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Old 05-18-2009, 05:51 AM   #1
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What does your bus weigh? (approx)

Changed the title AGAIN because I realized i've been asking the wrong question the whole time.


What is the rated GVRW of your bus and then what is the actual weight? I need to know the difference to find out the approximate payloads to get an idea whats common. I'm just trying to figure out whether typical busses has a payload of say 5000lbs, 10,000lbs, or maybe with a Class 7 even 15,000lbs or more.

I'm going to assume anywhere's from 5000-8000lbs if we assume 50-80 passengers weighing 100lbs each, or maybe they assume high school kids weighing 175lbs, but as you can see these are total guesses. I figure someone probably knows the rule of thumb or engineered weight expected though.


Sorry if I ask alot of questions. Trying to solve problems in the design and planning phase instead of afterwards.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:04 PM   #2
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Re: How much payload can a bus typically carry inside?

I see nobody has replied to this one yet, and I suspect that's because nobody has an answer.

In any case, the GVWR for busses that I've seen have been as low as 14,000 pounds and as high as 33,280 (I'm sure there are lower and higher that I haven't seen).

Now, obviously, you can load one up legally up to that limit and not have any liability issues or DOT hassles.

If you have a bus rated as farm use only, and you're only running a few miles, you can probably exceed that limit without much issue. Of course, all bets are off if the DOT decides to inspect.

In the conversions that I've seen where someone actually weighed their bus after conversion, there has always been a healthy margin between that and the GVWR. Frankly, I think you'd have to work pretty hard to exceed it. However, a bus full of firewood might do the trick.

I saw a 1956 GMC 1 ton pickup truck converted into a A-frame wrecker tow a 40' greyhound bus 7 miles in low gear. It was extremely overloaded, but it did the job.

Busses also tend to be geared low, which will help with getting the load moving. Braking would worry me. If I were planning to overload a bus, I'd keep my speed down so I'd have room to stop before crushing something. If I were going to carry a busload of firewood, I'd build a cage behind the driver's seat to keep anything from hitting me in an extreme braking situation.

Before buying your bus, the thing to do is to get the GVWR of it and get it on a scale empty and see what the difference is between the two numbers. Otherwise, you're just guessing the same way that I'm just guessing in this message.

Good luck with your quest for knowledge of all things bus related.
jim
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:47 PM   #3
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Re: What does your bus weigh? (approx)

GVWR of 30,000 with a curb weight of just shy of 19,000 without fuel, water, etc.

*edit* Pay attention to the gross axle weight limits. They are more important to overall handling than gross weight. I think you will also find that the listing on the plate is different than the max capacity of the axle as rated by the manufacturer. Many things play into this, but tires are one of the biggest factors. You see this all the time within the light truck world. For instance, my 7200 lbs GVWR C2500 light duty has a heaver rear GAWR than an RPO code F44 heavy duty half ton. In fact, the half ton even has a lower 6600 lbs GVWR, yet mechanically the trucks are the same. The F44 K1500 will have a lower payload due to the weight of the transfer case, front diff, etc, but it uses the same springs, brakes, frame, and rear axle as my light duty 3/4 ton 2wd.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:59 PM   #4
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Re: What does your bus weigh? (approx)

You'd only be illegal if you have paid wheelage tax (license plates) for a GVWR less than you actually weigh. Aside from bridge law calculations and such the DOT doesn't care how much your vehicle weighs provided it is safe overall, licensed appropriately, and has tires for the load. They won't even look at the manufacturers plate. Plenty of hotshotters register their 1 ton trucks at GVWR's much higher than the 12,000 or whatever they came plated as from the dealer.
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Old 05-28-2009, 03:42 PM   #5
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Re: What does your bus weigh? (approx)

my bus with only 8 original seats and camping supplies came to 7050 lbs at a weigh station
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Old 05-28-2009, 03:50 PM   #6
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Re: What does your bus weigh? (approx)

I just got the title paperwork for my newest bus from the dealer I bought it from today. They just reassigned the original title to me, so it still shows the original school board ownership. The school board originally titled it with an empty weight of 25,580 pounds, which is the GVWR!

According to them, they couldn't even put a driver or any kids inside!

I plan to have the rest of the seats out by saturday, and get the bus weighed this weekend. It is convenient having a family member that works at the cotton gin/farmer's market where there is a calibrated commercial scale she helps run... I can get scale readings any time I want.

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Old 05-28-2009, 09:49 PM   #7
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Re: What does your bus weigh? (approx)

Mine is 66 pasenger @ 33,280 GVWR. Not sure what it weighs unloaded...
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:24 PM   #8
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Re: What does your bus weigh? (approx)

Quote:
Originally Posted by baadpuppy
The school board originally titled it with an empty weight of 25,580 pounds, which is the GVWR!
According to them, they couldn't even put a driver or any kids inside!
They probably titled it at the GVWR. I've never seen a state that cares much about the empty weight. It's not illegal to weigh less than you pay for, only to exceed what you pay for.
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:27 PM   #9
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Re: What does your bus weigh? (approx)

My bus weighs 15260 lbs with 2 seats, a couch, and a 20 gallons. The GVWR is 27500 lbs. I have to find the rated axle weights to make sure I don't overrun those requirements. I am planning to keep my bus under 26000 lbs so no CDL required. This means an all aluminum roof deck, aluminum tanks (310 gallons), and a well built interior.
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:27 AM   #10
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Re: What does your bus weigh? (approx)

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_experience03
Quote:
Originally Posted by baadpuppy
The school board originally titled it with an empty weight of 25,580 pounds, which is the GVWR!
According to them, they couldn't even put a driver or any kids inside!
They probably titled it at the GVWR. I've never seen a state that cares much about the empty weight. It's not illegal to weigh less than you pay for, only to exceed what you pay for.
At the risk of thread drift....

VA will let you declare empty weight as well as GVWR, and it looks like someone just put the number into the wrong field on the form. I've never been asked to prove one of those numbers, and it seems like the clerks really don't care much. However, I was told once that if I declare one of my weights below 7500 pounds it would be cheaper on taxes. I think it was empty weight, but it might've been GVWR.

Still, from my amateur perusing of the convoluted code of VA, the empty weight value is the "tare" value, and when you consider putting anything in the vehicle, you add the "tare" value to that value, and that sum better be less than the GVWR. So, if you put 2 200 pound people on the bus, you get the formula 25,580 + 400 = 25,980 which exceeds the GVWR. Heck, even 1 pound put in the bus would make it *technically* illegal. Does anyone actually care? Apparently not, as they operated that school bus for 17 years apparently without correcting the title.

I know this isn't what most people do with their school bus, but I plan to list the GVWR accurately, and once I have the empty weight for my "work truck/shed" bus, I also intend to record it accurately. My reason is basically that if I find myself needing to move something that brings the weight close to the real GVWR, I don't want to worry about getting fined for exceeding the documented GVWR.

I'm rather surprised VA let them title it with the GVWR left blank. Perhaps school boards are given special treatment though.

I'll know how much the shed bus weighs empty this weekend. And hopefully next weekend for the other bus once I get it empty again.

jim
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