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Old 05-13-2010, 10:42 PM   #1
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Big Mac I bought for $500!!!!!

Hi everybody!

I'm new to this kind of government surplus. As my moniker says, I'm more familiar with military surplus. I own an M1031 and 3 M1009s. This is the first "civy" surplus vehicle I bought. I replaced an M109A3 with "Big Mac". She's a 26 passenger Ford B600 with the hydraulic wheelchair option. I bought her about two weeks ago for $500 from San Antonio. And for the record NO she's NOT for sale!!!! They did about $4K in repairs in September '09. She has new brakes, tires, 2 new A/C compressors (she has A/C in front & rear), belts, hoses, alternator, and a bunch of other goodies. I'm working on finding a highway gear ratio for the Rockwell rear axle so I can do better than 50mph. She gets 13 mpg with the A/C on (2 mpg better than the old Deuce WITHOUT A/C). I'll be installing an air compressor, 5KW diesel genset, a class 3 hitch for our 32' travel trailer, and a bunch of other goodies. Here is the listing and some pics from the auction:

https://www.lemonsauctioneers.com/item. ... 0000031493

I'm having a bit of frustration in posting pics from my desktop, so the link will have to do for now.

Anyway, the evening before we left I had my son's truck loaded up with all of the goodies I figured we'd need for a complete service on the engine, a lube job, and any lights that might not be working. Needless to say I was so excited about getting this bus I couldn't sleep very well that night. We left out at 0400 on Tuesday of last week to get Big Mac. We arrived at the San Antonio storage yard where she was parked. They gave me the keys, and after a 1 hour inspection (and discovering she came with a FULL tank of diesel!!!!!), we were headed home! My loving wife was driving behind me complaining about the diesel exhaust the whole way since our M1009 doesn't have any A/C. I definitely was enjoying our first vehicle with A/C since dumping our P-71 Interceptor when the computer croaked about four years ago. Texas is not known for being very cool in the summer. So having a bus, no less, with A/C definitely helped me with the drive home.

Since then I parked her in our field where there are plenty of chiggers ready to eat me alive while I'm working on various areas of the bus. I've replaced the stereo antenna, installed a stereo CD player, gotten quite a bit of help from Ford on the rear axle and where to get a better gear ratio for the Rockwell axle (4.88 is REALLY low!!! - top end right now is 50mph!!!), cleaned up the interior, found a realitively new conversion chair for me from a Ford conversion van, another captain's chair and a slide-down bench seat from the same van for my wife and son, repaired and modified the short wave antenna for a CB radio, and bought schedule 8 nuts and bolts for the class 3 hitch. I'm looking to use the bus as a garage-on-wheels until my son is old enough to use it with the travel trailer. Then my wife and I will get another bus and completely convert it. Big Mac is exactly what we needed. She'll have shelving, a workbench, and my tool boxes all securely mounted in her for the road trips we will take. Look out Grand Canyon!!!!!
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Old 05-13-2010, 11:25 PM   #2
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Re: Big Mac I bought for $500!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Welcome! Somewhere in one of the lower boards, there's some pic posting help.....I wasn't even aware you could upload to the site directly from your computer (I still use P-bucket).

Nice lookin bus, especially considering the price

It's the unspoken rule here to religiously update your progress with pics

Smitty

I shall do so with pride! However, we're in the process of moving from the city to the country. So Big Mac is a moving truck right now....... I'm removing the seats to gain more cubic feet of space for our furniture........

BTW, we used to live in Evansville and enjoy the Frog Follies every August. Are you near Anderson?
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Old 05-14-2010, 10:06 AM   #3
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Re: Big Mac I bought for $500!!!!!

Hello and welcome. I've got a question about your axle gearing. I have a Rockwell 15K rear axle geared at 7.20- the lowest they produced in its weight class for the year, and my top speed at tolerable rpms hovers around the low 50's, so I'm wondering why yours with a 4.88 tops out around the same? Sometimes I entertain the idea of having a faster bus, but really I love being able to pull down mountains and stuff. Besides, I'm so used to going slow, the only people it bothers are the speed demons.
Anyhow, I was just curious why you (or anyone else) thought that might be with the gearing.

Enjoy your new project!
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:51 AM   #4
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Re: Big Mac I bought for $500!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bus-ted
Hello and welcome. I've got a question about your axle gearing. I have a Rockwell 15K rear axle geared at 7.20- the lowest they produced in its weight class for the year, and my top speed at tolerable rpms hovers around the low 50's, so I'm wondering why yours with a 4.88 tops out around the same? Sometimes I entertain the idea of having a faster bus, but really I love being able to pull down mountains and stuff. Besides, I'm so used to going slow, the only people it bothers are the speed demons.
Anyhow, I was just curious why you (or anyone else) thought that might be with the gearing.

Enjoy your new project!
Bus-ted;

I suspect it could also be with the gearing in the transmission. I'm working on figuring out who knows what about trannys and axles. As I find out more I'll post my discoveries to help us all.
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:00 PM   #5
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Re: Big Mac I bought for $500!!!!!

for 500 bucks you got a hell of a deal. that full tank of diesel was probably a 100 right there lol
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:56 PM   #6
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Re: Big Mac I bought for $500!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuff
for 500 bucks you got a hell of a deal. that full tank of diesel was probably a 100 right there lol

Closer to $205 since fuel is $3.14/gal in San Antonio.......
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:41 AM   #7
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Re: Big Mac I bought for $500!!!!!

Anyone have the amber light covers they want to give away? I'm going to replace the red ones on Big Mac with the amber ones. Amber is legal on any vehicle, I just want to have the added security in case I need to stop on the highway and not get hit by some tired driver.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:38 AM   #8
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Re: Big Mac I bought for $500!!!!!

Congrats on the bus acquisition! I'm jealous of your fuel economy - what kind of engine does it have? Cummins 5.9? I hear ya about the chiggers; man they are the bane of my existence in the summer! I suggest you cut the grass low around the bus and sprinkle the ground with sulfur. Then spray your bare feet and legs with one of the all natural oil-based bug sprays and then spray your long pants socks and shoes with the toxic DEET stuff. That seems to work for me.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:56 AM   #9
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Re: Big Mac I bought for $500!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by timmylc
PICS!!! :P

Working on posting them.... Due to technical difficulties......... Even my stick is having problems posting to the site. I don't have the paste option in bold print. Any help is appreciated.........
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:58 AM   #10
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Re: Big Mac I bought for $500!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel Dan
Congrats on the bus acquisition! I'm jealous of your fuel economy - what kind of engine does it have? Cummins 5.9? I hear ya about the chiggers; man they are the bane of my existence in the summer! I suggest you cut the grass low around the bus and sprinkle the ground with sulfur. Then spray your bare feet and legs with one of the all natural oil-based bug sprays and then spray your long pants socks and shoes with the toxic DEET stuff. That seems to work for me.
I have the Ford Brazilian 6.6L turbodiesel. The big trick is keeping rpms within the power curve. Going into the "yellow zone" where the engine strains decimates fuel milage.
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