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Author Topic: GMC 4108/ 4905  (Read 2509 times)
waynemcd
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« on: March 22, 2010, 07:01:26 PM »

Wife and I are looking to retire in a couple of years and considering buying a gmc 4108 or 4509 for fulltime rving.  My question is for those who own these models.  I am 6'3" tall and have not been able to find interior height specs on either bus.  Can someone help me out?  I have read that the 4108 at 35ft tends to sway in the breeze and move about when passed by a semi.  Is it really that bad in windy conditions?  At 40ft, is it difficult to find a camp spot in national or state campgrounds?  I have read that it is better to go down to 35ft to insure a spot but who makes a newer coach 35ft in length?  And I realize that my last question is quite subjective.  Am I better off to go for a newer MCI and let go of the GMC?  I like the looks of the older "Buffalo" but do not want to go broke just trying to keep it on the road.  Any help would be deeply appreciated.
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bryanhes
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2010, 09:44:13 PM »

Wayne,

I have a 4905. If I was as tall as you it would probably need a roof raise as they are only at about 6'3" from factory. Add an inch and a half for insulation and flooring you will be ducking your head. Mine is great for my height 5'10".

As for the 4108 I have not heard anyone mention swaying in the wind or being pushed by trucks any more than others. I don't feel pushed around in mine. It will definitely be allot less than any S&S RV. Lots of roof raises have been done on these. At 40' I have not had any problems as of yet with campgrounds but have heard of some.

HTH,
Bryan
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pvcces
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2010, 10:33:35 PM »

RJ Long reports that the 35' buffaloes were worse in crosswinds than the 40' buffaloes. We are very happy with our 4106. And as a driver, I would not want to be seated lower than the passenger deck because of ease of use, including visibility.

I would like the extra bay space, but I like the ease of use of the single deck too much to give it up.

For what it's worth.

Tom Caffrey
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Tom Caffrey PD4106-2576
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RJ
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2010, 02:03:43 AM »

Wayne -

At 6'3", you need to look for an MCI 102C3 or newer, unless you want to $pend lot$ of time, effort & money raising the roof.  The C & D models both have sufficient headroom for you w/o having to duck.  The Prevost LeMirage and newer, IIRC, also have greater headroom, and should be considered.

The GMs are right at about your height in the center aisle, but with the roof's curvature, it drops off quickly.  Plus, raising the roof is more of a challenge, due to the fact that the exterior skin is the chassis - they're built like an airplane in that regard.

The GM Buffalos do look neat, but there's a trade-off:  you lose almost 5 feet of floor space because of the stadium seating up front, unless you build out the upper floor to right behind the driver.  This too creates a problem, now you've got even less headroom up front, a moot point if you decide to raise the roof.  Then again, raising the roof sort of destroys the classic lines of the Buffalo, so. . . how to compromise?

Tom's right - I HATED driving the 4107/4108 Buffalos in revenue service.  How do you like the idea of having Mother Nature change lanes for you without telling you in advance?  For some reason, the combination of short wheelbase and large "sail" area created a 35' bus that just loves to wander all over the road, especially when the wind is blowing at you from either 10 or 2.  Throw trying to pass an 18-wheeler into the mix, and you'd better have a change of chonies handy.

HOWEVER -

Adding five feet of wheelbase to the same body style created one of the sweetest riding & handling buses ever built, and one that was barely effected by crosswinds or semis.  Still has one of the longest wheelbases of highway model coaches ever built, even longer than some of today's 45-foot models.

Your point about age is well taken - the newest Buffalos are now 30 years old. . .

The 35 vs 40 debate is like Ford or Chevy - never ending.  A lot depends on what you actually want to do with the coach, even as full-timers.  Think about that seriously, because it will help the two of you make your decision.  Remember - if mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY gonna be happy!

I'm a big 4106 fan, always have been since they were new in '61.  But I've been around the industry long enough to realize that time marches on, and a lot of the newer stuff out there should be given serious consideration.  For example, Pete Papas has got a great coach in his 35' RTS transit, as does Geoff Smith (who doesn't post very often anymore), altho Geoff's is a 40'.  I consider the RTS to be the "second generation" Sports Car of Buses (the 4106 being the first) as they've got great handling, plus the majority are six inches wider than the Buffalos.  Now, being a transit, you'll have to build your own downstairs bays, a minor inconvenience in exchange for plenty of headroom w/o needing a roof raise.

Do your homework - it's very easy to buy a bus, but it's awfully difficult to sell a mistake!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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brando4905
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2010, 06:29:08 AM »

Wayne,

I am also 6'3" and own a 4905. My bus is set up so the aisle front to back is still in the center, couches, cabs, and stuff on the edges. When I walk through I do have to duck just a little to avoid hitting an AC unit, not that much of an annoyance. However, when showering, I do feel a little hunched. Shower is next to outside wall, wish it was in the aisle! This is my first bus, so I don't know if a 35'er is easier to get around in, or find camping. Been all over the country with this 40'er, and never had a problem getting a campsite.
I love my 4905, and even though it is a 1980(last year produced), I still have spent TONS of money keeping it on the road. I have a feeling if I bought a newer bus I would spend almost as much in maintenance and repairs.

Good luck in your search!!

Brandon
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1980 GMC H8H-649  8V71/V730 Marion,NC

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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2010, 07:15:56 AM »

Wayne, if you post your location, you may be near one of us - and can look for yourself.  We have a 4107 - in the Dallas, Texas area.

Arthur
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Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2010, 08:20:54 AM »

I'm also 6'3" and would have loved to have a 4106 (love the look and the power).  But-I won't put up with having to duck my head.  I bought an AMGeneral 10240B transit that has 6'10" headroom and is 102" wide.  While I'm not trying to push the transit (like ours, but it is a hard conversion since you have to create all the under storage and tank hardware for mounting), what I would use if I were to use another bus is the MCI 102C3, as stated previously.  It too has 6'10" headroom, less rounded of a roof, and is 102" wide (that extra 6" is really noticeable).  Plus it is a much newer bus and since it is 40ft (most commercial operators now want the 45 ft'rs) you can get one at a reasonable price (in the $20-30k range). Try to find one with a 4 stroke engine, then you'll really have a nice bus.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
bigjohnkub
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2010, 10:35:15 AM »

Wayne, I'm in the Tyler tx area, and have one of each type. You are welcome to look.
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Big John  Tyler Tx PD 4903-188 & 4107
871 dd, 4 spd Fuller.
LOVE MY BUS!!!!
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waynemcd
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2010, 02:05:45 PM »

Thanks for all the helpful information.  My wife and I live in Wasilla, Alaska--kind of a long way from Texas but we do get out every summer to visit our Grandson and his mom and dad in Fort Gibson, Ok.  Thanks for the invite to come and look at your buses.  Probably will look more intently at the MCI 102.  Presently have a 30ft sailboat here in Alaska and ducking under bulkheads gets to be a pain.  Not sure want to retire in a bus with low head room.  If anyone has a question about rving here in Alaska, please feel free to ask.  Born here in 1953 and have seen many changes over the years.  If I can be of service, be glad to help.
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bryanhes
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2010, 08:20:59 PM »

Wayne,

If you make it to Fort Gibson this summer let me know. I live just outside Claremore, OK about 45 minutes from Ft. Gibson. You are more than welcome to take a look at my 4905.

Bryan
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niles500
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2010, 12:42:22 AM »

Wayne - Can you see Russia from there? - JK - Welcome!
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waynemcd
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2010, 06:10:53 PM »

No, I can't see Russia from Wasilla but I have been to places on the West Coast of Alaska where you can see Russia on an extremely clear day.  Alaska is a wild place to live.
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niles500
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2010, 02:00:55 AM »

Wayne - Second to Africa, AK 'IS' the wildest place I've been - I've got a friend who left Florida for King Salmon last year - I haven't talked to him lately but the crazy %$#@! went there in the winter - I would guarantee he was crazy - But after remembering that you all have Elephants up there I'm beginning to think he's not - I'm thinking Talkeetna is the only sane place in AK - JK I really liked Wasilla (aren't you just a suburb of Anchorage?)
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waynemcd
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2010, 11:30:29 PM »

Wasilla is 42 miles northeast of Anchorage-pass through it on the way to Talkeetna.  There's about 80,000 people who live here in the Mat-Su valley.  Winter is not the time to move here but spring is on the way.  Got up to 45 today and the sun set at 8:30 pm.  Great place to live.
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