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Author Topic: NEED Advice: Should I buy this bus??  (Read 4410 times)
scuba44
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« on: February 24, 2010, 09:41:26 AM »

I've been a lurker here for a couple years now and admiring everyone's projects, just wishing for the time when I could buy my first bus. I found an opportunity to pick up this bus. But I really need some input from the pros on IF this is a good deal or not or even if this is a good bus.

The specs:

1964 to late '70s FLXIBLE transit bus, converted to motorhome in the '80s. No one is sure of the year.
The bus has been sitting in a driveway for 5 years. It has been started a few times, brand new batteries were put in last year.
The exterior is rough....the paint job and clear coat need attention. The tires are retreads with good tread but again, they haven't been run for 5 years so it's questionable if they will hold up. I know new tires cost a small fortune for this thing. There is not a lof of online info about this brand of bus so I'm coming up empty when trying to find something to compare it against.

The engine in diesel and in the back, it starts right up and runs strong. The previous owners (the gentleman who built this and his wife) have passed on so now their children own it. They are just not sure what to do with it, they want it out of there but don't want to give it away.

In the engine compartment there is a small Honda generator (one of the red ones) that will stay with the bus. From what the current owners know about it, they are unsure of how many miles are on the bus, but they believe the engine was rebuilt only around 20K miles ago. We didn't drive the bus as it's not registered, all we did is start it up and it seems to run like a champ. The interior is dated, but I can live with someone else's ideas until I have the funds to redo it. It appears that the man who built it was really a craftsman and did everything himself.

I do not know about the condition of the brakes or any of the systems (ie: plumbing, electrical, charging, etc). I believe they most likely all work but again, this has been sitting outside in the weather (albeit on pavement) for 5 years. There are likely some of the plastic parts that will need to be replaced. It has black and grey water tanks on the bottom.

I inspected under the bus and there are no major leaks or anything amiss that I can see. There are minor dings everywhere but this is an old bus.

SO...my questions are...what is a 'reasonable' price for such a bus as it is? I believe I can pick this up within the $5-8K range. I know they put $500 in batteries in it last year to get it running as they were dead. What kind of mileage can I expect from something like this?

ALSO...I am wondering if a bus of this vintage is more of a collector's piece of Americana as a vintage vehicle or could this actually be used to go camping, etc with the family (which is what I want to do with it). I was originally attracted to skoolies because of the ruggedness and the price but this opportunity presented itself and now I need advice from folks who know a lot more than I do. I was told that as far as they knew, it drove well and that everything worked but that is TBD. 60MPH was the cruising speed they mentioned. The bus is 40 ft long and 10 ft high.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Also...if anyone has any in-depth info for me, I would love to give them a call for a quick chat about this. Thank you and I hope I posted this in the right section of the forum.
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scuba44
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2010, 09:43:05 AM »

Here are some more pics of the bus:
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scuba44
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2010, 09:44:26 AM »

The engine looks like this...started right up:

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scuba44
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2010, 09:45:34 AM »

Here's the interior:

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scuba44
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2010, 09:46:06 AM »

Looking back through the inside:

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scuba44
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2010, 09:50:10 AM »

Looking forward to seeing what you guys know about this type of bus.  I inspected underneath (I'm a car guy, not a busnut) and no leaks but again, it's been sitting for 5 years.  The front end looks really solid, none of the steering assembly looks missing, bent, etc.  Just a little rusty but not too bad.  My idea would be to travel with the family in this bus and do some minimal cosmetic upgrades like flooring, etc but nothing mechanical, at least nothing huge like an engine transplant.

In another forum someone mentioned that this particular engine might be hard to find parts for but I'm not even sure which engine it is.  All I know is that is started up and ran fantastic once the owners put the new batteries in. 
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luvrbus
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2010, 09:56:47 AM »

I would go to www.flxibleowners.org or the flx group on yahoo those guys love theirs flx's and will answer any questions for you and they probably know the bus.
And forget about engine parts being hard to find for the DD you can buy those in a drug store lol  



good luck
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 10:04:29 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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scuba44
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2010, 10:03:29 AM »

Thanks, I found that site but unfortunately it's not very active and there is no forum to interact with members (that I have found).  I know there are many active experts here so I thought I would ask.  Any advice is appreciated.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2010, 10:11:01 AM »

They have a forum somewhere I talked to the Flx owners at Quartzsite at their rally and one was telling me about it.
Me I like that bus along with all the other models of FLX's and I am not a FLX owner they are sharp buses and you need advice from Flx owners no telling what us Eagle, Prevost ,GMC and MIC owners will come up with lol sorry forgot about the Setra and Dina owners and others
 
good luck
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 10:18:07 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2010, 10:37:40 AM »

If the FLX guys say "go for it" from the mechancial standpoint, I'd check out the RV sytems, electrical, plumbing,etc and if they check out, go for it.  Use it for camping and don't worry about it being any sort of historical piece.  It is definitely a plus that it has been parked in a driveway.  Look for dry rot on the tires and airbags.  Look for mold or soft spots in the floor.  If you can get pictures of the 110 AC electrical panel, we could get a sense if it was a nice job or a hack job.  It looks really well done.  Let us know!

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
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1968 MCI 7 Ser. No. 7476 Unit No. 10056
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2010, 10:41:10 AM »

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« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 11:07:53 AM by Now Just Dallas » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2010, 12:38:21 PM »

Of course photos don't tell a lot, but from the photos, that doesn't look that rough.  There are a lot of folks enjoying their buses that look a lot rougher.  Looks aren't everything, but other Flx owners can tell you the problem areas to look for.

Like Tenor said, if it checks out, go for it and enjoy it.  These old buses are a piece of history, but they aren't a museum piece.  They love to run down the road.
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TomC
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2010, 12:49:51 PM »

Luckily- the engine is a Detroit Diesel (instead of the Cummins 903).  You didn't happen to notice if it was a V6 or V8?  Also, if you could take a picture of the gear shifter, maybe we can determine what the transmission is.  Most likely an Allison-probably a MT640-which is good being a 4 spd.  You should take it for a drive and see what it tops out at.  With a 4 spd auto, you could easily regear it for better top spd since it is a T drive.  Hopefully it is a V8, since it would be underpowered with the V6.  I would buy it.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
scuba44
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2010, 12:54:16 PM »

I got some new information about the bus.  It has a Detroit V671 that was rebuilt about 6,000 miles ago.  I don't know if this is considered a good engine or not...
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scuba44
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2010, 12:54:57 PM »

I also found out that the body is called a "flxible transit bus" type (if that means anything to anyone)
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