Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 04-25-2011, 05:43 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 8
Cost of owning a bus

Hi everyone,

I'm going to be in Detroit this summer and am hoping to purchase a school bus to bring back to Boston. Before I start the hunt I need to be able to provide some sort of estimate of the annual cost of having a bus.

Besides insurance (seems to vary wildly, from a couple hundred to $1500/yr) and registration ($50/yr), what kind of expenses should I expect? I am looking at buses around the $3000 range and am planning a simple interior.

I'm also concerned about registration and insurance. I've seen that others have been able to register as a non-commercial bus in Michigan without any issues. Can I even register in Michigan if I'm only living there for 3 months? Seems a lot easier to register in MI than MA.

Thanks in advance!
Dan
djDK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2011, 07:54 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Backwoods of Pennsylvania
Posts: 34
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444
Rated Cap: 22
Re: Cost of owning a bus

I think most owners will tell you that by far the biggest cost is that pesky fuel. Next I'd say you should be aware truck parts are generally more expensive than their car counter parts so be prepared for sticker shock when you need repairs, tires or anything like that. On the other hand buses are durable and with a little luck you shouldn't be buying parts to often. Realize that a bus holds more of all it's fluids so an oil change could involve 5 gal of oil but it doesn't need to be changed nearly as often. The exact interval will depend on the engine. I suppose your costs will depend entirely on how much you use the thing.
My insurance was only a couple hundred dollars but getting it registered cost me $350 but that's entirely a state issue. My state hit me up for sales tax and required me to pay for bus plates until I get it officially converted to an RV. I think were you register it depends on your legal residence as listed on your drivers license.
Roachhill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2011, 10:58 PM   #3
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 8
Re: Cost of owning a bus

Yea the cost of replacement parts and labor scare me the most. I'm doing this to replace renting 15 passenger vans every year ($3000/yr), but it won't be worth it if something major fails. It'll be used something like 5-10 times per year for a few days at a time, local driving mostly, so that should help a lot. I'm not sure how it will do sitting idle in the winter. I guess gas would be a better choice for me.

I appreciate the insight so far, thanks!
djDK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2011, 01:15 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Backwoods of Pennsylvania
Posts: 34
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444
Rated Cap: 22
Re: Cost of owning a bus

I would think if you planned to leave it sit in the winter diesel would be a better choice since it's a more stable fuel. In the motorcycle the gas can break down and clog the carb over a single winter if not stabilized. I worry about a repair that is more than the value of my bus but then I suppose in that case I could go ahead and replace the bus and part out/ scrap the existing one. I think with some time to learn how it's put together the bus is easier to work on then a car so you can save on labor if willing to learn and do your own work. Budget for tires but once you have some new ones on there they should last a very long time. So far I pretty happy with the bus even with it's little problems. It's just the sudden spike in fuel costs that keep me from enjoying it as much as I could.
Roachhill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2011, 08:27 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 214
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 47
Re: Cost of owning a bus

If I did it again I would not title a bus as a motorhome because insurance is harder to find for school bus conversions. I have state farm, they have no problem with a bus if the seats are out of it, but they don't do school bus motorhomes. A gasser is the way to go if breakdown costs scare you. A chevy 366/manual is about as cheap and reliable as it gets for any vehicle. Diesels are nicer to have but repair costs are much higher and the fuel savings is eaten up by the extra cost of oil changes and diesel fuel costing more.
Motobus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 03:05 PM   #6
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 8
Re: Cost of owning a bus

Thanks, I'll have to do a little more research about gas vs diesel. Gonna be a tough call.

I know maintenance costs can vary wildly, but is it possible to give any sort of ballpark estimate for a school bus from the mid 90's (100k-200k miles)? I'm only looking at buses with service records. I'm trying to determine if renting 15 passenger vans would be more or less expensive. Unfortunately my insurance will be high as I'm only 20 years old... Working on a quote right now.
djDK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2011, 11:32 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Backwoods of Pennsylvania
Posts: 34
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444
Rated Cap: 22
Re: Cost of owning a bus

It is unfortunate that diesel cost so much now particularly since it's much cheaper to produce than gas. I remember when diesel cost much less so it's possible the prices could switch again. Here the prices have been closing in lately and a friend in WV told me that gas was now more expensive there than the diesel. It's possible to solve the problem by burning old cooking oil if you can find a consistant supply. I would disagree that the oil changes will cost more overall since diesels don't need the oil changed nearly as often. I had a Detroit Diesel that could go 30,000 miles between changes and the oil always tested as fine. I would really like to get an older bus with a good mechanical diesel, the repairs are so much easier. A good non electronic DT engine can be kept running by the average shade tree mechanic pratically forever. I have a friend with a truck that has a mechanical cat that has passed the 2 and a half million mile mark. He won't part with it because he doesn't want the hassels of an electronic engine. It's very hard to give a meaningful guess at cost of operation over time. I know the T444 has a record of over 90% going past the 300,000 mile mark without a major repair the DT series engines are rated to go even longer. I guess all you can do is find some buses you like then Google the engine to get as much info as you can about them and finally take your best guess.
Roachhill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2011, 12:08 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Backwoods of Pennsylvania
Posts: 34
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444
Rated Cap: 22
Re: Cost of owning a bus

If it helps I make almost nothing and still manage to keep it running as long as I can fill the tank. Although I do whine and complain every time I need to fix it.
LOL
Roachhill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2011, 01:01 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
Diesel Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 1,489
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/AT545
Re: Cost of owning a bus

I suggest you do some homework on fuel economy of diesel vs. gas. Even with the higher price of diesel fuel, I think typically the overall cost of fuel is less because the fuel economy is so much better on a diesel of similar size to the gas motor. I don't think repair bills are any higher for diesels than gas motors. That hasn't been my experience anyway. In fact, it makes troubleshooting so much easier than a gas engine, especially if you have mechanical injection. The whole ignition circuit is no longer a factor. Ignition coil, distributer, spark plugs - all taken out of the equation. Plus, diesel engines last a lot longer than gas engines. Put simply, there is a reason the big rigs are all diesels - they are more economical, long-lived, and are better suited to hauling heavy loads.
__________________
Gallery:
http://www.skoolie.net/gallery/v/Skooli ... l_dan_bus/
Conversion Thread:
viewtopic.php?t=4959
Diesel Dan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Original cost of an old bus baadpuppy Titles, Insurance, Registration and Money Matters 10 01-02-2015 04:11 PM
Cost of parts Diesel Dan Conversion General Discussions 11 03-11-2013 04:56 PM
But how much did that bus cost new? roach711 Skoolie Conversion Projects 2 02-16-2012 08:42 AM
Cost to paint bus... jkindt Conversion General Discussions 29 05-29-2010 04:56 PM
New Guy: Cost question on Bus we are looking at Joseph97297 Conversion General Discussions 5 10-10-2007 08:57 AM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.