School Bus 101, long technical post

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Postby gyre » Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:08 am

Last time I looked, 15-18 Kbtu was it for the rooftop units.
Figure two for a thirty foot trailer in the sun.
Age and wear takes away capacity.
Shade and insulation count for this too.
I see 5000 to 10000 btu units used on small tents.

Don't count on running ac on batteries.
A microwave can be run for short periods, depending on the system.
A solar and battery system can run lights and small things depending on the efficiency of the system.
Use fluorescents for the interior, fluorescents or HID for exterior lighting.
Solar really isn't worth it just for burning man, but if you are going to use it year round, it makes sense.

There are also 12 volt hi effic fridges.
The decision is whether you want the system to be more efficient when plugged in or when off grid.
I have a tiny compressor run boat fridge.
Very efficient and light.
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Postby gyre » Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:25 am

http://www.electrowarmth.com/

American made heating pads for beds and even pets.
12 volts or 115V.
Anyone that has concerns about emf can get the 12 volt model.
DC is not an issue for that.

The limit for what you can tolerate with these seems to be how cold an air temperature you can tolerate for breathing.
I used to use one of these with no other heating.

Most out there are poor quality imported.

If you have any interest in this product, bookmark these guys because I could not locate them with a search engine.
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Postby Sail Man » Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:49 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:Something to keep in mind when laying out an interior, and yours looks pretty good, is to leave empty space. Empty space ends up being your favorite place. I improved my last two motorhomes by removing some of the superfluous furniture and replacing it with... nothing!
You always end up loading up stuff like coolers, luggage, cases of booze, etc. and if there's no place dedicated to nothing in particular, that shit will always be in your way. And you never know what the hell you'll end up cramming in there to transport someday. I carried a metal lathe home in my motorhome.


Besides, the more cabinets you have, the more non-essential shit you'll fill them with.
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Postby cullen » Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:09 pm

Sail Man wrote:
Captain Goddammit wrote:Something to keep in mind when laying out an interior, and yours looks pretty good, is to leave empty space. Empty space ends up being your favorite place. I improved my last two motorhomes by removing some of the superfluous furniture and replacing it with... nothing!
You always end up loading up stuff like coolers, luggage, cases of booze, etc. and if there's no place dedicated to nothing in particular, that shit will always be in your way. And you never know what the hell you'll end up cramming in there to transport someday. I carried a metal lathe home in my motorhome.


Besides, the more cabinets you have, the more non-essential shit you'll fill them with.


A keg is essential!
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Dec 18, 2008 6:40 pm

You want a propane fridge. They're silent, work better, and use only a tiny amount of propane. You can run it practically forever on a standard bottle.
There's a reason virtually all RVs have them.
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Postby gyre » Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:04 am

A propane fridge is best for off grid use.

It's worth considering if you will be running a great deal on grid.
Using electric to power the propane fridges is not very efficient.
It's not an issue for portable or off grid use only.

The better fridges used for solar are highly efficient though.
There are conversion kits to add to your own case.

This is one of many out there.
http://www.sunfrost.com/refrigerators_main.html


http://www.rpc.com.au/products/applianc ... e_faq.html
http://home.iprimus.com.au/rfh/portablefridges2.html
http://www.explorerfridgefreezer.com/index.html
http://www.boatandrvaccessories.com/CD-30DCW

Many high efficiency models are large enough for the home, a consideration for many in rvs.
Danfoss has a variable speed compressor.
One of the more interesting options is Thermo King's diesel direct drive ac and refrigerator and generator unit.

"A further innovation is the use of eutectic fluid in some of these fridges. In the old days this used to be a brine solution. The idea with the eutectic fluid is similar to the esky freeze packs you put in your deep freeze for camping trips.

Eutectic refrigeration is often used in fishing vessels. The basic principle is that when the engine of your boat or vehicle is running (and therefore generating power), you run your fridge so that the eutectic fluid goes below 0°C. This then keeps your fridge cold for a further 24-48 hours (while your engine is off). The advantage of a eutectic fridge in a solar set-up is that you can time the fridge to come on in day light hours only (when your solar panels are generating power). This lowers the system voltage a bit and helps to get a bit more amperage from your panels. More importantly, it helps reduce the battery inefficiency which results from storing power in your batteries during the day to run the fridge at night! And the last bonus is that 1-2 days holding capacity of your fridge is a bit like having some more battery storage. We have monitored a 73 litre eutectic fridge (chest type) for a one year period in our area. If you are not familiar with our location, Nimbin is fairly close to Brisbane. Basically it is a sub tropical climate with typical summer day temperatures around 32°C and winter day temperatures about 20°C. The average daily current consumption @ 12V is Winter 8 - 11 Amp hours Spring & Autumn 12 - 16 Amp hours Summer 17 - 20 Amp hours "
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Postby cullen » Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:57 pm

hmm so it looks like i'd be better off spending the cash on a couple eu2000
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Postby gyre » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:18 pm

Just depends on what you're going for.

If you're not using ac or heavy microwave use, you can do without a generator or only run one to charge up the batteries.
It's just something to weigh.

You always want to balance the cost of conservation of use against the cost of producing more power.
With solar, you always start with lowering consumption first.

I wouldn't get solar just for burning man, but if you use it year round, it is very effective on rvs.
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Postby cullen » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:27 pm

mosly it will be temp use a couple days here and there, maybe a week or two at most.
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Postby gyre » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:58 pm

If you always want to use the fridge off grid, I'd use gas.
A large enough battery pack will allow you to run most things without a generator, except for charging.
A charging generator can be very small.

If you want to run ac, you need a generator or to be camped in a camp with power.
Of course, efficiency of the ac means less draw, as does insulation, shade and so on.

My goal is enough solar to run indefinitely without a generator, except for ac.

I have a dometic gas fridge.
If I was using it full time, I would seriously think about electric.
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Postby cullen » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:07 am

i saw a bus with a md3060 automatic transmission, and i wanted to know how well this compares to a mt643
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:05 am

More on propane fridges:
You'll want one, but they're amazingly expensive, so find one in an RV being parted out.
If you do, TEST IT FIRST! Don't buy a non-functioning one, and DON'T listen to anyone saying "oh it just needs a recharge". Don't get one that is older than 5 - 10 years MAX.
If you fire it up and smell ammonia, forget it, it's toast and repair is not cost-effective.
If it doesn't cool, but doesn't smell of leaking ammonia, first make sure it's sitting level. Propane fridges are very sensitive to this.
If it still doesn't cool, do this: Take a block of wood and whack on the metal tubes on the back of the fridge. They form crystals and clog up... whack the crap out of it, hard but not breaking it, and more often than not it will start cooling again.
Oh... make sure to include access to the back of your fridge when you install it so you can do that now and then! They usually need it when they've been sitting unused for a while.

I'm not personally familiar with the transmission you just asked about, but I will say that when I buy a bus I'll try my hardest to find one with a manual transmission! Automatics, especially old used ones, get hot and die when loaded heavily and made to climb long mountain passes like the ones near BRC!
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Postby Elliot » Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:52 am

cullen wrote:i saw a bus with a md3060 automatic transmission, and i wanted to know how well this compares to a mt643


:D
The Allison MD3060 is a newer model than the MT643. A newer bus is obviously a good thing, generally. You may be able to look up these trannies on Allison's web site. Then there is the Industrial Automatic web site where I have found lots of Allison specs in an easily understandable format.
Edit: Here ya go; start comparing: http://www.industrialautomatic.com/html/onhiway.htm


And yes, I would also buy a stick shift if possible. They are out there, but they are rare. If the Allison in my bus ever conks out, I'll be looking at converting to stick shift. Meanwhile, I'm considering a freestanding auxiliary tranny cooler, with it's own electric fan -- about $350 plus hoses and whatnot from Flex-a-lite.
:D
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Postby cullen » Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:06 pm

Elliot wrote:
cullen wrote:i saw a bus with a md3060 automatic transmission, and i wanted to know how well this compares to a mt643


:D
The Allison MD3060 is a newer model than the MT643. A newer bus is obviously a good thing, generally. You may be able to look up these trannies on Allison's web site. Then there is the Industrial Automatic web site where I have found lots of Allison specs in an easily understandable format.
Edit: Here ya go; start comparing: http://www.industrialautomatic.com/html/onhiway.htm


And yes, I would also buy a stick shift if possible. They are out there, but they are rare. If the Allison in my bus ever conks out, I'll be looking at converting to stick shift. Meanwhile, I'm considering a freestanding auxiliary tranny cooler, with it's own electric fan -- about $350 plus hoses and whatnot from Flex-a-lite.
:D


Yeah i've noticed how everything seems to be an auto now. so i've been going through here and skoolie and searching through everyone's experiences on different trannies to get the best possible ride for me.
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Postby gyre » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:16 pm

$350 for a cooler?
What's different about it?
I bet you can do better.
Have you priced griffin?
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Postby Elliot » Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:47 pm

gyre wrote:$350 for a cooler?
What's different about it?
I bet you can do better.
Have you priced griffin?


I'm thinking this kind of thing:
http://www.flex-a-lite.com/auto/html/remote-mount.html

I don't see any such on Griffin's site, but then I'm a known interweb dummy.
:D
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Postby gyre » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:53 pm

I found that one for $273 and I think $220 in a variation.
Does it have to be remote?
If you buy a fan, buy Spal.

You could get a truck transmission cooler and re-use it and get a fan off a salvaged car.
Some don't think it's safe to reuse a cooler, especially since the dedicated ones use diffusers in the lines.
Some recommend the plate coolers over others.

I wouldn't underestimate what griffin can do with a combo trans cooler, but I think all fuel injected vehicles need an auxiliary cooler on automatics.
I speced a radiator with custom tanks at each end similar to nascar, but harder to build, very high capacity.
They were very apologetic that it would add $60 to the cost.
I love companies like that.
http://griffinrad.com/land.php
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:37 pm

I find that Volvos in wrecking yards have great pusher-configured fans, heavy duty reliable and super cheap. $10 for one of those instead of $$$$ for a new one... way to go. I put two in my GMC. When I hit the switch, you can let go of a piece of paper in front of the truck and it sucks it in and sticks it to the grille.
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Postby Elliot » Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:20 pm

:D
Thanks for the suggestions! Millicent and trailer grossed 27.000 on a recent trip, so I do worry.
I have a good place for a remote cooler behind the right front tire, and would rather not add to the heat and air flow restriction for the engine radiator. Also, access to the front of the engine requires removal of everything in front of it. I repeat -- do not buy a front engine flat nose unless you must have the space AND a tailgate.
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Postby gyre » Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:40 pm

Unless you have an equally good place to locate it, I think you are better mounting it in front of the radiator.
Unless you are very sure of your cooler, run it in series after the radiator cooling tubes.
Instead of the separate fan, add it to the cooling of the radiator setup.
You can also add a pusher fan to the front.
Although it is not as efficient as the pulling fans, it can help in extremes.

You may have extra space for openings in the nose that you can use for the cooler.

Does your setup not use an engine driven fan?


There are some odd locations that work for airflow, like horizontal under the engine some times.
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Postby cullen » Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:59 pm

Elliot wrote::D
Thanks for the suggestions! Millicent and trailer grossed 27.000 on a recent trip, so I do worry.
I have a good place for a remote cooler behind the right front tire, and would rather not add to the heat and air flow restriction for the engine radiator. Also, access to the front of the engine requires removal of everything in front of it. I repeat -- do not buy a front engine flat nose unless you must have the space AND a tailgate.


lol i took your pusher advice to heart and that's what made me ask about the md3060 they keep showing up on floridachurchbus.
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Postby Elliot » Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:16 pm

:D
Wow! We have a debate going! Differences of opinion! Wondermuss! Possibly productive, even!

Air flow is indeed important for a cooler to be useful. From what little I have learned, it can be helpful to think in terms of high-pressure and low-pressure areas. Air likes to flow from a high-pressure area to a low-pressure area. The middle of a flat surface facing forward, such as the radiator area of a car or bus, rams straight into the air so it is a high-pressure area -- perfect for inward flow thru a cooler.

The rest of the air must then yield to the bus, and this air is forced to the sides (and up and under). This air collides with the air that tries to flow straight along the side of the bus, and the sum is an angled air flow at the corner of the vehicle. So right around the corner, where the driver is hanging his elbow out the window, is a low-pressure area -- notice how light debris like gum wrappers blow out the driver's side window.

(Something else, is an aerodynamic phenomenon called the boundary layer, but now we are getting beyond the scope of this thread.)

The spot I have in mind for a tranny cooler is in the low-pressure area behind the front tire, and the air flow would be outward. This is an uncluttered spot between the tire and one of my gray water tanks, close to the tranny. I'd just cut a big hole and install a stout screen.

Way back in car mechanic school, they taught me to put an extra tranny cooler before the built-in cooler in the bottom of the radiator. The reason was to keep the tranny from running too cool under light load in cold weather.

Yes, Millicent has a belt driven fan on the front of the engine. With a thermostatic clutch. And I dread the day that I set out to replace the belt or do anything else in there, because the radiator will have to come out for access. That's my main reason for not putting any more Stuff up there. If you wonder about the Peterbilt grille, it is held in place by spring loaded latches, like model A Ford and Jeep hood latches, so it comes off in seconds.

On that note... Most people are not aware that the Blue Bird school bus company also builds motor homes. The brand name is WanderLodge. These days, the motor homes are unrelated to the school buses, but they started out as a fancy variety of the flat nose school buses, including the front engine type. These WanderLodges, or at least some of them, have the radiator mounted on a hinge for engine access. It may be an aftermarket conversion. I have never looked at this arrangement up close, so I don't know how they hinge the hoses, but I sure wish I had this. (One more thing to invent and fabricate! :lol: )

:D
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Postby gyre » Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:34 pm

Elliot wrote::D

Way back in car mechanic school, they taught me to put an extra tranny cooler before the built-in cooler in the bottom of the radiator. The reason was to keep the tranny from running too cool under light load in cold weather.


:D

Was this course in a northern clime?

In fuel injected gas engines, the radiator is always hotter than transmissions should be.
This may not be the case with diesel.

The thermostat should take care of overcooling issues in either case.

I am told the higher airflow in the engine area almost always compensates for any extra heat.
You might get away with a better radiator design and no cooler.

Road hazards are a serious issue for odd mounting places.

I recommend welded stainless mesh in a frame as a guard. (food grade filter)

There is much that can be done to make obstructions easier to remove.
Racing and industrial practice in this area is an example.

Thumb release clamps are your friend for this, as is titanium velcro, thumbscrews, etc.
I even have some swedish quick release battery clamps that can be operated while wearing mittens.
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http://www.protex.com/productrange.asp
http://www.protex.com/
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Postby Elliot » Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:28 pm

:D
Quick release hose clamps -- very clever! But I don't know what I would do with them, as their release would let quite a few gallons of coolant flow out. And surely the handling of the coolant would be much more time consuming and mess creating (Is that English? :lol: ) than the bolts holding the radiator, so the idea would seem to be keeping the systems sealed. I really ought to find out how they do it on the WanderLodges. My guess is swiveling fittings in line with the hinge.

Yes, there are also quick release couplings that seal when disconnected. The most common place I see them is on fork lifts and bobcats and such machines that have a variety of hydraulic attachments. One could also install gate valves on both sides of a disconnect point. But anything of this sort would require access to that equipment.

Yes, that class was in Michigan. Also, it was over 30 years ago, when car engines did not run as hot as they do today (for efficiency) -- an other good point. That leaves us with warm-up time, which is probably not a seriously important factor. Good point.

Road hazard, yes. And behind the tire would be a bad spot, so it would get steel plates around it, yes. That is, steel plates in line with the tire, and mesh to the sides where the air flows.
:D
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:52 pm

Elliot wrote::D
Thanks for the suggestions! Millicent and trailer grossed 27.000 on a recent trip, so I do worry.

My crew-cab dually pickup, camper, and Land Yacht trailer grosses just under 22,000!
When I was running an automatic (a TH400), I used a plate-style cooler and cut a hole in the radiator core support beside the radiator. I always meant to add it's own fan since the transmission was making the most heat when climbing up long steep grades, going too slow to generate a lot of airflow.
I didn't have a trans temp gauge but the fluid never smelled burnt and I never had problems.
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Postby gyre » Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:01 pm

If you look through the product line, protex also have clamps heavy enough for holding large assemblies in place and quick releasing.

Note the springs on some hose clamps.
Best way to maintain tension on a hose.
That's how I want to change hoses by the road, thumb release.

I don't know a simple solution for the radiator hose flex issue, but I bet griffin or someone does.

I left enough high pressure hose on my transmission cooler to just move it to the side.

If you have to move the radiator, it at least makes it easier to take the hoses off.
I often take the upper hose off and leave the lower in place.
I have to move the radiator to access my van and rv engines well.
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Postby Zamfir2 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:31 pm

Elliot wrote:These WanderLodges, or at least some of them, have the radiator mounted on a hinge for engine access. It may be an aftermarket conversion. I have never looked at this arrangement up close, so I don't know how they hinge the hoses, but I sure wish I had this. (One more thing to invent and fabricate! :lol: )

Here is someone who has done just that on his 1982 WanderLodge. Toward the bottom of the page, there's a photo sequence of him opening the radiator, and it doesn't look too easy to me, but I suppose it's easier than pulling a regularly mounted one. Apparently the factory did something like this on 1985 and later models.
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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:58 pm

Zamfir2 wrote:Here is someone who has done just that on his 1982 WanderLodge.


Yes, I went looking myself and found the same one. Horribly crude how he handled the hoses, and... did you see further down, that he had to have the bus towed because the fan cut one of the hoses?!

Long flexible radiator hoses could work, I suppose, but they would have to be securely nestled in some sort of supports. And back in mechanics school, they told us that those accordion hoses restrict flow quite a bit.

So I'm thinking swivel fittings from a hydraulic supplier. Think about the hose you use to put gasoline in your car. It has at least a swivel at the nozzle.
:D
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Postby cullen » Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:18 am

I had a question and i just forgot it.
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Postby gyre » Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:35 am

What was it?
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