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Old 01-08-2018, 07:57 PM   #101 (permalink)
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Cleaned up the workspace so the wee supervisors could enter. We're getting very close to having this interior completely stripped.

Covering the walls is this material that is like a cross between wallpaper, pool liner, canvas, and sheet rock mesh tape. I can't think of what the name of it is. It's held on with four strips of tar-like adhesive. Comes off relatively easily.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:06 PM   #102 (permalink)
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Underneath the "wallpaper" stuff is the last layer. Sheet steel stitch-welded to the frame. At one point a few months ago, I think I saw somebody cut a section of one sheet out to see if and what insulation was behind in and they found foam board. I peeled some of one sheet open and couldn't see anything. I'll be cutting the welds so that I can do a spray foam job from floor to floor.

This one gap in the rear window frame let me know that if I take the torx screws out from around the window, the window will fall out. I'll have to pick a good day to pull windows so that I can access the gaps between each window.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:14 PM   #103 (permalink)
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All of the linoleum-like floor covering came up. Wasn't too difficult. Just took some time with a flat bar. Discovered that the rubber step pad at the rear center was the alternator/transmission access.
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Old 01-09-2018, 06:12 PM   #104 (permalink)
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Cleanup day and a little more prep for fiberglass removal. Just a shot of the underside of the ramp to show how it's assembled. 7/16" nylock nuts that zip right off and a couple corroded ...rivets?.. at the big end of the stainless sides. Pulled up one piece of subfloor over the cold air return. I still plan to use the tunnel as the plumbing and electrical chase. There's more underneath it that houses the factory wiring, I'm told.
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Old 01-10-2018, 08:35 AM   #105 (permalink)
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Very convenient that there's a chase in the floor. Keep it up!
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:40 PM   #106 (permalink)
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Very convenient that there's a chase in the floor. Keep it up!
No kidding! It's apparently one thing insurance companies prefer about these coach buses over the school bus conversions. These have a "basement" for the plumbing and electrical rather than routing it through the living quarters.
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:17 AM   #107 (permalink)
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MCI 102 C3 -- Motor Coach Industries, 102" wide, C-model, 3-axle.

That is probably one of the better choices for a budget build bus conversion. All of the running gear is still available and relatively inexpensive. The best place to get parts and pieces is from Luke at US Coach in NJ. He can usually get whatever you need for an MCI to you wherever you are in the US faster and at a lower cost than if you went to MCI.

MCI motorcoaches with 2-cycle DD engines with the twin radiators overheat. It isn't a case of if they are going to overheat but when and how often. There are some work arounds but don't plan on upping the HP very much unless you intend to add additional radiators. The number one problem with the twin radiators is over time the seals around the edges fail allowing the squirrel cage blower fans to suck around the radiators rather than through them. MCI had two sizes of blower fans available. If you don't have the larger sized ones you definitely need to upgrade them. Adding in additional transmission cooling capacity would be a big help as well.

Ditching the factory HVAC system is a great idea. You will want to keep some of the plumbing intact to run hot water from the engine to the front heaters and defrosters. Perhaps with the whole system dedicated to defrosting the windshields it might actually clean them off. The stock A/C compressor with the additional electrical load is usually considered to take 35-50 HP to operate. The condenser compartment just behind the street side front tire can make a great gen set compartment since it already has a compartment door made of screening material. The fan you are seeing by the toilet tank is most probably the exhaust fan for the bathroom. Since the original toilet in an MCI isn't much more than an outhouse the removal of odors was a big deal. As a consequence there was a pretty large exhaust fan that tried to move the icky smell away from the bus. Most of the time it couldn't keep up on a hot day. That fan was wired to be on whenever the engine was running.

The air ride system is pretty primitive by today's standards. It was first developed on the MCI-5 and MCI-7 series of buses in the early '60's. It originally had no kneeling ability. Your C-3 may or may not have a kneeling ability. So yes, it might be plumbed and wired to go down but the system at normal ride height is about as high as it will go. The system does not have enough travel to go any higher. Which can present some problems if the road gets very rough. It isn't hard to get a three axle coach stuck if you should stop somewhere with the tags holding the weight with the drive wheels spinning in the air. Most of the newer MCI's had switches in the driver's compartment that would allow you to dump the air on the tags to give you some added weight for traction. Don't try driving without air in the tags very far--all the weight you put on the drivers is shifted off of the front axle which can make the front axle very light on the ground making it hard to keep directional control.

Most operators have gone to the 315's for tires. IMHO they are a bit of overkill unless you have a 45' coach like an MCI E4500--those are really heavy buses and need the extra weight carrying capacity. 11x22.5's are going to be your best bet--available at any truck stop in the country and cost about 65% of what a 315 will cost.

Do NOT use retreads/recaps/Bandags of any kind on a coach. When a tire fails, and they do all the time on coaches, the steel reinforced whip will do major damage before you can get stopped.

MCI's came with fuel tanks of varying sizes. It all depended upon what use the original operator figured they would be using the bus to do. A lot of the commuter/airporter/shuttle versions had tanks that were good for 5-8 hours of running while a line coach or a charter coach might have a tank good for 16-20 hours of running.

Some of the MCI's had the alternators run off of drives at the back of the engine on the driver's side. A lot of them were gear driven. Most of the later ones were belt driven off of the front of the engine. The same is true about the power steering pumps.

When it comes to towing with an MCI, you are going to have to design a tow hitch that accesses structural parts of the bus frame. All of the MCI engine/transmission power packages are mounted in cradles. Once all of the hoses and electrical connections are removed and the driveline is dropped there are only four big bolts holding everything in. Two guys and a forklift can do a power package swap in a about four hours if they have done it a couple of times. Which means putting a hitch on the rear bumper means you are only hitching up to the four rubber isolated bolts holding the engine in the bus. When Greyhound orders buses to haul freight in trailers the whole rear of the bus is constructed differently.

It appears as if you not only found a nice and clean rust free bus but it also seems to run pretty well. Good luck on your build and Happy Trails to you!
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:26 PM   #108 (permalink)
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That's what I'm talkin' 'bout. Sounds like you know these rigs inside and out.

I already have Luke's contact info. His name comes up a lot in the FB groups. He sounds like a great dude to know.

I don't plan to bump up the power on this. It makes enough, for now.. The fan rubber was the first thing I noticed when picking this up in Dallas. I was pointing those out to my wife the other day while I was explaining my reasons for eliminating the OTR AC. The squirrel cage shrouds are completely disintegrated. I have in my head a swap to high-flow, thermostat-controlled electric to ditch that flappy v-belt assembly. The only downside I see to that is that the squirrel cages blow heat onto the engine. Seems it's not an issue, though. Extra cooling will be added in due time.

We're current talking over a radiant-cooled ceiling to work in place of the OE AC. The fan contraption under the bathroom area is something the mechanic said he built to pull hot air off the engine, but may have been made with the bathroom fan components as it does run any time the engine is on.

As far as the suspension goes, I'll be tinkering with it later on. Suspension mods are no stranger to me. Just not a priority, at this time.

I have always warned against recaps. I've seen brand new ones blow apart. They won't be found on my rides.

Along with removing the OTR AC, I want to relocate the fuel tank to the rear and run a remote filler neck to somewhere convenient for fitting the bus in fueling stations. It's not bad up front, but makes the fueling experience a pain when high-flow islands are packed and you have to hang almost the entire length of the past behind a RV/truck dispenser which blocks much of the station's parking. Moving the tank will open up the entire front bay. That's all I have on that for now.

Got the tow hitch covered. I looked over the cradle mounting and have some ideas.

We're picking up some 40-weight Saturday so I have plenty of lube to play around with this engine and figure out the oil burning issue. It runs like a champ, but I don't want to run it until I have more oil.

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Old 01-14-2018, 01:53 AM   #109 (permalink)
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As far as the air suspension is concerned, unless you tear everything out and re-engineer the system making any significant changes is going to be difficult. The air suspension does not use a 3- or 4-link supported by an air bag. Unless and until you look underneath you won't understand why making changes is going to be challenging.

Make sure that before you put any of your body parts under the coach you block the coach up. It is really, really difficult to breathe with a 40' motorcoach sitting on your chest. 5-10 motorcoach techs discover that truth every year.

I would not relocate the fuel tank unless you are going to be putting some pretty heavy stuff up front. The D-models moved the fuel tank back. It isn't a big issue on the D-4000 but the D-4500 model can get really light on the steering on slick roads which none of the A/B/C models ever had.

I have never had a problem filling a coach with fuel except for the fact the slave pump is almost always the curb side pump. Which means you have to start the street side pump and set the nozzle on the ground and then go around the bus to operate the slave pump. Not a big deal but it can be an aggravation.

Make sure the oil you get is DELO 100 40 wt. or compatible oil.
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Old 01-15-2018, 09:17 AM   #110 (permalink)
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Saw this on CL says it has a new motor and trans, 8500 https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/s...427611677.html
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:23 PM   #111 (permalink)
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Not a whole lot to add, but we've been getting the junk out of the way and gearing up for some building action.

Having an entire toolbox drawer filled with hydraulic and pneumatic fittings is glorious. Threw together a 1/4" push-to-connect by 1/8"npt Y and an 1/8"npt Schrader valve so I could pop some air in with my mobile tank to open the storage bays. Stepped inside to see the doors open high enough to view them through the windows which makes it very convenient for use to spot where the bay dividers are and lay out our floor plan.

Suited up and pull all the fiberglass out.
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Old 01-17-2018, 09:25 PM   #112 (permalink)
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Continued with back wall demolition, today. A few hundred rivets later, I peeled the aluminum sheet off to expose the framing and insulation. A few views of what's inside the fiberglass air filter inlet box. Since I'm moving the turbo inlet piping, none of this upper inlet will be used. The grate on the side of the bus may make for a nice little bedroom window to let a small breeze in.
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Old 01-17-2018, 09:31 PM   #113 (permalink)
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Your making fast progress!

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Old 01-18-2018, 03:23 PM   #114 (permalink)
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I ordered a few composite decking sample from Cali Bamboo. Their Royal Gray BamDeck 6" (actually only measures 5.48" wide) is the only product of theirs that will fit 3/8" PEX tubing through the holes in each board. We were looking into this stuff as another option for the heated floor.

This composite stuff is pretty cool and incredibly sturdy. Pros to it: subfloor and top floor in one piece, accommodates PEX without the need for creating channels for the tubing, and for our square footage, would only weight around 1,200 pounds. It measures 0.89" thick and is made from 60% recycled bamboo fibers and 40% recycled HDPE. Haven't gotten a quote on it, yet. The brand that Home Depot sells came out to a hair under $2,000.

Cons: Depending on whether you ran PEX through every hole, every other hole, or spread it out even further, that's quite a bit of length and I'm guessing you would need to run as much as you can with a tubing ID of 1/4". That's a bit small to be of use for a large system. Anchoring the boards would have to be done with hardware other than what Cali Bamboo supplies. They recommend spacing the boards to account for thermal expansion, like your typical deck construction. I would have to rip strips of something to wedge between the board groves in order to fill the gap that would allow you to see down to the storage bays. Lastly, other than skipping holes with the PEX, I'm not sure how I'd go about framing on top of it.

This was just another idea to throw into the heated floor mix. Nothing substantial. We're still for the steel idea.
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:30 PM   #115 (permalink)
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FWIW we used that stuff on a couple of decks we have built, it moves ALOT when the sun hits it and warms up. I mean a lot.

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Old 01-18-2018, 03:46 PM   #116 (permalink)
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FWIW we used that stuff on a couple of decks we have built, it moves ALOT when the sun hits it and warms up. I mean a lot.

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Yup. I can already hear it creaking and groaning as it expands and contracts. Judging by the gap they want it installed with, I figured this stuff would be trouble. Got my ESAB Rebel in today, so I'm down to melt miles of steel.
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:19 PM   #117 (permalink)
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Turning this machine into a skeleton. All of the plywood floor is up. All of the floor fiberglass batting is out. The mice are vacating.
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:27 PM   #118 (permalink)
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Not a whole lot to lift the floor apart. Pulling up the plywood over top the drive and tag axles exposes a fair amount of rusted sheet metal and some aluminum sheets who's rivets had completely disappeared due to electrolysis. I'll be removing all sheets above the rear axles and either replacing them or rebuilding it differently. The steel sheets over the fiberglass wheel tubes were pretty well toast.
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:33 PM   #119 (permalink)
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Shots of the corn flake rust over the axles. Watch where you step. Under the former bathroom was the worst, of course. From the engine bay, you can see multiple, cheap attempts at making the deteriorating floor stay together. I'll spare you all the view of that.
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:41 PM   #120 (permalink)
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Tidied up today from yesterday's floor removal and started on the next round of dismantling.

Pulled out the passenger heat/AC blower unit. MCI was nice enough to mount handles on either end of squirrel cages to make lifting it out easier. Pretty beefy, permanent magnet DC motor powering those. I can attest to its power. I made geysers of trash front the floor vents when I accidentally flipped the switch on a couple weeks ago.

Drained and collect coolant from the passenger heater core and pulled that out along with the solenoid valve assembly controlling its flow.

A handful of Phillips screws drops the access panels at the upper center of the storage bays and gets you to every line going front from to back. Brakes, suspension, front air operations, power steering, coolant, refrigerant, throttle and shift cables. The wire bundle going from the dash to the engine bay is there, as well, along with battery cables. Loads of copper in there. Also started breaking down the AC system, today.
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:46 AM   #121 (permalink)
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Waited for this for a few months, all the while planning the floor construction. I measured all of the floor framework that the floor would lay on and entered it into SketchUp. Eight 4x8 sheets of 14 gauge with a 0.037" weld gap will cover the length of the floor just right.
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Old 01-31-2018, 09:21 PM   #122 (permalink)
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Looking into the HVAC bay. Evaporator is out and everything that was in the condenser bay is out aside from the condenser. The fuel tank and batteries are next.
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Old 01-31-2018, 09:24 PM   #123 (permalink)
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Removed the wall panels and seat rails today. Foam board insulation in the walls that will be removed and replaced with spray-in foam. The exterior panel rust isn't too bad. It's mainly under the window frames and at the bottoms of the walls that needs attention.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:15 AM   #124 (permalink)
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If that fitted foam came out in one piece, I'd probably save some money and put it back in. Looks like Polyiso, should be pretty close to the same R value as the spray foam. You can foam around the edges to seal it.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:32 AM   #125 (permalink)
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If that fitted foam came out in one piece, I'd probably save some money and put it back in. Looks like Polyiso, should be pretty close to the same R value as the spray foam. You can foam around the edges to seal it.
Unfortunately, it didn't. Most of the foam panels have broken. I'm pulling them out anyway to make rust repairs. The fiberglass batting in between the wall panels held water and made a mess.
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