It’s been a busy week. I decided to engage in an exercise to price out a windshield this week. MAN Truck has a North American presence that is mainly focused on their marine engines. I emailed them and proceeded to argue about my VIN and if they built my coach. It basically ended with them asking me for the part number before they could tell me if it’s available and how much. SMH.
Meanwhile, I located a US Supplier who thinks they have one. I need to measure mine to see if they do.
I also dug on the airbags, nothing wrong with them or the windshield, but this is a sustainability exercise. That turned out to be quite a bit easier with Meritor publishing an application book and cross references. Something that MAN/VW/Neoplan can’t seem to find or do. The Airbags are all the same in the front and back and seem to be around $200/ea which is pretty reasonable.
Oh, there was one other option on the windshield. Convert it to a two piece unit. This was used on the AN series coaches (American Neoplan) that were made for transit. It would cut the cost of replacement in half as any failure should only be for one side or the other. It would involve some welding and refit, but that shouldn’t be impossible to do.
I also started looking at the egress windows that open. I discovered that manual skylight operators would work fine. The Australians use them for Awning windows and call them chain openers. They are compact and can push the window open. Only need 4 of them so $60/ea is tolerable. No idea how I’d make a screen for them, not today’s project, not messing with it.
I think the front axles and steering stuff should be easy enough to look up as well. It’s Mercede$ and EuroTruck stuff.
I’ve also concluded that this coach has unparallelled inside dimensions…. and a tight turning radius. It will turn in a 40 foot radius which is also it’s length. Interior height is 8 feet and width is nearly the same. Inside useable area is 40′ 1″, which is unheard of for a 40 foot (12 Meter) coach.
I’ve pretty much ruled out the GM and MCI coaches due to frame construction issues. I don’t think they are suited for towing. That leaves me with the devil I know, a Bluebird All American or a Crown SuperCoach. The Crown’s are just flat out awesome, but storage is not a word you can use to describe one. Crown is out of business, but at least they used stock American Truck parts, so there are no surprises there and any parts monkey can work on one. Bluebird should be easy to get worked on as well. They also have disc brakes which are far easier to maintain. I can’t say the same for Neoplan.
I’ll post another update soon.