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Old 04-03-2018, 10:04 PM   #21
serpent's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Black Rock City
Posts: 113
Year: 198x
Coachwork: Crown & MCI
Chassis: 40ft Tandem/40ft MC-9 Tag
Engine: Cummins 855 BCT/6V92TA, RTO-910/HT-740
Rated Cap: 47,000lb/38,000lb GVWR
Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
A 40 year old Crown that's maintained and driven regularly will outlive you.

They thrive on being driven, LOTS. I currently drive, in commercial service, a '76 Crown with a 6-71 and 5-spd transmission. It's as sound as the day it was made and will go for another 40 years, easily. Few here understand the concept of the Crowns. They will last as long as they are looked after and taken care of. Age, and mileage, means nothing at all, when it comes to getting parts, or having them worked on. They're simple in the extreme, and easy to understand. It's true, mechanics away from the West Coast will have probably never seen one, but once they get into them they'll find they are simple and use common truck equipment easily obtained.

Unlike the insidiously proprietary parts found on all other school buses. You know, like trying to find a specific year headlight bezel, or turn signal lens, brackets, fittings, even active systems are specific to a year and model. Simple stuff like that will drive you nuts on all the other mass produced buses. Not on any Crown. It's all available, probably from a local NAPA or Truck supply retailer.

I know a local school district that was forced into replacing all but two of their Crowns, which they fought to keep, due to the Kalifornia Holocaust. They bought brand spanking new Bluebirds (I think), and they tell me that every single day, one or the other of them break on routes, and they send a Crown out to rescue and finish the route. They are located about 90 miles North East of L.A. and one morning on my way to work, (driving the Crown) I saw both of their Crowns heading into L.A. on a field trip, probably museums. I laughed out loud knowing that they intentionally sent BOTH rescue Crowns on the trip because they wanted them to get the kids back that day, not using any of the new buses, since they didn't want any troubles on the road, so far from home.

I read the posts here regarding Crowns, how old they are, how expensive they are to get and keep(Tooo expensive!), how hard they are to get parts for, how hard they are to get fixed, all the many things that can be found to object to. In actual operation, they are cheaper to keep running and take care of, due to the high mileage, and daily tempo they were designed for. Once in good condition, and something gets repaired, a private owner probably can't drive it enough to incur failure on that particular part again. Just try to find a used car for $12k that will go another 300k miles, or another school bus for that matter.

All I can say about these constant negative vibes (Moriarity), is that you can't know anything about them, or what you're talking about, unless you've ever actually SEEN, or Touched, and preferably DRIVEN, a Crown. Once you've done that, I'll allow as how you may have a personal opinion on them. Till then, it's all just background noise from the peanut gallery, and worth exactly what's paid for it, nothing.

I learned to drive a Crown 5 spd while in college and have driven professionally, Crowns and every kind of highway coaches, right up to today. As far as I'm concerned, there isn't any reason to constantly have to justify the extreme robustness of a Crown or it's innate value. It's a totally different breed of cat much more akin to the high mileage highway coaches of yesteryear. Things like the GM 4104, 4106, 4501 Scenicruiser, MCI's 7,8,9, etc. Prevost, Van Hools, etc. All of these I have untold miles on and owned two Scenicruisers when I was in business, in addition to Crowns, including a 10 wheel 10-spd Tandem.

I mention this only to make it clear that when I offer observations or input, and very, very, seldom at that, I am attempting to raise the level of group knowledge and better inform everyone, based on my years of experience.

I suggest that all the questions and concerns regarding this particular CO. Crown has already found their answer. The previous mention of mismatched lug nuts is an indicator of other neglected, possibly larger issues hidden from sight. Like what kind of condensation and corrosion may hide under all that pretty carpet? How's the clutch, transmission, rear-end, brakes? There's plenty of other high dollar exposures that can crop up, and anybody dinking around with mis-matched lug nuts, and did I see him say the front and rear tire sizes were different too, 11's on front, 12's at rear??

These are all indicators of non-professional care and repair work. Many questions, that require careful examination by a Qualified mechanic, and a new owner with deep enough pockets to take on and correct whatever may crop up. As I said in headline. If you have to ask (how much?), You may not be able to afford it. There are several things that come to mind, I could ask about it, but they would sound like sour grapes, so I won't.

It's true that the other '78 Crown is posted by me, but I know what condition it's in, and we made every effort to make it as trouble free as possible, eventually deciding to sell it to someone for conversion, and no previous experience with large vehicles, let alone a Crown. If you want a Crown with no known problems and many years of fun and enjoyment, then this is a good one to consider. I initially intended to keep it to run it in commercial service, so we did all the work it needed as best we could.

Timing hasn't worked out yet for a second Crown, so then I decided to put it up for sale to someone who will appreciate the efforts made to keep it as trouble free as possible. It's worth every penny, and others, comparably priced ones sold lately, were nowhere near as mechanically sound as this one is. I knew many of them and the operator that sold them. As time goes by Crowns will continue to appreciate, as they are already attracting well to do collectors, and speculators, looking to cash in on a true and rare American Classic. Some are being sold oversees to foreign buyers, and they have serious $$$ to spend. We all feel this upward price pressure.

It's not for me to say that a Crown is the best choice for everybody, but if you intend to drive a LOT, and want to get there and back again, in safety and comfort, plus, have a total blast just driving the Crown down the road, and enjoy being the object of envy at every stop along the way, and waved at and honked at along the way, then by all means get a Crown. If not......Well there's plenty of other, much cheaper ones to pick from.
Well said, sir.

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Old 04-04-2018, 11:40 AM   #22
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: MO
Posts: 199
Year: 1978
Engine: Detroit 6-71
Originally Posted by Tigerman67 View Post
I personally went and looked at this crown a few months ago when it first hit the market.

I asked a similar question about what the value of a crown was.

Most feedback I got said it was worth it.

It didn't fit the mission I was looking for in my bus (transport of motorcycles) due to the rear of crowns being a crumple zone and requires decent engineering to cantilever a frame extension 6-10 feet to get a sturdy hitch. That and you really couldn't get anything but the smallest bike in through the side emergency door (the owner is a cannonballer, and has motorcycle that would fit through the side door, but I don't).

The generator is huge, an older model, but not many hours on it. It is also gas. A question I would have is can I get parts to work on that generator as well. For instance, can you buy a carb rebuild kit or is it $400-500 for a new carb.

Other than the end caps, as others have said, the crown is aluminum. The floors are usually marine grade plywood, so no floor rust to worry about (although since this one was converted by the school district, whether the really high grade plywood from the factory is still in there or not, i don't know)

I couldnt see any damage on the inside from the leak, but I would think about taking that interior out up front and try to determine damage as well as closing the holes up.

If the automotive type carpet interior is what you will leave in it, and you don't find any serious damage to undo for the leak then that could save you a step. If your going to rip it out, then I think that the seats are already out is only a small gain.

The only other thing I would worry about is that crowns have been step children to the school districts for a while. While everyone wanted one, everyone knew that their life expectancy was going to be short lived due to California smog rebates. So some of the school districts may have not taken the best care of the buses and robbing Peter to pay Paul to keep the last few running. On this particular bus, there is some mismatch in the rims and the lug nuts even on the same wheel. I actually heard someone say that the white wheel was typical of this school district, so that is probably one of the originals. Where did the yellow ones come from. How come they couldn't put a matched set of lug nuts on the wheels? This was really the only indication I had that there might have been some parts swapping to keep this one running.
On the other hand, this one was converted to some sort of teaching lab by the district, so I don't think it got as many miles on it as the others either, so that could be a big plus.

I have watched a few crown sales since.
I think this is the last one I saw ($5800):

But I have seen several others go for $12k as well. So a lot of variability in price. I'd suggest you go back and look to see if there was alot of difference between the crowns that have sold recently, or if the difference it that more people were competing for a few of them that drove the price up.

I personally would love to have owned this crown, and I will probably kick myself 5 years from now when I can't find one. But 10,5 wasnt in my budget and as I mentioned, it didn't fit the mission I was looking for right now.

So if you live close enough to drive out and look at it, that can be worth something as well, since most of these buses are out on the coast. The downside is that most of the crown experts are also on the coast as well.

Would love to hear about it if you do buy it.
So you actually saw the same bus I am asking about? After reading all of the comments, even though we would love this beauty of a bus, it may just be too much work for us, I along with my father will be doing the whole conversion we have tons of experience in house renovations etc so the interior build out won't be an issue, however mechanically speaking my father won't be around when we are halfway through our journey and have some mechanical breakdown. We want to be able to drive the bus all over the country, (won't be driving every day as we want to stay few days at a time in each place, perhaps on the west coast we will stay 2-3 weeks in one location) but we want a bus that will be relatively easy to find a mechanic to service in case of an issue but one that has a good track record of reliability. We have a maximum budget of $20k including bus purchase and buildout along with fixing and servicing it to get it trip ready. Any suggestions I would really appreciate it!

Crown_Guy, your bus looks amazing!!! We have family in California but driving that bus all the way from California to Missouri may be a mission. Furthest we would want to look for a bus would be within 12 hours reach. However, I would like to talk it over with the wife and maybe we could make the trip there and see it if its still available in May. at $12k and ready to be converted it sounds extremely tempting. That would leave us with about $8k budget for conversion. I am guessing this bus would be titled as a bus right now and need to be insured as a van/bus? NO CDL required? from what I know I don't need CDL if used for personal.
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Old 04-04-2018, 11:41 AM   #23
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,401
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Thank you Crown_Guy.

Well put & informative.
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