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Old 11-24-2020, 08:15 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Missoula, MT
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Year: 1990
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Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: Detroit 6-71TA, Roadranger 10 sp.
Rated Cap: 90 gum-chewing demons
Crown general engine bay help!

I need some assistance with a couple issues in my engine bay. These are four things that basically aren't related to each other besides the fact that I could capture them all in one panoramic picture of my engine bay. As you’ll quickly see from my questions, I am a complete novice at this. Sorry in advance for the rookie questions and thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!

My bus is a 1990 Crown with a Detroit 6-71T and an Eaton-Fuller Roadranger transmission.

Instead of trying to describe everything, I’ve taken a picture of my engine bay and drawn in the areas of concern. These pictures are from the driver’s side (or ‘top’ of the engine).
Engine_bay_annotated.jpg

A) You can’t really see what I’m referring to in the overview picture, but there’s a close-up from a different angle below. Basically, I’m suddenly not building up air pressure. The bus had a slow leak when I bought it, and I’d lose all pressure over ~24 hours. I know that the connection to my right air wiper has a pretty significant leak, so I figured fix that and then reassess. Unfortunately, I hadn’t gotten to that yet. The last time I started the bus to move it, there was a new problem: it doesn’t build up more than 30 PSI, so I can’t disengage the air brakes (nor would I want to with that little pressure).
I eventually found the leak from a valve attached directly to the compressor. Within thirty seconds of shutting off the engine, this little elbow fitting leaks out all my pressure (see pic below, taken from inside the bus, looking through the floor hatch). The threads on this elbow looked like they’ve been accumulating road gunk for many years, so I don’t think something just popped off.
A_annotated.jpg

So… What is broken here? Do I need to replace that valve? If so, any tips how to find the right replacement? My compressor is a Bendix TU-FLO 700, in case that helps.

B) No real problem here, just some questions. First, I told somebody a while ago that I’d post a picture of the coolant heater. Here it is:
B.jpg

My real question here is about the valves at the forward end of the engine compartment (left side of the overview picture at top of post). There are two valves – a larger round silver one (maybe a gate valve?) near the engine valve cover, and a smaller one just above where the filter attaches (looks like a small ball valve of some kind). Both are currently closed, and have been since I bought the bus.

The larger silver valve appears to be the shut off for the coolant heater and the rear passenger heater (which has been removed and hoses looped). I assume I’d only open this valve when it gets cold out and I want to use the coolant heater. Does that sound right?

The smaller valve on the filter mount is a mystery to me. Why is this there, and wouldn’t it be best to always have this open? I obviously have limited experience here, but it seems like a filter is pointless if nothing is flowing through it because a valve has been shut off.

C) Another coolant related question. I was mainly rooting around in the engine bay today to get pictures for A, B, and D, but I noticed a little puddle of coolant that I haven’t seen before. Here’s a zoomed-in pic, see earlier overview pic for location.
C_annotated.jpg

Any thoughts about where this might have come from? I should have done more sleuthing before bothering you all with this question, but it was getting dark and cold and I’m lazy . I’ve been away for work, so I haven’t started the bus in 2 months. I’m guessing it’s a slow leak from a connection somewhere. Please let me know if you have any thoughts about this.

D) This cylinder looks like an expansion tank for transmission oil, though I didn’t know such things existed. Is that right? Again, my transmission is an Eaton Fuller Roadranger RT11610.

There’s a dipstick in there that barely has any oil on it (i.e. well below “low”), though the little bit on the dipstick looks nice and clean. I checked this dipstick several times on the long journey home, even though I had no idea what it was, and it was always in the normal range. I must have failed to tighten the dipstick properly during my last check, because it was loosely floating there when I got home. My engine doesn’t seem to leak much oil, but the transmission, specifically the filter area that's connected to this dipstick cylinder by the hose seen in the overview picture, is absolutely covered in oil goo.

So, there are several questions packed together here. Is this in fact the transmission oil dipstick? If so, is this an acceptable place top up the oil level, or do I need to open the plug on the side of the transmission itself? Is a moderate transmission oil leak something to worry about and try to get fixed?

That’s it – for now. Sorry to lump four completely unrelated questions together like this, but it made sense in my head since they’re all in the same location in the bus. Thanks for any help!
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Old 11-24-2020, 11:31 PM   #2
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I have a simple question. How cold is it right now where your bus is located? Some years back I took the "old Crown" to visit the in-laws in Roy, Utah at Christmas time and could not build air pressure after eating dinner. It was real cold out, and the air system would not build pressure. My air system had some ice in it. After a tow to a shop where it warmed up, all was good again. My "old Crown" has the same engine you do, but with the allison transmission. I have a spare compressor and I will try to take some pictures of it and see if I can answer your question about the air system.
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Old 11-25-2020, 12:09 PM   #3
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Rated Cap: 90 gum-chewing demons
It's below freezing here now, but I noticed the air pressure problem back in September sometime. It must have been pretty warm then, because I remember getting oil stains on some shorts and a t-shirt as I dug around under the bus.

Sorry, I don't think I explained my timeline very well before. I just got home from a two month work trip and am just getting back into bus stuff. I noticed all of these issues except the small coolant leak back in the early autumn and am just now getting around to figuring them out.

I am curious about your iced-up air system. I can see myself having that issue at some point. Do you have an air dryer on the 'Old' Crown? Or did you ever find a solution for the water in the system?

Edit: Happy early Thanksgiving!
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Old 11-25-2020, 12:48 PM   #4
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The shop that towed the bus just kept it inside and the air system thawed out and worked again. There is a treatment for air systems that will mitigate freezing up. On my previous dump truck I used to run the engine and dribble a little at at time into the air intake on the compressor to get the treatment in the system. The same could work on a crown. Draining all the air out of the system is also smart to do. Even with a dryer, water builds up in the air system. There should be a drain valve on at least some of your air tanks that you open and remove all the air and water with.
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Old 11-25-2020, 01:53 PM   #5
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I boiught a bus in texas that came without a heated air dryer.. it has hydrulic brakes but has an air compressor and air system, for the suspension and the seat..



i live in hoio and drove it home.. took it out for a trip in the winter where it got down to about 6 degrees out. parked it.. came back at the end of the day and took off.. apparently from what i can tell, with no air dryer and it being snowy out. water got into the air governor and while the bus was turned off it froze..



down the road a few miles my temp gauge started going up and heater started to blow cold.. i stopped right away and coolant was blasting from the overflow..



assumjing I blew the head gaskets I shut the engine off and prepared to call for a tow truck.



I got back in the bus and while looking to see how badly i overheated it (my digital dash still read 200).. I noticed the air gauge was straight down( pegged out)
back outside my overflow tank bubbled away... Opened the drain valve on the tank and let the air out.. instantly no more coolant bubbles..



when i repaired the bus (the pressure got aso high from the frozen governor and frozen pop-off valve that it cracked the heads on the compressor and blew air into the coolant system!..



that bus now has a heated air dryer.. I would makje sure if you live up north that you installed a heated air dryer like a bendix AD-9 or such .. my air-brake DEV bus has one.. ive never had freezing issues on either bus with those installed.
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Old 11-25-2020, 03:42 PM   #6
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Year: 1990
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Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: Detroit 6-71TA, Roadranger 10 sp.
Rated Cap: 90 gum-chewing demons
Interesting... freezing definitely isn't the initial cause of my air pressure problem, since it cropped up when it was still warm, but otherwise those symptoms sound familiar.

Being a complete noob, I just learned that it's the exhaust port on the governor that I showed in issue "A" on my initial post. So it sounds like either the governor or air dryer are somehow kaput? I also suddenly have a little bit of coolant pooled up on top of the engine near the compressor. Could I have blown my compressor heads similar to you?

So, my updated question for issue "A" is this: Sounds like the governor or air dryer are acting up. How do I determine the true culprit? And is there a good way to verify that the compressor itself is still OK without potentially causing more damage?

Thanks!
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Old 11-26-2020, 02:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejon7 View Post
I need some assistance with a couple issues in my engine bay. These are four things that basically aren't related to each other besides the fact that I could capture them all in one panoramic picture of my engine bay. As you’ll quickly see from my questions, I am a complete novice at this. Sorry in advance for the rookie questions and thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!

My bus is a 1990 Crown with a Detroit 6-71T and an Eaton-Fuller Roadranger transmission.

Instead of trying to describe everything, I’ve taken a picture of my engine bay and drawn in the areas of concern. These pictures are from the driver’s side (or ‘top’ of the engine).
Attachment 51304

A) You can’t really see what I’m referring to in the overview picture, but there’s a close-up from a different angle below. Basically, I’m suddenly not building up air pressure. The bus had a slow leak when I bought it, and I’d lose all pressure over ~24 hours. I know that the connection to my right air wiper has a pretty significant leak, so I figured fix that and then reassess. Unfortunately, I hadn’t gotten to that yet. The last time I started the bus to move it, there was a new problem: it doesn’t build up more than 30 PSI, so I can’t disengage the air brakes (nor would I want to with that little pressure).
I eventually found the leak from a valve attached directly to the compressor. Within thirty seconds of shutting off the engine, this little elbow fitting leaks out all my pressure (see pic below, taken from inside the bus, looking through the floor hatch). The threads on this elbow looked like they’ve been accumulating road gunk for many years, so I don’t think something just popped off.
Attachment 51305

So… What is broken here? Do I need to replace that valve? If so, any tips how to find the right replacement? My compressor is a Bendix TU-FLO 700, in case that helps.

B) No real problem here, just some questions. First, I told somebody a while ago that I’d post a picture of the coolant heater. Here it is:
Attachment 51306

My real question here is about the valves at the forward end of the engine compartment (left side of the overview picture at top of post). There are two valves – a larger round silver one (maybe a gate valve?) near the engine valve cover, and a smaller one just above where the filter attaches (looks like a small ball valve of some kind). Both are currently closed, and have been since I bought the bus.

The larger silver valve appears to be the shut off for the coolant heater and the rear passenger heater (which has been removed and hoses looped). I assume I’d only open this valve when it gets cold out and I want to use the coolant heater. Does that sound right?

The smaller valve on the filter mount is a mystery to me. Why is this there, and wouldn’t it be best to always have this open? I obviously have limited experience here, but it seems like a filter is pointless if nothing is flowing through it because a valve has been shut off.

C) Another coolant related question. I was mainly rooting around in the engine bay today to get pictures for A, B, and D, but I noticed a little puddle of coolant that I haven’t seen before. Here’s a zoomed-in pic, see earlier overview pic for location.
Attachment 51308

Any thoughts about where this might have come from? I should have done more sleuthing before bothering you all with this question, but it was getting dark and cold and I’m lazy . I’ve been away for work, so I haven’t started the bus in 2 months. I’m guessing it’s a slow leak from a connection somewhere. Please let me know if you have any thoughts about this.

D) This cylinder looks like an expansion tank for transmission oil, though I didn’t know such things existed. Is that right? Again, my transmission is an Eaton Fuller Roadranger RT11610.

There’s a dipstick in there that barely has any oil on it (i.e. well below “low”), though the little bit on the dipstick looks nice and clean. I checked this dipstick several times on the long journey home, even though I had no idea what it was, and it was always in the normal range. I must have failed to tighten the dipstick properly during my last check, because it was loosely floating there when I got home. My engine doesn’t seem to leak much oil, but the transmission, specifically the filter area that's connected to this dipstick cylinder by the hose seen in the overview picture, is absolutely covered in oil goo.

So, there are several questions packed together here. Is this in fact the transmission oil dipstick? If so, is this an acceptable place top up the oil level, or do I need to open the plug on the side of the transmission itself? Is a moderate transmission oil leak something to worry about and try to get fixed?

That’s it – for now. Sorry to lump four completely unrelated questions together like this, but it made sense in my head since they’re all in the same location in the bus. Thanks for any help!

I can help you with this. Lets do it in order.

A: The air Governor is the component attached directly to the side of the compressor with the round rubber exhaust on it. I'm no expert on these since I don't have much trouble with them, but I do know they are common as grass and only about $30. Check out the Bendix air system components and you'll see about only one style of Governor for it. That's what you need. NAPA or any truck supply place will have them in stock. That open elbow fitting means nothing to me but I suspect it's another exhaust port for internal passages. Any heavy duty truck/bus repair place will know exactly what to do with this since they are still the same today and readily available. This is an easy fix.

B: Those two valves are plumbed into the main coolant thermostat housing and that isn't a filter per say but a coolant conditioner with an element inside that slowly dissolves to keep the pH and other mineral levels within specs to prevent rust and deposits inside the engine. The valves allow for the replacement of the screw on cartridge without losing much coolant. If they are both closed it might be because the element is all used up and whoever before didn't know and just closed them. It's a kind of optional add on and the water circulates in a small percentage of the overall system flow manner, so closing the valves only isolates the conditioner. The heater coolant heater would also seem to fit this as well. I was the one curious about the coolant heater setup.

Since I live in So Cal I don't see much of the intense cold weather add on gear that's available. Crowns were ordered, equipped and sold to many customers all throughout the Mountainous West so I'm always intrigued by the cool additions that were installed to make life easier in the harsh winter months.

I've driven my fair share in winter conditions and can appreciate the extra conveniences that some of this cool equipment offers. Things like Sanders, and even automatic Chains, what a Concept!! I've seen Crowns equipped with all kinds of this stuff for custom orders through the years.

C: That's a small puddle of coolant and it's sitting on the top of the engine where fluids tend to collect anyway. You want a real thrill open up the engine hatch inside and take a look at all the crap that collects there. It's a real sight for sure. That's where you'll find the Starter and the Water and Fuel pump located. Under the floor hatch and very easy to reach when opened. I wouldn't worry about small random collections like that but watch your overall water/coolant level as you use and drive the bus and if you notice a rapid or large amount of loss every day before you drive it, you do check the oil and water before driving??? Right?? Then you can get serious about tracking down the leak. Otherwise no worries, they may need to be topped off but normally not very much at all and we can easily keep up with anything short of a catastrophic loss or leak. It's not unusual in regular daily service to have to add some water, That's why we check before taking it out, oil and water.

One thing that will help, when you can, is to make the effort to clean and de-grease the whole engine area as much as you can. One trick and very important with the DD engines, is to only clean and flush the engine, however you choose to do it, with the engine RUNNING. Even steam cleaning it. I usually get a gallon of Smart and Final de-greaser concentrate and spray it liberally all over and let it set a few minutes, and even scrub if needed, then hose it off with a garden hose. This is where you must have the engine running, if not there's a real risk of water infiltration into a cylinder and causing a water lock that WILL bend a rod and cause severe damage. I've been warned of this my my trusted 50 year DD specialist mechanic, so I believe him, and you should too.

This will make it easier to spot and isolate leaks and such while keeping it looking sharp and something to show off when folks constantly ask you about the Crown. You have noticed this I'm sure....Right?? They tend to attract crowds, especially in Regions where Crowns are unknown or legendary Unicorns. All part of the COOL.

Many of the pics I have show nice clean engine areas and it's not hard to keep them clean and free of oil. DD's are a pressurized crank case due to the Roots blower operation of the engine. This makes oil vapors come out and condense on the outside of the engines, as well as weep and seep out anywhere it can find a path while other larger leaks are made worse than other engines. This is partly where the reputation of the DD's always leaking oil comes from.

D: That is the Power Steering Reservoir tank. The power steering pump is mounted on the rear (aft, right as you look in) of the engine on one of the several accessory power take off pads, and under the Air Compressor. The Air Compressor is also mounted on it's own PTO pad. The Power Steering uses regular ATF fluid (not real sure which flavor) and you should probably check with a mechanic for any suitable flavors of ATF. Through the years many operators have opted to use straight 10wt motor oil instead of ATF at all. Again check with a good truck repair place or steering & front end shop who would know about the various P/S systems and what works best for them. I've seen Crown use lots of Vickers for their P/S but that's no guarantee of what that particular unit may really be. It should be easily ID'd. But it looks like the typical P/S pump with that round portion surrounding the pump itself, I've seen them often enough.

To check the transmission level you open the plug on the side about half way up and stick in a finger. The correct level is just at the bottom of the hole. The lube is splashed around by the gears and vehicle motion, no dedicated oil pump used. As long as it's up to the bottom of the plug hole you're good. The correct lube from Fuller in the manuals is to use either 90wt mineral gear oil, or 50wt heavy duty engine oil, this is for above 10 degree F conditions. You can check around on Ebay for manuals on your engine, trans, and every other system on the bus so you will have detailed info at your finger tips. I get most everything I need online and have many manuals for specific systems installed on my Crowns.

Are you sure that transmission is not an RT-910? That was the usual one for the non-turbo'd 6-71's and I'm pretty sure they were still used and OK for the turbo's when they became available in the late 70's early 80's. The 11610 is a higher torque (1160ft/lb) model for the Cummins usually and if you actually have one it's overkill but also gives you a nice amount of extra torque handling capacity so that's always a good thing. No biggy really until you need to repair or buy parts for the internals on the transmission. I may be wrong and if you have a tag identifying it then......as Rosanne Rosana-dana said Never-mind.

Crowns used off the shelf components from many manufacturers and that's one of the best things about them, that you can still get help today because the systems are still in use and being made today. They are very resistant to proprietary parts exhaustion, NOT totally immune, but very resistant.

I can help you a lot with questions like this that are laser focused on Crown installations and layouts. Don't hesitate to ask and I'll do what I can to help you out.

I have a bunch of pics from many Crowns that will show you better how things are laid out but I don't know if it's a good idea to post too many here. If you want to contact me via email I'll be happy to attach and send them back to you in bite size packages. mikemcc2k@yahoo.com

Let's work together so I can get you as many pics as you need to help you with understanding and dealing with your Crown. It's not hard at all, and they are readily accessible to work on, but they are different if you've never worked on the 80 degree laid down "pancake" configuration. Not harder, merely different. Once understood they are a dream to work on and why Crown was so much in demand and still in service today with operators, in spite of the Kalifornia political special interests who hated them because they couldn't ever sell their inferior Skool Bus products to fleet owners of Crowns.

I think that's all for now and I hope I've helped and given you some guidance and confidence in answering your concerns.
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Old 11-26-2020, 02:53 AM   #8
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I would suggest to not buy the Napa governor. I bought one of those and quickly found out it was junk. Get the actual Bendix brand governor.
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:02 PM   #9
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One other suggestion: Replace the coolant hoses on your Crown. On my Christmas trip to Utah one of the original heater hoses going to the engine split and I had to replace it in 20 degree weather, not fun. There is a valve similar to the one that drains the radiator placed at the front of the Detroit 671 (about the top of the engine) that needs to be opened to bleed air out of the cooling system when you do this. Also, Crowns do not use special hoses in the cooling system, so Napa will have straight hoses that can be used.
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Old 11-28-2020, 10:18 AM   #10
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Thanks for the help! Overall it sounds like there may be no huge problems here. That's relieving! I'm going to take advantage of a rare set of helping hands over the next few days to try to tackle some interior conversion work. Once my help dries up, I'll try out some of your recommendations on this mechanical stuff and I'll let you know how it goes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
A: The air Governor is the component attached directly to the side of the compressor with the round rubber exhaust on it. I'm no expert on these since I don't have much trouble with them, but I do know they are common as grass and only about $30. Check out the Bendix air system components and you'll see about only one style of Governor for it. That's what you need. NAPA or any truck supply place will have them in stock. That open elbow fitting means nothing to me but I suspect it's another exhaust port for internal passages. Any heavy duty truck/bus repair place will know exactly what to do with this since they are still the same today and readily available. This is an easy fix
Right on! This looks like it should be easy, and as you mentioned, not very expensive! Woohoo! I started to become worried that there was something also wrong with the air dryer. Hopefully just this simple quick fix does the trick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flattracker View Post
I would suggest to not buy the Napa governor. I bought one of those and quickly found out it was junk. Get the actual Bendix brand governor.
Good advice. I see only a dollar or two difference online between a Bendix D-2 and a generic "D-2 Style" governor. I'll pony up for the name brand

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
B: Those two valves are plumbed into the main coolant thermostat housing and that isn't a filter per say but a coolant conditioner with an element inside that slowly dissolves to keep the pH and other mineral levels within specs to prevent rust and deposits inside the engine. The valves allow for the replacement of the screw on cartridge without losing much coolant. If they are both closed it might be because the element is all used up and whoever before didn't know and just closed them. It's a kind of optional add on and the water circulates in a small percentage of the overall system flow manner, so closing the valves only isolates the conditioner. The heater coolant heater would also seem to fit this as well. I was the one curious about the coolant heater setup.
Ok, that makes sense. When I bought the bus, the previous owner had replaced all the filters including this coolant conditioner cartridge. I bet the valve just accidentally stayed closed after replacing the cartridge. I'll open them up! The only downside I see is that I think this will cause the coolant to loop all the way back to where the rear heater was, which might dissipate a little more precious heat during cold driving. Probably insignificant, right? I had thought about removing the extra 8' of galvanized pipe back to the now-nonexistent rear heater. Maybe it's worth the effort...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
C: That's a small puddle of coolant and it's sitting on the top of the engine where fluids tend to collect anyway. You want a real thrill open up the engine hatch inside and take a look at all the crap that collects there. It's a real sight for sure. That's where you'll find the Starter and the Water and Fuel pump located. Under the floor hatch and very easy to reach when opened. I wouldn't worry about small random collections like that but watch your overall water/coolant level as you use and drive the bus and if you notice a rapid or large amount of loss every day before you drive it, you do check the oil and water before driving??? Right?? Then you can get serious about tracking down the leak. Otherwise no worries, they may need to be topped off but normally not very much at all and we can easily keep up with anything short of a catastrophic loss or leak. It's not unusual in regular daily service to have to add some water, That's why we check before taking it out, oil and water.
I do check the water every time So far it's been fine, but I hadn't noticed this little puddle before. So if it's not noticeably affecting the overall coolant level, then it's a back-burner issue. I would like to track it down if possible, but it's good to hear that it's not a telltale sign of impending doom!

Quote:
Originally Posted by flattracker View Post
One other suggestion: Replace the coolant hoses....
Good advice. Thanks for letting me learn from what sounds like a miserable experience! I'm not able to drive much in the short term, so I'll plan to change out the hoses when temps are a little friendlier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
One thing that will help, when you can, is to make the effort to clean and de-grease the whole engine area as much as you can. One trick and very important with the DD engines, is to only clean and flush the engine, however you choose to do it, with the engine RUNNING. Even steam cleaning it. I usually get a gallon of Smart and Final de-greaser concentrate and spray it liberally all over and let it set a few minutes, and even scrub if needed, then hose it off with a garden hose. This is where you must have the engine running, if not there's a real risk of water infiltration into a cylinder and causing a water lock that WILL bend a rod and cause severe damage. I've been warned of this my my trusted 50 year DD specialist mechanic, so I believe him, and you should too.

This will make it easier to spot and isolate leaks and such while keeping it looking sharp and something to show off when folks constantly ask you about the Crown. You have noticed this I'm sure....Right?? They tend to attract crowds, especially in Regions where Crowns are unknown or legendary Unicorns. All part of the COOL.
I love this idea, but I wasn't sure how to go about it messing anything up. Thanks for sharing the tip about engine running. I hate that everything is just a black gooey mess and it's impossible to tell what exactly is leaking. I'm going to shelve this project until warmer weather, though! I'll revisit this in the spring. Thanks for the advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
D: That is the Power Steering Reservoir tank. The power steering pump is mounted on the rear (aft, right as you look in) of the engine on one of the several accessory power take off pads, and under the Air Compressor. The Air Compressor is also mounted on it's own PTO pad. The Power Steering uses regular ATF fluid (not real sure which flavor) and you should probably check with a mechanic for any suitable flavors of ATF. Through the years many operators have opted to use straight 10wt motor oil instead of ATF at all. Again check with a good truck repair place or steering & front end shop who would know about the various P/S systems and what works best for them. I've seen Crown use lots of Vickers for their P/S but that's no guarantee of what that particular unit may really be. It should be easily ID'd. But it looks like the typical P/S pump with that round portion surrounding the pump itself, I've seen them often enough.
Now it's so obvious! Of course it's the power steering! When I poked my head underneath the other day, it looked like there was a direct connection between then the transmission and what I now know is the PS pump. Now I can see that there's a gap between them and the PS pump is only connected to the engine. I'm curious what fluid is in there, though. It doesn't look or smell like the kind of ATF I'm used to. Perhaps it's worth doing a drain and refill so I know exactly what's in there.

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Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
Are you sure that transmission is not an RT-910?
This is one of the very few things I am sure of. Yep, it's an RT-11610. I haven't unearthed many ID tags underneath all the gunk, but this one I found pretty early on
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Old 11-28-2020, 02:01 PM   #11
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I do check the water every time So far it's been fine, but I hadn't noticed this little puddle before. So if it's not noticeably affecting the overall coolant level, then it's a back-burner issue. I would like to track it down if possible, but it's good to hear that it's not a telltale sign of impending doom!

A simple thing you can do to check if it is a "real" leak is to sop up the coolant pool with a rag and watch it over time to see if it comes back.
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Old 12-19-2020, 10:21 AM   #12
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Finally sitting back down at the computer to follow up. Thanks again for all the suggestions and help. I now know much more than I used to about what's going on down in the engine bay (though that's not saying much).
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I would makje sure if you live up north that you installed a heated air dryer like a bendix AD-9 or such .. my air-brake DEV bus has one.. ive never had freezing issues on either bus with those installed.
While poking around, I discovered that my air dryer is a WABCO 1200, which does have a little heating element. Thanks for the tip!

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Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
A: The air Governor is the component attached directly to the side of the compressor with the round rubber exhaust on it. I'm no expert on these since I don't have much trouble with them, but I do know they are common as grass and only about $30. Check out the Bendix air system components and you'll see about only one style of Governor for it. That's what you need. NAPA or any truck supply place will have them in stock. That open elbow fitting means nothing to me but I suspect it's another exhaust port for internal passages. Any heavy duty truck/bus repair place will know exactly what to do with this since they are still the same today and readily available. This is an easy fix.
Replaced the air governor with a reman Bendix D-2 and air pressure is building just fine now. Easy peasy, just as advertised! I did a post-mortem on the old governor and didnít see any reason why it had failed. It was a little oily and grimy inside, but nothing crazy. I have no previous experience with air governors, but I assumed I would find a cracked o-ring or something. Interestingly, I didnít find ANY o-rings or other obvious way for the exhaust port to make a seal. Perhaps there was one and it completely disintegrated? Then again, it was a quick inspection and I had no idea what I was looking for, so maybe I just failed to notice some obviously faulty doodad in there.

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Originally Posted by Native View Post
A simple thing you can do to check if it is a "real" leak is to sop up the coolant pool with a rag and watch it over time to see if it comes back.
Good idea, and another one I should have thought of myself. My only excuse is that I was in a rush. Iíve since sopped up the little puddle and it hasnít come back while sitting. I stuck a note to my dash to check that area after the next time I start her up and see if the puddle returns.
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Old 12-19-2020, 10:48 AM   #13
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So, I feel like questions "A" and "C" from original post have been solved. Thanks a ton for that! The air pressure issue (bad governor) was the most worrisome of the bunch.

I still have a few questions about "B" (Coolant heater) and "D" (Power Steering Reservoir). Any help is much appreciated!

B) Though this process I found that my coolant preheater isn't working. Plug it in... nothing. Hours later... still nothing. Bummer. It is a Kim Hotstart and the tank is stamped "B-35676". I'm pretty sure that's not the overall heater ID #. A google search of that part number shows me that a replacement is only $30 ish, whereas I understand that these little coolant heaters are much more pricey.

Does any body have experience troubleshooting these things? I assume that I should wait until I do a coolant flush to dig into it, since it's purposefully mounted at the lowest point in the system. Is it possible to poke around at the electrical connections without draining the coolant? I have a sneaking suspicion that the power cord is part of the issue, since it's sheath is falling apart and too soaked in oil gunk to tell if the inner wires are compromised.

D) Now that I know what a power steering reservoir looks like (again...), what do I put into it? I use ATF in my cars, but this doesn't look like the red, sweet-smelling stuff I'm used to. It looks clean and almost new (pretty sure the previous owner had all fluids changed right before I bought the bus). It's light yellowish and looks like a bottle of generic "power steering fluid" that I've had in the garage for ages. Can I top it off with regular-old NAPA power steering fluid, or will potentially mixing brands/types of fluid cause problems?
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Old 12-19-2020, 08:21 PM   #14
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So, I feel like questions "A" and "C" from original post have been solved. Thanks a ton for that! The air pressure issue (bad governor) was the most worrisome of the bunch.

I still have a few questions about "B" (Coolant heater) and "D" (Power Steering Reservoir). Any help is much appreciated!

B) Though this process I found that my coolant preheater isn't working. Plug it in... nothing. Hours later... still nothing. Bummer. It is a Kim Hotstart and the tank is stamped "B-35676". I'm pretty sure that's not the overall heater ID #. A google search of that part number shows me that a replacement is only $30 ish, whereas I understand that these little coolant heaters are much more pricey.

Does any body have experience troubleshooting these things? I assume that I should wait until I do a coolant flush to dig into it, since it's purposefully mounted at the lowest point in the system. Is it possible to poke around at the electrical connections without draining the coolant? I have a sneaking suspicion that the power cord is part of the issue, since it's sheath is falling apart and too soaked in oil gunk to tell if the inner wires are compromised.

D) Now that I know what a power steering reservoir looks like (again...), what do I put into it? I use ATF in my cars, but this doesn't look like the red, sweet-smelling stuff I'm used to. It looks clean and almost new (pretty sure the previous owner had all fluids changed right before I bought the bus). It's light yellowish and looks like a bottle of generic "power steering fluid" that I've had in the garage for ages. Can I top it off with regular-old NAPA power steering fluid, or will potentially mixing brands/types of fluid cause problems?
It's not uncommon to use regular old motor oil. I know many who put 10 wt into their Allison automatics, Greyhound started this trend years ago and as far as I know it continues to this day. PS can take most anything up to 30 wt if the system is leaking. I'd guess that the current fluid you see is maybe just 10wt regular car (not expensive heavy duty diesel) motor oil. It should work fine and provides a little more lubricity to the components. It might be that clear PS fluid I see sold too, but 10wt works fine and is cheaper. The PS systems are very solid and reliable and the only issues I've seen tend to be leaks of hoses or possibly the pump shaft seal where it mounts to the engine accessory drive pad. In this case the leaks will go into the engine oil and show up as increasing oil level on the dipstick, which on a DD is just not possible, since they are always trying to get rid of their oil....as we all know.

I don't want to sound like an expert regarding the mixing of PS fluids. But I'd say that as long as whatever you put in, like 10wt oil, feels, and smells similar to whats already in there it should work fine. PS is essentially just a simple hydraulic boost system and the pump is a very simple and common gear pump. Crown usually used the Vickers pumps and I've seen folks use all kinds of oils as long as they are about 10wt and kept clean of contaminants they seem to cause no harm.

I know nothing about the heater but can guess that the heating element would be centered in that housing and probably fairly long as I've seen most of these things are when used in water heaters and such. I'd guess the water will be lost as you unscrew the element. Also it may already be isolated from your coolant system and not any kind of a factor. Possibly those two closed valves by the water treatment filter. I'd suggest a cold start evaluation of just how and where that heater is inserted into the system and take it upon yourself to make the modification for it to work as you want it too. Add isolation valves as needed and run your own hose lines to make it work so you have flexibility in it's use. If you can't find parts for the one that's in there now, simply look around for a newer one made today and replace the damn thing. I'm very sure there are currently available heaters that are designed to do the same function and they can easily be inserted in to replace the one in there now. That's assuming you even want to have a heater in there at all.

For $30 bucks it's worth it to try to see if it happens to be the heating element, possibly with cord attached that you need. Maybe you can find and contact the folks who made the whole thing and get a current element replacement from them, or whoever is now representing them, if anyone. I'd say that someone somewhere up there in the Great White North/Big Sky Country is still using these and knows of a current element replacement part.

Who knows, when you get it out you may find it's common as grass and used in all sorts of water heating appliances, but Senor Murphy argues against that don't you know. Good luck.

One thing to consider is that as you do the conversion you will probably be installing a domestic hot water heater, or maybe something like an Aqua-Hot system or one of many other types of water heaters for hydronic heating and such. In all these cases most all have optional taps for taking hot water out for other uses. One of these could easily be a loop down to the engine where you can plumb it into the cooling system and pre-heat the engine that way. I'll be looking at something like this myself, just for sh*ts and grins, and to have it in case it gets cold enough to require the assist.

You have so many options there isn't anyway to call out the correct or best way to go. Use any source of hot water you may generate, or have a dedicated engine heater as in place now for simplicity. It's all up to you.

Also try to regain the use of the water filter/conditioner independent of the heater plumbing. This will most likely require you doing some custom hose runs and creating the optimum control and operation of the heater as you want it to function.

Welcome to the wonderful world of all the custom installations Crown did for their customers. You have full reign to make changes as you see fit and can probably improve on things for your specific needs. Not difficult but something to dig into and come up with a creative solution. Don't be swayed by the concept of "original equipment" or factory built standards. There isn't any such thing. Crown added stuff as the customer required and they simply ordered third-party things and mounted them exactly like you would do today. If you don't like the way it's in there now or how they did it......then by all means change it, and I'll bet you can do a better job.

I caution you a little here about making changes to the underlying vehicle engineering since Crown was superb in how they designed and built their vehicles, but this sort of add on accessory item is definitely something you can play around with and make it your own. You'll find plenty of things like this you can make changes too and improve as you dig deeper into your Crown. All part of the thrilling experience of Crown ownership. Enjoy.
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Old 12-21-2020, 10:26 PM   #15
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Thanks for your insight CG.

Your suggestion that anything that looks, smells, and feels like the current fluid seems like a reasonable way to go. I put a little bit of the current fluid on a paper towel, then compared to a couple other fluids I had sitting around (see pic). It's definitely not ATF, but I could easily be convinced that it's slightly used motor oil or PS fluid. There's no discernable smell, and they all feel about the same. I only need a little bit to get the level above "add" mark on the dipstick, so I think I'll just put in a skosh of the Power Steering fluid for now.
IMG_20201220_122947565.jpg

I dug into the coolant heater a little more. I Ohmed out the cord and it's fine. I then plugged in the Kill-a-Watt meter in along with the coolant heater. Nuthin. The thing is drawing zero amps, so I think something inside the heater element is dead. Luckily, I noticed that there's enough coolant hose attached that I can unbolt the whole thing from the bus and stretch it upwards ~5'. That should let me open it up and not lose gallons of antifreeze. I'll report back what I find, though it may take me a while to get back around to this project.

As for the heater being independent of the coolant filter/conditioner, I *think* it already is. After getting a closer look, it seems like the coolant conditioner cartridge is isolated on both sides by gate valves. The outlet from the heater enters the engine right next to one of the valves, but is not affected by whether or not the valve is open or closed.
IMG_20201220_120734422.jpg
Here's a pic of the valve I'm talking about. The hose going downward leads to the coolant conditioner. The hose coming in from the right is the outlet (hot water) from the heater.

I took a good long look at the diesel hydronic heating options, and was almost going to go that route. There's a lot to like about those. In the end, I decided that they don't quite fit my needs. For one thing, being 6'2 and not doing a roof raise means that in-floor radiant heat is not a good option. Also, since I already had a means of pre-heating the engine (at least I thought I did ), I figured a second coolant heating method was redundant. My current plan is diesel air heater for comfort, Excel ventfree on-demand for hot water, and plug in the existing Hotstart coolant preheater if it gets below ~20įF and we need to drive. The motor starts up just fine at 20į, but I'm guessing it'll need a little help if it gets much colder than that. If I can't get the Hotstart heater working cheaply, then I'll reassess.
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Old 12-21-2020, 10:58 PM   #16
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Thanks for your insight CG.

Your suggestion that anything that looks, smells, and feels like the current fluid seems like a reasonable way to go. I put a little bit of the current fluid on a paper towel, then compared to a couple other fluids I had sitting around (see pic). It's definitely not ATF, but I could easily be convinced that it's slightly used motor oil or PS fluid. There's no discernable smell, and they all feel about the same. I only need a little bit to get the level above "add" mark on the dipstick, so I think I'll just put in a skosh of the Power Steering fluid for now.

Regular motor oil has a slight smell and a slight TASTE. You can put your finger in the PS box, then wipe it off and taste your finger. If it is shart, chamical, nasty in taste, it is PS fluid. If you can *almost* not taste anything, it is the motor oil.
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Old 12-21-2020, 11:08 PM   #17
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This sounds like a trick . I'll try it tomorrow anyway. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 12-22-2020, 05:10 PM   #18
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Very good. You're looking good and will find a solution that works for you.

Not having any experience with Arctic cold conditions, I've heard that the oil in the pan gets so cold it won't flow or pump. That's why the oil pan electric heaters are added to the vehicles who regularly operate in those conditions. I'm thinking the Detroit Crown has it's pan hanging out in the air and probably getting a real blast of cold air down there. I'm really not sure if just warming the block is enough, since the pan is hanging so low and not attached to the block enough to transfer the heat. A separate electric oil heater may be in your future, for those Arctic adventures....... Happily the pan area couldn't be any easier to reach, all around the thing, and add whatever you happen to need. I know I'm being a little over the top, but it's something I've wondered about after reading of the conditions in the Great White North.

I'd bet you aren't in those extreme conditions even there in Montana. And I know that anything above 0 F is not hard to deal with and get the engine running. Any assist with a block or coolant heater is usually all you need and the oil won't go all jello like until way sub-zero Arctic conditions so I'm really just being silly I suppose. But if you do take it to Alaska, in the winter, be prepared.
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Old 12-22-2020, 05:25 PM   #19
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the magnetic pan heaters are a good "second" heater, however the coolant heaters are what do the real magic.. the coolant is all around the engine anmd through the metal does heat the pan and the oil in it enough for it to flow.. the oil already up inside the engine and which clings to the engine parts after it is stopped is the most important oil to heat .. the reason your starter will turn over extremely slow in arctic conditions is the oil that is sitting in the rods, mains, cam, etc creates a lot of friction so the starter has to overcome it.. this also means the engine takes a lot more batter yand a lot longer to fire as your compression is lower.. and thirdly havign the coolant warm means the cylinders are warm.. the engine will fire off much quicker..



all important on the 2 stroke is that the top area is war mwhere the rack control is.. as the engine starts woit hthe rack wide open.. you want that oil warm enough as to not impede the rack from cutting down thus you dont high-rev the engine on a cold start.. the oil in the pan will be viscous but still will flow, esp as the warm oil drips into it.. doesnt take long for oil pressure to build..



when we had -25f weather a few years back, i used both a block heater and a magnetic pan heater on a diesel truck i had and of course it fired off just like it was summer..



in both my diesel busses I have plug-in block heaters and diesel-fired coolant pre-heaters.. if im travelling I cant count on being able to always plug it in.. just like now im in chicago.. (now fortunately the hotel we are at let me bring my bus INSIDE THE ENCLOSED GARAGE!! and just park it here for my duration.. its like 65 in the garage.. so no worries here..
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Old 12-22-2020, 05:36 PM   #20
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I love all the creative solutions. The most important part is that you're thinking and planning ahead for the nasty conditions. Done correctly most anything can be tamed and made easier. All it takes is the initiative to anticipate and make preparations.

Most are already there mentally or they wouldn't have the special vehicle and going into harms way in the first place. At least I would hope so. If not prepared, they will soon learn the hard way, and thus add to their collection of bitter lessons, which is another way of just saying "Experienced". That's how most of us learn, but if we're smart we'll try to learn from others and their hard Lessons......

But I'm pretty sure most of us aren't looking to operate in the extreme conditions, which is why the bus in the first place, so we can all escape South for the Winter. Those us who did it for a living all appreciated the extra advantages of the properly equipped cold climate vehicle.
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