Transport or rebuild engine? by Larry D. Owens, Jr.



You may be able to die free but you can't RIDE for free...at least
not on the Interstate.

I checked the distance from CA to OK (assuming a termination in
Okalahoma, City) and it comes to 1340 miles. Last year we were
quoting coach transfers on a drop down hydraulic gooseneck at $3.65 a mile one way. Today with fuel increases it is $4.70 a mile. You cannot run a rig with 22 tires and a qualified driver with insurance,
plus rigging equipment for anything less. And as fond as many people would be of the idea, I just don't have room in my wallet for friends in that price range.

One tire on the flatbed itself is $385.00 plus road call and down
time if I were to tear one up while getting into or out of the coach location.

This business of old coaches is an expensive one. Performing major
transformations like engine upgrades to diesel are not for the faint of heart...OR wallet. So many times I have seen folks trying to "get by" on an engine purchase or re-power by shopping it around to the lowest bidder only to be sorely disappointed in the results. The application and engineering of a diesel engine into a coach or truck is a major undertaking of skill, knowledge, and dedication to proper engineering techniques. Can't tell you the number of times I have been asked to "fix someone else's 'heatin' beatin' benden' and paintin' to match" diesel project only to have to tell them that I would have to start from scratch to do it right.

Remember, a diesel engine is designed to last for several hundred
thousand miles. Improper engine selection and installation procedures will render a re-power as so much expensive junk and the owner with so many excuses and rationalizations as to why it is too noisy, no power, no fuel mileage, and always needing someone to look at it. This is not the stuff of a happy camper... a broke camper maybe, but not a happy one.

IF it is your intent to re-power the Ca Clipper on site (It seems like the best alternative at this point) I would recommend only going with a diesel engine. Remember, all of the money you put into it for a gas re-power will be wasted  when for 2-3 thousand more a diesel will give you dependability, economy, longevity, and a low life cycle cost. (life cycle costs are those hidden costs that come AFTER you have committed to the relationship...like marriage. Engagement rings are cheap. Divorces are expensive)

The problem with contracting this re-power out to some one at a
distance is in attempting to make known to the contractor just what
it is that you are expecting him to do. If you say "put an engine in
the bus" this implies contractually, no particular level of
performance, installation quality, mileage performance, or engine life due to improper or unforeseen mechanical limitations. In other words, if he dumps the engine into the chassis and the coach will drive under its own power, he has performed his contractual duty to you.

If you do not have the experience in this field (vehicle re-power
engineering) to dictate the minimum quality and performance
standards, then you might end up very dissatisfied with the results.
You MUST find someone who understands the pitfalls of this
undertaking and will give you assurances IN WRITING of the minimum
level of his installation quality and vehicle performance... before
you commit.

ANYONE can stuff ANY engine into ANY vehicle. Only a few people can
do it with genuine finesse that will reward the owner with a long and
happy motoring experience. Be sure that you are talking to that
person before you commit to an expensive undertaking.

I wish you the best of luck. Just don't try to spend too little.


Larry D. Owens, Jr.
FOI #538 






















                                              This page was last updated 12/16/03                                                  Copyright 2000 All rights reserved.