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Author Topic: New to forum, looking for bus, MCI  (Read 3921 times)
RC4U
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« on: July 12, 2006, 02:44:39 PM »

I have been a camper for 20yrs. owned a class A first then 5th wheels now I am without. After looking at bus conversions this is my dream. I now own a hobby shop for three yrs but was a home builder for 25 yrs{not a suitcase builder who subbed it all out} I did all my own design with softplan and had employees work beside me. So I know i can do the work. Although I am only 50 my shoulders cant take much for to long .
       I have looked at many sites for a bus , found some of greyhounds mc12's 1993 models with like 1.2 million miles and good general condition. Need maybe a panel or two and some repairs. 6v92 engines. Are there any better deals Out There? I know 25-30thousand will get me a nicer bus but Cant afford that. Thanks for any help. Jeff
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grantgoold
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2006, 02:59:29 PM »

Jeff. welcome to the busnuts group. You sound like you will have a great time converting your first bus. Like you, I could only pay around $10,000 for my first shell. I ended up with a 1984 MCI 9 in outstanding condition. I am very happy with that purchase. I have painted, polished and installed the electrical system. I pay as I go and have little heartburn about the "investment" in my hobby.

Start to keep a log of all the items you would like to install in the bus (upgrades in your native tongue) and that will give you an idea of the total cost of conversion minus your valuable time.

I look to have my bus converted, the way I can afford for under 25,000 and have it done by the end of the year. As you will hear several times on this site, each owner has their own vision, wallet size and tolerance for disrupting family life.

Have a great time, be patient and you will eventually fall into a great bus for just the right amount of money.

Welcome,

Grant
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Grant Goold
1984 MCI 9
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Citrus Heights, California
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2006, 11:35:42 AM »

Grant, could you expound a little on exactly what you mean by "outstanding condition". Im also new here and am in the process of looking for a "bus on a budget". Ive seen MCI's in the price range from $3000 to $20,000..some in the same years but am not really sure what to look for....
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John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2006, 12:27:16 PM »

Guys,

Give Mike (MAK)the owner of this board a call.

He always seems to have some nice coaches at all price points.

or click on MAK bus sales above.

Cliff
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1975 GMC  P8M4905A-1160    North Central Florida

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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2006, 01:36:32 PM »

What I mean by outstanding condition is a bus without any rust. A bus with intact electrrical and no evidence of "mickey mouse" electrical repairs. A bus with all the glass, body in great condition. A bus with a recent rebuild or new powerplant and transmission. A bus that despite its age checks out in excellent mechanical condition. A bus with records that demonstrate a long history of appropriate maintanence. A bus that when you go to check it out and drive it around, doesnt need the owner to fiddle with it or jump start it, or....... The baby just fires up, no smoke and heads down the road.

I mean outstanding condition when you have looked at 100 buses of the same vintage and you keep saying to yourself this bus is the best of them all.  If you do, you have an outstanding conversion candidate.

A bus that doesn't have a restroom...... someone hasn't tried to modifiy the original engineering.....

These are a few of the things is mean when I say "outstanding"

Hope that helps.

Grant
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Grant Goold
1984 MCI 9
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2006, 01:44:10 PM »

thanks Grant...that definetly helps..I've yet to find one close enough to my place to actually go and look at it, but I can't wait. We've definetly adopted the attitude that we will only buy what we feel is a good deal and will not "settle" for a bus that is less than what we want !
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John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT
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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2006, 02:39:11 PM »

10K was also my limit.  I looked at a lot of buses up here in the Northeast and all were rust buckets.  Go south and buy a bus you say?  That's a possability, but if your shell budget is $10000 and it costs $4000 to bring it home, now you're looking for a $6000 bus.  I ended up finding a bus with a little rust, but not too bad.  It had a documented 77K on a rebuilt engine and transmission. We had the interior stripped and were surprised to find basically no rust in the framing.  Seem like the worse is right above the engine, and once I get into a proper shop, the engine will come out and all of that will be taken care of.

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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2006, 05:12:16 PM »

I agree that geography is something to consider. I would try and purchase a bus with a long history on the west coast or southwest. MAK is an excellent choice and he will tell you straight up about his buses. The cost of a flight once you believe you have the right bus is marginal, the fuel back home may not be. Set it up as a family trip.

I would also request a bunch of pictures of basically the entire bus, bays, engine, all compartments, wheel well, electrical compartment under the driver's window, door frame, fuel tank, battery box, interior, dash....

If the seller hesitates or tells you that he/she doesn't know alot about the bus....run!!!!!!  This is a red flag. An owner who has extensive knowledge about the bus and can prove it with documentation is more likely a straight shooter.

If you look in the topic of pictures of buses, you will see towards the last few pages, my bus. With the exception of a polish job and painting the rub rails that is the bus I got in California after a two year hunt.

Good luck and keep us posted. Cool

Grant

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Grant Goold
1984 MCI 9
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Citrus Heights, California
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2006, 06:38:33 PM »

I got an 87'  MCI 102A3 back in the winter and am satisfied with the bus.  Keep in mind the bus folks (sales people) will not tell you everything you would like to know (or need to know).  Shop a lot!!!  Make friends with a machanic before you buy and ask a lot of questions...

Danny
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2006, 06:40:53 PM »

Ok so you go out and look for a bus that needs nothing!! Is in perfect condition and you will probobly pay top dollar, nobody I know does they alll get them for next to nothing.
 There is another option, buy a bus that needs alot or everything. NOthing worse than paying top dollar for a perfect bus with rebuilt motor and trans and the motor takes a dump after 6 months! Why pay big bucks for a bus with good tires when you can negotiate on a bus that needs 6 or 8 new tires? Maybe save a few pennies and have brand new tires!

 Not trying to influence anyone just trying to present an option.
                                                                                             HTH Jim
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2006, 07:09:30 PM »

Doubt you'll find a "perfect" bus for cheap.   I'd rather look at older MC9s than the ex 'hounds.  Those things have had the dog $*%# run out of them.   Some are probably serviceable, but those are being sucked up by charter companies.  The ones individuals end up with will likely be the worse of the lot. 
Finding a non-restroom coach limits the market considerably.  Still a good idea.   Ex transits are about the only highway coaches that don't have restrooms.    On the East Coast, only NJTs come to mind.   They are picked over, but there are some around that people have bought and haven't completed for various reasons....mostly $$$$$$$$$$$.
A bus is a ton of work to maintain...this ain't for the faint of heart...and ignored or postponed maintenance will return to bite you in the butt...at the most inopportune time. 
If I considered a budget coach, I'd try to find an ex NJT or a GM bus.  GMs are old, but those that have been used and serviced have a ton of miles left in them.  And they were well built.  Parts are available.   
One would think that with the fuel prices where they are, buses wouild be for sale all over...but they're not. 
I got an idea.   Christy Hicks has a "temp-bus" that's a nice looking GM conversion. She will want to sell the bus as soon as the "big-bus" is completed.  Get in line for that coach.   It's nice coach. 
Otherwise, if you cannot find a GM that suits, look for an MC9.  Watch for rust in the steel suspension parts and soft, rotted floors in MC9s.  They are also pretty cheap....just be certain that when you look at a bus, you have someone along that can spot trouble.  They all got trouble..you just want to have a heads up so you're not surprised.  And of course, you can deal on a "troubled" bus.   
I bought mine without driving it.   I knew that I could change out an engine easier then repairing major body problems, so I picked out what appeared to be the straightest bus Sawyers had out of maybe 50 MC9s and bought it. 
You may be a better welder than I am, or have other skills and would do better repairing  different shortcomings.  Somethings gonna need repairing.  Get ready. 
Keep in mind that advertised prices and selling prices are quite different.  If you see something that looks nice to you, but is a little more than you wish to spend, make an offer...and be ready to buy.   
Good luck, JR
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
87 MC9, 6V92TA DDEC, HT748R ATEC

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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2006, 09:53:37 PM »

Jeff, look at this unit on the e-place. If the unit checks out, a powerplant may be the easy and cost effective solution. I have seen powerplants in Southern CA for $2500 at the low end and up. You may be able to get this unit cheap and then have a powerplant installed onsite?

Just thinking out of the box.

Item number: 160012029138

Good luck! Cool

Grant
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Grant Goold
1984 MCI 9
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2006, 10:31:06 PM »

Have a friend that has bus to sell.  Does this board have a place to sell it?  I would understand if it doesn as I understand that Mak is in the business of selling busses.
JIm
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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2006, 04:22:14 AM »

Click on the MAK Bus Sales banner above for information.
Richard

Have a friend that has bus to sell.  Does this board have a place to sell it?  I would understand if it doesn as I understand that Mak is in the business of selling busses.
JIm
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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2006, 04:50:05 AM »

Hahahah, thanks for the plug, JR. Wink  I disagree that you should run from any bus that doesn't have maintenance records, because, none of the three busses we purchased actually had all the maintenance records.  The 8 that we purchased first was sold at auction, and we purchased it from the bus dealer who bought it.  They did a complete maintenance on it, and took the trouble to show us the shape of this one compared to another one they had purchased that needed some undercarraige structure repair.  That 8 fires right up and barely smokes on startup, none at all once it's running, handled great, etc.  

The 9 was purchased from a charter company, which was owned by an "investor" type guy, who didn't actually have a CDL and knew pretty much nothing about his busses.  When his partner/driver had marriage troubles and decided to move back up north, he realized that he needed to shut his charter service down, and take his losses.  We had made the deal, paid him, and were getting ready to pull out when another charter guy showed up at the storage lot to pick up a bus.  He walked up to see what we were doing with "Ralph's bus" and when he found out that Ralph had sold it to us, he was extremely disappointed that Ralph hadn't told him he was selling out.  He would have like to have had the one we bought, especially when he found out what we had paid.  You see, it evidently didn't occur to Ralph to put a "for sale" sign in the bus.  The other guy cussed around a little bit, and then told my husband the few things he knew about that specific bus, and really, since Ralph had already left and this guy knew the deal was a done deal, he had no reason to pretend about anything, he was just really disappointed that he didn't have "first chance" at it. 

I guess our mistake was thinking we wanted a standard instead of automatic, and then taking a look at another bus, a 9, "BigBus", that was a bit more expensive, but was an automatic and had the smooth sides package already installed.  We realized that we could afford to pay more than we paid for the first one, to get one that had the features that we'd want in our "forever bus".  So, my advice is to decide what the maximum is that you can afford to pay, see what you can get for that money, and then look at a bunch and buy the best one you can afford.  Then you won't be like us and have to start and then re-start a conversion, ending up with a "bus fleet". ha ha

We do have the bug really bad, which is why we have a third bus right now, the afore-mentioned "TempBus", which is a fully converted GMC 4107.  We made the decision to buy TempBus for a couple of reasons. . .we really wanted to be using a bus instead of our current motorhome, but we didn't want to rush our conversion, (and, well, when we do travel, we kind of like comfort,  Wink), so we decided to buy a converted bus as a temporary bus.  Also, since this bus has some of the components we had planned for BigBus, such as the Webasto, the air leveling system, etc., it gave us a chance to "test drive" some of that stuff.  Finally, we felt like it was a really good buy for the quality of the bus and conversion package.  

Now, we are known in some circles as being "bus poor", due to possession of three busses and, of course, our motorhome.  One of these days we will thin out the ranks, we just haven't had time to make the effort to sell the excess.  And, yes, TempBus will be for sale in another year or two (likely two Wink), when BigBus is complete, and will be in even better shape than when we purchased it as we did put in the new fridge  Grin, and the tile guys are almost complete with the new tile in the floor and shower.  BTW, the tile guy, Riggs Tile, Mustang, Oklahoma. asked me to please NOT give out his name to any bus owners  Huh, as this was one of the hardest jobs he's ever had to do  Angry, with numerous cuts in each and every piece, ha ha.  I assured him he was doing a beautiful job  Grin, and I'd be sure to tell EVERYONE  Grin what great work they do Grin.   Luckily, I can run faster than he can Wink  Christy Hicks
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