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Author Topic: American Fork, UT: Recommendation mechanic  (Read 1573 times)
SkellBell
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« on: September 16, 2013, 03:31:10 AM »

http://tradenetrvs.com/classifieds/category/422/MCI/listings/10470/1981-MCI-MC9-Bus-Conversion-in-American-Fork,-UT.html

I am new to this forum but have been "lurking" for the past year.  I am now seriously considering this bus as a fulltime rig. It will be for me and my two cats.  I love the open layout, quirky design, and ease in keeping it clean.  And that all the window are still in - lots of light. However it will need some work for it to be useable in states with cold snaps.   Your thoughts/opinions appreciated.

I would be hugely grateful for a recommendation of a local shop/mechanic to check this bus out.  How much should it cost for mechanical and house systems?  I am from NJ  in the Navy Reserve on extended duty in South Carolina.

Thanks!
Stacie
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chessie4905
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2013, 05:44:56 AM »

   Have you ever been in, with, driven a bus/conversion. I assume that all repairs will be done by a service establishment? A bus conversion is high dollar to use and maintain, especially if others do the work. Have you considered a motor home? They can be serviced and or repaired mostly anywhere at a much lower cost. For example, if engine or transmission goes out, you're looking at 4 to 5 grand each, whereas in a coach, you're looking at 12 to 20+ grand. The living subsystems are basically the same between the two. If you are operating a business out of it, then costs may be more affordable.
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GMC h8h 649#028
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2013, 05:46:20 AM »

repowered with a self engineered cooling system:  Walk away from this one.
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TexasBorderDude
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2013, 06:16:30 AM »

Great advice so far.  As much as we'd like to have more and more in the "fraternity," in my view there's a level of mechanical knowledge of these old machines that's needed to make them manageable financially.  There are obvious advantages in terms of size, safety, etc. to a conversion, but unless can navigate the maintenance mine field, go with a motor home, but stay aboard on the forum!
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2013, 09:09:03 AM »

As others have mentioned, maintenance is the big one. If you can handle that, go for whatever conversion you want.
As far as motorhomes go, I just parted out a 2005 unit which cost the owners $258K when new. It just amazed me how
"cheaply" these units are put together. It had a fire in dash area and interior was totally "smoked". There were 66 - 3/8 stove bolts holding the body to the frame and over half of those were just through OSB/insulation to the frame. The other bolts were through the aluminum framing to the chassis frame. The majority of the aluminum framing was 1.5 x 1.5 tubing which was very thin walled (I could bend a 6' piece in half without trying too hard) Try that with the steel tubing in a bus. The new motorhomes like this one look great and have lots of "glitz" but, the choice is yours.
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Cawston, British Columbia
SkellBell
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2013, 02:17:17 PM »

Yes I will need to have it serviced.  I am not a mechanic. I have considered Motorhomes, 5th Wheels, and TT but the manufacturing seems shoddy at best.  If not a Bus then what Motorhome for fulltime would you recommend.  I am able to park on military bases and the maintenance costs of a bus seem in line with a house.  I have traveled the US, Europe, Canada, and parts of Africa, Middle East, and Asia alone.  I have great coping skills though not an endless wallet.

I spoke to the owner.  He seems a standup guy.  Why walk away from "repowered with a self-engineered cooling system" (dual radiator replaced with large single?) if a mechanic inspects it?
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chessie4905
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2013, 02:55:38 PM »

   Keep in mind that the interior which you like, is pretty basic as far as money that was spent on it. If you decide later that you don't want to keep it, it could be hard to sell. How long has it been for sale? Automatic? 5 to 7 miles to the gallon of $4.15 diesel average nationwide price. Make sure that someone knowledgeable inspects the plumbing and wiring quality. Although rv''s aren't as solidly built as a bus, they aren't all junk. Just look at ones with a better reputation. Holiday Rambler was one, also they are  easier to trade up to a bigger/better one. Not trying to steer you one way or another, just giving realistic advice. 
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GMC h8h 649#028
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2013, 03:04:57 PM »

Overheating on an 8V92 is a formula for a $20,000 rebuild... can I get an amen?  The problem with a self-engineered cooling system is that it's unproven.  I'm not sure that looking at one would give me confidence.  The problem is there is no problem, until there's a problem.  A climb out west on a real hot day at altitude. Are you feeling lucky?


Edit:  Upon reflection, if they guy will give you a little ride about and go through the systems, you're probably better off with a 20k conversion rather than a 20k rv, especially if you like the layout and that's a modest amount to risk (for some Wink ) on a "starter".  Good luck!

Red Rider how far away are you?
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 03:42:28 PM by TexasBorderDude » Logged

A curmudgeon's reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They're neither warped nor evil at heart. They don't hate mankind, just mankind's absurdities. They're just as sensitive and soft-hearted as the next guy, but they hide their vulnerability beneath a crust of misanthropy.
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2013, 03:30:15 PM »

I spoke to the owner.  He seems a standup guy.  Why walk away from "repowered with a self-engineered cooling system" (dual radiator replaced with large single?) if a mechanic inspects it?

It would be difficult for a mechanic to look at a bus sitting in a shop to tell if the cooling is adequate.  The mechanic is unlikely to know if the radiator is the right size for the engine or if the fan is moving enough air just by looking at it.  Detroit two strokes are difficult to keep cool even with the factory setup.

It may work fine on a flat road, but what happens on a hot day climbing a long grade?
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2013, 06:36:43 PM »

 Mikey and I are 221 miles from American Fork.>>>Dan
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Utahclaimjumper 
 EX 4106 (presently SOB)
Cedar City, Ut.
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2013, 05:19:52 AM »

Thanks, Dan... just a thought Smiley
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A curmudgeon's reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They're neither warped nor evil at heart. They don't hate mankind, just mankind's absurdities. They're just as sensitive and soft-hearted as the next guy, but they hide their vulnerability beneath a crust of misanthropy.
wildbob24
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2013, 07:51:38 AM »

Stacie,

On the help-assist list, here: http://www.help-assist-list.com/home.html#UTAH, there is one guy listed in SLC. You might give him a call and maybe he can recommend a local mechanic for you.

As the BorderDude says, a good test drive should reveal any inadequacies in the redesigned cooling system.

Bob
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P8M4905A-1308, 8V71 w/V730
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FolkBus
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2013, 03:30:35 PM »

Never buy without a test drive.  Being that the coach is in American Fork there are ample places for a test drive on a LONG steep grade. The sooner the better as the weather is cooling off.
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Mike and Debbie McNeil  Ridgway - Montrose, CO
1949 Crown SuperCoach (Amazing Grace) Conversion 1972  Pancake 220 Cummins  Fuller 5 Speed

1967 MC-5A  (Serenity)  Conversion 1986  8v-71N   Allison MT-644
SkellBell
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2013, 07:54:50 PM »

I decided not to proceed with this particular bus.  Thanks to each of you for taking the time to help me drill down on this bus' particularly issues.  You all Rock!
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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2013, 10:32:01 AM »

Hi Stacie

Per my comments of the other (ugly) thread, you are doing exactly what needs to be done - ask questions and get opinions.  

Please keep posting new candidates and we will try to give you our best thoughts.

There are lots of folks who will warn you about the cost of buying and maintaining a bus.  It certainly is not for the faint of heart.  That said, the cost of buying and maintaining any other form of RV is not insignificant - as you stated.

The big issue is value.  How do you approach that?  Do you buy an inexpensive bus (that checks out well) knowing that you will have the probability of big dollar repairs?  When those repairs are done (assuming they are done well), you should not have to worry about that issue for a long time.

Or do you buy a higher cost bus (that checks out well) but still has the potential (maybe a bit lower probability) for big repair costs.

One of the best documentations out there is:  http://www.technomadia.com.  Their '61 4106 bus is described here:  http://www.technomadia.com/zephyr/.  It will take you days to go through all that they have posted, but for someone like you, it would be worth it.  They hit a big bump in the road this year (engine rebuild), but they had budgeted for it and now have a bus that should last them for a lifetime (and they are young).  They are folks who pay particular attention to maintenance and that will serve them well.

Hang in there!

Jim
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 10:43:33 AM by rv_safetyman » Logged

Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
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Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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