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Old 11-01-2022, 11:00 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: So Cal high desert
Posts: 162
Year: 63&5
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: HPO
Engine: Cummins 220
Rated Cap: 1
Got my own Crown

Crown Crown....oh, who am I kidding, Crown_Guy has known about me getting this bus since the day I struck the deal. For those on BCM or the Crown groups on FB you also already know about this bus but for Skoolie here is the debut post. She is a 1963 Highway Post Office aka HPO. Seller has owned this bus since it was retired and sold into his private ownership in 1975!
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Vital stats are, 40' tandem, a Cummins NHH-220 (non-turbo), 13 speed Road Ranger, and twin screw drive axles. The back is tractor trailer barn doors so she is a natural toy hauler for my dune buggy. Of course being a classic the bus will be much more of a project than the buggy!
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After the deal for the bus was settled, arrangements to get the bus to Smittys Diesel repair in Colton here in California were made. The old Cummins is very tired and I opted for an inframe overhaul depending on internal condition. I hired Juan Williams towing to get the bus from city of Orange to Colton. The 40 mile tow was $900 on his Landoll trailer. There were cheaper towing companys, however they wanted to hook the front and and drag the bus like a freeway breakdown. I decided against this for a few reasons, including 20+ year old tires on the bus chief among them, plus arriving safely is worth the expense to me.
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And arrive safely we did!
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The shop got to work tearing the -220 down and inspecting everything. Shop owner Smitty tells me this looks normal for a high mileage vintage Cummins.
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The probleme du jour is finding bearings. Apparently there are many variations of the Cummins NH-220 family and it is essential to find the exact bearings needed. Chinese made pistons, rings, and liners for days, but bearings are the sticking point. Nothing yet but the search contines. The minion is hard at work on this for me!
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After my last visit I stopped by J&R down the street to talk to them but they had not opened for the day yet. Another time!
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Old 11-02-2022, 12:12 AM   #2
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Bly Oregon
Posts: 540
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: Cummins 350 big cam
Rated Cap: 86 passengers?
I like your Crown. I was glad to see the inside pictures. I have seen one of these in Oregon and once I found out what they were I was curious to see what they looked like inside. I will be following your progress on this one.
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Old 11-02-2022, 08:03 AM   #3
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Location: Columbus Ohio
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
what a cool as heck bus to convert!! the nice square lines are just perfect for conversion!!! love this!
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Old 11-03-2022, 11:40 AM   #4
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: So Cal high desert
Posts: 162
Year: 63&5
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: HPO
Engine: Cummins 220
Rated Cap: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by flattracker View Post
I like your Crown. I was glad to see the inside pictures. I have seen one of these in Oregon and once I found out what they were I was curious to see what they looked like inside. I will be following your progress on this one.
I like your Crown more for now, it runs! Funny you mention the inside, the first time I stepped into my bus was surreal. One thinks of a Crown bus in daylight as a sunny open looking space with easy access to the driver. By comparison, the HPO has the look and feel of a prison bus. The cockpit is separated with its walls and cage door, no access to the driver, and the few windows allow much less light in than the supercoach. And its darkish inside even with the old overhead lights on. And poor ventilation even with all windows available slid open, in summertime its pretty hot and still inside. Its awesome. A funny story from the seller, when the bus was on the road and the -220 was running hot, standard procedure for the driver (actually a contractor, not a USPS employee) was to crank up the interior heaters in the cabin and unintentionally cook the postal workers.

On another note flattracker, if you are in Oregon in the summers, my hometown is Roseburg. Have you been to a Graffiti Weekend? They go every year around the 4th of July for a week. One of my life goals with the HPO is to attend one or more of these and more Crowns would mean more awesome. Just something to think about maybe. ;)
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Old 11-03-2022, 11:47 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: So Cal high desert
Posts: 162
Year: 63&5
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: HPO
Engine: Cummins 220
Rated Cap: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
what a cool as heck bus to convert!! the nice square lines are just perfect for conversion!!! love this!
I hope the cool feeling lingers as the problems to come reveal themselves. I will probably reach out many times for help!

Side note cadillackid, thank you so much for being willing to help so many people with their bus problems, you are truly a generous soul and inspiration! Keep up the awesome always!
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Old 11-18-2022, 01:12 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: So Cal high desert
Posts: 162
Year: 63&5
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: HPO
Engine: Cummins 220
Rated Cap: 1
Brief update Nov 2022

Hey all just a quick update. Nothing really exciting but still a good developement for my project. The shop was able to locate the parts for my -220 overhaul so that should be starting next week. Cummins engines in the NH-220 family come in quite a few variants and specifications, and with the passage of decades locating these parts is proving challenging. A few part sources told my shop the engine serial number in my bus *right now* does not exist, despite my shop having the silly thing right there! Also, apparently, Cummins stamped their engine bearings with specific identification numbers if the customer was a government entity like my engine was. I do not believe these "government spec" bearings are any "better" than what anyone can buy for their engine, but I do believe the bus customer being a government entity, probably cost more.
Anyhoo, the effort continues to get this old girl healthy again. Hopefully reading this isn't a disappointment to anyone, nothing big going on this time, but I just felt like sharing. Thats it for now!
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Old 11-18-2022, 01:14 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: So Cal high desert
Posts: 162
Year: 63&5
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: HPO
Engine: Cummins 220
Rated Cap: 1
A peek under the front showing what it takes to hold a Crown up!
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Old 11-18-2022, 08:09 PM   #8
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 1,951
Year: 1974
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: "Atomic"
Engine: DD 8V71
Quote:
Originally Posted by UFO pilot View Post
Hopefully reading this isn't a disappointment to anyone, nothing big going on this time, but I just felt like sharing. Thats it for now!
Not a disappointment at all! We appreciate the update, even if we don't always post a comment. Once you get all those things sorted out, you're going to have a great forever rig.
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Old 11-22-2022, 02:47 PM   #9
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Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 787
Year: 1993
Coachwork: 44' Newell Coach
Engine: 8v92T Detroit
Rated Cap: 2 adults and two pigeons
Glad to see this beauty has gone to a good home. Very cool bus. I was interested in it but my wife had convinced me she wanted something more complete and less mechanically expensive to get us on the road faster. Looking forward to your progress. Is it even possible to repower that?
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Old 11-23-2022, 10:06 AM   #10
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: So Cal high desert
Posts: 162
Year: 63&5
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: HPO
Engine: Cummins 220
Rated Cap: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bus'n it View Post
Glad to see this beauty has gone to a good home. Very cool bus.
Time will tell if I am the right custodian for this bus, I am hoping it will outlive me. I doubt my son would want it when the time comes but, hopefully, he may feel differently someday.


Quote:
I was interested in it but my wife had convinced me she wanted something more complete and less mechanically expensive to get us on the road faster.
Smart gal you have in your life! Every bus has the potential to do the same thing as any other bus, haul our butts and junk around, and each of us has to decide what we are willing to deal with both up front and down the line. A bus ready to hit the road is worth its weight in time and money saved!

Quote:
Looking forward to your progress. Is it even possible to repower that?
Possible, yes, because its been done to many older Crowns (aren't they all old lol?). The usual combinations have been discussed around skoolie a few times, and my newbie self has nothing helpful to add, but the elephant-in-the-room fact is the RE Crowns have ALL the repower options available while the ME or 'middie' Crowns have precious few options.
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Old 12-09-2022, 03:40 PM   #11
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: So Cal high desert
Posts: 162
Year: 63&5
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: HPO
Engine: Cummins 220
Rated Cap: 1
Another less-than-exciting update, I have insurance! I am a Mercury policyholder with my normie vehicles and I after getting title to the HPO as a Housecar I decided to stop dragging my feet and insure it proper. I am a California resident, the Crown has California plates and title, I have a Class C license, and I have no special endorsements.

The conversation over emails, through my agent middleman, went basically like this:

Me: Hello insurance co I have been a longtime customer with, I would like to insure my 1965 Crown Housecar Recreational Vehicle. Thanks for the excellent service collecting my money for years! (Side note, I avoided using the words "bus", "Motorhome", or "commercial vehicle".)
Them: Thats a bus. No.

So my agent approached another entity, Progressive Commerical, and they said........ok. YAY!!! Its not cheap, $690 for 6 months maths up to an eye-watering $1380 a year, but in a state notoriously difficult to be a vehicular free spirit it will work.
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Old 12-10-2022, 04:49 PM   #12
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Location: Philadelphia
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
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an eye-watering $1380 a year
Crikey! Is that at least for comprehensive coverage and not just for liability?
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Old 12-12-2022, 01:26 PM   #13
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: So Cal high desert
Posts: 162
Year: 63&5
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: HPO
Engine: Cummins 220
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Crikey! Is that at least for comprehensive coverage and not just for liability?
Bare. Minimum. Policy.

*sigh*
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Old 12-12-2022, 06:11 PM   #14
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Bare. Minimum. Policy.

*sigh*
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That most certainly blows.
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Old 01-11-2023, 11:22 AM   #15
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: So Cal high desert
Posts: 162
Year: 63&5
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: HPO
Engine: Cummins 220
Rated Cap: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Attachment 69578

That most certainly blows.
Hi Bill!

Ok so I just got a notice of registration suspension from California DMV for "no insurance". A quick email to my agent asking if Progressive has dropped me and the answer is no, policy is in effect and all is well. So I need to send the paperwork back to DMV and prove I am covered before Jan 31st. After that there is a "restocking fee".
The policy declarations page lists the coverage limits as:
Liability: 25Kperson/50Kaccident/15Kaccident
Uninsured/underinsured:
15Kperson/30Kaccident
Uninsured motorist property damage:
3.5Kaccident
So its still basic but I have more coverage than I realized, so I wanted to share here in California most things are possible, like insuring an old bus
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Old 01-11-2023, 08:30 PM   #16
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Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 787
Year: 1993
Coachwork: 44' Newell Coach
Engine: 8v92T Detroit
Rated Cap: 2 adults and two pigeons
Any updates on the engine?
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Old 01-12-2023, 12:20 PM   #17
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: So Cal high desert
Posts: 162
Year: 63&5
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: HPO
Engine: Cummins 220
Rated Cap: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bus'n it View Post
Any updates on the engine?
I last called the shop when they had located the bearing set so nothing for a few weeks.

My bus is their "slow day" work, its a busy commercial truck shop and I am not being pushy. They want their 40' parking spot back as much as I want a running bus, trust me.
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Old 01-12-2023, 12:53 PM   #18
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Engine: 8v92T Detroit
Rated Cap: 2 adults and two pigeons
Well, that’s good news. I was more concerned they wouldn’t find the parts. I had my bus in the shop and told the guy to do the same, which was to work on it at his leisure so I can avoid a massive bill. He did good and charged me $4400 for some air bags, air leak repairs and a pan gasket.
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Old 04-29-2023, 11:37 PM   #19
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: So Cal high desert
Posts: 162
Year: 63&5
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: HPO
Engine: Cummins 220
Rated Cap: 1
Well I have an update finally. The shop has the engine back to a longblock after months of parts locating drama.
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There was good news and bad for this classic Cummins. The good was the 220 heads were redone by a guy thru R&J, a name that should be familiar to Detroit Diesel owners and enthusiasts. Ironic I know, a Detroit shop helping out on saving a Cummins.
The bad news is the oil pan gasket is NLA, so the shop fabricated one. And, the shop is still sorting injector parts and other various little suprizes.
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So thats about it for the Crown, but the shop currently has a pair of MCIs that were kinda interesting, a pair of jailbirds with ICE markings that were recently bought at auction. The customer is looking to flip the buses after the work is done. The buses have 7K onboard generators and multiple rooftop AC units each. Who knows, maybe we can see them on Skoolie someday?
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Anyhoo, thats about it for now so this doesn't get too wordy. Thanks for reading!
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Old 05-30-2023, 07:50 PM   #20
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: So Cal high desert
Posts: 162
Year: 63&5
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: HPO
Engine: Cummins 220
Rated Cap: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bus'n it View Post
Glad to see this beauty has gone to a good home. Very cool bus. I was interested in it but my wife had convinced me she wanted something more complete and less mechanically expensive to get us on the road faster. Looking forward to your progress. Is it even possible to repower that?
Not directly related to my build but I learned something recently I thought was interesting. 3 Crowns were repowered here in California several years ago from pancake Detroits to upright Cummins ISB engines in the mid-engine position. Modern engine less emissions yadda yadda. Interesting to say the least! This took state grant money to back the engineering effort to make this work, and apparently it did work. All 3 have now been sold at auction and are retired. Photos by Steve S, I don't know if he is on Skoolie.
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Since nobody gets something for nothing, converting to underfloor upright engines means even lower ground clearance than the pancake setup, and that was pretty low to begin with!

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