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Old 06-08-2019, 08:07 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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How would I get Cruise Control?

I want to install cruise control on my 2002 39ft 8.1L Gas V8 Bluebird.


I had to get gas since my mechanic (who is helping me move! now thats a real friend!) is not a diesel tech.


anyway. its a pig. 4mpg. the problem is the dang thing is freaking fast and you can't feel it. on the drive home I hit 75mph and never in a million years would have guessed. in fact I thought the speedometer was broken so while cruising along at 75mph I took out my phone to check my speed.


holy crap. it really was hauling along at 75mph. it felt like 50.


I want to keep it to 55mph for the 2000mile trip to save on fuel. cruise control would make that so much easier on something so deceptive regarding speed.


is that even possible? suggestions?
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:43 PM   #2
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Cruise control retrofitting is possible. Some buses already have it somewhere in the controls. It might need to be activated in the ECU on yours. Look around for anything that might relate to a ďhigh idleĒ switch.

Not to sound like a nag, but youíve gotta adjust your driving habits to suit the vehicle and road conditions! I totally understand how you feel regarding speed and size relation with these vehicles. Going fast feels slower than it is. But in the end itís up to you to control your right foot, cruise control is a crutch! Haha

Gas school buses get notoriously worse fuel MPGa than diesel, but you may save on maintenance costs and parts in turn. Congrats on your bus and have fun with your build!
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:31 PM   #3
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on the one hand I agree with you.


on the other hand it don't matter. When I make the trip it will literally be the third time I have ever driven the thing.


1st drove it home.


2nd will be once I get the tires and I take it down to SNJ to get them installed and have the mechanic once over the bus to make sure we are good


3rd time 2000 mile drive cross country.


$200 cruise control will be cheaper than the GAS I burn if I don't learn the accelerator in that time.


it takes time to "learn" a new vehicle especially one so different. if I drove this daily no doubt within a few weeks I would have the pedal feel and velocity feel of the vehicle down pat.


I can't afford to just "drive it around" to learn the feel of it. 4mpg.


so if I can toss $200 at it and save myself $300 or $400 in fuel. hell yes


every 0.1mpg up or down will cost me or save me $40!!! if I did the math right


though that begs the question. WHAT IS the fuel economy between 70mph and 55mph ? I don't even know. maybe its a minuscule difference.


anyone know?


its a 2002 496 V8
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:51 PM   #4
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Saw an eagle manual trans bus with a lever attached to a door stop which presses the accelerator when pulled and locked to a position. "low tech manual cruise control" This could be a simple solution to your problem.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerys View Post
on the one hand I agree with you.


on the other hand it don't matter. When I make the trip it will literally be the third time I have ever driven the thing.


1st drove it home.


2nd will be once I get the tires and I take it down to SNJ to get them installed and have the mechanic once over the bus to make sure we are good


3rd time 2000 mile drive cross country.


$200 cruise control will be cheaper than the GAS I burn if I don't learn the accelerator in that time.


it takes time to "learn" a new vehicle especially one so different. if I drove this daily no doubt within a few weeks I would have the pedal feel and velocity feel of the vehicle down pat.


I can't afford to just "drive it around" to learn the feel of it. 4mpg.


so if I can toss $200 at it and save myself $300 or $400 in fuel. hell yes


every 0.1mpg up or down will cost me or save me $40!!! if I did the math right


though that begs the question. WHAT IS the fuel economy between 70mph and 55mph ? I don't even know. maybe its a minuscule difference.


anyone know?


its a 2002 496 V8
My old gasser did 3 mpg. Par for the course man.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:34 PM   #6
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If you have a gasser just get a vaccum gage, run a hose from the vacuum system and mount the gage where you can constantly see it. Drive with a light foot and the highest reading possible when cruising
Cheap but increases mileage. Thee gage drops lower when your foot is in the throttle heavily.


John


edit: Add both cruise and the gage. watch the gage and then you will turn cruise to OFF. Poorer mileage when turned ON.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:37 PM   #7
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Youíre not going to get any better than 4-5 mpg with a gasser moving a 10 ton brick through the air. Cruise control is more of a creature comfort than a fuel boosting aid on this type of vehicle. It would save your ankle from getting sore, but isnít going to magically boost your mileage!
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:44 PM   #8
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Get the VIN and the make of the chassis. Call a commercial trucks dealer for that chassis make. Given the VIN, or model year and engine size, I suppose they'd be able to tell you whether it's likely your ECU has a built-in cruise control feature they could turn on, how much they'd charge for the service, and what accessory switches you might need to buy to control it. I'll guess it's likely that the ECU would have a cruise feature available.



As a DIY alternative you might look at aftermarket cruise control kits from Rostra. I nearly bought one of theirs.. but then I found out the ECM in my bus has a cruise control features and the switches were already in the dash; I just had to get the feature enabled.


Even if cruise control didn't save you any money at the gas pump, 2000 miles of highway or interstate is a long time to have to press the skinny pedal.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:58 PM   #9
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It would be a good feature to have on a long monotonous cross country trip, but if it can't be added now you'll have to get used to the speed "by fire", so to speak.
What did folks do in the days before C/C was introduced as an option?
They did what they had to do to get from point A to point B, and drove it!

Good luck doing what you're looking to do...
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:08 PM   #10
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It's freakin' hyuuuuuuuu-ge!
Did you know that birds are fish? Is truth! When in flight, they're swimming thru the air. While air is an amalgam of gasses, it behaves very much like a fluid.
Walk thru a puddle a coupla inches depth, and then waist deep water. More difficult, right?
A vagrant breeze may feel delightful. Try facing into the winds spun off of an F-5 tornado. It'll send you a$$ over tea kettle.
Read on, MacDuff...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerys View Post
...
though that begs the question. WHAT IS the fuel economy between 70mph and 55mph ? I don't even know. maybe its a minuscule difference.
*It isn't!*

anyone know?
OK, I'll try to simplify a complicated situation as much as possible. Bear in mind, once past @ 30 mph, the majority of energy expended is spent overcoming wind resistance instead of rolling resistance.
Mathaphobics, feel free to skip foreward!
Short of using the tachometer (lowest comfy reading in highest gear), the equation to determine what forces are at play and their results while paddling your bus along, is:
Fd (drag force, in N)= Cd (drag coefficient) * 1/2 * p (fluid density [air=1.2 kg/cubic meter]) * V squared (flow velocity, m/s) * A (frontal area characteristic [height*width], meters squared)
Cd for a dolphin = 0.0036. An aircraft wing is 0.05. A standing person's is 1.0-1.3. A rectangular box,' 2.1. And a bus = 0.6 - 0.8.
Convert your speeds from miles/hour to meters/second (multiply mph by 0.447)
The faster you go, the more force is required to overcome the air resistance. Drag increases with speed squared. The power needed to push an object thru the air increases with the speed cubed.
In short, doubling the speed quadruples the power need for speed. The sweet spot for maximum fuel economy in most bus' ranges from approximately 45-55 mph.
Clear as mud..?
*
Creature comfort sure, but not entirely.
Maintaining a constant velocity, avoiding upward jags in acceleration, will aid in improving fuel economy, especially on long drives.
Quote:
Originally Posted by WARGEAR View Post
Youíre not going to get any better than 4-5 mpg with a gasser moving a 10 ton brick through the air. Cruise control is more of a creature comfort than a fuel boosting aid on this type of vehicle. It would save your ankle from getting sore, but isnít going to magically boost your mileage!

Nifty trick!
I don't reckon it'd work for a diesel..?
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackJohn View Post
If you have a gasser just get a vaccum gage, run a hose from the vacuum system and mount the gage where you can constantly see it. Drive with a light foot and the highest reading possible when cruising
Cheap but increases mileage. Thee gage drops lower when your foot is in the throttle heavily.


John


edit: Add both cruise and the gage. watch the gage and then you will turn cruise to OFF. Poorer mileage when turned ON.
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haz.matt.1960 View Post
It's freakin' hyuuuuuuuu-ge!
Did you know that birds are fish? Is truth! When in flight, they're swimming thru the air. While air is an amalgam of gasses, it behaves very much like a fluid.
Walk thru a puddle a coupla inches depth, and then waist deep water. More difficult, right?
A vagrant breeze may feel delightful. Try facing into the winds spun off of an F-5 tornado. It'll send you a$$ over tea kettle.
Read on, MacDuff...


OK, I'll try to simplify a complicated situation as much as possible. Bear in mind, once past @ 30 mph, the majority of energy expended is spent overcoming wind resistance instead of rolling resistance.
Mathaphobics, feel free to skip foreward!
Short of using the tachometer (lowest comfy reading in highest gear), the equation to determine what forces are at play and their results while paddling your bus along, is:
Fd (drag force, in N)= Cd (drag coefficient) * 1/2 * p (fluid density [air=1.2 kg/cubic meter]) * V squared (flow velocity, m/s) * A (frontal area characteristic [height*width], meters squared)
Cd for a dolphin = 0.0036. An aircraft wing is 0.05. A standing person's is 1.0-1.3. A rectangular box,' 2.1. And a bus = 0.6 - 0.8.
Convert your speeds from miles/hour to meters/second (multiply mph by 0.447)
The faster you go, the more force is required to overcome the air resistance. Drag increases with speed squared. The power needed to push an object thru the air increases with the speed cubed.
In short, doubling the speed quadruples the power need for speed. The sweet spot for maximum fuel economy in most bus' ranges from approximately 45-55 mph.
Clear as mud..?
*
Creature comfort sure, but not entirely.
Maintaining a constant velocity, avoiding upward jags in acceleration, will aid in improving fuel economy, especially on long drives.



Nifty trick!
I don't reckon it'd work for a diesel..?
I donít think itíd work the same as a diesel. They donít have a throttle plate and donít create vacuum like gassers do.
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:34 PM   #12
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I donít think itíd work the same as a diesel. They donít have a throttle plate and donít create vacuum like gassers do.
Yup, that's what I'm thinking. Too bad, it's an awesome hack!
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:09 PM   #13
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trust me I know all about drag. Went to school to be an AE and I design rockets. (amateur)


slower is better fuel economy. but there is also typically a ceiling where you are just not going to get better without drastic (aero) mods.


for example the difference between 55 and 65 in my big clubwagon was not much. (.2mpg 24mpg average)


but as your fuel economy gets lower and lower tiny difference make huge results. at 4mpg every .1mpg is $40 saved in fuel on a 2000mile trip. I doubt I can increase it by 1mpg but even .4 or .5mpg would be huge.


if I had time and finances I would put a nose cone on this booger and a tail cone along with some side skirts. I might still do the boat tail if time allows since I think I still have some corrugated plastic lying around (if it has not been taken)


as for what did we do before cruise control? easy. we learned to "feel" the vehicle.


I don't have time for that. and I don't want to learn at 4mpg I can't afford to just use it as a DD to learn to feel it. costs to much in fuel.


I wonder. its newer than 1996. does this thing even have an OBDII port or is that legal requirement only for non com vehicles?
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerys View Post
trust me I know all about drag. Went to school to be an AE and I design rockets. (amateur)


slower is better fuel economy. but there is also typically a ceiling where you are just not going to get better without drastic (aero) mods.


for example the difference between 55 and 65 in my big clubwagon was not much. (.2mpg 24mpg average)


but as your fuel economy gets lower and lower tiny difference make huge results. at 4mpg every .1mpg is $40 saved in fuel on a 2000mile trip. I doubt I can increase it by 1mpg but even .4 or .5mpg would be huge.


if I had time and finances I would put a nose cone on this booger and a tail cone along with some side skirts. I might still do the boat tail if time allows since I think I still have some corrugated plastic lying around (if it has not been taken)


as for what did we do before cruise control? easy. we learned to "feel" the vehicle.


I don't have time for that. and I don't want to learn at 4mpg I can't afford to just use it as a DD to learn to feel it. costs to much in fuel.


I wonder. its newer than 1996. does this thing even have an OBDII port or is that legal requirement only for non com vehicles?
I had a truck camper mounted on my flat deck -stuck way up in the air making a big sail - got 3 1/2 mpg on a trip - made my own scoop to lift the air over the camper - next trip I got 7 mph - a little aerodynamics can help a lot
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:32 PM   #15
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oh yeah. got a good one for my geo metro.


At the time I was averaging 56-58mpg (I can now average 62mpg and tickle 65 regularly)


anyway had to go get some shelving for the store. the super cheap helium steel stuff that you can life with your pinky and is super slinky and flimsy but strong once you put weight on it.


anyway got 7 of them. 6 fit nicely in the base drag area of the car but the 7th stuck up into the airstream above the roofline of the car.


35mpg on the way home and 5th gear was "nullified"


the car lacked sufficient power to accelerate in 5th gear because of the increased drag and lost over 20mpg!



amazing.
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerys View Post
oh yeah. got a good one for my geo metro.


At the time I was averaging 56-58mpg (I can now average 62mpg and tickle 65 regularly)


anyway had to go get some shelving for the store. the super cheap helium steel stuff that you can life with your pinky and is super slinky and flimsy but strong once you put weight on it.


anyway got 7 of them. 6 fit nicely in the base drag area of the car but the 7th stuck up into the airstream above the roofline of the car.


35mpg on the way home and 5th gear was "nullified"


the car lacked sufficient power to accelerate in 5th gear because of the increased drag and lost over 20mpg!



amazing.
in a similar vein, my old ford crewcab was on it's last legs -driving west of town there is a slight incline, so slight I doubt a fit bicycle rider would notice it - I could 'pull' that incline in high gear unless I had a dog sled on the roof of the boxes - with a dog sled on top I had to gear down to maintain speed - a racing dog sled is composed of not more than a few sticks - you wouldn't think there would be enough drag to slow a vehicle at all
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:53 PM   #17
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You could probably adapt something simple like this to suit your needs.
https://www.amazon.com/Lawnmower-Uni...gateway&sr=8-4
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:23 PM   #18
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I second a vacuum gauge, it will help to get the feel sooner and will help you drive for the best mileage. Although I am sure there must be a way to get cruise control, this is a first step. Funny I took the cruise control off my bus. A very antique system and did not feel like messing with it.

I just took a trip to Minnesota and back (from Virginia, and pulling a trailer) and was hitting some strong head winds going out. Averaged 5.2 mpg. On the way back the head winds were tail winds being that I was going eastbound. 5.4 mpg. And east bound my trailer was loaded with 4,000lbs of stuff.

I try to stay around 65mph.
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:50 PM   #19
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GM offers this 8.1 as a factory engine option in the HD Silverado, and they are available with cruise control, so there's your answer. It can be done, just a question of how much work it will be to do it. I'm with the thought process of calling a commercial truck dealer or perhaps the bus body manufacturer with the VIN to see what shakes loose.

It may indeed have it, just not activated in the settings, though I believe cruise control on skoolies has evolved to more than just a high-idle switch or lever. I've driven many Class 8 trucks that had cruise, no reason a Class 7-chassis school bus wouldn't.

If nothing else, some vehicles could be retrofitted with dealer-installed cruise control, A/C and a few other goodies if they weren't factory-equipped. Just to give you a shove in the right direction, your skoolie is built on a 5500-6500 series chassis, and I'm quite sure cruise was an option on those as well.
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:51 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerys View Post
Though that begs the question. WHAT IS the fuel economy between 70mph and 55mph ? I don't even know. maybe its a minuscule difference.

My personal experience:


'02 Freightliner Century. 53' dry van trailer, 22K pounds in the trailer. 6.2 MPG averaging 70 MPH (over the course of about a month). Enter Illinios where speed limit (at the time) was 55 for trucks. Set cruise on 61. Zeroed out average fuel economy tracker. 8.1 MPG across IL. YMMV.
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