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Author Topic: NEED HELP - Please, I am new to motorhomes and looking to buy 1973 MCI  (Read 2116 times)
jafours
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« on: February 17, 2013, 07:30:07 PM »

Hello there,
My name is Abu and I am new to motorhomes. While doing an internet search for an older but decent condition motorhome I found a 1973 MCI for sale. The owner is a claims to be a mechanic and he owns it for 8 years. He bought it from Greyhound where he used to work. He is being telling me that the bus is mechanically in a good shape. I am planning for a trip to FL US from Alberta Canada this summer. Can anyone of you please guide me what to look for in the bus to make sure it is a dependable bus. I have attached couple of pictures that I got from the owner. Following are some of the details;
1) 1973 (no info about mileage);
2) Windshield is cracked and need replacement to pass insurance test;
3) Burns oil while running (4/5 L from CA-USA to Vancouver- Canada)
4) 8V71 engine;
5) No AC  Sad
6) 4SP manual transmission;

Do you guys think its too old to be a trust worthy bus? I look forward to your mentoring to help me buy this bus. This bus is several hours drive from my place and I only planning to make a trip only if I know the trip worth it.

Best Regards,

Abu
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Slow Rider
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 07:41:02 PM »

Hi Abu and welcome to the forum.  Where is the bus located?  Perhaps there is a bus nut close by who can look at it for you.  If nothing else please find a bus mechanic to have a look at it.  The age itself is not a problem if it was maintained.  Enjoy the ride.

Frank
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The MCI has landed..... We are home.
Dale City Va.  Just a southern suburb of DC
Yes I am a BUSNUT
1976 MCI MC8
jafours
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2013, 08:00:21 PM »

Hello Frank,
Thanks. The bus is in Calgary, Alberta area. I am really looking forward to get some help.

Best Regards,

Abu,
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robertglines1
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 08:17:20 PM »

Welcome: Would get one of the bus guys involved here. Very rare Greyhound would have a bus that vintage around 10 yrs ago. Might check over at Busnuts online web site also.  That trip is a long one and allot of very hot humid weather in the summer. Very high hummidity in the south east USA.  Prob figure fuel about 7mpg average. Check tire mfg date.  They could look great but could be getting really old. Pretty well done at 10 years or sooner no matter how good they look. Close to $500 each to replace.  Did't say run the other way-- just have it checked out. 2nd opinion.  A buck now can save you thousands later.   Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
Tikvah
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 05:10:19 AM »

The one picture looks pretty straight.  Adding oil can be just a normal part of these big beasts, however a worn engine can get expensive.  
Once you get behind the wheel of a bus like that you'll be hooked no matter the details.  The addiction has no cure... so be careful.

With a few more details on engine condition, tires, brakes, etc, we could all give you our opinions on the price/value of the bus.

What is it like inside?  Is it fully converted?  Does it have batteries/inverter?  Tanks?

Dave
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 05:12:05 AM by Tikvah » Logged

I couldn't repair my brakes, so I made my horn louder.
1989 MCI-102 A3
DD 6V92 Turbo, Alison
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Started in Cheboygan, Michigan (near the Mackinaw Bridge).  Now home is anywhere we park
Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 05:19:01 AM »

Pretty straight looking 5B from those 2 pictures. Need more pictures!!!!
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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
Dreamscape
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 05:26:13 AM »

Several things come to mind. Even if the bus is truly dependable, stuff happens. A coach with that age can be a good one. It all depends if it spent it's life in the north, salt roads. Then I would run away fast.

A manual 4 speed is no big deal until you get to my age, then the left knee can feel it's age from double clutching. Our Eagle had a manual 4 speed and I just change it to an Allison 740 automatic. Now it is a pleasure to drive. The change over cost some bucks. Buy a coach with it already done. It will save you in the long run.

Ours also has an 8V71N. Not the most powerful and quickest going up hills, but we make it. I also replaced the old engine with a fresher one and mated it to the Allison. It was a lot of work, but enjoyed it.

If you aren't mechanically inclined, the labor on working on one can beat you up.

Look at a lot of coaches before you buy. Get educated on the different makes and models. Learn the history on where it came from and get a qualified mechanic to look at with you.

Whatever you do, once you buy one, you are hooked forever. It is a fun hobby that will take you on a journey that is worthwhile. Besides, you get to meet the best folk in the world along the way.  Cool
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Becky and Paul Lawry, On The Road
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lostagain
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 07:00:43 AM »

Abu,

nice looking MC5A. (Ed, looks to me like a 5A with the bullet clearance lights). The body is in nice shape. You need to look for rust on the frame under the stainless skin. 4/5 L oil from California to Vancouver is not excessive. It could be a good bus, as long as the price is right. Are you willing/able to do your own maintenance and repairs? There will be lots, even if the bus is in good shape now. I will be in Calgary this week or next. Let me know if you want me to look at it. Contact info in my profile.

JC
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JC
Invermere, BC
1977 MC5C, 6V92/HT740
Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 07:14:33 AM »

JC, i thought it was a 5A at first glance too.  Then i saw it is supposed to be a 1973 bus so i looked it up. The 5A was built from 64 to 70, the 5B from 71 to 77.  Grin
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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 07:23:22 AM »

Looks like the side windows may have been changed to Motion Windows, thats about 3-4 grand right there!
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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
bevans6
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2013, 07:36:39 AM »

Well, it starts when it's cold out, that's good.  It's been winter driven, that's bad...  Smiley

If you can find the serial number, maybe you can match it on this list:  http://web.archive.org/web/20021112061647/http://www.angelfire.com/ca/TORONTO/mci5.html

Brian
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1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
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bkelly1011
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2013, 07:53:48 AM »

Hello Abu and welcome -

Sorry, I misread your post and thought you were living in FL.  Please disregard any earlier versions of this.

Take care,
Brad
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Busnut wannabe.
bobofthenorth
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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 08:04:50 AM »

If you are serious about buying this bus Abu then take JC up on his offer to look at the bus.  I can't think of anyone else close by who will do any better.  I can think of one other guy in Calgary but his experience is with newer units.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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lvmci
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2013, 09:26:25 AM »

Welcome Abu, look for rust hi & low, then look.again, the surge tank support at the very top of the fan box compartment above engine compartment if it is rusted out, thatt is a bad sign, look for aged rubber hoses and belts, search on this site for how to read DOT tire age date, rubber in engine and tires will be expensive, you may have to replace some just to bring home in order not to get stranded, latches for baggage door locks are not stainless steel, look to see if rusted out, also a bad sign, if at all possible. Bringing along, an experienced busnut it is your best hedge against falling in luv with an old girl with a terminal illness, lvmci...
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Mci 102C3 8V92, Allison 4 speed 740
Formally MCI5A 8V71 Allison MT643
qayqayt
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2013, 10:16:22 AM »

You will probably require an upgrade on your drivers license for an airbrake endorsement. Alberta might be different, but you should check it out. 
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Bryan
Vancouver BC
GM PD-4108
robertglines1
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« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2013, 11:23:41 AM »

See: you did come to the right place. You might have found your treasure rite off!  Just ck it out. No one here want's your first experience to end in a money pit.   Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
jafours
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« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2013, 07:37:06 PM »

Thank you very much all for all your advice I am glad I join this group. JC..thank you very much for your offer to help. I will upload couple of small clips on youtube that I got from the owner (after securing his permission of course  Wink) and will provide the links. Based on the suggestions posted I will contact the owner and will find out the information and will share.

Best Regards,

Abu
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TomC
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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2013, 07:36:59 AM »

When I bought my '77 10240B AMGeneral in 1993, I paid $4,000 for it since that's all the cash I had. It originally had a 270hp 8V-71 with V730 and 5.57 rears that topped out at 55mph. I traded a '79 GMC Astro cabover with a silver 6V-92TA to my mechanic for him to install Jake brakes, change the rears to 4.56, change the front grease bearings to oil, changed the belt drive radiator fan to gear driven, and change the 12R-22.5 tires to my 11R-24.5's. Then since then I've had the engine overhauled (block bored to straighten the bores and installed over sized liners with standard interiors to use my pistons over again), the engine turbocharged and air to air intercooled with larger injectors, new radiator, additional transmission cooler with fan, larger air cleaner, changed to a turbo muffler, changed the air assist steering to Shepard power steering, replaced all the air bags (Cool, rebuilt the V730 transmission, rebuilt the alternator, rebuilt the air compressor, new air/water separator, rebuilt the starter. Basically, everything in the engine compartment was rebuilt.
My point? Yes I only spent $4,000 on the original bus. But spent another $35,000 over the years to get it to the point mechanically that I wanted. It will ultimately be better to buy a bus that has the exact power plant you want in it then modifying it. There are numerous already converted buses on the market and also recent 40ft x 102 wide buses-the MCI 102C3 is my favorite. Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
lostagain
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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2013, 07:52:15 AM »

I spoke with Abu last night. We are going to meet soon to look this bus over. He says the seller is a retired Greyhound mechanic. The bus seems to be mostly stock with the 8V71 and 4 speed manual. Seller says recent new clutch. There is a very basic, simple conversion upstairs with everything but AC. If everything looks as good as the body on the pictures, it would be a good buy. The seller is not asking a lot of money. Anyway, we'll see what we can see...

JC
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JC
Invermere, BC
1977 MC5C, 6V92/HT740
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