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Old 11-18-2016, 05:57 PM   #1
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Stuck in mud/soft dirt

I just wanted to post an update about our bus. I hadn't come across a thread about this, so I thought I would post it. We ended up trying to drive our bus into the yard of the house we are staying at and it sank about a foot into the ground. Bad move, since it's so big.

It took us 3 days trying various methods to get it out of there. We were about to have a towing company come out, but they wanted a minimum of $290. What we ended up doing was tying 2x4s to the rear tires for extra traction with some very strong rope. We dug some of the dirt out from behind the tires and went and rented a u-haul pickup truck for about $34. Using a large cable, we attached it to one of the tow hooks in the back of the bus and combining the truck's pull with the bus in reverse, we were finally able to get it unstuck. We have the bus back on the street, but now have a bunch of lawn damage to fix. We're probably just going to leave it on the street and use extension cords to work on it.

So for now, because it will be on the street, we just went ahead and registered it at the DMV as a bus. If anyone happens to get a bus stuck in the dirt, there's a couple ideas for you.
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Old 11-18-2016, 06:26 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing. Glad you got unstuck.
Interesting because at one point i planned to park in my sister's back yard, where the ground is soft and grassy. I half wondered if i made it back there if i would never get back out, and after reading this i am betting that would have been the case.
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Old 11-18-2016, 08:58 PM   #3
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Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.....

We buried an Eagle 10 deep enough that the differential was resting on the dirt. Fortunately the owner of the local John Deere dealership saw our plight and offered to loan me a brand new 500hp tractor. He warned me to be careful that I might "pull that bus in two". I was nervous as hell driving a brand new expensive ($250k???) tractor 6 miles, on public roads, to where our bus was stuck, pulling the bus out and returning the tractor.

That was in 1998. I have not had a rig get stuck since. I NEVER want to repeat that experience and have learned a good bit of caution.

I suspect that you may have a new perspective when looking at potential parking spots
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Old 11-19-2016, 09:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by melissagirl View Post
I just wanted to post an update about our bus. I hadn't come across a thread about this, so I thought I would post it. We ended up trying to drive our bus into the yard of the house we are staying at and it sank about a foot into the ground. Bad move, since it's so big.

It took us 3 days trying various methods to get it out of there. We were about to have a towing company come out, but they wanted a minimum of $290. What we ended up doing was tying 2x4s to the rear tires for extra traction with some very strong rope. We dug some of the dirt out from behind the tires and went and rented a u-haul pickup truck for about $34. Using a large cable, we attached it to one of the tow hooks in the back of the bus and combining the truck's pull with the bus in reverse, we were finally able to get it unstuck. We have the bus back on the street, but now have a bunch of lawn damage to fix. We're probably just going to leave it on the street and use extension cords to work on it.





So for now, because it will be on the street, we just went ahead and registered it at the DMV as a bus. If anyone happens to get a bus stuck in the dirt, there's a couple ideas for you.

I would have rented a 26 ft box truck.

Also!!!!!!! You said. Using a large cable, we attached it to one of the tow hooks in the back of the bus .
You can twist a frame very quick using those hooks. They are for shipping and you can pull some little stuff with no damage. Start jerking it and the frame can twist.
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Old 11-19-2016, 08:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
I suspect that you may have a new perspective when looking at potential parking spots
You are correct. Thanks for sharing your story.
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Old 11-19-2016, 08:11 PM   #6
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I would have rented a 26 ft box truck.

Also!!!!!!! You said. Using a large cable, we attached it to one of the tow hooks in the back of the bus .
You can twist a frame very quick using those hooks. They are for shipping and you can pull some little stuff with no damage. Start jerking it and the frame can twist.
Thanks for the heads up. I would have used both hooks, but I would have had to have the truck on the lawn. I forgot to mention the tires were on concrete when I pulled it for good traction.

Box trucks are more expensive and the area was a little tight, so the pickup worked well. I first made sure the cable was taught and then I only applied constant pressure and didn't jerk it. I was just hoping to not damage the truck, though it did have insurance. Also, the extra torque would have been more of a concern with a 26 ft box truck.
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Old 11-19-2016, 10:53 PM   #7
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Don't tell anyone you read it here...
But, I've taken cable and looped it through one set of duals and made a wind up spool, on a 1 ton flatbed truck. But, conditions were just right... I was able to back out of the hole.
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Old 11-20-2016, 12:28 AM   #8
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Don't tell anyone you read it here...
But, I've taken cable and looped it through one set of duals and made a wind up spool, on a 1 ton flatbed truck. But, conditions were just right... I was able to back out of the hole.
HA! I always wondered if that would work! too cool Milk.
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Old 11-20-2016, 12:34 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by milkmania View Post
Don't tell anyone you read it here...
But, I've taken cable and looped it through one set of duals and made a wind up spool, on a 1 ton flatbed truck. But, conditions were just right... I was able to back out of the hole.
I think I saw something like that attempted with an ACME cable... out in the Arizona desert somewhere... note that I say "attempted"...
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Old 11-20-2016, 02:00 AM   #10
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HA! I always wondered if that would work! too cool Milk.
Wasn't my idea and it was kinda sketchy... But, it was the old hay truck we fed cows with in the winter time. Way back before round bales became popular. I remember we anchored to a tree and had to re-hook about every 10 feet or so.

Shoot, there were times he had to hook up the truck and cable to "pull calves" even.
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Old 11-20-2016, 10:08 AM   #11
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Wasn't my idea and it was kinda sketchy... But, it was the old hay truck we fed cows with in the winter time. Way back before round bales became popular. I remember we anchored to a tree and had to re-hook about every 10 feet or so.

Shoot, there were times he had to hook up the truck and cable to "pull calves" even.
Kinda like been there done that and got some on the Tshirt
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Old 09-23-2018, 04:19 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by melissagirl View Post
I just wanted to post an update about our bus. I hadn't come across a thread about this, so I thought I would post it. We ended up trying to drive our bus into the yard of the house we are staying at and it sank about a foot into the ground. Bad move, since it's so big.

It took us 3 days trying various methods to get it out of there. We were about to have a towing company come out, but they wanted a minimum of $290. What we ended up doing was tying 2x4s to the rear tires for extra traction with some very strong rope. We dug some of the dirt out from behind the tires and went and rented a u-haul pickup truck for about $34. Using a large cable, we attached it to one of the tow hooks in the back of the bus and combining the truck's pull with the bus in reverse, we were finally able to get it unstuck. We have the bus back on the street, but now have a bunch of lawn damage to fix. We're probably just going to leave it on the street and use extension cords to work on it.

So for now, because it will be on the street, we just went ahead and registered it at the DMV as a bus. If anyone happens to get a bus stuck in the dirt, there's a couple ideas for you.
So, how exactly did you utilize the 2x4's? I, too, have pulled my bus into the back yard where the ground is soft, and seemingly ALWAYS damp, and gotten stuck. The front cross-bar is right at ground level. What a pain! Will be way more careful from now on. Thanks for any and all advice!!
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Old 09-23-2018, 04:34 PM   #13
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We cut them into 2-3 feet long pieces, tied a rope around one end, threaded it through the wheel hub and tied it to the other side. We did this with multiple pieces per wheel and made treads. However, without the U-Haul truck pulling, it started to dig itself deeper because the ground was soft. It was really annoying and I'm glad we've since sold the bus.
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:07 PM   #14
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Don't tell anyone you read it here...
But, I've taken cable and looped it through one set of duals and made a wind up spool, on a 1 ton flatbed truck. But, conditions were just right... I was able to back out of the hole.

I have heard that method is in some military 6x6 driving manuals. I Can see how it would work quite well.

Another good method to get something unstuck is to use jacks to lift the vehicle's wheels off the ground far engough to fill in holes with gravel and maybe "pave a treadway" with lumber.
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:28 PM   #15
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melissagirl questions to you

I am a little fearful of bitten off more than i can chew. Did you regret doing a school bus? Would you do it again? What was the driving force for getting a bus? What moved you to sell the bus?

thank for your time.

william
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Old 09-23-2018, 09:16 PM   #16
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My buddy Don got stuck. Took him weeks to figure out a way to get his bus out of the soft ground!

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Old 09-23-2018, 11:39 PM   #17
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Thanks for the info! We got this bus, half-way finished from a guy who 'was moving out of the country and had to sell.' There's no working toilet, shower or power set-up other than a network of power strips. It turned out it needed a new engine from the get-go. Definitely should have 'checked it out' much more thoroughly but, at the time, we were all excited and it seemed like a great idea. It's new to us to the point that it still has all the school labels, not registered and we have yet to take it on an adventure. Trying to look at it as a 'fun project.' Plan on finishing up the work, taking a few trips and then deciding if we want to sell it. All that said, first I've gotta get it out of the back yard! Cheers!
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Old 09-24-2018, 12:56 AM   #18
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After a lifetime spent operating machinery through bush/woods I've learnt that the first thing to do when you're stuck is to STOP. If you're not going backward or forward the only way you're going is down.
If you do have some forward or backward movement move either way and stop again. Place rocks/branches or anything solid in the gap you've got between the tyre and the end of the hole you're in.
Then rock the vehicle in the other direction, stop, and throw more solids in the gap the other side of the tyre, gradually building up a solid base underneath the stuck wheel/s until you can drive it out.
The idea of tying timber to the outside of the tyre with ropes through the rim is a good one too.
(This method will not work unless the wheels are on driving axles.)
BUT...do not ever put your rope through the rim slots if it has the potential to rip the valve off the inner tube of your tyre. Because it will rip the valve off every time.
(I don't think there's any need to explain how I know this.)
If you've got a compressor handy another way to get out is to deflate your tyres to about 1/2 to 2/3 normal pressure. Doing this increases the tractive 'foot', or area in contact to the ground, of your tyre.
If all else fails get a tractor or big truck, and a chain.

jb
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Old 09-24-2018, 10:40 AM   #19
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Thanks, Johnboy! Was thinking of jacking it up (as much as I could) to put 'something' under each tire. I read somewhere on the forum that hooking a tow chain to the hooks in the back could 'bend the frame.' Too your knowledge is that the case? Cheers! Tony J.
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Old 09-24-2018, 10:43 AM   #20
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I am a little fearful of bitten off more than i can chew. Did you regret doing a school bus? Would you do it again? What was the driving force for getting a bus? What moved you to sell the bus?

thank for your time.

william
I don't regret doing the bus. However, if I were to do it again, I would
A. Get a smaller bus
B. Get a newer bus
C. Maybe try a non-skoolie bus for insurance and space reasons.

Another issue is that we didn't really have a good place to work on the bus. We ended up moving it around a lot or working on it where we weren't supposed to. I think if I were to do it again, I would take what I learned from that experience and only get a bus when I have a plan beforehand. The driving force was we were looking for an alternative way to live and saw the bus had come up on auction and just went for it. We sold it because we needed the money and didn't want to pay perpetual storage costs. On the plus side though, it was a blast to drive.
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