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Author Topic: Bus ID by Vin #  (Read 2751 times)
Bob Gil
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« on: February 19, 2008, 03:28:07 PM »

Good day to all I have just aquired a converted bus.  I am not sure what it was to start with all I have to go by is the VIN RG7180RD2080R, I was told it is a 1968 GMC but not sure.

It is a 35 foot with 6 cly detriot (told it was a 6v-71 but then again I think from talking to a freind it might be a 6v-53) has a 6 speed auto behind it.

Not too sure if it is good or bad but it is all electric.  With a 4 cly kobota diesel to power it.  Again I have not gotten it home even it had a small fire in the top part of the engine aera and it will need some rewiring.  But it seams to run well and can be driven.  It is going to be fun trying to rewire it all, some one has replaced all the dash gauges with digital ones hope they are not hurt from the distruction of the wires.

I have had a 35ft  Avion travel trailer for many years now I with the wife request starting with the coach any thing that I might need to know?  I am wanting to learn as much as I can. 

I am a truck driver and have been for 30 years so I think I will be ok driving it but I am sure there are a lot of things i will need to know before I get it on the road.
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Fort Worth, Texas where GOD is so close you don't even need a phone!

1968 GM Bus of unknown model 6V53 engine (aftermarket) converted with house hold items.

Had small engine fire and had no 12 volt system at time of purchase. 
Coach is all 110 w 14KW diesel genrator
Dallas
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2008, 03:34:25 PM »

Welcome to the madness Bob!

I'm not certain what kind of GMC coach that is, since Transits and Parlor coaches have a completely different numbering system and use a V-drive set up, (Transverse engine).

YOu can tell what kind of engine you have by looking at the rocker covers... if the have two knobs or nuts on the top, it's a 6V71 and if it has bolts around the edges it's a 6V53.

You can also tell by the noise.. 6V53's are about the noisiest engine ever developed by the hand of man!

Good Luck!

Dallas
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Hobie
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2008, 06:58:39 PM »

"You can also tell by the noise.. 6V53's are about the noisiest engine ever developed by the hand of man!"

... love it!!
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 05:25:03 AM »

1P = 1000W Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2008, 06:58:55 AM »

Bob,
Congrats on your find.  Enjoy the madness that is owning a bus.  We are fairly new busnuts also, but the best advise we received is to ask lots of questions and if possible visit other bus'.  We made lots of plans and reworked those plans multiple times.  It has been a fun project for us to work on and we are looking forward to making our first trip since we have started redoing the conversion.  We hope to see you out and about in your bus sometime. 
Amy
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Amy Riley
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2008, 07:55:19 AM »

Bob, welcome.  If there's any way you can post a picture, we can collectively identify your bus.  Who knows, since a lot of us here are in the bus business, we may be seeing an old friend. 

If it's a GMC, there should be a brown bulder's plate somewhere on the dash.  If it's a highway coach, the model and serial numbers will also be stamped on the frame rails you access by opening the access panel (outside) under the driver's area.  GMC numbers from that vintage will be something like PD4107-1180 (mine).  If it's a transit, it'll be TDH4517, SDM4501, or something similar.  P is Parlor (a coach), S is for Suburban, T is Transit (city bus).  D is Diesel and H or M will be Hydraulic (auto) or Manual transmission.  For mine, it's a Parlor, Diesel, 41 passenger - 7th model in the series; and the 1180'th built.  From what I've read here, some buses have been re-titled with a serial number/VIN that conforms to present practice (17 or so digits), but you'll want to get back to the original model/serial number for parts.

As a note, all bets are off for me on identifying schoolbuses.  They were built by schoolbus manufacturers on many chassis, so you could have a Carpenter (or Bluebird, or Thomas)  body on a GMC (or Ford, or IH) chassis.  So, again, a picture (or three) would be helpful.  Your comment on the 6 speed automatic has me a little stumped, or wondering if it started off as a schoolbus.  On the other hand, the diesel schoolbuses we had back then had 4-cylinder Toroflow engines, nothing as big as even a 6-53.  GM transits from 1968 had 2-speed automatics.  Coaches, suburbans, and transits with sticks had a four speed.  I don't know when coaches started having automatic transmissions as an option, but I think it was later than 68, and I think the optional transmission was a V730 (three speed). 

You mention driving trucks.  When I was instructing, one of the problems for truck drivers was getting used to the long wheelbase of a bus/coach.  They don't bend in the middle, and get expensive when you try to make them bend in the middle.  That long wheelbase, having the front axle behind you (coach, suburban, transit), and the location of the pivot point may take some getting used to.

Also, many folks here suggest putting your location in your profile, or, even better, adding it with your signature.  You may have one of us in your area.

Arthur
« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 08:04:44 AM by Runcutter » Logged

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

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Bob Gil
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2008, 11:08:28 AM »

I am not sure if it will help much but if I can get this to work I will port pictures of it.

I am in Ft. Worth, Texas.
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Fort Worth, Texas where GOD is so close you don't even need a phone!

1968 GM Bus of unknown model 6V53 engine (aftermarket) converted with house hold items.

Had small engine fire and had no 12 volt system at time of purchase. 
Coach is all 110 w 14KW diesel genrator
Bob Gil
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2008, 11:11:53 AM »

a few more.

One question what is the benefit of having a all electric coach?

It does have a genorator on it but I am use to the propane central heat that I had that used 12 volt to heat I would think it would be much quieter to run 12 volt off of the battires.

This one is all electric.  I am use to a Avion travel trailer with propane.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 11:19:02 AM by Bob Gil » Logged

Fort Worth, Texas where GOD is so close you don't even need a phone!

1968 GM Bus of unknown model 6V53 engine (aftermarket) converted with house hold items.

Had small engine fire and had no 12 volt system at time of purchase. 
Coach is all 110 w 14KW diesel genrator
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2008, 11:32:57 AM »

I'm stumped, but I'm sure someone else here will have some ideas.  It almost looks like a highly converted schoolbus, with the side fluting, but it also has some characteristics of purpose-built RV's.  I'm very limited on my knowledge of schoolbuses.  I drove some in the early 1970's, but I've been in the transit business since the late 70's.  I have virtually no knowledge of purpose-built RV's, so now I'll be interested to see what others think.

I have almost 40 years in the bus business, but am new to this conversion stuff - so I'm learning a lot too.  Fortunately, we have some great expertise on this board.  We're about 30 miles from Ft. Worth, in Carrollton - just north of Dallas.  There was a Texas Bus Roundup last fall, set up by Paul Lawry - Dreamscape.  You might drop him a note to get on the information list for the next Texas roundup.  We could only stay one night, but still learned a lot from the other attendees.

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
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2008, 01:26:51 PM »

AHHHH, am I the only one that thinks the picture from the back looks like there was an engine fire? Shocked
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Dallas
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2008, 01:34:38 PM »

Bob,

Is there any chance of getting a better photo of the engine compartment? The one you have posted doesn't show too much.

Thanks.

Dallas
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buswarrior
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2008, 03:15:16 PM »

Fascinating piece of detective work here!

Yes, a more detailed picture of the engine room would help.

Does this bus have air suspension or springs?

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2008, 03:28:42 PM »

It almost looks like a Custom Coach Land Cruiser.

They took buses and custom chassis and re-fabricated them
and a lot had the fluted sides.

Would be circas 1966 to 1970's range.

There has to be some label or something that would indicate the MFR.

We need a better photo of the engine compartment showing the engine.
and whether it actually is diesel or gas engine. looks like a gas from that picture.

Dave....
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2008, 03:41:58 PM »

I don't recall when, but this exact bus was the subject of another thread sometime back! If I remember correctly someone was try'n to figure out what it was then too! I don't ever recall seeing the pics of the rear with fire damage before (I just look like an elephant, I don't have the memory of one so I don't remember everything all the time! LOL!) I do seem to remember whoever posted it b4 was looking to find wiring diagrams or harnesses for it. I don't think we were ever able to come up with the needed info to make a positive ID.
FWIW Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
Bob Gil
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2008, 04:23:10 PM »

This is the best I can do until I get to the bus again as far as pictures of the engine area.

I may have opsed one of these before.

3327 was taken from the rear over the top of the engine.

As you can see I did not get a good picture of it from the rear.

I don't think I will be able to get a wiring harness, made for it I figure I will have to custom wire it my self.  A lot of learning about a detroit, Macks are my thing I own 3 of the a 1945, 64 & 65.

I drive a 1985 chevy suburban with a 4BT cummins in it that I did my self hope i can figure out the bus.

Bob
« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 04:28:26 PM by Bob Gil » Logged

Fort Worth, Texas where GOD is so close you don't even need a phone!

1968 GM Bus of unknown model 6V53 engine (aftermarket) converted with house hold items.

Had small engine fire and had no 12 volt system at time of purchase. 
Coach is all 110 w 14KW diesel genrator
Bob Gil
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2008, 05:25:14 PM »

Some one ask about the supenson.

It is spring.  Not Air.

Has power steering too.  Looks like it might have A/C in the coach with addition to the roof top units, from looking around the inside of the coach.  But not sure yet, it will be a week or so before I can get back to where it is setting.
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Fort Worth, Texas where GOD is so close you don't even need a phone!

1968 GM Bus of unknown model 6V53 engine (aftermarket) converted with house hold items.

Had small engine fire and had no 12 volt system at time of purchase. 
Coach is all 110 w 14KW diesel genrator
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2008, 06:25:05 PM »

My guess is that is a Superior.  It is similar to mine in that it has two smaller bays that start aft of the from wheels.  Also the rear side screen door to the to the engine compartment is the same. It has been modified quite a bit through.
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2008, 06:40:20 PM »

it is NOT a Custom Coach Landcruiser, It is not a highway Coach of any sort that I am familiar with.

My Bet is on a modified GMC Chassis Superior Body unit...and yep looks like an Engine fire
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Dallas
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2008, 06:43:19 PM »

That, sir, looks like a 6V53, the original Screamin' Jimmy!

A sweet little engine, but kind of under powered for your use.

There is a tag on the rocker cover that will give you lots of information including valve and injector settings.

The wiring to get it running is very simple and you could have someone follow you home so you wouldn't need lights.

The engine actually needs no electricity to run, so once you have fuel to the rail, you could pull start it.

Good Luck!

Dallas

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« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2008, 01:04:37 PM »

I think I agree on a Superior as a starting point for the body.  It sure looks like a 6-53 in there, which would be larger than engines I remember on schoolbuses from that vintage.  Again, though, schoolbuses aren't my prime field of experience. 

By the way, they tried to build transit buses for a while.  I ran some when I was GM of a property in Ohio, and for those, Superior was not an appropriate name.  Their schoolbuses seemed to do well.  I wouldn't have seen it, but the suggestion of Superior, combined with my memory of the side fluting, fits.  It has been highly modified, front and rear above the belt line.  However, there may be a chance that the Superior nameplate is still inside the front cabinets - centered above the windshields - if there's any of the original interior left there.  That's the only place I know to look on Superiors - some others had the body mfgr's nameplate top left, over the driver's head.

On our 4107 we had to strip carpet off the dash area to find the builder's plate, which wasn't quite where I remembered it.  Gee, I wonder if that says something about my memory over the last 35 years or so --  no, couldn't be.

Arthur
« Last Edit: February 21, 2008, 01:52:09 PM by Runcutter » Logged

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
makemineatwostroke
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« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2008, 01:45:24 PM »

that is a Superior on a GMC they were built for export to South America and a few were converted to motor homes to compete with the Blue Bird at the time.At Stewart and Stevenson in the late 1960s and very early 70s there would always be 5 or 6 waiting for the v653 engines install to be exported (one of our government deals)as best I can remember they came there with a v6 gas engine
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Bob Gil
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« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2008, 02:11:14 PM »

Superior on a GMC frame work?

Is this good or bad?

I still have not figured out about the total electric, is it good of bad?
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Fort Worth, Texas where GOD is so close you don't even need a phone!

1968 GM Bus of unknown model 6V53 engine (aftermarket) converted with house hold items.

Had small engine fire and had no 12 volt system at time of purchase. 
Coach is all 110 w 14KW diesel genrator
buswarrior
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« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2008, 02:15:20 PM »

Hello Bob.

All electric or incorporating some propane into your conversion is a matter of choice.

Both ways have their proponents and their detractors.

In my case, she said no gas, so I'm keeping the beans to a minimum....

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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Bob Gil
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« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2008, 02:23:35 PM »

The one I bought was done all electric. 

I am use to the travel trailer where I could cook or make coffee with out starting a generator.  The 12 volt fan on the propane central heat furnace was nice and quite too.

I am not real big at stopping in camp sites every time I stop.  I like to spend time in the middle of no where some too.

I can't wait to get mine home so I can learn more about the holding tanks and stuff.

Bob
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Fort Worth, Texas where GOD is so close you don't even need a phone!

1968 GM Bus of unknown model 6V53 engine (aftermarket) converted with house hold items.

Had small engine fire and had no 12 volt system at time of purchase. 
Coach is all 110 w 14KW diesel genrator
buswarrior
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« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2008, 02:44:39 PM »

All Electric coaches popularly incorporate a second set of batteries, deep cycle ones, and an ac/dc inverter to take care of the modest 120 volt electric loads between times of running the generator or hooking up to a power pole.

With propane, you fill the tank, with batteries, you charge 'em up.

All depends how you want to use the coach, and how long you are going to plan to be off in the boonies.

Search both this site and BNO  www.busnut.com in the message archives. There is a wealth of info already posted on the two schools of thought.

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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