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Author Topic: Can I please ask for some opinions please. Should I chose an RST or a 4108?  (Read 6139 times)
Dutch106
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« on: February 04, 2010, 12:28:42 PM »

Greetings All,
 I'm brand new to this forum. So please bear with me.
I'm currently looking at two 2 cycle buses one is an intercity 1978 4108 buffalo, and an innercity 1980 RST, both 35 foot long.
 The RST has had the side door removed but still needs a side panel cut and fited to cover. its been gutted and a lot of spare bits come with it. (of what utility I don't know) The rear end is still set up for inner-city speed, top end roughly 60 mph. The seller quotes about $4k to rebuild the rear end to get to 75 mph when the governor kicks in.
 The 1978 4108 is missing the accelerator cable (the owner is replacing it now) He was going to replace it with an air pedal? for himself but since near as I can tell that's about a $1k in parts. it seems to be his cheaper option. (I'm thinking it will be a good indication of the quality of his maintenance if he fixes what caused it to fail in the first place. We'll see. It is also gutted but a start at a raised floor with 3/4 inch plywood down. That seems to provide a minimum of head space though (I'm over 6 foot tall so that is a problem)
 Both seem to start up well with a minimum of white and black smoke seem to come up to pressure. Obviously the buffalo could only creep at low idle forward at this point. I know a little about Mercedes diesels ( I converted a 85 300D to run on used french fry grease with a two tank system of my own design) but little or nothing about 2 cycles, so any points on how to evaluate them would be very welcome (or were to find a FAQ on that, I'm sure I'm not the first with those questions Smiley)

 Any way, all that to say this, which would you chose for a first (and maybe last bus) Bus? Or neither and go look for something else.
Either I can probably get for around $7K (with the rear end mod to the RST) how do you actually determine mileage? is there an hour gauge I haven't found yet. The buffalo come with manuals the RST does not.
 Thanks for any help,
Dutch
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RTS/Daytona
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2010, 12:45:07 PM »

Do you mean RTS ??

If so then check out --> http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/RTS-bus-nuts/messages

RTS's (or any bus) from salted area's can have a rust problem - RTS's especially by the rear air bag supports and engine bulkhead

I'll take a chance and send you some RTS info to your PM

Pete RTS/Daytona
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2010, 01:16:28 PM »

Welcome Dutch,
There are a lot of knowledgeable busnuts in Oregon. I'm not that knowledgeable, but learning more everyday. We're over here on the coast right now. Where are the buses and do you know who used to own them? There may be someone in the area that can go look at them with you. There are a lot of used buses available for cheap thanks to the economy, so don't rush into anything you're not sure of.
Again, welcome and good luck, Will and Wife
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kyle4501
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2010, 01:21:39 PM »

Both are great buses with loads of potential. Just depends on the actual condition they're in & how they look.

Best advice I've ever gotten is that if you can walk away from it without looking back, keep walking.

If, OTH, you like the looks of the bus & find yourself compelled to look back whenever you walk away from it - you have found the right model for you.  Grin
Converting one is hard work & will call your sanity into question - Loving the look of your bus helps make it past the tough times.

Like Pete said, watch out for rust & corrosion. There are too many good buses out there with minimal corrosion issues to spend time bringing one back. If you can't afford a corrosion free bus, you need to carefully reconsider the bargain of a rusty one. . . Sometimes, the lower priced bus isn't the cheapest.

Sometimes, a plane ticket to look at a bus halfway across the country is the best money you can spend - especially if you decide to not buy that particular one. Shocked

The trips to look at buses have been some of the best vacations I've taken.  Grin

Good luck in finding a great bus for your project!
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2010, 01:28:45 PM »

$7 K is too high in this market.  Basically these buses are worth scrap  price only to all but bus nuts.  You could probably get a finished decent conversion for this price.  Do a search of craigs in all the states and you will find a bunch of interesting buses, Also a thorough reading of this entire forum will help you know what to look for.  Finally as many others will state rust is a HUGE PROBLEM.  Learn how to safely get under and around buses and really look for are the structures weakened by rust then X3 for the amount of rust there actually is (my usual rule of thumb with used vehicles do a thorough check and figure there are 3X as many problems as I have observed) once I know a vehicle well I can reduce this to X2, but there is always a bunch of stuff you can't see.
BTW welcome to busnut land ya poor bugger!
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 01:30:42 PM by zubzub » Logged

Dutch106
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2010, 01:33:00 PM »

Hi Guys,
Whoops absolutly correct Cry. Sorry well my first blunder, certinly not my last I'm sure.
Well no place to go but up from here!
Dutch

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kyle4501
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2010, 01:40:49 PM »

Not a blunder.
More like an intelligent first step. Grin

Lots of us here bought first & asked questions later - definitely not the cheapest way to go. Grin
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2010, 03:32:52 PM »

What ZubZub said plus don't go with a RTS unless te bus will only take short trips.  They get rougher treatment and have almost no storage and might be geared for a top of 45 mph.  I think they are not suitable.  There I have just alienated half he board for ya.


You need a bus mechanic to look at the frame and gear and a D mech to eval the engine.  Once you own it $7 grand is easy to exceed in repair costs.  Try for a fully converted worth $7 grand....in this narket.   DD will do the engine eval fr a few hundred and a bus shop will do the insp for a couple hundred and CHOOSE wisely and get advice.

John
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Dutch106
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2010, 03:41:56 PM »

Hi Guys,
 OK so D mechanic is a diesel mechanic, whats a DD?
The RTS has a proven top speed just over 60mph as is, I rode in it its starting price is right at $2.8K I'm figuring $4K to add the gearing to 75mph.
 Dutch
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2010, 03:52:08 PM »

I'm with JohnEd and zubzub. not enough under storage on rts bus.
 DD=  detroit diesel
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RTS/Daytona
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2010, 04:23:07 PM »

Dutch

Hmmm RTS Top Speed 45 MPH - Just goes to show you - You can get your brain frozen by living in the GREAT WHITE NORTH WEST

Most RTS's have transit gearing that limits thier top speed to 60-65 MPH - a change to a 4.10 rear will bring that back up to 75 MPH

As for bay storage - they are absolutly right - My prior motorhome was a Classic GMC with NO BAY STORAGE - now I have 1.5 bays of storage with a bay being about 2' tall by 5' wide and 8' deep (enough for me - cause my RTS has INSIDE ACCESSABLE STORAGE over the engine that's about 6' x 2' x 3') - plus move overhead storage than we know what to do with.

Most good transit companies (again I can't speak for those rubes in the GREAT WHITE NORTH WEST) have excellent maintenance - they have to - so they don't keep sued by some low life lawyers looking for deep pockets - it usually doesn't matter to a transit company if the engine and tranny were replaced just a few months ago - when the records shown that a new grant is available to buy a new bus - that existing bus (no matter how recent the eng/tranny) is sold.

At over 6' 7" the roof of an RTS doesn't have to be raised


Here's what in my little 35' RTS
6V92TA-DDECII - V731 Allison Transmission with 4.10 rear
(76 MPH MAX) up to 9-10 MPG
- NO SMOKE - NO OVERHEAT - NO LEAKS

-Stainless Steel Unibody construction
-140 gallons diesel
-90 gallons waste
-80 gallons fresh
-BurlWood Dash / Tile look flooring / Red Oak trim / Granite look counters & tables
-Campsite Leveling System
-Over the road A/C driver and Co-pilot A/C vent system
-(2) 15 kBTU low profile rooftop A/Cs Ducted
-Finished Ceiling Height (with twin 15K BTU Dometics a/c units - fully ducted) is 78" -
 (and that's with an average of (2 3/4") of insulation in the ceiling

FRONT SALON
- A full size 72" convertible couch with fold down drink tray
- 2 swivel Captains chairs with a coffe table between opposite the couch 
- 12' (6' per side) of overhead cabinets
- PLUS a 2' x 6' OVERHEAD lighted mirrored ceiling
- 27" LCD HD TV with split screen feature
- LCD Rear view Monitor

KITCHEN/DINETTE
 -6' kitchen  with double burner / double bowl sink and prep area
- Overhead  microwave/ convection oven and Kitchen cabinets
- 2' Gas/electric 9.5 cu ft Dometic Refrigerator
- 6' x 3' dinette area with 6' of overhead cabinets opposite the kichen -
- 6' of Dinette overhead cabinet
- Space for a 2' WASHER/DRYER combination on the dinette side -
- LARGE pantry above washer dryer space

BATHROOM
- 5' walk thru bath (with 2 FULL SIZED 30" mirrored pocket doors with 6'6" clearannce)
- 35" neo-angle glass shower and porcelain  direct drop rv toilet on one side -
- TWIN 18" hanging closets with 3 dresser drawers on the bottom
- Center 24" Custon Mirrored Vanity  (with a hidden 20 gallon hot water tank under vanity)

REAR SALON / BEDROOM
- Regular Size RV TWIN  80" by 34" beds
- Additional Dressing area  between beds
- 5' of overhead caninets on each side
- Full Side to Side Rear "Gun Cabinet" between the side cabinets
- PLUS a huge 6' wide  x 2' deep x 3' high mirrored glass door storage closets that
  can hold about as much as a full open underbay

BAY STORAGE  -
First Tank Bay -->
- 120 gallon "L" shaped tank
- 12 Gallons gas tank for 7 KW Onan Generator
- Twin Portable Propane tanks with Automatic Change-Over

Second Storage Bay--> - approx 8' x 5' x 20"
- RV Storage Area (approx 6' x 5' x 20") -
    Remember there is the equivalent "bay" space in a closet above the engine -
    that you don't have to go outside in the middle of the night to use.
- 7kw Onan Generator mounted on Drivers Side
- XANTREX Prosine 3000 Watts Inverter

Rear Waste Side Bay
-90 Gallon mixed waste tank with macerator

Rear Center Air Tank Bay
- Alll 4 air tanks

Rear Battery Bay
- 50 amp 110v AC service
- Quantity Four - #31 batteries
- 50 Amp Battery Equalizer

Rear center Bay -> all 4 air tanks
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2010, 06:19:02 PM »

Dutch, welcome.  A good part of the decision process revolves around how you intend to use the coach.  For example, off-road ventures may require a (gasp) schoolbus conversion.  The reason?  Light weight, and high road clearance.  

Full-timing, or extended road trips, you may do better with a coach (like the 4108 you mention).  The reason?  They have much more storage space in the baggage bays (sometimes called "basements" - but with 40 years in the bus business, I can hardly even type the word).

Local trips, occasional weekends - a transit (a la the RTS) may be fine.  I'm in the transit business -- they're fine buses.  Of course, I'm a GM guy, so I'm predjudiced.  (The RTS was a General Motors design, following the Fishbowl.  First built around 1978, the RTS line was sold to Transportation Manufacturing Corp, Roswell NM when GM got out of the bus business).  

Other concerns may come into play.  The 4108 is, most likely, a stick shift.  They're non-synchromesh 4-speed transmissions, need double-clutching, and can take a while to get used to.  Read Russ Long's article on driving a Detroit Diesel stick shift, I think it's in the help section on this board.  One fellow who used to be on the board (Spaceship Buffalo) had to trade his stick 4106 for an automatic 4108, because he had trouble with steep driveways, some places he went.  Your personal style may be a factor.  One member recently bought a Flxible, even though it didn't meet his size criteria, because it was so cool.  Speaking of size, is a 35 foot coach enough space for you, or would you really be better off with a 40-footer?       

You can probably get the most for your money by buying what you'll need/want, up front.  Buying a coach, then changing out the engine, or the transmission, or the whatever -- may be more of an investment than you need to make.      

So, maybe you could tell us some of your thoughts on how you think you'll be using the coach?  From that, the collective wisdom here might be able to give you some thoughts.

Arthur  
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 06:23:49 PM by Runcutter » Logged

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

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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2010, 06:45:00 PM »

Unless money and time are non-issues, buy a good completed conversion, and modify it to meet your needs. In a few short years the bottom has dropped out of old bus conversions so you could never build one for less. Keep looking and you will find just the right one. In the meantime read all of the old post you can on this board so you minimize the chance of making a costly blunder.
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2010, 07:19:47 PM »

Wasn't there a guy mentioned recently in the midwest that has a nice RTS for sale at about 25% of what he put into it?  Wulf or something like that?
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2010, 08:14:05 PM »

Hi Guys,
 Hmm I'm not entirely sure I'ved defined my needs I have to admit. I spent last summer in the Blue Mountains prospecting and gold mining. Every time I went out I found more gold, so I believe I'd like to do more of that. I had thought to use a coach dragging a trailer with a small 4x4 Jeep of some sort. the large "basements" would be handy for dredges and other equipment. If I could build one with a weeks endurance. Hot showers are a big drive to this for me, not sleeping on the ground (I'm 56 and single) a comfortable bed. Big enough to share with my golden retriever (OK, so he's a little spoiled).
  35 foot should be enough space as I don't plan on living in it for the whole summer, just every third week. That might lend itself to a school bus conversion. The problem there Allstate has already told me that they will not write a policy on a school bus conversion? anyone here with experience on that?
 I had also thought that there is some money in specialized hauling of small to medium loads interstate. Not sure if their is enough money but adding hauling light trucks and cars on a flatbed might make it pencil out. Are there buses out there better for that?
 A third idea If I lose the high paid job I've got right now I could use it to haul all my stuff back to the upper Midwest were I prefer to be. Without having to rent a truck and trailer. Also have a place to live with a minumum outlay (figuring I've done enough of convertion to do so) after off loading most of it into a storage shed somewhere.
 With my experiance with running 4 cycle diesels on Waste Vegetable oil that might offset the fuel costs.
So there we are with many conflicting Ideas.
Cheers,
Dutch
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