Towing with A School Bus

General discussion about conversions. New products, problems, ideas, etc.

Towing with A School Bus

Postby David » Sat Apr 17, 2004 12:21 pm

I just went on Ebay..there are LOTS of travel trailers on there for cheap. I was wondering if someone in the group has dealt with this problem, or given it any thought. Thanks, David
David
New Member
New Member
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2004 9:28 pm

Postby Steve » Sat Apr 17, 2004 1:18 pm

Many of the members use their buses for towing. Here is my hitch:

Image

Image
User avatar
Steve
Skoolie Admin
Skoolie Admin
 
Posts: 1838
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2002 1:33 pm
Location: Central Iowa
My Bus: LoneBus
Year: 1972
Coachwork: Ward
Chassis: International Loadstar 1601
Engine: 345 ci IHC
Rated Cap.: 54

Keep the length limit in mind.

Postby Eric von Kleist » Sat Apr 17, 2004 10:54 pm

One thing that I have been considering is the length of the bus that I want to buy. The major consideration there, with regard to towing, is that there is an overall limit of 53 feet for the rig (please correct me, someone, if I am misstating this.)

A 37 foot bus + a 13 foot Jeep + say, 3 feet of towbar comes in right at 53 feet. Any longer a vehicle or any longer a towbar or any longer a bus and I'm over the limit. Additionally, I want to be able to to (not at the same time) a trailer/workshop, and I have to keep that in mind.

I'm hoping to find a 35 foot bus that has roughly 27 or 28 feet of usable (behind driver's seat) space. I'm reckoning that this would be a 72 passenger bus.

Oh yeah, it also needs to have a DT466 engine, 5/2 speed tranny, 4.5ish rear end, new tires, and air brakes.

And in needs to be priced at $3,000 or less.

If it came with twin 18 year old nymphomaniacs who had just inherited a fortune in liquor company stock, that would be a plus, but I'll settle something close to the mechanical specs.
User avatar
Eric von Kleist
Bus Nut
Bus Nut
 
Posts: 632
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2004 4:55 pm
Location: Grundy, Virginia
My Bus: Paradigm Shift
Year: 1985
Coachwork: ThomasBuilt
Chassis: International Harvester S-1700
Engine: 9L IHC V-8 Diesel 180HP
Rated Cap.: 60

Postby Steve » Sun Apr 18, 2004 10:58 am

Actually I think the overall limit is 75 feet.

(c) When a motor vehicle and one (1) or more trailers, except as noted in subsections (3)(b), (3)(d) and (3)(e) of this section ........... 75 feet.


2. The length of a trailer tongue, or the length of the tongue of a converter gear used to convert a semitrailer to a trailer, shall be excluded from the calculation of a trailer length.
User avatar
Steve
Skoolie Admin
Skoolie Admin
 
Posts: 1838
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2002 1:33 pm
Location: Central Iowa
My Bus: LoneBus
Year: 1972
Coachwork: Ward
Chassis: International Loadstar 1601
Engine: 345 ci IHC
Rated Cap.: 54

Postby AK-Brando » Sun Apr 18, 2004 5:17 pm

It depends on the state you are in (or travelling through). This site has a nifty chart that shows all the states, and Canada.

http://www.rvda.bc.ca/rvlawcan.htm

This one has the states, but not Canada.

http://www.wecamp2.com/size.html

Hope this helps.

B.
User avatar
AK-Brando
Member
Member
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 1:28 am
Location: Valdez - The snow capital of Alaska

Maximum combo length

Postby Eric von Kleist » Sun Apr 18, 2004 7:20 pm

Wow, I was way off. I wonder where I got the 53 foot length from? I coulda sworn I saw it on a chart somewhere.

Guess I can ditch the Jeep, get an 84 passenger bus, and tow a Caddy Eldorado!

It does mean I could pretty easily tow a trailer loaded with 20 foot canoes, though, which was something I was contemplating.
User avatar
Eric von Kleist
Bus Nut
Bus Nut
 
Posts: 632
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2004 4:55 pm
Location: Grundy, Virginia
My Bus: Paradigm Shift
Year: 1985
Coachwork: ThomasBuilt
Chassis: International Harvester S-1700
Engine: 9L IHC V-8 Diesel 180HP
Rated Cap.: 60

Postby Les Lampman » Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:09 am

Hi Eric,

As others have have posted there's no "one" length over 48' that will keep you "legal" everywhere. There are two primary considerations; when you're on a designated truck route (especially Interstates and major highways) you can run to the max. When you get off on secondary State roads you'll be subject to State laws rather than running under the 'Federal' umbrella. I've found enforcement of the laws to be choatic at best. It really seems to come down to "appropriateness"; that is, if you're 60 feet long in a State who's max is 55' but you're on larger highway, on a road leading to a campground, on a road leading to a major attraction and such the laws do not seem to be enforced (especially if you're an RV...money to be spent dontcha know). On the other hand, if you get a 70-foot rig stuck on some small country road in a State with a 55' limit things might not go as well.

I'm facing the same situation you are...my bus is 35' overall and I'm considering towing one of two trailers at any given time. The first one is a 16' enclosed cargo trailer (20' overall) that will haul the Jeep Wrangler and act as a workshop with the Jeep unloaded. That puts me at a comfortable 55' which you can go almost anywhere with. The other trailer is for a 22' C-Dory Cruiser power boat; it's about 30' in overall length putting me at 65'. This will work alright in many situations but if we travel in the Northeast I may have to pick my routes carefully. It's also not the rig I'd like to be towing when motoring through the Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish) country and trying to pull into a roadside stand or park at a quaint inn or restaurant.

There is no perfect setup; I want a bus with an accordian in the middle that shortens for travel and lengthens for living! :lol: Out west here I'd drive the 65' rig almost anywhere as things are generally pretty open. I've driven a semi through Times Square in NYC; it's not a place I'd choose to take a 35' skoolie with a 30' boat trailer dragging behind; in fact, I don't think I really want to take the skoolie alone back there! :shock:

It really depends on whether you're 'traveling' or 'exploring' I think; you could run I-95 from Maine to Florida with a 65' rig and never have any trouble; especially if you stuck to stopping at the truck stops, restaurants and such just off the Interstate. But if you want to try out some of those small mountain roads in North Carolina, New Hampshire, etc or visit the Soaring Museum in Elmira, NY you'd be hard-pressed to deal with a rig that long.
Les Lampman
1982 Thomas Saf-T-Liner Pusher "Illusion"

Skoolie.net Gallery
Illusion's SmugMug site
User avatar
Les Lampman
Crew Member
Crew Member
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 5:28 pm
Location: Whidbey Island, Washington (USA)
Year: 1982
Coachwork: Thomas Saf-T-Liner ER
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: Cat 3208 Turbo 250hp
Rated Cap.: 78

Postby andybus9 » Thu Apr 22, 2004 8:20 pm

I have driven a full size school bus with a 25 foot long cargo trailer on many country roads and highways. I was never bothered. A good thing to do it go find the website on Federal Motor Carrier Regulations. It should help you alot. I have the little book and carry it with me all the time i drive my pickup or a school bus. Just one thing to remeber when pulling a trailer behind a full size bus. When it comes time to back up its very hard in tight places because you have to turn to get the trailer the right way and as well as the bus and that is very hard. It is dooable but a pain the but! just as you get the trailer to go the way you want you have to turn the bus to get it the way you need to get turned around and bang you just jackknifed the corner of your trailer and bus! Rember that trailer is connected to the tail of the bus and if you watch it as you turn corner or back up around a corner it swings pretty far commapred to the front.I did it in a place that was only 20feet wide by 20 feet long and that was with a full size 40 foot conventional bus with a 25 foot trailer. I ended up plowing down a snow bank that was as tall as the buses hood. Did I mention that while i was turning around people where rude enough to pull thier cars in and park around me and behind me when i was trying to turn around. I plowed the snow bank down, then almost got stuck and was able to get turned around. If i was gonna pull a long trailer behind a bus i would get a smaller mini bus,say like a 30pass bus with the full size hood on it.And
then pull it . But if you needed a big bus i would go with a cabover bus becuse they have the set back front axle and that would help some in turning and backing up , but not much different then the conventionals.


Andy B Bus#9
Minnesota
User avatar
andybus9
Mini-Member
Mini-Member
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 4:02 pm
Location: Chaska , Minnesota

Postby Rick78EFI460 » Sun Jul 04, 2004 12:48 am

I use my 48 passenger bluebird to tow a flat deck car trailer, I think its the best tow rig I could ask for! I towed my Bronco on the flat deck through the small roads of the Black Hills in SD without any troubles at all. The streets of a lot of those old towns are quite small, but I've noticed that with the rear overhang of the bus cornering is quite easy. When I turn a tight right at an intersection, the rear overhang of the bus pulls the trailer in a fairly wide arc behind the bus; the trailer tires only pull about a foot inside the rear tires of the bus. When backing the trailer up, the rear overhang will steer the trailer quickly, making the combination very easy to manoeuvre. I would recommend a bus for a tow rig any day of the week.
User avatar
Rick78EFI460
Almost There
Almost There
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 10:11 pm
Year: 0
Rated Cap.: 0

Re: Towing with A School Bus

Postby lornaschinske » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:37 pm

To come out west, we used the 40 ft bus to pull my Jeep Grand Cherokee. No problems bring it out (and the bus was untagged... still isn't tagged and on a signed over SC title). Well I take that back. There is one problem but we will always have it. You can not pull a car/truck 4 down and back it up. You do not back up a car/truck unless you have it on a dolly. David tried to back up the Jeep 4 ft. It would not allow it.

BTW, I bought my towing stuff from here
http://www.hitchtrader.com/SearchAds.cfm?ctg=4&submit=Search

I bought my hidden brackets ($125 includ ship) from one guy and my tow bar ($300 includ ship) from another. And I saved sooo much money. It also took me about 6 months between finally finding the brackets for the jeep and finding the tow bar (had to go with 10K lb) that I wanted (single person hookup) at the prices I wanted (cheap).
This post is my opinion. It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
Fulltime since 2006
The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. Zeno (335BC-264BC)
http://lorndavi.wordpress.com/blog/
Image
User avatar
lornaschinske
Bus Geek
Bus Geek
 
Posts: 3373
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 7:55 am
Location: Roswell, NM
My Bus: Compass Rose
Year: 1986
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: 40 ft All American FE
Engine: 8.2LTA Fuel Pincher DD V8
Rated Cap.: 77

Re: Towing with A School Bus

Postby crazycal » Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:13 pm

In California, max length is 65. This discussion came up somewhere else and someone posted an excellent link that listed all the states and their max. lengths.
Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.
User avatar
crazycal
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 2136
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:24 am
My Bus: Uncle Fester
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Genesis/AmTrans
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/AT545
Rated Cap.: 1


Return to Conversion Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest