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Old 05-07-2017, 10:19 AM   #1
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Low floor bus information request

Hello Folks,
I need some help from people in the know.

There is a sudden need to convert a low floor 30 ft bus. Earlier discussion mentioned that these are made of Stainless steel and I like that idea a lot. Rust is a very serious structural enemy

This conversion needs to run on long trips and needs to have a kneeling front with handicap ramp that slides or folds.

I do not need the second set of doors between the wheels.
I saw a movie on u tube about the frame assembly of a LF bus , very impressive

Here are the questions for more experienced people.

-Are all Low floor buses made of Stainless, which brands and or years have not?
-Do all LF buses have air suspension?
-What engine transmission would be best in a LF bus for highway use?
-While looking around what use of LF us would not have the second set of doors?
- Any particular weak points that needs attention in LF buses?

Thank you for your help.

J
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:50 AM   #2
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ive never seen an LF bus without the second set of doors... in the City-Bus transit world, the accepted way is for riders to exit rear and enter front., even the Shorties that columbus runs has both sets of doors. all of them seem to have the Kneeling front air suspension.
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Old 05-07-2017, 12:52 PM   #3
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Thanks Chris,

This is one I found...
just and example that they were around, like to know what and why . The second door is not critical just nice if I do not have to close it of.

The stainless steel questions and where they have weak points is more important.





https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/au...ew?auc=1014501

later J
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:49 PM   #4
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The Gillig low floors have a fairly thick stainless steel floorpan than runs continuously through the length of the bus; they also have an aluminum chassis. Not all low floors have a stainless steel floorpan. Somebody on here actually made a really good thread about their 35 got Gillig low floor conversion.

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Old 05-08-2017, 04:54 PM   #5
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Thanks Lokk,

I will search some more,
I knew the gilligs LF are Stainless, did not know about the aluminum. Any idea what models.
Hope to find more info on other brands.

Any body?

Thank you ,Later J
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Old 05-08-2017, 05:43 PM   #6
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Found some low floor eldorado buses CNG with a 5.9 cummins, wonder how hard to bring them back to diesel?

My 95 yr old mom might come and live with us. Elfie would be to hard to get in and has no bathroom but a low floor can handle a wheel chair easy.
I need a shower and bathroom for her so a 30 ft is probably enough.
She needs a raised handicap toilet, figured that i could get a stainless version out of an old coach and have a smaller black water tank below it.
Then I need a comfy chair and bath/ shower in the middle section and a bed / coach on the other side. Our bed room and storage in the back. May be a kitchen on the passenger font wheel and a bunk beds for the kids above the other wheel.



First need to know more about these Low floor buses.


Later J
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Old 05-08-2017, 06:21 PM   #7
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A transit bus would make a good mother in law house. The slider windows are easier than school bus windows and the hand rails would likely be useful.
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Old 05-08-2017, 07:32 PM   #8
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you would have to change the engine to convert back to diesel, you would be better off buying a bus with a normal diesel engine
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:08 PM   #9
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Or get a toy hauler enclosed trailer for your mother. Low floor, ramp for a wheelchair, she can have her space and you have yours - what's not to like? Some of them even have a loo and bed already. Think of it as a granny flat on wheels.

And for your MIL how about an open trailer? Just strap her down good and tight so she doesn't blow away at speed.

Just kidding . . .

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Old 05-09-2017, 05:18 AM   #10
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Thanks guys,

I have plenty of straps.
My Mom starts to dement and we, our family feels she's best of with us.
As with 95 years I have to take in kindly on her to not tire her out to much.
In overall that means that our Elfie trip experience has to change somewhat. There is some need to travel for my work and for the kids to expose them to new sights and sites. Mom has to come along in a very easy way. I think a handicap lift is already to difficult so hence my reesoning for a LF floor with ramp.
On the great side is that this creates the opportunity to convert something bigger. Converting is a part of the enjoyment , at least for me. Already dreaming about this adventure.


I was not sure about the natural gas or availability. I can see if I can talk with the local bus depot.
5.9 engines are easy to come by. The prices of CNG buses seem to be very favourable.
I was in the hope that a diesel head and mechanical fuel pump would be all that is needed. May be pistons?

Any body knows something about frames of eldorado's LF??
I did a google search for it ut did not have much luck.

Later J
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Old 05-11-2017, 10:14 PM   #11
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Any opinions on this low floor?

mercedes 906 55mph... gov controlled? upgrade rear ratio?

https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...tid=1889#media

Later J
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Old 05-11-2017, 10:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
Any opinions on this low floor?

mercedes 906 55mph... gov controlled? upgrade rear ratio?

https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...tid=1889#media

Later J
How easy would it be to get parts and service for that engine here? You mention changing the rear axle ratio - if it's a Mercedes Benz or ZF axle, that may be easier said than done!

It could be better to find a bus with a US drivetrain, US axles, US brakes, US air suspension, US steering, etc etc, to avoid potential headaches in the future.

John
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Old 05-12-2017, 02:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
Any opinions on this low floor?

mercedes 906 55mph... gov controlled? upgrade rear ratio?

https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...tid=1889#media

Later J
Those are not bad buses. But finding any parts for them is going to be difficult unless you can get to know a good parts guy at your local Freightliner Truck shop. The Freightliner people hate with a passion any time a Thomas, Setra, or M-B bus or M-B powered vehicle ends up at their location. They are required to service them but in 99% of the shops they won't have anyone who has ever worked on a bus and won't have the first idea of how to access the parts through their parts system.

The best choice for a LF bus is going to be a Gillig Low Floor. There are others out there including but not limited to Optima, VanHoole, NeoPlan, MAN, and Eldorado. While none of the others are bad buses it is sort like comparing a Yugo and a Trabant to a Rolls-Royce. The Gillig has been the number one transit bus for more than thirty years for a reason.

Probably the most common power package from the mid-'90's to early '00's was the Detroit Diesel Series 50 or Series 60. The preferred transmission is the Allison. I would stay away from the ZF and Voith not so much because they are bad transmissions (because they are not) but because almost no one anywhere outside of large urban centers know how to work on them and get parts to fix them. Allison automatics are everywhere with people who know how to work on them. Other engines include the Cummins L10, M11, and N12 or their current electronic version of the same engines. I would stay away from the older buses with the 2-cycle Detroit Diesel engines.

Depending upon which transit agency ordered the bus originally and how they intended to use it will determine which rear gears were chosen. Most of the newer buses have OD transmissions so they not only have low end grunt to get going with a full load on a hill but the bus can go into OD and actually travel at highway speed with a load.

I have never seen a Suburban model low floor bus with one service door in the front. Every single one I have ever seen had a front and a middle service door. There were some airport shuttle versions that had only the one center door.

One real advantage most of the newer transit buses have over a school bus is most of the new transit buses have 102" wide bodies.
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Old 05-12-2017, 02:29 AM   #14
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The El Dorado National bus is not a bad bus for what it is. But it is not anywhere close to the same class as the Gillig. It also costs about half what a Gillig costs new which is a consideration for even some government agencies.

The ENC bus is built much lighter and out of much lighter gauge materials. As a consequence when they are taken out of service they are usually pretty well used up. Most were powered by the Cummins 5.9L/ISB engine although some we delivered with the ISC.

As far as CNG is concerned, don't even think about it unless you never intend to travel less than a half tank of fuel away from home. Refueling away from home is a major problem and will continue to be a major problem for many years to come.

And no, you can't just change the head and injection system. The engine may have started out in life as a Cummins ISB but once the block was cast almost nothing else in common was used in putting them together.

By the time you repower, get rid of the CNG tanks, and install a diesel fuel system you could have probably purchased a diesel powered bus and paid for most of the conversion.
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Old 05-12-2017, 03:35 PM   #15
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Thank you gents,

Hope a Gillig will come along. According Wiki the Daimler Chrysler/ Thomas has an allison 2000. I did not call the seller yet and probably won't. This bus is also a 36ft ( to long) and with all the ( your) info and help it seems that i can do better.

wanted .. 30 ft gillig low floor, handicap ramp, highway use, diesel, preferably only front doors but I guess i can patch them up.

Later J
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Old 05-13-2017, 05:00 PM   #16
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So, i did a little more research and found the following in an Altoona test report

Please chime in.

actual a 32 foot bus with a bike rack adding 4 feet

transmission allison B300r

rear axle spicer ratio 4.88 beam axle RS344 air suspension

front axle spicer S46LF

brakes perrot simplez wedge
The frame is steel semi monocoque
roof fiberglass.

Now The gillig slf is said to have a stainless steel frame. I looked up a gillig low floor in altoona test report and they do not mention stainless steel just steel.

I found family wagon had b300r with a 5.38 rear ration and 6 unlocked?
With this 4.88 it should e pretty good on the highway



I am conflicted now. The 32ft size is acceptable.
Tranny and ratio seem to be good.
Some other of these particular buses sold for less then $3000.
That is a nice price.

My only concern now is rust.... so the stainless question remains.

Please chime in

Thanks J
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Old 05-14-2017, 03:47 PM   #17
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These slf buses are real mysteries.

Supposingly the chassis is a Dennis Dart SLF chassis.
Can you believe that I cannot find an image of a SLF chassis on the internet??

Any body else bidding on this bus?

Later J
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:04 AM   #18
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This bus sold for $2730

Seems to me very very low price.
Probably should have bid on it but did not have all my ducks in a row.

I am out of the country and would have been unable to pick up so fast.

Either way this gives me more time to research these SLF busses better.

Later J
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