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Author Topic: What is the best brand name bus to buy! OR, Let's open a BIG can of worms!  (Read 6583 times)
Chaz
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« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2008, 08:11:27 AM »

Sammy,
  Is that what you have? Just curious.

I love my ol' Buffalo just like love my ol' '56 chevy that I drive everyday, but that doesn't mean I don't have a little "drool" when I see a Prevost rollin down the hiway.  Cheesy Cheesy I figure a little maintenance is ok when you have a "Love Affair".   Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin
 I know allot "less" about bus's than most on here, but I would have to say from what little I know and read, a Prevost would suit you the best, Tom.

FWIW,
    Chaz
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FloridaCliff
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« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2008, 08:26:05 AM »

I vote for the shiny stainless on whatever you choose!

I don't know why I like it, But I do!   Wink

Its like the chrome on a Cadillac, just looks right......

Cliff
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1975 GMC  P8M4905A-1160    North Central Florida

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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2008, 08:52:52 AM »

Thanks for all the help so far. It does look like Prevost or MCI will be the final contestants. My apologies to Sean  Grin Grin I kinda thought BK would chime in about the superior Sentra  Grin Grin Grin

I know about some of MCIs problems (air beams, engine cradle cracks, ect.)  because I have one. How about Prevosts? What problems should I look for?

TOM
« Last Edit: April 27, 2008, 09:37:07 AM by oldmansax » Logged

'82 BlueBird WanderLodge PT40 being rebuilt
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Len Silva
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« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2008, 09:34:20 AM »

Tom,

For what you are looking at, I don't think any of those things would be an issue.  For $150k you will find a low mileage (probably well under 200,000) coach that has always been garaged, washed and waxed and maintained meticulously and barely broken in.

That's a whole lot different than a converted retired passenger bus.

The problems you will find come mostly from lack of use. So possibly dried out seals, sticky relays, etc..  If you budget $5-10k after purchase to fix all the problems that might come up in the first few months you will soon have a great trouble free ride.
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« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2008, 09:41:07 AM »

Tom,

I think BK is out on the road right now.  If not I am still not sure what he would have to say about the Sentra's.   I am not even sure he likes Nissan's.

But you can bet a months pay he would say the Setra's are the best Smiley  From what little I have seen they are nice coaches.  And they have huge bays.  Just stay away from the version that has both Euro and US parts on the same chassis.  Dallas can tell you what a nightmare they are getting parts.

No matter what you get, you still need to swing by for coffee.

Frank
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Sammy
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« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2008, 09:41:55 AM »

Chaz, I don't own a coach, bus maintenance is just what happens to be what I do for a living.
Don't claim to know everything, just enjoy helping folks when possible.
I like reading and seeing what everyone does to their coaches, especially since I have no experience with the conversion side of them.
The WVO and other alternative fuels are most interesting right now.Amazing what some folks create with common parts - I most definitely love that type of thinking.
The only "toy" I have is my 55 Chevy, no bus. The pic you see is from the fleet I worked on.
Good luck with your Buffalo, pics are awesome.
Regards,
Sammy  Cool

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Barn Owl
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« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2008, 10:42:27 AM »

Quote
GMCs are light and get better mileage but are not made anymore either, the engines are not mounted very good for maintenance Ö and they are not stainless.


There needs to be a clarification here for new readers who only have these posts to go on.

Quote
engines are not mounted very good for maintenance
Huh

I think somehow you got that one backwards. I have not seen an easier engine and transmission set up to work on. The only thing that could possibly be a challenge might be the starter, but I have done one, and found that the difficulty of the job is over hyped.

Quote
Ö and they are not stainless.

I understand the context for that, and that you like stainless. I think a new person might take it as a negative though. Aluminum is one of the best materials to have a bus made of. Look at all of the 4104ís still plowing the highways. GM buses were over engineered and incredibly expensive to build. That was one of the reason they quit. The expense to update the design and compete with manufactures that were using more inexpensive manufacturing methods was not going to make them money. So they got out.

If 150k is your budget you will be able to find just about anything, and it will be nice. I agree with the other posters that you should go with a Prevost or MCI for the many reasons already stated. You couldn't pick a better time to be looking.
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L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
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makemineatwostroke
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« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2008, 10:44:25 AM »

If,the Setra wasn't so hard to convert I would have a S 417 I think it is probably the best looking and the best bus on the road today and will be the only one in 2010 with the DD15
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luvrbus
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« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2008, 11:33:36 AM »

Tom,one year model of the Prevost you need to stay away from is the 1996 with ISS suspension I bought one brand new from a Prevost converter and this bus had all kind of problems with the front end,and I know this will offend some of the Prevost guys but they can talk to Dick Kaiser in Eugene Oregon about the front end problems on this year model.I was told that the problem was corrected in 2000 just trying to help not start a war
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NJT5047
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« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2008, 05:02:07 PM »

I'm late into this discussion, but it's something that I've looked at for a while. 
The only answer is Prevost XL LeMirage or H3-40 or 45. 
H3's will be pushing the envelope at $150K, but the market sucks and you may find a cherry within your budget. 
There are offerings for low mileage XLs for $100K and up in 8V92TAs.   $150 should find a 4 stroke...S60 in an XL.   Low mileage is 150K or less. 
As has been said already, these coaches are excellent for the most.  They suffer more from lack of use. 
MCI D model would likely be the "best,"  most dependable, and most easily repaired/serviced, but there are no numbers in these chassis in factory conversions.  Same for E models. 
An MCI "E" factory conversion couldn't be bought for $150K in any event.
Prevost has the numbers, and they are drop-dead good looking.  Prevost pretty well supplies the factory conversion shell market. 
Just because someone's asking $200 or $250K for a coach doesn't mean they'll get it. 
Buses (and boats, RVs, and general aviation airplanes) are taking a terrible hit in the market.  This is a great time to buy a used factory converted coach.
My dos centavos!  JR
 
   
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
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« Reply #25 on: April 27, 2008, 06:17:05 PM »

Frank, You're right! We still need to get over there for coffee. But, you know, "There's no life west of the Bay"!   Grin Grin Grin Just Kidding!  I just don't get over there at all but I need to try.

Barn Owl, I didn't mean to step on toes but I like the room around my T-drive MCI better than what I had around my old 4104 V-drive. Of course the newer GMCs are probably more roomy. The stainless thing is just personal preference. I hope anyone who is thinking about a bus would read a lot of this board & not just a few posts. You are right about the longevity thing.

Luvbus, that is real good info although a '96 or newer would probably be over the budget. Of course, if someone had one of those with a lot of problems & offered it a a low price, you just saved me from making a big mistake.

That's what's great about this board! a wealth of information! And a little BS too!   Grin Grin

TOM
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« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2008, 07:42:45 PM »

I vote for the shiny stainless on whatever you choose!

I don't know why I like it, But I do!   Wink

Its like the chrome on a Cadillac, just looks right......

Cliff

DIDDO  Wink
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2008, 08:18:34 PM »

Tom,

I didnít take any offence and I understand you didnít mean anything by it. I havenít had the experience of being under the hood of every bus made like some on here but maybe I need to take a second look at a T-drive. Everything I do on my bus it seems like I can do standing up with everything easily accessible. I have seen an MCI 8 and an H3 and I feel I have it easy compared to those owners. I own a GM for two reasons: 35í and the most affordable entry level bus there is. Otherwise I would probably have something else, like a jet.

Laryn
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L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
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« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2008, 09:39:25 PM »

Tom -

Altho I'm a die-hard GMC fan, I'm going to avoid letting that bias show as I add my nickel's worth to this thread.

(But I do agree that a GM powertrain is somewhat easier to work on than a T-drive - if for no other reason that you don't have any belts to worry about!)

Onward:

The Prevost pictured below is a rare 1974 MCC-41 model - 35 x 96, converted new from the factory by Custom Coach in Ohio.  Odometer reads 194K original miles on a 34-year old coach, obvously low miles, eh?  But that's not the point I want to make. . .

One of the things that differentiates a Prevost from an MCI, at least up until the "E" model, has been the placement of the air bellows on the rear axle.  Your MC-8, as well as the 5s, 7s, 9s, etc., all had the bellows mounted inside the duals.  Prevost, OTOH, has mounted them outboard for years - the MCC below has them that way - long before others.  The entire stainless panel around the drive axle pivots up to reveal not only the air bellows, but also, IIRC, the leveling valves.  This outboard placement seems to reduce the side-to-side rock 'n roll of most air suspended coaches, and definitely reduces the feeling that you're cornering on the rub rails.

Because of this, Prevosts often are said to have a much nicer ride than an MCI, especially one of the same vintage.  Many folk claim that the Eagle has always had the best ride of any coach built, and of course that argument is like Chevy vs Ford, so I won't go there.  But I can say that the Prevost ride is different than MCI, a much more stable feeling.  You need to find one that's close to you and take it for a drive, without any commitment, so that you can see/feel the difference.

(Personally, the 40-foot GMC 4905 has the best air ride I've ever experienced, mostly due, I think, to the l-l-l-l-l-o-o-o-o-o-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g wheelbase and the OEM factory anti-roll bars.  Better than a Scenic, IMHO [altho the Scenics have much better brakes].  But we're not talking about GMCs. . . Cheesy  )

As far as the chassis goes, to me, the earlier model Prevost's baggage bay doors didn't feel as hefty as the MCIs, but that also made them a lot easier to open!  Up until the H-series, Prevosts were built similar to a GM or an MCI, a semi-monocoque.  Starting with the H, IIRC, Prevost began using a birdcage technique, like Eagle, so the exterior skins are not stressed like the others.  Better?  Arguments go both ways on that.  Starting in the mid-'90s, Prevost was also the first to start installing disc brakes on their coaches. . .

Others have mentioned Prevost's customer service when it comes to parts - I can attest to that somewhat.  I called the factory and asked if it might be possible to get a copy of the Final Vehicle Record for the MCC below.  It took them four weeks (partly due to the entire factory's closing for vacation in August), but they were able to come up with it - for a 34 year old coach!!  How's that for service?

The only thing I didn't like about Prevosts, Eagles, VanHools and Setras, is the fact that the driver sits lower than the main salon floor.  Personal preference, for me, is the MCI in this regard.  Sean's Neoplan has this low driver seating, too, but he's also got a double-decker, so we'll allow that. . .  Cheesy

Setra's are a GREAT coach, but. . . up until the S-417, they had a dropped-aisle main floor that's extremely difficult to level.  They are also not as common, altho they're making more of an impact on the market.  None of the major conversion outfits have taken on Setra shells, TTBOMKATT, but that could happen in the future.

Since the market is really depressed right now, consider looking at coaches in the $150K > $200K range.  You might be able to pick up that $200K rig for $150K, if the owner's motivated enough and you're waving cash under his nose. . .

You might also ask your questions over on the Yahoo Prevost busnut Groups, to get some feedback from owners over there.

I've heard that at some rallies, a few of the Prevost folk sort of "turn-their-noses-up" at those driving SOBs, but that's just heresay.  Maybe others can confirm/deny. . .  I know that at Jack's party in Arcadia the two times I've been there, the Prevost folk were just as gracious as anyone else, moreso in some cases (Ace & Steve Fesseden(sp?) among them).

So, even as a GMC guy, I hate to say this, but my recommendation is that you seriously consider a Prevost, preferably one converted by Liberty or Angola.  IMHO, the Marathon's are more of a rolling bordello! Shocked   Once you find one, you can always have it modified to suit your particular needs (larger holding tanks, more battery capacity, etc.) for a lot less than starting over from scratch, and minimum downtime.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink



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RJ Long
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« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2008, 07:33:53 AM »

T drive vs transverse GM

Many a maint supervisor who was around in the GM days has stated that the GM's are the easiest bus to maintain from the standpoint of the mechanic.

pretty much everything is easily acessable from the tailgate.  No crawling into tunnels to do this or that.

having a fair amount of experience with both I tend to agree. only thing not readily accessable is the muffler in some applications and the starter on the 8v's

Removing an driveline package from a GM is also much less involved.

that said, outside of a few Late model GM's I think you will be better served by one of the current bus brands.


Oh MCI has supurb customer service too.......of course that may not be the case if you don;t have an account, but I can get a FVR from MCI in less than 24 hours, and have a parts rep and sales rep that I can call anytime not to mention the parts guys.

I ahve also had good service from Prevost, but occasionaly I've had some communication issues with the thick Frech Canadian accents

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