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Author Topic: 1986 gillig phantom metro  (Read 4397 times)
rbrlsn
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« on: March 02, 2011, 09:15:56 AM »

This bus was an Austin Tx metro bus and my question is how can I get more highway speed out it. I run about 58 mph now. Engine is a 6V92 turbo w/allison trans. I travel about 50 miles one way to pick up folks and 50 miles back to church. Of course money is an issue. Any help you guys can give will be greatly appreciated thanks.
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HB of CJ
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 03:42:16 PM »

Does your Ex-transit Gillig has a "T" drive?  What is your rear end ratio?  Have the transit tires been replaced?  What size wheels do you have now?  What is your indicated (if you have a tack) governeererred rpm?

Runing a "92" series Detroit past 2100 rpm continiously is usually not a good idea.  They like lower rpm.  If you have the old transit tires on the Gillig, usually they might be speed limited (not always) to only 55 mph.

Bumping up the governor would be the quickest and easiest, but hard on the mill.  Changing out the rear end to a higher speed ratio might be the best long term solution, but usually is kinda expensive to do.

Finding some good heavy truck "take off" 24.5 wheels and 11Rx24.5 tires will help, but not much and not at all if the coach already has them.  Finally, your transit 6V92T MIGHT not have enough power to....

....feel good and pull well if geared up to around 75 or 80 mph.  Engine upgrades (booosting up the power) are also usually quite expensive.  Let us know what exact stuff you have now.  HB of CJ (old coot)

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TomC
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 05:18:59 PM »

Only real way is to change the rear end ratio.  Most of the Gillig Phantoms were T drives.  Many of the rear axles are just truck axles rotated (around the axle axis) so the pumpkin faces backwards.  Meaning there should be some lower numerical axle ratios you can use.  Right now if your bus is running 58 mph, you probably have 4.88 rears that will give you nearly 2300rpm at 58mph.  Going down to a 3.08, you would cruise at 1618rpm at 65mph and get much better fuel mileage.  If you do this trip often, then the pay back won't be that long.  Plus the engine and transmission will last longer.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
rbrlsn
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2011, 04:09:38 AM »

The metro tires were changed out with 11R22.5 the rpm is 2100 right now. I have a friend in the wrecked truck industry that is willing to let me go through his parts to see what I can find. All the other question i will get the answers today. I think I have a T drive, does that mean the engine runs parallel with the length of the bus or coupled to the rear end it makes a T. That's what mine looks, Would it be worth my while digging around the used differentials to possibly get a highway ratio. That is a good point will the engine have enough power to get the bus to 70 and keep it there. I have been researching this and the engine I believe produces about 250 hp. The bus is a 40'. Thank you gentlemen very much and I will try to get the info you requested today.
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Tim Strommen
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2011, 12:13:38 PM »

I have a 1984 Phantom 40'.

Yes, you are T-drive, your rear-end is most likely Rockwell.

I agree with HB of CJ, abotu wanting to know what your specifics are.  Try and find an engine assembly tag like this:



This tag contains the details of your engine build.  Mine shipped with 7G70 injectors putting out about 277HP when new (now probably more like 200HP...)

-T
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Fremont, CA
1984 Gillig Phantom 40/102
DD 6V92TA (MUI, 275HP) - Allison HT740
Conversion Progress: 10% (9-years invested, 30 to go Smiley)
rbrlsn
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2011, 12:45:34 PM »

yes i will get the specs we need. You guys know a ton more than I do. About an hour ago found 2 inj's bad. Do you think I could upgrade to a hotter inj. Yes I will find out what inj I have now. Thanks again for everyone's help
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Tim Strommen
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2011, 02:49:38 PM »

For engine mods, I'd recommend getting in touch with Don Fairchild.  He provided me with a recipe for more power on my 6V92...

That said, before you start dreaming about how to make more power, you'll want to find all of the problems and at least acknowledge them (if not fix them).  For instance, I found by going through the maintenance logs for my bus (got the bus and the logs directly from the Lane County Oregon transit agency at auction) - I found the 3/4" marine birch plywood floor had major rot problems.  The only thing keeping you up over the ground on the Gilligs is the plywood and rubber matting glued to it - in my case, the rubber/glue was holding the wood chunks together.

The wiring in my bus was particularly bad too - LTD's mechanics had created some loops in the DC wiring that caused some real problems.  I had to tear all the wiring out and start fresh...

For increasing yopur road speed, you should replace the rear diff ring-and-pinion gears.  You may find a drop-in diff/carrier from a heavy truck at a wrecking yard that has a better ratio.  This will require some heavy lifting and either a pit or a bus lift...

What kind of rear suspension do you have?  Mine has (soon to be "had") the gigantic "a-frame" which makes for a very bouncy ride.

-T
« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 02:53:44 PM by Tim Strommen » Logged

Fremont, CA
1984 Gillig Phantom 40/102
DD 6V92TA (MUI, 275HP) - Allison HT740
Conversion Progress: 10% (9-years invested, 30 to go Smiley)
rbrlsn
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2011, 03:11:33 PM »

Yes sir mine has the huge A frame suspension. I think I'll start with the ring and pinion and go from there, when I crawled under it the first time I was shocked to see plywood but through closer inspection all appeared to be in good shape. While working on it yes the wiring is a nightmare and probably could use half of it I'm sure. There are not as many little problems as what I first thought but I taking care of those as I go. Engine and trans appear to be in good shape of course for the 2 injectors bad. I'll certainly get the specs
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Tim Strommen
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2011, 03:36:54 PM »

I should also mention that there was a recall for Phantom regarding the steering - apparently someone put an extra washer on the relay rod, which causes them to snap ("no steering" + >26Klbs = BAD).

If you are bringing the bus into service for a church, I'd recommend that you have a heavy truck mechanic go over it.  [joke]the fastest way to hell is to kill your congregation...[/joke] The most important things are going to be the things like suspension, brakes, and steering - i.e. the retaining-control/making-it-stop parts; next in order of concern is the "making it go" part.  Ususally these buses are let go because they are not economically feasible to fix - for instance the rear cap is made of three pieces of fiberglass: left, right, heater/AC cover (rear top).  Each one of those pieces from Gillig is about $1,500 (last time I checked was 2005, when the phantom was still in regular production).  I paid $1,576 for mine...

Big things to check:

  • All air brake plumbing parts
  • brake adjustment
  • brake wear, drum roundness/cracks
  • compressor and air dryer
  • steering linkages and box
  • Wipers!!
  • hydraulic plumbing (radiator fan and thermostat, steering, wheelchair lift if equipped)
  • Major electrical (check battery/starter/alternator wiring for cracks, check for rust at ground points, ensure all exterior lights work correctly)

From my discussions with the designers and production line guys, the bus is designed for 2million miles of severe duty, the suspension is designed to run with no air in the airbags, with the axles sitting on the bump-stops (handy info for a limp-home).  Most of the parts for the Phantom are off-the-shelf Class-8 truck parts in vast supply, unlike many coach builders out there.  The ENTIRE shell is galvanized steel (except the roof which is sheet aluminum), the ladder frame is coated with a corrosion inhibiter.

With the exception of the heater/AC, all of the weight of the bus is at or below floor level, so it can turn hard.  Not like I expect to hear about a church bus doing any rallies, but when I first got the bus, I wanted to learn the chassis capabilites a bit more and had access to a large empty parking lot...  I was able to do a power-slide on wet pavement (whee donuts Smiley), and on dry pavement I could do a "wheel to the lock" 90 degree turn at 35MPH without a roll-over. I'm not stupid enough to try that on pulic roads or at freeway speeds (or while it was insured... or does that make me a moron?) - but I have a respect for the suspension work Gillig did on these things.

-T
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 01:35:09 PM by Tim Strommen » Logged

Fremont, CA
1984 Gillig Phantom 40/102
DD 6V92TA (MUI, 275HP) - Allison HT740
Conversion Progress: 10% (9-years invested, 30 to go Smiley)
rbrlsn
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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2011, 06:38:39 AM »

I agree, that's where the bus is now, at a truck shop getting the once over. Checking the safety equipment (brakes, steering,etc.) so that when it does go on the road it's safe because that is the most important thing. I'll tell them to check the washer on the steering, thanks for the info on that. I wish i could have been there for the test drive in the parking lot, I bet that was a blast. Luckily the fiberglass covers are all in tact and in good shape. I got lucky to get a bus from the south, very little rust. I need a door valve for the passenger door, the one the driver operates, with T handle. I've tried several truck parts houses and I get the deer in the head lights look. Do you know if they offer a after market valve or where I could locate maybe a good used one, if there is such a thing. Won't be able to get to many specs this weekend, it's pouring down rain and the bus is outside. I will be able to check some stuff on the inside.
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Tim Strommen
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2011, 01:06:46 PM »

Are you sure the valve is dead?  My bus had an accessory cutt-off valve that would stop the air supply to the door contol valve to allow the door to "free-wheel" when the bus was parked in the transit yard - it's a two position switch so try both before you commit to a new valve.  This is what the whole valve looks like:



All you have to do is push the door closed and push it open when the switch is flipped.  I don't have a picture of my actual installed valve, but the valve was located down here (circled in red):



My door control valve is not in the bus anymore, I can look in a parts boxes to see if I still have it, but I think it was one of the first things to go during the first strip-out.  Gillig Service Parts would be the people to contact regarding the door valve if you can't find it anywhere else.  It will be retail, but the will have it.  They are located 50 feet from the Gillig plant office in Hayward, CA (the next large building over).  I will look in my parts boxes this weekend and try to find out if I still have the original valve - if I do, it's yours free of charge (including Ground UPS shipping).  One less thing in storage is worth the $15 on my UPS account... (the wife agrees Grin).

If it turns out it's not the valve but the door motor - let me know, I still have both of them in place (they too need to go from mine).

-Tim
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 01:44:15 PM by Tim Strommen » Logged

Fremont, CA
1984 Gillig Phantom 40/102
DD 6V92TA (MUI, 275HP) - Allison HT740
Conversion Progress: 10% (9-years invested, 30 to go Smiley)
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2011, 03:56:13 PM »

Ronnie, you can also do yourself a favor by getting copies of the drivers' manual, and maintenance/parts manuals. 

Someone already nailed it, when you said your door valve wasn't working, the first place to look is what we used to call the "butterfly" on GM's, that releases all pressure in the door system.  That will be covered in the drivers' manual.  Now, when you get the door working, you might find an issue with the brake interlock.  Depending on how the bus is set up, opening passenger doors could (should) lock your rear brakes.  Some drivers, knowing this, will use the door interlock to set their rear brakes, rather than the park valve.  In the transit business, we fire those drivers -- if someone comes along and releases the air, closes the door, etc. --- the bus rolls away and kills someone. 

I can't tell if you're new to driving buses, but - especially in driving a church bus, there are a lot of other things to know, in addition to bus maneuvering.  I've done some church bus safety work in Texas, because churches here have a bad habit of killing off their members - in both buses and vans.  The first thing is, when you're driving the church bus, you're the church bus driver, not a minister, not a member, not a talker -- your sole job is to keep people alive.  Save their bodies, worry about their soles later.  Some years ago I researched a fatal accident south of Dallas, the youth minister was driving, the car was hit by a drunk, five dead.  I always wondered if that youth minister was concentrating fully on his driving, or if his attention was diverted by ministerial duties.     

It would also be good if you posted your location, some of us may be nearby, and able to be of assistance.

Arthur
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Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
1968 PD-4107

Working in the bus industry provides us a great opportunity - to be of service to others
rbrlsn
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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2011, 04:31:45 AM »

I've been driving a bus/combination truck for about the last 20+ years and I absoluty agree safety is first, 100%. You don't know how much I appreciate the safety concerns, to many people just get behind the wheel and go without the safety aspect in there forward thinking. The butterfly valve is not the issue, it's the handle that opens the door is bypassing air. We feel the same way about the use of the safety valve, just set your brakes and take care of whatever business you need. Our law is nobody in front of the Yellow line. The door valve is the problem that's the one the parts folks get scared of. Any help would be great Buffalo Creek Baptist Church, Waxahachie, Tx. Southside of Waxahachie on Hwy77. Believe me you can't miss it. We should be getting the bus back this week from the injector issue. I wasn't going to try and replace those myself because we all know the screaming jimmy's have that run away problem if you don't set the rack right. I will also try to get the maintenance records for this bus as well. Thanks for all your help
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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2011, 06:32:12 AM »

Ronnie, good to hear you are experienced.  I'd rather make recommendations on the side of caution.  Since these posts are archived, it may do someone else good in the future.

Now I think I understand, you have air leaking from the actual door valve.  Is it leaking in the all closed, front open, rear open, or both open position?  I've never driven a Gillig, but that was always the standard four door positions - the Gillig may be different.  It sounds like you may have a worn O-ring (gasket) somewhere.  I think the valves are repairable, but the maintenance manual should get you better information.  At worst, sounds like you may need to replace the valve.

Leaking air is like a rushing river -- the holes only get bigger.

If you can deadline the bus, you might want to take the valve out.  If you call Ken Birchfield, at Eagle Tours in Irving (TX), you might find out if he knows someone in the Dallas area that can overhaul the valve.  They have (had) some Ex-DART Neoplans, that might even have used the same valve.     

By the way, I meant "souls", not "soles" - but it's too late to edit my post. 

If you want, PM me your email, and I'll send you the outline of my Church Bus safety presentation.  Many years ago, 5 were killed in a church van, near Mineola, that may have been caused by not knowing how to run in convoy.  Another group were killed in Waco, when their car (driven by the youth minister) was hit by a drunk.  That's where the "drive first, minister later" thought comes from.  Stuff I learned as a young bus driver, much more than bus maneuvering, etc.

It may be a while, I'm on my way to Los Angeles, then New York, then Los Angeles again before I get home next week -- and I have to find the presentation on my computer, too.  You may already have something better, so if you don't want a copy, that's fine, too.

Arthur 
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Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
1968 PD-4107

Working in the bus industry provides us a great opportunity - to be of service to others
rbrlsn
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« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2011, 08:17:34 AM »

ronnie@jonesmfg.com anything that has to do with safety is always appreciated. All of our new drivers go as a passenger for several months and then another 6 months behind the wheel with an experienced driver before they able to go at it as a solo driver. The valve is rushing as a river when in all doors closed position, it also has the 4 position as you mentioned. That would be great to get it rebuilt, a little easier on the wallet. I'll be taking off early from my full time job to go and get the spec's that everyone is requesting in order to assist me. We had a van turn over several years ago at another church I went to, the pastor was driving a rental van and blew a steer tire and over it went thankfully no one lost a life but several were injured. No speeding was involved they were coming back from mexico mission trip.
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2011, 09:47:59 AM »

Ronnie, I emailed you the file.

Arthur
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Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
1968 PD-4107

Working in the bus industry provides us a great opportunity - to be of service to others
rbrlsn
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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2011, 04:27:41 AM »

Well gentlemen I scratched around on this third member and housing for any kind of numbers but the ID plates are gone as well as the ID plate for the 6V92T, no spec plate anywhere on this drive unit. Now I will call Gillig with the VIN# maybe they can give me a line sheet with the factory specs it came with when it was new, good luck with that. Anybody know someone at Gillig that will honestly help me with this. I called them about this door selector valve and all I got was we'll get back with you, that's been over 2 weeks ago. Angry
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rbrlsn
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« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2011, 08:36:11 AM »

I finally got the line sheet from Gillig
Engine-6V92TA (253hp)
Trans-HT748
Rear differential 59743 w/4.56 ratio
I think my best bet is gear ratio change 4.56 is city gears of course. I was thinking maybe a 3.77 ratio would get me the speed as well as the possible 1 or 2 mpg on the highway.
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