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Old 07-19-2021, 09:44 PM   #1
Almost There
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 95
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
Bus not starting...help?

Hi everyone!

I have a 1972 Gillig pusher, 35í. Sheís only been started about 5 times since I bought her, and the last time was 4 years ago.

I bought two new batteries last week. Theyíre wired parallel, so itís a 12 volt off two big C-8D batteries.

The bus electronics are on, the dashboard voltmeter is working, headlights, even the fans. It has the constant buzzing that indicates the air tanks are filling...but the gauge doesnít show anything. From my understanding the bus wonít start until the air buzzing stops and the tanks are full, but then again, Iím no expert.

Is anyone familiar with a Gillig (or other vintage school bus) that could help?

Thanks in advance!

FreedomPanda

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Old 07-19-2021, 10:13 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 1,126
Hi FP. We've got one, too. A great bus.

First, that buzzer will sound until you reach about 60 psi air pressure...which only happens with the engine running. You won't be able to release the brakes and move until at least that pressure...but that's not what you mean with starting, right? You're talking about starting the engine?

There's a neutral safety switch...the bus won't crank if you're not in neutral.
Is the tranny in neutral? IF so, jiggle the shifter some because that microswitch can be finicky. Did you check the rear start switch, in the engine bay, to make sure it's not flipped to rear? Can you post a photo of the rear starting switches to let us check them? Did you try starting from the rear? Let us know and we'll help you figure this out.
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Old 07-19-2021, 10:50 PM   #3
Almost There
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 95
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
Thanks for the reply, RVT!

Only the electrical was working. I had flipped the switches in the rear and when I walked up to the front, saw the interior driver fans running, and the buzzer buzzing. I put the stick in neutral. The gauges showed electrical but the air gauge was not moving past zero. I tried starting the bus, but it didn’t do anything. I remembered something about the air gauge registering a certain number before being able to start the bus. Does the parking brake need to be in a certain position?
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Old 07-19-2021, 10:52 PM   #4
Almost There
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 95
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
I took a photo of the switches, but now I can’t remember how to post them here. I’m truly hopeless ����
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:03 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
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Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 1,126
Please forget whatever you think you heard about air! You cannot build air pressure until the engine is running. That turns the compressor and builds pressure. Air pressure has nothing to do with the no-start issue.

Just to clarify, the engine isn't even cranking over right? Or is it cranking but not starting? Did you try starting from the rear panel?
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:08 PM   #6
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 95
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
Ok, I’ve forgotten it already!

And it didn’t crank over from the front. How would I start it from the rear?
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:30 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreedomPanda View Post
Ok, Iíve forgotten it already!

And it didnít crank over from the front. How would I start it from the rear?
Good...that's a start! We'll get this...

On the panel in the back, in the engine bay, there should be a few switches and/or a button. Can you describe them for me? Every bus is different and I don't have my Gillig here at home. But there may be a "front/rear" switch and a "run/stop" and a "start" button or toggle. Let me know what you see on yours and what position they're in.

And...from the front, if the switch is in the "front" position...it should be as easy as turning on the key, making sure the transmission is in neutral, and pressing the start button. Usually the start button is near the key, but I have seen them on the other side of the panel (moved for security). If you press the start button and nothing happens, while the key is on, try holding the start button while you move the shift lever around in the neutral position. Also, do you have a "neutral bypass" button on the dash?
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:35 PM   #8
Almost There
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 95
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
Ok, I’m finding a potential way to get around the photo issue...I just posted a photo of that panel you’re talking about on my Instagram, if you have it...FreedomPanda. It’s in the most recent post (just added).
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:38 PM   #9
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 95
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
Also, I’ll look for those...and I’ll try that. Just having a “start” button is a bit of a revelation!

Not much is marked well on the dash or the back, but I’ll go look now...I just lowered the air conditioning unit from the roof. I’m getting too old for this! ��
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:44 PM   #10
Almost There
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 95
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
You did it! It started right up! The “starter button.” Who freakin’ knew???

THANK YOU!

����

Now, the funny this is that after I turned the bus off, the right windshield wiper is still going lol! Where is the windshield wiper switch on your panel?
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:51 PM   #11
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Fraser Valley British Columbia
Posts: 1,028
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: C7 Cat
Hello Dug
Good luck with efforts here to get the bus running.
listen to Ross, hopefully he will get you through this.
Question I have, since buying the bus you've started it only a couple times but I've been through your build thread and don't see any reference to you driving the bus?
Something I noticed and I really hope I'm way off on this but is there a chance you filled the bus with gasoline instead of diesel? See your pic in post #14 your build thread.image.jpg
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:55 PM   #12
Almost There
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 95
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
Ross, I ran it for a bit, and I’m going to fill it with about 5 gallons of diesel before doing anything else...the gauge says “empty,” although I’m not sure that’s correct. But just to be safe!
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:56 PM   #13
Almost There
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 95
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
Oscar, that’s a good catch! Although, it was filled with diesel. The pumps I used have diesel on the left, unleaded on the right, and share the same face. ����
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Old 07-20-2021, 12:04 AM   #14
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 1,126
Thanks for the nod, Oscar1. And, that's great that you're running now FP!

Good call on the added diesel. Don't trust the gauge until you learn its quirks. If you run out of diesel, you need to re-prime the fuel system which can be a pain. It's better to just avoid that...

If you end up traveling East on I-40 someday, please stop by and show off your bus. I'm happy to walk through the bits with you. We're right off I-40, about 20 minutes West of Flagstaff in Parks AZ.
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Old 07-20-2021, 12:08 AM   #15
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Fraser Valley British Columbia
Posts: 1,028
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: C7 Cat
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreedomPanda View Post
Oscar, thatís a good catch! Although, it was filled with diesel. The pumps I used have diesel on the left, unleaded on the right, and share the same face. ����
Well that's a relief to hear, Many people believe color coding on fuel pumps is set in stone but that's not the case. A couple years ago my brother who is from northern British Columbia made that mistake down in Wyoming and filled his diesel truck with regular gas by grabbing the wrong color. I've seen yellow or black or green used for diesel and in other areas yellow used for ethanol so I think there's really no rule to it. Glad I was mistaken on this one. Hope you're moving forward on that beautiful bus build.
Good luck
Cheers
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