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Old 02-15-2018, 03:20 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Colorado
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Year: 1995
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Chassis: Genesis
Engine: DT466
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How to plan for the worst on the way home

I have yet to buy a bus, but as I have looked (online) as some nice prospects that are 500-1000 miles away.... I think that the drive home would be a fun adventure to start the bus ownership journey.

But of course you don't really know the condition of the bus, and if a reseller, they may not truly know either. So I was kind of curious if anyone had a plan if they had MAJOR problems out on the road before they ever got home. I think if you blew an engine or tranny and were several hundred miles from home, and 50-100 miles from a diesel mechanic.... Do you get it towed into a diesel mechanic or trans shop that you don't know? Or do you just find out where the nearest scrap yard is and have them tow it there and see if you can recoup a couple hundred of your purchase price? It would seem like a waste, but it sound's like you investment of a 2-3k in a bus would triple or quadruple if you need to rebuild an engine or replace a tranny, and I would guess that is if no one rips you off in the process, and actually knows what they are doing.

I don't want to sound all doom and gloom, but it seems like something you should think about before potentially being heart broken on the side of the road with your engine in shambles.

I would assume it would be a good idea to get either the triple A or Good sam's roadside to get you off the side of the road, since I doubt those tows are less than a grand by themselves if you are any distance away. but not sure if that gives you many options once they get you to a mechanic, I believe they are done at that point, and if the person is unqualified, or seems like he is trying to rip you off, I assume its on you if you want to get it towed somewhere else?

Anyway, food for thought, and I though I would get other people's opinions on what viable options are?
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:49 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Wright City MO
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Having owned a HD repair shop that did road service for over 20 years I can think of no good way to plan for the disaster of which you speak. Short of carefully planning your route,Checking for repair and tow facilities along the way checking their BBB ratings Yelp reviews(taking those with a grain of salt). I can tell you that for most repairs road service is generally less expensive than towing and repair and usually the tow company(not all) has a company that they recommend (exclusively).The best way to avoid all that would be if you don't have the knowledge or background for the task hire a mechanic to assay the bus for you. Most of the kinds of problems you are describing should be obvious to a person familiar with HD mechanicals and should be able to diagnose those problems for you pretrip. Gene
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:19 PM   #3
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Keep in mind that AAA has a waiting period when signing up before the tow option becomes available. I would suggest signing up now for it. I just got an offer in the mail for AAA for $59/yr, includes a second card for any family member and now covers you in whatever vehicle you happen to be in, even if you're the passenger. They once tried to deny me because my buddy was driving my van when it caught fire(drivers fault) and I wasn't the driver or on scene. I got out of it by saying my wife was driving and they finally towed it. Glad to see they've slackened up on their policy.
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:27 PM   #4
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I don't know if AAA will tow a bus for it's members.I would be checking that out before thinking about that option.
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:37 PM   #5
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I wasn't sure of the details for Good Sam Club, but recommend joining both.
Good Sam is quite a bit more money, but gets you motorized RV towing for $114/yr, to the nearest service center. I've found a tow for these Skoolie's is easily $800-$1000
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:59 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 20 (9 window handicap)
I've looked at AAA, they have 5 levels of membership, but only two of them (Plus RV and Premium RV) will cover you in an RV (or a motorcycle FYI).

Will the tow truck driver balk if he shows up and your school bus still looks like a school bus with all of its seats in it... not sure, because I believe they specifically don't cover commercial vehicles or rental trucks. I think it sort of depends on if the driver wants to mess with you, since they are just subcontractors of AAA.

One thing I did read is that they can cancel you if they want, and will if you have too many claims, especially early in your membership. SO if you need a service call for a jump start, and then one for a blown tire, you could get a cancellation from AAA. The interesting question I would have is do they have to mail you their intent to cancel you, or can they just tell you while you are requesting your tow that they are canceling.

Good sam has 3 levels of membership, and only Auto + RV Premium covers you in an RV.

They can cancel you as well if they aren't happy with you.

Both have short time limits before they cover you, one allows you to pay extra to get same day coverage.

Both have some picky limitations that you need to check if you are counting on them. I think at least one of them won't cover you if you are on a dirt road. They both have limits on how far they will tow you. Some of them will only take you to the nearest mechanic (Not sure how you object that they aren't qualified or don't have the equipment to work on your rig), and not sure if closest also means they could tow you back in the opposite direction of where you are going.

Also Lots of horror stories of people waiting so long for a tow that they finally end up calling for a tow themselves (usually people in cars that don't have the kind of costs associated with an RV tow).

So those roadside programs have a lot of holes in them, but it beats having nothing if something happens.
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Old 02-15-2018, 05:07 PM   #7
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On the RV and RV Premium policies at AAA you get 4-100 mile tows and 1-200 mile tow per year. Not necessarily to the "nearest service center" .
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:30 PM   #8
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AAA says they do not tow school buses. Take that for what you will because they don't otherwise mention skoolies or converted buses. Apparently it's up to the tow truck driver to decide if it's an RV or a school bus. I guess that tow truck driver gets a tip before the tow begins.

I went with Good Sam because they will actually, by name, tow a skookie or converted school bus or whatever you want to call it. No dirt row towing and tows are usually limited to 50 miles, but they won't balk at the bus when you need that tow.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:31 PM   #9
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I blew an air compressor 450 miles into my 1100 mile maiden voyage in 2016.. I used a moibile repair service that was incompetent at best.. was down for 3 days... since i can work from anywhere. i stayed in a hotel with a nice old lady as a bartender(that when I asked fir a glass of crown royal neat.. didnt know what that was.. so i said 'just pour it in a glass and serve it'... yeah i got a GLASS of it...

the hotel GM offered me the keys to her brand new King-Ranch if I needed to get anything..

and the bus was parked in a gas station with great people. so it wasnt too traumatic..

I had no plan... my plan was to drive the bus from florida to ohio with no issues.. driving mainly at night because I had no Air-Conditioning yet.. I learned that I should ALWAYS carry tools!!! I also learned that you treat people nice, make friends(who may offer to help).. and that many people are fascinated by school busses...

-Christopher
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:56 PM   #10
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Oh contrair, I remember you being pretty stressed out at the time.

A tumbler full of liquor wild make things easier through.
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