This page might answer some questions for potential coaster owners.
The bus uses about 12-13 litres per 100km. Driving at 100km uses more driving at 70kms uses less.
Road user charges
Being in the udner 4 tonne class, these are $79 per 2000km.
How it drives
Many folk, me included, reckon these buses need another gear.
I have heard it said `make sure that you get one with a highway diff`. The research i did suggests that this is a urban myth, as this model does not come with that option. I was told be a reputable bus dealer that the engine is a `high revving diesel`.
The 5 speed box, is odd in that the first gear is more like a low ratio gear for getting the bus moving up a steep hill when heavily loaded. In every day use first gear is not used, starting the bus off in second gear, which is in fact located where first gear is located on most manual shifts. I have never ever used 1st gear to this day.
That makes 5th gear more like 4th as a result. I find that the noise level in the cab increases above comfort when the buses speed goes over 70kms, upto 100kms. After that it settles into a less rumbly more hum-whine sort of thing which is easier on the ear. I tended to baby it as a result, and while i dont mind driving at 70kms, it was pleasing to discover that she also rides quite sweetly at around 105kms/hr.
I think the solution to the noise is probably acoustic insulation esp around the motor and the bus floor.
Its not uncommon to find jap import buses with low miles like this one. In this case tyres are something to watch out for. The dealer happened to note that the bus `still had its original tyres`. The implication I assumed was that this was confirmation of the AA odometer certification. However what i failed to understand is that 12 year old bus tyres are on their last leggs despite having at least 50% tread remaining. Sunlight and thermal extremes degrades the strength of the tyres.
The result is that i have had two tyre blow outs. Both were front tyres but the tyre dealer said that they would go one after the other. Signs are small perishing types cracks on the outer edge of the tyre. They tend to blow when the tyre gets hot near the end of a long run.
Tyre blow outs on these tyres are not unlike a truck tyre that just goes bang and leaves great strips of rubber and steel flailing. The dangers to you are these:
-possibly losing control on a corner
-having to change tyres in a dangerous/awkward place
-damage to vehicle from flailing tyre pieces. I spent 20 hours making repairs to electrics located behind the left front wheel.
-make sure you understand the tyre changing process on these buses
Take my advice a replace any tyres that are at all suspect. If i had changed both front tyres after the first one went i could have avoided damaged relays, and resplicing 76 damaged cables, and a bit of panell beating to wheel arches. Ill try and add a photo in case you dont beleive me.
Replacing tyres is problematic in regard to tyre sizes. The size of the tyre the y use is not available new in NZ, its a Japanese only size. This means changing the size slightly ( from 170 to 175) with the result that you need to change them as groups of front and rear. At around 300-400 a tyres start saving now.
Alternatively you can get Jap import tyres of the right size still, at a few places. Ace tyres in Auckland is one such place. They go for $180 with 70% tread.
Make sure your tyre kit is complete. Many buses have tyre gear missing, so it became one of my standard questions `does it have tyre chaging tools`. Sadly the otherwise great dealer i bought from chose to answer yes to my question but with one piece actually missing. being a trusting person, this was later to cause me grief. On taking possession of the bus is became apparent to me that the jack handle was missing, but what i didnt understand is that it is also used to lower the spare tyre.
The first blow out lead me to discover this fact. Now you can pump the jack with all manner of things including in this case the other half of the crank handle. But removing the spare tyre requires a fairly specific shaped pole. After much hair pulling i was able to remove the spare tyre with a pair os vice grips, but my lesson was learned. Hopefully yours too now- make sure its all there
- bottle jack
- jack arm
- tyre chocks
- spare tyre crank in two pieces
- wheel brace in two peices
- entendible thingi whose purpose i havent deduced yet.
Note that the wheel nuts on the left side of the bus are left hand threads. Traps for new players number 4.
Tyre pressures are written in japanese on the drivers side door.
70-80 pounds seems a lot and i tend to run a little less the bus being lightly loaded. Also about 50% of petrol stations air pumps will struggle to go this high. Look for truckie type places.
I made a somewhat mistaken assumption that residual holes in the floor would not be too much of a problem. I could fill them when i had finshed making more holes myself. Wrong. Spray from the wheels means water goes uphill and suprising amounts come in though even the 10mm seat mounting holes. As a first task take s tube of sealent and fill every little hole there is. Consider your self warned.
Squeaks and whatnot
The woodwork joints have produced no squeaks as a result of paying attention to old timers advice. All joints must be well screwed and glued. Otherwise use some kind of medium to prevent squeaking. I have used thin foam padding, this thin black tar-y film that builders use and even cardbaord all to good effect.
Drawer slides are taking a bit of a hammering, and make sure that all drawers are wel secured from movment while vehicel is moving.
A special note about the barn doors cf plug doors. I have actually come to appreciate the barn aka bifold door for its smooth runners and easiness to open. You can open and shut it real quietly.
Other than the above the bus has been very satisfying to own. The shape and size are just right. Yes the windows are positioned low, the roof could be a bit higher etc, but im always happy to be in it.