DEFENDER

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Champion Bus Inc. General Coach America Inc. submitted a model Defender.  The bus is built on a Freightliner model Business Class M2 chassis, diesel-powered 29 seat (including the driver) 35-foot bus, for a 10 yr/350,000 mile STURAA test.  The odometer reading at the time of delivery was 2,670 miles.  Testing started on June 15, 2009 and was completed on November 27, 2009.  The Check-In section of the report provides a description of the bus and specifies its major components.

 The primary part of the test program is the Structural Durability Test, which also provides the information for the Maintainability and Reliability results.  The Structural Durability Test was started on July 3, 2009 and was completed on November 23, 2009.

 The interior of the bus is configured with seating for 29 passengers including the driver plus 2 wheelchair positions.  Free floor space will accommodate 20 standing passengers resulting in a potential load of 49 persons plus 2 handicap positions.  At 150 lbs per person and 600 lbs per wheelchair position, this load results in a measured gross vehicle weight of 24,540 lbs.  The first segment of the Structural Durability Test was performed with the bus loaded to a GVW of 24,540 lbs.  The middle segment was performed at a seated load weight of 21,630 lbs and the final segment was performed at a curb weight of 16,440 lbs.  Durability driving resulted in unscheduled maintenance and failures that involved a variety of subsystems.  A description of failures, and a complete and detailed listing of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance is provided in the Maintainability section of this report.

 Accessibility, in general, was adequate, components covered in Section 1.3 (Repair and/or Replacement of Selected Subsystems) along with all other components encountered during testing, were found to be readily accessible and no restrictions were noted.            

 The Reliability section compiles failures that occurred during Structural Durability Testing.  Breakdowns are classified according to subsystems.  The data in this section are arranged so that those subsystems with more frequent problems are apparent.  The problems are also listed by class as defined in Section 2.  The test bus encountered no Class 1 or Class 4 failures.  Of the three reported failures, 1 was a Class 2 and two were Class 3.

 The Safety Test, (a double-lane change, obstacle avoidance test) was safely performed in both right-hand and left-hand directions up to a maximum test speed of 45 mph.  The performance of the bus is illustrated by a speed vs. time plot.  Acceleration and gradeability test data are provided in Section 4, Performance.  The average time to obtain 50 mph was 24.46 seconds.

 The Shakedown Test produced a maximum final loaded deflection of 0.274 inches with a permanent set ranging between -0.004 to 0.002 inches under a distributed static load of 19,575 lbs.  The Distortion Test was completed with all subsystems, doors and escape mechanisms operating properly.  No water leakage was observed throughout the test.  All subsystems operated properly. 

The Static Towing Test was performed using a target load (towing force) of 19,728 lbs.  All four front pulls were completed to the full test load with no damage or deformation observed.  The Dynamic Towing Test was performed by means of a front-lift tow.  The towing interface was accomplished using a hydraulic under-lift wrecker.  The bus was towed without incident and no damage resulted from the test.  The manufacturer does not recommend towing the bus from the rear, therefore, a rear test was not performed.  The Jacking and Hoisting Tests were also performed without incident. The bus was found to be stable on the jack stands, and the minimum jacking clearance observed with a tire deflated was 5.0 inches.

 A Fuel Economy Test was run on simulated central business district, arterial, and commuter courses.  The results were 6.39 mpg, 6.86 mpg, and 14.21 mpg respectively; with an overall average of 7.73 mpg.

 A series of Interior and Exterior Noise Tests was performed.  These data are listed in Section 7.1 and 7.2 respectively.

 

Number: 0911
Model: DEFENDER
Manufacturer: CHAMPION BUS INC.
Vin Number: 559AM35ORLM218504