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Old 02-09-2016, 05:09 PM   #1
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1961 GMC Greyhound conversion

Not a school bus, but this is the only bus-related forum I'm familiar with.
A neighbor has this bus for sale:

1961 GMC, former Greyhound, with Detroit Diesel 8-71. Professional RV conversion back in the day. Needs tons of work now.

The guy thinks he wants $4,000 for it. I think he's nuts. But he is moving to Hawaii and needs to get rid of it. So I'm thinking he will surely accept far less.

I can take photos, but don't want to bother him unless somebody is interested in this type of project.

Located in Clearlake, Lake County, in Northern California -- 100 miles north of both San Francisco and Sacramento.

Contact me by e-mail: elliotsnaess@msn.com
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Old 02-09-2016, 08:21 PM   #2
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Check out "bus grease monkey" and "bus conversion magazine" forums. They are geared more to the coach buses but their are some Skoolie's on there. That bus is probably a 4106. That acutely could be a very good price depending on the condition of the engine and tranny. I bought my 68' 4107 for 6k and it has an excellent running gear and was just gutted from the passenger seats. I scored on it!
Pics and more info would be great!
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Old 02-09-2016, 08:38 PM   #3
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You don't say how large the bus is but the vintage and engine suggest a 4106.

Those were great buses and with an 8V-71 they really move out.

Problem areas for those buses are broken rear bulkheads or broken rear bulkheads that were not repaired and reinforced correctly.

The V-drive does not lend itself to very many options if you don't like what is there. The stick shifts were strictly 4-speeds with high gear a direct drive. Reverse is obtained by hitting an electric shift lock out and then shifting into 2nd gear--if the lock out is faulty it makes it very hard to back up. The automatics were either 2-speed or 3-speed.

Regardless of the transmission, they were geared to go fast. As a consequence, moving slowly is not something they can do. Moving around campgrounds or backing up can be very challenging until you get used to going in reverse at close to 10 MPH. Starting out on steep hills also can be a challenge, especially if you are towing anything.

Towing anything with one requires some engineering. Pulling directly on the bumper will pull the engine and transmission out of the back of the bus.

The GM buses were monocoque construction. You can NOT raise the roof, add slideouts, or put bigger windows in the sides of the bus. If you do you will compromise the structural integrity of the bus.

Lastly, the engine is a 2-cycle Detroit Diesel which has specific care and feeding rituals and requirements. They are NOT like any other diesel on the market and what works for the others will NOT work on a 2-cycle DD. The 2-cycle DD's tend to be thirsty and dirty. Figure on 5-7 MPG for fuel mileage and 500-1000 miles per gallon of oil with service intervals of 3000 miles.

If the bus will start and move and the tires are not total write offs it might be worth $4K. But if you need to start adding tires, batteries, and any major system repair you would be better off finding a much newer bus that will have fewer issues.

Good luck.
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Old 02-09-2016, 09:11 PM   #4
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All 4104, 4106, 4107, 4108's are 35 ft long

The PO rebuilt and upgraded my engine to a '77 turbo engine and auto 3 speed tranny, along with power steering. Tranny conversion alone is 10-15k. It will do 70 easily and gets 7-9mpg. If you run the correct straight delo 40w oil and the engine is tight it will not smoke. Mine fires right up and does not smoke one bit.
These old Detroit's well run forever and you can push the power up there with turbo and injectors, this will reduce life and mpg but I've heard some of these getting into the low 400hp and 1800f lbs. They are already supercharged due to a 2 stroke has no vacuum to move the fuel mixture in.

These buses are not for everyone but they can be a lot of fun!

BTW to my understanding most of these buses were repaired and upgraded back in the day for the engine cradle cracking. Now abuse and modifying things can crack them again yes.
And straight pulling is generally ok but don't exceed about 300 lbs of tongue weight. They are not good for modifying the body or for towing trailers but their light weight, HUGE bay storage and very comfortable air bad suspension make them a wonderful conversion option
That's my opinion and 3.5 cents worth
Eric
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:48 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Wonderful! I figured this listing would never get a reply, and instead I am learning lots of stuff! Thank you!
The great unknown is the condition of the engine and transmission. No way to find out other than to get it running, and the owner says it has electrical problems that keep it from starting. (I definitely believe the electrical thing. Basically the whole bus needs new wiring. But that still would not help with the engine condition question.)
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:55 AM   #6
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If it has electrical issues I would stay away from it, a long way away from it.

Unless you know what is specifically wrong with it you can spend a lot of time and $$$ and still have a problem.

You are dealing with 50+ year old wiring and who knows how many green and gross connections, any one of which could be the direct problem.

For not a lot more you can usually find running 4104/4106's that will not require anything to use immediately.

<strong><font size="3">BUSES 4 SALE</font></strong> : 1957 GM PD 4104

A T-drive MCI is sometimes a better choice: <strong><font size="3">BUSES 4 SALE</font></strong> : 1968 MCI 5A
<strong><font size="3">BUSES 4 SALE</font></strong> : 1976 TMC MC8

Or a Newell that never was a bus:
<strong><font size="3">BUSES 4 SALE</font></strong> : 1986 Newell Classic

Or a Blue Bird that never was a bus:
http://dallas.craigslist.org/mdf/rvs/5384942406.html
http://reno.craigslist.org/rvs/5401273811.html
http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/5414996533.html
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:53 AM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
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Rated Cap: 84
Oh yes, I agree completely.
(For this bus, I would fabricate complete new wiring from scratch, but I have some training is such -- most folks do not.)
This bus would be for someone who is in love with this model bus. Or already has one and could use this one for parts.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:56 PM   #8
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Here is a 4903:
1969 GMC PD4903 "Buffalo" Motor Coach
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Old 02-10-2016, 07:51 PM   #9
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I can't delete my post
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Old 02-17-2016, 06:31 PM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
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Year: 1992
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Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Here are some snapshots of this beast.

I want to emphasize that I’m posting this as a favor to a neighbor, and I don’t even really know the guy.

That said, this thing could very well be a diamond in the rough. I’m simply not qualified to judge.

The owner says he can buy a windshield for $500 about 40 miles from here. That’s probably true, because I have seen that collection of old buses from the freeway.

He says it has new brakes including rear brake drums, new suspension air bags, and other new parts.

The transmission is a four-speed stick.

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Four more photos on next page.
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Old 02-17-2016, 06:33 PM   #11
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[/URL][/IMG]

[/URL][/IMG]

[/URL][/IMG]

[/URL][/IMG]
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Old 02-17-2016, 06:59 PM   #12
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ohhhhhhhh myyyyyyyyyyyy.
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Old 02-17-2016, 08:25 PM   #13
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Bus For Sale

Unless he's selling it REALLY cheap ($200) it's a huge gamble. Did he give you a price? Just towing it out of there will cost more than the bus is worth.
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:05 PM   #14
Bus Crazy
 
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Yes, ohhh myyyyy is right. That's how it looks.

As for asking price, I'll quote from my initial post:
Quote:
The guy thinks he wants $4,000 for it. I think he's nuts. But he is moving to Hawaii and needs to get rid of it. So I'm thinking he will surely accept far less.
You may be entirely right that free is the only realistic price.

Again, I'm posting this at arm's length.

This came about because he also has a Dodge pickup for sale that I was interested in. The Dodge was hit in the bed by an errant car right in his driveway, and he bought a replacement truck while the Dodge just sat. So I was thinking "serious bargain" on the Dodge.

He also has a vintage travel trailer that a friend of mine might be interested in. Again, butter him up and get a deal on the trailer.

And at the same time help the fellow sell these vehicles so he can move.

He is talking about walking away from the house. If I understood him right, his mortgage is somehow related to the county, and the county would wind up owning the house. That might be the time to pick up this bus!

Time will tell.
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:31 PM   #15
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$2000 is a fair price for the bus from others I have seen. People really like the 4106. This one is rough but could be saved.
Eric
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Old 02-17-2016, 11:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daddyoften View Post
$2000 is a fair price for the bus from others I have seen. People really like the 4106. This one is rough but could be saved.
Eric
It's really not that bad as 4106's go. That is probably a 6 cylinder engine. I had a 1969 and it got 10mpg on the freeway. 4 speed manual transmission with a wet clutch. If it can be made to run and drive it's worth $4k. If it won't run it's scrap metal right now.

It's "down on it's bags" right now with the air suspension deflated. They are generally a reliable rig. The ball joints etc can be intimidating to work on. God forbid you crack a transmission case or something awful like that..... they are pure unobtanium. That shouldn't happen though as they are built like tanks.

Detroit Diesels all smoke a bit and all dribble a bit and if it is not leaking oil it's probably out of oil and won't be running for long. Accept what you cannot change.

While I currently own a Neoplan with an 8cyl turbo /blown detroit..... I would rather have the lower power engine. Less to go wrong and easier to keep running. Very easy engine to service. The one I have is okay, very low miles though.
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:15 AM   #17
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
This one is an 8-cylinder. I believe it is called an 8V71. No turbocharger, though.
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:32 PM   #18
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Year: 1992
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Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
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Rated Cap: 84
I'm trying to impress on Chris the importance of getting the bus running, in order to sell it.
Today, a good friend of mine bought his Dodge pickup, so perhaps Chris will now take my suggestions more seriously and dust off his tool box. And he now has cash for fuel filters and whatever else it needs.
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Old 02-18-2016, 04:18 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Elliot Naess View Post
I'm trying to impress on Chris the importance of getting the bus running, in order to sell it.
Today, a good friend of mine bought his Dodge pickup, so perhaps Chris will now take my suggestions more seriously and dust off his tool box. And he now has cash for fuel filters and whatever else it needs.
Offer him a real low price ($400) because it is not running and see if he bites. Even if you find it's not able to be repaired you can recoup that cost for the scrap or part it out.
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Old 11-23-2016, 04:47 PM   #20
Bus Crazy
 
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SOLD
It relocated only 12 blocks, but it now has fresh registration, so I suppose it is actually sold.
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