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Author Topic: The ongoing saga of The Ferguson's and their 4106  (Read 5828 times)
BigDougInOregon
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« on: February 21, 2009, 03:25:38 PM »

Let me start off by saying that I do not come to this decision lightly, nor without much counsel and consideration after talking with many of you.  After much thought, prayer, sleepless nights and doubting myself and my decision to buy a bus, I have decided to throw in the towel. 

I think the straw that broke my bus ownership dreams back was when I read that old post that Chaz started and he said that he had decided to sell his bus because he just couldn't foresee being able to afford this bus ownership hobby.  That really got me thinking about whether I could ultimately afford to own a bus and if I am honest with myself, I will admit that there is no way I can afford to own a bus right now (obviously). 

Our family is going through some pretty bad times (and I know others are going through worse) right now, and although my idea of buying a bus and living in it while I traveled with my family and worked around the US was, at its root a good one, and I had only the best intentions, it is painfully obvious to me that it isn't going to work right now.  There is just no way for me to get the bus fixed while it sits in El Paso and all of the hoping and praying that somehow I can work this all out isn't going to change that.  Even if by some miracle I got *this* problem fixed, the next one would strand me again so time to stop kidding myself.  It just isn't the right time for us due to our financial struggles.  So now the agonizing process starts of trying to sell the bus and take the money loss (whatever it turns out to be). 

I want to thank all of you who offered to help with parts, your time and even those that gave money to the Fergy Fund.  You are an amazing bunch of people and I hope that someday we can be true bus owners (and actually have a bus that works.  lol) and meet all of you.

I don't want this to turn into a "I'm selling my bus, who wants to buy it" thread, but if anyone knows anyone looking for a bus.....well you get the idea.  She does have some good points, and I would be happy to share those with you if you ask me off the board.  She is also full on diesel and 100 gallons of propane and she has all of my tools (I forgot my toolbox on her) so someone will get more than the bus.

Doug
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2009, 04:01:19 PM »

Doug, I feel for you, there are probably more of us out there in more or less the same position.  I have a motor home that I owe more on than I can sell it for, can't afford to use it, can't afford to sell it.  Hope springs eternal  better days are coming.
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2009, 04:29:05 PM »

Ah phooy is what I say! You mention Chaz. Have you read recently the joy in his words where he was excited about hearing his bus run again? He's probably real glad he didn't jump to conclusions when he felt the same way your feeling!
Hey, I'm not rich by any imagination but my dreams came true when we were able to buy the bus we now own, but it hasn't happened without a few nightmares and even recently I threatened to watch it go up in flames, on purpose! Owning a bus will get you down but you can't count out all the UP feelings it brings you!
Look at the bright side! Sure you own a bus. That in itself is a lot more than a lot of others. You own a bus that needs a little attention. So what's so different about that? We all do! There are owners that have buses that haven't even seen the road in many years due to them working on them. So yours at least was ON the road! More than I can say about those others!
Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it.
Let me tell you what I heard from a group meeting the other night which made a whole lot of sense to me. The saying goes, "If your going to worry, why pray? And if your going to pray, why worry?"
Think about that for a while!
By the way, it wasn't a AA meeting I was at, it was weight watchers and I'm proud to say I have lost just over 20 lbs since mid October and feeling like a new man!

Ace
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2009, 04:43:20 PM »

Doug, a man I know wanted to purchase an old rock quarry to make it into a dive training facility.
He was within 1 day of purchase three different times and it did not go through!  On one occasion the man that owned it died the day before closing.
He never gave up and now has one of the nicest training facilities for diving in the USA!
I did not read the entire thread...however it appeared from what I read that you have a fixible bus.  And a right nice one at that.
Sleep on this decision for at least a week my friend...you never know what can happen...and we will be praying for you and yours.
Agape
Jack-N-Dianne
PS...and ACE...loved that quote about Praying!
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2009, 05:42:10 PM »

Doug, I'm kinda inclined to agree with the others, you've got a bus, whats the cost of keeping it as opposed to the cost of selling it, you'll take a hit on it by selling it and just have to buy another one at some point down the road.  I've talked to you several times in the chat room and know that only you know whats best for yourself and your family and we'll all respect what you choose, if you do sell it, stay with the board cause you've already been bitten, if you keep it stay with the board cause you've already been bitten lol. 
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2009, 05:59:29 PM »

I'm going to chime in with Ace, Jack and Cody.  As someone who full times in a bus and someone who financially struggles to meet an unexpected $15 expense, I can understand your stress.  Owning a bus and living in it may not be God's will for everyone, but as for us, I truly believe it was.  It may or may not be for you.  But I think it is impossible to make that judgment while under so much stress from several angles at once.   Consider Mathew 14:29-31 as it relates to the influence surrounding events can have on your confidence/faith in the path you are walking.

You own it now and from what I've read here it is a good one except for the engine and Mickey Mouse cooling system.  Yet if you sell it now in its current condition and the current market, it is doubtful that you could get more than scrap value for it because it isn't effectively running.  You mentioned in a previous post that the amount storage is costing you isn't a bank breaker.  If you can stand the storage fee for a while, I would strongly urge you to not just sit on the idea for week, but rather sit on it for a few months.  See what happens with the rest of your financial situation.  Six months or a year from now, you may be in a much better financial position to get it fixed or get a bargain engine swap done.  Then you'll have a good bus all around.

As for the inevitability of it breaking down - I suggest that your current despair is driving your pessimism.  While major breakdowns can happen, it is not inevitable that they will.  For that matter, even after the oil analysis the condition of the current engine is a big question mark.  There are lots of things that could be wrong and it was important for Dallas and others to point them out to you so you would be braced for what might be found once inside the engine.  But it could also be a simply the o-rings mentioned.  Without knowing how long that oil was in the crankcase, the other factors of the oil analysis are not reliable indicators.

So don't make a decision quickly and while under so much pressure and emotion.  If you can afford the monthly storage, let it sit for a while.  Then make the decision when there aren't all the other pressures on you.
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BigDougInOregon
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2009, 09:04:26 PM »

You guys are killing me.   Grin

Something really weird going on here, but my wife is saying the same things you guys are all saying (even while she is in bed with gallstones) and urging me to try one more time to figure this out, even if it means just waiting for a while until we relocate and then trying again, or maybe asking the storage unit owner if I (yes, I said me.....that will be a sight to see if it happens) can do the repairs there on the site and stay in the bus while I do the repairs, or whatever, but she urged me (and she is my best friend and partner but we sometimes don't see eye to eye on issues like this) to make *certain* that I want to sell the bus before I do it, and she just doesn't usually operate like that unless the Holy Spirit is driving her, so there is something going on.

I can't figure out why I keep vacillating so much on this.  I am never this indecisive, I guess I just don't know how to accomplish the task at hand and that is something I am not used to.

Okay, you are all right about the fact that I own the bus so why not hold on to it?  I think my problem with that comes from not knowing how I am going to get it fixed, be it now or three months from now.  With all the parts I would need (the cooling system pieces......whatever those are, blower rebuild, etc.) and the place to do the work and my limited experience with these engines (more like no experience except what I had from Dallas to El Paso, and that didn't go well as we all know), it's just a little overwhelming. 

I know that Dallas has offered to help, but first he and the bus would have to meet, and that is going to be difficult with 700 miles (and his time and travel and money he needs) between them.  So I think I am going to have to fix this baby myself if it is going to get fixed and that is a little scary to me, to be honest.  If I decide tomorrow or next month I am going to El Paso to fix the bus, the logistics of accomplishing that goal are still the same.

So, knowing that I can't drive the bus 3 miles without it overheating because of the cooling (or lack thereof) issue, I am soliciting advice from all of you on what would your course of action be if you were in my shoes (work with me and put yourself in my shoes and resource limitations for this scenario)?  I know that most of you would keep the bus, those opinions are widely accepted, but how would you get it fixed if you were in my shoes?

Here are the facts.  You cannot drive the bus more than a few miles before it overheats.  When I replaced the hoky cooling fans that were failing with newer hoky fans that weren't failing, I had to drain the coolant.  Once I refilled it, I could only put about half of the normal capacity of 10 gallons for the radiator back in (which I am convinced is the reason it blew a head gasket/head/whatever happened).  I could not get air to bleed out of the system.

So if I wanted to drive this bus any distance I would need to get the original cooling system back on, change the oil and refill with Delo 100, drain the radiator fluid and refill with water (please explain this action, or is it just because water is free and I will be refilling the water many times and could go broke refilling it with anti-freeze?), tighten the heads back down (just guessing, you tell me) and pray like heck that I can get somewhere.  I think that getting the original cooling system on (and working) is the key.  Without that, its an exercise in futility IMO.

Oh, lets not forget that I have a toolbox on the bus designed to work on datsun engines so if I needed any *real* tools to work on this bus (for this exercise), I would be in trouble.


Does that sum up the situation pretty well or did I miss something?  If I am going to keep the bus, I have to try to formulate a plan because that is the way I work.  This sitting and waiting (for what I don't know, which is part of my problem....lack of patience) gives me way too much time to think about everything.  I keep hearing ideas like buy a replacement engine, buy an old commuter bus and pull the engine and tranny, etc. but honestly, how the heck could I do any of that if I can't even figure out how to get the bus from point A in Texas to point B in Texas so Dallas could work on it?

Thank you all for taking the time to encourage me and helping me to formulate a plan.  You are all the best kind of people the human race has to offer and I really do hope in my heart of hearts this works out and we can keep the bus (and more importantly get it fixed) but if not, I will stick around on the forum.  I have never been around a better group of folks in my life, and I am not just saying that.

Doug

P.S.  You are right Cody.  I have the bug, plain and simple.  Affordability aside, owning a functional and usable bus is a driving force in my decision to keep trying *anything* to get this situation right.  I want to believe that anyone can own a real bus, and that it isn't a hobby reserved for the lucky few (although I think we are all lucky). 

Will this all work out so we can get the bus home?  <insert answer here>
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2009, 09:28:29 PM »

I'm not sure of cooling system you have now. But you need to be running on water till you fix your engine trouble. Water will not hurt your engine as much as antifreeze. You would need to drain all the coolent out and replace with water! Your engine if running at temp will take care of water in oil. KEEP the BUS. Get through this!

John
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2009, 10:01:34 PM »

Doug, fixing your bus will be like eating an elephant, just start with the first bite.  What you need to do is look at the costs of it, and do it while standing without your open check book in front of you, do it with an empty photo album that you haven't filled yet with the pictures of your wife and kids looking out the bus windows while your going down the road.  The first thing you do is prepare to pay a couple of months storage, just that, nothing else, that gives you time to put together a game plan, find out what it would take to get dallas to the bus or the bus to dallas,  he could give you a qualified idea of what is needed.  So at this point your only out the cost of the storage for now.  Once you know what parts you need, then is the time to find those parts and get an idea of the cost of them, right now it's just a lot of guess work with no real answers and emotions are telling you to make snap decsions that may not be the best long term ones.  We can all sit here and guess what is wrong and we can guess what it'll cost but if it were me, I'd want a mechanic to look at it and tell me what he actually sees in front of him, not to guess what I might be describing to him.  Just a thought but once it's fixed, it'll probably outlive you if it's given normal care and attention.
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2009, 10:14:29 PM »

Hi Doug,

First off.......You are having a hard time making a decision because you don't really want to sell it!

If it were me, and believe me we do not have a lot of money either.....just ask my wife......I would do as Cody suggests. Pay a few months of storage.....collect enough money to start gathering the parts you need.....even if it's six months from now......go down there and give it your best go.....You haven't owned the bus long enough to REALLY know what you have....Sure you have a problem.....The best way to solve a problem is to sit back, calm down, make a plan and then take the steps to complete the plan....Some steps may change, but none the less the goal is to get the bus running, drive it home, figure out how you can fullfill your dream. Rome Wasn't built in a day, neither is building or repairing a bus.

Once bitten, always bitten.

If you do decide to sell it, you will never know what you had because it's gone!

Take your time to make a decision, make it, move on to bigger and better things!

~Paul~
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2009, 10:37:46 PM »

Hi Doug,me again ,if any one can relate to your situation I know I qualify.if you click this link;
http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=9060.msg89891#msg89891
you can see for your self that I too was a wreck over my buses over heating problem.and where am I today?glad you asked,well after buying 2 new heads to replace the ones that cracked the engine over heated again last month

. We are in need of a replacement ,that being said we have one lined up but money is tight over here also and work is very slow too.Bought mine in southern Illinois and almost made it out of Texas(this must be the equivalent of the Bermuda triangle for the first time bus nut,ya think LOL)  till It took a dump in Amarillo.The frustration is the not knowing,I consider my self very fortunate though ,as I have come to know a lot of nice people as well as very knowledgeable that have been trying to steer me in the right direction,and also one bus nut who traveled a total of 200 mi round trip twice in one week to help me rebuild the top end in the 115 degree heat(Ya'll know who)


.Hang in there bro ,and it will turn around for ya ,think of this as a kind of bus owners boot camp (remember boot camp?LOL)for the in experienced.Only guys like us would have the confidence and balls to do what we did , the worst is over and the wait begins ,bide your time by arming yourself with the knowledge that you are going to need to repair the engine and cooling system,cause you are going to need as much as you can get.Remember this the hard time in dealing with the break down is past ie, stuck on the road with the family .the next go round is going to involve just you and you're tools and the bus.I will even donate my time to go meet you down there to help if needed as not much is happening for me at this time .You know I can't leave a fellow tanker behind (boy I wish we had a H.E.T to bring the ol girl home with),you remember who came to get your broke down M-60a2 Cheesy.Any way hang in there kid ,WHOA.I will call you tommorrow to bend your ear some more (if I can remember where to find your number in the other thread)god bless.

   SFC Van    
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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2009, 05:25:46 AM »

You're a bugger for punishment Doug - coming here and asking for advice is like taking a 6 year old to a candy store and asking him what he wants.   Undecided  When the oil sample came back bad my advice was that it was time for some soul searching.  It now sounds to me as though you have searched your soul and come up wanting to keep the bus.  So make a plan to do that.

First things first - protect what you have.  The bus may sit in storage for 6 months or 2 years - right now you don't know how long.  Make sure the interior isn't going to be eaten up by mice or possums when you get back to it.  Get your storage guy to throw some bait in the bays and around the tires and make sure he keeps an eye on it while its there. 

Then make a plan to get the money to fix it.  Whether "fix it" means buying a takeout or patching what you have, its going to take money.  Take a night job, put your wife to work, sell a kid - whatever it takes - you are going to need at least a small pile of money before you tackle the project again.  I'd set the target at $4,000 ($2500 for a takeout and $1500 for extras) but you've been around this long enough now that you can probably set your own target.

Watch the flea markets and scrounge up some bigger tools.  If you can fix a Datsun you can fix a bus.  Very few of us (myself included) are going to tackle an engine rebuilt but most of us wouldn't tear down the Datsun engine either.  For the rest of it most of the stuff isn't that much different than the Datsun, just bigger.  You already have a half a list of cooling parts - get them rounded up. 

The reason posters keep talking about draining the coolant and refilling with water is that glycol will eat out the bearings right now.  Once the bearings are gone and the crank is scored then your current problems will seem mild.  Water MAY be more forgiving.  I wouldn't even think about going there although I can understand how it might be tempting.  I was tempted too during my troubles in December but fortunately I resisted the urge.

Right now it sounds like both you and your wife are on the same page on this so take your time and make it work.  There's guys on here that would love to have their significant others committed to their bus project the way it sounds like yours is. 
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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2009, 05:49:16 AM »

Pay the storage fees for a while; at the most you'll be out a few hundred bucks. If you sell the bus now, realistically you can expect to take a real wallop in the wallet.

Take the time to look for a complete running donor vehicle that you can test drive and get fluid samples analyzed; thats absolutely the best way, cause you get all the parts needed to swap the powertrain.

I recently missed bidding on a former transit bus here at the insurance auction; interior had been trashed (vandals) and the body was really rough/rusted) but the 6V92 ran well  and had an automatic; it was driveable. It sold for less than the price of balancing the 6 decent 12R-22.5 tires under it. I wont miss an opportunity like that again.

Dont rush into a bad decision.

Mark
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Mark Morgan    near Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2009, 06:39:21 AM »

Doug, if you need heads for a 8v71 I can locate those for you for free or a engine but it is a right handed engine it was running when it was removed.The cooling system I can be of no help 

Good luck and do what you think is best for you and the family
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2009, 06:48:03 AM »

Hello Doug ,
I 'I have  followed this saga since the original thread . I 'm with you in terms of being in awe of the wealth of friendliness and help that everyone on this board offers. It reinforces my desire to own a bus , for now I'm just in the wanna be status .
I read you post and think I could have done the same thing - fall in love w/that bus and buy that bus ($7500? )  site unseen. That could easily have been me.  
 
I understand the potential this bus has , but considering the time involved , distance away and the considerable  prospect for additional monies -
I would cut my losses.
 Guesstimates seem to be in the range of $4000-5000  just to get to that  position for a reliable power plant. Then you have your time , away from the family , stressed and distracted from what you really know - computers .
I thought  did see some pics posted, while the interior did seem "service -able " it seemed like it could use a bit of work as well . How many hours of labor and money would it take to get that where you want/ need it to be?
I would consider selling . Maybe you get $1200-1500 ,hopefully more .  Undecided  Start your bus fund with that and find that bus that was owned by a meticulous mechanic/engineer. The bus that has real documentation, excellent  mechanics and a interior that is ready to live in.
I gotta believe that bus is out there , the market is in your favor -now and in the for seeable future.
example
http://gm4106bus.com/
while listed @$39k   it might only sell for $23-28k
So you pull back , save money for the next one - you know what not to buy.
Don't mean to offend ,just offering another opinion.




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