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Old 01-27-2017, 05:56 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 11
1968 Gillig OR 1976 Crown? Thoughts?

1968 Gillig
GILLIG 1968 C190-12

1976 Crown (wife named it marshmallow)
1976 Vintage Crown Coach Bus (RV conversion - airstream - motothome)

My wife and I just found the location that we will be doing our build and are getting pretty serious about finding our bus. We have our eye on a few around the area, but none are great to look at as the Gillig or Crown.

My thoughts are (I will have to call the sellers to know for sure) that there may be a good chance that the engines have either been replaced or overhauled in their 40-50 year life. I also think that the Allison 643 in the Gillig is not factory (I am only guessing based on the age of the bus. Is the 643 from the 60s?) The 5 speed manual in the Crown would probably be cheaper to repair than an automatic if anything ever broke.

My concerns are really about inside height, general reliability if the engine/trans are all original, and the engine location of the Gillig. It is in the middle in that Gillig and the back in the Crown, right?

Would you buy one of them?
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:30 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Oakland, Ca
Posts: 58
Chassis: Crown Supercoach
Engine: Detroit Diesel 6-71 Mid-ship
Rated Cap: 78
Gotta love the lines of either of these two west coast manufacturers! Either will do you right.

My Crown's engine is mid-ship under the floor. Either mid- or aft- engine were available, mid-engine far more common.

The mid-ship configuration makes for surprisingly easy engine access. I did an "in-frame" engine rebuild on mine, with the block in place. The disadvantage vs. a pusher is that there is less space under the bus for storage and tankage, but there is a huge "trunk."

Crown's body panels were aluminum, so there tend to be less surface rust issues, but that is a real minor difference. Both were built to a higher standard then more modern buses.

The craigslist ad is gone so can't see the crown.

For +5K, that '68 better be in near-perfect shape...
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Old 02-02-2017, 10:59 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 11
Yeah, I think the Crown is gone, but it may pop up again. It had most of the windows removed and skinned over and I think it had the seats removed... though I have seen so many buses that I can't remember without seeing the pictures. It was $6 or $7k and had a cracked driver side window. It was our favorite, but also a fair bit over what we had hoped to pay. The mid-engine worries me a bit, as it seems like the whole layout would have to be based around leaving that bit open for future repairs. It was our favorite based on the look, though.

The Gillig has a 3208 in it, and is coming up on the 200,000 miles point where people talk about it needed to be rebuilt, if it is the original engine and has never been rebuilt... and if the odometer is original. Though, the engine is in the rear, right? Might it be one of the models that has the "trench" like floor? I am guessing based on the pictures. I will have to call and ask the seller some questions and see what they know/will tell me.

I did find this '77 Gillig on Govdeals:

Basing the price to the '68 Gillig, it coming with a generator, 2 AC's, that side door that looks to be full height w/stairs AND most of the windows have been skinned over... $5-6k might not be so bad. It may already be registered as... well something other than a bus, since it has no seats. Once again, it does have a 3208 and an unknown transmission. It sells (or doesn't) tomorrow... It is pretty tempting.

I am not hugely mechanically inclined or educated (owned and worked on my '72 bug and have done lots of basic maintenance work on other cars), but I mean... it doesn't seem far fetched to say that I could find a used cummins 5.9 or possibly an 8.3 and get it swapped into that '77 Gillig for near the same cost as getting 2 AC units, water tanks and a generator... (which all come with the '77) Though, I am not sure if any cummins 5.9 will work, or if it has to be specific to the application (front or rear mounted).
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:22 AM   #4
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 988
Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
Someone I know has a Gillig with a DT466 engine in the back. It's obviously a repower, I'm guessing maybe from a Red Diamond gas engine perhaps? The DT466 works well there, plenty of power, no cooling issues, fits OK, so maybe that's another option for you?

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Old 02-02-2017, 12:05 PM   #5
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 750
Keep shopping. You can find one in great shape for less than repairing a lot of things. START with a good foundation. Engine, Tires, Tarnny Stering etc.
Former owner of a 1969 F600 Skoolie.

1998 Ford B700 Thomas body 65 passenger. 5.9 Cummins 12 valve with MT643 Transmission 123,000 miles.
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Old 02-02-2017, 02:01 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,228
The Gillig that is already converted would be a great bus at $5K.

The yellow Gillig has been repowered with a new engine and transmission.

Originally it had a Cummins C-190 and most likely a 5-speed. The model C190-12 tells me it originally had the Cummins C-190 and it has 12-rows of seats. I have seen the same vintage Gillig with that engine with a 5-speed, a 6-speed, and one with a Road Ranger 2-range transmission (I can't remember if it was an 8-, 9-, or 10-speed). And a couple with Allisons. If it had had an Allison from the factory it would have been an MT-60, the forerunner of the MT-600 series transmission. It was basically an Oldsmobile Jet-Away transmission on steroids--a much larger and heavier duty version of the twin sun and planetary gear set transmission used in Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles of the same period.

Since it is a WA spe'c bus I seriously doubt the mileage is 1,166,059. At the same time I seriously doubt a bus that old would only have 166,059 miles. Since many of those buses with the C-190 went well over 166K miles without any major problems I am thinking that the odometer was most likely reset when the bus was repowered. At an average of 10K per year that bus should have 500K miles on it. And at that kind of mileage it would still be a good coach.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:23 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,033
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
I'd buy this and start setting aside some $ for a repower one day when the 3208 is finished.
Wear A Mask- Stop the Spread!
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