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Author Topic: This looks like a lot of bus for the money...Anybody looked at it?  (Read 6038 times)
MikeH
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« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2011, 03:51:19 PM »

Quote from: artvonne

  Things I noticed; [snip]

  Big air leak.

  [snip]


Ok, this might be a dumb question, but a wise person said the only dumb question is the one you don't ask. I watched the video, it seems like a nice bus. How do you tell that there is a big air leak? At least 2 people pointed that out. Where is it in the video and what are you listening for? I totally missed it and would like to know what I am looking for.

Thanks for the continuing education.

Mike
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« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2011, 04:00:05 PM »

Just listen after he shuts it off. It's louder than the wind. Got to be a big leak to here it as good as we did.

Gary
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« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2011, 04:27:40 PM »

Quote from: artvonne

  Things I noticed; [snip]

  Big air leak.

  [snip]


Ok, this might be a dumb question, but a wise person said the only dumb question is the one you don't ask. I watched the video, it seems like a nice bus. How do you tell that there is a big air leak? At least 2 people pointed that out. Where is it in the video and what are you listening for? I totally missed it and would like to know what I am looking for.

Thanks for the continuing education.

Mike

Mike, listening for air leaks comes with being around air brake equipped vehicles for a while. You are always listening for problems. As far as the sound, one way to describe it would be the way a tire sounds if you have punctured it with a nail. This was way louder in order for us to hear it on the tape. I'm guessing an air bag.

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« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 04:33:33 AM by oldmansax » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2011, 12:40:47 AM »

Jump -

It's an old Custom Coach with a big diesel generator and alcoas but needs tires and the paint is faded. 

Custom Coach's, for the most part, have a great reputation for being solid, reliable conversions.  Granddaddy of the conversion industry, and still around.

Is it a 5A, B or C?

Would Mama consider it a possibility to put a little "sweat equity" cleaning it up, then flipping it while you continue your search for the "perfect bus?"

$5K or less for a Custom Coach, if it's in good shape, is well worth looking into, IMHO.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2011, 06:13:20 AM »

OK first off this one does have a major air leak. Which you can hear as he first walks up to it. (already had it running to warm it up so it will start easier for the video) and then after he shuts it down and goes back outside.

Second it's a "wham" job where someone bought it and tried together. It still has stock windows, stock floor & headliner. That right there indicates to me that it is a "gut job" and I would walk away!
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2011, 08:37:48 AM »

OK guys, something is wrong here.  I gave Marc a fairly negative recommendation on the Eagle he was looking at, but I am going to go against the grain here and tell him to take a second look at this bus (an MCI Roll Eyes) Wink.

Air leak.  Repairable no matter what.  If air beam, you can plate it and put a rolling lobe air spring in for better ride.

OSB.  Not sure what to  say here.  I bet if you looked at some medium (and up) S&S you would find materials that would cause  some folks here to turn their nose up Roll Eyes.  I understand that OSB is not a good structural material and probably not good in flexure, but it does not look to me like it was used in that manner.  Sure I would use plywood, but not sure that the OSB would be a deal killer.

Wiring.  We sure as heck do not want to get into that terrible debate, but non-stranded wire is acceptable (and used often) in commercial units.  Has to be well supported, but many folks use solid wire.

It looks to me like the face frames were of decent quality.

Engine started right up, but it was pointed out that it had been started just prior to the video.  Sounded good.

Have no idea what the speedo was doing in the bay, but I would not rely on the reading, nor the one on the dash.  It is what it is.

Covering the windows is a bit of a downer, but can be fixed with some time and money.

There are some signs of rust, and that needs to be explored.  What I saw on the body seems to be surface rust, but not sure about the rust in the bay.

As someone pointed out, what do you expect for $8K

Random thoughts by a guy who knows very little about MCIs

Jim

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« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2011, 09:42:09 AM »

I just watched the video for the first time, and i don't understand what the fuss is about.  There is no rust on the body, anywhere.  There is a little staining of the stainless here and there, but the stainless steel used on MCI's doesn't rust as a rule.  The panel above the belt-line of the sides is aluminium and while it can corrode, particularly around the rivets, I saw no signs of that.  the places where MCI's rust are the mild steel paneling used inside the bays and engine compartments, and some of the structure behind the stainless steel, we saw little of that structure and what I saw looked very good.

The air leak is probably completely minor, it's at the rear of the bus and there is all sorts of useless air controlled stuff there that you can just throw away or fix easily.  Things like the tempstat for the shutters, the damper cylinders, the air cylinders that tension the belts, and so on.  What you heard was probably related to the engine shut-down cylinder having just been turned on.  I highly doubt that it's an airbag with a hole in it or something like that.

this looks to me just like an old bus in normal old bus shape, waiting for someone who wants an old bus to take it away.  It's looks a heck of a lot like the old bus in my driveway, to be honest.  Mind you i don't like the conversion start much, but that's easy to change.

Brian
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« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2011, 10:37:37 AM »

OK first off all I didn't say it wasn't doable! But he can get the about the same in a shell or seated coach!
To do it right and insulate the ceiling and possibly redo the floor it's going to need to be gutted! why pay for someones work knowing you got to gut it to correct it?

Brian while I highly respect your many years of bus mechanics, I dispute that the air leak being so loudly heard has ANYTHING at all to do with the shut down system. It can be heard from 15-25 feet away and that my friend regardless whether it be a hose, brake chamber (DD3), airbeam/bag, tank drain, etc is a BIG leak! Could be as easy as closing the drain on a tank, or much worse.

An MC9 is readily available just about anywhere for $3,000-$8,000 ! There are to many newer nicer buses out there for $8,000-$20,000 to pay anymore than that for a 9!

Also the video does not show the main areas of trouble on an MCI in any detail at all! (Hmm think there could be a reason for this?)
Just saying! But hey don't take mine or anyone else's word for it. We aren't the one forking out the cash!
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« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2011, 10:58:44 AM »

BK, I've with you - none of the places I would look at on an MCI were shown, I just didn't see any rust on what we did see.  I'd be crawling in a whole bunch of different places!  On the air leak - it  honestly sounded to me just like when my shutter stat went wonky.  It would leak just like that as the engine was turning off.  I have no idea why, I disconnected it.  The movie camera was looking at the shut-off switch and when the engine turned off, big noise from what seemed to be right beside the camera!  It just sounded like one of the control system cylinders or something like that.  I'm probably wrong, I usually am...

Brian
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« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2011, 11:51:15 AM »

Brian seriously I am not doubting that your shutters did make a noise like that. But if you watch the video again, you'll hear the air leak as he approaches the bus before he gets to it. To me it sounds loudest near the drives. (which he very quickly moved away from!)
It may mot be anything serious at all, but if I were looking to buy it I sure wouldn't look at it like that.
I'd be pointing out all the worst case scenarios to the seller and see if he owned up to knowing what it was. ( I can assure you if it's just a drain left open or a chaffed hose and he knows it he will quickly explain how cheap and easy it is to fix )

I do seriously respect the amount of through work you do on your coach and also that to pass on what you've learned to others as well! (even if I did slightly exaggerate the amount of your bus
experience in my last post! Wink )
You have vast mechanical knowledge and skills and it does show.
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2011, 12:20:55 PM »

  Being originally a 50 year veteran to Minnesota, salt rust has always been an issue with anything from the rust belt, and as the quantity of salt dumped has increased, so has the acceleration of damage. Regardless of the BS explanation of structural failure, anyone with half a brain knows the 35W bridge had salt rust. By their nature, Buses may have been driven all over the US, in all seasons, and  not have always been washed down after a briney salt bath. Though it matters not, salt seeps in everywhere, no different than if it were pressure washed with it.

  I have been looking at Buses for years. We scrapped over a dozen Buses back in 1988, and got a pretty darn good lesson in how they are built, and how they corrode. In addition, forums such as this one have been showing the gutting jobs, as well as the damage found, in creating a conversion. As someone wrote recently, they have yet to open one up and not find rust inside the walls. So if a conversion is done without opening up the walls, what do you really have? Beats me.

  Of the MCI's I have seen so far, every one of them had corroded radiators. But then, I am looking for a cheap Bus. There is a reason Bus companies take a Bus out of service, its simply because the Bus has reached a point in its life where doing the work needed to keep it in service would cost more than replacing it with something better. Some move up to a newer used unit, others move up to new units. Us at the bottom, were at the trickle down economics end of the process, and the primary reason some Buses are cheaper than others is because they have greater needs. But if the radiators are rotted, whats under the skin???

  As to the Bus in question, were asked to debate its value by only a handful of selected poor quality pictures and a short poor quality video that seems to pass over key areas. I cant see how the walls were put in, how the floor was done, how its insulated. So we have to make some assumptions. Im in Arkansas. Maine is a LONG ways away. Too far to go look at it to see if I want it, I would need to be much more convinced than by the minimal information I have seen. And what I see is more or less a bunch of crap that all needs to be ripped out, a bus that needs to be opened up and inspected, and then start the process over from scratch. Well, then I would rather just buy an unconverted Bus up front and save myself all the grief.

  Now if it was in my own backyard where I could just go look, I might have a different opinion after actually seeing it. This Bus has been listed for a while. If it was worth the price it would be gone, like all the other ones that are gone after a week or so. Offer him $3K if you think you can make it work.
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« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2011, 12:42:50 PM »

Maine is a long way from North Carolina too.  I would only go to look at it if I was prepared to drive it home if I liked it and was comfortable about any concerns I had.

But to say that it's not worth what he is asking or it would be gone is kind of difficult to necessarily agree with.  There might be dozens of people who would gladly pay the asking price if they had the money.  It is a tough time to say what the value of something really is.  The old axiom "something is worth what you can get for it" is always true from a certain perspective, but what someone is willing to pay for something today is different than what he would have paid for the exact same thing 5 years ago.  Just look at the housing market in areas like Nevada, Florida, Arizona, etc.  Same thing has happened to the bus market as we all know.  

And yes, most buses that are available out of service are the "cream of the crap" from their perspective.  It comes down to what degree of "worn-outness" one can live with.  I do plan to live forever, but this body will probably die long before a bus I own rusts in two.  I'm not looking for perfection, just something I can enjoy for the few years I am interested in it.  My $.02
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 01:32:50 PM by thejumpsuitman » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2011, 01:12:26 PM »

[quote I do plan to live forever, but this body will probably die long before a bus I own rusts in two.  I'm not looking for perfection, just something I can enjoy for the few years I am interested in it.  My $.02
[/quote]

Kudos!  That has to be "the" absolute best one I have heard in quite some time.  Take two atta-boys out of petty cash for a quote well done.

BCO
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« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2011, 01:26:46 PM »

Jumpsuit,

I second what Boxcar said.

All of these old buses are going to have something wrong with them, if you like that bus, go get it. If you like that Eagle in FL, go get it. In the price range you are looking at, none of them are going to be perfect. I'm pretty sure my bus has some OSB, not the best insulated(that's what 3 roof airs are for), and I'm fairly certain there's still some rust on my bus as well(even though I just had it painted). SO WHAT!! I have fun with it, even though it's gonna put me in the poor house. Cheesy

If you wanted a $200k bus, then we could pick over all the little stuff.

Brandon
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« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2011, 02:03:26 PM »

I'm just interested in the most bang for the buck.  I don't get off on disassembling something and tracing down every flaw and speck of rust, welding in patch panels, etc.  Some people love that kind of stuff and that's great!  Thank God for people like that, we need them!  But I'm not one of them.  To a point, ignorance is bliss... To a point.  Sometimes ignorance can kill and I understand that too.  

I learned a great lesson about myself about 10 years ago when I decided to restore a 1959 Cadillac.  I disassembled that thing piece by piece, laying it all out in my shop.  It looked like the FAA was reconstructing a plane crash.  Not a bolt was left unscrewed, not a stick of chrome was left on that car.  Fenders, hood, trunk, bumpers,  all were removed.  I was so ready to "do it right"...  That's when my neurotic perfectionist side hijacked the project and ruined it for me.  With all that time and effort invested, I began to see every flaw as a "must fix".  The closer I looked, the less I was satisfied with anything.  If I was going to get into it this deep, I wanted it to be perfect...  Show quality.

I remember when I sanded down the fenders I found old dents, bondo and rust.  The fenders, in my estimation were not salvageable.  So I decided to find perfect replacements.  Months went by and I never found any I was happy with.  In the meantime, the project turned into a monster in my mind and I no longer enjoyed it.  I was stuck, frozen by my own unrealistic standards and financial limitations.  In my heart, I knew I was not capable of doing what I had in mind to do.

When the reality of it sank in, I called a guy I knew who liked old cars and enjoyed a difficult project.  His standards were MUCH, MUCH lower than mine.  I sold the car to him in pieces.  About two months later, he pulled up into my place of business, blowing the horn of a beautiful red metallic 1959 Cadillac deville, fully reassembled and "restored".  He was wearing a smile from ear to ear.  

As I walked around the car and looked closely, I could tell that he had re-used the same old fenders and everything else I was planning to replace.  Guess what... IT LOOKED GREAT!  Not perfect by any stretch, but he was doing what I had bought it to do... He was having fun!  So what if it had bondo?... so what if not all the chrome was like new?...  So what if the seats weren't done with the original material that cost $100 a yard?  I would have been happy with the way he did it if I was really honest with myself.  And I could have done what he did without burning out!

Since then I have learned to count the cost of everything more carefully.  I have also learned to examine my true motives and have learned to be honest with myself when it comes to what I would love to do vs. what I know I will actually do.  I have come to know myself and learned to guard against the unrealistic, demanding perfectionist who lives somewhere down inside of me.  I count that as one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned.

Don't know who said this, but it has become one of my favorite quotes...

"The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy; The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time."

« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 02:30:58 PM by thejumpsuitman » Logged

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