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Old 08-27-2020, 07:15 PM   #1
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Orion Cummins/Hybrid Electric - Any Last Words?

Hey guys,



I haven't visited these forums in a long time but I thought of you all today..


I've been looking for a box truck to convert but I went and had a look at a 2006 Orion VII diesel-electric bus today. I was hoping to hear from anybody who knows anything about these?


The one I test drove had 7200 miles on it, and I actually am worried that's too few for the year?

The engine sounded like it was surging moderately and before we took it out there was a fair amount of white smoke from the exhaust. When we got back and looked at the engine there was a constant 18inch puff of white vapor coming from the blow-by tube.


I'm just entering the world of big diesels, and I don't feel equiped to decide if that's normal or not?


We looked at another one with more miles, 45,xxx thereabout, but that one was having some wiring redone because of rats. It may be ready to compare with tomorrow..


They were both won at an auction within the last couple months and had been in the care of San Francisco Transit their whole lives prior (I don't understand why they have so few miles)




I'm planning on having a mechanic look it over and read any codes tomorrow, but otherwise I may well pull the trigger.


Having any online community around this type of bus would make me feel much better though.. so whad'ya know?
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Old 08-27-2020, 07:22 PM   #2
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What are they asking for it? Makes me wonder why they would sell with on 7k miles on them, should throw up a red light. 15" plume of vapor would seal the deal. Blowby like that will require an expensive rebuild shortly.
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Old 08-27-2020, 08:18 PM   #3
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They only want $7.5k, but they grabbed them at a municipal auction and probably effectively bought them for the price of the diesel it took to get them back.


Thanks for the advice on the blow-by, that's a couple people who have said stand clear and I think I will of that one. Still interested in taking a closer look at the others.
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Old 09-22-2020, 06:59 AM   #4
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Those buses was used everyday at SF MUNI. Those buses have over a million miles on them and they go for a lot cheaper at auction probably 2-3 grand. The people selling them are trying to make a huge profit. Your better off getting one from the auction itself
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:56 AM   #5
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I don’t know about the Orion’s specifically I do know Columbus got 10 diesel electric hybrid gilligs on 06 and 10 more in 2010 and from what I understand they had lots of issues with them . The later ones had a lot of. DPF issues which in an 06 you shouldn’t have unless it was retrofitted for California or made to a different spec. They had to run these on active routes for 10 years to keep the grant money. These hybrid units were down a lot.. various issues from electronic to some engine .. the engines essentially idle all the time under a constant but only light-moderate load so they had issues with DPF loading up, they all got webasto heaters installed as the busses wouldn’t stay warm in Ohio winters. Maybe in San Fran since it’s never cold the engines warm up enough to keep the DPF clear and it’s a non issue .

The electric air conditioning had issues with the inverter units and at one point gillig had backordered them so they had 1/2 those hybrids downed because it was July and no AC.. I’m not sure if they have any of those busses left. Haven’t talked to my friends there since CoVID started
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Old 09-22-2020, 11:11 AM   #6
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I honestly wouldn't touch a hybrid anything after what I've seen. Just my $0.02. You're just begging for dealership labor when something breaks (and it will).
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Old 09-22-2020, 05:07 PM   #7
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Chris, you astound me with your bus knowledge. Thats awesome! Yep, my limited reading about hybrids is that they are completely troublesome for the transit co's. Its a shame since I think a hybrid bus would make an amazing conversion had it been reliable.
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Old 09-22-2020, 05:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bus'n it View Post
Chris, you astound me with your bus knowledge. Thats awesome! Yep, my limited reading about hybrids is that they are completely troublesome for the transit co's. Its a shame since I think a hybrid bus would make an amazing conversion had it been reliable.

LOL - I just talk to a lot of people, some who Live-breathe-work-play-sleep busses..


there are people passionate about certain classic cars and its cool.. but I have found those passionate about certain busses are 10-fold as intense..



I attend quite a few gatherings that are all things busses abnd learn a ton..



while this site is mainly about converting school busses into living space.. there are an amazing amount of people who are into the "bus" part of it, not only with school busses but with transit, coach, school.. many who's careers are running transit companies, some work in factories where busses are built, others are drivers, mechanics, or formerly so..



I take the opportunity to learn as much as I can from these knowledgeable old-timers.. and as ive now acquired a classic transit bus thats somewhat of a rarity there are many eager to teach me as they want to see my project succeed.. as it means another piece of history lives on..



Busses for me represent some of the good points in my childhood.. the interpersonal relationships in my family were warped at best.. riding the bus was a treat for me.. a place where if i sat behind the driver the other kids wouldnt bully me, where there were lights flashing and fans whirring.. having a family friend show up to a reunion when i was 11 almost 12 in a big shiny new Bluebird flat-front gave me a huge grin im told.. even more when I asked for a ride.. my dad said "now we dont need to do that, he just got here".. him saying "sure lets go!.. in fact why dont you hop up there in that seat and drive!".... to my father's chagrin.. yeah where it all began.. i was hooked.....



-Christopher
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