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Old 09-27-2010, 06:30 AM   #1
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OMG, I can't believe I want to buy a used bus!

Hey everyone,

About five years ago I bought a nice aluminum boat to go diving and fishing with. What I didn't buy, budget restricted as I am, was a great tow vehicle. I've been pulling it with my 4Runner but as time has gone on I know that I need to change up tow vehicles. My boat, trailer, and motors weighs in at 4500lbs or so. Just on the edge of capacity for my SUV. I've been nervous about using it for about the last 2 or 3 years. I need a change.

I have thought about different tow vehicles and even though many could do the job, I think that a short bus might be ideal.

One of the first reasons is that many have nice sized diesel motors with could handle the torque of towing. They have heavy duty suspensions as well. Also, I was diving very often and people would end up driving down to Monterey to meet me for a day then we'd all drive up separately. With a used short bus, converted correctly, I could also bring up all my dive or fishing buddies with me, usually around 5 people, sharing the cost of the drive. Furthermore, the bus could have plenty of room for divers, fishermen, gear, coolers, etc.

Wow, I think. This could really be my towing solution. I've already been looking at used buses and have some ideas on some types out there but I wanted to ask some questions to see if anyone could help me refine my thoughts a bit.

Q:
Anyone tow a boat with their bus? Anyone launch a boat with their bus? If so, do you have dually wheels or are the single rear wheels enough?
Are there any chassis/engine/transmission combinations that are popular or common that might be ideal for my purposes? Power over economy would be my preference, I think.
Are there any short buses that have an all aluminum body that I could polish out to match my aluminum boat? (I am picturing one looking like an Airstream pulling my aluminum boat)

Any thoughts about these questions would be appreciated as well as any thought that might be helpful to me.

Thanks for your replies.
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Old 09-28-2010, 12:08 PM   #2
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Re: OMG, I can't believe I want to buy a used bus!

Thanks for your replies.

I read all of Darren thread about the Bondo Condo but I don't recall much talk about launching. I know he's got a ski boat but he didn't talk about actually launching. I will probably attempt to message him shortly about my questions. (rereading a bit of his post, looks like he's out of the country atm)

For my purposes, I could mostly see using a short bus. I have a lot of experience driving very large class C vehicles with trailers so I do realize that maneuvering a long vehicle with a trailer could be tough, but, I don't think that a short bus would be much longer than a long Ford or Chevy truck pickup. I think that a full sized bus could have problems maintaining traction if it actually hit the "green" on the launch ramp. That is the reason that I'm curious if anyone used dually rear wheels to launch. Actually, I think that since often the rear ends on these buses extends a ways beyond the rear wheels, that could project the trailer farther into the water in relation to where the rear wheels are (in or out of the waterline on the launch ramp) than a normally used launch vehicle.

Well, since I am probably not going to be actually buying until sometime early 2011, I hope more people can find this thread and add information.

It cracks me up that when my son gets picked up for school every day, I am want to own the bus he rides in. It is a TC2000 but it's not as long as a normal bus but it's a bit longer than a normal "short" bus. Midsized bus?
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:37 PM   #3
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Re: OMG, I can't believe I want to buy a used bus!

.. use your bus as an anchor-point and winch your trailer down to the water .. many boat-yards have a standing capstand to do this for large boats/sailboats rather than using a truck/vehicle to launch and recover .. just a thought ..
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:07 PM   #4
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Re: OMG, I can't believe I want to buy a used bus!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Quote:
Originally Posted by RevBill
.. use your bus as an anchor-point and winch your trailer down to the water .. many boat-yards have a standing capstand to do this for large boats/sailboats rather than using a truck/vehicle to launch and recover .. just a thought ..
Might work on a smaller ramp, but some I've put-in from are 1/8th mile long, and on a busy day have several boats stacked deep waiting their turn to launch. I'd imagine some (many) in line behind you wouldn't be happy. Launching on a busy ramp is like clockwork (when it goes smooth), throw in an inexperienced driver who takes 20 attempts to back down the ramp, and you're liable to see some rotten tomatoes flying Though we aren't talking "inexperienced" here (regarding the OP), the point is anything which delays the process of launching and getting out of the way for the next boat.

Elsemanwaterman- I'm sure there are lots of boaters who launch via a dually.

Smitty

.. yep .. if that's the case you're sunk before you launch .. the one's I've used are in large boatyards where we've launched 45' + sailboats (and the smaller ones too) .. they are pretty dang large (the capstan) .. usually takes about 20-30 min per ship/boat with the larger ones, and that was after she was in position .. that's probably a little to long a wait for your average public ramp .. nothing like rush-hour traffic to gum up the works .. though I've rarely seen even the most-experienced bubba get out of the way quickly .. lol ..
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:02 PM   #5
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Re: OMG, I can't believe I want to buy a used bus!

Right about the anchor point idea. I know people have done it and its possible, but not desirable. Some people even have extendable tongues on their trailers, I don't. On a busy day at the launch ramps I go to, there can be lines of people waiting. Often these might be fishermean on opening day of whatever season and theey are not a crowd who like to be slowed down.
The solution I am looking for help is identifying a good short bus configuration.
I need a powerful, reliable diesel, mated with a strong tranny, preferrably sitting on a dually rear end.
Eventually a good solution will pop up but I'm just trying to speed up the process.
thanks again for the thoughts.
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:22 AM   #6
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Re: OMG, I can't believe I want to buy a used bus!

Anyone launch a boat with their bus? Backing a boat trailer down a small ramp with a motorhome (or bus) is challenging at best, if your drive wheels hit the water pulling the trailer out may be impossible. On the other hand, if you use a FRONT bumper hitch for launching, a novice driver can push the boat down the center of the ramp and the drive wheels stay on solid land. The only inconveniance is turning the rv around and rehitching the trailer, not that difficult or time consuming as long as it's planned for. DSmith
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:32 AM   #7
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Re: OMG, I can't believe I want to buy a used bus!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmithD
Anyone launch a boat with their bus? Backing a boat trailer down a small ramp with a motorhome (or bus) is challenging at best, if your drive wheels hit the water pulling the trailer out may be impossible. On the other hand, if you use a FRONT bumper hitch for launching, a novice driver can push the boat down the center of the ramp and the drive wheels stay on solid land. The only inconveniance is turning the rv around and rehitching the trailer, not that difficult or time consuming as long as it's planned for. DSmith

.. man .. that's like "Beer in a bottle" type brilliant thinking there .. great thinking .. I love that idea .. out of the box .. good stuff ..
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