On the busses – again
Just been reading issue 414 about the Clipper bus and its demise. Shame about the old dear. They’re ver y scarce now. Pioneer stepped up later and started using MCIs (busses) on their runs and I have a 1976 MCI Mark 8 Crusader which still runs
an 871 Detroit, other wise known as the screaming GM. Driving that thing, I am king of the road.
It’s a lways been ultrareliable and I believe Pioneer policy was to replace the motor and gearbox around 750,000 miles. It was a ll done on a slide-out; a few hours later and back on the road. None of t hese MCIs were retired until bet ween seven and nine million k ilometres.
Mercedes OM355 motors rated at 240 horsepower were used in wooden pearling luggers. A ver y smooth motor. Some of the other big brand motors used to v ibrate t he screws loose. Not rea lly idea l when at sea.
For those who don’t know, when it comes to t wo-stroke GM engines, t he numbers say it a ll: The last two numbers were t he size of each pot (53 cubic-inches, 71 inches, 92 inches) and t he f irst number was the number of cylinders. Hope somebody f inds t hat interesting. Rob, Proston, QLD. WOW, 750,000 MILES from an engine and gearbox and somewhere between seven and nine million kays for the bodyshell. Makes a Toyota taxi look like an amateur, doesn’t it. You make and interesting point, Rob, about an engine’s smoothness being important in a wooden boat. I hadn’t thought about that, but when you see it written down, it makes all sorts of sense.
My own experience of a Benz car engine doing marine work was in Thailand where I hitched a ride on one of those long, narrow boats that go up and down the rivers, canals and channels in Bangkok. Typically for the breed, this was a six-cylinder car engine, mounted on a pivot with a long prop-shaft driven straight off the flywheel. The pivot was carefully located so that the engine was perfectly balanced, important because the whole engine was articulated and swung around and up and down as part of the tiller.
To stop, the bloke simply titled the whole motor, lifting the prop out of the water and to go again, the prop was dropped back into the water. To hear those engines free-revving with the prop in mid-air, through a straight-out exhaust system was something else. Probably doesn’t happen now, but it was just part of Bangkok life 20 years ago.