttle a little at the top of a
gear and pull the shifter into neutral during the "neutral-power" interval, then continue to let the engine speed slow
until it matches the next shift point (250-300rpm lower) then ease the shifter into the next gear with the same
(neutral-power) float. Once firmly in the new gear you can then put on the throttle (no need to be gentle) again it
won't hurt the engine. These heavy duty engine were built to be run with full throttle being applied to develop the
power to pull the loads. No need to baby it and remember the Crown is about half the weight they were meant to pull.

Sorry if I'm getting wordy but I really want you to get to the point of enjoying the full range of driving Nirvana that
a Crown imparts to those who make the effort to get to know them well. I have driven every kind of highway coaches,
owned trucks. buses and driven Crowns for over 40 years and to this day I still feel that the best driving and most fun
and predictable bus is the Crowns. I've taken them into camps and on roads and such I would hesitate to take a lot of
cars (and maybe even 4wd). They are truly the Rolls Royces of buses and I include highway coaches in that. If you
fix it up right and take care of it and drive it to it's potential you too will reach that Nirvana. Then teach your kids
(I am) and give it to them. It can outlast your kids if taken care of. Cheers.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:43 PM   #17
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Portland, OR.
Posts: 40
Year: 1972
Coachwork: Homemade
Chassis: Crown Supercoach
Engine: Cummins NHH 220, E-F10spd
Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

Wow that is the sort of response one can only hope to get. Thank you for the "wordy" explanation, very helpful.
My 4th/9th gear is up and to the right, and with the NHH-220 that would make them both the "basic" option for engine and trans. Heavy duty and simple in design, I'm ok with that combination.
The plan is to someday pull a trailer with my girls mustang and my little 78 sr5 pickup (together weighing 7k) it might be a while before that is complete, with the tow package and trailer to build it's not high on the list of projects.

I have been looking for that exact knob/ range selector recently because I really don't like the newer style one that is on my crown now and I can believe what your saying about the knob changing the action on the shifts. I'm all about manual transmissions for my daily drivers, and the last time I took the bus out found myself already floating on the up shifts. Down shifting is still a pain but slowly getting better, skipping gears is next level! I'll give it a try.

Doing an engine and trans oil change so I've got a baseline. water, fuel, steering and trans filters, prob just check the diff oil. This thing has been parked for a year or more and I'm not sure of when any sort of fluid change was scheduled.
I'm driving this bus from Portland Oregon to Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania in January for a full time job so this project has been kicked into overdrive.

Nirvana would be a nice name for her, I'm thinking the name "Patience" might be a better name.
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:46 PM   #18
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Posts: 40
Year: 1972
Coachwork: Homemade
Chassis: Crown Supercoach
Engine: Cummins NHH 220, E-F10spd
Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

Here's my switch panel nest exposed, I have no idea what I'm looking at
Can I use the switches that don't seem to do anything for other stuff? (Like fog lights, ect?)
I still get a zap when hooking up the battery positive, maybe some of the hokey work in the switch panel is faulty?!

What are the "boxes" dangling in the panel and how should I approach straightening up this mess?


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Old 11-05-2014, 08:54 PM   #19
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Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

....not much of a mess there!
Give it a good wash with WWD-40 and bolt down the boxes and you are ready to check circuits!

Good Luck!

thjakits
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Old 11-06-2014, 08:09 AM   #20
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Re: 72 Crown Supercoach RV conversion

Quote:
Here's my switch panel nest exposed,
That is a very clean, non rats nest wiring panel, also very few wires. I only see a couple of wires that have been added.

Can I use the switches that don't seem to do anything for other stuff? (Like fog lights, ect?)
The short answer is yes.
Quote:
I have no idea what I'm looking at
You have to understand thoroughly 12V systems, how things work and testing procedures before you attempt to
reuse switches for something else.

Quote:
I still get a zap when hooking up the battery positive
Something is ON, it will run the battery down. Unhook the battery and put a volt meter between the positive post and the cable you
unhooked. Pull the fuses one at a time to see if the meter goes to zero. If it does, that is the circuit with a problem. If that doesn't work
try unhooking questionable wires, one at a time, to see if any of them do the trick. If you have a clock of the same vintage as the bus, unhook
it before you do your tests. Those old clocks were mechanical, but worked by wound electrically every once in a while. When you unhook the battery,
the clock will wind down and need rewound, when you hook the battery back up the clock will wind producing a very small spark.

Quote:
What are the "boxes" dangling in the panel
Could be lots of things. The one on the left could be a buzzer. The one of the right is probably a relay of some kind.
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