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Author Topic: Thinking of Buying an MC8  (Read 4518 times)
ToppDog
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« on: April 14, 2010, 02:08:01 AM »

Hello everyone!

I'm a total newbie here, so forgive me if I come off as if I don't know anything, because I don't Smiley

Anyway, I've wanted to have a custom RV made from a bus since I was a kid, & this year I told the wife the tax refund money was mine, since she got to say how it was spent last year.  I found an MCI MC8 Crusader for sale for $5,000 with the following description:

"1976 MC-8 47 passenger motor coach with restroom. 8V71 Detroit Diesel with very few miles since rebuild. Allison Auto Transmission, new tires, starts quickly and runs well."

Here are the pics from the ad:









I did take a look at it, but I didn't really know much about what I should be looking for.  I only saw 2 very small bubbling spots under the paint, & what appeared to be very superficial rust on the axles & where the paint had worn in spots on the main beams inside the cargo bays.  Both front & rear bumpers didn't line up precisely, but I don't know if that means there is structural damage behind them, or if they just need readjusted.  When I opened the cargo door & felt the flooring closest to the opening, it felt wet, but not rotten, & the inside did smell musty.

It apparently hasn't been driven much for the last 7yrs other than taking a few laps around a storage lot once a month or so since it had an engine rebuild.  It sounded a little rough on start-up, with some noticeable vibration throughout the cabin, but after a couple minutes of warming up it seemed fine.  The driver explained that the idle needed to be set higher so that it wouldn't idle so low at start-up before warming up.  After that we did take it for a few laps around the lot & it did seem to run fine.  It was able to shift into 2nd gear (sounded smooth), but they didn't have current insurance on it & we couldn't take it out on the open road.

The only other thing we noticed while checking it out was that the high beams lit up, but when switched to low, the high beams went very dim, & the low beams didn't light up.  Possible electrical issues?  I was also told that the air conditioning worked fine prior to the rebuild, & that it didn't at all after, so they think it was simply not hooked back up.

It did some time as a tour bus in Alaska (possibly Grey Line Tours), & not sure where else (Montana or Arizona maybe) prior to being bought by the current owners who used it as a team bus for a girl's drill team in the Seattle area.

I'm going to go back tomorrow to look at it again, & I'm taking a camera with me this time.  I don't see many MC8's for sale very often, but when I do, they are usually asking for $10,000 or more.  So, I'm wondering if $5,000 is a good deal, even with the possible problems that I can't foresee, or should I be trying to get it for less.  I was told it was negotiable & the owner would take $4,500 for it.

Sorry if I rambled on, but I don't really know what info might be helpful & what wouldn't.

Any input is greatly appreciated, so thanks in advance!

Don
« Last Edit: April 14, 2010, 02:12:36 AM by ToppDog » Logged
Tom Y
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2010, 05:16:21 AM »

Toppdog, 4.5k seems ok. Offer 4k. Wait before you buy, someone here should be able to look with you. The new tires may be to old to be safe. The bumper corners are very ajustable. Any smoke when cold? Head lites typical MCI wiring, should be an easy fix. Check the floor from above for soft spots ( were wet )  Good luck  Tom Y
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Tom Yaegle
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2010, 05:21:24 AM »



     Hello,

   Welcome to this site, great bunch of gentlemen and a wealth of info.  Check and see if the OTR is still working. I believe you couldn't

 beat it if it is!


  Steve 5B.....
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Chopper Scott
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2010, 05:22:53 AM »

That sounds like a pretty good price.
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2010, 05:52:38 AM »

As always, most would suggest you factor in an hour or two careful review by a qualified 2 cycle diesel mechanic. This is money spent that prevents you from having a $5,000 bus and a $15,000 nightmare.  Have the mechanic arrive before the engine has been started and make sure it is cold. Let him check out all aspects of the mechanicals, let him drive it around the lot, open up all the electrical panels and look for "shade tree" work or serious electrical chop jobs. If the bus has a bathroom carefully inspect the floors as mentioned. It may also be wise to take pictures and send them to this group so they can do a virtual tour and help out some more.

Remember that all motors are "recently rebuilt". Get a copy of the invoices, verify this information carefully and if cannot be produced then run for the hills! Grin

If someone will stretch the truth about a recent rebuild, they might also be hidding other issues.

Good luck!

Grant
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Grant Goold
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cody
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2010, 05:57:04 AM »

Get the documentation of the recent rebuild, all bus sales seem to advertise a 'recent rebuild', however, it's not logical that anyone would dump 10 to 20K into a rebuild and then sell the bus for 5K, also check the date code on the tires, one of the worst things you can let a tire do is sit in the sun, they'll dryrot and become unsafe, you can figure in 300 to 500 per tire to replace them with new ones, an oil analysis will give you an indicator of the condition of the engine and won't break the bank, also stock up on fuel filters if you buy it and learn to change them without loosing prime lol, algae likes unattended tanks and will plug a filter and leave you on the side of the road quickly.  One of the cheapest ways to spend money is to have a qualified bus mechanic look it over for you, especially one familier with MCI and the particular quirks of them, if a bus mechanic gives you the thumbs up then 4K would be a good price keeping in mind that you'll probably put another 4K into it quickly in the form of new tires, possibly batteries, belts, fluid changes, filters etc.  The wet floor indicates water seepage, this is very commom and can be quite time consuming to locate and fix, common areas for leaks are under windows, behind clearnace lights, loose rivits on the roof, remember that water can travel a long ways hidden along structural members before it hits wood and settles in so a wet area might be an indicator of a leak that might be a conciderable distance away from the wet area.  And remember going into this madness that there is no known cure and it can be quite costly but vastly rewarding.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2010, 02:19:16 PM by cody » Logged
gumpy
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2010, 06:09:49 AM »

Well....   I'm not as optimistic as the rest. This sounds like a rust bucket waiting for a sucker. And I love the looks of an MC8.

It's an MC8 that you say has a wet floor. That water didn't buy a ticket to get on the bus! It's leaking. Probably in the clearance light, but all that water is running down
inside the wall, and corroding the wall framing away. The bubbled sides is a prime indicator of a problem.

A fresh rebuild that idles rough? Granted, a cold engine will idle rough at first but usually a hit on the fuel and it'll smooth out on all cylinders. Ask to see paperwork on the
engine rebuild and compare mileage. If they "can't find" the paperwork, it isn't a fresh rebuild.

The front end framing will be rusted away. Bang your fist on the panel below the windshield and you'll likely hear rust falling inside. Do the same on the side panels above the drive
axle. You'll almost certainly find that the dash is rusted out at the center windshield bar.

The rust you see in the rear cargo bay is the air beams rusting out. Common. Difficult to fix properly. Maybe the beams have already been plated. If not, take a squirt bottle of
soapy water and see how many air leaks you can find on the beams and bags. If the bags are original, they'll be needing changed.

Tell the owner to get insurance on it so  you can drive. Under no circumstances should you consider buying it without a good long test drive. That test drive should include
taking it to a top mechanic in the area to give it once over (at your expense, of course).

The headlight issues are common, and not difficult to fix, though that year had 24 volt bulbs originally. Probably was poorly converted to 12 volt bulbs. Not difficult to bring it up
to MC9 wiring.  

So you have the money to buy the bus. Then what?  Do you have the money and time to tear this bus to the frame and rebuild it from the ground up?  You need to identify
how deep you are willing to get into this project.

While $4500 may seem like a cheap price for a whole bus, it could be the most expensive purchase you ever make. Tread cautiously on this one. You may find it makes more
sense to save the tax refund for another year and find a better shell.

If you doubt what I say about the rust, you should take a look through my project website.   http://bus.gumpydog.com  By the way, I started with an MC8, and there are
photos there of some of the rust on it. It actually was not as bad as the MC9 I ended up with.

craig

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roadrunnertex
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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2010, 11:23:42 AM »

I do not want to throw cold water on your dreams. Cry
I have been there and done that my self a time or two bought a PD-4104 from a church for $2000.00 many years ago and it turned into a money pit after all was said and done and getting it roadworthy the dollars I spent I could have bought a later model coach in much better condition.
I noticed on ebay motors under buses there is a ex Greyhound MC-12 for $8,000.00 buy it now granted it has a lot of miles but it,s a better bus than a old MC-8 that might have unknown problems corrosion and other items or issues.
Note! I have no interest in the MC-12 as I own a GMC converted Buffalo P8M4905A.
You might want to look at a used converted coach that is finished it's a better deal money wise that trying to convert your self.
Call Sam Caylor at Caylor Supply 785-878-3405 and he can tell you what to look for with any MCI as he buy's MCI and parts them out.
Hope this helps don't rush into a old clunker just because it's cheap. Grin
jlv
 


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Dreamscape
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« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2010, 01:34:42 PM »

The market is flooded with buses for sale, and most of them have rebuilt engines, yeah right.

Look at 20 buses before you open your wallet. Check for rust as others have mentioned. It's cheaper today to buy a older converted coach, hard work already done, lots of money saved and you can use it now instead of waiting.

I know nothing about MCI's as others here have posted that do know, but I still look at buses for sale across the nation from time to time. The prices are way down compared to when I bought our Eagle in 03.

But then again, it might be a diamond in the rough. Look close and deep!

Whatever you decide, spend wisely and have fun doing it. You only live once, just try to minimize the downers. Wink

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MC8Mike
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2010, 04:24:06 PM »

I have an 8 and if I had it to do over again I'd hold out for a MC9. Lots more stainless in the 9's especially in the front area below the windshields. I had to replace all the front structure on mine, it was badly rusted and it is a southwest bus. Also under the back cap is a problem area. Push on the front stainless and I bet it is mushy all over.
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Greg Smith
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2010, 06:53:19 PM »

That's the same bus I bought. Mine was a nothern Canadian bus (lot's of road salt).It has rust issues (plating the beams, rust in the bays, etc) I rolled it over a pit and pressure washed all the crap off of it. My thought was that it will never see winter driving or road salt again. I paid $4500 for mine. That one looks in a lot better shape than mine was.
Just my two cents


Greg
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2010, 07:04:13 PM »

Don,

Welcome aboard. Sounds like you have already been bitten by the bug Wink.

I agree with some of the others. If it appears that it has much rust, I would hold out for a MC9. BUT, if this one is in decent condition, and IF it doesn't have the rust issues, might be a decent buy. I would see how low you can get the guy to go, who is selling the bus. He has been sitting on it for a while now, so that is in your favor.

Sam Caylor would know what to look for on that bus. However, if somebody asks his advice, it is also a nice gesture to order from him too, when you need a part (and not haggle about the price). He is in the business of selling. Sam has always been good about his pricing, and I know I have said this before, but I will say it again (this is for everybody, Don, so don't worry it isn't directed at you). I happen to know that it irritates him to no end, when a busnut calls him up and asks if he has a part in stock. He tells them yes, and the price. Then if the busnut haggles about the price (which is already a great price), Sam told me, it makes it to where he doesn't even feel like selling it to the guy. So remember, everybody, Sam's prices have been good (from what I have seen), and he does want to help the busnuts out. So when he tells you a price, take it....(okay, sorry for the rabbit trail).

As far as asking advice about what to look for on the bus, I would try calling MCI tech support. Tell them what you are looking at, and ask for the guy that has been around a while, and somebody who would know the MC8. You should get a good answer.

God bless,

John
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ToppDog
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2010, 02:41:44 AM »

Thanks for all the responses, they are very helpful!

After reading the advice here, I went to have another look, & here is what I found:

1. No smoke on start-up.

2. Low beam bulbs were actually cracked (I think I witnessed one of them blowing out on the first visit).

3. There was one soft spot on the flooring where the plywood is rotted out, but everywhere else it didn't seem near as bad.  There is a cracked window on the side with the bad flooring.

4. I didn't know what OTR meant so I don't know if it is working (over the road something or other?).

5. I banged on the panel below the windshield & over the drive axles and couldn't hear any rust falling down.

6. Most of the rust I saw appeared to be minor & only superficial, except for the spare tire area & the compartments on either side of there.

7. The rough sound on start-up does go away easy with the slightest touch on the gas to bring the idle up, & he showed me where there was a rod that you can adjust near the engine to adjust the throttle.

I made a short video of him driving as soon as he stated it up where you can hear the low & higher idle sounds.  And I also took a lot of pictures of the exterior & the inside of all the compartments, etc.  The video can be seen here:

Test Driving an MCI MC8 Crusader


I will try to make the pics smaller so I can upload them somewhere too & then post some here.

Thanks again for all the advice Smiley

Don
« Last Edit: April 15, 2010, 02:53:20 AM by ToppDog » Logged
bevans6
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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2010, 06:13:52 AM »

Power steering sure works good!  I obviously need to upgrade my steering pump!  My bus had the steering upgraded to Sheppard style integral power steering up front, but they retained the 1000 psi steering pump.

Brian
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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2010, 06:28:06 AM »

Don,

It sounds like you are on the right track. With that added info, I would say, try to get it around 3.5 to 4K, if you can. Sounds like a good start.

I know we (here on the board), can talk down just about any bus. But you have to start somewhere, and you have gotten plenty of good advice.

BTW, it is OTR air. Over the road air conditioning. Meaning the bus air conditioning. If it works, I would say sounds like a good deal.

Where do you live? I might have missed it if you mentioned it.

God bless,

John
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MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.
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