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Author Topic: What got you on the Busnut highway?  (Read 9375 times)
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Posts: 295

Recycled DART Bus 8284

« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2009, 04:26:50 PM »

Last spring, the last of the kids were on their own, my wife was semi-retired and I was about to retire myself.  After living out of country (Alaska) for too long,  we decided we were going to hit the road and cruise the lower 48. We looked and looked for the right bus. I was holding out for Eagle 15, but she-who-must-be-obeyed saw our MCI and that was that.

We wanted to live some place where we didn't have to scrape ice off the windshield most mornings! We landed in Texas as a suitable place to work on the bus, a bit too close to Dallas for me, but not half bad.  Yes, we will melt this summer and I'll whine and snivel about it on line for ya'll. =)

We plan to full-time until when/if we decide to put down roots again.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2009, 04:40:22 PM by MattC » Logged

MCI 102A3 / 6V92 / HT740
Camping in our House LOL

« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2009, 04:53:58 PM »

Dallas is ok, some like him, I get along ok with him lol, he's ok lol.  I couldn't resist lmao. now I'll hear about it the chatroom, I know lol but that was a gift that I had to take lmao.
roger dolan
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« Reply #32 on: January 19, 2009, 07:35:20 PM »

   We used to travel in a p/u camper 8' with 2 kids before we retired. When we stop at a camp ground there would be someone there with a rv with a horror story of a blown engine or cooked transmison. As once semi driver I knew that buses were simaler to trucks, to go down the road and make money with out breaking down. I thought I wanted a RV but at that time they were stick and staple like the p/u camper. So I had my mind set on a Bus. Found one in 1996 in OK. needed lots of mechanical work that I could do. One thing about a bus is that when you fix something it stays fixed. Buses are made to last. I always say that if one rivet would do the job they put in 5 and used grade 8 bolts everwhere. We have covered most all of the
US including Alaska & Nova Scotia. Have a great time. Its  now my  hobby as I can always think of some thing to make it  better.
                                                         Roger 4106

Angola Coach Conversion "Aesop's Tortoise"
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« Reply #33 on: January 19, 2009, 08:54:26 PM »

I blame it all on Peerless Stages!!  If it wasn't for them running a local route (Los Gatos to San Jose, CA) with this bus back when it was new, I never would have become fascinated with how the driver could steer, shift and make change for our fare, all at the same time.  So it's all Peerless' fault!!


RJ Long
PD4106-2784 No More
S13406 1978 MC-5C Converted
S14947 1980 MC-5C Shell
Cheney WA
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1951 GMC PD4103-125


« Reply #34 on: January 19, 2009, 10:08:11 PM »

Been racing for years and seen the various motor-homes and toter-homes and knew that one day I'd have something, but I like interesting. I'd been in various stick and staple motor-homes and while they were nice, it wasn't what I wanted. I had also spent time camping in truck camper when I was growing up and they are fond memories.

When I moved to North Carolina, I met up with a gentleman who drives to the track in his 1951 Beck. I though that it was so cool! I started looking at eBay off and on, but there was never anything that I could even remotely afford to buy, let alone have a place to park it. The Home Owners Association wouldn't be too happy if I parked it out front or in back. Still I kept looking.

Then I got married. Turns out my wife, Natasha, likes cars and old vehicles, too. One day when cruising eBay I came across the already converted 1951 GMC PD4103 we eventually bought. Turns out it was local, so we went to see it. We fell in love.

Did the bus have warts? Yep. Plenty.

Did it need work? For sure. Don't they all need work?

Did I have any idea at all what I was looking at? Sure. It's a bus.

Did I know what I was doing? Excuse me? Sure, I was buying a bus.

Did I know what I was getting into? Yeah, sure I did. I was buying an old bus, big deal.

Well, it's three years on, and I know many of the "mistakes" that I made when I bought the bus. First I didn't have it inspected by anyone. Nope, nobody looked at it. I drove it home because the owner showed me how to drive it, and I can drive car and pickup truck, so no problems, right? Umm, yeah, sure, whatever you say. Let's just say that I learned what poorly adjusted brakes and 20,000 pounds means for stopping distances. They are not short, and for a while I was worried that the bus wasn't going to stop, but it did, eventually.

There are things mechanically wrong with the bus, but it still ran and drove, so it's OK, right? Yeah, sure it is.

We've had it up to the local race track, Virginia International Raceway, a couple of times, the last was in 2006 for the Charge of the Headlight Brigade 13-hour sports car endurance race. Since then it has been parked in our driveway waiting for me to take it over to Carolina Coach Repair (formerly Dean's Coach) just 15 minutes away. I have also been on a quest to locate original parts to repair the "repairs" made by several previous owners. There are some things that will deviate from original, like the mirrors, and eventually LED lights where I can put them where they don't look too out of place.

We have also decided to rehab the interior, but that can wait as what is there is still serviceable, just not our style. In fact, when removing the appointments in the aft lounge, aka the Champagne Room, both of us were delighted to find that the rear windows and rear side windows ("D" windows) were still there, just covered up both inside and outside.

Would we have bought the same bus again knowing what we know now? Yep, no question. However, we might have been able to knock the price down a bit if we had a reputable bus mechanic take a look at it.

As much as I like the new buses/coaches on the road, I like the unique style and character that the older buses have.

Does that make me a certifiable Bus Nut? Yeah, I guess it does. Am I bothered? Nope, not at all.

See you on the scenic roads,

- John


Sports Car Lover and Bus Nut
1951 GMC PD4103-125 http://www.euliss-uftring.org/DaBus
Sports Car Club of America http://www.ncrscca.com/
Mazda Sports Car Club of NC http://www.msccnc.org/
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'53 4104. Roadworthy but rough around the edges.


« Reply #35 on: January 20, 2009, 07:30:05 AM »

Why did I get into buses?.....The 1st bite was 25 years ago I had a band and we had a schoolie that we toured Canada in.  I think it was a '68 international with 315 dodge, 4 spd and a splitter.  It wasn't fast but it could go up anything in low low.  That bus was great and fixing it was easy except the electrical s that were always shorting which is not a surprise as I was fixing them and I knew nothing!  Eventually the band split up and I can't remember what happened to the bus.  Oh yeah, that bus had Armstrong steering and I remember sometimes we would hire ourselves out as movers.  One time we did a pick up in alley and for some reason on the way out we had to make a turn the required about 50 back and forths with 2 of us cranking the steering wheel hard left to right, right to left each time. Later I was living on the beach in Mexico for the winter, no car, just a pack and a blanket.  To get there I had taken trains and buses from Montreal, QC, all the way down to south of Puerto Viarta.  So I was in bus mode.  The beach I spent a few months on had a guy from Canada with I think a 4905 ('69) conversion.  I thought the the couple of RVs on the beach looked ugly but the bus looked nice (all stock exterior, no skinning).  Kind of got to know the guy a bit, but I knew less of old vehicles then so I didn't investigate much.   A couple of years later I was down there again, and when it was time to head north he offered me and my buddy a ride in exchange for a little fuel $.  Well the price and the timing was right so that's what we did.  I had driven schoollies before so I offered to take a few shifts, he said he'ld be fine and proceeded to drive 16 hrs a day, with a beer cooler as his constant companion, all the way up to Vancouver Canada.  Me and my buddy just lounged around in the back, sleeping and eating and the madman with the beers kept driving.  The ride was so smooth.  I didn't enjoy the endless days, or the 1/4 drunk driver, but we made good time and I was kind of sold, I told myself I should get a bus one day.  Another time I was in Mexico a group of hippies were living on the beach, they were heading south and their only driver wrenched his shoulder surfing.  They put the word out that they needed a driver, and I went for it.  I think that was a '68 dodge.
I drove them all the way to Guatemala, Mexican style, passing old trucks on curves etc...to keep the speed up so I could make it up the hills.  BTW until you have driven a coastal highway in Mexico you have something to look forward to.
 I really enjoyed traveling with that band of hippies and they are my friends to this day.  Back in Canada, the guy with the wrenched shoulder gave me an old Volvo at one point for fixing his son's 4x4 (I was getting better at wrenching).  Then the Volvo years came ('65 124, '66 122, and now a '68 220).  That was fun but my 220 is so reliable I drive it 8 months a year and all I do is PM.  Time for a challenge.  I went online and started looking about, found Mak and BNO (I could never have done my volvos so well without Brickboard forum) and I was on my way.  Searched 1 year 'til I found the bus I wanted (4104 with crash box and a 6-71) already converted and for the right price.  I could have spent more but then I wouldn't have had any wrenching to do Wink.  So far so good, I have a few upgrades to do, an when I pass safety I'll paint her silver, and if I can find a set of Jakes for the right price I'll put those on and go to Mexico, but I am not going to Mexico without jakes.  Longish story I'm procrastinating on finishing some layout plans....Back To Work!

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