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Author Topic: I'm confused on what to get...  (Read 2599 times)
TrevorH
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« on: January 10, 2008, 08:38:27 PM »

First off, I am completly new to this whole thing.  I started off by purchasing a 1990 international school bus with a DT360/allison 545, which I quickly relized wasnt gonna cut it.  I have a budget of about $10k for the shell but could save more if it is in my best interest.  What should I get?  Highway fuel economy is #1, undercarrage storage for conversion to dirt bike compartment is necessary.  I really like the MCI-9's, but thinking maybe hold off for a 102" wide body?  Like the idea of increased fuel economy and less cost of a manual but afraid of resale.  My head is spining and I cant sleep cause I am so excited and yet confused at the same time.  Help my out please!!!!
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1987 MCI 102A3 8V92TA 5 spd MT
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TomC
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2008, 09:19:23 PM »

Your right-hold off for a good 102- that extra 6 inches makes a big difference-I know, since I have a 102.  My suggestion would be a MCI 102C3.  Good Luck, TomC
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H3Jim
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2008, 09:28:33 PM »

Not sure what to tell you.  There are very few coaches taht have the high bay space that would allow you to roll the bikes in with no further modification.

Some of the newer MCI models, but they are way more pricey than $10k.  Prevost H3 model, like I have will do it, but even the older two strokes will cost you $30k for a beater.  The Neoplan skyliner / spaceliner, but they have their own set of problems - age/ parts, lots of custom work.  But really coold buses.  see Sean's websiure and Blog at http://ourodyssey.us/

The newer 4 strokes get better mileage, but not really enough better to warrent spending another $20 or $30k for the shell that has it.

Over the holidays I met a fellow busnut that has an MCI 7, that he put a series 50 into and claims and honest 10 mpg.  pretty cool, but unless you are at a very high level mechanically, it will cost big $ to pay someone else to put one in, and for that you might as well as piad for the newer shell to start with. Those MCI's would also not fill the billl for the dirt bike garage (at least not very easily).

You either need a lot more $ than $10k, or be a mecahnical wizard to get what you are looking for.  Unless you can compromise on the fuel mileage.  after all what is good, and how much is it worth to go from 6 mpg to 8 or 10 mpg - how many miles will you put on it?  

The dirt bike thing, how about a trailer?

Keep us posted as you narrow down your choices.  This sure is a great hobby and there are a lot of nice and interesting people that are hooked on it.

Good luck

Jim

and yes that 102C3 is a great bus, but it won't get better than 6 or 7 mpg, and maybe down in the 5's.
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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.
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2008, 10:48:30 PM »

Not very long ago I was in your exact position. I weighed options and learned as much as I could for about 2 years before doing anything, I knew absolutely nothing at the beginning and I'm still new and will be for a long long to come.  I'm humbled all the time by what I see, hear and learn in here. There are some really good people and sources of info here.
Of course I wanted a 102 but I knew my budget was more like a MC9 if I could get lucky!  I sat down and made a list one night of what was important to me and what I just felt would be nice. I decided that for me and my current situation any bus regardless of width that was already stripped of seats etc would be a strong plus and if I could beg God for one that had already been raised that would really be great. There is no way I could do that here and with a torn rotator cuff on the mend I couldn't physically do it anyway.
 Windows replaced would be a plus but I just decided that I'd really take whatever platform came my way that was strong and I could afford. The main thing was that I needed something that was a good runner and not rusted or trashed. Most of everything I looked at was trash though!
After a while I had actually pretty much given up on anything at all and was going to bail out and just look into a 5th wheel or something but then out of the blue a decent bus came around and it was even in my home town! It was already stripped, new framing,  raised, new panels, caps and dash (full R&M kit) and the guy who sold it to me was a diesel mechanic and had gone through the engine including new larger injectors. Everything seemed to run alright and the P.O told me that he'd be happy to remain involved with the project and help me with anything he could...and he has, he even gave me spare parts, tools and manuals. The best part was that he REALLY made me a great deal. It was the proverbial "wife doesn't want it around anymore and I've lost interest" type of thing.

The problem (if you'd call it that) was that the bus was an MC8. Well tough, it was a great deal, not a 102 or anything with a new series engine but it's mine and I own it. I didn't have to break the bank for it and I have a little extra money to work on it. Heck, for what I payed I won't cry about fuel prices for a while!

Bottom line is you gotta figure out how much you can spend, how long you're willing to wait for what you want and what you're really willing to accept. Yeah, I'd like a 102, I'd like a Prevost but I got my MC8 and I don't think it was a bad deal for my first bus.
It's your bus...or will be, decide what you can accept and keep looking for it. Great expectations and dreams are nice but it's better to actually get involved and doing!

Sorry for the novel. Tongue Grin

Good luck,

-Dave
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'75 MC-8   'Event Horizon'
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Salt Lake City, Utah

"Have bus will travel read the card of the man, a Knight without armor in a savage land...."
RJ
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2008, 11:12:24 PM »

Nasty 530 -

We'd love to help you out. . . which way did you come in?? 

(Sorry, very, very bad joke!!)   Roll Eyes


Seriously, what do you want to DO with your coach?  You've got to answer that first, before shell shopping can begin.

For example, if you want to spend time off-road, you're better off with your skoolie.  Highway models do not boonie-bounce very well, are quick to get stuck, and can hi-center easily in that type of use.

Fuel mileage is a moot point when you're talking about a vehicle that has the aerodynamics of a brick trying to be pushed thru the air at 70 mph.  5 - 7 mpg is average normal, regardless of whether it's an automatic or stick.   BTDT.

Biggest & tallest baggage bins are found on the GMC Buffalos (PD4107/4108 (35') and PD4903/4905 (40")), followed by the new Setra 417s and Prevost H3 series.  MCIs are small in comparison.  Even in the Buffalos, you'd still probably have to lower the handlebars to get them in - and you'd have to back 'em in too, in order to clear the center tunnel.  Maybe not, depends on the bike.

If you're worried about resale, it' ain't gonna happen.  The market's VERY depressed right now, with no real signs of recovery - just like real estate.  Easy now to buy a bus, any type, but much harder to sell a mistake.  It is easier to resell an automatic, yes, but that's just it - it's easier.  Doesn't necessarily mean you'll get any money out of it. 

As H3Jim posted, $10K's not going to get you much, altho with this depressed market, anything's possible.  The GM's are in this price range for a shell, a 417 is going to be 30x that amount.

With this depressed market, there are also some VERY good deals on units that are already converted.  Don't overlook those, either. 

You've got to REALLY do your homework on this before you plunk down your cash!!  This is where the Internet will become your friend, real fast.  And I don't mean just shopping for a shell - I mean learning about this whole crazy hobby/lifestyle.  And that's what it is, a lifestyle.

PM me if you want more info off-line.  I spent 25+ years in the bus industry, the majority in Operations Management and Training, so I know a little of what I speak.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink



PS:  Please take a minute and edit your profile to include your city and state.  You might find that other busnuts are in your area, plus it helps us guide you to local services.
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RJ Long
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2008, 05:51:25 AM »

Nasty530

First post, welcome

Find yourself a cheap RTS. Use the front for a camper and the back door for a bike garage.
They are low enough that you won’t need a ramp for the dirt bikes.
 Shocked
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MCI-9
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cody
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2008, 06:13:31 AM »

Just as a thought you might want to check with Busted Knuckle here on the board, he has a Setra and I've seen the bay height, that  has enough height to roll the bikes into without any problem, he's been running setra's for a while and he likes them. as far as converting, I'm not sure how they are but I know they have a tremendous amount of storage space in the bays and they would be more than tall enough for the bikes.
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H3Jim
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2008, 08:18:50 AM »

Russ, my H3 has 44" high bays.  And I do need to turn down the bars for my quad and / or my Harley.

Setra 417 might be a good one to look at too.  Some of the Van Hool models have high bays as well.
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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.
makemineatwostroke
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2008, 08:30:10 AM »

Hey, a man with a 10,000 budget and telling him to look at a Setra 417 the Mercedes,Cadilac and Lexus of all buses
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 08:39:52 AM by makemineatwostroke » Logged
H3Jim
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2008, 08:44:52 AM »

We can dream and after all he has not really said much about what he wants to use it for, what his budget really is etc.  He said he can save more $ if its worth it.  When I was looking, I looked at everything, even stuff I couldn't afford.  In fact, I couldn't afford what I bought, but after a year and a half of looking and agonizing I figured out a way to scare up the $ anyway.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 09:46:45 AM by H3Jim » Logged

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.
makemineatwostroke
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2008, 09:43:39 AM »

Nasty530, this a good site for you to look at before buying a bus



http://busforsaleguide.com/bus_prepurchase_checklist.htm     Just click the bus make on the right hand side for info about each bus
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 10:32:34 AM by makemineatwostroke » Logged
tekebird
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2008, 10:17:43 AM »

OK being a lifelong dirtbiker I have some insight here.

I would buy a ADA bus with the wheel chair lift over the drive axle....this would alow you to buld a bulkhead just forward of that and have a nice built in trailer.

In all honesty, depending on your dirt biking travels a trailer and a tow vehicle may be a better option.

feel free to email me at tekebird@yahoo.com  to discuss directly








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uncle ned
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2008, 10:23:01 AM »



    Being a lifelong dirt biker i have ended up with a 35 ft. gm [to get into all the places that we race] and a 63 ford econoline van to put two dirt bikes in,also for transportation while at the race. The van pulls better than a trailer. has no load on the bus.

as fast fred says do it my way

uncle ned
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2008, 10:33:45 AM »

You might consider hauling the dirt bikes on a frame mounted rack on the rear of the coach. The reciever hitch, bike haulers can hold quite a load.  The same as reciever hitches.

Ed
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2008, 11:43:04 AM »

The Eagle's have taller storage bays  ( 36" I believe?)  than the MC9s, and would have a potentially lower cost.   
Trailer idea seems good to me.  I've seen a couple of busses where the back opened up to enable a garage - slick!  Requires good skills or $$$ to do of course.

Best of Luck! Phil
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DavidInWilmNC
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2008, 01:14:39 PM »

Are the dirt bikes 2-strokes?  If so, just drain the fuel and lay 'em on their sides in a bay (in a way so they don't bank around, of course).  If not, or even if so, I like the idea of a van to put 'em in.  A regular or extended (15 passenger) E250 or 350 van would hold a lot of stuff and not put much tongue weight on the hitch, like Uncle Ned has mentioned.  This is what I'm going to do for my smallish Yamaha Virago.  A drive shaft disconnect such as www.remcotowing.com/drive_shaft.php would prevent transmission damage.  It'd be a good vehicle for getting stuff for the bus if you don't already have a van or truck.  Alternately, would they fit in the back of a 4x4 pickup?  If it has 'N' on the transfer selector, you're all set!  Putting the bikes somewhere other than in the bus itself would give you a LOT more options for bus selection.  $10K should buy you a nice MC-8 or -9.  They're only 96" wide, but unless you've got a lot more cash, want a transit bus, or are going to be living in it, those two are good models.  Parts are readily available and inexpensive for both.

David
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Stan
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2008, 01:35:51 PM »

Here is another possibility than a trailer.

http://idahotote.com/
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2008, 02:13:44 PM »

Hate to ask this, but here goes.....what is exactly wrong with your Binder Schoolie?  You mentioned dirt bikes....yeah...understand that...we used to run trials bikes years ago.  Your schoolie will go practically anywhere.....our coach type coaches are strickly on-pavement and even there we can get stuck.  Consider what you have now as an "Expedition Motorcoach".

Have you considered just keeping/converting what you have?  How about just getting another larger bike/goodie pull trailer for your International.  Nothing wrong with your drivetrain other than maybe not having a lockup clutch in your 545.  But...then again...maybe you do.  Just get there more slowly and enjoying the trip to and from the boonies.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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TrevorH
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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2008, 06:05:54 PM »

My problems with the skoolie are:
1. Not tall enough inside (I'm 6'3" and the roof height is 6'2" before adding insulation etc)
2. Top speed sucks at only 55mph and is pretty much all out of RPM's
3. I plan on spending the time and money to do it right the first time and dont want to put alot of $ into a skoolie that has NO resale.

For an end result I want a fully decked out bus that can last me 15-20 years.  I dont want to spend alot of time and money on one and to later decide that I should have...  I am really mechanical and can build most of what I want.

If I went the route of a 102C3 what kinda cost (realistically) would I be able to find if I stuck with it and waited for the "great deal"?

Again, thanks for all the help for a newbie to the lifestyle and sight...  Thanks everyone
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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2008, 05:21:13 AM »

I bought an mc 12 from abc bus for 12,000 a little over 10 but I really like it and am in the conversion stage now
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H3Jim
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« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2008, 05:18:48 PM »

Nasty530

Engine and tranny make a big difference here.  I assume you are ok with a 6 or 8 cylinder 2 stroke.  How about tranny - stick or automatic?  Although I'm not sure if any of the C3's have sticks, as the autos were getting poplular before they came out.  Ask Mike (MAK) who owns this board, he's in the business, and might be able to help you sort this out.  He is always coming acoss good buses.
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Jim Stewart
El Cajon, Ca.  (San Diego area)

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« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2008, 05:28:57 PM »

I don't know the guy personally but I've also heard that Bob Tucker out of Marion Arkansas is an honest man and has pretty good deals mostly on MCI's.
From those I've talked to he gets them used and passes them on to others for fair prices and they have been happy with him.

Also heard there was guy in Reno, Nevada?
There is a tour company here in SLC that is going out and they're selling cheap. They sold a seated bus on Ebay for $4k.

Not to steal any of Mikes thunder.......
« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 05:30:46 PM by Paladin » Logged

'75 MC-8   'Event Horizon'
8V71  HT740
Salt Lake City, Utah

"Have bus will travel read the card of the man, a Knight without armor in a savage land...."
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