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Old 02-22-2015, 12:57 AM   #1
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Should I buy 1973 Crown Supercoach bus?

Hello community!
I am new to this forum, and thrown into this "bus livin" thing in a matter of days!
I was driving not 15 miles from my house in a neighboring town when I saw a beautiful huge bus sitting on the side of the road with for sale signs on it.. So I stopped and took some pictures, thinking maybe one of my ambitious friends, all of which talk of tiny home creation like they'll be starting there building tomorrow..
Anyway I called the number painted on the bus and talked to the owner for a good 12 minutes about the thing.. And my curiosity grew. It was owned by a church who did all the maintaince on it to keep it safe for children, then it was sold to the current owner who seems almost a bit over anxious to sell it for "best offer" by the first of next month.
I am supposed to be traveling internationally, with a airfare pass that was granted to me but I've been caught up with falling in love, tearing my car apart and now.. The possibility of building my own home and never paying for rent electricity or the like for at least my whole college experience..
The bus is a 1973 deasil cummins manual 5 speed with a new clutch and batteries, runs and drives great all electrical works.. I offered $1000 and so far my offer is the best.
Here are some photos.

I am thinking IF I end up buying this huge dream project, I should drive it to a truck auto shop and have them test compression and such prior to purchasing?
No dmv backfees, title in hand.

Opinions?? I'm 19 and over ambitious, so tease me and don't stall on being brutally honest with your comments.

Go!




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Old 02-22-2015, 06:56 AM   #2
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Welcome, kinda scary and over whelming, tires for steer (front) will run $150 used to $600 new and back tires either caps or new will be $1000+ so check date codes 8 yes is pushing old and unsafe in MY book

Have brakes/clutch and engine looked at, a oil reading/scan etc would be worth the money

Good luck
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:24 AM   #3
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Buses can get real expensive real quick.
I'd definitely take that for a thousand bucks though.
I wouldnt even spend the money to have it looked at for that kind of price. If I were you, well, then maybe. But think about it like this- try to find someone you know already. A friend of family member. Have THEM look at it. Get your friends involved now, and it will help you along. Lots of folks have the "Ill do it alone" thing and I get that. But I'd rather enlist my friends than pay strangers who may take advantage of me.
Hard to find a car for a grand that will even get you home, let alone a bus! I say go for it.
You could probably re-sell it to the crown folks on here for a very healthy profit if nothing else.
Just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:50 AM   #4
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considering the state you are in, and the rush to sell, check the vin and title.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:53 AM   #5
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Is that you in the pic?

I like it, and I don't even like crowns.

Nat
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by bansil View Post
Welcome, kinda scary and over whelming, tires for steer (front) will run $150 used to $600 new and back tires either caps or new will be $1000+ so check date codes 8 yes is pushing old and unsafe in MY book

Have brakes/clutch and engine looked at, a oil reading/scan etc would be worth the money

Good luck
Tires I really am hoping I don't need to buy new ones right away. What do you mean "check date codes yes 8 is pushing old and unsafe in my opinion "??

Thanks
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:03 PM   #7
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Buses can get real expensive real quick.
I'd definitely take that for a thousand bucks though.
I wouldnt even spend the money to have it looked at for that kind of price. If I were you, well, then maybe. But think about it like this- try to find someone you know already. A friend of family member. Have THEM look at it. Get your friends involved now, and it will help you along. Lots of folks have the "Ill do it alone" thing and I get that. But I'd rather enlist my friends than pay strangers who may take advantage of me.
Hard to find a car for a grand that will even get you home, let alone a bus! I say go for it.
You could probably re-sell it to the crown folks on here for a very healthy profit if nothing else.
Just my 2 cents.
Good ideas and info. I have friends with much mechanical experience, but I have never worked on or checked on an engine this big. I just wanna do a compression test, have someone tell me if the tires need to be replaced, check air brakes, transmission, oil. I know the clutch is new and batteries are new.

Quote:
Originally Posted by claydbal View Post
considering the state you are in, and the rush to sell, check the vin and title.
Ran the Vin. No back fees. Title in hand in his name.. Anything else to keep in mind?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
Is that you in the pic?

I like it, and I don't even like crowns.

Nat

That's my girl, not me.
Why don't you like crowns?
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:11 PM   #8
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Is that a front or rear engine bus.

Tires that look good on the outside can quickly separate from rot and blow out on the interstate.

Nat
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:13 PM   #9
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Is that a front or rear engine bus.

Tires that look good on the outside can quickly separate from rot and blow out on the interstate.

Nat
Its "front" as in the engine is half the way down the bus but the driveline heads back free from there to the rear wheels.
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:32 PM   #10
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Can anyone tell from this image if they look super worn?
It looks like the leafspring bushings definitly need replacement.
The deasil engine looks suuuper greasy and coated in oil. Ive heard big deasil engines leak grease, but should I be worried about possible problems there? It's not leaking onto the ground where it's parked, just caked in grease.
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:36 PM   #11
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Leaf spring bushings look shot. Can anyone tell me if from this image these tires look worn just from this picture?
The deisel engine looks super greasy and caked in oil. I heard big deisel engines get coated in oil, but should I be worried about blown gaskets or the like? It's not leaking oil under it where it's parked..just coated on the engine.
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:42 PM   #12
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The vast majority of Crowns were mid-engines. This means the Cummins or Detroit engines were pancake engines placed on their sides to fit under the bus. This placement gives you a huge stability factor over any other bus on the road. The State of California did tests on buses at the Highway Patrol Academy and tried to put them into out of control spins on specially designed skid tracks on the Academy's track. All front and rear engine transit buses easily spun out. It was almost impossible to get the Crowns to spin out.

The year of that Crown tells me it is probably a 220 Cummins. Probably does not have a turbo. A workhorse of an engine and properly maintained can easily go a million miles.

$1,000 is cheap for a Crown. I would have an oil analysis done. I would also have someone check on the air lines and the air brakes. Anything that big must have good brake at all times.

I agree with the suggestion that you should check on the age of the tires. Tires have a certain "shelf life" and after that, even with low mileage on them and good tread, you can have problems.

I think you should jump at this opportunity, but with your eyes wide open. Getting it up to snuff mechanically will cost you some bucks. Any bus that old is going to have some issues, even minor ones. And minor issues on a giant bus do not necessarily translate into minor costs.

For example, one of my Crowns needed to have its giant radiator recored. We got quotes of up to $9,000 from a big national school bus distributor who also does maintenance. We finally had it done for about $2,000 at a local shop. Pretty expensive, but a hell of a lot less than $9,000.

Crowns were designed to last at least 50 years in every day service and came with a 20 year warranty. They are incredible gems if you can get one. However, age will take its toll on even the best made bus.

Things to have checked out include:

Tires
Oil Analysis on Engine
Bushings (these are thick rubber "pads" that help with suspension and shock)
Frame (make sure there are no cracks, rare in a Crown but not unheard of)
Air and Fuel Lines (might need to be replaced)
Shocks (probably does not have air bags with an early 70's Crown)
Brakes (check on life left)
Air Brake Cans and Slack Adjusters
Radiator
Air Filter (people forget to check these out)
Batteries (Crowns have two big 8D batteries)
Heater Core in the front of the bus (might need reconditioning)

I hope this helps. If you can get this Crown for $1,000 you will be one lucky future skoolie. It is a great platform for a mobile house on wheels.

Good luck!!!
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by gmarvel View Post
The vast majority of Crowns were mid-engines. This means the Cummins or Detroit engines were pancake engines placed on their sides to fit under the bus. This placement gives you a huge stability factor over any other bus on the road. The State of California did tests on buses at the Highway Patrol Academy and tried to put them into out of control spins on specially designed skid tracks on the Academy's track. All front and rear engine transit buses easily spun out. It was almost impossible to get the Crowns to spin out.

The year of that Crown tells me it is probably a 220 Cummins. Probably does not have a turbo. A workhorse of an engine and properly maintained can easily go a million miles.

$1,000 is cheap for a Crown. I would have an oil analysis done. I would also have someone check on the air lines and the air brakes. Anything that big must have good brake at all times.

I agree with the suggestion that you should check on the age of the tires. Tires have a certain "shelf life" and after that, even with low mileage on them and good tread, you can have problems.

I think you should jump at this opportunity, but with your eyes wide open. Getting it up to snuff mechanically will cost you some bucks. Any bus that old is going to have some issues, even minor ones. And minor issues on a giant bus do not necessarily translate into minor costs.

For example, one of my Crowns needed to have its giant radiator recored. We got quotes of up to $9,000 from a big national school bus distributor who also does maintenance. We finally had it done for about $2,000 at a local shop. Pretty expensive, but a hell of a lot less than $9,000.

Crowns were designed to last at least 50 years in every day service and came with a 20 year warranty. They are incredible gems if you can get one. However, age will take its toll on even the best made bus.

Things to have checked out include:

Tires
Oil Analysis on Engine
Bushings (these are thick rubber "pads" that help with suspension and shock)
Frame (make sure there are no cracks, rare in a Crown but not unheard of)
Air and Fuel Lines (might need to be replaced)
Shocks (probably does not have air bags with an early 70's Crown)
Brakes (check on life left)
Air Brake Cans and Slack Adjusters
Radiator
Air Filter (people forget to check these out)
Batteries (Crowns have two big 8D batteries)
Heater Core in the front of the bus (might need reconditioning)

I hope this helps. If you can get this Crown for $1,000 you will be one lucky future skoolie. It is a great platform for a mobile house on wheels.

Good luck!!!
Thanks for taking the time to run through that! Took my head a bit out of the clouds. Duh, of course its going to cost me to get it safe and drivable .
Anyway I coincidentally stopped at the bus on my way home last night and took a look at the leafspring bushings, and they look shot.

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Old 02-22-2015, 01:18 PM   #14
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here is some info

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Class A Motorhomes: michelin tire date codes

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tirete....jsp?techid=11
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Old 02-22-2015, 04:50 PM   #15
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They are probably original to the bus and need to be replaced. My tandem Crown was delivered to its school district in 1989 and it had its original bushings. I am replacing all 16 of them (a three axle Crown has more than your two axle Crown).

I would also look at getting a good Japanese tire, not Michelin or Bridgestone. These are incredibly expensive. I got a quote of $500 for well know Japanese tires (12 x22.5R) and $900 for Michelins. Given that you will not be running this bus for many miles every day, a tire that gives you high mileage is not that important. All tires get old, even just sitting. The age of a tire is critical as over time the tire breaks down and make the tire unsafe.

Also, for the cost savings, getting recaps is not worth the safety issues or hassle when they fall apart. If you are going to put recaps on the bus, never, never, never put them on the front tires, only the rears. Some people say they have never had problems with recaps. However, I have enough school district clients that have stories about recaps going bad, it is simply not worth the few bucks you will save.

I would also check with your local school district (if you said where you live I missed it) to see if they do outside work on buses. Many districts in California bring in outside work to help bring in money to the school district. Some diesel shops here in the San Francisco Bay Area are charging up to $175 per hour for mechanical work. I have deals with several of my school districts that are clients. I am paying between $55 and $80 per hour depending on the district. One heck of a savings.

I don't think you should be discouraged by all of this. The price is unbeatable. You can take any mechanical work that needs to be done at a slow pace. However, since Crowns are no longer made, if you miss out on this opportunity, you may never see this kind of deal again.
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Old 02-22-2015, 05:27 PM   #16
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Please let us know if you buy it!
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Old 02-22-2015, 06:12 PM   #17
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Be careful as many folks are looking for this bus

The Crown buses are King. If ya get this bus I can guide you about the bus. Discover the engine maker as there are 2 choices. The Crown is very much in demand.. Check Ebay for a comparison. Frank
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Old 02-22-2015, 06:32 PM   #18
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Frank-ID is right. A running Crown for $1,000 is a steal. Grab it if you can before someone else scoops it up! If you do get it know that you are joining a small but proud group of Crown owners that love to share and help with fellow owners of the best school bus ever made!
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Old 02-22-2015, 06:49 PM   #19
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Just last month I bought a '78 Crown and driving it 600miles back home was the biggest adventure episode of my life. That price seems pretty unbeatable, go for it =D

What these guys are saying about the tires is very true. Three of the six tires blew on me on the highway. It cost me the bus over again to gettem all replaced. I was planning on replacing them all anyways, just not so soon haha. In MA with RV plates an inspection costs just $35 (not that I've been able to actually GET it inspected thanks to the record amounts of snow we're getting). In Cali of course your mileage may vary.

GOODLUCK!
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisMetalMess View Post
Its "front" as in the engine is half the way down the bus but the driveline heads back free from there to the rear wheels.
Cool, so it's really a mid ship engine.

Nat
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