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Author Topic: 4104's  (Read 10101 times)
John Z
1959 GM PD-4104 4139 Northern Minnesota
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« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2010, 08:20:08 PM »

Yep, Gus is right about them seeming to run forever. I have put on over 21,000 miles on mine the last few years, and it just keeps getting better and better with each trip. 10 mpg is not hard to do, if you are not in a hurry, we don't have the big hills up here they do out west. Plus, to me this is what a bus is supposed to look like,,, not a motorhome clone. G R E A T   B U S !
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Kevin
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« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2010, 12:04:49 PM »

I love this bus!

I bought our '60 '04 ten years ago and we drive it to the Mojave desert for off-roading adventures all winter long and to the coast for beach camping as often as we're able during summer months.

I was originally attracted because of the roundy ol' timey look of it, but have come to love and appreciate the simplicity and ruggedness of construction. This is a very reliable vehicle and I would not hesitate to drive it anywhere. As far as off-roading, well, suffice to say that I have subjected this poor beast to terrain that would disintegrate a lesser vehicle. Please understand, this was not by choice and not something that I would ever willingly repeat, but I made some wrong turns and got us into a "no way back" type of situation that forced me to bash through some areas of the desert that I honestly believe my IH Scout would have not liked. Made it through though and eventually found a spot to turn around, then got to relive the entire nightmare in reverse, as this was the off-road culdesac from Hell!!! To add to the fun, I was towing a motorcycle trailer and it was after midnight.  Embarrassed

Yes, they do suffer from low ground clearance and a very unforgiving first and reverse gear ratio (as in quite tall) but if one is very careful and drives smart, slow and thinks ahead, these rigs will get you where you need to go off-road.

My mileage tends to be in the 7-9 range as I am typically wringing 'er out, and also live in the So Cal High Desert with lots of mountainous areas. I've taken this 'Ol Girl up over 7000' to Kennedy Meadows on numerous dirt-biking trips, and even had to wait at the top (for over an hour) for my buddy in his brand-spanking new Duramax pickup 'cause he had to stop three times to let his transmission cool. Grin Heh, heh, heh.

Bottom line, the venerable GM 4104 may be a bit of a dinosaur, but it is a wonderful vehicle that will serve you well indefinitely - if cared for properly - looks completely cool (trust me, you will get lots of attention!) and, yes, many parts are still available. Plus one also has the option of upgrading to a more modern engine and/or auto trans (not my cup of tea, but..) so it is definitely still a viable option, in terms of a quality coach selection IMHO. Wink

Cheers!
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« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2010, 02:47:49 PM »

  Sounds like you needed the rare 4 wheel drive off road version.
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RJ
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« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2010, 02:55:48 PM »

Art -

The PD4104 is The Tortoise of Aesop's Fable Fame.

'nuff said, eh?

 Wink
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RJ Long
PD4106-2784 No More
Fresno CA
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« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2010, 05:32:12 PM »

  Slow isnt so bad as long as you get there.
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« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2010, 10:08:10 AM »

  RJ, or anyone else~

  Now that I am pretty sure I wouldnt make it up the bottom part of my driveway, and that a winch system is probably in my future, I started thinking about the rest of the journey. Once I crank it up above the concrete, I will be sitting stationary on an 11% grade. I am concerned that maybe there isnt any Bus made that could get moving on that steep of a grade from a dead stop.

  I was going to talk to the county about reworking the drive down at the road. I thought that if I could extend it farther along the edge of the road I might be able to approach the drive with the Bus wound tight in first gear, but it sounds like you guys still think it will still stall out before I can make the 200 feet of steepest grade. Maybe I should just consider winching it all the way?
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gus
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« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2010, 02:58:11 PM »

The only buses for that grade are those with AT or some hybrid conversion with a ten speed or better manual.

You will only have burned out clutches and stalled engines on that grade with a four speed.
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PD4107-152
PD4104-1274
Ash Flat, AR
Iceni John
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« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2010, 08:18:32 PM »

I agree with previous post a nice crown twin screw with air suspension would be how I would do that, plus the crowns often come  with 7-10 gears.  The have higher clearance as well.  If I wasn't so attached to having a rear engined bus I would have a crown, and if I ever see an air sprung crown with a rear engine might go for it.
FYI, my friend just bought a Crown tandem with a 6-71 and Fuller 10-speed  -  because it's got mountain gearing it only gets just under 10 MPG at 55 MPH, but it can easily climb steep hills in first gear with the engine at idle (albeit very slowly!).   I've not heard of an air-suspension Crown with lockable twin-drive (as opposed to the tag-axle tour buses like the Atomic Crowns), but because every Crown was built to order there may well be some out there.   Even with the standard suspension and being empty it rides well, so if it were converted and closer to its 48,000 GVWR I'm sure it would ride even better.   My pusher Crown doesn't have air suspension, but it rides really well, especially now that I made a spare tire mount under the nose.   Bremerton in WA is/was selling some of its 36-foot Super IIs which have air suspension, but they have Cat 3208T and MT643.   As regards ground clearance, I have at least 14" everywhere except under the differential, and I've heard stories of school drivers taking their Crowns full of kids up steep narrow dirt roads in the San Gabriel mountains to reach remote campgrounds, so if you want to get off the beaten path a Crown or Gillig tandem can do it!
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1990 Crown 2R-40N-552:  6V92TAC, DDEC II, HT740, Jake.      Hecho en Chino.     
Behind the Orange Curtain, SoCal.
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« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2010, 09:50:09 PM »

  I really have my heart set on a GMC coach. As some of you may know, I initially wanted a 4107. But I toured Ricks 4104 and did some studying, and really like that Bus, if for nothing else, its simplicity and economy. Thats not to say I couldnt be convinced to change, you guys already killed my 4107 idea. Though I am still thinking of a 4106.

  As far as making it up this driveway, if I want it up here bad enough I can figure it out no matter what Bus I decide on. It would take a bit of cable, or moving the winch up as I go, but that is probably the safest way to get one up here without burning it up.
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Rick59-4104
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« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2010, 12:23:24 AM »

 Have you thought about renting a place to park? I checked into a fenced locked storage area in Harrison so I would not have to pull Gaither Mountain every time we go somewhere with my 4104, they give you a number to get in the gate, cost quoted to me was $35.00 a month. I am probably going to rent a spot next spring and keep the bus part time there and part time here at the house next summer, It would knock 20 miles off about any trip I make as I go in that direction about anywhere we go in the bus.

Rick
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NW Arkansas
1959 GM 4104  No. 4115
1972 Grumman Kurbmaster Stepvan Conversion
1957 Airstream 13 panel Overlander
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« Reply #25 on: September 07, 2010, 04:34:51 AM »

  Rick

  Parking it somewhere off the property is something I have considered. But I would still want it up here to work on it. So I am thinking to have a off site storage set up first, then work on getting up here. Who knows, it might just grind right up and all this talking about it was for nothing. Of course, we could always try it with yours first, lol.
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zubzub
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'53 4104. Roadworthy but rough around the edges.


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« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2010, 04:41:09 AM »

just so you know....there were some 4104s with a splitter, don't know which way it split though.  Presumably gave lower ratio.  Quite rare, no longer have parts available, I believe there is some info on the yahoo gmbus forum
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« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2010, 05:28:09 AM »

  Lower gearing in low would sure help.
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4104GA
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« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2010, 07:40:31 PM »

I know of one 04 that has a two speed rear end installed.  He said it is really nice in the mountains.
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gus
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« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2010, 07:42:45 PM »

I can't picture a stock 4104 making it up an 11% grade under any circumstances, but it might. It will never move once it is stopped though.

That first gear is probably the number one problem I've had with mine over the years. I have gotten myself into some tight spots and lucked out.

I hate to rain on your parade but those are the facts. I love this bus but you need to do some serious thinking about how to do this. A good heavy farm tractor might be one answer.
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PD4107-152
PD4104-1274
Ash Flat, AR
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