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Author Topic: New owner of an old bus!  (Read 3919 times)
Emcemv
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« on: December 17, 2012, 05:38:45 PM »

We recently purchased a 1973 MCI converted by magic carpet coaches. This bus was owned by jack and Mary Morrisroe who some of you may know. Jack passed on earlier this year and was a friend of ours.

My wife and I are new to bussing and the RV life. We purchased the bus in late fall so decided to do some learning and wait until spring to register and insure it.  It was a challenging learning process since Jack was not here to help. The bus was well taken care of and was garaged so it is in beautiful shape for its age. I'm a electrical engineer by trade and always been a mechanic. I have to admit to being a bit overwhelmed by the 450hp DD 8V92 that was installed in 2000 with only 30k miles on it but I'm learning! We have some work to do updating the interior but really minor things. Since jacks health was failing for a few years, the bus was not used much in the last 2 years and its age is showing with things like coolant hoses and belts, many of which I have replaced.  One unusual thing about the bus is that is was a "freighter" for UPS back in the 70's so it has dual tires on both rear axles and I remember jack telling me that this allowed for larger brakes and weight carrying capacity....it also means 2 additional tires! We live in CT and both of us are in our 50's and still working. We do have the advantage that we can work from the road to a certain extent. We are thinking of some local trips in the spring to get our feet wet driving it and then a trip to AZ to see family. Also thinking of the FMCA rally next year in Wyoming. I will post some pictures soon. Just looking for thoughts, comments, advice and friends of Jack and Mary.
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Bruce & Nancy Fagley
1973 MCI MC-7 Combo Freighter
450HP DD 8V-92T 2000 Reman
HT 740 Allison
Woodbury CT.
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2012, 07:19:31 PM »

Welcome to our group of deranged people from around the globe!

I am looking forward to seeing a few trillion pictures!

You can see our build here.

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=22081.0
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Dr. Steve, San Juan del Río, Querétaro, Mexico, North America, Planet Earth, Milky Way.
1981 Dina Olímpico (Flxible Flxliner clone), 6V92TA Detroit Diesel
Rockwell model RM135A 9-speed manual tranny.
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100 miles North West of Mexico City, Mexico. 6,800 feet altitude.
Emcemv
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2012, 08:01:54 PM »

Well dr. Steve, you have one nice looking bus, I love the old style.....you have been a busy man!  Will post some pictures In a few days. Thanks for the welcome!
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Bruce & Nancy Fagley
1973 MCI MC-7 Combo Freighter
450HP DD 8V-92T 2000 Reman
HT 740 Allison
Woodbury CT.
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2012, 08:53:24 PM »

Welcome, Name??

What you've got there in Jack's MCI is what's known within the industry as one of the somewhat rare "combo" cars that Greyhound cobbled up.  The goal was to have a more modern version of the Scenicruiser's capability for hauling package express.  'Hound had converted a number of Scenics to only carry 10 passengers downstairs, with the whole upper deck (plus baggage bins) stuffed - literally!

They started with MC-7s, then shoehorned a Scenicruiser rear end under the 7's body shell.  In the process, they had to shorten the wheelbase, as evident by the smaller rear baggage bin (stock 7's all had the same size bins).  Additional changes included a side-mounted radiator with greater capacity than the OEM 7 set-up, as well as other minor items to make everything fit and work.  IIRC, they also installed HT-740 automatics, rather than the original 4-spd.  Rear brakes are the same as the Scenics, but you've got more capability due to 10 tires instead of eight.

Conceptually, it was a good idea, but unfortunately their timing was off - 1973 was when FedEx launched, and the package express side of Greyhound's operations fell dramatically, never to recover.  (Altho they still handle pkgs - same day service under 300 miles, usually.)

I have never heard of UPS utilizing Seven combos, not sure they'd buy a "worn out old hound" as an experiment.  However, Larry Plachno, the editor/publisher of National Bus Trader (an industry trade magazine), had a MC7 Combo that was converted into an RV for awhile.  (www.busmag.com)  If you sent him a note, I'm sure he'd answer some combo-specific questions for you.

If you can, even tho it's short notice, try to get down to Arcadia, FL for the big annual rally being held at the Turner Center.  You'll learn more in 3/4 days from all the other busnuts in attendance than a year's worth of perusing the boards.

There are other bus rallies held thru-out the year, check out the calendar tab above to see what's been posted.  You'll also find some listed in the FMCA mag every month, too.

Thus, welcome to the madness!  The busnutitis is incurable, but it can be controlled.  All it takes is some diesel in the tank and the will to go!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink




PS:  Please take a couple minutes to edit your profile.  Add a signature line that includes at least your first name, home base city/state, and bus make/model.  This will help us help you with question and referrals.  No sense sending you to OR if you're in CT, right?  You might also discover that there's another busnut nearby, too!
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RJ Long
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2012, 03:33:52 AM »

Welcome to the board. I see your in Woodbury Ct, I am in Berlin Ct just south of Hartford off rt 5. Working on my conversion. If you ever want to get together let me know. I would love to see yours, still trying to get idea's.
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Steve Canzellarini
Berlin, CT
1989 Prevost XL
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2012, 05:55:31 AM »

Welcome to the madness Grin I too have a converted MC7 Combo and after 3 years I am still learning about mine. The MC7 combo being a mix of the MCI and Scenicruiser makes it  challenging sometimes to find parts. One source I have found to be of great help for parts is Luke @ US Coach. There are others here too that can help when needed. Again welcome and enjoy the ride.

jeff
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73 MC-7combo
Brenham, Texas
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 06:05:01 AM »

As RJ said, the MC7 Combo was basically a GMC PD4501 in MCI clothes. With that you eliminate two weaknesses of a normal MC7. One is the weird high dual radiator setup using two squirrel cage blowers to pull the air through the radiators with it's very long V-belt. With your setup you use a more normal radiator and fan setup-so hopefully you won't have any over heating problems. And second-with the 8 tires in the rear, you eliminate the tag axle problems. I don't know what tire size you have now, but if you have 12R-22.5's, you could easily change to 11R-22.5's (you're only allowed 34,000lbs on a tandem legally) that are cheaper and very available at truck tire stores.
You made a great choice and I hope you enjoy your new toy. Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2012, 11:36:23 AM »

Welcome to the board, this is indeed a house of nuts.  If you bought a bus, without knowing anything about bussing, (like I did) then you will fit right in.  I remember on the drive home, thinking, have you gone mad, what have I done now.

However, with the help of many many members of this board, I've learn sooooo much.  Smiley

Please ask question, someone here will know what it is, how it works, how to fix it, or where to buy it.   Grin

Oh yes, we LOVE pictures......

Get out and use the bus, it's the best way to learn.  Start with short weekend trips.

Have fun!

Bill W.
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Auburndale, Florida
MCI-9
V-6-92 Detroit, Allison 5 spd auto
Kwajalein Atoll, RMI
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2012, 03:41:04 PM »

Say What Tom???"With that you eliminate two weaknesses of a normal MC7. One is the weird high dual radiator setup using two squirrel cage blowers to pull the air through the radiators with it's very long V-belt. With your setup you use a more normal radiator and fan setup-so hopefully you won't have any over heating problems."

I have a %c and it has the weird (not) dual radiators and the squirrel cage and long V- belt and has no overheating problems. Just saying. Grin Shocked

Welcome new guy, enjoy the ride it will be a wild one, LOL

Dave5Cs

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Emcemv
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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2012, 04:37:28 PM »

Well, you guys have all been great! I thought the BB would be full of new $500k buses and I am surprised and happy to see many owners of the older buses! I just love the classic style over the new ones...many great comments, can't wait to get out in the spring and meet some of you. Very good advice on the tires, the bus has 10 Michelins but they are pretty old, plenty of tread but the big fear is the dry rot. I am planning on the big bill in the next couple of years. Along with the bus, I got a ton of parts and a full set of manuals for the MC-7 and even the MC-9 and the rebuilt DD motor.  One other problem I have is that the original bus AC has leaked out all the freon, I know it was converted and I have freon and a leak detector but I question the wisdom of trying to make that old system leak free. Obviously I can run the generator and house AC but that seems inefficient. I have been looking at the 24vdc truck split systems and that might be a way to go??? I know you all need pictures, I will get on the other PC tonight and post some.....can't do it all from the iPad.
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Bruce & Nancy Fagley
1973 MCI MC-7 Combo Freighter
450HP DD 8V-92T 2000 Reman
HT 740 Allison
Woodbury CT.
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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2012, 05:47:55 PM »

I removed my coach A/C unit. Use the space for storage.  What I was told, was that rebuilding the over the road A/C unit was $1000.00 to $1,400.00.  That they don't set for long periods of time without drying out and needing a rebuild again.  Sometime it would be nice to have it.  The two overheads do a good job, unless I'm driving into the sun.

Just my 2 cents.  I'm sure others will add to this.

Bill W.
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Auburndale, Florida
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V-6-92 Detroit, Allison 5 spd auto
Kwajalein Atoll, RMI
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« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2012, 05:51:35 PM »

Bruce & Nancy,

First off, as others have said WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF NUTS!
Secondly, others have mentioned learn LUKE's # by heart. ( http://usc17.tripod.com/ ) He will be a world of help in supplying parts and info for ya.
He can also help ya decide if it's worth repairing and keeping the original OTR A/C. Or you can contact Lamar Welch @ http://www.welchindustries.com/ he and his company are by far hands down THE BEST in the industry when it comes to motor coach A/C.

Lastly you won't find many of us here with the big ol' glitzy $500,000.00 rigs. (some that look like they have spent that on them with all the time/labor they've spent on the)
Most of the folks that have those types of rigs are afraid they'll get dirty reading and sharing with us "common folk" here on these boards.
Grin  BK  Grin

PS don;t let the couple of fancy rigs in our (dad & I) fleet fool ya. Yes they are those HIGH $ rigs, but they are still working to pay for themselves before they can be converted.
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2012, 06:37:47 AM »

Bruce:

I would recommend against keeping the OTR (Over The Road) A/C system, unless it is working great. Even if it was working and in great shape, (yours is not) it robs horsepower from your bus' engine, and weighs more than an ex mother-in-law. And in a vehicle that old, sooner or later you will get some impossible-to-find leaks.

You might also consider another A/C option. Several of us wacky busnuts have installed ordinary home-style mini-split A/C units. Ours (installed two: one up front, and one in master bedroom. See my build thread for details and pictures.) also have heating strips. They use a max of 8.9 amps @ 120 vac on compressor start up. No problem running off an inverter, when driving down the road. No need to run the genny. Here some links, though if you put "mini split" in these forums' search box, you will get many more:

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=23645.0

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=23522.0

My two pesos' worth.
 
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Dr. Steve, San Juan del Río, Querétaro, Mexico, North America, Planet Earth, Milky Way.
1981 Dina Olímpico (Flxible Flxliner clone), 6V92TA Detroit Diesel
Rockwell model RM135A 9-speed manual tranny.
Jake brakes
100 miles North West of Mexico City, Mexico. 6,800 feet altitude.
Emcemv
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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2012, 06:29:19 PM »

Dr. Steve

All the comments make me think I was on the right track with the AC, It doesn't make sense to keep it. The bus now has 3 built in AC units, not rooftop so running the genset or plugged in, I'm fine, I've checked them all out and they work great.  My only problem is OTR.  I will be looking at the mini-splits for sure although not sure I want to run them off the inverter.  I've got 2000 watts on the inverter but I still like the idea of running them at 24vdc off the bus batteries.

I don't have many pictures yet but I have posted what I have here:  https://picasaweb.google.com/115236002201280195895/DropBox?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCKyc-Nau3Z25Aw&feat=directlink
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Bruce & Nancy Fagley
1973 MCI MC-7 Combo Freighter
450HP DD 8V-92T 2000 Reman
HT 740 Allison
Woodbury CT.
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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2012, 07:36:53 PM »

Bruce!

I'm in CT as well.  Ok, it official, us Nutmeggers need to make an effort to get together.......... hey!  We can call it the Nutmeg State Bus Rally!  Well, we don't need to the buses to start, maybe just a get together at Steve's and check out his progress and kick some idea around......

Non-Nutmeggers welcome... Highlanders (VT), Graniteers (NH), Massachusians (MA), Islanders (RI), Maineiacs (ME) and Gothonians (NY), etc etc.

I'll start a new thread......
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OneLapper
1964 PD4106-2853
www.markdavia.com
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« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2012, 12:11:20 AM »

Bruce -

Some more trivia for you:

50 Scenicruisers gave their soles to become MC-7 Combo cars.  Blitz Body in Chicago did the surgery.

Some folk think that wasn't a very good trade. . . 

 Shocked

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RJ Long
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« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2012, 03:53:16 AM »

Having had the MC7 and a buddy had the scenicruser, there were things about each I liked and some that I did not on each.  Another guy had the Combo setup, did not see anything wrong about it, maybe if I had gotten into the Combo, would have found some negitave things, don't know.
I do know the MC7 was a great experience and I loved it, best toy I ever had.
Dave M
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MCI7 20+ Yrs
Foretravel w/ISM500
WG4T CW for over 50 wpm for ever.
Central Virginia
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« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2012, 07:24:07 AM »

A hearty welcome!
     As for nearby Nuts, if you join FMCA you will have access to several Bus Nut Chapters across the country. For your purposes I would recommend New England's Bussin' Buddies Chapter.
     This spring when you venture out, if you'd like to come south, the Southeast Bus Nuts will have their spring rally at Stone Mountain Park, east of Atlanta. The dates are May 16-19.
     Best of luck in this new phase of your lives. It's a great hobby.
Mike in GA
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Past President, Southeast Bus Nuts. Busin' for more than 12 years in a 1985 MC 96a3 with DD 8v92 and a 5 speed Allison c/r.
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« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2012, 10:47:16 AM »

I am so glad to hear there are several of us nuts in CT!  Good info about the Combo trivia, I learn more each day thanks to you guys!

I remember someone said you guys like a gazillion pictures so I took more today and put them on Google, here is the link:

https://picasaweb.google.com/115236002201280195895/Bus2012Dec?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCJ7bqrOa0-7RrwE&feat=directlink
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Bruce & Nancy Fagley
1973 MCI MC-7 Combo Freighter
450HP DD 8V-92T 2000 Reman
HT 740 Allison
Woodbury CT.
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« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2012, 12:37:14 PM »

Love the pix posted above, always loved the MC7 and with combo drive setup including radiator, so much the better. 
From my experience the only negative with the 7 is the lack of enough cooling, that is where the combo solved that issue. And a good radiator can handle alot of HP, 600+ HP running the east, unknown as how in the west.
Dave M
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MCI7 20+ Yrs
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« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2012, 07:02:05 PM »

Bruce -

This is really an interesting coach.  Besides the Scenic undercarriage, here are some other things I've noticed from your pics:

~~  MC-9 roof cap on front.  Most caps for 7's are incredibly ugly.

~~  Looks like MC-9 windshields.  They're taller than a stock 7.  (Since you're contemplating new windshield rubber, measure the glass L x W, then give Luke a call 1-888-262-2434.

~~  Instrument cluster is MC-8/9 style, not like that of the 5s & 7s.

Here's a couple of pics of a Combo car in Canadian revenue service.  Note air filter on roof!

http://thegreyhoundgroup.blogspot.com/2012/10/greyhound-canada-mci-7-freighter.html


Isn't this fun??

 Wink



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RJ Long
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« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2012, 07:17:33 PM »

Magic Carpet was the predecessor to what is now Marathon Coach in Coburg, OR.
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Emcemv
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« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2012, 07:21:30 PM »

RJ

Thanks so much for the history! I am going to have to keep track of all I'm learning from you guys!!  We have to get the CT bus owners together.  I put the bus to bed for the winter today, got a waterproof tarp covering where the skylines and vents are and they covered the whole roof with a 20x40 silver tarp. Wife says no blue tarps here!! I've got the tires covered as well. PO had a garage so this winter is going to be a shock for her.! One question I wanted to raise was what causes air brakes to fail, loss of air makes them apply so a stuck valve could make them "fail" to apply right? I see in the news trucks that lose their brakes and want to be sure I do everything to prevent this.  Any thoughts or experiences with this?
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Bruce & Nancy Fagley
1973 MCI MC-7 Combo Freighter
450HP DD 8V-92T 2000 Reman
HT 740 Allison
Woodbury CT.
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« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2012, 10:32:41 PM »

I like the pics. What a rare bus.  Like the side radiator. 


Scott
'69 4107
Gladstone, OR
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« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2012, 11:44:20 PM »

RJ, the instrument panel is just like mine, other than the wood. So must be 5C just like the 8 because of the 8 front end?

Dave
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« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2012, 12:25:42 AM »

RJ, the instrument panel is just like mine, other than the wood. So must be 5C just like the 8 because of the 8 front end?


Yup.
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RJ Long
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« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2012, 10:33:58 PM »

Well I'm coming late to this party - but welcome again to the group and I give a hearty thumbs up to dumping the original equipment over the road air conditioning unit unless it is operating properly.  I dumped thousands into mine with 3 different shops.  Still doesn't work.  I'm going to get rid of it & use it for storage, a webasto setup, or something other than the air conditioning unit.  We have 3 roof airs which have served us very well.

Kind Regards, Phil

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« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2013, 08:40:54 AM »

Phil

Thanks to all for the input, my conclusion after all the replies is to ditch the old AC system. We have 3 built in AC units and I think I can run one off the inverter while driving. I will also install a small mini-split in the compartment vacated by the old AC and locate the inside unit up in the front of the bus. 
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Bruce & Nancy Fagley
1973 MCI MC-7 Combo Freighter
450HP DD 8V-92T 2000 Reman
HT 740 Allison
Woodbury CT.
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« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2013, 12:07:46 PM »

Bruce -

IIRC, you should have a switch on the LH side for "driver's air" (if you still have the stock switch panel.)

My suggestion would be to get rid of the big OEM HVAC unit, but leave in all the plumbing and the dash unit.

Hang a small automotive compressor on some new brackets where the big compressor used to sit, driven off the same pulley.  Use that and the OEM plumbing to keep your OEM driver's air while you're on the road.  (You'll need a small condenser mounted somewhere, too.)  Welch Industries down in GA are really good at this type of thing, btw.

No roof air unit can compete with the factory dash air while westbound in the afternoon sun.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2013, 07:29:29 PM »

I recently bought a new 'old bus', too and am about as excited as I was to get my first car. I don't pick it up until next month, so I'm doing a little pre- learning.
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« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2013, 08:01:08 PM »

I recently bought a new 'old bus', too and am about as excited as I was to get my first car. I don't pick it up until next month, so I'm doing a little pre- learning.

Congrats!  When you're ready you should start a new topic and introduce yourself and your new old bus!
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OneLapper
1964 PD4106-2853
www.markdavia.com
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