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Old 11-29-2017, 01:33 AM   #61
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 13
Coming up with a multiplier

I heard a rule of thumb for small aircraft parts is to find out the price for the equivalent part on a car (e.g. car fuel line = aircraft fuel line) and add a 0 to the end of it. This is a 10x Multiplier.

We should create a rule of thumb like the one above for school buses. To guess the cost of a skoolie part, take the price of an equivalent part on a car and multiply by ___.

This post is for the newbies.
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Old 11-29-2017, 02:18 AM   #62
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Location: The West
Posts: 837
Year: 1998
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 102 EL3
Engine: DD 60
I am a terrible cheapskate so everything seems expensive to me. In my six years of RV'ing/Bus'ing, I haven't found the parts prices to be terribly out of line with automotive parts (assuming you shop around). However; I think it is important to keep the differences in mind.

For example, I hate spending $150/tire for my Jeep which weighs something around 4000 lbs (1000 lbs per tire). When I purchase a tire for the bus (50,000 lbs and 8 tires), a $650 tire seems like a mighty good deal in comparison. Only four times the price but able to carry six times the load plus I get a heap more rubber. Nonetheless; $5,000 for tires makes me cough and gag.

I wrote this post several years ago, maybe applicable.
Gas vs Diesel RVs - JdFinley.com
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Old 09-21-2018, 06:05 AM   #63
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I should have been more concise...

I should have been more concise. I wasn't clear with my words and left out a few criteria. I am working to improve my sentence structure & flow daily.





This is what my OP should have been:



After searching the forums for a while, on multiple occasions, I couldn't find any threads discussing general maintenance cost estimates for pre- or post-conversion skoolie drivetrains. I can find threads discussing fine details but no threads discussing big-picture maintenance costs for the typical school bus drivetrain.



What is your average annual cost estimate to keep a stock skoolie drivetrain/powertrain reliable, in good to great condition, without neglecting any drivetrain subsystems? How many miles are put on your skoolie yearly? What can I expect in dollars the wear and tear rate for 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 miles per year? I am planning on going places of distance with a skoolie, taking it at least 10,000 miles per year, most years more than 15,000 miles per year traversing every kind of road surface from the Drive-in to the Dalton. I'm going to explore North America and need to factor this in.



How much maintenance is done yourself (beginner, intermediate, everything short of engine & transmission rebuilds, everything including full engine & transmission rebuilds)? Please estimate your hours spent maintaining & repairing the drivetrain, and what you spent on parts & consumables on an annual basis.



How preventative is your maintenance? Do you change parts at the first sign of wear or do you run them 'till they break or blow (or as close to the end-of-usable-life as possible, making sure nothing can get critical)?



Is a dog-nose cheaper to maintain than a flat-nose or pusher?



How much money do you keep in reserve for debilitating drivetrain breakdowns & major drivetrain overhauls? Do you aim to cover the worst case breakdown scenario? The transmission falls out, the engine blows up, the steering axle breaks in two, the diesel you pumped 10 miles ago in Baja California destroys 6 out of 8 fuel injectors, and they cost $500 a pop. The diesel engine is worn out after 2 decades, 20 springs, summers, falls & winters of enjoying life & 200,000 miles of exploring North America, and you are NOT going to dismantle your home and re-assemble it in another bus to continue exploring. Because an extreme frugalist bragged about saving $1000 by changing rigs instead of rebuilding the engine.



How much money should I put in reserve to be prepared for breakdowns & major drivetrain overhauls?



Please mention drivetrain customizations & upgrades like more gauges, bigger tires, alternate/upsized fuel systems, under-the-hood cosmetic applications (their main purpose is cosmetic), transmission swaps, splitter gears, air intake upgrades, exhaust stacks etc. This is so I can deduce estimates properly.



This is not the place to discuss: fuel costs, insurance costs, registration costs, build-out conversion costs, toilet paper costs, full-time lifestyle costs, and the aforementioned power-train upgrades & customization costs. These have been documented in detail elsewhere.





I am extremely passionate about the open road and the full-time skoolie life. The type of school bus I desire to convert is a 45' extra-height-ceiling dog nose that comes with a bulletproof engine & transmission.
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Old 09-21-2018, 07:33 AM   #64
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 9,792
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
on my red bus which is my roadtrip Cruiser, I run about 15-20k miles per year.. I change the pil every 6000 miles and the filter every 3000. it hold about 5 gallons of oil.. I use Rotella T4 15W-40 oil.


my engine is new enough )year 2000). that I have ELC coolant (extended life).. ELC coolants dont require coolant filters and only need changed every 5 years. /150000 miles (per my manuals).



I have my own grease gun and grease my suspension with each oil change. its easy to do on a bus.



I check my rear diff and hub fluids at each oil change, as long as the oil still looks nice and honey-like i dont change it. my rear diff was changed a little over a year ago when I swapped transmissions and its still clear.



I use allison Transynd synthetic fluid in my transmission and I Believe its rated for 100,000 miles? cant remember.. I change the spin-on trans filter every 2 oil changes.



I had an alignment on the bus when I got it 2 years ago and it still seems to be in alignment and tires are wearing evenly..



Tires - you will see MANY opinions as to whether you have to replace tires by age or by wear... im of the opnion that as long as the sidewalls arent cracked and the tread / round-ness is good I dont replace them.. some say you cant have tires over 10 years old.. read and form your own opinion. on average most truck tires you can expect to get 50-60k miles on a set of fronts (steers), and upwards of 80-100k on a set of rears (drives)..



Tire pressuress are IMPORTANT. if you change climates check your tires and keep a CLIP ON AIR CHUCK with you.. and the ability to up and down your pressures.. while I dont fully pre-trip my bus if in going from the house to the grocery store (yes its more a dasily driver than my car).. I definitely do before and during long trips..



tire pressures that are off affect safety and definitely longevity of your tires.. Tires are a big expense when you have to get new ones..



im of the mind that I want all tires on an axle to match.. so when replacing fronts I replace in pairs.. when replacing rears I replace all 4.. ive not yet had a flat on the road..


my bus is a 2000 Bluebird with T-444E engine and allison 1000 trans (similar to an allison 2000 but iut was my own custom swap in)..



extra gauges, i have 2 digital gauge panels I added that give me all the engine and transmission internal data.
-Christopher
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Old 09-21-2018, 08:40 AM   #65
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,014
Year: 1999
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, AT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by debit.servus View Post
the diesel you pumped 10 miles ago in Baja California destroys 6 out of 8 fuel injectors,
I haven't read Chris' repy (yet) but he's usually pretty verbose in his replies and very accurate.I probably mentioned it before as I got an email that this thread was updated but here' you go again (Maybe?), ...15,000 miles / 6 mpg x $3 gal = $7,500 in fuel alone.


If I lose 6 out of 8 injectors in the Baja I'll count myself lucky. I only have 6 injectors. Most buses are inline 6 cylinder engines.


I did see Chris mention oil and 3000 miles. I'm not sure what the school yards do but that's a WHOLE LOTTA oil. He does the miles and he does the maintenance. Hat's off to him.



I don't drive mine but I still need to do some maintenance myself. The transmission has a heat exchanger between the tranny fluid and the engine coolant. Cummins uses it to WARM the tranny fluid. Mine is leaking like carzy. I noticed it the last time I drove it 40 feet to get at the side door. Since I only had another 40 feet to drive putting it back, I didn't care much. I did however call a dealer and ask about pricing for a new exchanger and the elbows. That was about $750. For that kind of money, I'll go buy a small junk yard radiator and some steel and make my own!! The good thing is the tranny PER THE MANUAL can run just about anything that is liquid. Oil, tranny fluid, hydraulic fluid... all are approved.
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Old 09-21-2018, 08:46 AM   #66
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,014
Year: 1999
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, AT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
on average most truck tires you can expect to get 50-60k miles on a set of fronts (steers), and upwards of 80-100k on a set of rears (drives)..
Really? You're telling me all the semis on the road are changing their steers twice a year or more? I have to imagine that the average rig is doing 100k a year. Even if they are changing once a year, that's a lot of tires.
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:00 AM   #67
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Andrews,Indiana
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Year: 1991
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Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewerbob View Post
Really? You're telling me all the semis on the road are changing their steers twice a year or more? I have to imagine that the average rig is doing 100k a year. Even if they are changing once a year, that's a lot of tires.
I had a Volvo and they tend to eat steer tires. That being said, after finding the right guy to do alignment, three axle done correctly, my steers lasted about a year and drives 2. Except for the Michelins that only lasted about half of that. I averaged 150,000 miles a year.
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:34 AM   #68
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,014
Year: 1999
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, AT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa View Post
my steers lasted about a year and drives 2. Except for the Michelins that only lasted about half of that. I averaged 150,000 miles a year.
If you go counting the number of FedEx and Walmart (not to mention all the JB Hunt and other carriers) trucks on the interstate, that's a metric shlt-ton of tires!!! In my particular micro neighborhood of I-95 there are all of the motor coaches going back and forth between DC and NYC too.
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