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Author Topic: Help with the value of this bus....  (Read 3474 times)
turbobrat930
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« on: December 17, 2008, 04:02:19 PM »

Well, I found a 1987 MCI-9 about 20 miles from my house. The bus did not have a for sale sign on it, and was sitting next to a small business complex in the not so good area of the city. I stopped by and chatted with a person in one of the businesses, who advised that the owner of the building was also the owner of the bus. I gave him my info and told him to have the owner call me. About a week went by, and I received a phone call. The owner stated that he would like to sell the bus and we could set up a time when we could both look at it. I went over today and looked at it, taking a few pictures. He stated that he and his brother had owned a charter company a few years ago. They purchased this bus 3 to 4 years ago from ABC bus company in FL. He stated that they ran the bus for about a year, then they went out of business and this bus is one of the busses that he kept personally. He also wanted to convert it into a motorhome, but lost interest and also would rather have the money then the bus.

Here are the specs of the bus:

1987 MCI-9    184,243 on the odometer ( I am guessing 1,184,243 miles, but don't know for sure). The motor was rebuilt before their purchasing the bus. ( I remember somewhere that an engine that was painted purple usually means that it was rebuilt form New Jersey Transit. When I mentioned that name to him, he stated that they were told that was who had rebuilt the engine when they purchased the bus.

6V92T unknown miles.
Automatic transmission (unknown brand)

There is no rust on the bus. We had 5 inches of rain in one day a few days ago. The bus was completely dry on the inside and in the bays. No condensation on the windows. I looked inside of the bays, and the door mechanisms...no rust.

The bus had dead batteries, so I could not drive it, now hear the engine run. BEFORE I buy the bus... If I decide to.. I will get him the get the thing running, and take it for a nice drive, along with bringing it to a bus mechanic shop for a good shakedown before I part with any of my money!!

Here are a few pictures which are resized so they are not so big. What I am looking for is an educated guess as to what this bus is worth. I understand that I have not driven it yet, nor have I heard the engine run. But, for this purpose, lets say that the engine, trans, air brakes, air system, etc are in good working order. What would you expect this bus to go for??   

The owner said that he had to see 10 grand for it. I was going to offer 5 grand if the bus ran and drove good..... what do you guys think?Huh 



















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grantgoold
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2008, 05:02:55 PM »

I would start with an offer of around $7,000 if the mechanic that you "hire" give the bus a clean bill of health. I would also make sure you have a place to store the bus, and are ready for the most crazy experience you will have. It will take twice the money and four times the time to get the conversion ready.

Good luck with the Jersey Transit!


Grant
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Grant Goold
1984 MCI 9
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2008, 05:17:04 PM »

Bus looks really straight and interior looks well cared for (not that it matters for a conversion) but it shows that the bus was prob well maintained.  As far as what its worth, I would say $5-6K maybe a little more if its exactly what you want.  For what is worth, I MAY be selling my '87 102a3 for $10k firm.  Not trying to advertise, simply giving you a reference point.
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2008, 05:54:19 PM »

I think he knows about what its worth. $10K is probably not a bad price if it is in good condition. If you get it for less then I think you did well. Condition is everything with a older coach. You may find a rust out for less, but it will cost you in the long run. Same with the purple engine, if it runs good then it will probably take you every where for the rest of your life and not need anything. The 5 speed will save you alot of money over time in fuel. The NJT fleet had awsome maintence so there is alot of difference between this coach and a used Greyhound. It looks very straight, I can't see a dent on it. If it were in my neighborhood I don't think it would last long for that price.
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"Ammo Warrior" Keepers Of The Peace, Creators Of Destruction.
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2008, 06:17:55 PM »

TB,

First off, I am not an expert on MCI-9's. That said, here is what I think. Is that the size coach that you want? Those forty footers handle better than the forty fivers. The question is do you need the extra five feet? If it is going to be you and your wife, forty is the way to go (especially since you won't get a forty fiver for that money). What the condition of the mechanical side of it is also a really big deal (like you said). You have a really tough road ahead of you... Getting that engine to look clean... Grin Grin Grin
Anyways, if the mechanical side of it was good, I would get it. Five K is a good deal (I think) if it is in good condition. Even if it wasn't, still think seriously about it. If it was me, I would get it (for 5k). But then again, what is the mechanics like.

If you did get it for 5k, and it was in good condition, it would be a steal.

Also, make sure you get a good bus mechanic to look over it. I'm not sure where you are located. Somebody on the this board might be within a days drive. Ideally if BK was at all halfway, kinda, sorta, near you, pay him to look it over (at least travel expenses). Finding a trustworthy mechanic can be a challenge. If BK isn't close enough, he might have a recommendation of one in your area.

JMHO

God bless,

John
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Busted Knuckle
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2008, 06:20:40 PM »

Turbo,
I gotta hand it to ya buddy, you do take some good pictures and even some of the key areas too!
Also looks as though you have a good eye for finding gems too!
First off stick with your first offer! Now the reason I say this is because it's a "9" PERIOD end of story!
Now with that said even as good as it looks, runs, and drives it is still a "9" and right now I can get you 10-30 model "12's" for $10,000 each and you'll get to take your pick! Right now it is REALLY A BUYERS MARKET in buses! You can get a nice 102A3 to C3 for $5,000 to $20,000 any day of the week! Tell him to call ABC, MCI, BCI, look on EBAY call me, MAK, or anyone in the business and they'll tell him there's no way he's gonna get $10,000 out of a "9" it just ain't as desirable as newer or wider buses or with DDEC engines.
OK now if you hear it run, drive it and your bus mechanic gives it a clean bill of health then & only then do you start negotiating higher!
It's a very nice bus! And the fact that we know he didn't just run out and pressure wash the engine prior to you looking at it. The engine impresses me even though it does have little bits of rust running off bolts etc. it is REALLY A CLEAN engine and engine bay!
Also even though you didn't get all of the area I look for rust in up where the fans and gear box is, I can see enough that it's in good shape there! I'm here to tell you that area right there tells you more about the general condition of the bus than any other picture you posted! I would not be afraid of driving down to buy that bus myself! But I'm not in the market for a "9" & I would NOT give over $5,000 for it, if I were!
Now also on the plus side is the aluminum wheels! These alone (again keep this to yourself) along with the price of the studs and labor of installing the longer studs are worth $1,500-$2,500! So if he's really stubborn, and you really decide this IS THE BUS FOR YOU, then you could afford to allow $7,500 for the bus. But I would let him sit on it for a week or 2 after he turns down the $5,000 before offering anymore and then I would still go up just a little at a time until he bites! Now if he won't take $7,500 for it thank him for his time, wish him luck, and move on to another one. Be sure to leave him your # ad tell him if he changes his mind you'll still consider it if you have not made the plunge before he calls. I'd say he'll call you back before you really find another gem rough or polished!
Grin  BK  Grin
By the way Lamar Welsh in Stockbridge (of Welsh Industries) on the south side of the big A would be an excellent choice to have look it over for you! By the way he has a nice looking "8" he is asking $8,500 for (not saying I would pay that much for it, just letting you know it's there for a comparison and bargaining power!) maybe worth driving up to look it over before making an offer on the "9".
Too bad I'm not gonna be down  visiting my Uncle, Aunt, or cousin in Warner Robins any time soon!
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RJ
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2008, 06:30:36 PM »

Turbo -

First off, great photos.  That's the kind of thing every busnut should do when shopping.

From looking at the pics, I can see a missing rub rail on the battery door, a wrinkle in the sheet metal of the rear baggage bay door curbside, and a wrinkle in the transmission access door.

Personally, I am not a fan of the Jersey front cap with the huge destination sign, and especially not of the double front doors - lot of wind noise around them at highway speeds.  Major PITA to replace with a sedan door, too.

Since it's still a seated coach, obviously the interior is something you'd have to contend with - and pulling out the OEM restroom is a very interesting challenge - ask those that have done it!

On a positive - Alcoas all around!!  And, just for you - it's got a Turbo motor!!

BK's got it right - offer him $5K and let him stew on it for awhile. . .

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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John316
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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2008, 06:38:44 PM »

TB,

RJ had some really good points. The things that he mentioned can be used, if necessary, to "talk" the bus down. You can point out all the different things that aren't real great on it... Might help. Also on the cap, you might be able to replace it with an RM cap...

God bless,

John
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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2008, 06:51:26 PM »

I had my choice of over 50 MC9's at ABC when I looked, Most were 87 models and the rest were 83 models. The 87's were DDEC-1 electronic engines and had air starters. Most also had poor batteries and were giving the lot mechanic fits to get them started.

I had my choice of 10 buses that day for $7,500.00 each. I chose an 83 model because it had the mechanical engine and HT-740 automatic. That 87 model probably also has the HT-740 in it but a flakey electronic engine control system that is old and almost obsolete to get reasonably repaired ( an Age thing. )

I have seen great looking and running 87 NJT buses priced from $8,000 to $15,000 over the past couple of years. Gotta remember that over 1,100 buses were dumped onto the market from New Jersey Transit all at about the same time. Some were good to great and the rest took a lot of work to bring up to date. There may be a bargain out there but be forwarned that it was rode hard and put away wet a LOT with NJT....

You will want to consider changing the front cap along with a lot of cleaning below the floor areas. ( takes about 3 months!!! )... Hair, Skin and lots of hidden chaff..Nasty

Dave
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turbobrat930
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2008, 08:05:27 PM »

WOW, Thanks for all of the replies guys!!  First off, if I do get this bus, I will hear it run, drive it, and take it to a local bus shop (there is one that has about 25 MCI's parked out front, they do most if not all of the work on all of the local charter companies) to get it inspected.

John, I really would like the extra 5 feet. My uses are numerous. First off, we will not be full timing in it at all. I will use it to travel to Michigan (where I grew up), to visit family and friends several times a year. Second, I, along with about 12 to 15 other guys travel to several races during the year ( rolex 24 at Daytona, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, 12 hrs of Sebring, and several other races). We have a older Bluebird Wanderlodge that we use currently, but with that many guys, it is a little small. It would be nice to have two busses that we can bring to the races, and purchase ajoining lots to watch the race. I also want to build a platform on the top of the bus using the forward roof access panel (enough space for 10 guys or so). I would also use it to visit some state and national parks with the wife and soon to be son.

Busted Knuckle, Thanks for the compliments! I took a few more pics, but did not want to put too many pics on the post, as I didnt want it to take all day for it to load for some people who might still be on dial up. I did look under the bus, around the fans, gearboxes, in the cargo bays, around the batteries, and around the lavatory area. I could not locate an ounce of rust and the floors were solid and I could not locate any "soft" spots in the floor. The engine bay was very clean and I know the thing had not been cleaned anytime in the recent past. I noticed that the gearbox for the squirrel fans had been leaking ang dripping onto the hot turbo and exhaust. I would have TONS of work to do to bring the engine and compartment to my standards.... LOL

RJ, Yes, I also noticed the missing rub rails, and a few wrinkles in a few of the access doors. I am not a fan of the double doors, and swap out for the single enrty door. There is a parts bus in the same city were I could probably pick up the single door and related hardware for a few hundred bucks. (how hard is it to swap over?) And yes, the Alcoas were a good find as well. ( they will need some major elbow greese to get them back to acceptable shape), but they are there. And yes...ITS GOT A TURBO!!!! LOL I love turbos!!!!

TB, I plan on replacing both the front and rear caps with some from RM. Either the rennisance look, or possibly the brand new look (cant remember what model number, but around the 2006 or so model)

DrDave, I plan on finding alot of junk, while stripping the interior out. And the lavatory is a real PITA as I have heard. Even if I plan on staying with the original front cap...the top of the front cap that is on there now will go...very ugly IMHO...

I have two barns on my property, one of which has a drive thru center stall, I could store the bus out of the weather ( that barn does not have power though). I really kind of want to find a bus that is already converted...BUT here is the porblem with all of the ones that I have found. I do not like ANY of the interiors that are in the busses at my price range. If I did buy of the buses in my price range that was already converted.... I would just end up redoing the interior anyways...so I might as well start out fresh, do it right, so I know that it is done right!!
I just dont want to buy one that has been converted... plan a big race trip and have an electrical fire because some knumbnut didnt wire it up right... I just really want to do it myself...even though my wife and friends think differently... they just want me to buy a bus that is already done and not worry about it. I could scrape up 5 grand or so...but to buy a converted bus, I would have to sell my Jeep first...which is going to find a special buyer in this market!!!

Once again, thanks for all of the replies, I value all of your input...anyone else??? Let me hear it...LOL
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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2008, 09:05:52 PM »

The bus had dead batteries, so I could not drive it, now hear the engine run. BEFORE I buy the bus... If I decide to.. I will get him the get the thing running, and take it for a nice drive, along with bringing it to a bus mechanic shop for a good shakedown before I part with any of my money!!

The most important part is your test drive.  Does it struggle to start (and did he start and run it before you got there, just to make sure it was ready)?  How much smoke from the exhaust?  Do the park brakes unlock completely?  Air leaks?  Fluid leaks? Any blips in the power steering as you turn lock to lock?  Does it shift into gear smoothly and positively, or does it lag and complain?  Does it go through the gears at the right points, up and down?

Look at the tires.  Do they match, or are they someone's stray dogs, put on just to get it out of the yard?  Are they sun-checked, chewed up or worn?

YOU drive it a few miles (street and highway), then let the owner do that, while you wander around inside.  Does it feel right?  Any strange noises? 

Only after you are satisfied that it's ready for prime time should you spend even one penny on the mechanic checkout.  Have the mechanic do a full DOT inspection as well as checking the engine and trans. 

If you can, get into the pit and check it out with a flashlight.  Look for rust, evidence of rewiring or hidden repairs.  Anything that draws your attention should be evaluated by the mechanic.

Get written estimates on any repairs which are needed or suggested, and use these in your negotiations.

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Songman
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2008, 10:23:03 PM »

I love my New Jersey Transit bus! Of course mine is an Eagle, but still the way NJT maintained their buses is a great selling point. As BK said above, it is not the best time to be trying to sell a bus. There are a lot of them for sell cheap! Make your offer and see what happens. Looks like a good straight 9 to me. If you get it, there is a Yahoo group dedicated just to owners of NJT buses. Sign up there and get all the info you want on these buses.
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« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2008, 05:25:42 AM »

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« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2008, 07:20:29 AM »

John, I really would like the extra 5 feet. My uses are numerous. First off, we will not be full timing in it at all. I will use it to travel to Michigan (where I grew up), to visit family and friends several times a year. Second, I, along with about 12 to 15 other guys travel to several races during the year ( rolex 24 at Daytona, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, 12 hrs of Sebring, and several other races).

Turbo,

I might have missed it, but what is your price range. If it is 10k or under, stick with the forty footers. You will get a much better bus, for your money. The forty fivers are much more expensive, since they are much more in use in the charter companies, than the forty footers are. You probably would really like the forty fiver, with your use, but they are harder to maneuver, more expensive, and not a readily available.

Let us know what you figure out.

I will look forward to seeing that engine after you have had it for a year or two...LOL Grin Grin Grin

God bless,

John

Congratulations on the new son. I hope everything goes well!!!
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« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2008, 10:02:42 AM »

As BK said, "it's a "Right now it is REALLY A BUYERS MARKET in buses!" Wish it had been a few years ago when I bought my 9, I paid well over 10 and I doesn't even have alcoa wheels .  Having said thatI had the disadvantage of our #*#**# rules, called transport canada. I love my bus and don't regret the purchase.

 The bus your looking at looks very clean, If it's close to home that worth something too. I believe the bus is worth at least 10K but the market doesn't. Shop wisely and remember even if your budget is 10k don't be afraid of looking in the 15 to 20 range, you might be surprised what you can get for 10!!!
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Have Fun!!
Grant
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