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Old 10-20-2021, 09:58 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Wanted - Crown Coach school bus

Iím looking for a Crown school bus. I showed up a little late because it looks like there arenít any for sale. Iím looking for a 36í, standard or manual makes no difference.

Anyone know about anything out there?

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Old 10-20-2021, 10:25 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 1,951
Year: 1974
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: "Atomic"
Engine: DD 8V71
They're definitely getting harder to find lately. I just sold one...then tried looking for one, on behalf of someone else...and haven't had much luck. I did see a few posted over in the Facebook "Crown Coach Junkies" group, but the ones they posted recently seem to need some work or are in questionable running condition. My suggestion would be to A) Join that FB group...and B) Have cash and be ready to pounce when you see the one you want.
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Old 10-21-2021, 12:11 PM   #3
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Location: Columbus Ohio
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
also be ready to travel to get it.. no idea where the OP is but east of the rockies crowns are even more rare to find.. so be ready t ogo west to get one.. many of the ones I see around the east are not in the greatest shape as people brought them from the west with no idea how to care for a detroit engine..



I briefly entertained getting one but all i found were ragged out gutted shells and i wanted one with seats
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Old 10-21-2021, 12:27 PM   #4
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Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 1,951
Year: 1974
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: "Atomic"
Engine: DD 8V71
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
were ragged out gutted shells
But the nicest damned ragged out cool-looking gutted shells you'll ever find. Haha!

Seriously, though, even non-running shells are selling. And the nice ones are at a huge premium.

Good point on the travel, sir.
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Old 12-11-2021, 11:02 PM   #5
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https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f14/f...bus-36654.html
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Old 12-15-2021, 12:02 PM   #6
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I ended up finding my bus. I purchased it outside of Sacramento, CA and drove it back almost 3k miles without issue.
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Old 12-15-2021, 09:33 PM   #7
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Location: Bly Oregon
Posts: 543
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: Cummins 350 big cam
Rated Cap: 86 passengers?
Tell us about your new Crown!
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Old 12-16-2021, 04:24 PM   #8
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Year: 1989
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Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eitek1 View Post
I ended up finding my bus. I purchased it outside of Sacramento, CA and drove it back almost 3k miles without issue.
You must tell us about the Crown, with pics and details. I'd be interested in where you got it from and who. PM or email me if you want to keep it private. I'll help with questions you will be having on how to take care of it and what things you need to know. I'd like to know where you reside because there are several Crown owners I know of on the East Coast who you could contact where you'd find mutual interests and support among yourselves.

Filling out your user profile helps us all know about you and your Crown. Email me direct with your questions and information and I'll help you any way I can. Crown owners will always want to help each other and stick together. We know the value and excellence of our Crowns. mikemcc2k@yahoo.com

Oil, for the first instance, especially if it's a Detroit 2-stroke. Assuming it's a Detroit 6-71 and you added oil on the way home, bought no doubt on the way, you most likely got a multi-grade oil which is all you can find today. That's the wrong oil to be using in the Detroit and you need to buy the proper CF2 Delo 100 straight 40wt, or equivalent, and add that from now on. If it's using about the normal 1 gallon every 5-800 miles then you can just add the correct oil going forward. But there's a chance the oil in there already was mostly 15-40 from the previous owner, and you should do an oil and filter change when you can. No way to know what's in it so the oil change is the best way to be sure. If it's smoking blue smoke out the tail and seems to be leaking, oozing oil out of everywhere then that's the symptom for multi-grade oil and must be changed asap. When you do that the symptoms go away almost immediately.

Crowns are famous for getting you there and back again with routine care and upkeep. The more you drive it the better it gets. I'm betting you already noticed that as you drove it home. 3K miles was a good warm up for it and limbered it up and worked the kinks out of all the systems. I know you noticed that.

And also just how fabulous the Crown is to drive on the road. Tight, no rattling windows or body squeaks and groans like with all other buses, great smooth ride, amazing solid feel to the body and suspension and how it drives down the road with authority and sureness. If it's steering is in good shape you noticed also how you didn't need to work very hard, it just sort of went where you Thought it should go, very easy and predictable road handling. That's the magic of a Crown on the open road. Nothing comes close.

Take it from me there isn't anything like it, even the fancy coaches are not as satisfying as a well maintained, tight, good driving Crown. A true drivers bus. That's why I compare Crowns to great driving Sports Cars. They're truly the Sports Car of buses. You get in tune with the road and geography you're traveling through. Drive it as much as you can afford and you'll never be disappointed. It's an addiction and a curse we all share. Go with it and enjoy it to the max, you won't regret it.

And Welcome to the Club.
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Old 12-16-2021, 06:36 PM   #9
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Join Date: Oct 2020
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Year: 1974
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: "Atomic"
Engine: DD 8V71
I third this...as a fellow Crown owner, we all all want to know!
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Old 12-16-2021, 09:22 PM   #10
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Location: Bly Oregon
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Year: 1986
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: Cummins 350 big cam
Rated Cap: 86 passengers?
As a two Crown owner in the process of doing my second conversion of a Crown, I also would offer some tips regarding your Crown conversion. There are some considerations one should take in laying out your floor plan. Don't make any access through existing access panels/hatches difficult. Those metal plates on the floor provide access to various places in the cooling system. Crowns need only straight lengths of hose for the cooling system. That big hatch in the middle of the floor of your Crown provides access to the upper side of your engine.

The hole in the first step of the front entrance-way lines up with part of your door. If you secure a pin or bolt through the floor into the door, that secures your door. (there is a tab next to the hole under the step that has a hole).



I remember that I have one or two factory original Crown manuals in my colection. I will soon go looking for them. Once found I plan to digitize them and make the files available.


Keep in mind there was never a standard Crown manual. Crown provided a manual specific to each bus they made.



Crown made the chassis and body of the bus, and bought the axles, steering, suspension engine, transmission, differentials and brake components from various manufacturers who made them for the trucking industry (and school bus manufactures). That makes parts more available.


Welcome!
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Old 12-16-2021, 09:27 PM   #11
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 1,951
Year: 1974
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: "Atomic"
Engine: DD 8V71
For someone else who might be looking through this thread, this old HPO Crown just had the asking price dropped to a less-stratospheric level.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...9652661956273/
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Old 12-17-2021, 01:32 PM   #12
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It's an '86 Crown with a DD 6-71T in front of a 5 speed allison. The 5 speed allison is a retrofit. At this point it has right around 195k on the odometer and it's in really good shape. No smoke at all after start up. You touch the key and it fires right off. As far as oil, they were running DELO 400 if the bottle is to be believed. I'm going to change it to DELO 100 as soon as I get the chance. That said, it didn't really leak any oil to speak of and didn't use that much either on the trip.

I'm the 4th owner of this bus. It started life as the number 6 bus in the buckeye-union school district near Sacramento, CA. After that it spent some time hauling around white water rafting customers. From there it went into private hands. The previous owner had it for about 6 months before I purchased it.




It has an "unfortunate" paintjob currently. The school bus paint under the white looks to be in really good shape. They didn't even scuff it before laying down the white. Because of that the white didn't stand up to a thorough pressure washing. I'm 1/3 of the way done sanding the bus to prep it for its new paint job. Like I said, it's a marvelous bus and I think it should have a marvelous paintjob. If everything works out I can have it painted by new year.

Today was a big day for us. I got it titled as a motor home. It is apparently a gigantic pain to do this in Louisiana but I did a regular transfer. They asked me what kind of vehicle it was and I said "motor home". They put that on the title with no problem. So, I'm 100% in compliance and have a legal motor home. I'm pretty stoked about that as I was really not looking forward to jumping through all the hoops.

I've got some ideas for the layout of the interior but I'm VERY open to suggestions. I'll do all the work myself to swap it over. I've got a ton of experience doing stuff like that and I have a buddy with a cabinet shop that says he can't wait to help.

The one thing I was planning on doing mechanically was swapping the rear end gearing. Right now it'll run 60mph at 2100 RPM and get right at 10MPG doing so. It has a 4.11 rear end but I'd like to run something "taller". I was thinking around a 3.58 but would like some advice. I'd like to be able to go a little faster, a little more efficiently. With a 3.58 60MPH should happen around 1800RPM. Not sure if there is a down side to that. I'd love to hear some opinions.
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Old 12-17-2021, 11:13 PM   #13
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Location: Bly Oregon
Posts: 543
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: Cummins 350 big cam
Rated Cap: 86 passengers?
My "old Crown" has the Detroit 6-71 turbo engine with the Alison automatic. I reliably got 10 mpg with it. I changed over to 24.5" tires because I bought a parts Crown that had them. It was not good on hills or grades. Going over an overpass dropped the speed as much as 10 mph.



All of this is part of why there is a "new Crown" in my collection.



The new Crown has the Cummins Big Cam I 400 upgraded to a Big Cam III and now probably 430 hp. I did have the gearing changed from 4.11 to 3.42. Having more than 1250 ft/lbs of torque makes this combo work. I found that one has to keep an eye on the speedo as 70 mph comes real easy. Out where I live if the OSP sees a bus going 70 mph on our 2 lane roads they would put down their lunch to get you.


I don't yet know what fuel economy is.


As far as layout, my previous post covers some of the main concerns. I placed my shower over the battery area as there is room to put drain plumbing. I placed the toilet opposite the shower since there is nothing to the right of the transmission. That is also where I placed the holding tank and the propane tank. I placed the generator in the spare tire compartment and put the spare in the trunk. In my thread "The conversion of my 86 Crown Supercoach" there are pictures of this stuff. There are others with Crowns that did things differently than me. There isn't anything wrong with the way others laid out their Crowns. Each person should do things the way they like.


A couple simple pieces of advice:


Don't put any water lines under the floor. Use heavier wire than you think you need. Crown bus floors are three layers of wood. It will hold lag bolts.


One other thing: If you look closely at the side of your crown, about halfway between the floor and the windowsill you will find a gap between the two lengths of steel sheet that cover the sides. That is where the water leaves the bus when rain gets between the glass and the outside of the wall.
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Old 12-18-2021, 04:02 PM   #14
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Location: SoCal
Posts: 392
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
Ah.... Yes. That Crown. I saw it at a gathering in Sonora CA. for Gillig owners, in June this year. It was I think the only Crown that showed up. I'm a little surprised the owner(s?) parted with it because I got the impression they were intending to keep it for the long haul. I'm aware that the Rafting Company took very good care of the Crown and did all the needed maintenance on it and made sure it was in tip top condition. The paint was a judgement call and since the service it was in tended to get the paint abused with stuff leaning on the bus and all manner of things hitting and banging on it there wasn't any need for it to look real purdy. But where it counted the bus was kept in excellent shape. They did use the mostly correct oil, even though Delo 100 would be much better, many still insist that Delo 400 is fine. It's a synthetic based oil and Detroit Diesel eventually changed the tech recommendations back to Delo 100 away from Delo 400. Some say that for moderate duty as we private owners are doing on the engines as opposed to high-time heavy duty commercial service, the Delo 400 is fine.

I prefer to use Delo 100 and that's all I ever use. Why mess around with established historical perfection.

I didn't get a chance to drive it at the meet but I heard it drive by a couple times and it sounded very very good to me. Overall the Crown seems to be in great condition, and the body inside and out looked very straight with no nastiness, except the normal slight rusting/bubbling around the front and rear windows because of the steel used there. The cosmetic paint stuff is irrelevant anyway since everyone intends to re-paint them anyway. All that matters is that the underlying vehicle is top notch and will get you to where you're going in high style and back again.

On the rear-end ratio change I can give you some valuable advice. I can confirm that changing it to 3.70 should be all you'll ever need. 3.58 will be too tall for the 6-71 and running it on the road at 1800rpm to get 80+mph or so will not be good for the engine. You should plan on keeping the engine running in the 1900 to 2100 range for best performance, torque, and fuel mileage. Once it drops below about 1800 it starts to fall off rapidly.

I have personal knowledge of changing a Crown with the exact 6-71T engine and Allison Auto, even though it was a 4-spd MT647, to a 3.7 rear end. It turned it into a solid 80mph Crown on the governor at 2300 rpm. I then drove it with the new owner to Boulder Co. and I'll tell you it was the best driving Crown I'd ever experienced up to that time. It cruised comfortably at 75mph and about 2000 - 2100 rpm which is the where you get the best power and performance. At about 72 mph it settled at about 1900, which is the sweet spot for the 6-71, and where it will tend to go if you take your mind off the Tach. It didn't seem to loose much speed climbing hills, and yours with the 5-spd will be even much better and very noticeably faster pulling hills. I'd highly recommend the 3.7 and not the 3.58 since you risk losing your hill climbing speed and pulling ability.

Remember that the 6-71 MUST be kept in the 1900 to 2200 range for best performance and engine longevity. In 5th gear on the highway at the normal 60-70 mph range you'll find yourself in, most of the time, in traffic and under speed restrictions, you'll find the engine bogged down way too low and about 1500 rpm or maybe lower. This is extremely bad and will force you to downshift the trans manually to keep the engine speed at 2000 or so for any power at all. With a manual transmission the bottom shift point is 1500 and requires a downshift to keep the power and torque up and not damage the engine and overheat it. This tall a rear end will cause you more trouble than you can properly see now, but trust me it's not a good idea.

Long duration driving at even 1800 will take a toll and you'll find yourself having to manually downshift the trans when climbing hills to have any speed at all, and that's not a real advantage at all. Road speed is nice to have, 80+ mph sounds real nice, but the reality of having all that speed is that you'll find yourself thrashing the engine with your foot buried in it just to keep up the speed when you get to the very slightest, barely noticeable of grades, which is very common on the road, sometimes miles and miles of it. This is exactly how you overheat and severely damage a Detroit 2-stroke. The low engine rpms mean not enough water is flowing to cool it down, and this allows heat to accumulate in the head which will eventuality cause all sorts of expensive damage. Much better to gear it so it runs at the 2000 rpm range at about 72 mph which gives you 300 more rpm and solid 80mph for when you want the speed. That's what the 3.7 did. I found I never had to sorry about downshifting on mild grades, it pulled them with no effort and no tendency to heat up the engine. A good balance is what you want.

It will also adversely affect fuel mileage if you have to keep your foot buried in it to keep speed up on mild grades.

Think of the throttle pedal as a heat pedal as well as a fuel using device. The harder you push it down the more heat builds up in the engine and the fuel goes out the tailpipe. What you want is about 80% pedal with good engine torque response and some extra Rpms available before hitting the governor. Driving it about the 80-90% point will get you the best performance and fuel mileage.

This doesn't in any way change the fact that you MUST drive a 6-71 like you're MAD at it. And that's no Joke. That means that you don't baby it while accelerating and up-shifting. Mash the throttle and let it work as hard as it can while you're accelerating and shifting. The engine needs this to keep the rings seated properly and the transmission needs it to sense the torque and shift points accurately. I know that sounds contradictory to what I just said, but that was only when you're at cruising speed and settling in for the long haul that you should drive with a little pedal left for hills and overtaking the dopes on the road you're going to need to be passing. Don't worry about pulling a hill with your foot to the floor on the governor, won't hurt a thing, you can run the engine on the governor forever without damage. I'm sure you saw that on your trip home already.

Another thing to consider is that having all that raw 80mph speed isn't very much use if you're in traffic, or on winding secondary scenic roads, or all manner of other speed limited highways. The ONLY place I've found where that speed is an advantage is in Texas where it's posted 80mph, in many places, how cool is that.

One other thing to always keep in mind is that the speed is very hard on the tires and you need to make sure they are new and in good shape or you'll find out just how thrilling it can be to experience a blowout at high speed.... A word to the wise. The tires are the most critical weak point in high speed driving.

I'll point out that my Crown Tandem is very capable of these high 85+ mph speeds and I've had it doing that many times. The thing about it though is that it has a Cummins which will pull massively at very low Rpms with no harm to the engine, coupled to a 10spd overdrive manual transmission. This means I can control precisely how fast to go in whatever gear is best for the road conditions, so I can fly on the Interstates as well as putter around in traffic jams and on slow secondary roads and mountains with all the choices I need to get the most out of the engine without hurting it. You don't have those choices with your 6-71 torque curve and the automatic, even though the 5spd helps a bit.

I've included the pics I took of your Crown at the gathering but I only got the one outside and the one inside where they were in the process of removing the seats.
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Old 12-21-2021, 08:23 AM   #15
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You have a good memory. It's the same bus. You're right, the owner wasn't incredibly keen on selling it and it was never formally listed for sale. He mentioned he might be interested in selling it in "Crown Junkies" thread on FB. I sent him a private message and we were able to come to an arrangement. He did mention that he's be looking for another one when I went to pick that one up. When I test drove the bus we loaded up and went to Sonora to get a few things for the trip. He mentioned the meet up and said it was a good time.

That's great info about the rear end gearing. I'm going to take your advice. What you are describing with the 3.70 rear end is exactly what I'm after. In reality I only want to do about 65, I think that's plenty fast but I don't want to be at max rpms to do it. Not sure when I'm going to change the gears in the rear end but I would imagine it'll be sometime early next year.

You are also right about the mechanical condition of the bus. If you touch the key it fires right up. It smokes a little on start up but after it warms up the exhaust is invisible. I think the engine only went through 1 gallon of oil in 3k miles. I checked it every morning and topped it off.

The only issue it has is it shifts a little hard into second gear but I don't think that is a big deal. You almost can't feel it shift in any of the other gears so I think the transmission is sound.
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Old 12-21-2021, 07:35 PM   #16
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 392
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
It's quite normal for some smoke when first starting, it should clear up and settle down to the normal for that engine and the overall condition it's in. Some will continue to smoke due to wear and tear, or they're using a multi-grade oil for sure, and some smoke if they have larger injectors for more power. Each one is different.

You say that now, that 65 is all you really want to drive at..... but what you'll find once you up-gear the rear-end is that the thing will want to cruise at a tad over 70 and that's a very good speed to do on the Interstate today. You'll find yourself doing 70+ most of the time since the Crown handles so great and that speed is a very easy and natural thing for them to maintain.

When I helped deliver and train that new owner with the Crown I mentioned she had put the 3.70 in, She also said that she'd never ever feel comfortable going over 60 mph with the Crown. Once we got on the 40 just outside of Barstow heading East I had her look down at the speed and she was shocked to see she was doing almost 75mph. It was an awakening for her to see, and now understand, how well the Crown handles at highway speeds. I'm sure you'll go through the same process.

As for the Transmission, I don't think there's any reason to be concerned. Allison MT's are almost bulletproof and very hard to hurt. The hard shift into second may be a slight adjustment that can be done, at a qualified repair location, but as long as it shifts reliably and all the others are OK, I'd give it no further thought.

In case you don't know the way they work, usually the first and second gears, depending on the transmission model, remain in the torque converter condition allowing for slippage and the bus to accelerate to the next programmed shift point. Then as it shifts into 3rd and then 4th gears it remains in the torque converter for a short time and then locks up solidly in each of those gears. This gives better fuel mileage and prevents a buildup of heat in the torque converter which has to be carried away by the coolant system. That 5-spd is unusual to me and for all I know it may be actually locking up rather quickly in 2nd gear which would give you the symptoms you described, not staying in the torque converter long enough. It may be perfectly normal for the 5pd model.

You haven't indicated yet where you're located. East Coast, Gulf Coast? How'd you do 3k miles without ending up on the East Coast somewhere. Do your profile and also contact me direct and I can help you with the questions you're going to have. mikemcc2k@yahoo.com
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Old 12-30-2021, 09:08 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post

You haven't indicated yet where you're located. East Coast, Gulf Coast? How'd you do 3k miles without ending up on the East Coast somewhere. Do your profile and also contact me direct and I can help you with the questions you're going to have. mikemcc2k@yahoo.com
Thanks for the info. I'm in south Louisiana just north of Lake Pontchatrain. We put the extra miles on the bus doing vacation things and traveling all over. We visited a lot of places on the way back.
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Old 01-07-2022, 04:49 PM   #18
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 392
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
That's very cool to be already using your Crown on "Vacation" like side trips. You'll find as you do the conversion you can still use it as a rolling bunkhouse and mobile tent and take it on trips even if it's not finished inside.

Be sure to Keep it in running condition and try to drive it about 50 miles a month to be sure you warm everything up to operating temp. and circulate all fluids and exercise the air system components. This will save you money in the long run by keeping things limbered up and running properly. Otherwise you run the risk of seals and things drying and other things going stale through disuse and then when you do take it out to drive they protest by breaking.

The more you drive it now, and later when finished, will show the true nature of the incredible strengths and long term longevity built into Crowns. They MUST be driven as much as you can afford and the more you drive it you'll likely see fewer little issues crop up. Remember a Crown in good condition will get you home again while others may leave you on the side of the road at O'Dark-thirty smack in the middle of nowhere, just up the road from oblivion.

I'd strongly suggest you start accumulating a good collection of Crown specific spare parts and carry them with you always onboard. Belts, oil, fuel, trans, and engine air (that's a bitch to find in stock) filters, a case, at least, of Delo 100 40wt oil, water conditioning filter if it has one, water itself, and anti-freeze (old green stuff is fine).

As you do work on the vehicle itself and find a need to buy parts, try to get two so you have one as a spare. It's not hard, and Crowns are very simple to keep up and on the road, but there are a few things to make you go Oh Sh**t if you don't happen to have it onboard when you need it. A little pre-planning and paranoia goes a long way to being prepared for that time you need to patch it up in the boonies to get it going enough to limp to a service point.

Enjoy your new Crown and keep in touch with me as you have questions.

mikemcc2k@yahoo.com
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