Author Topic: Bus advice request  (Read 10821 times)

Offline pvcces

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 803
Re: Bus advice request
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2010, 07:14:45 PM »
Michael, I noticed that nobody mentioned that GMs were set up to meet your needs. I'm sure that part of the reason they didn't get mentioned is because GM ended highway production around the beginning of the period that you mentioned.

We have a 1964 PD4106 that we have put around 80,000 miles on in the last 9 years. We have never had a breakdown other than a starter not working. It turned out that lack of maintenance was the cause.

One result was that we found out how easy it is to start one of these with a bad starter. This is true of the manual transmission only! It's much harder with an automatic if it has a rear pump, and impossible if it does not.

Our overall fuel mileage is about 9.5 mpg and the 40 foot GMs will get very nearly the same mileage. These are built to do 65 or 70 day after day. They're not slow at all. Keeping the conversion light gives very good performance.

For what it's worth.

Tom Caffrey
Tom Caffrey PD4106-2576
Suncatcher
Ketchikan, Alaska

Offline Barn Owl

  • Roanoke, VA
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2080
  • PD4106-1063 "Wheezy Bus"
Re: Bus advice request
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2010, 09:03:08 PM »
Whatever your budget is x10 is where you will end up. Give us some more info on what you want or don't want. It is hard to go through all of the pros and cons of every make. Get good at searching the archives. Post what you find.
L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
Blue Ridge Mountains, S.W. Virginia
It’s the education gained, and the ability to apply, and share, what we learn.
Have fun, be great, that way you have Great Fun!

Offline mjcostel

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Bus advice request
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2010, 07:58:13 AM »
Thanks again for all the great advice. 

The family and I had a good time looking at the '81 MCI.   The kids were awed by the sheer size of it.  It was nice to get the feel of the space inside.
It looked like a real money pit, however.  Tires were bad.  Seller was not able to start the engine. (Said the battery was not charged)  Looked like it had sat for a few years.  I don't think I would try to build on that shell if it were free.  Nice folks showing us the bus.  Wish them the best.  But I can't imagine someone paying 8500 for it.
I will continue to scour the interwebs for something that will fit our needs.  I think I am much better equipped now to make a good decision.

Seems like I need to find an MCI, GMC, or Eagle with 8v71 and a manual transmission.

Regards,

Michael

Offline TomC

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8701
Re: Bus advice request
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2010, 08:04:29 AM »
One of the most fuel efficient buses made were the Grayhound conversions to the 4 cylinder Detroit Series 50.  Yes they vibrate a bit when idling, but with proper soft engine mounts can be minimized.  The Series 50 uses twin counter rotating balance shafts that run off the oil pump drive (it is the only engine I know of that you have to time the oil pump) that the gears are a bit on the weak side.  If you do buy a bus with the Series 50, drop the pan and have the balance shafts rebuilt right away.  Then your good for another 200,000 miles or so.  I believe these conversions were done on either the 8 or 9 MCI.

Personally-my favorite bus is the MCI 102C3.  102" wide (that extra 6" makes a big interior difference), has 6'10" headroom, and gobs of under storage with huge windows.  If you could find one of these with either a Cummins ISM, Detroit Series 50 or 60, that would be perfect.  Good Luck, TomC
Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.

Offline kyle4501

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3806
  • NEWELL in South Carolina
Re: Bus advice request
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2010, 09:05:10 AM »
GMC PD4905 is a 40 foot bus with HUGE bays & since they are very efficient with space devoted to the engine, you have more room in the bays.
GMC buses have more engineering behind them than any other bus make & as a result, they are the lightest for the size. The rounded corners make for less wind drag. The 270 HP 8V71 will be the best compromise of cost, power, & fuel mileage.
The lighter the conversion, the less speed you lose up hill.

However, the 4905 buses weren't the best for tight turns due to the long wheel base.

An example:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150478176794&viewitem=
« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 09:36:29 AM by kyle4501 »
Life is all about finding people who are your kind of crazy

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please (Mark Twain)

Education costs money.  But then so does ignorance. (Sir Claus Moser)

Offline Busted Knuckle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6447
  • 6 Setras, 2 MCIs, and 1 Dina. Just buses ;D
    • KY Lakeside Travel ... Just 4 the Fun of it!
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

;D Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! ;D (at least thats what momma always told me! ;D)

Offline Busted Knuckle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6447
  • 6 Setras, 2 MCIs, and 1 Dina. Just buses ;D
    • KY Lakeside Travel ... Just 4 the Fun of it!
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

;D Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! ;D (at least thats what momma always told me! ;D)

Offline Busted Knuckle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6447
  • 6 Setras, 2 MCIs, and 1 Dina. Just buses ;D
    • KY Lakeside Travel ... Just 4 the Fun of it!
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

;D Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! ;D (at least thats what momma always told me! ;D)

Offline Busted Knuckle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6447
  • 6 Setras, 2 MCIs, and 1 Dina. Just buses ;D
    • KY Lakeside Travel ... Just 4 the Fun of it!
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

;D Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! ;D (at least thats what momma always told me! ;D)

Offline rv_safetyman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2199
  • Jim Shepherd
    • Bus Project Details
Re: Bus advice request
« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2010, 05:34:03 PM »
Michael, as noted, I live in the Denver area.  I travel a bit, but if I am home, I would be glad to look at a bus in the Denver area after you give it a once over the first time.

I am on the fence about an already converted bus.  They can be very cost effective ***IF*** the conversion was done properly.   Done poorly, they can really cost you and can be a safety hazard in some cases.  

You will be money ahead if you look at a ton of buses so that you can build up a good frame of reference.

If you get interested in Eagles, there are a bunch of threads about Eagles for sale at:  http://www.eaglesinternational.net/

The Eagle Mall and General Eagle Chat forums are open to the public.  Many of the buses listed in the mall have comments by the members as to whether they are worth looking at.

We probably need to have an idea of your budget.  That might help us hone in on possibilities.

Jim
« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 05:38:58 PM by rv_safetyman »
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
’85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/

Offline mjcostel

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Bus advice request
« Reply #25 on: August 17, 2010, 04:52:05 PM »
Busted Knuckle - Some nice coaches there.  The 78 Buffalo is particularly nice.

Jim - Budget -  If the coach has no conversion work done I would not want to go over 7-8K.  A mostly completed one I could go up to 15k if it was in very nice condition.   The 15k would be a delay since I would need to beef up the bus fund. 


Thanks again,

Michael

Offline steve wardwell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 200
  • 73 MCI 7 8/71T combo just happy to be here
Re: Bus advice request
« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2010, 05:22:10 PM »
I wouldn't put much faith into that hubodometer reading for the last rebuild, just sayin.........s...........
« Last Edit: August 17, 2010, 05:29:40 PM by steve wardwell »
Sometimes the more I think about something the less I think about something.    As soon as I save a little money my bus finds out.                                      Why grab a plane when you can take the bus ?                         If I'm wrong 10% of the time how can the "Queen" be right 100%

Offline ruthi

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1097
Re: Bus advice request
« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2010, 07:01:55 PM »
Hi, we have had a gmc 4905 for better than 15 yrs. We have put hundreds of thousands of miles on it. She is still a good bus. We are building our own bus now, almost done. Lots of work, and lots of money, but, it is gratifying seeing it all come together, and knowing that we did it.  We just sold our gmc. The new owner has a band and travels the southeast. He is not taking ownership of the bus til the end of October, when we finish up our work for the year. The thing we will miss most in the gm is the bays. They are huge. What James said about the cost is something to consider though. Even when everything is going well, there is still a lot of money that goes into them, just an oil change is stagering, lol.  With that being said, we would never go to an RV over a bus. We drove the wheels off of a motor home when we first started working on the road, literally, lol.  Good luck on whatever you decide.
Mixed up Dina, ready for the road as of 12/25/2010
Home in middle Georgia, located somewhere in the
southeast most of the time.
FIRST RALLY ATTENDED: BUSSIN 2011!

Offline MikeH

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 109
Re: Bus advice request
« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2010, 08:51:41 PM »
Hi Michael,

I sent you a PM.

Mike
"It just ain't fair! How come the good guys always win?" -Bad Jack Cutter