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Old 08-30-2019, 02:15 PM   #1
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Considering a 4104!

Hi folks! Might be joining this particular community shortly as I'm considering picking up a 1960 GMC PD4104 which was converted into an RV about 25 years ago. Needs some minor things (new tires(not cheap but not difficult), fresh paint, some window seals, generator repair/replace) but starts and runs nice and is overall in very good shape for its age - the current owner says he takes it on trips a few times a year and has gone cross-country in it within the last five years. With any luck I may be able to get it for less than $10k.

So first things first, anyone have any particular recommendations or warnings regarding the 4104 platform? I've heard a lot of good about them, and I'm not afraid to spend some time learning to maintain the engine and shift the Spicer, but I don't want it to become a part time job either. I'm coming off an '83 Winnebago with a 6.2 diesel, so I'm familiar with old and slow diesels, just not ones this big, old, or slow. I know every conversion is a little different, but I'm not at all intimidated by the house elements, it's the chassis I'm focused on.

A big concern of mine is that there isn't a lot of headroom in this bus - I'm 6'2" and the previous owner installed padded panels on the ceiling which are low enough that I can only stand fully upright in the center. The padding is pleasantly soft at least when you bump into it, but I can't tell whether it's something I'd adapt to or have severe regrets over. Does anyone know what the actual floor to ceiling height in these buses was? I'm thinking I could potentially buy myself an extra inch or two by taking out the padded panels and installing thinner, more modern insulating materials instead.

Finally, anyone have any experience with costs relating to insurance on these? I know finding it can be a hassle and I'm not expecting to get anything nearly as nice as my current $130/year from Progressive, but an idea would be nice.

Anything else I should really be looking at or thinking about? I'm enamored by the charm of this old bus, and have been wanting to get into a more robust chassis for some time, just want to make sure I'm seeing it from all angles going in.

Oh, and for background, I'm 32, an IT professional with a fair amount of non-professional experience doing automative, electrical, and plumbing work; I definitely like to tinker.
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Old 09-04-2019, 02:57 AM   #2
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Sounds exciting - love old bus and bus conversions myself - I am envious.
The only thing I can offer is to check out Bus Grease Monkey on Youtube - this guy travels the US working on old buses - he may have some tips for you.
Good luck keep us posted if possible!!
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Old 09-04-2019, 03:26 PM   #3
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If you like the looks of the bus, enjoy getting your hands dirty, and think that you'll be get enough enjoyment out of it to justify the money spent then I say go for it.

We're on our second GM bus conversion (a 4106 which was totaled and our current 4108) and I think that the GM buses have the best aesthetics of all the buses out there. Just my opinion, but I'm sticking with it.
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Old 09-04-2019, 03:59 PM   #4
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Almost bought a 4104 many years ago, but after driving it with the four speed. [ could never get the double clutching down] ended up getting a 4106 with an 8v71 and Allison 3 speed auto. Thought most of the old buses out there have been converted to auto's by now. Did know a guy that had a 4104 with standard, and he said 1st was very high geared and hard to get going from a stop on a hill without a lot of clutch abuse.
$10000 seems high, sold my semi-professionally converted 64, 4106 auto with a Martin 10 kw diesel genset 5 years ago for $12000. But like Richard, think GMC's make the best bus conversions. Also had a GMC 4905, newer and five foot longer than a 4104 but has an unbelievable 400 cubic ft of bay storage.
Insurance is a hassle, ended up getting just PL/PD. for a couple hundred a year.
Bottom line is, any GMC bus conversion is great but would look for an auto.
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:17 PM   #5
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Insurance can be dealt with. We have full coverage on a state-value policy. Find the bus you like, insurance is out there.
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Old Today, 06:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
If you like the looks of the bus, enjoy getting your hands dirty, and think that you'll be get enough enjoyment out of it to justify the money spent then I say go for it.

We're on our second GM bus conversion (a 4106 which was totaled and our current 4108) and I think that the GM buses have the best aesthetics of all the buses out there. Just my opinion, but I'm sticking with it.
I'm with you. I miss mine (grumpy spicer and all) and I'd buy back my 4905 today if I could locate it.
If anyone has seen it, give me a shout.
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