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Old 07-06-2019, 05:01 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I'm in love with a '61 MCI

Hello, I am new here and we are looking for our first conversion. We have not ruled out skoolies but I ran across a retro 1961 mci bus that has had a partial conversion. The bus has 40k miles on a rebuilt engine,new axels , tires, work on the transmission and a bunch of other random small engine stuff. Does anybody know what other mechanical factors that we need to consider with this bus? We don't know anything about these coach buses but I am really leaning towards this idea. Thanks in advance!!
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Old 07-06-2019, 06:07 PM   #2
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Would really need to know specifics of the drive train, what engine and trans is in it?
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Old 07-06-2019, 07:25 PM   #3
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Hello o1marc! Thank you for your reply! Below you will see the copied text with the engine info from the ad:
The bus underwent a major rehaul in 1970 after a short life as a Canadian tour bus. It has been well maintained and has many new parts, including: a new 6V92T engine with jake brakes, a 10 speed Fuller transmission with overdrive, and Ross Intergal power steering. The rear axle has been rebuilt, and new front windshields and mount rubbers have been installed.

I dont know if this helps? I do know that there are 50k miles on the new engine.
Thanks again!
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Old 07-06-2019, 07:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ineedabus1 View Post
Hello o1marc! Thank you for your reply! Below you will see the copied text with the engine info from the ad:
The bus underwent a major rehaul in 1970 after a short life as a Canadian tour bus. It has been well maintained and has many new parts, including: a new 6V92T engine with jake brakes, a 10 speed Fuller transmission with overdrive, and Ross Intergal power steering. The rear axle has been rebuilt, and new front windshields and mount rubbers have been installed.

I dont know if this helps? I do know that there are 50k miles on the new engine.
Thanks again!
Put 10k miles on it since your first post? That helps tremendously. Everything you listed now is more important than anything in the OP. Sounds like a nice bus if the price is right.
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Old 07-06-2019, 07:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ineedabus1 View Post
Hello o1marc! Thank you for your reply! Below you will see the copied text with the engine info from the ad:
The bus underwent a major rehaul in 1970 after a short life as a Canadian tour bus. It has been well maintained and has many new parts, including: a new 6V92T engine with jake brakes, a 10 speed Fuller transmission with overdrive, and Ross Intergal power steering. The rear axle has been rebuilt, and new front windshields and mount rubbers have been installed.

I dont know if this helps? I do know that there are 50k miles on the new engine.
Thanks again!
Sounds dreamy!
It doesn't get any better than that.
GO FOR IT
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Old 07-06-2019, 07:54 PM   #6
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Apparently.�� When my husband read the ad to me last night I thought he said 40k ( optimistic thinking I guess..)
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Old 07-06-2019, 08:00 PM   #7
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Word to the wise: "Canadian" might well be a red flag for hidden rust!
Hopefully your new find is structurally solid, and well maintained body wise as well...
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by peteg59 View Post
Word to the wise: "Canadian" might well be a red flag for hidden rust!
Hopefully your new find is structurally solid, and well maintained body wise as well...
Ontario and parts of Quebec are bad for rust - southern BC eehhh? - northern BC and the prairie provinces produce some rust free or almost rust free vehicles
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:44 PM   #9
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Smile

Is there a way to tell which part of Canada it's from? I have e mailed the seller but I'm not sure if they would know since they aren't the original owners. Also, it's hard to tell from the photos I have received so far but it looks like there is some damage to the chrome side panel on one side. It looks a little warped in spots. I realize that it is pushing 60 yrs old so i would expect some minor stuff. I dont think it's a huge deal ( unless it was in a wreck or something) but it almost looks like good sized door dings..I have no idea how hard that would be to fix. Obviously I would consult with a body shop..just thinking aloud here. I am going to need to travel 500 miles to look at it. I'm expecting more photos so I will try to post a couple. Thanks for the suggestions everyone!
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Sleddgracer View Post
Ontario and parts of Quebec are bad for rust - southern BC eehhh? - northern BC and the prairie provinces produce some rust free or almost rust free vehicles
Makes sense I guess, but I'd still go over it carefully. Do they not use any salt on snow covered roadways in BC?
No clue where this one was mostly used though, from OP's posts...?
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:57 PM   #11
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Makes sense I guess, but I'd still go over it carefully. Do they not use any salt on snow covered roadways in BC?
No clue where this one was mostly used though, from OP's posts...?
salt is mostly used in temperatures that are not far off the freezing point - where it's colder in the north and they have 'solid' winters, salt doesn't work so well - no point in salting if it's 20 below f
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:13 PM   #12
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If you have a background in 2 stroke Detroit Diesels and can do all of your own maintenance it might be a good buy if it is cheap enough. On the other hand, if you have to farm out service and repair and have no experience in operating that rig you could quickly be in expensive trouble. It is next to impossible to find a qualified mechanic with DD experience as both the motor and the mechanics have all but aged out. You might want to post your question on BCM Community - Index since it deals mainly with over the road buses like MCI.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:39 PM   #13
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It's definitely not cheap! The MCI conversions we have seen are expensive but honestly we are so new to this that we havent determined what is a fair price for something like this especially one this old. They are asking 40k.(and we want to update the interior so we will be in around 60k when its finished) Since we do not have experience with diesel engines of any kind we may have to pass on this one to avoid being stuck in a money pit. This is going to be our home so it would really suck if we could not find anyone who can fix it bummer
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:03 AM   #14
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Its not some rare bird. Its a Detroit.
If you can afford a 40k bus you can definitely afford to keep it on the road.
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Old 07-07-2019, 12:37 PM   #15
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Thank you EastCoastCB. I appreciate your input. I posted on BCM forum also as was recommended on this forum. I hope to find some resources there. Maybe if I am lucky I will get a referral for somebody who works on these specifically so I will have a go to guy if we do make the purchase( and definitely not for 40k) :0
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Old 07-07-2019, 12:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ineedabus1 View Post
Thank you EastCoastCB. I appreciate your input. I posted on BCM forum also as was recommended on this forum. I hope to find some resources there. Maybe if I am lucky I will get a referral for somebody who works on these specifically so I will have a go to guy if we do make the purchase( and definitely not for 40k) :0
That's a top shelf bus with a very desirable engine/transmission combo. The power steering is icing on the cake.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:10 PM   #17
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There are people still around that can service and repair these old Detroits, and likely would not mind teaching you so that you wouldn't have to rely on others. The 6V92 would be an upgrade, as the 92-series did not debut until the mid-70s. Quite likely it was a NOS crate engine that the military surplussed through auction (have seen several surplussed that they never got around to using).

And those old 2-strokes will run FOREVER if properly serviced and maintained, though they don't call them 'green leakers' for nothing -- checking fluids regularly is strongly advised. Also, from my understanding talking to a few diesel mechanics and truckers from back in the day, the 92-series had an issue with cylinder liners, though likely not a problem with such a low-mileage engine.

Now, keep in mind, being that it is a 2-stroke design, these buggers get quite loud, which might not be a big problem in driving, as I'm pretty sure that MCI is a rear-engine pusher. But if you'll be finishing your conversion in a nice, cozy quiet cul-de-sac with b*tchy neighbors, they won't like your 'screaming Jimmy' when you fire it up -- there's really not much that can be done to quiet them. In which case you can show them my avatar.

Because it is a 2-stroke engine, 800 rpm sounds like 1600 rpm, 1000 rpm sounds like 2000 rpm, and 3000 rpm sounds like 6000 rpm. I know what you're thinking -- 3000 RPM?!! ARE THEY FREAKIN' NUTS?!! Yes, these engines like to be run hard to some degree. Matter of fact, most don't pull well until they hit the 1800-2600 rpm range.

Also, keep in mind, these don't have intake valves, they suck in air through holes in the cylinder liner that allow air in when the piston is the bottom of its travel, and use blowers to force air into the cylinder, since it technically has no intake suction. "Suck, squeeze, bang, blow, all in one go" is a common descriptor for these engines.

I hear from a lot of older truckers who ran these things that the best way to drive one of these was to slam your hand in the door, then get in and drive it, because to get the best out of it, you had to drive it like you were mad at it, as evidenced in this video. Keep in mind, however, the truck in the video has a twin-stick configuration because it has two transmissions, and likely a 2-speed differential.

The truck in the video is a 6-53, meaning it is an inline-6, 53-series, making it a 318-cubic-inch, or approximately 5.2-litre. Those who drove them daily will tell you that nothing can catch them on flat ground, but on hills they couldn't pass a snail. Probably not much of an issue with this one, though, I believe you mentioned it was a TA, which if memory serves, means it is (T)urbo (A)ftercooled.

Decoding models on these engines is simple -- Number of cylinders, followed by V if the engine was vertically opposed, then the series number. The series number is the cubic-inch-displacement per cylinder. Most older ones were inlines, therefore no 'V'. A 6-71, for example, is an inline-6, 71 CID per cylinder, making 426 CID, or 7.0L. A 6V53 would be a V-6, 53 CID per cylinder, making 318 CID, or 5.2L.

When these engines were new, they were generally referred to by their horsepower rating, however, so when someone refers to a '318' Detroit, they are generally talking about the 8V71's 318-hp rating. The beast you are considering would be a 6-cylinder, vertically-opposed ('V' configuration) 92-series, or 552-cubic-inch, turbocharged and aftercooled. Not sure of power ratings on this one, however.

But don't let anyone tell you the 2-stroke is dead. It ain't, not by a damned sight. Still plenty of people who fool with these just as a hobby. It's not impossible to find someone who can repair it for you if necessary.

All in all, sounds like a nice find, especially if you're willing to learn how to service it when necessary. Sounds like it's not likely to need any major repair in the future. I would encourage you, however, to get whatever service manuals you can and learn to do some of this work yourself. There are still people out there that can service these, but when they are no longer available, it will only get harder to find someone in the future.

40k? Worth every penny with that engine/trans combo if it's not rusty, especially if you can learn to service it yourself.
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Old 07-07-2019, 03:14 PM   #18
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Thank you so much for all of the valuable info. i think my hubby likes the idea of the hot rod sounding engine although I'm not sure how well appreciated we will be when we pull into an RV park full of old folks with their swank RVs haha. Luckily we are planning to spend most of our time off grid. I am hoping to install solar and a small wood burning stove, although I have not looked into the logistics on this particular model of bus so I dont even know if it is possible. On a side note here, and please correct me if I need to be on a different forum, I have found another bus that i am planning to ask for advice on. I actually like it better than the MCI( in looks especially ) It's a 1948 GMC PD351 greyhound conversion (also a diesel but with a 4 speed standard transmission) I am stupid obsessed with these vintage buses.. SO do I need to post this one for advice on a different forum or is it still considered a coach conversion? Sorry! I am a newbie here and trying to navigate my way around! I'm posting a pic( i hope) drool
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
There are people still around that can service and repair these old Detroits, and likely would not mind teaching you so that you wouldn't have to rely on others. The 6V92 would be an upgrade, as the 92-series did not debut until the mid-70s. Quite likely it was a NOS crate engine that the military surplussed through auction (have seen several surplussed that they never got around to using).

And those old 2-strokes will run FOREVER if properly serviced and maintained, though they don't call them 'green leakers' for nothing -- checking fluids regularly is strongly advised. Also, from my understanding talking to a few diesel mechanics and truckers from back in the day, the 92-series had an issue with cylinder liners, though likely not a problem with such a low-mileage engine.

Now, keep in mind, being that it is a 2-stroke design, these buggers get quite loud, which might not be a big problem in driving, as I'm pretty sure that MCI is a rear-engine pusher. But if you'll be finishing your conversion in a nice, cozy quiet cul-de-sac with b*tchy neighbors, they won't like your 'screaming Jimmy' when you fire it up -- there's really not much that can be done to quiet them. In which case you can show them my avatar.

Because it is a 2-stroke engine, 800 rpm sounds like 1600 rpm, 1000 rpm sounds like 2000 rpm, and 3000 rpm sounds like 6000 rpm. I know what you're thinking -- 3000 RPM?!! ARE THEY FREAKIN' NUTS?!! Yes, these engines like to be run hard to some degree. Matter of fact, most don't pull well until they hit the 1800-2600 rpm range.

Also, keep in mind, these don't have intake valves, they suck in air through holes in the cylinder liner that allow air in when the piston is the bottom of its travel, and use blowers to force air into the cylinder, since it technically has no intake suction. "Suck, squeeze, bang, blow, all in one go" is a common descriptor for these engines.

I hear from a lot of older truckers who ran these things that the best way to drive one of these was to slam your hand in the door, then get in and drive it, because to get the best out of it, you had to drive it like you were mad at it, as evidenced in this video. Keep in mind, however, the truck in the video has a twin-stick configuration because it has two transmissions, and likely a 2-speed differential.

The truck in the video is a 6-53, meaning it is an inline-6, 53-series, making it a 318-cubic-inch, or approximately 5.2-litre. Those who drove them daily will tell you that nothing can catch them on flat ground, but on hills they couldn't pass a snail. Probably not much of an issue with this one, though, I believe you mentioned it was a TA, which if memory serves, means it is (T)urbo (A)ftercooled.

Decoding models on these engines is simple -- Number of cylinders, followed by V if the engine was vertically opposed, then the series number. The series number is the cubic-inch-displacement per cylinder. Most older ones were inlines, therefore no 'V'. A 6-71, for example, is an inline-6, 71 CID per cylinder, making 426 CID, or 7.0L. A 6V53 would be a V-6, 53 CID per cylinder, making 318 CID, or 5.2L.

When these engines were new, they were generally referred to by their horsepower rating, however, so when someone refers to a '318' Detroit, they are generally talking about the 8V71's 318-hp rating. The beast you are considering would be a 6-cylinder, vertically-opposed ('V' configuration) 92-series, or 552-cubic-inch, turbocharged and aftercooled. Not sure of power ratings on this one, however.

But don't let anyone tell you the 2-stroke is dead. It ain't, not by a damned sight. Still plenty of people who fool with these just as a hobby. It's not impossible to find someone who can repair it for you if necessary.

All in all, sounds like a nice find, especially if you're willing to learn how to service it when necessary. Sounds like it's not likely to need any major repair in the future. I would encourage you, however, to get whatever service manuals you can and learn to do some of this work yourself. There are still people out there that can service these, but when they are no longer available, it will only get harder to find someone in the future.

40k? Worth every penny with that engine/trans combo if it's not rusty, especially if you can learn to service it yourself.
+1 +1 +1+1

Thank you for saying it so well.

2 strokes are not dead....

I sure miss mine.....

I was in a Detroit shop in the Seattle area last year and the subject of servicing 2 strokes and they had plenty of knowledge and told me that two strokes are in their shop regularly.
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:59 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Ineedabus1 View Post
Thank you so much for all of the valuable info. i think my hubby likes the idea of the hot rod sounding engine although I'm not sure how well appreciated we will be when we pull into an RV park full of old folks with their swank RVs haha. Luckily we are planning to spend most of our time off grid.
I can identify with the hubby's love of the unique scream of the Detroit 2-stroke (or GM Diesel as they were originally called). I actually wrote a crime/law/mystery novel that briefly highlights an old-school trucker with a Detroit-powered '70s Peterbilt, an unwitting mule in an interstate crime ring. I'm afraid I may have over-embellished things a bit from their point-of-view in the story.

It's good that you're planning to largely off-grid, as I can already tell you that most 'RV parks' will likely turn you away for two reasons - one, the age of the bus, two, the fact that it is a conversion. They have an IMAGE to maintain, don't ya know...

As for the folks they cater to, well... You'll actually find that many find such conversions quite intriguing, but there's always that one b*tchy busybody that doesn't like your 'eyesore' parked next to them. AFAIC, they should have kept their condo and stayed home instead of traveling, and stuck to their country-club HOA.

Oh, well, there are always rest areas, truck stops, on-ramps, state parks, and other places that you won't have as many problems with whining, b*tchy people. Don't hold me to swear in a court of law, but I believe some BLM areas even welcome campers, including bus conversions, but be sure to verify if permits are needed, and if there are time limits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ineedabus1 View Post
I am hoping to install solar and a small wood burning stove, although I have not looked into the logistics on this particular model of bus so I dont even know if it is possible.
Anything is possible if you have the know-how, it's doing it RIGHT in a manner that suits you, that gets tricky.

Though I will say a wood-burning stove (even the pellet kind) will likely further lower your chances of being welcome in an RV park, once you fire it up. Of course, RV parks have electric service, which makes it a moot point if you have electric heat, but what happens when the power goes out? Another thing to consider, there are times when campfires are not allowed in state parks and such, you might research as to whether this includes a wood stove inside a vehicle.

Side note here, as a severe asthmatic, I can empathize with people who are bothered by smoke (it can kill me, especially cigarette smoke), but there's a major difference between being genuinely affected by it, and making a federal case just to have something to complain about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ineedabus1 View Post
On a side note here, and please correct me if I need to be on a different forum, I have found another bus that i am planning to ask for advice on. I actually like it better than the MCI( in looks especially ) It's a 1948 GMC PD351 greyhound conversion (also a diesel but with a 4 speed standard transmission) I am stupid obsessed with these vintage buses.. SO do I need to post this one for advice on a different forum or is it still considered a coach conversion?
While that '48 GMC merits major points in the 'cool' department, you're going to hate that 4-speed on hills, and you might top out at 55-60 if you're lucky. I think you'll be much happier with the 10-speed arrangement if you'll be traveling a lot. But don't jump on it on my say-so without checking for rust and other issues. Rust would be my concern just because of it being in Canada. Just my $0.02.

While I can't speak for everyone, but I'm sure you would be welcome in either case. I'm pretty sure there are already some Crown, MCI, GM Fishbowl, and other older transit / coach body owners here. And there's even a Detroit power forum in the Powertrain / Drivetrain forum, I know I've read a few threads about two-stroke troubleshooting there.
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