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Author Topic: Please lend me your opinion on purchase of bus,...not wanting to get burned.  (Read 2358 times)
Chariotdriver
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« on: July 03, 2006, 09:36:48 PM »


  The bus that I'm looking at is on ebay and i'd like to ask if anyone would take a peek at it and let me know if it looks like something to take a look further at, or run away, run away!
 
       Also, if it is worth looking into further, what are the steps, is it possible to get someone local to give it a once over as far as engine trans for money?
    Sorry for all the new questions as I'm not familiar with this worls at all.

      We're from ground zero as far a Katrina was concerned and want to travel around a little and get away from the Gulf Coast for a while and are looking for something that will not give us problems out of the bag.
The bus is close to me, about 3 hours and what would you think is a fair price for this setup as compared to other offerings that you have seen in the past?  Of course this is considering all is ok as checked out from a professional in that area?

Here is the link to the bus info and pics,..
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=220003749878&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=012
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Phil Webb
Pass Christian, MS
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2006, 09:57:23 PM »

From looking at the 101 pictures, here's the positives.  I like simple conversions.  It is an older conversion with the wood panelling and the formica in the shower (it's not marble), but is tastefully done.  Looks like it is a 100% electric bus with Diesel heat.  It's straight and looks like it has been taken care of.  Extensive electrical. By the shifter, looks like it has a 5 speed Allison HT754CR in it-makes for better performance at highway speeds.

Negatives- no mention as to the specifc size of the generator-although it apears to be running.  The side windows are solid-no sliders to be able to open the windows.  That would be a few thousand to switch to sliding RV type windows.  Copper plumbing (could crack). 

I would have someone look it over first.  It has a nice layout and is worth a look.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2006, 03:52:45 AM »

Looks as if it's got great appeal.  You got 5 days before the end of auction.  Were I you I would take a first hand look and ask for documentation on everything in connection with the bus.

I don't know how experienced you are with E-bay (I've been both a seller and a buyer for years) but if I might offer a bit of advice without prejudice..... Smiley

Inspect the item, if possible determine it's $ value to you.
Be patient...don't get caught up in the bidding.  Don't bid before the last 24 hours.
Treat any item as though you are going to purchase it with a limit in mind.  Near the end of the auction place a bid lower than your final offer.  Back it up immediately with your FINAL bid.
Turn off the computer and find something else to do.  If you win the item you will be notified by Ebay.
Don't put yourself through the handwringing and anxiety of watching the final hours of the auction.

Whatever you choose to do, I wish you the best.  Buses are like streetcars...if you stand on a corner long enough...another one will come along! Wink

Bob
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2006, 04:57:26 AM »

Chariotdriver,

First, I would never purchace a bus without thorughly inspecting the engine, drivetrain, and suspention.
If your not an expert in thoose fields, I would hire a mechanic to do so!
Every thing else inside the coach could mean nothing if your shelling out Thousands getting her running!

Good Luck,
Nick Badame
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« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2006, 05:04:27 AM »

 Thanks to everyone,
  Take your best shot at a fair price,from what you have experienced over the years,as if the engine and drivetrain, suspension check out ok.
 I won't hold you to it.
 Thanks again,
 Doug
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Phil Webb
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« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2006, 05:23:44 AM »

Go to Heartland Coach and look over their offerings.  Here's a similar professional conversion for comparison.

http://heartlandbus.com/VehicleDetail.cfm?StockNo=1042

I believe you can pay them to do an appraisal based only on the description.

You can also go to NADA  http://www.nadaguides.com/GlobalFrame.aspx?itemid=50645&LI=1-20-9-5100-503-505-50645&l=1&w=20&p=20&f=5608  and do a VIN check.  This bus has two items in it's history that you can get for $20.00.

I have a very high regard for Custom Coach, they were the first in the business.  Keep in mind that all the appliances, generator, etc are 26 years old.  No matter how well it's been maintained, there are going to be some problems.

Chances are very good that this bus was converted from new, a very big advantage in my book, many of these conversions have been meticulously maintained.

I would expect to spend about 10% of the purchase price on immediate repairs.

Len
« Last Edit: July 04, 2006, 06:13:09 AM by Len Silva » Logged


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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2006, 06:11:58 PM »

Well, I see a lot of talk . . .just a lot of "selling talk". . . but not a lot of detail about specifics on the bus. . . i.e.   generator size, tank sizes, brands of equipment on the bus. . . I would not ever even consider purchasing a big ticket item without viewing it ahead of time. 

If you know what their reserve is, and you are comfortable with that price, fly in and see the bus in person BEFORE bidding.  Most busses do not meet the reserve on Ebay.  If you are happy with the bus and the reserve, then notify the seller and you might possibly make the deal before the auction even ends, as there is also a big problem with non-paying bidders on auctions like this. 

Good luck, Christy Hicks
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2006, 09:39:23 AM »

 I'm heading to take a look at this bus today. May bring back to South MS this evening if everything looks ok.
 
  I noticed in one of the pics that the charging indicator shows no reading, as if it is not hooked up.
 Can anyone tell me where this guage is supposed to be sensing?
 I'm assuming that it is the main engine alternator and not the generator.
 Here is a link to the pic.
 http://www.total-sales-solutions.com/82MCI/dsc00427.html

Thanks,
 On the road, can be reached via cell if woud would not mind calling with the short answer, but I will check back here befor actually leaving.
 Cell is 228-342-0687
 Thanks Phil
« Last Edit: July 06, 2006, 09:43:21 AM by Chariotdriver » Logged

Phil Webb
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2006, 01:09:22 PM »

Probably not a problem.  The guage in question is just a voltmeter.   Can be attached to any 24V source.  You can temp attach a voltmeter across the batts if you wish.  If the "not charging" light goes out when the bus airs up, you can bet that it's alternating (charging).
Howver, the quality of charge could be a problem if too high or too low.  You're looking for something proximal to 27-28VDC.  That's what the voltmeter should show anywhere you tap in the bus..if the engine is running and charging.  
A voltmeter is inexpensive and easy to replace.  Be careful when lifting the dash panel up on an MC9...the idiot lights will pull out and they are easy to mix up when reinstalling them.  Try to keep the LH side of the dash as low as possible. The wiper controls may inhiibit lifting the RH side...just be careful, and verify that the batt master is in the off position before removing the dash. 
Be mindful that there are a few 12V items on an MC9 too...
That dash pictured looks unusuallyl clean.
Best, JR
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2006, 01:50:00 PM »

Likely a little late, but you would definitely want to be careful and check that EVERYTHING works, without heating, blowing fuses, ect.  The plumbing is a scary bit of engineering.  The red carpet is a little scary too.
The inside appears to be a sort of veneer that was common in RVs during the 70s.  That stuff is durable, but if exposed to much moisture, it will delaminate.  What does the bus smell like? 
My best guess would be wait untill the last minute and see if the reserve is met.  If not, you've reached a good idea of what the "real" value is.  Nothing like Ebay to clear the air.  Another way to put it, if you were trying to sell the coach, what could you get out of it?  Get a woman's opinion on the interior.
There's no way I'd pay $50K, without a major check over.  And then it would be iffy.  The largest thing that I see may be that the age and design of the conversion.  It's packed in right tight, the ACs, genset, plumbing, etc is OLD!  May be good for years, or replaced.  As has been suggested, get some docs on anything that has been updated...won't help if something fails, but would verify that a component has been replaced or refurbished.
Take the bus down the highway and find some hills...on  a hot day.  Check for oil pressure, air pump-up time, brakes, engine oil leaks, trans shift quality, electrical issues, lights working.
Does the bus have OTR (OEM) AC and does it work?  If not, it probably never will.  Will the genset and central air cool the bus on a hot day when driving into the sun?  Test ride is important.  While your testing, verify that the coach heat works too. 
And then expect to spend whatever it takes to get that red carpet out of there!
One last point...has the bus been stored indoors?  If it smells of mildew, you'll never get that smell out. You can see some of the flooring thru the bays and front spare tire compartment.  These coaches are prone to leak at the side windows causing floor damage.  The mildew is and indicator.  If cean and dry inside, should be fresh.
Good Luck! JR
 
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
87 MC9, 6V92TA DDEC, HT748R ATEC

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« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2006, 01:57:38 PM »

If the switch is not turned on the meter should not show anything! Only when the start-stop switch is turned on would you get a meter reading. After the vehicle is started the meter reading should increase if the alternator/generator is working.
Richard

I'm heading to take a look at this bus today. May bring back to South MS this evening if everything looks ok.
 
  I noticed in one of the pics that the charging indicator shows no reading, as if it is not hooked up.
 Can anyone tell me where this guage is supposed to be sensing?
 I'm assuming that it is the main engine alternator and not the generator.
 Here is a link to the pic.
 http://http://www.total-sales-solutions.com/82MCI/dsc00427.html

Thanks,
 On the road, can be reached via cell if woud would not mind calling with the short answer, but I will check back here befor actually leaving.
 Cell is 228-342-0687
 Thanks Phil
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« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2006, 06:28:36 PM »

If the switch is not turned on the meter should not show anything! Only when the start-stop switch is turned on would you get a meter reading. After the vehicle is started the meter reading should increase if the alternator/generator is working.
Richard

From the looks of the dash pix, the other guages appear to be switched on and functioning...?   If I were buying the bus the charge rate would have to be known.  Things like the non-functioning voltmeter are indicators to retentive people like me.   And it may mean absolutely nothing...other than a loose wire or bad guage.
Negative indicators.   It's an easy fix if the meter's bad.  If someone's disconnected it to hide a charge problem it may be quite expensive to repair.   
That's a problem with buying high-end items on Ebay...no one to present a "punch list."   Of course one's position becomes more tenable if the bus doesn't bring the reserve price.  Then the real negotiating could begin.
Reckon we'll hear from Doug soon and see what happened.  Hope all works out OK.  Buying an already converted bus is a complicated matter.
JR
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
87 MC9, 6V92TA DDEC, HT748R ATEC

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Chariotdriver
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« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2006, 08:57:25 PM »

 Did not work out, did not get the chance to have it checked out and the owners looked at me funny when I wanted to get it looked at by DD center.
 So I'm back home now and will move on the next deal.
 ( had a lengthy response typed but it lost when I hit post,..)
 Thanks for all the comments,..
 Phil aka Doug
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Phil Webb
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2006, 09:05:22 PM »

Doug,

Try copy/paste feature before you hit post. This way if lost, you can paste it back up!

Sorry the coach didn't work out. Theese are signs anyway, follow your instint!

Good luck
Nick-
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