Bus Preservation: Some Questions.

BritishRail60062

A Friendly Rail & Transport Fan.
Jan 10, 2017
317
Hello everyone,

I have an ambition to preserve one the Dennis/Transbus Trident Alexander ALX400 buses that used to work the Route 94 Piccadilly Circus to Acton Green before they got replaced with those Streetdeck looking Gemini Volvo things (I think they are B5LH's but I am not 100%) in 2016.

So this got me thinking about taking on a project that I would like to do in this life as a personal challenge to myself. I am aware that the Dennis/Transbus Trident Alexander ALX400's use the Cummins ISCe Euro 3 engines on post November 2001 vehicles and are rated at about 220hp. Now this has got me thinking about the condition of the engine of the potential bus that I am planning to preserve. As scouring about the net and finding other examples including eBay. The price of the buses are anything from £11000 to about £25000 depending on specs or upgrades they have had. So if I bought let's say a 53-reg for a good deal but the engine is so-so due to age and heavy usage. I am curious to know if something like a reconditioned Caterpillar C9 engine would be a good replacement for the Cummins ISCe engine? Or would the C9 be too large to fit?

I have always liked the sound of the Caterpillar C9 engines as they do roar a bit. But I appreciate any information and feedback on my project. Here is a photo of TLA24/SN53KHZ below.
d4d411d2aaabd10600bfc6ec08655ee2.jpeg
London United TLA24 SN53KHZ
by BritishRail60062, on Flickr

Moderators: Please feel free to move this topic if I have posted it in the wrong place and please accept my apologies in advance. Thank you.
 

Road-hog123

An Orange Bus
Administrator
UKDT
Dec 10, 2015
1,784
Some Enviro 400s were fitted with Caterpillar C7 engines, so they're presumably quite similar in size to the ISBe 6.7L engines. I should imagine that they'd then be smaller than an 8.3L ISCe. However I am not an expert in this field, so I don't know if it would fit into an ALX400. I would well imagine some fabrication would have to be done to move engine mounts and plumb in all sorts of other important gubbins, like fuel, air, water, exhaust, electrics, etc. One thing we haven't considered at all here is whether or not the whole-bus ECU (if it has one instead of a standard fusebox) will even communicate with the Caterpillar engine. I would suggest that if the engine runs and can perhaps be serviced to extend its life, it's probably the easiest option.
 

Whiskey.Stuffs

Oh that one, that does those repaints.
Apr 1, 2016
363
If you want to preserve a bus, make sure you have a place to store it first. It is easier to keep the engine that it originally has and keep it serviced rather than putting a different engine with different engine mounts and that would be a lot of work as Road-Hog said.
 

Jacobthebus

Weeeeeeeeeee
Mar 7, 2016
1,047
It'd be nice to see a Trident under preservation :) I think there's a few things that need to b considered, like running costs, a safe and secure storage location (as Whiskey said), as well as parts costs. Do you have the necessary license to drive it? I can never remember if buses out of passenger service need a PSV license. And then there's MOTs, insurance, and the trouble of getting it places. However these are the things that all bus preservationists face, and they do it fine, so I wish you good luck ;)
 

Planesandbuses

Well-Known Member
Apr 9, 2016
260
The time where Tridents/Darts will be scenes at vintage bus running days like halfcabs are still to come. I just like enjoying them in service. Preserving a bus is such a mammoth task, especially a modern bus which aren't exactly built to last.
 

BritishRail60062

A Friendly Rail & Transport Fan.
Jan 10, 2017
317
Hi guys. Finding storage where I will be going to (Galway via Derry) shouldn't be as much an issue but my reasons that I chose something modern like a Dennis/Transbus Trident Alexander ALX400 as I think that parts might be easier to source as unlike a lot of the older buses. As much as I love the older Leyland Titans and MCW Metrobuses that dominated the streets of London back in the 1980's to the very early 2000's. Parts for older buses from what I have learned can be very hard to find and in some cases. Some parts even have to be specially forged for old buses and vehicles.

I have a provisional PCV licence and I am funding the training myself. I am tackling the Theory Test first as then I can plough right on in and take on the PCV lessons and training as I have two years to pass the practical PSV test. Otherwise, its back to doing another theory test. My reasons for wanting to hold a PSV licence is not only do I want to do charters and private hires. But it will make me a much better driver. As the largest vehicles I have driven on my car licence is a Mercedes Vito and Sprinter when I was delivering parcels. So I want to take it up to the next level and drive and own my very own bus that was once part of my everyday life.

Where I am living. The only buses we get are Optare Solos, Streetskips and the odd passing Enviro 200 or VDL SB120. None are my cuppa to be honest and they are just a means to an end for me :). Meanwhile regarding the engine of the bus I am after. I will just keep the original Cummins Engine if its in good condition and perhaps I will uprate it for a bit more poke on the open road. But there is one thing I will have in the cab and that is a replacement drivers seat as I like the Jennings ISRI6800-377 as its fully adjustable and it is high back in black leather as well as I am quite tall. Later I may replace the seats with airline type seating that will also be leather as well but two tone of black and rosso red, but for now. That will just stay on my wishlist :).
 

Jacobthebus

Weeeeeeeeeee
Mar 7, 2016
1,047
The thing you've got to remember is bus preservation really is just a big money pit, unless you have ways to make money off it (like chartering and hire, but that creates its own problems). Unless you have a decent bag of cash and a couple of mates who are going splits and joining in, it can be incredibly risky. It's something I'd like to do, and something that may even influence my future in order to get there! The thing to remember is just keep on top of things, and make sure that everything is in order prior to purchase. Especially financially.
 

Whiskey.Stuffs

Oh that one, that does those repaints.
Apr 1, 2016
363
The thing you've got to remember is bus preservation really is just a big money pit, unless you have ways to make money off it (like chartering and hire, but that creates its own problems). Unless you have a decent bag of cash and a couple of mates who are going splits and joining in, it can be incredibly risky. It's something I'd like to do, and something that may even influence my future in order to get there! The thing to remember is just keep on top of things, and make sure that everything is in order prior to purchase. Especially financially.
As Jacob said you've got to think about how you can make money out of you're bus as most of the time it will stay in storage. Maybe try to see if you can use you're bus for rail replacement? Or private hires as to get money from using the bus is great. My friend has only just finished paying off for his Routemaster and he brought it 4 years ago.
 

JoshYouWerLad

Top IRL Bus Driver
Sep 1, 2016
108
Get on Excel and work out how much you will need to pay on top of the bus... Storage, Road Tax, Insurance etc etc. Age of your drivers is a main thing to take into account. For example, on a friends policy to add me he has to ring up and get special permission as it is for over 25s only in most cases. So the premium wouldn't go up but if there was an incident if I was driving he would have to do something with his excess (can't remember that much). Also make sure it has a Class 5 MOT, Class 6 or 7 is not meant for buses if they are carrying passengers (e.g. at rallies).

If you plan on changing the engine etc make sure you have a large wallet, as it is not cheap. If you can find somewhere before it is due an MOT to put it through an inspection, they can give you a list of what needs doing for it to pass so you have time to rectify any issues. Chassis rot is the main concern so make sure a detailed inspection even before you buy said vehicle is undertaken by someone who has knowledge of PCV mechanics or a VOSA inspector.
 

Jacobthebus

Weeeeeeeeeee
Mar 7, 2016
1,047
Chassis rot is the main concern
Adding on to this is the body itself. I know that 70s/80s era buses like the Metrobus are prone to rotting floors and what not, so a good check should be carried out before going anywhere near a purchase. Newer buses should not have this problem.
 

BritishRail60062

A Friendly Rail & Transport Fan.
Jan 10, 2017
317
Hello folks,

Thanks again for the invaluable information. I am taking notes down and putting them on file for future reference. I will mostly likely take a VOSA inspector with me when I do buy the bus if I can do so. Failing that, I will bring a specialist mechanic with me at the time of purchase. I think as a rule. Older buses will be more harder to deal with for a newcomer like myself. Perhaps something like a 2002/3 Dennis/Transbus Trident Alexander ALX400 will be something more manageable to a newcomer like me until I gain some valuable experience in bus preservation.

Chassis rot is something that does concern me and is another reason I am not going to touch older buses right now. As I think the newer buses from 2001 have an anti-corrosion (I am open to correction on this) coating to prolong the life of the chassis. Also looking at bus part dealers in regards to the Dennis Trident Alexander ALX400. Places like PVS Barnsley, Booths, Carlyle in West Bromwich seem to have a healthy supply of parts for this bus. That means that it would be more viable to go for something like a Dennis Trident Alexander ALX400.

I will have my bus PSV compliant as I am looking at doing Rail Replacement, Private Hire and also I could have my bus for tourism as I would like to add airline-style but non-reclining seats on both decks with a view to ferrying tourists to landmark and tourists hot-spots. I will also replacement the cab door with a drop-down barrier as when I take it to bus shows and events. I can slide the barrier down into the cab door out of the way. I don't know if "barrier" is the right word or not but some of them mounted on the cab door do slide up and down like a train window as others cannot be moved at all :).

The IBE (In Bus Entertainment) will be a music player and an array of replacement Bose speakers that I will have made to fit the original mounts where the iBus speakers would originally be. I am a Bose fanatic :). I will hook up the LCD screens to play music videos when the music is playing.
 

ABZBuses

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2016
223
Any bus built after the 1st of January 2001 will be PSVAR (DDA) compliant. For coaches its the 1st of September 2004.
 

chrisrose1993

Veteran Member
Apr 1, 2016
383
"I will have my bus PSV compliant as I am looking at doing Rail Replacement, Private Hire and also I could have my bus for tourism"

I'm guessing you have a operators license and good financial standing then?


Don't touch any ex-London Trident/bus that has had a modified exhaust system fitted.
 

BritishRail60062

A Friendly Rail & Transport Fan.
Jan 10, 2017
317
Any bus built after the 1st of January 2001 will be PSVAR (DDA) compliant. For coaches its the 1st of September 2004.
Thanks for the info. The example I am after is a late-2003 Ex-London United TLA-class version. As long as I can source one that has not been converted to single door. I am scoping out my plans to minimise unnecessary costs such as re-installing exit doors etc.

you could consider enquiring with what the GVVT did when LX51 FOF - Dennis Trident got donated because I'm sure it had a duffed engine and it's on the road now.
Thanks for the link and the information. I will be in touch with them as I am sure they can give me guidence on this project of mine.

"I will have my bus PSV compliant as I am looking at doing Rail Replacement, Private Hire and also I could have my bus for tourism"

I'm guessing you have a operators license and good financial standing then?


Don't touch any ex-London Trident/bus that has had a modified exhaust system fitted.
Hi Chris. I have a big ambition to set up a private hire coach company and getting investment or a business partner into the company project shouldn't be too difficult as long as the company project idea has a strong and a viable business plan to back it up. Having done a business course myself and knowing how a business works. Careful planning and research is the key to success :).

Just out of interest. If there any reason to avoid the ex-London Dennis Tridents with those modified exhausts? As right now, I am taking down notes and important information of the do's and don'ts as I intend to make this ambition of mine a successful one.