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Author Topic: Let the saga begin  (Read 8979 times)
Dave5Cs
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1979 MCI MC5Cs 6V-71 HT-740 Allison, Roseville, CA




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« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2010, 08:38:35 AM »

I started looking for buses 2 years ago and capture a picture of one I liked, but it was a little fuzzy but kept it in computer anyway. Bid on one on e-bay, but it fell through, which I was bummed out about but my wife said as always, there's a Reason for everything eh. After I had 100's of pic's of other uses that we liked, I had from wherever on the computer bus sites. The next day I thought I will  go to  local bus company to see if they had any Buses for a decent price. I was looking at an RTS bus and asked if they had any conversions. The guy said no and then said oh wait the Chief mechanic has his personal bus for sale and he pointed it out in a sea of 400 school buses etc.
I turned around and looked and it was the first one that I had downloaded from the internet picture that was fuzzy. We came back 2 weeks later and bought it and a week later the owner brought it to our house. We still owed him a 1000.00 which we paid him.  Worked on it because the inside was converted in 1989 and had a lot of stuff torn out or needed to be torn out. Finally drove it the second month and it was great.

Good Luck and everything always works out, an you will have a great adventure.
Dave
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 06:43:17 PM by Dave5Cs » Logged

thomasinnv
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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2010, 09:09:36 AM »

well I've only had mine since June of this year, but have done a lot in that short time.  I am an evangelist so we (myself, wife and 2 girls) live in it full time.  I sold my fifth wheel the day I brought the bus home. (I needed the money from the fifth wheel to do the conversion)  We moved into my wifes uncles spare bedroom and I went to work on the bus.  In 2 months it went from a fully seated bus to a fully converted home on wheels.  So 2 months of 16 hour days 7 days a week and we are back on the road, and loving every minute of it.  Had I known a year and a half ago what I know now, I would never have bought that fifth wheel, and it would have saved me some money.
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There are three kinds of people in this world....those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, and those that just wonder what the heck is happening. Which one are you?

1977 MCI Crusader MC-8
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jordansinthesky
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« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2010, 11:42:17 PM »

Made it home  Grin  Too tired to go through the details, will do tomorrow.  Suffice to say I think she is a sound girl, but she does have a worrisome oil leak (more than the "usual" DD drips in my opinion)  will have pics video and the story hopefully by tomorrow.  Just glad I got her home accident free ( I didn't say incident)  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2010, 05:44:11 AM »

Atta Boy Jordan!

Eagerly awaiting all the colorful details. And pics. And video!

Congrats again,
Kev
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« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2010, 07:27:43 AM »

I would rather have two incidents rather than one accident any day. Grin
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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
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« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2010, 01:07:44 PM »

Congratz Jordan.. Looking forward to the photos and hearing your drive back home story...
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1979 MC-9  8V71-Turbo / HT740             * www.MciBusTalk.com *
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« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2010, 05:06:46 AM »

Good For YOU!!! Now you gotta get those photos uploaded and fix your sig!!
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The Little GTO is a 102" wide and 40' long 1983 GMC RTS II and my name is Teresa in case I forgot to sign my post
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« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2010, 09:48:07 AM »

Ok, so here goes  Grin

A friend and I left my house near Phoenix at 6 am on Tuesday for a 5 and a half hour drive to Hemet California to meet the 4104's owner.  He is a very nice guy who did the conversion with his dad starting in the 80's and continuing into the 90's, and then added things here and there.  I had my checklist of things to check, and we got started in the engine compartment....Which filters are which, and when were they changed etc?  All the filters are new, and all fluids have been changed within the last month. Sweet.  That's when I see the leak on the pavement. (I'll show where it is in the pictures I will get up asap).   I knew that I had read that these DD's leak etc. but this seemed a little bigger than it should be.  He wasn't sure where it was coming from, and said it had not leaked there much previously, but that he also hadn't driven the bus much in the last year  Shocked  Well, we went on with the walkaround.  Where's the generator, how do I use it, so and and so forth.  Everything from there on went well, and I got a VERY basic understanding of the buses systems. (I have A LOT to learn about this thing, and how they did the conversion.  No wiring diagrams etc.) 
Time for a test drive.  We hop in, him in the pilot's seat, showing me what gauges do what etc.  This is where an interesting feature of the bus came in.  Rather than having the airbags automatically level the bus when you start, each bag is set up on a separate valve, and you manually (with the help of a gauge) lift each bag up to the desired level.  I'd like to hear your thoughts on this  Wink   So down the road we go, with me eagerly looking over his shoulder and trying to take in as much of what he is doing as I can.  He drove for about 15 min. then we stopped, and I got in the driver's seat.  LOOK OUT!!  I may fly airplanes way bigger than a bus, but apparently that is WAY easier!  I struggled to say the least.  I had a very hard time shifting, and went over a couple of curbs with the rear tires.  But after about 15 min. I had a general idea of how to drive the damn thing, so back we go to his house.  (Sidenote, I was disappointed to find that the Jake breaks are not working, but I got a firm commitment from him that he will be through phoenix multiple times this fall and that he will fix the problem)
At this point came the question....do I give this guy the $$ and inherit either the ride of my dreams or a total nightmare?   I decided to go for it  Undecided  We went inside and filled out the bill of sale, got me insured, etc. etc.  And now it's time to driver her home  Shocked  I was super worried about making it up the canyon outside of Hemet due to my poor downshifting skills, so I had him get me to the interstate before I took over.  A big handshake and hug from Kellyray (the now previous owner) and off I go with my friend behind me in my car.  Mistake #1  I didn't lock the door all the way, so when I took off in 1st it swung open, and I used my pilot training to first drive the bus, and second get the door closed without running off the road or some stupid thing.  Whew!   Now I'm on I-10 headed east.  She is just purring along on the rev-limiter doing 65.  Temp and pressures are stable, and I'm just learning how to fit in my lane, and how to handle this thing at speed.  And then I begin to sweat.  About an hour outside of Hemet, just past all the windmills is a 4% grade that lasts about 5 miles, and I knew that if I missed the shift from 4th to 3rd that I'd be dead in the water.  As this vertical wall of road loomed ahead of me, I girded up my loins only to end up stuck between to semis at the foot of the hill.  We start climbing and the RPMs start dropping off....time to shift, I push in the clutch, pull it out of 4th and push it to where 3rd should be.....grind grind grind grind. Sh&*  Fu#@  Damn it, etc.  the semi behind me is blaring his horn, and the one in front of me is slowing enough that I have to hit the brakes while trying to shift and........ahhhh at the last possible second she moves into 3rd and I floor it, and I'm moving up the hill.  Semis are passing me left and right, and I'm sure they were pissed, but at that point I didn't give a flying F....because I was in third, the temps weren't budging a bit, and I was speeding along that grade at 35  Grin  I made it to the top and knew that as long as I didn't blow a tire, motor, etc.  I was going to get this thing home in one piece  Cheesy  From there on it was easy cruising until I took an exit so that my chase car could get some gas and use the toilet.  I make my stop at the stop sign, put it in 'first' and try to go.  I kill it.  I was in third  Sad  Oh well, let's try again and get out of the intersection.  I put her in neutral, push in the clutch, turn the key and waaaw, waaaw, waaaw, waaaw, she is barely trying to turn over.  CRAP!!!!!!! Panic sets in and I am ready to call my chase car and tell him to push me out of the intersection, but I decide to try to crank it one more time.  This time I gave her some gas and thank God she started up.   Man were my nerves fried then!!!!  So i pull into the gas station, and get out to have a look around and make sure things look good (keeping it running of course cuz I don't dare try another start on those batteries)  We are there for about 15 minutes, and I go around back to look at my leak...there is about a tablespoon of oil under the engine in one spot  Angry Sad Shocked Huh   And here comes the question, do I shut it off to check the oil, risking not being able to start again, or do I keep bussin' with a careful eye on my temp and pressure?   I picked the latter.  It may have been foolish, but that's what kids my age do, make foolish uneducated choices.  I get back on the road, and after a few more hours of tortured driving, passing through Phoenix where the insane small car drivers try desperately to kill bus drivers, and I get the old girl home.     Grin Grin   She is now in the backyard of the house I am renting through the end of the month, and I am currently cleaning her out and studying the manuals for the generator, inverter, etc. etc.  She leaked about another tablespoon of oil in the same spot, but stopped there.  I plan on having her looked at as soon as I can afford to, but I'm not TOO worried about it for now.  I'm busy worrying about the way these guys wired this coach...It's a 30 amp coach, with very interesting 12v wiring and strange distributor boxes etc. and I'm curious why I get power to everything when the inverter and generator are both off, and I'm not plugged in??? Oh well, all things I will bug you all about later.  I'll try and get some pics etc. up today, and am awaiting all of your congratulations and chastising with baited breath.   
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bevans6
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« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2010, 10:00:05 AM »

Sounds like a normal, if not better than average first trip home by a newbie...   Grin

Oil is probably just the slobber tubes, if they are not connected to a catch-can they are supposed to make a puddle on the floor, particularly when idling.  Shifting is just an acquired skill, read RJ's article and practice.  Couple hints - 1 - 2 is wait a full second in neutral, 2 - 3 is wait 2/3 of a second, 3 - 4 is wait not much at all, rush it.  Downshift - start just a little faster than governor speed in 3rd, come out of 4th, neutral, floor the pedal to get the engine on the governor, then shift into third.  Again rush it, it wants to shift 4 - 3 fairly smartly.

Power to everything when everything is turned off - that would be free power, go with it! 

Brian
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1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
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« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2010, 10:06:57 AM »

The air bags are great! For my conversion I plan on having them do it individually because you get to level it on unleveled ground which helps for sleeping comfortably, drinks, rv refers and probably some other things. As for the oil...... I cant say cuz I am one of the lucky ones who doesnt have oil leaks.

It IS a real trip driving these things!!! You are sooooo hooked!!! I bet you cant wait to get her on the road for a long trip soon  Grin Grin Grin And as far as Im concerned you did the right thing by ignoring the people wizzing by you and going at your own pace. YOU know better then anyone what is safe for your skills and your bus when in each situation, do NOT ever go faster then what is comfortable. On one of my first trips with my bus I had my teenage son with me and he was complaining about the semis passing us and said that I would be a better driver if I went fast like them  Roll Eyes Huh Undecided Short of killing him, I gave him time to grow up!! The last long trip we were on there were times I had several of the faster semis passing and I just cruised at a speed of about 30mph, even my son was relaxed and okay with that and enjoyed the trip without complaining about being passed.
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The Little GTO is a 102" wide and 40' long 1983 GMC RTS II and my name is Teresa in case I forgot to sign my post
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« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2010, 10:12:54 AM »

The best advice I ever got about shifting a 2-stroke is to always drive it right to the governor.  Hold your foot flat on the floor until the tach/speedo stops climbing, then shift.  That way you'll pretty soon get used to what it is supposed to feel and sound like on both sides of the shift, which will make the downshifts easier too.  If you don't have a tach, get one - it will make learning to shift much easier.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2010, 10:37:17 AM »

Sounds like the only real problems were with you (nerves)and not the bus which is a good thing. I completly understand since you were in a huge bus where you just sank huge dollars into it and were hundreds of miles from home. The nerve problems get better with each drive and as you get more comfortable in the drivers seat. Glad you made it home without any major troubles. When I picked up my last bus, I had the same problem with the door flying open too.. Luckily there was a manual latch on the inside that I could lock it closed. First thing I did after I got home was to fix the air lock on the door and so far I have had no more problems with it coming open.
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1979 MC-9  8V71-Turbo / HT740             * www.MciBusTalk.com *
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« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2010, 11:04:25 AM »

Hey Jordan,

Good job! Re: "Mistake #1"; I hate it when that happens! Mine has the original dash-mounted door handle, and thank goodness for that considering how many times in the past 11 years I've turned sharply to the left only to hear/see the door yaw open. Wifey has remarked more than once from the co-pilot's chair, "nice try, Hon', but I'm wearing my seatbelt you SOB!" Grin

Shifting. Yes, it seems impossible at first. I even used to get angry at times! Angry Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I'd grind it hopelessly (usually when downshifting at a critical uphill shift-juncture) and have to listen to Wife and Daughter snicker in unison... why those wicked little....  Lips Sealed

Now, forgive me, but you do understand that (at least until you begin to shift w/o the clutch) you must "double-clutch" these beasts, right? As Bob says, "drive it to the governor" then clutch in - shift to neutral - clutch out - apply a blip of throttle - clutch back in - upshift to next gear.

Downshifting is a bit trickier (for me) but can be done very smoothly w/practice. As she labors down and it becomes obvious that it's time for a lower gear, in with the clutch - shift to neutral - on the throttle to the gov - in with the clutch - downshift to lower gear and continue to pour the coal to 'er!

Hmmm, just just read Brian's post below and he pretty much covered that much more succinctly than I. You'll get it!

Only a tablespoon of oil? Lucky! Cheesy Seriously, that doesn't seem too bad. I'll bet the majority of DD owners would admit to theirs leaking that much or more under similar cirumstances. Do a search on "catch cans" and fab something up.

Enjoy your new home on wheels. You're hooked, Baby!!!
Kev
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #28 on: October 28, 2010, 05:33:19 PM »

I have  a control valve and gauge for each of my 4 air bags on my 5A and like them. As far as shutting down and checking your oil level,.....if you don't give it about 10-15 minutes to drain down, you will find that it reads low every time. And if you just go ahead and fill it up without waiting you will find that it will just blow it out within a very short time. Grin
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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
Rick59-4104
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« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2010, 06:10:08 PM »

 The first couple months  I had my 4104 I kept the oil all the way up to the full mark and I was adding about 2 quarts every 50 miles or so...It was coming out the slobber tube, you could see a streak of oil on the highway on the return trip that I was scared to death was from me..... I was about ready to take it to Springfield Mo. to a DD shop. When I would idle for a few minutes there would be a small puddle under the tube.
  I finally figured out if I run the bus with the oil level about 1/4" below the full mark on the dip stick it does not do this. I  have driven it about 300 miles since I stopped filling it up to the full mark and have not added any oil to it.

Has this been anyone's experience??

Rick
 
« Last Edit: October 29, 2010, 05:25:51 AM by Rick59-4104 » Logged

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1959 GM 4104  No. 4115
1972 Grumman Kurbmaster Stepvan Conversion
1957 Airstream 13 panel Overlander
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