Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-27-2017, 07:35 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
ourmefa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 208
Budget for post bus purchase repairs and maintenance

I am working on budgeting repairs and maintenance for our busy after purchase. Assuming a pre-1999 front engine, 30'+ bus that passes a mechanic inspection with no major issues, what do you think I should budget for immediately after purchase?

Here are items I have listed as high priority repairs/maintenance:
  • Oil Change
  • Transmission cleaning / servicing
  • New brakes
  • New tires
  • Replace bulbs with LED
  • New Batteries
  • Engine Rebuild?


We may not address all of these at once, but I want to build in some repair money into the budget.

Thoughts on cost?
__________________
Family of 4 - Jamie, Mel, Jensen and Maddie (+3 cats) - less than 60 days out from ditching suburbia in a converted school bus.
Find us on Facebook-Affiliate Link Disclaimer
ourmefa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2017, 08:30 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 19,301
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
I buy my oil cheap. $29.99 a 5 gallon bucket on sale cheap.
You can save big doing most of the maintenance yourself.

Tires will run you a minimum of $1600 or so for six new ones.
I buy cheap batteries as well. Just replaced both g31's for $160.
the other stuff I havent messed with. Some of it I hope not to, like that engine rebuild. A rebuild can cost a few thousand to tens of thousands depending on what bus you get.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2017, 08:38 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
milkmania's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,361
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I buy my oil cheap. $29.99 a 5 gallon bucket on sale cheap.
You can save big doing most of the maintenance yourself.

Tires will run you a minimum of $1600 or so for six new ones.
I buy cheap batteries as well. Just replaced both g31's for $160.
the other stuff I havent messed with. Some of it I hope not to, like that engine rebuild. A rebuild can cost a few thousand to tens of thousands depending on what bus you get.
Not to distract too much from the original post.... But, it's CAT related.
My heavy equipment mechanic buddy tells me it's nothing to walk out of the CAT dealership with a medium sized paper bag in one hand with $6k in parts!
__________________
I once complained I had no shoes....
Until I met a man with no feet
milkmania is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2017, 10:29 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
roach711's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,852
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
Other common replacement opportunities:

Engine bolt-ons - alternator, steering pump, starter etc.
Rusted brake lines on hydro brakes
U-joints
Axle bearings

I replaced all those on mine at one time or another.
__________________
The Roach Motel
roach711 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2017, 10:31 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
superdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: hills of sw virginia
Posts: 889
Year: 1996
Chassis: thomas
Engine: 8.3 cummins
Rated Cap: 11 window
depends on when it was last serviced.
oil, it was just changed before I got it
tranny, the fluid looks new
brakes, you can see how much pad is left from under the bus, mine are great
tires, check the date code. my back are 2011, front 2014
bulbs, all are working
batteries, check date,two years old, great shape
rebuild, nope buy another bus
my first trip my front main seal went bad, lost 3 gallons of oil on the way home. you just never know what your buying. didn't have any heat so I opened the valves, that's when I found out the front heater core was pissing fluid.i sent away for an oil analysis and it came back great, got my fingers crossed. look at everything and hope for the best. the cheapest bus isn't always a great bus or a cheap one in the long run. good luck
__________________
living in a bus down by the river.
my build pics
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...albums942.html
superdave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2017, 10:36 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 866
Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
Why do you assume you will need to do all that? Getting the bus's service records is important, or at least discussing your bus with the mechanics who worked on it. An oil analysis will tell you if your oil (and transmission fluid) needs to be replaced or not. Does it actually need new brakes? Are the brake cans OK, do the slack adjusters work, is there sufficient thickness on the friction surfaces, does the compressor and air system work to DOT standards? What are the tires' DOT date codes and tread depth? Changing lights to LEDs is usually not a priority - I would instead suggest making sure all grounds and connections are corrosion-free and without resistance, and maybe just changing the individual bulbs themselves for now. And as for the engine, if you're already thinking about a rebuild, maybe you shouldn't get that bus at all? There's plenty of good rust-free buses out there that won't need major work immediately.

John
Iceni John is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2017, 04:44 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
ourmefa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
Why do you assume you will need to do all that? Getting the bus's service records is important, or at least discussing your bus with the mechanics who worked on it. An oil analysis will tell you if your oil (and transmission fluid) needs to be replaced or not. Does it actually need new brakes? Are the brake cans OK, do the slack adjusters work, is there sufficient thickness on the friction surfaces, does the compressor and air system work to DOT standards? What are the tires' DOT date codes and tread depth? Changing lights to LEDs is usually not a priority - I would instead suggest making sure all grounds and connections are corrosion-free and without resistance, and maybe just changing the individual bulbs themselves for now. And as for the engine, if you're already thinking about a rebuild, maybe you shouldn't get that bus at all? There's plenty of good rust-free buses out there that won't need major work immediately.

John
I think you may have misunderstood the nature of my post. These are all hypothetical repair options that may or may not need to be done on a bus that we purchase. I am just trying to get a good feel for what extra I need to budget after we buy the bus.

For example - I will now budget $2K for tires in the future. We may not need them, but this gives me a good idea of the cost range.

Does this make sense?
__________________
Family of 4 - Jamie, Mel, Jensen and Maddie (+3 cats) - less than 60 days out from ditching suburbia in a converted school bus.
Find us on Facebook-Affiliate Link Disclaimer
ourmefa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2017, 08:20 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Jolly Roger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: North carolina
Posts: 651
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford
Engine: Detroit 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
Yes budgeting for future problems/issues does make since.
There are a few I would like to comment on?
Depending on your plans for the bus I wouldn't buy new tires for it to sit on if your build is going to take a few years to complete before you hit the road.
I use mine to drive Boy Scouts around every Monday and one camp out a month but am still on the same school district tires. They are out of date,starting to dry rot after 4-years but almost look brand new as far as tread depth.
And an oil analysis once you get it will let you know what the guts of the engine/motor are doing and you can plan from there.
I bought mine from a school district and received there full records. For me it was from 1986-2013 including lab analysis every 3-months.
I can recommend Blackstone laboratories. They will send you sample bottles and mailing package for returns. The amount isn't in my head right this minute but it is between 18-25$? The report is cheap insurance.
Jolly Roger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2017, 10:43 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
roach711's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,852
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
I'll second the Blackstone Labs recommendation. I think I paid $28 last time but it's well worth the cost. They'll do engine oil, trans fluid as well as other lubricants.
__________________
The Roach Motel
roach711 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2017, 08:03 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
jpm9909's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Riverview, FL
Posts: 57
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas 140HS 84 pass
Engine: RE 5.9L ER6BTA230 w/ MT643 Trans
Rated Cap: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
Yes budgeting for future problems/issues does make since.
There are a few I would like to comment on?
Depending on your plans for the bus I wouldn't buy new tires for it to sit on if your build is going to take a few years to complete before you hit the road.
I use mine to drive Boy Scouts around every Monday and one camp out a month but am still on the same school district tires. They are out of date,starting to dry rot after 4-years but almost look brand new as far as tread depth.
And an oil analysis once you get it will let you know what the guts of the engine/motor are doing and you can plan from there.
I bought mine from a school district and received there full records. For me it was from 1986-2013 including lab analysis every 3-months.
I can recommend Blackstone laboratories. They will send you sample bottles and mailing package for returns. The amount isn't in my head right this minute but it is between 18-25$? The report is cheap insurance.

Sorry to jump in.... don't mean to hijack, but a quick question for another newb....

Can you request an oil sample before buying a bus, say - while still on auction?
__________________
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
jpm9909 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2017, 01:39 PM   #11
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,135
Oil analysis is a good idea. Purchasing Texas Refinery Corporation lube oil, transmission fluid, and gear oil is not cheap but it comes with free oil analysis.

Sending oil off for analysis and not changing oil at a predetermined mileage or date can save a lot of $$$ in oil very quickly. Just change the filters after oil analysis comes back if you don't need to change the oil.

There are a few school bus contractors that are running Cummins ISB engines that are running five years between oil changes with annual oil analysis.

Some over the road truckers routinely are running in excess of 100K miles between oil changes.

One trucker had over 2000K miles on an engine that routinely went over 50K between oil changes.

Full disclosure--I am an independent lubrication specialist and sell TRC products. I wouldn't sell their products if I wasn't convinced of their efficacy and value.

https://www.texasrefinery.com/products/engine-oils/
cowlitzcoach is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
budget, maintenance, repairs

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:20 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×