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  #1  
Old 02-02-2009
iamflagman's Avatar
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Default Mike Hohnstein's "PRISON BUS"



I am starting this thread to show one of Mike Hohnstein's past projects, what he called his PRISON BUS the color kind of gives it away.

Quote:
This will show what is possible with a $2000 project. I gotta admit I hate it for any one that is going west with a 391.

As an aside, I was fortunate in that the interior proved to be usable and the wheels had been upgraded to one piece Alcoa's. The glass was all good and the side windows were 1985 type as well as the interior frame details.

On the down side the wiring was a total wreck both house and chassis, there was no storage capacity and there was a lot of water damage from leaking rear air unit and road side bed room window.

I had to graft a Ford truck steering box to the front end and make that work with a GM steering pump.

The juice brakes, in my mind, are a deal breaker. They are inherently unsafe and inadequate for contemporary highway speeds. I had a working transmission retarder and that feature along with the brakes stopped the 20k# bus pretty well, as long as you took the 'long view' on the road.

I would recommend one hold out for air brakes unless the vehicle in question is in like new condition. My experience with the juice brakes is parts are impossible to find.
MH
Here are Mikes photos of some of the modifications and upgrades that he did to his PRISON BUS.

Checkout;

DSCN0058.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 114k
DSCN0059.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:27 97k
DSCN0060.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 124k
DSCN0061.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 93k
DSCN0062.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 107k
DSCN0063.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 89k
DSCN0064.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 100k
DSCN0065.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 103k
DSCN0106.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 154k
DSCN0107.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 134k
DSCN0112.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 113k
DSCN0113.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 109k
DSCN0114.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 155k
DSCN0115.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 152k
DSCN0116.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 148k
DSCN0117.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:28 143k
DSCN0118.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 111k
DSCN0119.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 138k
DSCN0120.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 123k
DSCN0121.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 90k
DSCN0122.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 133k
DSCN0180.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 130k
DSCN0181.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 136k
DSCN0182.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 107k
DSCN0183.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 73k
DSCN0209.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 124k
DSCN0210.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 134k
DSCN0211.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 122k
DSCN0212.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 108k
DSCN0213.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 82k
DSCN0214.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 103k
DSCN0215.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 85k
DSCN0216.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 112k
DSCN0217.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 102k
DSCN0218.jpg 02-Feb-2009 11:29 109k

I will let Mike take it from here with any comments and answers to your questions.
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2009
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man..........its cold a long time up there

This is a project to work on for a While for sure you had here.....

My hats are off to you for the amount of work and time that you spent on this bus.....

Thats appreciation for a BB for sure!!!!! Keep the project pic coming!!!!!!
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  #3  
Old 02-03-2009
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Mike,during our bus search, I once drove a 4104 with a 406CI in it, it was not bad on power based on the terrain and speed, how does that 391 do? The overall condition of the Prison Bus is beautiful!
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  #4  
Old 02-03-2009
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Default Big Block Chevy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crit Bliss View Post
Mike,during our bus search, I once drove a 4104 with a 406CI in it, it was not bad on power based on the terrain and speed, how does that 391 do? The overall condition of the Prison Bus is beautiful!
I'm sure that Mike will THAW OUT eventually and reply, but until then, he replaced the 391 with a big block Chevrolet and after completing the modifications and upgrades I believe that he sold the 'Bird.
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  #5  
Old 02-03-2009
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Ya, as they say up nort. At the barn pumping heating oil dis mornin'
PB came with a 391 and the good old MT 42 Allison 6 sp with grade retarder.
MT's were in production until early 70's. Laid out like a 4L80 new fangled GM OD found in 91 and up vehicles.
I tend to get involved in expensive projects and the PB engine was no exception. After one particularly long and painful journey through western mountains with a P30 motorhome I determined I needed a bigger big block. It took a while but I ultimately crafted together a really fancy 520 cu. in truck block based 450 dyno proven hp monster. It works very well in the PB, and for those that love the sound of a big spirited engine, it's all good. At 60 mph, towing my 240D, got 5.8 mpg. I had to try it out once before I sold it and it pegged the 85 mph speedo right now. Only issue for the long term is the engine is good for 6000 rpm, went there on the dyno run before installation. Allison input speed limit is 4000 rpm. Hmmm.
The new owners says he passes ALL the semis on the western mountain grades.
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  #6  
Old 02-03-2009
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Mike is awesome I wish I could beam mine from new mexico to Wi
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  #7  
Old 02-05-2009
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A quick Google on 520's tell's me they show up in boat racing these days, must have some grunt. Pretty cool, mpg isn't bad either.
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  #8  
Old 02-05-2009
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Default Mike Hohnstein's "Prison Bus"

Prisoners in Alabama would be so lucky to ride around in that one. The incarcerated folk here ride in 30 year old repainted/recycled school buses, rarely BBs.
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  #9  
Old 02-05-2009
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This 520 was 4.280" bore X 4.5 stroke. Dyno sheet showed 600 # torque @ 3000 rpm.
As it was a truck block, I used the stock Holley flange intake that featured two thermostats. I was concerned about the intake performance but it obviously worked perfectly for the end use. My engine guy did up a 850 double pumper and set up the distributor for no vacuum advance, to my dismay. However, he proved his point.
After the PB went down the road, I picked up a 345 Airstream Classic with a fresh 454. I always wanted one and this rascal was pretty nice. I had to do a good bit of work to get up to my specs, screwed in a 700R4 GM OD trans with a Gearvendors OD behind that. Added headers and rewired most of the engine specific components, replaced the mickey mouse fusible link wire with circuit breakers and seperated circuits etc. etc.
Some of the under coach framing was rusted out so when we removed the rear axle for service, delt with that. 2 X 2 square tube, my Marvel saw and my little mig welder we had repairs made in good order. The Classic is the only P-30 I"ve diriven that is worth a ****, the shape is great in the wind and I do like Airstream trailers, so the Classic is real friendly to me and the wife. All that being said, towing the same toad as the PB, it only gets about 1 MPG better. So I guess that 520 was a pretty good mill. However, more than a couple weeks on the road, I want my 'Bird.
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  #10  
Old 02-05-2009
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WOW..... Very impressive! These are the kind of projects I day-dream about! I can imagine there would be a few nightmares thrown in as well.
Very, very nice work Mike.
Jerry
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