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Old 01-10-2017, 01:39 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2017
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Cost of maintenance with limited travel

Hey all!

I'm hoping to buy a bus this spring for a conversion. Through my research so far not much is being said about maintenance for a bus that doesn't travel much.

I'm converting a bus because I would like to be mobile if I want, but I'm not going to be travelling constantly. I have a steady job in one location and will be here for some time. Maybe once a year I'll pack up and vacation somewhere fun, but mostly I'll be in one place.

Considering this, my tires won't wear, I won't be buying diesel/gas, transmission won't be used, etc. What other kinds of maintenance should I be concerning myself with? Do I need to be starting it up and moving about once in a while?

Many thanks!
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Old 01-10-2017, 01:58 PM   #2
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Though tires won't wear out, they will still age out. IIRC chemicals in the tire rubber diffuse out over time and result in the dry cracked appearance sometimes seen on old tires. It's like maintenance charges on a gift card to a place you never actually shop at: even if you don't use the tires, their life eventually withers away anyway.
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
Though tires won't wear out, they will still age out. IIRC chemicals in the tire rubber diffuse out over time and result in the dry cracked appearance sometimes seen on old tires. It's like maintenance charges on a gift card to a place you never actually shop at: even if you don't use the tires, their life eventually withers away anyway.
No doubt!

I lost a rig that way. I put 8 new Yokahamas on my last bus. Drove it 2000 miles and parked it. Work and life got in the way. Job status changed. moved across the country. When the time came for me to rescue my bus I found that the 8 "brand" new tires that had been on my bus were all shot. At the time I could not afford 8 new tires or to continue paying storage. I pretty much gave the bus away

Tires, belts and hoses age and break down over time. Keeping things sheltered. If you can park the bus under cover that helps a lot. If not, at least get covers for the tires.

Oil changes: Even if you only drive 300 miles a year I would strongly recommend that you don't wait for a particular mileage. Recommendations vary. 6 months or 6000 miles whichever comes FIRST. Others have recommended on very low mileage vehicles that you can stretch this out to 12 months max. An oil change on my 5.9 Cummins takes me less than 20 minutes and costs less than $100. Twice a year is not a big deal.

I don't have any solid data to back it up but I am of the opinion that for best longevity that ALL of my rigs need to be on the road and brought up to full operating temperature at least once a month. Not just idled in the driveway but a 20 mile trip at 55mph. Last stop before home - top off the fuel tank.

Fuel: Diesel does not last indefinitely. It will last storage in a FULL tank. If you are going to store the rig for a while take it out for a good run and then fill the tank before parking. You may even want to consider a fuel stabilizer.

Coolant: Get coolant test strips and check (& adjust) prior to storage.

Storage in general: I don't know what part of the World you are in. Here in the Pacific North Wet, I keep a dehumidifier running in stored RV's and a block heater in the winter.

Ok... I am going to stop rambling...
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Old 01-10-2017, 08:01 PM   #4
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Two schools of thought on storing diesel.

The first school is what I prefer: fill the tank all the way, treat with a biocide/stabilizer, etc. It is ready to run when you turn the key.

The other school of thought is to drain/run the tank way down, ideally just to the point where there is an inch over the pickup tube. Treat the remaining fuel with a stiff dose of biocide/stabilizer, and dont run it. When its time to move, haul enough fresh fuel in to give yourself at least a half a tank and this will dilute any ickies in the tank and give you fresh fuel to go on.

Not sure which one is the absolute best because they both have their strong points, but there ya go.

Edited to add:
The best diesel biocide I have ever found is Nalco Diesel Biocide. If you can get it (usually from your local bulk fuel distributor), use it. My supplier blends it in when they dispense the fuel if you pay for it.

Long before I got into busses I was tinkering with our diesel generators. Lots of fuel storage problems that could nit be cured via the usual OTC suspects. A friend turned me on to Nalco. No more water/haze/algae issues!! But the stuff is really nasty. Death in a bottle. I think the dosing is like an ounce per hundred gals per year. Add a bit of Diesel Kleen to keep the cetane levels up and I have watched 3 year old diesel fuel catch on the first crank turn and run smoothly.
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