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Old 12-03-2006, 04:28 PM   #1
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Question for you rear engine guys

As I was riding the city bus home tonight, I saw that there was quite a noticeable throttle lag with the air throttle. The driver would put her foot down and it would take what was probably a few milliseconds to respond, but it was enough for me to see. Do any of you with the air throttles have the same issue? I know air brakes are supposed to have it as well, but I haven't noticed it with mine. Maybe it's just a matter of getting used to it.

BTW...for those who are interested....I would kill someone in front of their mother for one of Duluth's buses. Most are 40 foot Gillig low floors with a rear Cummins ISM, 6 speed Allison trannies with retarders, air brakes, air ride with kneeling, wide air doors, etc etc etc. They all are geared to deal with the hill (Duluth is often called "Little San Fransisco) yet they do highway speeds at very low RPM's, a testiment to the torque of those engines. Duluth also runs them all on B10 or better year round. The only problem is you don't fit in with the skoolie crowd and you don't fit in the with coach crowd if you have a converted transit bus.
Skooling state at a time...
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Old 12-04-2006, 08:18 AM   #2
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I've only got about 200 miles of driving time on my rear-engine Thomas so I haven't totally gotten the feel for it yet. It has air throttle and it does have the lag you're talking about but I'm not quite sure it's actual lag; kind of like you're talking about with the air brakes. I think it's that the throttle mechanism back there in the engine compartment is moving right away but it has a certain amount that it moves before there's much effect. The throttle pressure is so light (and so consistent) it seems you have to "think" change rather than "feel" change. For instance, in my front-eninge cable throttle International Blue Bird you know when you almost have the thottle to the floor 'cause you're hoping someone else comes along to help hold it down! On the Thomas it's as easy to hold it wide open as it is 1/2 throttle. So, really now that I think about it, it seems like a "feedback" with air brakes you have to adapt to a different kind of feedback than with mechanical linkage.

I came this close to buying a transit bus just before the Thomas. I had my sights on an RTS; they were orginally built by GM then sold to TMC (the folks that build the MCI coach), and then a couple more owners. They're still building new ones after 30-odd year.

To my eye they make the nicest looking conversions on the road; not as tall as a road coach, sleeker than a school bus, rear-engine, 102" wide (most), 40' long (most), all stainless frame (it's built in 5-foot modules) so it's strong like a school bus, air ride suspension, and more. They're also a lot more complicated than a school bus and don't have the road clearance (same situation with the road bus) the skoolie does (if it matters to the converter), and the coversion process always seems to be a lot more involved. For one thing it has curved sides; looks good but makes building the interior more of a challenge.

The thing that plagues them, and seemingly most of the road bus conversion I read about too, is RUST! It makes it tough to just buy one on eBay or such if you can't actually go and inspect it (thoroughly!). They also usually have a lot more miles on them when they're sold (typically over 500,000) and that makes doing your homework on the engine and drive train a lot more important.

Still...if I had had a better feeling for the seller of the RTS I was looking at on eBay I would have bought it. I just never got that warm fuzzy feeling and I got nervous. The particular bus I was looking at also had a 5-speed ZF automatic; in researching that tranny I found most folks thought it was a superb transmission...unless it broke. The quip I remember was if it's are you! [Although I never verified the information a $15K figure was talked about for a complete overhaul!]

Those Gillig's sound nice (Gillig's are popular out west here and I'm a fan anyway)! If you converted one I'd still talk to you . It's only those uppity mega-coach converters I steer clear of ! [It's a joke son! If I had the bucks I might go that way too...but only if I learned to weld.]
Les Lampman
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Old 12-08-2006, 10:00 PM   #3
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I too had looked hard at them, and had bid on a big 40' Gillig but in the end didn't win the bid. It's longer and wider than my Thomas, and has higher ceilings too! Would have made a great conversion. Even after I lost the bid I thought I had a second chance on it until I realized I was being scammed. I think I'm better off with the Thomas though, less involved technology... simpler to me usually means cheaper maintenance costs!!

You just might be a Redneck if...
...your motor home used to be a school bus!
...Your living room has a steering wheel!
...Your home has brake lights

1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee
1989 Thomas Diesel Pusher (Cat 3208/Freightliner)
Chesapeake, Virginia
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Old 12-09-2006, 08:56 AM   #4
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when you say you were being scammed. Was it one of those deals where the seller didn't sell to the high bidder and then second chance offered it to you?
If so I have noticed the way ebay works on this. I was selling a older notebook and had a nigerian scammer be the high bidder which I red flagged right away and in less then an hour I sold it to the next highest bidder. But what I did was instead of taking the full bid the guy had for his highest bid like the ebay system enters in there I emailed the buyer and told him I will sell it to him at $1 over the third highest bidder.
It didn't seem fair to me that he should pay more cause a scammer upped his bid.

And now the current ebay system makes it even easier for shil bidding. with the anything over $100 then it shows as bidder 1, bidder 2 and so on. .
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Old 12-09-2006, 09:12 PM   #5
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The scammer was not the seller. I lost the bidding, and about a week later I got an email stating that the original buyer backed out, and since I was second highest bidder they were offering me the bus at my high bid price. I quickly replied yes to this, and set about getting some things in place.

But as I looked more closely at this offer, a few things sent up red flags. In their second email to me they seemed very rushed for the money...the original posting had allowed for a week to get down payment to them. But the thing that really caught my eye was they said not to worry about the shipping charges, that they were going to ship it for free. Once I saw this I knew exactly what was going on...because we all know that nobody is going to 'ship' a 40,000# bus let alone ship it for free!!

The third thing I noticed was they wanted the money sent to a Florida address. This really was odd too, because the bus was being sold for a Baltimore Transit by an auction company in Hartford Ct. So why would the money go to Florida??

I sent copies of the 2 emails to and they quickly confirmed what I thought. When it comes to sending someone money...even just a few dollars...I look at things extremely close....had I not been paying attention I could have been out a couple thousand dollars (well, not really because I'm perhaps TOO careful)...

You just might be a Redneck if...
...your motor home used to be a school bus!
...Your living room has a steering wheel!
...Your home has brake lights

1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee
1989 Thomas Diesel Pusher (Cat 3208/Freightliner)
Chesapeake, Virginia
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Old 12-10-2006, 03:19 AM   #6
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Alas if you browse enough ebay adds you'll see disclaimers on a lot of them due to that....people these days
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