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Author Topic: GMC 4905 - Newbie questions  (Read 4532 times)
u2canhave1
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« on: March 22, 2009, 10:23:58 PM »

I consider myself to be educated and capable, but know very little about the mechanical nature of buses. I, like many of you, have a dream to convert a bus, but want to simple work on the interior and not the mechanical items, ie. drive train, transmission, air, etc. With this in mind let me show you what I have found and seek feedback from others who have done this. I have taken on a VW dune buggy and learned a great deal from this. Sold my sticks and twigs fleetwood wanna be bus and miss the available use of it, thus I am looking for something to make my own and put my own stamp of creation on it.

I have found a partially converted GMC 4905. Cant remember if they even gave me the year, but it has a auto transmission if that helps anyone.  The owner states about 30k on a major rebuild - what is major - depends on the person I think. The oil has been changed by the owner every 2k miles - but no receipts or invoices to prove this. Not sure of the background of the seller - thus I am at the mercy of what they state.

I received the following from them:
"This bus is mechanically sound. There is a small amount of rust but is mostly aluminum so does not rust. We drove it for six years after the rebuild probably put 30,000 miles on it. My husband changed oil every 2000 miles. This bus runs great we just are not using it anymore."

As best I can tell from the other pics the interior is started but simply need to be finished. Plumbing for bathroom and kitchen is started and some cabinets are in place. The bedroom is nearly complete.  Not sure if this roof is raised - it looks like it, but difficult for me to tell. I do not know what the mileage is on it. They are asking 10k.

Other than have it looked at a qualified mechanic, what other suggestions can you make? Assuming the mechanicals are all in good condition, what value would one place on this bus? What would be the going rate to have this checked out by a mechanic?

Thanks for your help and advice.
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Busless
Scottsdale, AZ
gmpd4104
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2009, 05:01:51 AM »

wonder why someone would change the oil every 2k.

whats the extent of the rust
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cody
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2009, 05:20:31 AM »

Anyone thats anal enough to actually change their oil every 2K on a bus will have the proof of it and i can't recall anyone ever selling a bus that hadn't had a major rebuild in the past 20K or 30K miles, thats listed as one of the mandatory claims to make, (it's on page 31 paragraph 3, right under 'only driven on sunday) 10K isn't a bad price for it if it gets the nod from a mechanic, it'll cost a couple hundred for a mechanic to go over it, make sure it's a bus mechanic and not a truck mechanic, draw an oil sample and have it analysised and then if the bus mechanic gives you the nod and the oil sample comes back good, then decide if you want the madness that come with turning over your bank account to a bus, then if it all still makes sence to you, then welcome to the associstion of tilted people and otherwise busnutty group, many here can tell you what a major rebuild costs, it's 10 to 20K or more to have a major rebuild done, I personally don't know of anyone that would invest that kind of money in one and then throw away or lose the paperwork, if I had one done that paper would be framed and hanging on the wall.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2009, 05:23:23 AM »

4104 and Cody, some folks change the oil when it shows a little darkening I have a friend that changes his every 3000 miles with the filter and I try to tell him he is wasting money but he likes clear oil and buys Delo in the 55 gal barrel and filters by the case    good luck
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Airbag
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2009, 05:23:42 AM »

I would only advise don't buy a bus that does not have a maintenance log with receipts. Ask me how I know.
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cody
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2009, 05:28:47 AM »

Wow, Clifford, your right, I know some crazy people too lol, my oil starts turning dark as I get ready to pour it into the engine lol, but all the crazy people that I know that do that, carefully mark it down, date and mileage and the oil change, I just don't know of any that actually do that without marking it down on a clip board or someplace, generally the ones that are that diligent are also fanatics on recording it too.
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2009, 05:35:48 AM »

I know nothing of GMC's, but it doesn't look too bad. I think it even has some solar panels on the roof, kinda hard to verify that though. I'm sure the experts will give to a detailed explanation on what to look for. The mechanicals are important to check out, like brakes, engine and trans. I'm sure there is lots of life in her, just have to empty the wallet and jump in with both feet and pray a lot!

~Paul~
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2009, 06:19:58 AM »

There is a good deal of steel in a 4905 that you need to check condition of.  The panels that surround the side windows, the panel that surrounds the small "D" windows behind the door and the driver's seat.  Check the conditon of the floors.  Pay attention to the torsion bars that hold up the baggage bays.  They tend to be pulled down out of shape.  Also look under the driver's seat side window.  Pay close attention to the window frame here too - mine had really rusted out and caused the floor to rot.  Also look in the electrical panel right there - check to see if the wires have rusted.  The earlier models used cloth wiring - watch the condition of those!  Where is the muffler on this model?  Later models had them in the engine bay between the engine and the radiator - that's a good thing.  Earlier models had the muffler under the floor toward the front of the bus.  When these went bad, they could catch the floor on fire.  Just make sure the condition is good if the muffler is there.  It is a pretty expensive repair.  Does this model have the retractable tag axle?  It's removeable if it does.  These are  nice busses.  I really enjoyed the super big bays.  Good Luck!

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
Lansing, MI
www.threemenandatenor.com
1968 MCI 7 Ser. No. 7476 Unit No. 10056
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4 speed Spicer
BG6
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2009, 06:43:51 AM »

Outwardly, it looks good.

I very much doubt the 2,000-mile oil change cycle, though.  The 4905 drinks 7 GALLONS of oil each time.  And, as has been mentioned, nearly everyone claims a recent overhaul.  Have him start it, put it in gear and hold the brakes while putting his foot on the throttle, to see how much smoke there is.

You don't say what he's asking for it.

The auto trans cuts your mileage by as much as 40%.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2009, 06:57:32 AM »

BG6, what type automatic does the GM use that would lower your fuel mileage 40% doesn't work that way with a Allison 740 there is only about 1/2 to a 1 mile difference   good luck
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2009, 07:52:53 AM »

Being a P8M4905A owner my self perhaps I can add some input. Tongue
Looking at the photos I can see that some one has at one time changed the stock mirrors to the early GMC/MCI type.
Nothing wrong with that looks like a good up grade.
Chances are the transmission is a V730 and that is a good upgrade you can expect between 6.5 to 7.5 mpg on the road at speeds around 60 to 65 MPH.
This model GMC Coach has Sheppard steering from the factory where as the MCI equipment of this vintage still had power assist steering.
Parts for this coach are not that hard to locate.
You will find that the GMC coaches of this style are very easy to work on nothing is computer controlled and you can always get it back home with out to much effort.
Window glass windshields are interchangeable from left to right entrance door glass and drivers side window are the two glasses that might be sort of hard to locate if you have to replace them.
Perhaps you can post more photos of the engine and interior of the coach so we can give you advise from those photos.
As far as driving a P8M4905A it's a very stable coach good ride all the way around.
Also please post the VIN number I will tell you who bought it new from GMC.
Thanks jlv
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Runcutter
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2009, 09:47:49 AM »

Also, if you include your location in your signature (or profile), you might find one of us around the corner.  I used to instruct on 4905's, (now own a 4107), they're a great coach.  When you first drive one, pay attention to the turning radius. 

I used to instruct new drivers to go by the corner, halfway down the next block, then think about turning the wheel.  Stated differently by the owner of the company I worked for, if you turn with a 35 foot transit so the right rear wheel clears the curb by 6 inches, a 40 foot transit will hit the curb, and turning the same way with a deck and a half (buffalo to you westerners) will run the right rear wheel over the sidewalk.  That said, I used to drive them in downtown Boston, with no problems.

Arthur 
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Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
1968 PD-4107

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JohnEd
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2009, 11:12:40 AM »

U2,

Knowbody answered your question about the roof being raised.  Maybe they will get back to it.

There were a couple alarm bells in here but they were not rung loudly enuf to suit me: 

A "MAJOR" overhaul happens with the engine in the shop and out of the bus.  That is an expensive deal and I think the 8V71 starts at $12K.  An "In Frame" is accomplished with the engine still installed and involves less work that a Major and is a tad cheaper.  Its a standing joke that all buses for sale have a freshly overhauled engine in them and some, though relatively few, actually have paperwork and receipts to back that up.

Oil changed every 2 thousand miles....not likely and barely possible.  Here is what may actually be going on:  Rule of thumb is to leave your dirty oil in the engine so the prospective owner can have the oil analyzed to determine if anything is seriously wrong and to access the age of the engine.  Clean oil is a really bad sign and telling someone that you change it every 2K is a cover up story....possibly.  At any rate you won't get much more info from having the oil analyzed than if you were to have some oil straight out of the can analyzed.

NO RUST means some rust.  Some rust means?Huh

You need to have a DD dealer put it on his dyno and have an "old Hand" 2 cycle go over the engine.  Costs like $300 and can save you tons of grief and thousands of dollars or tens of thousands.

My instinct is to RUN from this deal.  Or are they asking 6 grand and throwing in a drum of oil?

Good luck with this,

John
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2009, 12:18:00 PM »



I love my 4104 and if i ever decide to try to convert another one it will be a 4905.  has big bays and plenty of room inside with out a roof raise.   and it is a gm.

just have a good detroit and bus nut person to check it out.

uncle ned
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« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2009, 02:41:10 PM »

That bus does not have a raised roof.  No worries there.  Can you post pictures of the insides?  In this market, 10K is probably too high.  For a shell/partial shell, I'd stay closer to 6K.  Let us know what you  find out based on the advice we've given you.  Look for bubbles in the paint around all of the windows - that's a sure sign of rust.  Also look for rows of rivets that seem to dissapear where the panel continues.  That's a good sign that there is body filler.  Also, ask the seller about when the engine smokes, and how much oil it uses in 1k miles.

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
Lansing, MI
www.threemenandatenor.com
1968 MCI 7 Ser. No. 7476 Unit No. 10056
8v71
4 speed Spicer
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