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Author Topic: P8M4904A #724 lots and lots of ???? and a long post  (Read 3952 times)
mike davis
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« on: January 21, 2008, 01:37:07 PM »

 Huh

 
Hi you all,

Jack referred me over here from the GMC Busnuts Google group. 

Let me give you a fast explaination of what I know about coaches.  In 30 years I started on with a '48 Chevy School Bus and the last coach I had was a TDM5302 which I built from scratch essentially. 

The 4904 is newer technology than I'm used to.  Some things stayed the same and some changed. 

Now, for number 724. 

724 originally worked for liberty lines.  After that it was purchased by a guy who sold his own dog food and delivered it around the US.  Right towards the end of that time the engine and transmission were rebuilt.  He parked it about 2 trips later.  Then the person I'm in the process of aquiring this from, he's dead, it's actually his wife, bought it, moved it, started to convert it about 8 years ago.  He got about 60% done with the conversion.  It has a large diesel Onan Generator.  He died from Cancer, and since he was dead he could no longer start the bus, so it has not been started in at least a year and a half. 

Well, about 8 months ago we started looking at it and now agreed to purchase it if it runs, holds air, and the transmission does what it's supposed to. 

The point it's at right now with us is the 8D's were down.  I've got one of them coming back to life slowly but surely on a trickle charger, but because it sat so long and it's below freezing and very cold here I don't want to attempt to start it until we at least have 48 hours above freezing.  Got a half gallon of delo sitting outside and you can practically paint with it. 

Now, I'll do a cut and paste of the questions I put up on the Yahoo group and if anyone can chime in and give their opinions and experiences doing things like this, please let me know. 

Thanks.

I went back over and looked a lot harder today at the coach.

These are the things that stick out to me, and I'll post some
pictures.

First I checked the electrical system. Got 24 volts up. One of the
batteries is coming back.

First thing I noticed in the drivers compartment is the dash and some
of the accessory panel switches were sticking. Also, it has a
transit/commuter conversion for the turn signals. They're on the
floor.

Opened up the bay doors. The electrical harness appeared intact.
When I opened up the engine compartment and looked at the rear engine
control panel the panel had been left open for God knows how many
years. Mud bugs apparently found a nice place to make their nest. A
little bit of spaghetti. Essentially it needs to be fully
disassembled, everything cleaned, then put back together and sealed
back up.

The radiator has seeps. I didn't see any freeze damage. The tanks
look fine and it's a 4 pass radiator. I have no clue what the coil
cost now.

On the passenger entry door side all of the bay doors including the
battery compartment door are sprung off their top hinges they are not rubber. The middle
cargo/ baggage door had taken curb damage.

The 110 house power was not running conduit and just wire nutted
together. I didn't get as far as the house panel because it was
sleeting on me at the time. I've got a quick pic of the generator,
which I'll post. It's a large water cooled diesel onan.

I'm just trying to wrap my mind around 40ft. of coach sitting for
most of 10 years wondering how much effort it would take to make it
go approximately 2300 miles within the next 6 months or less. The
tire part is there but I have to say I am really scared of Alison
Transmission. And it was the original equipment. I looked for any
signs of retro fitting and did not see any sign that it ever had a
manual. I did noticed that the coach air is intact totally. And
there's one cracked window, but the replacement is there. Also the
engine compartment door supports have to be welded.

So, if people could give me their opinions, I'd appreciate it. I
really don't want to start it and try to air it up until it's above
freezing for a couple of days.

Thanks for everybody that's emailed me. I'll try to get back to you
I've just been busy.

Mike







 
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H3Jim
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2008, 01:54:40 PM »

As you know, sitting is not good for these coaches.  You are taking a risk, as there will be things that don't work, or need replacement, and they may not all show up immediately - read before you buy it.  I hope the price reflects this.  I would hope below $5k.

The allsions have been pretty bulletproof, but it does have a lot of miles on it.
Onans do not have a good reputation.

While the batteries are coming back slowly, it sounds like you should just count on buying some new ones here even it will start.  They are pretty old, and we all just get tired with age.

If you have no idea what the radiator cost these days, its sounds like you are going to get aquainted fast with that cost.  count on a new one.

So it all comes down to cost and your time, if the project seems worth it.  There are a lot of really good running coaches around.

Since I'm not familiar with the specifics of the 4104, I will let others chime in here.  Best of luck to you no matter what you decide to do.
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Jim Stewart
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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 #2 on: January 21, 2008, 02:00:57 PM »

Mike,

I talked to you on the GMC board. Glad to see you made it over here.

By the way... It's a P8M4905A.... not a 4904.... no such crittur.

P stands for Parlor and M stands for Manual transmission... Which is what that coach originally came with. Not the VS2 that's in it.

It's hard to give you any advice on this coach until you actually have it running and aired up.

You would probably be well off to just go buy a pair of Group 31 truck batteries and see if you can fire it up.

You may also want to see if it has an engine block heater... if it does, you can plug it in for a few hours and it will be nice and toasty warm.

Supposing the engine does start, and that it does air up, and the transmission goes into gear, You should have little or no problem taking it as far as you need to.
The old Detroits and Allisons were built to be used, they won't shift like a car and were never meant to, they are built to move many tons of steel and aluminum down the road.

Don't worry about it so much, your in a great place now, if you take it across country and something happens, there are more than likely some bus nuts from this board and the GMC board that will pitch in to give you a hand.

By the way, if you kind of gave us an idea where you are and where the bus is, and where you need to take it, maybe someone could go look at it for you and help you get it ambulatory!

Good Luck,

Dallas
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tekebird
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2008, 02:25:59 PM »

as there is no such beast as a 4904 I am assuming it is a 4905 considering it was ex liberty lines and a an auto.

first we have to know what the price is.

IMHO......being that ist is 2300 miles from where you want it and has been sitting that long..and having spent at least 15 years in NY/NJ winters I would say walk away.

There are likely better buses for the same price in your back yard......or a nicer one that you will have to do less work to at least.

just reading Dallas post now.  the M is not an indicato of a Manual by this time....my folks P8M4108A was an auto from day one as per the FVR  also by the time the 4905 was about it is likely to be a V730.....not knowing the year though.....

your battery will likely never bolt back to life at trickle charge rates after sitting so long......may take up to 96 hours at 10amp to bring it back, but I would plan on just buying new ones or one to get it home......voltage is not an indicator of a good battery....it is the amperage and the ability to take load is what is of consequence.

why are the engine door supports broken?

radiator core....looking at 1200.00 and something to do before a 2300 mile trip

now people on here will tell you I am a naysayer.......but I rather talk someone out of a problem than into one.

Issues to be concerned about:

Rust.....yep on a GM ( you eagle guys)  the worst GM's I have seen ran in NY commuter service...they were run 260 days a year in some of the harshest environments a bus can find in the 1st world.

Airbeams are suspect right off the bat...they will air up with leaky air beams so that is not a good indicator.

all of the painted area on a 4905 is steel except for a couple pieces of fiberglass.....Once they start rusting there is no fixing it except for total replacement....it will come back.  this is a very easily ID'd problem (visual)

I would expect the engine door frame to have rust as well

unless  the tank was full I would plan on at minimum some fresh fuel, biocide and a couple sets of filters and the equip to change them ( a couple gallons of diesel and some way to fill the filters with it.)

As for the battery......it will start off a car battery if it has a block heater.....


main question:  How much are you paying for it
secondary questions:  How much are you willing to put into it to get it home
                                 How much contigency money are you  going to have on hand if it has a failure on the way home?

                                 What is available that runs and is closer to home.


what else........ Oh, expect to do the wheel seals befor e a 2300 mile trip....I would bet it has oil seals....which do not like to be dry...and yours have been 1/2 dry for ten years.......they will fail when they heaat up.

the electrical stuff is an easy although perhaps time consuming job...switches are easily cleaned and lubed.

keep in mind you can get a running fairly nice 4905 conversion for under 30k and use it today of course you can also pay up to 90k for a professionally converted near showcar condition one.

again...I always try to get people to look at the worst case scenerio on these types of purchases.  they are like dogs and cat and boats.......no such thing as a fre one or a cheap one












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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2008, 02:31:34 PM »

Hi Mike,

Welcome!

Theese guy's won't let you leave any room for mistakes... Lol

Hay, nobody's perfect and don't listen to them when they want you to be.

Keep on posting!
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2008, 02:41:21 PM »

just looked at the yahoo pics.

it is a VS-2, can be a problimatic tranny but when working is quite nice.

see it has had some rust repair in the suspect areas outside.

Very interesting use of an MC-5 or MC-7 window on the Driver's side.....wonder what inspired that?

again...all depends on the price...what it needs, how much time you are willing to invest. etc etc.

anything can be brought back with enough time(work) and or money


also keep in mind it's gonna cost you 1600.00 in fuel to get it home
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mike davis
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2008, 02:42:47 PM »

Nick, Dallas, everyone else,

I'm in Morgan County Missouri.  The coach is outside of Stover MO.  It is probably 16 miles from my front door.  The price at this point is $4000.  But as I can see Radiator Cores have doubled or practically tripled since I last bought one.  There is no inline block heater.  I looked and looked and looked.  Which surprised me being out of NY service.  Sorry about having the type number wrong.  It type like crap anyways.  

One of the handicaps I see, even though the coach is very close to me is parts access.  New or used.  Just not much here in the middle of nowhere.  I think that unless I lost the engine or transmission I could deal with just about anything that came up on the road myself.  I was saying that because someone asked about contendencies and how much contendency money would I plan on having.  Well, if I lost the engine or tranny, it would be an iron tent where it sat.  

Also, one other thing I've noticed, which might be because of the NY service is all of the spare tire compartment is tinned in and held together with pop rivits.  

If I go forward I do intend on buying new 8D's.  But for the moment I just want to start it.  There are a lot of other decent coaches out there. so why spend $300 If it's dead

Thanks for your time
Mike
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mike davis
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2008, 02:51:54 PM »

just looked at the yahoo pics.

it is a VS-2, can be a problimatic tranny but when working is quite nice.

see it has had some rust repair in the suspect areas outside.

Very interesting use of an MC-5 or MC-7 window on the Driver's side.....wonder what inspired that?

again...all depends on the price...what it needs, how much time you are willing to invest. etc etc.

anything can be brought back with enough time(work) and or money


also keep in mind it's gonna cost you 1600.00 in fuel to get it home


$1600 for fuel Ok

 My 53' TDM5302 got 9-11 M.P.G.  671/4 speed. I figered this one would get less With the Auto/Trans. But that is a lot less Ok I can plan on that If it does a little better I'll have some beer money


                mike
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2008, 02:52:20 PM »

I owned a 4905 (number 044).  A very important thing to look for - RUST!!!!  This coach has a steel skin around the drivers area, around all of the side windows and around the rear window and around the roof windows.  If you see lot's of bubbles in the paint and can insert any type of probing device, RUN AWAY unless you are an experienced body person and can fabricate pieces and weld.   Assuming the body is good, and everything airs up and the price is right, you may have found a good coach.  I loved the big bays, the roof windows and the big D windows.  I also thought it just looked cool.  

Did this model have the pneumatic tag axle in the third bay?  If it did, there will be two huge frame sections that take up a lot of load.  There is disagreement on whether or not they are structural if the original type of floor is installed.  

Where is the muffler located on your bus?  There are 3 variations that I am aware of.  
1.  Under the floor in front of the engine - there were 2 sizes.
2.  Between the engine and the radiator.

If the muffler is bad, this is a very expensive part.  Mine was under the floor, was the bigger size, and was the least expensive to replace of the under floor type ($900.00 for new from US Coach, although he had a few damaged ones for about $400 as of August).  HOWEVER, if it goes bad or is bad, it can melt your throttle cable, burn your wiring harness, and catch your floor on fire.  This happend to my bus and totaled it.  The muffler between the engine is less to replace, but it would cost more to convert the under floor type to the engine bay type.

Check to see what condition the original wood floor is in, especially under the drivers window.  If you have rust there, (or around any other window) most you will have floor rot.  If you plan to completely strip the bus, then no problem.  My floor was heavily rotted.  Also, the torsion bars for the baggage bays attach to the wood floor, look to see if the wood is collapsing under the strain.  If so, new floor time.

I am usually very excited to hear about someone getting a new coach, and for most people it can be very rewarding and I don't want to be discouraging.  In this case, you are looking at a model that has many differences from other coaches, even the rest of the GMC fleet.  The other GMC's are mostly aluminum, but the 40ft models needed the strength.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or call me.  (517-887-2097)  I never had so much fun as driving my 4905 across the Mackinac bridge in a blizzard with no heat and no door latch during my first time ever driving a bus!  Good luck!

PS> -get 2 group 31 batteries to start it with.  They are much cheaper than 8D's

Tekebird,
there are no airbeams or fiberglass on this model.  It's one of the easier things about a 4905  Smiley
I've been looking for the link to the yahoo pictures and I don't see it.  I'd love to have a look!
« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 02:58:03 PM by Tenor » Logged

Glenn Williams
Lansing, MI
www.threemenandatenor.com
1968 MCI 7 Ser. No. 7476 Unit No. 10056
8v71
4 speed Spicer
mike davis
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2008, 03:10:38 PM »

Thank every one

            for the tips on rust and the muffler Want to get it started and aired up so I can see Cant see crap now Too low to the ground


  the photos are under   "future motor coach operator in training" in GMC busnuts
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2008, 04:12:20 PM »

P8M4905A-724 from GMC New to Pelham Parkway Bus Company (White Plains NY) 07/1974. Grin
Liberty Lines might be the 2nd owner. Huh
Just like any old bus that has been sitting you will have to do some maintenance to fix problems that you are finding.
If it will crank and run and drive out OK go for it.
I own a 1974 P8M4905A-738 and I have had good very luck with it it's been a good old coach.
I think that the GMC Intercity Coaches of this era were ahead of the MCI's and Eagle of the same era.
Of course this is my opinion so you MCI and Eagle owners do beat me up to bad.
I have a V-730 transmission in my coach and it along with factory Shepard steering makes it a real pleasure to drive.
I have seen the photos of your coach and I would say go for it.
Feel free to ask questions we are here to help. Grin
jlv



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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2008, 06:31:51 PM »

Mike,
I finally found the pictures on the GMC busnuts site.  Here are some things I can tell you. 
Good News:
You have the engine mounted muffler.  Much easier to do anything with.
You have an air throttle
You have a great kid!  Way to start-em early!
Nice Rear Cap.

Weird News:
Windows and blocked out areas.  That's definitely an MCI window on the drivers side.  Really take a good look at whatever was done to make it fit.  Same thing with the passenger side RV windows.  Check how the blocked out areas are attached.  If it's small (1/4"), expect that they leaked.   Some pretty weird looking bumpers.

It looks like steps were taken to fight rust, where it looks like it was primered.  Could be a good sign.  My bus came with the same seats that quickly went to a junkyard.  If you are planning to reskin the sides, you may have a good deal here.  Check the stuff everyone mentions and you should be able to make a very educated decision.  If you want a parts bus, mine is still in Michigan.  Good Radiator, bumpers, tons of parts.  Just look up Larry Baker here on the bbs.  He bought it from me.  Good Luck!
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Glenn Williams
Lansing, MI
www.threemenandatenor.com
1968 MCI 7 Ser. No. 7476 Unit No. 10056
8v71
4 speed Spicer
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2008, 06:34:14 PM »

Nick, Dallas, everyone else,

I'm in Morgan County Missouri.  The coach is outside of Stover MO.  It is probably 16 miles from my front door.  The price at this point is $4000.  But as I can see Radiator Cores have doubled or practically tripled since I last bought one.  There is no inline block heater.  I looked and looked and looked.  Which surprised me being out of NY service.  Sorry about having the type number wrong.  It type like crap anyways.  

One of the handicaps I see, even though the coach is very close to me is parts access.  New or used.  Just not much here in the middle of nowhere.  I think that unless I lost the engine or transmission I could deal with just about anything that came up on the road myself.  I was saying that because someone asked about contendencies and how much contendency money would I plan on having.  Well, if I lost the engine or tranny, it would be an iron tent where it sat.  

Also, one other thing I've noticed, which might be because of the NY service is all of the spare tire compartment is tinned in and held together with pop rivits.  

If I go forward I do intend on buying new 8D's.  But for the moment I just want to start it.  There are a lot of other decent coaches out there. so why spend $300 If it's dead

Thanks for your time
Mike



Mike,

Walk away from that deal. You would probably spend the asking price just trying to get it roadworthy
and still end up on a hook or flatbed for the rest of the trip.

Breaking down on the road with a questionable coach will be the last thing that you want to do.

If you just gotta have that one, Get it trailered to you. Figure at least $250 to load and about $5.00 or more a loaded mile. What you are describing sounds way too scary at this point.

If it is in a dilapidated condition from sitting you may need to spend upwards of $10,000 just to get it running and stable and probably a year of work. For that kind of money you could pretty much buy a  later model/brand bus or one in better shape...And one that parts are available for too....

I have had several orphans.. all needed more money and time invested than they were worth new!

Dave.....
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2008, 07:19:00 PM »

dave

   Is that $10,000 in parts or $2500 in parts and $7500 for someone to put the parts on ? Why I ask is I built a 53' TDM5302 from the ground up Rebuilt the 671 my self. So if it's $10,000 in parts I'll walk no RUN away There is a PD4501 for (asking) $7,000 in DE.

        I'm just feeling this one out

                                              thanks

                                                           mike
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mike davis
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2008, 07:42:58 PM »

Mike,
I finally found the pictures on the GMC busnuts site.  Here are some things I can tell you. 
Good News:
You have the engine mounted muffler.  Much easier to do anything with.
You have an air throttle
You have a great kid!  Way to start-em early!
Nice Rear Cap.

Weird News:
Windows and blocked out areas.  That's definitely an MCI window on the drivers side.  Really take a good look at whatever was done to make it fit.  Same thing with the passenger side RV windows.  Check how the blocked out areas are attached.  If it's small (1/4"), expect that they leaked.   Some pretty weird looking bumpers.

It looks like steps were taken to fight rust, where it looks like it was primered.  Could be a good sign.  My bus came with the same seats that quickly went to a junkyard.  If you are planning to reskin the sides, you may have a good deal here.  Check the stuff everyone mentions and you should be able to make a very educated decision.  If you want a parts bus, mine is still in Michigan.  Good Radiator, bumpers, tons of parts.  Just look up Larry Baker here on the bbs.  He bought it from me.  Good Luck!



Tenor

  thanks for the tips about the windows I looked for water marks In the bus and in the bays I did not see any But that does not mean it's not there

The Radiator would be the big ticket idem for me right now. I have told my wife that a bus likes to spend money a $1,000 at a time. It can spend money faster than she does

  so I'll go slow I'm still waiting for the PD4501 to jump out a tackle me

           thanks

                       mike
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