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Author Topic: New guy with questions  (Read 4417 times)
H3Jim
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« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2006, 01:26:25 PM »

Larry,

Maintenance is everything, and church groups have bad reputation for skimping on maintenance, which in turn typically makes those coaches a poor investment over time.  This group may be different, but you can tell from their records or lack thereof.
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Jim Stewart
El Cajon, Ca.  (San Diego area)

Travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on, deep  and permanent, in the ideas of living.
Buffalo SpaceShip
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2006, 02:00:14 PM »

I second Jim's points. I briefly owned a church's MC8 and it was the most poorly-maintained thing I've ever seen... the air filter was almost full of sludge, there was coolant in the oil, the brakes were shot, air dryer never serviced, and they had been running it on 15w-40.

Buffs are great coaches. I have one myself. It'd be greater still if someone has put an automatic in it, since it lends itself better to camping than the overly-tall first and reverse on the 4-speed.

But heed all of our advice here about churches, and inspect that baby head to toe. Demand records, etc.  I truly believe most churches expect God to take care of the maintenance!

HTH,
Brian
« Last Edit: December 09, 2006, 02:03:40 PM by Buffalo SpaceShip » Logged

Brian Brown
4108-216 w/ V730
Longmont, CO
Larry
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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2006, 04:16:59 PM »

Thanks for the heads up! I'll be sure to ask lots of maintenance questions. If I'm lucky someone at their church who knows what he's doing has been taking care of everything. But I'm not holding my breath.
They are asking 5k for the bus. In my opinion everything should be good to go for that money. Anything less will be reflected in my offer. Things such as massive amounts of smoke on startup, continued smoking after warm up and especially rust rot will kill any offer. I'll write up a check list for inspection. Or is there one online somewhere? Any suggestions on what to ask about and look for? Being as ignorant about coaches as I am I know I will overlook something major.
I'll have my camera for pics and take lotsa notes. No purchase on first visit. Gotta do some research for a few days after, and ask lots of questions here  Grin

Larry
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If our spirit lives forever I'm no more dead now than I'll ever be
belfert
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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2006, 05:44:52 PM »

You're expecting an awful lot if you think a $5,000 bus is going to be ready to roll with no problems.  I would expect you will find at least one of your three problems.

My advice would be to find a bus garage (not a truck garage) to look it over before purchase.  A good bus mechanic knows a lot about this buses and things to look for.

Brian Elfert
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Buffalo SpaceShip
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« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2006, 07:12:17 PM »

Larry, you might "shout out" where you live and see if another experienced busnut would be willing to check out the coach with you. I, for one, love busses wouldn't blink at the opportunity to check one out with a wannabee, and I know others here are like that, too.

Main thing to check are the expen$ive items... corrosion (expect some, but not a lot), engine, tranny, brakes, and suspension components (radius rod bushings, exp.). Tires can get spendy, but there's only six on a Buff. Do check the fronts for uneven wear, possibly indicating alignment issues. Air bellows wouldn't be a deal-killer for me, since they're fairly cheap and easy to replace. With the DD3 parking brakes, make sure they release and set immediately. Fixing those can get pricy in a hurry.

Any 30 year-old coach will need some attention on the part of the owner. But you want to avoid inheriting someone else's issues.

Do take pics, post 'em someplace, take lots of notes, and we'll be happy to be your "eyes and ears". Brian E's. advice about a bus mechanic is sound. Depending on where you live, you might struggle to find someone qualified. If you have a transit authority nearby, their garage would be the best place to ask around for contacts.

HTH,
Brian B.
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Brian Brown
4108-216 w/ V730
Longmont, CO
TomC
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« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2006, 07:18:59 PM »

It can cost between $1,500 and $2,000 to regear a V drive.  I have 4.625 with the V730 and 11R-24.5 gives me 65mph at 2100rpm.  4.11 would give 1800rpm at 65 mph-which I'd like to change to, but is hard to find, and cruising at 65mph is just fine with me.  With the V730 only being a 3 speed, you have to watch your startability when getting high speed gears.

I am also 6'3" and my AMGeneral 10240B has a flatter roof than most.  So with my shower stall about 10 inches out from the wall, can easily stand in it.  Also, then you don't have to go through the massive job of raising the roof.  Suggest you look at the MCI 102C3.  It has 6'10" headroom also, with big under storage, and can still get parts for it.  Has a straight drive too.  I only did the transit because I didn't have the money to buy an MCI/Prevost/Van Hool/Setra type.  While you'll save money with the transit (I paid $4,000), you'll spend alot of time with the bus blocked up and on your back making brackets and mountings for the tanks and creating a place for the generator (I have a 10kw Powertech) and storage (I created a 99" wide x 22" high x 66" long under storage that isn't full and holds lots).  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
Larry
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« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2006, 03:23:20 PM »

Back to the drawing board - the bus has been sold.
Glad I found out before driving half way across the state!

Larry


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NJT5047
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« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2006, 06:01:09 PM »

All buses have "stress" associated with ownership. Just different sources. I'd forgo the skoolie thing unless you plan to use it in "no rules" camping areas. Most campgrounds (a good many campgrounds?) won't allow "hoods" to park. That's why they ask you to describe the year model and make of your MH when making reservations.
A flat-nosed pusher can be made nice, but won't have the storage capacity of an OTR coach. The roof will have to be raised on a skoolie to be useful as an RV. If you're less than 6' tall, transits and most highway coaches have enough headroom to live comfortably.
A skoolie will have almost no value when completed...while a highway coach may get your parts investment back...you'll not likely see any return on time...such is how hobbies go. The costs to convert either skoolie or highway coach would be about the same. Cost of the shell would be the difference.
I would think you could find an MC5 thru 9, or a GM for a reasonable price. Hope you're a mechanic! Wink
Check'em out carefully before buying. You can get soooo screwed with a used coach.
About the only thing that's really less expensive on a skoolie would be maintenance. Transits and highway coaches requires a good bit of maintenance. But, the ride is better, safety is better, bay storage on highway coaches is great.
If you can do your own maintenance, you're halfway there!
Good luck, JR
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
87 MC9, 6V92TA DDEC, HT748R ATEC

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Busted Knuckle
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« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2006, 09:27:53 AM »

Larry,

You mentioned OKC in on of your posts. Are you in or near OKC? If so, or even if yer not but considering buying a unit from that area I'd highly reccomend you get ahold of Ed at Jefferson Bus in OKC for an inspection! Just my opinion, no charge, and have fun! BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
KY Lakeside Travel's Busted Knuckle Garage
Huntingdon, TN 12 minutes N of I-40 @ exit 108
www.kylakesidetravel.net

Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
Larry
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« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2006, 02:57:14 PM »

Hey thanks for the heads up about ED. I haven't made any commitments on a coach yet but the odds are that more will be found in the OKC area than near me. I am in N.E. Oklahoma about 45 minutes east of Tulsa.

I've still have the skoolie option open. My dad suggested that because I have never done a conversion I should do a skoolie first and then upgrade to a highway coach. Hmmmm - sounds like twice the work to me. His idea is that since I have a travel trailer for parts I could build a rolling fishing camp first and do it on the cheap.
With that in mind I stopped by the local school bus garage and talked with an old friend who is the head mechanic there. He and the garage manager pointed out a bus they say has no mechanical problems whatsoever and is only being taken offline due to age.
It's a 1989 International (mfg date) - Ward body - ameritrans - (sold as new 1991)
International 7.3L diesel w/162k miles - allison 4sp auto
slick for it's age - clean and straight -- tires 75% all around

They said their buses usualy sell in the $1,000 range give or take a few hundred.
I'm thinking $1500 may buy it.

What is it really worth? What would be a good bid?

Looking for opinions or comments - I promise not to blame anyone if I pay to much or fail to bid enough. Making the proper bid is my responsibility and I'm just looking for input.

Thanks

Larry
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buswarrior
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« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2006, 06:38:52 PM »

Hello

TomC.... are you sure about that MCI headroom?

I think its a little shorter than 6'10" inside, unless its some raised converter coach. I'm 6'4" and have "sufficient" clearance in a stock seated 102 D, E and J. "Sufficient" being "somewhat" better than my MC8!

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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H3Jim
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« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2006, 07:26:02 PM »

It seems like generally schoolies go for $500 to $1000.  But I agree, its sounds like twice the work.  I'd go for the best shell you can afford that meets your needs.

6'10" is what the specs say for the MCI 102C3, although I've never actually measured one.  They are definitely taller than most others
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Jim Stewart
El Cajon, Ca.  (San Diego area)

Travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on, deep  and permanent, in the ideas of living.
Dreamscape
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« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2006, 07:33:39 PM »

If you are young enough to enjoy your efforts do it your way, once or twice. Listen to your inner voice.

I would suggest designing what you want on paper first then see what works. Also what fits in your budget.

If I might make an observation. DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME. There might not be a second. They include a lot of hard work and time, plus you must have the funds to do it.

A lot of folks start out on their dream coach then get bummed out, not enough time or money or both.

Just my thoughts,

Paul

Dreamscape
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RJ
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« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2006, 07:54:42 PM »

Larry -

Read my comments regarding a skoolie in this thread asked by Kevin, a newbie like yourself:

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=2733.0

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
PD4106-2784 No More
Fresno CA
Larry
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« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2006, 08:13:11 PM »

I'm not sure what happened to my post I just sent but it didn't post - hmmm

Anyway - thanks to everyone for their comments. I have been switching back and forth between coach and skoolie but after today I have to draw a line in the sand and go with a skoolie. I know many of you will roll your eyes and some will read no further than the first sentence, but the truth is my physical limitations and finances dictate that a coach is biting off more than I can chew.

Best to Ya's

Larry
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If our spirit lives forever I'm no more dead now than I'll ever be
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