WELCOME TO RIVER DAVES PLACE

Converting a MCI bus into an RV...

ka0tyk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
7,695
Reaction score
6,457
Alright well here goes nothing. Should be picking this up this week. Private owned coach with just a little over 100k on the clock. Pretty much brand new. Full maintenance records. Has all alum wheels with pretty much new tires. I can’t wait!
1527454E-FC4C-437D-8F48-E89375265E3C.jpeg
 

lbhsbz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2010
Messages
7,339
Reaction score
14,128
Leave 4 seats in it for the wife and kids, put a Hilton sticker on the side...pull into the Hilton driveway like you own the place, snap at the bellhop and point to your bags, then hold your hand out for key card to the suite.
 

ka0tyk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
7,695
Reaction score
6,457
As with any project, you gotta have a good plan. I've joined a few MCI facebook groups and was able to get dimensions, etc from their documentation and tossed those numbers into a 3d modeling site and made a to scale view of our floor plan. Gonna go with a queen in the rear, 1.5' gap on the sides, 2' to the first wall. Going to go with pocket doors throughout to help with space. The next compartment will be bunks with 2 on each side. We did choose the longer RV bunks just in case an adult needs to stay in them. So thats 4 beds in there. Next is a full size fiberglass shower enclosure 48" wide, toilet and sink will go on the other side. This should keep all my plumbing tight. Next kitchen with only lower cabinets, I'll probably push a side to include a pantry. Full size fridge, sink and range. We will just toss a convection oven into the lower cabinets and a trash "door" that drops down to a full size trashcan that will be stored underneath. That gives us 10' forward for either a dinette and couch, or two couches, Im not really sure yet. Also planning on building in a drop down TV frame mount on the ceiling.

Screen Shot 2020-12-14 at 8.27.50 AM.png
 
Last edited:

ka0tyk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
7,695
Reaction score
6,457
Also if anyone has any feedback regarding rooftop AC units. I'm thinking 3, a larger unit in the main area, one in the bunk/bathroom, and a unit at the rear.
 

fmo24

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
5,737
Reaction score
3,360
Also if anyone has any feedback regarding rooftop AC units. I'm thinking 3, a larger unit in the main area, one in the bunk/bathroom, and a unit at the rear.
Our 40ft has three A/C. Forward and rear are also heat pumps all ducted. We have two propane furnaces , as heat pumps don’t do much good below 40 degrees. They just blow cold air at that pint
 

fmo24

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
5,737
Reaction score
3,360
You may also want to reconsider bath in center. It’s a pain if your in back and someone is using toilet. Unless you do a water closet on one side so you can take a dump and still allow people access to rear of coach
 

Ballsdeep

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
6,346
Reaction score
5,758
Also if anyone has any feedback regarding rooftop AC units. I'm thinking 3, a larger unit in the main area, one in the bunk/bathroom, and a unit at the rear.
Is there any room underneath to do 1larger unit ducted? My rig has 2 rooftop AC's and they work but struggle to keep my dark coach cool during the summer time especially at the river. Realistically I should have a 3rd unit. I have a few friends who have smaller coaches but the AC's are mounted underneath to the frame and you could hang meat in there motorhomes. Big difference in how they cool when we are all camped together.

Looking forward to a build thread!
 

MK1MOD0

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
Messages
1,401
Reaction score
2,179
Alright well here goes nothing. Should be picking this up this week. Private owned coach with just a little over 100k on the clock. Pretty much brand new. Full maintenance records. Has all alum wheels with pretty much new tires. I can’t wait!
View attachment 951744
That’s kick ass ! It’s going to be awesome !
 

ka0tyk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
7,695
Reaction score
6,457
Is there any room underneath to do 1larger unit ducted? My rig has 2 rooftop AC's and they work but struggle to keep my dark coach cool during the summer time especially at the river. Realistically I should have a 3rd unit. I have a few friends who have smaller coaches but the AC's are mounted underneath to the frame and you could hang meat in there motorhomes. Big difference in how they cool when we are all camped together.

Looking forward to a build thread!
Theres a crazy amount of room under the bus. Some of that I'm going to lose to tanks, pumps, filters, etc for the plumbing. I've also looked into possibly doing a mini split as the roof units generally much more noisy. I'm still up in the "air" about cooling/heating. I'd like to avoid propane tanks for heat, theres diesel heaters that work pretty well and I'll have a ton of diesel available in the bus.
 

Singleton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
12,949
Reaction score
12,622
Also if anyone has any feedback regarding rooftop AC units. I'm thinking 3, a larger unit in the main area, one in the bunk/bathroom, and a unit at the rear.
i would look into mini-split AC units
 

79 HUSTLER

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
2,081
Reaction score
1,728
Also if anyone has any feedback regarding rooftop AC units. I'm thinking 3, a larger unit in the main area, one in the bunk/bathroom, and a unit at the rear.
Does it not already have basement ac/heat being a prior tour bus?
 

fmo24

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
5,737
Reaction score
3,360
Aqua hot is a diesel electric system for heat and hot water used in higher end motorhomes. Oasis is another I believe
 

monkeyswrench

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
10,723
Reaction score
21,448
that system is only on when the bus is running. Ac compressor is belt driven
Don't know the pheasibility, but could you standalone the compressor via belt or coupling to an electric motor? All the plumbing and ducting is done, and a bus is low rpm... Heat would still be an issue though.
 

merc_400r

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Messages
95
Reaction score
73
As with any project, you gotta have a good plan. I've joined a few MCI facebook groups and was able to get dimensions, etc from their documentation and tossed those numbers into a 3d modeling site and made a to scale view of our floor plan. Gonna go with a queen in the rear, 1.5' gap on the sides, 2' to the first wall. Going to go with pocket doors throughout to help with space. The next compartment will be bunks with 2 on each side. We did choose the longer RV bunks just in case an adult needs to stay in them. So thats 4 beds in there. Next is a full size fiberglass shower enclosure 48" wide, toilet and sink will go on the other side. This should keep all my plumbing tight. Next kitchen with only lower cabinets, I'll probably push a side to include a pantry. Full size fridge, sink and range. We will just toss a convection oven into the lower cabinets and a trash "door" that drops down to a full size trashcan that will be stored underneath. That gives us 10' forward for either a dinette and couch, or two couches, Im not really sure yet. Also planning on building in a drop down TV frame mount on the ceiling.

View attachment 951810
Cool, what are the specs on the bus? Year, model, engine, chassis, length, previous life, etc. Are you going to post how much you spend? Is this going to be a budget build or baller? I am looking forward to this build. Always thought about doing something like this but don't think I am capable of it. When do you think you will have it done?
 

DLow

Single Barrel Dweller
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
2,947
Reaction score
3,436
This will be a fun build to watch. Can you even get that thing into your neighborhood?
 

zhandfull

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2008
Messages
1,543
Reaction score
1,119
What’s your estimated timeframe to complete this project. Subscribed!
 

zhandfull

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2008
Messages
1,543
Reaction score
1,119
As with any project, you gotta have a good plan. I've joined a few MCI facebook groups and was able to get dimensions, etc from their documentation and tossed those numbers into a 3d modeling site and made a to scale view of our floor plan. Gonna go with a queen in the rear, 1.5' gap on the sides, 2' to the first wall. Going to go with pocket doors throughout to help with space. The next compartment will be bunks with 2 on each side. We did choose the longer RV bunks just in case an adult needs to stay in them. So thats 4 beds in there. Next is a full size fiberglass shower enclosure 48" wide, toilet and sink will go on the other side. This should keep all my plumbing tight. Next kitchen with only lower cabinets, I'll probably push a side to include a pantry. Full size fridge, sink and range. We will just toss a convection oven into the lower cabinets and a trash "door" that drops down to a full size trashcan that will be stored underneath. That gives us 10' forward for either a dinette and couch, or two couches, Im not really sure yet. Also planning on building in a drop down TV frame mount on the ceiling.

View attachment 951810
I was looking at that plan and originally thinking I would have bathroom between the master and bunks. But if bunk room can be dual purpose and possibly used as workspace/office and/or dressing makeup room. That would be nice too. Don’t forget about cabinets and closets.
 

DLow

Single Barrel Dweller
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
2,947
Reaction score
3,436
I was looking at that plan and originally thinking I would have bathroom between the master and bunks. But if bunk room can be dual purpose and possibly used as workspace/office and/or dressing makeup room. That would be nice too. Don’t forget about cabinets and closets.
I was thinking that too, but if you have people in the coach, it would be better if they didn’t walk through the bunk room to get to toilet/sink.
 

evantwheeler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2015
Messages
774
Reaction score
970
@ka0tyk Honestly, with as much material as you are going to be dragging in & out of that thing, you should look into removing the windshield if you have a secure place for it to live while you remodel.
 

ka0tyk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
7,695
Reaction score
6,457
So I found this bus out in Bakersfield a couple weeks ago and Ive just been going back and forth trying to figure out if this is the one... its a 1998 MCI 102EL3 "renaissance". Theres only 135k miles on it. Detroit series 60 with an Allison B500 6 speed transmission and retarder. She thought the tires were new but it turns out they're just in really good shape with extremely low mileage. I have full maintenance records with complete 45 day inspections, and all receipts for everything done to the bus. It was in a small front end collision but I have complete receipts with all new parts purchased directly from MCI. Supposedly it was used to shuttle high school kids up to san francisco and back.

Long story short she knew actually a lot about the bus. Her and her husband purchased the bus back in July with the intention of converting it. He apparently worked overnight and ripped most of the seats out with some friends. Two days later he went to go pick up her motorcycle from the shop, and while riding home he struck a tractor in the road that had 0 lights on and was severely injured. She said that he called her first as they lived only 10 minutes away and said "I'm not gonna make it, come quick..." and she was able to get there in time to say her goodbyes. So a few months later she lists it for sale and I was able to make an extremely good deal on an extremely low mileage bus. The outside is straight as an arrow, theres a couple scuffs and for the most part it appears the luggage doors need to be adjusted. Theres some trim thats missing a couple screws and snaps, but other than that its pretty minty. I dont think I'd ever find such a low mileage bus with all the records and receipts to prove it. I've looked at a few beaters with like 600k on them and they were ROUGH.
 
Last edited:

clarence

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2019
Messages
156
Reaction score
176
Two days later he went to go pick up her motorcycle from the shop, and while riding home he struck a tractor in the road that had 0 lights on and was severely injured. She said that he called her first as they lived only 10 minutes away and said "I'm not gonna make it, come quick..." and she was able to get there in time to say her goodbyes.
Fuck.
 

lbhsbz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2010
Messages
7,339
Reaction score
14,128
So I found this bus out in Bakersfield a couple weeks ago and Ive just been going back and forth trying to figure out if this is the one... its a 1999 MCI E4500. Theres only 135k miles on it. Detroit series 60 with an Allison B500 6 speed transmission and retarder. She thought the tires were new but it turns out they're just in really good shape with extremely low mileage. I have full maintenance records with complete 45 day inspections, and all receipts for everything done to the bus. It was in a small front end collision but I have complete receipts with all new parts purchased directly from MCI. Supposedly it was used to shuttle high school kids up to san francisco and back.

Long story short she knew actually a lot about the bus. Her and her husband purchased the bus back in July with the intention of converting it. He apparently worked overnight and ripped most of the seats out with some friends. Two days later he went to go pick up her motorcycle from the shop, and while riding home he struck a tractor in the road that had 0 lights on and was severely injured. She said that he called her first as they lived only 10 minutes away and said "I'm not gonna make it, come quick..." and she was able to get there in time to say her goodbyes. So a few months later she lists it for sale and I was able to make an extremely good deal on an extremely low mileage bus. The outside is straight as an arrow, theres a couple scuffs and for the most part it appears the luggage doors need to be adjusted. Theres some trim thats missing a couple screws and snaps, but other than that its pretty minty. I dont think I'd ever find such a low mileage bus with all the records and receipts to prove it. I've looked at a few beaters with like 600k on them and they were ROUGH.
Damn.
 

Angler

Tritoon Racing
Joined
May 4, 2012
Messages
3,101
Reaction score
6,258
40' you will need (3) 15k rooftop ACs, if you like it cold.
I'm putting a 3rd AC unit in my 36', looking forward to a cool Summer in Parker.
 

ka0tyk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
7,695
Reaction score
6,457
Started tearing it apart. The overhead luggage racks are quite hefty and the bus is insanely well built. I compare it to an onion. There’s brackets on bases on panels with trim and little gaskets etc. there’s a row of lights and speakers on both sides for inner and outer passengers with their own lights and a control panel for the lights, air vents, and a service button. There’s 5 harnesses, two power/switch, two audio, and a video feed for the overhead monitors. There were fixtures for the fluorescent lights and all of which was installed with bolts nuts and little t track hardware. Lots of parts and pieces. Lots of bolts screws and nuts. The ceiling was the easy part, just big upholstered fiberglass panels velcroed to the roof structure.

The biggest part will come tomorrow. Actually unbolting the whole fixtures. They’re made from aluminum and quite heavy. They’re held in with big tracks riveted to the side and the ceiling. All of which are also aluminum. There’s also a large track on the side wall that the seats bolt to that’s getting removed as well. A lot of aluminum that I hopefully will be getting recycled. Any guesses on how much I’ll get back for roughly 39’ of aluminum? I also have a lot of steel pieces that the TVs are in and brackets. I’m wondering if that can be recycled as well or do they get weird about CRT tv tubes?
892C25F8-71E9-48BF-A743-96999BFB45E2.jpeg
E396A353-A0B1-4A9B-AFDD-08D6FC983A6A.jpeg
97A70C71-9361-4A0B-959D-03EDAAC9C188.jpeg
F278575B-3C9D-40DC-93FB-59F3EBC01793.jpeg
772D5DAC-93D6-48FA-A9E6-3E8F4405A969.jpeg


I’d hate to keep nagging the lounge with my build, perhaps someone can move this to an appropriate sub forum?
 

ka0tyk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
7,695
Reaction score
6,457
Oh I also forgot I fixed (or rather figured out) the front door. When I arrived she was manually opening and closing the door and using the door lock slider with a pin to hold the door shut. On the way up the grapevine the pin actually vibrated loose and the door came open and I had to pull over. I ended up ghetto rigging the door pin shut with a piece of trim I ripped off the interior and a rag I found under the drivers seat. It worked enough to get me home and that night I actually found there’s a lever in the drivers fender door that allows the door rams to build air pressure that was pulled open. Once that was closed the door switches worked again and there’s actually two VERY large latches that lock the door shut.
18880FE8-F679-4D79-B551-19CAB59F6355.jpeg
 

merc_400r

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Messages
95
Reaction score
73
You should make a youtube channel of the build. My cousin has one and he makes a couple grand a month off of it. Not enough to live off of but it funds his builds. He said one-off builds are like gold mines. People want to see different, and I think this is pretty different. He said the most costly thing is hiring the tech guy to edit the videos and upload them for him. He is a fabricator and isn't good with the computer stuff.
 

ka0tyk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
7,695
Reaction score
6,457
Well someone in our neighborhood hates it already. That’s fine she told me how to get around it permit wise. So now they’ll have to look at it legally parked in front of my house for a little while. I just wanted to get it gutted and then move it to the storage area to finish it up.



5D0EA79A-0297-420D-8F9A-141AFA8DF407.jpeg
 

Singleton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
12,949
Reaction score
12,622
Well someone in our neighborhood hates it already. That’s fine she told me how to get around it permit wise. So now they’ll have to look at it legally parked in front of my house for a little while. I just wanted to get it gutted and then move it to the storage area to finish it up.



View attachment 953446
Was going to ask the neighbors reaction. looks like you and I have the same neighbors.
I had one call on my ToyHauler and truck, enforcement said I was legal and as long as it moves every 72 hours with truck attached nothing they could do. It only spends 2 or 3 days at my house before and after each trip, before it goes to storage.
Biggest thing I learn enforcement does not work Sunday or Monday, so those days don’t count towards the 72hr limit.
 

ka0tyk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
7,695
Reaction score
6,457
Was going to ask the neighbors reaction. looks like you and I have the same neighbors.
I had one call on my ToyHauler and truck, enforcement said I was legal and as long as it moves every 72 hours with truck attached nothing they could do. It only spends 2 or 3 days at my house before and after each trip, before it goes to storage.
Biggest thing I learn enforcement does not work Sunday or Monday, so those days don’t count towards the 72hr limit.
so the lady gave me a pamphlet that states we just go online and apply for a 3 day permit. You can do 144 permits a year but no more than 12 permits in a calendar month. To me that sounds like 12 3 day permits a month? That’s the whole month. Just that at the end of each permit the vehicle leaves for 24 hours. Ie: my driveway. That’s easy enough.
 

ka0tyk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
7,695
Reaction score
6,457
LOL your doing this in front of your house! Classic.
I am just removing the overhead bins and then it’ll go out to riverside for the rest. I also found a place in Carson that’s indoors but that has a monthly fee.
 

wzuber

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
3,621
Reaction score
3,735
Maybe pick up some extra build money and seat time by shuttling blue hairs back and forth to the casinos during the week. 👍

Looking forward to the build.
Don't you mean "grand parents and a few friends"? I'm sure you could find some Asian heritage somewhere in the WAY back of family history? 😁 😁
 

wzuber

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
3,621
Reaction score
3,735
So I found this bus out in Bakersfield a couple weeks ago and Ive just been going back and forth trying to figure out if this is the one... its a 1999 MCI E4500. Theres only 135k miles on it. Detroit series 60 with an Allison B500 6 speed transmission and retarder. She thought the tires were new but it turns out they're just in really good shape with extremely low mileage. I have full maintenance records with complete 45 day inspections, and all receipts for everything done to the bus. It was in a small front end collision but I have complete receipts with all new parts purchased directly from MCI. Supposedly it was used to shuttle high school kids up to san francisco and back.

Long story short she knew actually a lot about the bus. Her and her husband purchased the bus back in July with the intention of converting it. He apparently worked overnight and ripped most of the seats out with some friends. Two days later he went to go pick up her motorcycle from the shop, and while riding home he struck a tractor in the road that had 0 lights on and was severely injured. She said that he called her first as they lived only 10 minutes away and said "I'm not gonna make it, come quick..." and she was able to get there in time to say her goodbyes. So a few months later she lists it for sale and I was able to make an extremely good deal on an extremely low mileage bus. The outside is straight as an arrow, theres a couple scuffs and for the most part it appears the luggage doors need to be adjusted. Theres some trim thats missing a couple screws and snaps, but other than that its pretty minty. I dont think I'd ever find such a low mileage bus with all the records and receipts to prove it. I've looked at a few beaters with like 600k on them and they were ROUGH.
Heart wrenching....may RIP.
Good luck with your build. I would pitch a hand if nearby.
 
Top