Here a few pictures that we have of the bus. Tonight we will be looking over it more and driving so will probably be getting more photos. My husband is pretty mechanically inclined it's the newer stuff that he can't work on. Thanks for all your comments keep them coming.
I took a close look and drove that bus before buying another one-- basically the same model (see pictures on this forum). I know that says alot and don't want to put the dampers on anyones hopes or saying it's "bad". We were also excited by the price and wondered why it hadn't sold yet.
Here is what I noticed when we showed up one sunny December '08 afternoon, in The Dalles (after driving 5+ hrs):
The bus looks pretty good, but has some rusting-- seemingly not structural, but you will see it in the cargo bays. Ours does too. At least it's not an Eagle falling apart at the seams. (I owned one and have the right to say this!)
The engine took a lot of cranking to get started and several attempts in order to let the batteries rest up. Think it had sat for several months (my GM sat for 9 months and fired right up, for comparison)... Once running sounded good/okay, but the smoking did not clear out even after extended idling. Maybe it's due to old fuel....clogging injectors....? I'd pay close attention to how fast the exhaust manifolds heat up at each port-- can't remember if I did that.
Once warmed up a bit went for a test drive. Noticed that the smoking did not clear up even after a hard run for 15-20 mins. Blue smoke the whole way. Power seemed sluggish like our heavy Eagle 05 (30K empty). Maybe it's just a throttle adjustment or clogged fuel filters? Our 35' MCI in comparison SCOOTS (better be sitting for 1st and 2nd gear), and pulls the rolling hills great. It has 122K on the hubometer and documented mileage for over 20yrs.
Shifting was a challenge. The linkage is way out of adjustment and sticky. Very hard to get 2nd gear; kept popping out of gear.... Seemed very challenging to shift at all. I know the cold makes it harder to do. At one point I had to stop on our way back and start out in 1st gear again. The clutch chatters. Noticed while pulling out of the driveway. Possibly very worn and/or the rear main seal and/or the transmission oil has contaminated the clutch linings.
Power assist is basically non-existent. Good luck pulling out of of the driveway...maybe the fluid is low? Steering is VERY loose. Couldn't drive it straight to save my life. My wife was not comfortable and noticed how hard I was working (i guess it was all the sweat...). We drove across country and knows I'm a good driver.
Owner could not get the propane genset started. But I believed him when he said it runs great.
Crawled around and noticed the right rear axle seal is leaking. The braking is effected since gear oil is dripping onto the brakes. That will be a big and expensive job. I'm a pro car mechanic (ASE Master Tech) and even that put me off.
Thought it had a JakeBrake, but didn't use/try it.
Body and under-carriage looks decent enough. No evidence of damage that I could find. Brakes getting a bit low maybe?..
The owner was very nice, but definitely not knowledgeable about the bus or mechanics He did not seem the type to be concerned about maintenance. When I asked him questions, the response was usually "it's never been a problem". After several questions I gave up. That's a big red flag for me-- basically saying that nothing was done because it didn't fail (yet). I'm sure the rear axle fluid is way overdue for a change-hence the leaking seal.
His "friend" (the burly truck driver) was way too talkative and seemed like a sales guy to me. Ignoring him didn't work either, even while directly talking to the old timer. Interesting dynamics....
The bus lists to the left some. I fought persnickity air valves on my GM Fishbowl and didn't want to do it again.
Our assessment was that despite the "great price" it didn't feel right for us. Compared to our other buses it seemed "long in the tooth" and would need substantial "investment" to be useable and safe. For the right person the bus surely has lots of potential.
Best of luck if you move forward with the purchase and the bus will be thankful to have some much needed TLC. Bear in mind this is just my opinion and perspective. As you can tell I did see the bus in person and have some basis for all the input/comments. No intentions to scare anyone off on this bus, because everyone is different in what works for them. Hopefully it will aid a prospective buyer. If you reallly or appreciate like this, send me a gift card?
The built in blender is nifty(it works), bet they made some great drinks