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Author Topic: Technomadia Update - 4106 Contender in Yuma, AZ  (Read 4545 times)
technomadia
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« on: June 19, 2011, 12:52:22 PM »

After a two month extensive search across the country (including the last few weeks traveling on an Amtrak rail pass) - we have come across a particularly promising 4106 contender that we viewed yesterday in Yuma, AZ.  I wanted to update you all and ask if any of you might have any input, advice, wisdom, or history to share about the bus we are considering. We know a lot of bus enthusiasts winter in Yuma, and maybe some of you might even recognize the bus and know a bit more about it.

Here are the photos we took yesterday:
https://www.dropbox.com/gallery/5589663/2/Bus%20Hunt/AZ%20-%20Yuma%204106?h=91171f

The seller bought this bus at an estate auction six months ago.  It needed new starter batteries, and he was able to get it home without problems.  Before that it had sat for five years (or maybe more) - the previous owner is apparently passed away prior to the auction.  The current owner knows very little about buses, or this bus' history - other than that the conversion was done in 1989.  He says he has a big stack of documentation on all the systems and the engine, but he didn't have them with him when we met him yesterday morning.  (He was cutting out from work to meet us as we were passing through town - I don't think he was hiding anything.)

The quality of the conversion seems to be extremely high.  The layout and woodwork in the interior is fabulous for our desires.  The systems all seem smartly thought out.  The tanks vent to the roof, and there are power outlets everywhere inside.  And the bus exterior has a great look and it is in great shape - it just needs a good detailing, and it will be a gem.  The blue paint has a milky type coating, but the one area we polished the layer of grime off of came back looking gorgeous. Otherwise, no evidence of the paint peeling,chipping, etc.

Here are the issues we discovered with the bus:
1) There is a substantial air leak in the bay under the drivers seat, seemingly coming from the fitting on the back of the pressure tank.
2) The wheels are split rims, and need to be replaced ASAP, as well as all new tires.
3) There is some fluid dripping from the transmission fluid filter, potentially not an unusual amount, but still worth a closer look.
4) There is some oil dripping from the engine - more than other 4106's we've seen, but not extreme.  It looked like there may have been leaking around the alternator.
5) There are currently no house batteries installed, and there is no inverter.  The converter is very basic looking.  I would replace it all with a nice inverter / charger and a big bank of AGM's.

The engine started right up and ran great at idle in the parking lot, but considering the air leak and wheels / tires we didn't take it for a test drive.

The bus has jake brakes, the wipers work (and I am guessing are electric based upon how they operated), there is a propane furnace and water heater, two roof air conditioning units, and the fridge is AC / propane.

The 7.5KW Onan diesel generator was promised as working by the auction company (I know.. don't believe it until we see it), but the generator start battery is dead - and so we couldn't test it nor the air conditioning.  The generator seems to be plumbed to feed from the main diesel tank.  The gas gauge for the tank seems non-functional.  The generator has very low hours (less than 200!), and seems to have barely been used.

We looked up the bus serial number (4106-446), and it looks as if this 4106 may never have been a Greyhound.  It was made as a single order for "Citizen Auto Stage Company" in Nogales, AZ - Sept 1961 - it seems as if it potentially served its life as a tour bus around Tucson in the 1960's.  It very likely may have spent most of its entire life in the Southwest - the bus seems to be almost entirely corrosion free (except a little around the driver's window, where there is the common 4106 rust on the bottom of the d-pillar) .  The shots I got sticking the camera up underneath the bus reveal an immaculate bottom. 

Do any of you have any thoughts on the brake canisters?  The engine setup?  The bays and plumbing?

How much time and money should we plan on it taking to get this bus back into a safe and serviceable state, especially considering that we will need to be living in it from day one?  Are there any warning signs that this might be an unusually deep time and money pit?

Any recommendations on where to get work done in the Southwest - particularly around Yuma?  We would love to find a bus mechanic we can trust out in this area to help us get up to speed before driving too far with it.  We also will need to track down a good deal on rims and tires, as well as getting the air line/bag situation fixed ASAP if we buy this.

We are seriously considering this bus, knowing that we will have to invest some to get it back to a decent state of currency.  But it is seeming like a great foundation, and we think we can get it for a great price.

If any of you guys have any time to chime in about red or green flags seen in the pictures, or about things to watch out for in 4106's in general, we'd love to get some feedback on this bus.

Wish us luck!

   - Chris (and Cherie) // www.technomadia.com
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Cherie and Chris / www.technomadia.com
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2011, 01:15:02 PM »

One thing I like is the PO removed the 4 oil air filters lol

good luck
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2011, 01:25:15 PM »

I know where there is one that the owner passed away and his wife would like to get rid of it. it has a strong 8-71 that was rebuilt by luke at us coach and i dont think it leaks a drop of oil. The first owner was a cabnet maker and it is a nice conversion. It had been siting two years when i figured out thet the stater had a post issue and I wanted to bump it just to see if i had a conection and this thing fired after a one secound bump WOW. she would like to get 20 thousand but I think she will take 17 it has awnings on every window I beleave but its been about 8 months sence i have seen it. I did talk to her this last month though. If anyone is intrested just let me know
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2011, 02:15:00 PM »

Judging from what you have found so far you're looking @ an easy 10K + worth of improvements/changes. New tires + wheels could easily be over 5K. Good Trace Inverter, again close to to 5K. Have you priced AGM's lately ? As I recall you wanted solar... Figure north of 3K for batteries and modest amount of solar. Are the tanks big enough for boondocking for long ? Is the Suspension, steering, brakes, airbags, etc... in good operable condition ? Is it a stick ?, a new clutch will set you back near 4K. How old is the fridge, water heater. Full timing cuts their life short. In 7 years we are on our second of each. If you can take it to a real mechanic and pay a few hundred for a FULL mechanical inspection. Find a busnut in the area to asses the conversion parts. Good luck.

Don + Sheila
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wildbob24
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2011, 03:04:40 PM »

Chris,

That old bus looks good in the pictures. Pretty nice interior. Of course, pictures can be deceiving, so the suggestion to get a bus mechanic to look it over is a good one. It would be a couple of hundred bucks well spent.

I don't like the way the receiver hitch is mounted. When the time comes that you acquire a toad, you'll want to redo that.

Those brake chambers are "Mini Max" chambers made by a company called International Transquip Industries. They were fairly common upgrade on 4106s because they fit in tight spots and include a parking brake function. They are no longer made.

One thing to double check is the engine bulkhead. Early 4106s were known to crack the bulkhead, especially when modified for the V730 automatic conversion. You want to be sure that the bulkhead has been reinforced.

I believe this bus has potential, if purchased for the right price.

Bob
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technomadia
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2011, 03:12:45 PM »

Thanks for all the great feedback all... much appreciated, and keep it coming for sure Smiley

We *definitely* want to take it to a mechanic (no suggestion needed on that, was already the plan), so we're particularly interested in recommendations for one in Yuma or AZ in general that we can easily get it to.   And the also immediate need, recommendations for someone to address the air leak and potentially the tires/wheels before we would leave Yuma.

Also, any bus nuts in Yuma who would be willing to take a look at it with us would be most appreciated as well.   We're not afraid of work and expenses, but we are trying to approach this eyes wide open!

Thanks again!

 - Cherie
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Cherie and Chris / www.technomadia.com
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2011, 05:49:42 PM »

Cherie:

If you do buy this bus, (which looks pretty good!) that Azden 2-way radio is NOT a CB, but rather a ham radio, which requires an FCC license. I or several others on this list could buy it from you.
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2011, 05:57:10 PM »

Sweet - we were pretty sure it was a HAM radio, as there is a CB on the floor.  We both got our technicians's licenses a while back, but hadn't the space or time to research one to get in our old rig.  So we are looking forward to actually using our licenses. Smiley

-Cherie
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Cherie and Chris / www.technomadia.com
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2011, 07:10:14 PM »

Chris & Cherie -

Nice looking coach, seems to be in pretty decent shape for it's age.  The fact that it's a SW coach is a good thing, as you've found out.  I like the fact that even tho they covered up the rear window, at least they matched the original "lines" of the coach, instead of a stick 'n staple rear cap.  Most of the exterior shots show a straight body, with minimal rash and no major boo-boos.  Glad to see they kept the original front headlights & turn signals too, instead of the inferior rectangular lights conversion.  (Great upgrade?  Add Cibie headlights!)

A personal preference for me is the low-mounted driver's side exterior rear view mirror, not the high mount like this coach has.  Combined with that big convex mirror, IMHO it creates a HUGE blind spot when making LH turns - enough to hide a pedestrian (or a Mini!).  If nothing else, I'd seriously look into remounting the convex above the square mirror, not below.  The whole assembly can be low-mounted, as the coaches came either way, but you'd need a LH low body bracket and arm off a donor coach.

There is a member of this board (Geoff) who's a top-notch Detroit guru that lives N of Phoenix, in Prescott, I think.  He might be willing to come down and take a look at it with you.  Drop him a note and see, I think his contact info is in his profile.

Check with any of the charter bus companies in the Yuma area and see if one of their mechanics might be willing to go over the coach mechanicals with you "after hours".  Ask for the shop foreman when you call.

You might also call a couple of the RV dealerships in the area and again ask the shop foreman if he's got any technicians who might be willing to moonlight a little to go over the house systems with you.

Since you're looking at replacing the wheels/tires, I'd like to make the following suggestion.  I've written about this numerous times over the years on this BBS (use the Google search window at the top of the page) or on BNO, so here's the Cliff's Notes version:  With the V-730 transmission, the coach's overall gearing is lower, thus burning more fuel at any given road speed.  The ONLY wheel/tire combination that returns performance close to OEM is 24.5 inch rims with 11R24.5 tires that turn 470 - 475 revs per mile.  Original factory gearing was set up with tires turning 495 revs/mile, but using that rpm (or more) with the V-730 automatic increases your fuel consumption and lowers your top speed. 

The HD tire industry has been rapidly changing to predominately 22.5 inch rims with metric sizing, so you have to do your homework.  Shoot for a tire that turns LESS than 495 rpm to help make up for the auto's lower gearing.  All truck tire manufacturers list the revs/mile in their tire sizing spec books, make them earn their money.

Oh, and stay away from "transit" tires.  These are usually speed rated at only 50 or 55 mph - they're designed with heavier sidewalls to take the beating transit drivers give them from bumping curbs all day long.  (Did you know that curbs are part of a bus's braking system?  No?  Ask a transit driver!)  You want highway speed-rated (75 mph) tires.

That's all I can think of at the moment.  The 4106 is a good coach, considered by many old-timers in the industry as the best highway coach ever built by GMC, but got overshadowed by the Scenicruiser and the industry's shift to 40-foot models.
 
FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink

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RJ Long
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2011, 07:47:54 PM »

I know a diesel road service guy in Yuma, he mainly works on trucks but he also works on buses.
He should know of any two stroke detroit guys in town.

His name is Rene and his company is called JR's mobile service. 928 257 8979.
He is real friendly and helpful.

Good Luck
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2011, 02:20:38 AM »

Check with Purcell for tires and wheels. 928-317-0769  They are on the frontage road by the freeway just to the east of the Rush Truck Center near exit 3.  Buffalo Bus Tours is also on the frontage road by exit 14. Don't know if they have a mechanic on site or if they contract out.
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2011, 06:55:38 AM »



I would like to second RJ'S words about tire selection for a GM with a v730.  Removed a set of low profile Mich. from "Huggy" and replaced with a set of 11r24.5  Hancocks.

 Best improvement to the cruising and fuel mileage that I have done.
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2011, 08:21:49 AM »

I have 11R-24.5 tires on my transit, and couldn't be happier-suggest it if you're replacing all.  Make sure you fire up the generator-Onan's are known to be expensive to fix and have to fix often.  Check the air bags on the air suspension to see if they are cracked.  From what I see, you could easily dump an additional $20,000.00 into it to make it road worthy.  Please keep in mind you're looking at a bus that is 50 years old!  On the surface it looks good, but dig a bit to see how the wiring is run, plumbing, etc.  I was sort of amazed at the low number of circuit breakers.  At $10,000.00 it would be a good deal.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2011, 09:02:59 AM »

Just wondering if you looked at this one while in Yuma area?



http://yuma.craigslist.org/rvs/2366957546.html
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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2011, 09:13:18 AM »


 Best improvement to the cruising and fuel mileage that I have done.

And that MPG works out to?  Inquiring minds and all that. 

Please,

John
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