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Author Topic: Narrowing it down!  (Read 6444 times)
jordansinthesky
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« Reply #30 on: September 30, 2010, 08:35:59 AM »

So I am heading out to San Diego to check out the 4104.  I'm making it a skydiving/surfing/look at bus trip  Grin  I have a couple questions:

1- Does anybody know any busnuts in the SD area that might be willing to go look this thing over with me on Sunday afternoon.

2- I'm trying to compose a list of questions to ask the owner about setup, electrical, etc. etc. etc.  Please shout out any crucial things you would ask about a bus you were looking at. 

Thanks guys!
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« Reply #31 on: September 30, 2010, 09:25:42 AM »

When I bought my bus I was in your same boat. I made offers to everybody that was selling. I did not care if they wanted 80,000 or 30,000. I finally found one that took it. After I bought it I had people calling months later taking me up on my original offer. I mostly depends on how long it has been for sale before they realize cash is king. They go through a buyer or two that can't get financing before they figure out that it is only worth what someone will give them. If you do not have 50 emails out with offers you have not looked hard enough.
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jordansinthesky
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« Reply #32 on: September 30, 2010, 09:29:22 AM »

Thanks for the reply, but that doesn't really answer my question.  Believe me I have looked long and hard, and this seems to be the diamond in the rough.  I have spent hours on the phone with the owner talking buses etc. and am spending the night with him and his wife this weekend.  He and his dad built this bus from the ground up, and have been the only converted owners.  This is huge to me.  All the other buses I've looked at/made offers on, have been half way across the country and just seem a little sketchy. 

Soooo, back to my last post...Anybody know some SD busnuts, and what are the major questions to ask before buying.  I will NOT be coming home with a bus from this trip.  Only info.  Please arm me with the right questions.
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« Reply #33 on: September 30, 2010, 09:42:11 AM »

I can't help you with a contact in S.D. but the important stuff to look at is the expensive stuff.  Get underneath it and wiggle the brake parts, look for wear in the cams, worn out shoes, ridges on the drums.  See how bad it smokes when you start it cold and how long it takes to clear up.  Wiggle the drag link, have somebody wiggle the wheel and look for wear in the ball joints, check to see if the steer tires are wearing evenly.  That's the stuff that will cost serious bucks to fix - the conversion items are relatively inexpensive to fix.
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jordansinthesky
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« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2010, 09:47:00 AM »

Thank you.  That was exactly what I am looking for.  Hopefully I can find someone to go with me because I am a 24 year old bus noob, and have no idea how to do all the things you mentioned.  This trip is basically a "do I really want this thing" trip.  The next trip will involve a trip to a bus mechanic, and if everything is good, a drive home : )
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« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2010, 09:59:08 AM »

  Somewhere on this site I came across a list of things to check on a 4104, or a Bus at least, cant recall exactly. I tried finding it again through a search but came up empty handed. If anyone knows where to find it, this would be a good place to post it.
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« Reply #36 on: September 30, 2010, 10:03:17 AM »

Earlier in this thread I offered to help, however I'm bussing around out of town for the next few weeks.  Bob @ HB-industries would be a good mechanical resource.  He advertises in the mag and I think I've seen it on this site.  His number is 619-561-9048.  You might PM irstaxhelp to see if he has time.  I don't know anybody else in SD.

Mike
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jordansinthesky
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« Reply #37 on: September 30, 2010, 10:17:19 AM »

thanks guys.  I will try those resources.  That's why i love this place : ) 
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Rick59-4104
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« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2010, 01:02:55 PM »

 Check for rust inside the bay doors, and around the window and windshield frames. Before you go get the serial number, post it here and try to find out the original owner of the bus others here may know about maintenance or lack of by the original bus company who owned the bus.

 I would try to get a maint manual and maybe even an operators manual before you go and study them and take them with you so you know what you are looking at when you examine the bus.

 Check the airbags, the air beams above the airbags. do not get under the coach to look without it being on blocks, if you are under it and twist an airline and break it you can get crushed. Look for rust around the airbeams where the airbags bolt up.
  As said try to find out about the brakes, I have receipts from the previous owner of my 4104 of pretty much going completely thru the brakes on both axles, the total bill parts and labor was over $6000.00 for the brake job.
 Mine at fast idle has oil pressure above 40lbs, at idle it will be lower. (Start the bus when it is cold (you know the owner has not started it in a while) and as said see if you get much smoke. Drive it and watch the temperature and oil pressure, mine does not get over 180 degrees even in a hard pull.
 Google how to date tires and look for the tire date code, even if the tires look good they may not be, if they are over 8 years old you are looking at replacements no matter how much tread is left. As said I would worry about the mechanical condition of the bus more than the conversion that has been done.
 Check the drive line carefully, look for loose joints and make sure the drive line has been lubricated. Check the engine cradle carefully, look for cracks, welds or anything that does not look right. Check power steering parts for leaks, look at where the bus has been parked for excessive antifreeze or oil leaks.

 CHECK THE MUFFLER AND EXHAUST MANIFOLD VERY CAREFULLY FOR LEAKS AND EXCESSIVE RUST!!!!! CAN YOU YELL FIRE! FIRE! LOUDLY???

  Bus should build air pressure within a few minutes, when it gets up to about 100 lbs pump the brake pedal and see if the low air warning buzzer comes on at about 60 lbs. If you are not used to driving something weighting 24000 lbs with air brakes get a commercial CDL class A test study book from your state and study up on air brake systems.

 Check the emergency shut off switch and make sure it is working, I would not drive a 671 very far without an working emergency shut off switch. Check the clutch engagement, if you are not used to driving a diesel do not give it fuel to get rolling from a dead start, get the bus rolling and then give it fuel, drive it hard with the fuel pedal about 1" off the floor, ( don't drive it with the pedal to the floor) watch in your mirror if you see black smoke go to a lower gear to get the RPM"S up. Here in the hills on a lot of the 2 lane highways I run mine in 3rd gear. Don't dog or lug the 671.

 Check around both front and rear hubs for signs of wheel bearing grease leaks, my 59 4104 has packable wheel bearings on both the steer and drive axles.  If there is excessive grease around the hubs I would question the condition of the seals and bearings.

 The longer I have my 4104 the more amazed I am about the engineering that went into this bus. They were build to give miles and miles of trouble free service if maintained. I love mine and hope you the best.  All this is just off the top of my head I am sure there is much more to think about.

Rick

« Last Edit: September 30, 2010, 01:19:37 PM by Rick59-4104 » Logged

NW Arkansas
1959 GM 4104  No. 4115
1972 Grumman Kurbmaster Stepvan Conversion
1957 Airstream 13 panel Overlander
jordansinthesky
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« Reply #39 on: October 02, 2010, 12:43:13 PM »

Thank you Rick for taking the time to make that detailed post.  I will try and check as many of these things as I can on this trip.  But like I have said before, I am very new/inexperienced with buses and mechanics (on anything other than aircraft.)  Luckily, this trip is only going to be a looksee to determine if it is worth bringing a mechanic/busnut out to check it over with an expert eye.  I spoke with bob from hb industries, but it seemed like he was more interested in selling one of his buses, and I don't think I could get him up there to look at this one.  I am going to try and get down to look at his buses as well though.  So In the next couple of weeks I will try and find someone in the San Diego/Hemet area to come take an un-biased look at this bus. 
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'53 4104. Roadworthy but rough around the edges.


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« Reply #40 on: October 02, 2010, 01:28:47 PM »

FWIW 'round here some of the old transit mechanics that used to work for the city still wrench on the heritage machines the city keeps.  If SD has anything like that, these guys know the old buses, and as the old GM city buses were quite similar to 4104 you might get lucky in SD.  From my perspective old '04 are all about maintenance, with all new fluids and an IR sensor you should be able to get it where you need it. Also aluminum also corrodes so be vigilant.  Around the front lectric panel check for moisture problems, and check out the soundness of the subfloor throughout the bus.
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happycamperbrat
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« Reply #41 on: October 02, 2010, 07:28:34 PM »

Awesome Awesome Awesome post Rick!! Where were you when I went shopping for mine?

Jordan, these people have all given you fabulous advice and I really have nothing to add other then to stress what Rick said about getting the manual, operators book and DO NOT crawl under the bus without wooden blocks (not cement).

Oh and, take lots of pictures cuz people here can give their opinions and advice to help you better and the people here like bus porn!

Good Luck in San Diego!!
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'53 4104. Roadworthy but rough around the edges.


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« Reply #42 on: October 03, 2010, 12:00:01 AM »

Oh and start a new thread with Looking for busnut help in San diego in the title, that should do it.
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jordansinthesky
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« Reply #43 on: October 03, 2010, 08:27:14 PM »

So, I'm writing this for the second time lol.  I met and looked at 'penguin', the 04 in San Diego.  The owner is very nice, honest, and helpful.  He did the conversion with his father, and he has all the original manuals, as well as the maintenance manual in a binder all in sheet protectors.  He has a binder with ALL of the appliance manuals and receipts for all work done on engine, clutch, etc.

Details:

Serial # pd41042306

Drove with anaconda bus lines out of Mt.

Electrical is set up for 30 amp

Trace 2500 inverter

7.5 Onan with less than 200 hours showing on the hobbs

Engine re-built adding jake brakes about 2,000 miles ago.  New clutch.

Original 4 speed transmission. Is this bad?

All tires and batteries 7 months old

Sheppard power steering

Original airbags, but reported to hold the bus up for weeks with no leaks.  Each air bag is modified onto it's own valve for "redneck leveling"

Bay doors/exterior all in great shape.  Minor dings and scratches.

That's all I wrote down, but got lots more info.  Please ask me important questions.  I want to be as informed as possible.  Going back with a mechanic in a couple weeks, and if all is well will be driving her home.  Pics are here:

http://s1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa323/jordansinthesky/


« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 08:49:48 PM by jordansinthesky » Logged

1957 PD4104.  Self proclaimed youngest busnut in the nation.
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« Reply #44 on: October 03, 2010, 09:00:12 PM »

nice coach,  jordan good luck , and enjoy
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John O
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