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Author Topic: New to the forum, caught the bug, want the bus!  (Read 9100 times)
thejumpsuitman
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« Reply #45 on: April 05, 2011, 06:18:25 AM »

    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. 

I will second what Paul said.  We just bought an Eagle in Texas that was supposed to be A-okay.  It checked out great and ran perfectly for the first half of the trip...  But before we got it home we wound up spending over $4,000 on it!!!  Shocked  Had to leave it at a shop and go back for it.  47 days later, we finally pulled her into the driveway!  It can happen.  Just have a plan.  I'm thankful we had the backup funds to handle the situation!  I highly recommend an emergency repair fund.  DEFINITELY get Coach-Net towing coverage before you drive it home.  And for goodness sake, read the terms of use! (I didn't and they wouldn't cover the $1,000 tow.)
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LesBerg
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« Reply #46 on: April 05, 2011, 06:48:53 AM »

Ted,

I agree in principle, but I've talked to the owner on the phone and while he seems to know the details of busing I was left with the impression that his experience wasn't necessarily with this bus. It's also in the most reasonable condition for the price as compared to all the other 4104s I've seen. There was even one that looked like it had been completely submerged that the owner listed as having 'water damage' for $10,000. Most of the ones in this price range don't even run. They've needed heads or new differentials or are just parts buses.

He knows the mechanical problems well, but what he told me of the interior was mostly what the PO had told him. The bus has been sitting for some time - long enough that he mentioned that gasoline would be bad by now, but since it was diesel it should just need the water drained from the tanks, etc. He mentions that he can start the bus, but never mentions driving it, etc.  It feels to me that he bought the bus in it's current condition some time ago and has never gotten around to fixing the 'small' problems. and actually using it. The situation seems almost like someone buying a Jack Russel terrier because it's cute not realizing how much work they are to raise, and now he wants to be rid of it.

That said, I texted him yesterday to see if he still had it and he replied that he did and that he fixed the power steering problem over the weekend and has brought the price up to $5000.

Zub,

Thanks for the heads-up on the floor. I figured it would be a pain to replace, though less expensive overall that some other repairs. Is this a reasonable assumption?

jump - I'll have to come back later to reply, my wife wants the internet for work  Tongue
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Len Silva
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« Reply #47 on: April 05, 2011, 06:57:04 AM »

Congratulations on your purchase.  I love the 4104 and wish I still had mine.

Think twice, or even three times about using tile on the floor.  With the 6-71 in a 4104, weight is a major consideration.  Think about every pound you add to this coach.  A wood floor would be much nicer in my opinion.
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« Reply #48 on: April 05, 2011, 09:34:32 AM »

There was even one that looked like it had been completely submerged that the owner listed as having 'water damage' for $10,000. Most of the ones in this price range don't even run. They've needed heads or new differentials or are just parts buses.

  Are you talking about the 04 in AZ that needed something with the head? I spoke to that clown  last august asking for pics, I asked him three times over a span of about a month with promises he would get some, never heard back. Sounded good like something worth fixing, but whatever. Then there was the guy down in Alabam with the "mauve" 04 with caps, said he was goin out of town for a few days, never heard back from him either. Its gotta be hard trying to sell something like that when its really not worth much, but still.

  One thing I came to realise on this forum, was that at the end of the day, a Bus is a Bus. They all pretty much share the same parts, air brake stuff, wheel stuff, gearboxes, engines. Its the shell that really makes them different. I started out really wanting a GMC 4107, but learned from these guys here that they are very high geared and simply wouldnt have a prayer of getting up my driveway.

  Then I met Rick and he took me for a ride in his 04, and I found it to be a very cool Bus and I really wanted to find one. But as the search continued, I kept running into these sellers that are just plain difficult. I mean, if they cant send pics or talk to you when your over 500 miles away, what point is there in going to look at it? So I started broadening my range. I started looking at other Buses in my price range, and the more I learned, the more I started looking at MCI's. But I have to say, in the 35 footers there aint a lot out there, and leven ess that are worth driving very far to look at.

  I guess what im saying is that while an 04 can be a fine Bus if you find a good one, dont be afraid to look at other options and broaden your Horizons. Buses may well be like dogs, they pick you, not you them. The 06 is a good Bus and still only 35 feet and two axles, as is an MCI5 like ive found. If you dont have an overly steep driveway as I do, the 4107/08 is a really neat Bus, also 35 feet and two axles, but with those giant cargo bays that are to die for. The 07/08 are basically an 06 with a raised floor, giving tall cargo bays. If your thinking of living in a Bus full time, more room isnt a bad thing. If you never saw someone open a bay door on an 07/08/05, your in for a surprise. Just whatever you do, dont buy too much project. The newest 04 is 51 years old. Your already going to be throwing good money after bad, but if the Bus isnt sound to start with, it can really become a black hole. In houses its location location location. Anything electrical or mechanical on a Bus can be replaced, rebuilt or gerry rigged. But you need a good foundation. So in a Bus, its chassis chassis chassis, and on a Bus, chassis means the entire structure. Rust and structural damage are the killers.

   Whats the deal with that turbocharged 04 up there, did you see it?
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LesBerg
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« Reply #49 on: April 05, 2011, 08:33:06 PM »

Len,

we haven't bought it yet, but we're hoping to! We're hoping to get down to Los Vegas to see it in the next week or so. I'm not one to post financial info on the internet, but we could have the full asking price in under 30 days. We're planning on asking if he'll take a few, large weekly payments, assuming that it passes an in-person inspection. IF he is, we'd be willing to pay the full asking price. We've talked it over at length, and we have a good support net at this point for repairs and parking, and we're happy with the overall condition of the coach assuming that the bathroom and appliances all work (or would with minimal work). So far, the owner has been very forthcoming in the condition of the vehicle and we want to deal with him on as openly as he seems to have been with us.

He's been open on the condition of the coach regarding all the questions I've thought to ask, and I've been open with him about the reasoning for my questions. I asked him what condition the tires were in and explained that I wasn't expecting a perfect set of tires on a (then) $4500 coach, but wanted to know how many tires I could expect to replace to make an 1200 mile trip to get it home. He was very forthcoming and said that there were two good tires on the back and two that should be replaced before leaving Las Vegas, and that the steering tires were good. When pressed, he said that if he was to take delivery of it right now, he'd replace two tires on the rear, rotate the steer tires to the back, and put the two new tires on the front, and that at that point it would be good for a season or two. His honesty scores points in my book.

[edit]
we'll keep an eye on the weight per sqft of what we do. With it having an over-the-road powertrain I didn't think it would be an issue.  Thanks for the heads-up!
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Thejumpsuitman,

If we were still renting a home, there'd be no way we could do this. Let me lay the entire situation out. I think it's pretty plain that we're not rolling in cash. Far from it in fact. Personally, I've been homeless before in better economic times. Now that I have a business degree, the only thing that's changed employment-wise is that now I owe money on student loans. Here's the entire situation:
I graduated from Boise State University in December 2009 with a bachelors degree in business administration, FWIW, and my wife has been in school as long as I have been (since 2004). She worked for Albertson's/Supervalu until November last year, when she was laid off. We've been considering an RV for several years now and have blown our opportunity three times because we've not been as fiscally responsible as we should have been.

Personally, I think that missing the boat three times on the RV has been a good thing. I read your entire 34 page saga on the repair ordeal you went through, and I don't envy you any of it. That said, I think you lucked out in one aspect: the cost of just the repairs, I think you made out much better with your bus than you would have with the same problem with any S&S RV. If we had spent money even as late as last November, we would have bought an S&S RV. I've done a lot  of research since then and now I think that would have been a huge mistake given the knowledge and experience I already have maintaining and repairing over-the-road trucks.

At the moment we're staying with my parents.  While not ideal for them or us, it is benefiting both parties:  we have a place to stay that doesn't cost $1200 a month between rent and utilities, and I'm helping with vehicle repairs and helping them turn half of the unfinished basement into a library. So while we're not making any more money than we were before, we're in a unique position to save like mad. Having looked over the offerings at the lower end of the price range for an 'uncomplicated' coach, I think that the Las Vegas and Spokane buses each represent excellent opportunities for us. They represent sub $7000 coaches that are in need of repairs that I am already capable of performing or learning quickly. Both are road-ready save batteries and tires and both have some interior work to be done.

We want an RV/motorcoach for several reasons:
First, we want to be mobile. We are looking at employment in several areas; northern or southern Idaho areas, Madison Wisconsin, and Minneapolis primarily. Also, we're both keeping our employment options open, so we're both considering contracting. At the moment, my wife is contracting from 'home' at $40/hour. If we're mobile, I can contract 'on-site' and we can do it without having to pack out a house and all the associated nonsense and make the best of both worlds. e.g; no 'first month/last month/security deposit' and no breaking a lease to move on to a better opportunity.

Second, our families are scattered. My parents live in northern Idaho and my brothers and sisters are spread to both coasts. Her dad lives north of Mt. Vernon, Washington at the moment, but is looking to retire back to Montana. Again, mobility would be nice.

Third, we're looking to start our own business. We want to start our own meadery. If you're not familiar with mead and have no objections to alcoholic beverages, give it a try. We're hoping that with an RV/coach, we can spend less money on moving and rentals and save more for starting our business,

Please understand that we're not making this decision lightly. We both understand that we could easily run into repairs that could run $10k or better. Our plan is to pay 'rent' every month into a specific bank account. Our last rental cost us $830 per month in rent and another $400 in utilities (electric, gas, water, etc) every month. So we would pay $1000 to $1200 or so as 'rent' each month into this account.  This account would cover our fuel and maintenance bills. Everything left over at the end of the month would be rolled into a 'repairs' savings account.

The idea is to save money from three to seven years and have enough to start our business without needing to take out loans or mortgage property. There's a lot to it that I'm not covering, but this covers the basics.

I cannot begin to say how much it means to me that everyone is so willing to share their knowledge and experience. It's beyond invaluable. The adventures you've all posted (and the mis-adventures as well) are helping me figure out a list of mishaps and plan out what I can do to be prepared as best I can. While I certainly can't begin to pack along the tools/parts/etc for a piston failure, I can plan for a pair of flat tires and minimize my downtime and expenses. I'm hoping to be able to refine these plans into an everyday operational readiness. For those of you that are prior service, I'm also planning on developing a PMCS (preventative maintenance checks and services) checklist for daily, weekly, and periodic maintenance schedules. I'm kinda anal like that.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on how the whole thing goes.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 08:55:30 PM by LesBerg » Logged
RJ
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« Reply #50 on: April 05, 2011, 10:00:08 PM »

Les -

What's the VIN on the Vegas coach?

Did you ever get the VIN on the WA coach?

I hear your plan - sounds like you've done a lot of thinking, which is a good thing - especially the contingency factors.

RE: Tires.  Buy two new and put on the front.  Move steers to rear axle.  Take best (newest) of removed rears and use as a spare (which hides behind the front bumper, btw. . .)

There's a nice pre-trip inspection checklist you can use here:

http://www.busnut.com/bbs/messages/12262/16203.html?1167072614

And, since the manual gearbox will be a new beast to conquer, this might help:

http://www.busnut.com/bbs/messages/12262/16204.html?1167073154

That site, btw, has a HUGE archive that goes back a lot further than this one, and it's searchable.  Surf around.

Is wife willing to learn to drive the coach too?  If yes, that's good.  If no, time for discussion - the best bus driver's I trained were women.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #51 on: April 05, 2011, 10:14:33 PM »

While I certainly can't begin to pack along the tools/parts/etc for a piston failure,

  I disagree. I plan to carry most every tool I might need, within reason, and probably spare parts that are common to fail. In the situation Marc started with, simply blocking the injector would likely been sufficient to get her home. But there are ways to deal with more significant problems to achieve a simular result, including piston failure. Short of throwing a rod through the side or breaking the crank, I think you could bandaid one of these brutes to run for a long ways if you needed to. I may not ever go to Alaska, in fact I probably wont ever, but I can think and plan for it regardless. Like what I will do if im 400 miles from nothing.
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« Reply #52 on: April 05, 2011, 10:21:49 PM »

Is wife willing to learn to drive the coach too?  If yes, that's good.  If no, time for discussion - the best bus driver's I trained were women.

  A bit OT. My Uncle used to let my Aunt drive their S$S class A. One day Uncle had a blow out on the front. He said he had all he could do to hold it straight and was glad the road was straight. Not only was my Aunt terrified, they both realised she could not have handled it. The steering wheel was whipping back and forth in a blur.

  Whats a front tire blow out on a Bus like? I would need to know that before I would ever try talking her into it.
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RJ
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« Reply #53 on: April 05, 2011, 10:40:52 PM »

Paul -

Whats a front tire blow out on a Bus like? I would need to know that before I would ever try talking her into it.



Around town, no big deal.

Michelin produced a great video about dealing with a front blow-out on an RV at speed.  Here's the link:

How to Handle a Tire Blowout in Your RV


FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #54 on: April 05, 2011, 11:23:35 PM »

  Interesting. The one he had at the time wasnt exactly the heaviest duty rig you could buy, P30 Chevy chassis. Hard to keep it on the road when everything working right.
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LesBerg
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« Reply #55 on: April 06, 2011, 07:32:05 AM »

RJ,

Yeah, the vin on the Wa bus was either 2790 or 2970, the owner couldn't remember and the RV is stored off site.  We're going to arrange to look at it just before we go to look at the Vegas bus. The guy in Vegas sent me the VIN already, but I accidentally deleted it from my phone last night. I'll try to get it again.

I've read that shifting guide once, but I lost the link. I'm going to print it out, laminate it, and stick it in the bus when we get it. It'll be required reading for anyone driving the bus. I'll also print the pre-trip inspection, thanks for the link!

Artvonne,

My wife wants to and she's a pretty tough Montana woman. She may not drive it often, but she'll be able to drive it if she needs/wants to. She says to tell you guys that "of course I want to learn to drive it. How else am I supposed to be able to properly throw him under the bus?" Wink

I have the operators manual, parts book, and maintenance manual as PDF files on a laptop. It's also time to track down a manual for maintaining and repairing the 6-71. I likely have most of the tools I'll need for many of the repairs, but I'll need to know how to do them. I don't know if any of you are like this, but when I get a maintenance manual for something like this, I read  it cover-to-cover a few times. I can't help it. Undecided  I've already read the operator's manual once and skimmed the maintenance manual...

I'll check out the video in a few. Thanks for the link!

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Mex-Busnut
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« Reply #56 on: April 06, 2011, 07:54:56 AM »

Wow! That is one awesome video on tire deflation! I believe we would all do well to watch it several times.
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Dr. Steve, San Juan del Río, Querétaro, Mexico, North America, Planet Earth, Milky Way.
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LesBerg
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« Reply #57 on: April 06, 2011, 01:08:27 PM »

The Las Vegas bus is number 2587
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luvrbus
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« Reply #58 on: April 06, 2011, 02:47:40 PM »

I know you want a bus bad really you just need to sit back and think about for a while if you plan on travels there is no way you can keep a bus up on a 1000 bucks a month.
 A engine if you do it right parts and machine work on a 6-71 will cost you 7 grand no labor
Buses ,boats and aircraft are about the same hell I am finding that out trying to build my helicopter that thing is bleeding me and I haven't seen it in 2 months.
The previous owner of Marc's bus he and I had a conversation about it one day you start a bus bam there it goes he thought about it and sold Marc the bus because if it happen to him he could not afford to fix it a good deal for Marc for a day or so lol.
I am sure you have read what happen to Marc that happens to all  bus owners from time to time.
Don't let these guys beat you up to bad on the S&S jobs there are some good ones out there and they don't have 2 millions either and remember this is a Bus Board not a rv board  lol  BTW my wife is a graduate of Boise State

good luck
« Last Edit: April 06, 2011, 02:54:00 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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Van
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« Reply #59 on: April 06, 2011, 04:17:38 PM »

That's for sure Clifford Wink Got mine home and...  BAM! By By Engine! Lol fortunately for me, I can fix any thing from an 1800's grand father clock to an M-1A2 MB Tank, and anything in between  Grin  Wink No regrets what so ever, Tally Ho!

Edit Embarrassed Forgot to add, When I have the Dough  Grin
« Last Edit: April 06, 2011, 05:03:29 PM by van » Logged

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