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Author Topic: New to the forum, caught the bug, want the bus!  (Read 8710 times)
TedsBUSted
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« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2011, 07:35:42 PM »

Here's Tedslist for the coach itself.
Although no item alone would be a deal breaker or maker, it's more something I'd consider overall.

Plus for:
  • Good power steering.
  • Gear-drive alternator or decent belt-drive retrofit.
  • Nice solid radiator core.
  • Tight, smooth and  easy to move accelerator, clutch, and shifter.
  • Tubeless rubber.
  • No chips in windshield, not much "fog" at glass edges.
  • Back glass decent.

Minus for:
  • Generator with sparky commutator and old rotten "rat's nest" wiring at regulator panel.  
  • Weak or "green" radiator core.
  • Badly aged rubber in fan-drive, crank balancer, or engine support.
  • Thin clutch disk or lots of residue at housing.
  • Wet wheel ends.
  • Thin or tapered brake linings.
  • Tube-type rubber.
  • King pin areas showing rust stains or obvious wear.
  • Any sign that the turbo add-on isn't top notch and with tight plumbing that hasn't let the engine breath  unfiltered air.

I'm sure others have some items to add.

I can't help much with evaluating the conversion, and that's something I'm interested in myself.
Anybody have a  list for that?

Ted
« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 07:46:24 PM by TedsBUSted » Logged

Bus polygamist. Always room for another, especially ‘04 or ‘06 are welcome. NE from Chicago, across the pond.
LesBerg
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« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2011, 09:03:06 PM »

Thanks for the input all the way around, everyone.

I'm hoping to look at it in the next couple of weeks. I need to raise cash and it won't hurt for him to stew a bit. He's had it this long, so I doubt it's going anywhere soon.

All other things being equal (and they usually aren't), would the inline 671 be a better powerplant than the original V6?

Knowing only only what we do about it, lacking the paperwork on the engine, and all else unseen, what would be a reasonable offer?

Ideally, I'd like to go over there with two cashiers checks - one for $1000 deposit for a test drive, and another for no more than $4000, for a total of no more than $5000 "cash". If the bus has been sitting there this long, then I'd bet that the batteries are not in the best condition and the tires are likely not far behind.

Thoughts?
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zubzub
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« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2011, 09:24:52 PM »

6-71 was the original engine in a 4104.  By the looks of the dash a major rewire may have  been done, if it was done right that is a good thing.  There are folks here with the 4104 maintenance manuals on PDF that they can send to you.  Study up, and if you think you might buy the bus really go through the electrics....all lights, engine shutdown etc....for such an old machine it is a little complicated (but nothing like a newer bus)  more like a car from the 90's level of wiring.
 I love the 4104 nice simple well built bus, and decent milage compared to the newer bigger ones.  The engine acces is awesome compared to anything else I have seen.
Have fun and go see it, even if you don't buy it, you need to get dirty a few times to start understanding these things.   Oh and the are very dirty.....a special kind of 50 year old grime that really gets everywhere when you work on them.
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LesBerg
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« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2011, 09:37:46 PM »

thanks zub!

you've no doubt heard the acronym 'RTFM' regarding manuals.  I live by one a little different: RTMF: "Read the manual first"  Grin

I already found the parts manual, operators manual, and the maintenance manual in pdf format, but I really appreciate the offer. I've read the ops manual and have skimmed the maint manual with some choice heavy reading, mostly about the transmission, engine, and clutch maintenance and the suspension.

that's part of how I know what I do about this beast.  Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2011, 05:41:12 AM »

  Some things ive learned, both here and elsewhere. The 4104 was built just before the interstate system. They were built for rough two lane roads that existed in the late 40's, and are built tougher than anything that was built afterwards. Heavier skin, heavier framing, etc.. The 671 inline is probably the strongest and toughest engine ever put into a Bus. The gearbox is heavy duty. Most everything on the 4104 is simple.

  But you are also talking about a Bus that went out of production 51 years ago, and most carriers started putting them out to pasture by the late 60's. There are maybe a handful that stayed in service through the 70's, and virtually none since. So your really looking at an antique.

  Thats not a bad thing, but its something you have to carefully consider when your looking at one. The floor is plywood, and is a structural component. You cant simply cut it out and replace it as you can with an MCI. Also, a GMC bus uses stressed skin construction, where the skin is basically a major structural component, "the frame" if you will. So rust and corrosion (iron rusts, aluminum coorodes) can become a real horror if its in an advanced state. Your inspection has to start and end with rust and corrosion inspection, its the backbone of the Bus. Everything else has to be second.

  If your barely scraping by financially, you need to be very aware of costs and mechanical things that can go bump in the night. If your out on the road and breakdown, will you be able to fix anything on this Bus yourself, and if not, will you have the jing to have it towed? Can you afford to have a shop work on it? Again, thats not meant to steer you away, if you have to move out onto the road, a Bus is possibly the best choice. But dont fool yourself into thinking it cant cost you big if something goes hiccup.

  There are those among us for whom cost is no object. Million dollar Buses and all that. Then there are those that have just had it with S$S garbage and are willing to jump into the nutiness of a Bus, but who have financial constraints to manage. I fall into that bracket. I could not, or would not pay $10K for an inframe overhaul out on the road. For one thing, its a bandaid job IMHO, and a waste of money. So instead, I will plan on doing as much on my own as I can in my own yard, before heading out into the great blue yonder, and pray my knowledge and experience and car, coupled with Gods grace, will be enough to get me back home.

  If its a solid Bus and works well, if you take the time to really go through it with a fine tooth comb, if every system is working at 110%, if you cover the known failure modes people have seen on these forums (rear engine support at fan hub comes to mind), heading em off at the pass, with a lil light shinin down from above you should be fine.
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Len Silva
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« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2011, 07:50:52 AM »

I love the 4104 and this one is definitely worth investigating.  I'm a little concerned that it has a turbo if it was not properly done with the correct pistons and other changes needed.

See if there is any way that you can contact the previous owner.  They would have no interest at this point except telling you the truth about this bus.  I know that if I got a call from someone about the bus I sold a couple of years age, I would be delighted to talk to them.

The price is a bit high but well within negotiation range.  Once you decide and set your price, flipping through a stack of twenties will definitely speed up the negotiation process.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2011, 08:08:37 AM »

If the PO paid 18,000 for a rebuild he wasn't very smart as you can buy a new DDEC 671 330 hp for for that kind of money I have a buddy that went that route and know of a few more also one paid 8500 for a New DDEC 671 he bought 2 at one time 


good luck
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LesBerg
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« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2011, 08:29:47 AM »

ted, that's an awesome list! I've got it printed out and set with the stuff to check over if we can get over to look at the bus. Thanks for the help!

artvonne, more excellent information! The AL corrosion would show up as pitting, greyish flaking and thinning, correct? I am certainly in that financial boat. Part of the appeal is that the bus is designed with an eye towards serviceability that you just can't find in an S&S. I expect much higher expenses with drivetrain maintenance, but I also expect it to last much longer than the typical RV where even the 400+ cubic inch light-duty engines and transmissions are chronically overloaded.

Ideally, I'd like to leave a deposit and take it for a test drive to a place I can get under it and go over the undercarriage. The floors of the baggage areas are plywood as well, aren't they? What I'm hoping for is a mechanically sound bus that has stuff I can fix in the driveway. I have a hoist that can handle everything but the engine, and I have over-the-road truck mechanical experience that covers everything but the engine itself. As long as I can get the transmission out, I can do any work that needs to be done, same with the diff and most of the other mechanical, air, and electrical systems. I'm hoping that my fabrication experience can see me through most of the rest of it.

Len, I hadn't thought about the piston situation. Is there a way to tell externally or through the inspection covers? If the engine isn't up to turbo spec, would it be (relatively) easy to return it to a non-turbo configuration? If I can get the name of the previous owner... I wonder if I can get the serial number from Michael and get the previous owner's name from the washington DMV.  I'll look into that, thanks! By the way, I love your avatar pic.

luvrbus, agreed. Lets see if I can contact the PPO and see what the real story is.

I'll give Michael another call this afternoon.
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LesBerg
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« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2011, 08:38:31 AM »

I just called Mike, he says the serial number is 2790 or 2970, he can't remember right off.
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Len Silva
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« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2011, 08:41:40 AM »

Others more knowledgeable than I can comment on the pistons.  All I know is what I've read here and that is that you can't just hang a turbo on an NA engine without knowing what you are doing.  It's entirely possible that it was all done right, thus my interest in contacting the previous owner.
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qayqayt
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« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2011, 10:05:34 AM »

Les,
I can't say anything to help with the decision to buy the coach, but if you do purchase it, take notes when you get a tour of all the house systems on the coach.  Many conversions are home made (nothing wrong with that) and the builder probably did some customization to suit his/her lifestyle.  I hesitate to tell this story... but our coach has the on/off switch for the water pump on a set of light switches.  On our first trip, all excited about the first adventure, do you think I could find the water pump switch? 

Even if you don't buy the bus, there are a few bus rallies in your area every year.  We went to a couple of these before we bought our coach just to talk to people, look at different conversions and attend seminars if they were offered.  Some of the rallies charge a small fee which includes your dinner if you come without a bus. If you bring your coach the fees are around the $150 range but well worth it in my opinion.  Most don't mind if you just drop in for a few hours and talk to folks.  You should check in with the organizers if you go.

Northwestern BusNuts are based in Oregon, but have members from all over the northwestern states.  Their next rally is at Seven Feathers in Canyonville Oregon on April 22 - 24th. 

Bus N USA is an excellent rally in Rickreall Oregon on June 23 - 26th with lots of great seminars.

The BC BusNuts fall rally is even closer to you at Klinks Resort near Cheney WA on September 9 - 12th.

Bryan
Vancouver BC
GM PD-4108
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Bryan
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« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2011, 12:10:08 PM »

Most Honorable Mr Lesberg:

1. Welcome to the board!

2. Thankyou for your service to my country!

3. A few months ago, in southern Mexico (Oaxaca) I met Calvin, from Canada. He has a 4104, with the in-line 6-71. He personally added the turbo to it, and did NOT use the special "required" pistons. He has put over one million miles on it since then, in the last 16 years, travelling all over U.S., Canada, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, ... even the republic of Texas. The bus currently has 4,000,000 miles on it! (Try that with a stick-and-staple motorhome!)

For some reason, he has not been answering my emails lately, but his blog is here:

http://lianadevine.wordpress.com/

And pulling his Volkswagen "Thing", which you can see in his pictures, he says he can count on 9 miles per gallon doing 55 miles per hour, which drops to 6 MPG when he does 70.

I wish you success!

Dr. Steve
San Juan del Río, Querétaro, Mexico
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100 miles North West of Mexico City, Mexico. 6,800 feet altitude.
LesBerg
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« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2011, 03:16:40 PM »

Thank you for the warm welcome!  That is an incredible story! I'll check the blog out this evening.  I've been checking 4104 prices on the internet as that's my best option at the moment, and I've found a several busses with and without seats that have not yet been converted to an RV, and in most cases the prices are at least a thousand dollars higher than the conversion I'm looking at. 

We're going to see if we can sell off a couple of vehicles to raise the cash to get it.
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« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2011, 04:09:46 PM »

There is also a bus for sale in Caldwell or Meriddian, something like a 4905 if i remember right, and another one was posted sunday on craigslist in Tacoma for 2500.  and there is an almost put together one with a 6 speed tranny I think east of boise. when my brother was driving up from calif this AM, he said there was a fishbowl transit close to medford for 500 this am.. he didnt check to see if it was the usual 6v71 2 speed.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2011, 04:19:54 PM »

There was a GM for sale in Eagle but I think it has been parted out,always GM's for sale at Ontario OR


good luck
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