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Old 01-04-2020, 07:29 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Eagle River Wisconsin
Posts: 65
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Low Floor Bus
Engine: Cummins ISL diesel 540 cu in
Rated Cap: 32
Gillig Advantage Low Floor bus 669 build.

2001 Gillig Low Floor, 280 Cummins, Woith 4 speed.

So, it starts. Left on Thursday, spent the night in Lincoln, arrived bright and early at the City Bus Shop Friday morning. Met the garage manager and he gave me 5 years service records, plus told me the engine had been replaced in '06 and the transmission was replaced in '09. Good to know. 5 year shows, $75,000.00 in repairs (including labor). Everything from radiator to batteries, etc.

He has us follow a maintenance truck with mechanic about 10 miles to an off site secure lockup where the ten Gillig's are. Mechanic shows us around bus 669, checks engine oil, and tries to start it, but the batteries are low. As advertised. Hooks up jumper cable to the contact truck and after a minute or two, 669 fires right up. We talk for awhile and when I tell him I plan on driving 700 miles home to Northern Wisconsin today, he thinks it humorous, but then so do I. I tell him my plan for a major breakdown is to scrap on site. He laughs again. He shows me a couple nice things about the bus, to include a override switch to use if one of the 50+ safety circuits fail, as in a door sensor not working, to throw to continue on my trip. Nice to know. He leaves.

We load all the tools and fluids, etc., onto the bus and we head out. Once on Interstate 80, I find I have a nice ride and that I am governed at 65 mph, both of which I can live with. I am happy.

We find a truck stop for fuel. Our first hiccup. The bus is equipped with a dry-break fuel filler which can only be filled at the bus garage. Upon inspection, I break it out and now there is a normal opening to the tank, however, it runs horizontally for about a foot and there is no tank vent. So, after some work, we can put in about one gallon a minute. However, the tank is full already, but I can't find anything in the manuals to tell me how big the tank is. The mechanic said 120 gallons, and I had read online, 80. So, somewhere in-between. I get 10 gallons in.

Drive North on 35, until around 1-1:30, stop for lunch, it starts to snow, take a picture with the Po Po, proceed North. Hit icy roadway, two semi's down in the median, a few cars stuck as well. I'm not the slowest, but my bologna skin tires have no business out here, but I plug along. 20 mph at some times. Run out of bad roads about a half hour into Minnesota. Back to 62-65 mph.

Arrived home at 1:30 Saturday morning, 17 and a half hours, and 700 miles later, 669 is home and I am happy.

Was unable to track mileage as filling was too hard and I gave up a few times. I did put 10, 20, 10, 10 and 12 gallons in it during stops. So, I put 62 gallons into it, plus it was full, and there is still a bunch in it. Part of the conversion with be a new fill nozzle and vent system.

Phase one complete,

BaconFarms
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Old 01-05-2020, 05:49 PM   #2
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Wow talk about trial by fire
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Old 01-05-2020, 06:23 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Southern VT
Posts: 95
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas Bus
Chassis: Allison MD 3060
Engine: Catepillar 3126B 210hp/605 ft lb
what a blast. Good luck

shoulda changed your 'out of service ' sign and picked up the people in the median and charged each 2.75 a ride!
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Old 01-05-2020, 06:39 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Eagle River Wisconsin
Posts: 65
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Low Floor Bus
Engine: Cummins ISL diesel 540 cu in
Rated Cap: 32
Started right up yesterday after sitting overnight, and then again today. Temperature around 26 today. I think the batteries came back to life after 17 hours on the road. Volt meter was putting out 28 volts the whole time, so I know she charges.

Took my brother and his neighbor for a ride yesterday. His neighbor drove buses for 30 years in the 60's 70's and 80's. He liked it a lot. That was fun. He even showed me a few things.

Bus party pretty quick to get the seat and other stuff out of it so I can continue on my conversion to an RV. In WI, the first step is no yellow, no seats. Got the yellow thing done, LOL.

Thanks for looking,

BaconFarms
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Old 01-06-2020, 07:00 AM   #5
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Location: Central missouri
Posts: 114
Chassis: 2000 Int Amtran
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Rated Cap: 84
Sounds like you are having fun already!
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Old 01-08-2020, 04:59 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Eagle River Wisconsin
Posts: 65
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Low Floor Bus
Engine: Cummins ISL diesel 540 cu in
Rated Cap: 32
8 degrees out today. Bus started up with a jump. Let it warm up for an hour than looked around and plotted a plan. Looks like the most of the seats are bolted down, however the rails are riveted, but flush, so disc grinder should make short work of them. I was unsure what the duct work would look like, so I took a peek inside and see the whole think is a duct and there is a bolted standoff between the duct and the ceiling. Should be able to bolt some stringers where those standoffs are. Not sure how the duct is fastened to the sides.

Anyway, pictures.

BaconFarms
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:03 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Eagle River Wisconsin
Posts: 65
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Low Floor Bus
Engine: Cummins ISL diesel 540 cu in
Rated Cap: 32
A couple more pictures. One of the bulkhead opening to the duct and then one showing the standoffs.

The bottom picture is upside down..
Thanks,

BaconFarms
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:43 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Eagle River Wisconsin
Posts: 65
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Low Floor Bus
Engine: Cummins ISL diesel 540 cu in
Rated Cap: 32
Getting some work done on the interior. Remove some of the grab bars and partitions.

Before and after,

BaconFarms
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:55 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Eagle River Wisconsin
Posts: 65
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Low Floor Bus
Engine: Cummins ISL diesel 540 cu in
Rated Cap: 32
Took some pictures of underneath. This is a low floor and has no frame (rails) per say, but a birdcage type structure. I read that the structure is stainless, but, probably a stainless alloy as it is magnetic.

What I have to figure out is what the floor is made of. The parts manual only calls for plywood, and the floor is not magnetic from the bottom, so could it be all wood?

The bottom of the bus covered (painted) with a heavy grey colored paint.

Once I get the bus seats out, I will pull up the rubber flooring and find a whole in the plywood and take a peak.

Also, in one of the pics is the fuel tank which runs across the entire width of the bus.

Enjoy,

BaconFarms
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:57 PM   #10
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 3,018
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
I started reading your origin story and was regretting the fact that my bus was delivered so I never got to have the experience of going and fetching a bus home. Then I got to the part about driving in snow at 20 mph on bald tires, and I realized I've had enough adventures with my bus as it is.
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:43 AM   #11
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Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I like the maiden voyage only because it determines a good baseline for the road-worthiness of a bus.. if a bus is delivered to you by way of being driven, that same level of confidence is set.. but if a bus comes in on a trailer... anybiody's guess whether its good to go for a long road trip..



I do have memories of my first winter drive in my DEV bus.. black ice and 60 MPH winds on I-77 near beckley WV... turning the steering wheel to the right to navigate a left hand curve.. fun times.. sooo glad for the "go-t0-sleep" strips on the side of the road.. one set of wheels on those and i got stopped and prayed no one would hit me.. lol..

-Christopher
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
if a bus is delivered to you by way of being driven, that same level of confidence is set.. but if a bus comes in on a trailer... anybiody's guess whether its good to go for a long road trip..
Yeah, mine was driven 250 miles to me, and the driver raved about how good it was mechanically. It turned out to have a broken shock absorber, so I'm still not sure how much I can trust his opinion.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
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black ice and 60 MPH winds on I-77 near beckley WV... turning the steering wheel to the right to navigate a left hand curve..
Good god, man that's a horrifying road.
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:27 AM   #14
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 854
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
Good luck with the conversion. Always good to see fellow Wisconsinites on here (I'm way south of you in Madison though). I did a similiar trip but mine was Colorado in August so def not quite the hair raising adventure you went through.

Any particular reason why you wanted a transit bus? They can be a little odd to work with due to stuff like the Voith transmissions and the fuel filler design.

At least you don't really need to paint your bus. Wisconsin does require no school bus yellow on bus conversions.
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:01 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Eagle River Wisconsin
Posts: 65
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Low Floor Bus
Engine: Cummins ISL diesel 540 cu in
Rated Cap: 32
Pretty specific build. Handicap transport for my wife who has/had progressive Multiple Sclerosis for over 25 years. We haven't traveled in 10 years due to her limitations. To travel and use motels and gas stations, can be hit an miss as far as facilities go. A 2-3 hour pit stop was not unheard of. We can't use handicap van's etc, because her knees do not bend.

I plan to put a hospital bed and extreme handicap bathroom in this bus, however, not as build ins, but bolt on's, so if this don't pan out, it will just be a big pine box inside for someone else to make a RV out of.

I need to get her to see her (our) granddaughters in UT, however, if you daughters don't straighten out, I will get her to the Grand Canyon, LOL. She takes pictures as a hobby.

So, its a chance I can afford to take, and the Gillig is a low floor handicap where she can either drive on with her power chair or walk on with her walker, depending on the day.

Anyway,

BaconFarms
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:55 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Eagle River Wisconsin
Posts: 65
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Low Floor Bus
Engine: Cummins ISL diesel 540 cu in
Rated Cap: 32
Took a break from seats and started to de-wire the bus of radio, pa, communications, sign board, gps and security cables.

Found a GASBOY. Had to look that up, apparently the bus talks to the fuel pump, etc. No need for that, but, had to make sure before pulling it.

Wonder if there is a market for the signboard on the bay?

Moving along,

BaconFarms
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:19 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Eagle River Wisconsin
Posts: 65
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Low Floor Bus
Engine: Cummins ISL diesel 540 cu in
Rated Cap: 32
Got an email from the garage manager with the complete service record for this bus. The bus got a new engine under warranty in 2006 at 168,550 miles and a new transmission in 2009 at 256,170 miles.

Total for labor and parts over its last 18 years, $302,350.48

Hope I fair better,

BaconFarms
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:51 PM   #18
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 306
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: CAT 3126
I would be very interested in the complete signboard installation. We want one in our bus for grins and giggles. Is it an Luminator?

$1,399 a month sounds average for such a bus in constant everyday use with good maintenance. At least that's the trend with the coaches I work on.
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Old 01-17-2020, 12:23 AM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Eagle River Wisconsin
Posts: 65
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Low Floor Bus
Engine: Cummins ISL diesel 540 cu in
Rated Cap: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Truthseeker4449 View Post
I would be very interested in the complete signboard installation. We want one in our bus for grins and giggles. Is it an Luminator?

$1,399 a month sounds average for such a bus in constant everyday use with good maintenance. At least that's the trend with the coaches I work on.

Not sure the brand name, but will get it for you. I am removing it, and have pulled the cables already. Not sure if the keyboard (computer) is password protected or not, but there is a list of what is already programmed. Can't imagine they would leave it open for drivers to disparage there ex-wife's as they traveled the city.

Just sayin,

BaconFarms
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Old 01-17-2020, 06:00 AM   #20
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 21,525
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BaconFarms View Post
Got an email from the garage manager with the complete service record for this bus. The bus got a new engine under warranty in 2006 at 168,550 miles and a new transmission in 2009 at 256,170 miles.

Total for labor and parts over its last 18 years, $302,350.48

Hope I fair better,

BaconFarms
Sounds real good. You DON'T want any Voith problems.
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