Newbie with a Skoolie!
I picked up my bus this weekend in Iowa and drove it 1,664 miles home to Virginia with NO issues. It is a 1998 Freightliner with a Thomas 65 capacity body, ISB 5.9L, Alison 2500, hydraulic brakes, 102k miles and cost me $4k. Not bad!
I posted this in the new member's section but wanted to be sure and put a worthy shout-out to the dealership I went to here as well. HogLund Bus in Marshalltown, IA, 1hr. North of Des Moines is one of the top dealerships in the country, and now I know why. I cannot say enough about how they treated me and handled the sale. Brian Glenney, the salesman, was outstanding. It sure is refreshing to work with people with genuine integrity who care about what they do. Brian was tireless in his support of me and my particular purchasing requirements. He steered me to the right buses that met my requirements, not the most expensive ones.
He went so far as to drive the 1hr each way to Des Moines to pick me up on the day I was likely to make the purchase. He also championed my preferred purchasing method, PayPal, which was the only one I could use on such short notice. His management resisted at first, understandably, as it wasn't their normal process. In the end the deal went through without a hitch and all are happy.
Brian showed limitless concern and capacity for all of my newbie questions. He gave me his undivided attention with a level of patience and professionalism that was truly admirable. I'd buy another bus from them tomorrow.
The drive home was completely uneventful, she purred right along and was a joy to drive. Sure is fun to park and fuel up with the big rigs! I did have a couple of minor issues to fix on the road. The drivers-side windshield wiper unexpectedly rotated when it started to rain. I looked closely at it and saw that it was designed to rotate and be reset according to preferences, trouble was, the little bolt and nut were loose and were pretty well rusted. In the dark and in the rain - without tools! - I squeezed two keys together around the nut and got it reasonably tight without breaking it, then once underway had to switch it off and on and only as much as needed until I could make a truck stop for some needle nose pliers. I did, and after paying WAY too much for them was back on the road hoping it really was fixed.
The other minor issue was the right emergency window. The locking handle was missing so it kept opening and shutting on its own with a loud clap. The funny part was that I kept hearing this clapping every so often from behind me but when I looked I saw nothing. This went on for a while as I moseyed down Interstate 80 and for the life of me I couldn't figure out what it was, knowing that I needed to know what it was! Finally I saw it swing out and back and stopped as soon as I could. I jammed pieces of a paper coffee cup into the handle hole and under the edge hoping to hold it tight enough. It did OK for a while but it wasn't until I could get some stubby machine screws off the facilities guy at my next hotel that I could make a convincing road repair.
There was something a little more serious though. The speedometer and tach were definately not working correctly. Most of the time the speedo showed 20-25 mph when I was up at speed on the highway, and the tach would be pegged at 3k rpm. Sometimes the speedo and tach would yo-yo up and down while I was driving steady and the engine and tranny were purring right along.
I started measuring the odometer against the mile markers and found that when the speedo was showing 25mph, which it was mostly, the odo was off compared to the mile markers. The difference ranged from .6-.8 on the odo for every mile marker. ??? All of the sudden I had that sinking feeling realizing I may have bought a bus with more miles than it appeared. Then I realized that if that's the case then the maintenance, which is apparently very strict in Iowa, could also be off. If maintenance is the thing with these motors and tranny's then I could be in trouble if the intervals were tied to a low-reporting odometer and she actually received less maintenance than needed.
So that's my first question for the forum: How big a deal is this?