Weight a second

So, I might be wrong on the weight issue. Another spaceliner owner pointed out to me that his bus had a GVWR of 40K. I asked him to send me a picture of the vehicle data plate.

In the meanwhile, I started digging, emailed NeOPLAN, and checked everything I have.

I hit paydirt early on with the discovery of a German Bus Spec PDF that listed the max weight at 17,500 KG which is 38,000 lbs. Most likely this would be 12K/26K on the axles.

I did some more digging and found some neat stuff.

N117/2 Vehicle Data Plate

So the plate above is a Vehicle Data plate from a 1991 Spaceliner in Europe. Max Weight is listed as 17,600. Capacity is listed as 14,620. Numbers are in KG. First axle is 5,500 and second is 11,000. 5500 KG is 12,125.42 pounds. 11,000 KG is 24,250.89 lbs. That is a GVWR of 36,000 . This is odd as it doesn’t line up with Max weight or Capacity. Capacity comes out to 32,231.58 pounds (14,260KG) and 17,600KG is 38,801 pounds.

I interpret the numbers as a GVWR of 32,231 with an allowable overload of 38,801 (17%). It’s pretty common for buses to be overloaded. In the US the Axle weights would rule, so 12,125+24250 would be 36,375. This would be fine, except that the Capacity is listed as 32,231 so that would be the number. This also happens to line up nicely with truck rules in the US which are 12K on steers and 20K on a single axle.

Where I live in the United States, Texas the rule is 20K per any single Axle. It gets confusing though. Federal rules for trucks apparently are in conflict with allowances carved out for buses. Buses can weigh considerably more. This is in light of the fact that city tranist buses are often much heavier. This makes sense considering that they destroy city streets. Federal rules are concerned with highway bridge capacity. Too much truck in too little space is too hard on bridges.

I’m still waiting on Neoplan to get back to me on what the axle specs are. They are unresponsive, as usual. One of my frustrations with this coach is that there is no manufacturer support. If you have a part number they will quote you, but past that they appear to wish it didn’t exist.

I think the Axles are ZF A 130. No mention of those on their website. Must be magical that everything in Europe turns to fairy dust after 10 years. A 132 specs exist and they rate out at 26K for the axle. I think it’s safe to assume that 24K applies. Generally speaking buses seem to follow a 65/35 rule with 65% of the weight in the back.

Regrettably, I’m content in concluding that the GVWR is 32K but could be safely overloaded to 38K. Given that there are no data plates on the vehicle I think you could probably do anything you wanted that would roll and stop. I’m not really sure how that would work out if you ever got pulled into a scale. I can’t find anything that requires such a data plate to exist and there is no obvious place where it had been removed.

I still have no idea where the weight is at. Nothing on the coach is obviously that heavy. I checked the engine weight thinking maybe the 8v92TA was the culprit. It’s not that much heavier than anything else that could have been spec’d.

So I found a brochure from 1983, featuring the highway coaches.

Update

I took the bus to weigh it today and realized I have a weight problem. I was really expecting more weight to have come out, but it didn’t. My GVRW is 34,500 which is set by Federal Law for 2 axle vehicles. My weight today was 28,500. I did some calculations to account for the diesel fuel, generator, AC’s, and washer/dryer and concluded that the curb weight of the bus is 26,000 pounds. By the time I install the materials for the buildout I’m going to be real close to the weight limit. This precludes any dream of putting in solar panels or increasing the water capacity beyond 100 gallons.

So I have decided to put the bus shell up for sale and get a lighter bus with a better weight allowance. It’s a good solid shell and anyone would be happy with it as a motorhome. The problem comes from my trying to increase my ability to boondock for over a week at a time comfortably. Someone who was doing “normal” campground camping wouldn’t run into the weight issues because they wouldn’t need the capacities that I want. Same for a full timer in a park, no capacity issues.

It’s listed up on eBay and posted to a few FB groups. My bill of materials was going to be around 5,000 pounds. That was doing an oversize shower and putting tile in it with a glass door. So someone willing to have a fiberglass shower could shave quite a bit of weight out.

Part of my issue is that I need to take quite a few tools with me for work when I’m out with the coach. This adds a fair amount of weight. Most people don’t have this issue when they go camping.

I also took the opportunity to shoot a video of the driving experience. It’s uploading to YouTube right now and I hope folks enjoy it. Here is the link.