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Author Topic: New to forum, looking for bus, MCI  (Read 3926 times)
Ross
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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2006, 06:06:29 AM »

Guys...keep in mind that any bus that was removed from passenger service was removed for a reason, and that reason is because it becomes more economic to buy a new bus than to keep fixing an old one.  If you find a bus in perfect condition, you have to ask, if it's so perfect, why are they selling it?  You can also bet that if it needs repairs, they are not going to repair it before selling it.  The reason they are selling it is because they don't want to do any more repairs.

All we can do is try and find one that has as few issues as possible and try to make sure those issues are something you can deal with yourself without having to pay truck shop labor rates.  I looked at buses with hammered chassis and nice driverrtains and buses with clean chassis but all but blown engine and trans, but I never looked at a bus that thad both.  I chose to do some chassis work, which I can do myself, over an engine and trans rebuild.

Ross
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RC4U
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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2006, 07:04:04 AM »

Wow now some answers,Thanks everyone. The one with the bolwn engine gone few hours ago. I really can deal with an engine as Two of my customers here at my store Wheels Wings-N-Hobbies are Diesel mechs at butler machinery and I have done Three complete rebuilds on gas[I'm sure I would need help on diesel] And I did get a hold of Mak on the bus on his front page a week ago that had blown engine but it also is gone. I have also talked to ABC in Minn but he just wanted me to get an MC12 from him, even thou I asked about the 102c3's . So I will keep looking . I know our local bus charter here has a mc 7 for 6800 but thought that to much for one so old. and also has an 81 mc 9 for 12500 that I have not looked at yet. Thanks a lot for the replys and any more info.
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TomC
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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2006, 08:18:55 AM »

Since I too was on a budget, I bought an AMGeneral 10240B transit for $4,000 with the seats and overhead already removed.  Since it was an Portland Trimet bus, rust wasn't an issue.  Without going into details of how it was built, what I ended up with was- bus that is 40ft x 102" X 6'10" tall inside with huge windows (which both my wife and I adore).  Same chassis and drivetrain as many of the older GM buses.  With 130gal fresh water, 85gal gray, 45gal black, 20gal propane, 10kw Diesel Gen, 3 rooftop airs, 2-8D AGM deep cycles, 2,500 watt inverter, 9ft kitchen, 36" house type shower, etc, I have all I want.  I still have two storage compartments-one that is 99" (width of the interior of bus) x 22'' high x 66" long for all my junk; and another in the rear that is 15" x 18" x 24" that I keep my oils in.  It has a 36,000gvw chassis and I weigh in at 31,000lb wet with my wife and I inside-still 5,000lb from capacity!
My point is, if you want a low price bus that is in good shape and is built like a tank (transits in general are built stronger for their harder duty cycle they are put through), and the fact you are a builder, consider the transit.  The two drawbacks, no built in cargo compartments so you have to build everything in underneath your self; and also along those lines, not as big exterior storage as a Greyhound type.
I know that Santa Monica Bus Lines (in Calif) is about to let loose some MCI classics that are newer cousins of my AMGeneral with Series 50 Detroits and Allison 6 speeds.  There are already some available now, but with the 6V-92TA and V730 transmission.  The ones with the Series 50 would be a killer bus, and get close to 10mpg!  Just my way, Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
RJ
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« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2006, 03:40:45 PM »

TomC -  You forgot to mention a couple other "challenges" with using a transit bus as a shell:

** The non-flat floor inside, with the very large wheelwells than must be built around,

and. . .

** Non-highway gearing.  Most transits are geared to top out at about 60 mph, as compared to the highway models that easily will reach 70 - 75 mph.  Granted, the rear axle pumpkin can be replaced, but that's additional work and expense, and sometimes a real PITA - like finding 4.10 gears for a V-drive.


RC4U & Travelingfools -  Buses from NM, AZ & Southern CA will be the most corrosion - free, but you still have to inspect them thoroughly.  MC-9s are probably the best "bang for the buck", and they're plentiful - over 9,000 of them were built.  MC-12s, especially with the Series 50 repower, may  be OK, but only Greyhound operated them, and 'Hound's been plagued by it's bankruptcy, which severely strained the maintenance dept., so buyer-beware!!

Altho they're more expensive, and many are still in service, I'd highly recommend that you seriously look for a 102C3 or a 102D3.  Both are excellent, with greater interior height (so you don't really need a roof-raise, unless you're 6'6"+), and often can be found with the 8V92TA engine.

IBME that major chassis work (body & fender type) is far more expensive than powertrain repair. . . but I'll leave that decision up to you.

Finally, there are a LOT of converted coaches available today - it might be better to buy one already converted, go out an enjoy it for awhile, then decide what modifications you want to make, either to it, or another unit.

FWIW. . .
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RJ Long
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« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2006, 07:15:28 PM »

The term "transit" may be used to describe some highway coaches...such as New Jersey Transit MC9s
These are full blown highway coaches...albeit a little underpowered, but they have basement storage and operate at interstate speeds. Most "transit" buses don't have any useable under floor storage as has been stated.
Become familiar with the various popular coach models so you can spot what may or may not work for you. You can pick up an RTS for almost nothing. An RTS, with a bit of time will make a really spiffy looking conversion. They just had nice lines. Maybe you won't need a lot of basement storage.
Another thing with bonafide transits is the potential road speed...verify that it will operate at a speed that you can live with. Lots of real "transits" won't do 60 MPH. Again, be familiar with what you're buying. It's a snake-pit out there!
Be very careful with old Eagles, and old Prevosts. They can be rusted in places where the sun don't shine...and you can't see without substantial disassembly.
At least with the old GM and MCI coaches you can see the rust if you look...and it may well be there. Subscribe to Bus Conversion Magazine and you'll find a 102C3 that looks nice (MAK internet bus sales?)....may be just what you're looking for. I'd like to have it.
But...$$$$$$$$$$ Embarrassed    May be better off buying a really nice shell and take some time converting it.  You can use it as a "steel tent camper."
You may find that a website such as www.coachinfo.com offers some good info on bus models and years produced.
JR
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
87 MC9, 6V92TA DDEC, HT748R ATEC

"Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.

Ayn Rand
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« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2006, 10:12:06 PM »

New Jersey Transit is the name of the operating company, not the type of bus.  The buses they purchased from MCI were not transit buses in the normal definition of the word.  They definitely are MC-9 highway coaches, built to NJT specs, and were used mostly on commuter runs, as opposed to the normal transit operation of driving a block and stopping, driving a block and stopping, driving a block and stopping. . .  Golden Gate Transit in the San Francisco Bay Area also ran a fleet of MC-9s and 102A3s in similar fashion.

For the newbies:

Skoolie:  Slang for a school bus, usually in a "dog-nose" configuration for front engined-models.  Bus body on a truck chassis, altho they're also built on a dedicated platform, especially the mid-engined Crowns and Gilligs, as well as the pusher designs.  High ground clearance and steel springs make these ideal for those who really  like to do the backwoods boonie-bouncing. . . but also perpetuate the "Partridge Family" hippie-bus image.

Cut-Away: Small buses that usually have a van front end on them, similar to a Class C stick 'n staple RVs.  Used mostly for light-duty shuttle work, very small city transit service, senior citizen transportation, and "dial-a-ride" service. 

Transit:  Most commonly defines a heavy-duty bus designed for city/urban stop & go operation, with very limited highway use.  Normally no built-in luggage bays underneath, front & rear doors, large protruding wheelwells inside, small fuel tanks, lots of headroom inside (designed for standees),  low-speed rear axles designed for 0 - 30 acceleration, with top speeds in the 55 - 60 mph range.  Most built since mid-1980s have wheelchair lifts, either at the front or rear door.  Transit agency purchases 80% funded by Feds (your tax dollars at work!), sold after 12 years of service at auctions for pennies on the original dollar.  Often "ridden hard & put away wet", depending on the agency.  Today the big thing in transit is low-floor models (absolutely NO space underneath for RV componentry!) as well as hybrids, CNG power, and other experimental stuff.  These won't even make good donor buses for replacement powertrains when they're retired.  High-floor models, such as the RTS and Gillig Phantom, have space underneath to install necessary RV components, but it must be fabricated.  Geoff and Pete have RTS's, and are very proud of them - rightfully so, as they've put a lot of work into them and it shows.

Coach:  Normally thought of as "the Greyhound bus", as that's the image that comes to the majority of people's minds.  These are the models designed to provide transportation on the highways, either in line-haul, charter or tour service.  Most will run all day at 70 mph w/o breaking a sweat, have large luggage bays for RV stuff, and the most comfortable ride.  Most expensive as a shell, also.  These, too, can be found where they've been "ridden hard and put away wet" - especially the crop of MC-12s that Greyhound recently released for sale.

All of the above mentioned types of buses have their pros and cons.  The real question somebody needs to ask themselves, BEFORE beginning their search for a shell, is this:  "What, exactly, do I want to do with the bus?  Do I want to boonie-bounce on logging trails?  Do I want to travel power-pole-to-power-pole?  Do I want to live in it full-time?  Do I want to be able to go a week (or more) w/o having to break camp for fuel, water, holding tank dumps?  What do you want to do with the bus???  Only after you've laid out what your plans are should you begin your search for a shell, by then you'll have a better idea of what type of bus is going to suit your needs best.

Clear as mud??  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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RJ Long
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Jeremy
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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2006, 01:29:30 AM »

"Guys...keep in mind that any bus that was removed from passenger service was removed for a reason, and that reason is because it becomes more economic to buy a new bus than to keep fixing an old one.  If you find a bus in perfect condition, you have to ask, if it's so perfect, why are they selling it?  You can also bet that if it needs repairs, they are not going to repair it before selling it.  The reason they are selling it is because they don't want to do any more repairs."

I would suggest that the majority of smaller or regional operators tend to buy and sell their buses in response to fluctuations in the level of business they are dealing with, rather than because the buses themselves are getting worn-out. You very often see buses advertised for sale 'due to ending of contract', and my own vehicle is a case in point; I have a fairly unusual 8m 35-seat coach, which the operator bought to service a specific contract, then sold to me after a couple of years when the number of passengers on that contract had risen to the point where the operator could use one of his regular 53 seat coaches. Sometimes a given vehicle will remain on a particular service, even when the operator of that service changes - frequently a lot of horse-trading of vehicles takes place between different operators in the same locality.

Jeremy
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