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Old 02-23-2018, 10:34 AM   #1
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Smile To Buy or Not to buy a 1981 MCI Bus Conversion RV

After researching and budget analyzing, we are considering a 1981 MCI Bus that has been converted to a RV years ago and needs TLC. Being owners of every other kind of RV we'd like to venture down the road of buses.
We are not afraid of tackling the inside but am wondering about the engine and other issues that will be costly. The owner says it has 70% tread on tires and engine and trany runs strong no problems. He even sent a video on the sound of the engine and a complete walk around. They are asking $5,000. I did notice a bit of rust on ceiling so there might be issues with corrosion on top. Not sure if this is a quick fix or something that will be very costly. Just curious is anyone has bought one of these old timers and any thought about them. What do you think of the cost of $5,000? Thank you!!
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:44 AM   #2
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I like converted buses, if done right there better build then most motorhomes, there's another web site that is just for MCI buses, might get some better info
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:13 PM   #3
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Can you post the video and pics
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Old 02-23-2018, 03:34 PM   #4
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My MCI is 1978 with 8V71 two stroke diesel coupled to a four speed crash box.

They are definitely an acquired taste. You need to be willing to tackle heavy vehicle servicing yourself OR have pretty fat wallets - or both


Bus Topics ( click here for quick start! ) will get you some very biased opinions as well as plenty of horror stories as well

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/mci-bus-nuts/ is for MVIs but isn't very active nowadays
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:32 PM   #5
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It's my opinion that to own any substantial motorhome you either need to be very mechanical and enjoy fixing and improving or be in a position to spend significant money to do the needed work. I have never owned a bus but I have many friends that have them. To me most buses, especially one of that vintage increases the points I made above a bunch. Personally I could see myself enjoying it but I have always been into cars and restored many. Even doing the work yourself you will need a healthy budget to gets things the way you want them and to be able to trust the mechanicals (as much as they can be trusted &#128522. Just one quick example, you mention that the tires evidently have a lot of tread life left but do you know the age? If it has lived outside and they are 7 or more years old then they will need to be replaced. Cost for new tires will be $3000 or more. If it were me and I was considering this I would be prepared to invest multiple times the purchase price to get it to a level I would be comfortable with but that's just me.

Good luck if you go for it.
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Old 02-03-2019, 04:40 PM   #6
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In 1981 is a MC-9 model which is fine. You have to obviously check for corrosion which if it’s in the body then yes it could be an issue because you’ll have to pull off the sheeting and then get down to the bare metal but usually they’re pretty solid the other thing to check is the floor to make sure that the wood is not rotted out. Check the air beams make sure that it holds air because of the air beams are out and you can have to weld them and you lose the little bit of the air suspension. They are adorable they will run forever but they do require maintenance. If you’re good mechanically then in 1981 is a MC-9 model which is fine. You have to obviously check for corrosion which if it’s in the body then yes it could be an issue because you’ll have to pull off the sheeting and then get down to the bare metal but usually they’re pretty solid the other thing to check is the floor to make sure that the wood is not rotted out. Check the air beams make sure that it holds air because of the air beams are out and you can have to weld them and you’ll lose the little bit of the air suspension. They are adorable they will run forever but they do require maintenance. If you’re good mechanically then You should be fine. But just remember you are going to have to invest time and money and a lot of TLC in them. But when she get it running right there’s nothing like it. Running from coast to coast with the coach bus is so easy.
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Old 02-04-2019, 06:20 PM   #7
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Have the bus inspected it is worth the 400.oo bucks then you will probably end up putting 10 times the price in it but they run forever. 1981 8v71 or 8v92 dont remember when they went to the bigger motor. Nothing wrong with either just the 8v71 engine is way cheaper to buy, if you ever need one.
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:18 AM   #8
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Watch youtube videos of bus grease monkey. If that makes you squeamish then it might not be the right choice for you.
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:35 PM   #9
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I love my Mci-8/9 1979 model bought from a fella out of bay St lewis Ms years ago I came from a Iowa farm family so diesels never scared me and it came with a complete set of maint. record/manuals.MAINT. IS THE KEY!! you can't be scared to get a bit of grease under your fingernails but it should give you miles of enjoyment too!! this is my 2ed coach the first one was a ark razorbacks football bus 30 yrs ago single rear axle with I believe a 501 Int. harvester gasser for power.I love the 8v71 it has given me great service wish you the best of luck!! its already "blessed" being a gospel groups former bus!!!
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:02 PM   #10
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Lots of busses setting out back or in lots because the owners dont have the resources to FIX them.

I have always loved buses.

But I always had to analyze my budget ?

So the bus, even if given to me free.
Became such a liability that to have it the way I wanted it.

I never thought I could afford the Liability.

As suggested
Watch as many greese monkey videos as you can.
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:14 PM   #11
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I own a 1978 MC-8 and it was kind of a basket case but the potential was there. After going through the brakes, air bag suspension and a clutch it is a very sturdy and serviceable bus that isn't made of fiber glass and plastic. Best part is no computers to deal with. Once you go through the major systems, verify and repair as needed you can't beat them.
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