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Old 11-29-2022, 06:50 AM   #1
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A reminder on why you should really look at the bus before you buy it

https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-our-skoolie-journey
They bought a bus with an engine that's about to blow and they'd rather replace the engine at an insane rate then get a new project? They gutted the bus already but they didn't really begin a build yet.

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Old 11-29-2022, 08:53 AM   #2
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I'm not exactly familiar with gofundme, do they get the money regardless if they hit their goal?

Regardless, you're spot on with this. Unless you have a completed build, 99% of the time a blown engine is something you cut your losses with and start over. They don't go into much detail on their go fund me, and I'm not watching their tiktoks on it either. Looks like it's a cummins powered vision, so it shouldn't be all that rare, but I'm not at all interested in getting involved.
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Old 11-29-2022, 10:03 AM   #3
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"From 4 mechanical repairs, a winch from hell, 8 tows, being impounded, and now a full engine failure."

It's sounds like these folks are the poster children for why you do your homework and get your bus inspected before you buy it. Plus who with any common sense parks a bus in a sandy backyard at an angle no less? Impounded?? It sounds like they are their own worst enemy in this endeavor.
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Old 11-29-2022, 10:36 AM   #4
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There's a lot of conflicting information in their FB and YouTube posts, which I've followed. The bus is a 2009 with a Cummins 6.7 or 6.9 (they've referred to both). They bought it sight unseen for $5000 and showed up with new batteries...looked the bus over...signed the papers...and drove it home, where they parked it in the back yard sand and it sunk to the axles. The short video of the extrication from that location is interesting and scary:
https://youtube.com/shorts/Ha__umZ19Ro?feature=share

Some FB folks have suggested they should have had an inspection done before the purchase. Jess and Jake state, "With an initial mechanical inspection and four different mechanics looking at our bus. We didn't think it was possible not one of them would catch this engine issue before the failure."

I definitely did not see, nor hear mention of, any initial mechanical inspection...they were pretty clear that they bought the bus sight unseen. But I've done that too... Regardless, it's not clear that any pre-purchase inspection would have anticipated the failure when I hear that they have an oil leak which is so bad that the oil would drain from full to empty in 20 minutes and that the engine wouldn't build oil pressure. They mentioned that the engine would shut down "to protect it". Big oil leak, no oil pressure, engine emergency shutdown(s?), and then a rod or something pokes a hole in the block.

If I were to get involved (I'm not) my suggestion would be to find another bus at this point.
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Old 11-29-2022, 10:50 AM   #5
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Related to this would be the importance of making sure your bus is in tip-top mechanical shape before starting on the conversion (and then keeping it in good running order with frequent trips). Nothing worse than going through the massive effort of converting a bus and then finding out you need a new engine or whatever.

This is, of course, advice from somebody who really didn't do this, and has subsequently paid for a new starter, a new HPOP, a new exhaust and many other things as part of a proper sunk cost fallacy.
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Old 11-29-2022, 11:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Related to this would be the importance of making sure your bus is in tip-top mechanical shape before starting on the conversion (and then keeping it in good running order with frequent trips). Nothing worse than going through the massive effort of converting a bus and then finding out you need a new engine or whatever.

This is, of course, advice from somebody who really didn't do this, and has subsequently paid for a new starter, a new HPOP, a new exhaust and many other things as part of a proper sunk cost fallacy.
So this advice comes from someone with experience!

Kidding aside, buying 'site unseen' seems to go well only with seasoned experts. Good thread.
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Old 11-29-2022, 11:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
So this advice comes from someone with experience!

Kidding aside, buying 'site unseen' seems to go well only with seasoned experts. Good thread.
Being guilty of the sight unseen route, lots of times, I wouldn't actually say that I have any more expertise or am any more seasoned than others. And even someone super experienced could end up in trouble with a purchase, whether it was inspected or not. We all see and know the potential cost of repairs.

Personally, I think the lesson here is that each person needs to evaluate their own tolerance for risk. How emotionally involved will they get (MG's sunk cost reference), what's their timeline, what's their budget and emergency fund look like, how dependent are they on outside ($$$) expertise, how likely are you to drive your bus without oil pressure until the engine shuts down? Some people handle the risk okay, some roll the dice and cannot handle a "loss." This seems to be a case were lots of those factors came into play simultaneously.
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Old 11-29-2022, 01:01 PM   #8
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It's difficult to be too harsh with people because the same scenario happens all the time with houses. People will buy a house and there will even be a pre-purchase inspection but it's not until you actually get moved in and start finding out all the problems that were not apparent during the inspection. Home buyers also tend to make the same mistake of budgeting for what they can afford in a mortgage but not considering all that maintenance is now their responsibility as well and it only takes a couple of things going wrong to really deep six your budget to where you potentially lose the property.
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Old 11-29-2022, 02:02 PM   #9
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These guys were lucky with their first bus, they blew the engine on the drive home and were able to get a refund from the school district. It was a huge setback for them because they didnt really have any money and spent it all to get the bus home (batteries, oil, towing, rental car, etc).


They regrouped and saved enough for another auction bus that was "way better because it was newer than everyone else's". Then they had to have the thing towed a bunch of times for nonsense. They took ages to do things like seat removals (like 1 seat a day) and easy stuff. Based on what i have seen, they are 2 weeks of progress into a build and want to fundraiser an engine because of how much labor and money has already been spent. I finally went and watched their channel after seeing the blown cummins video where they were asking whats wrong. This all happened after they have had multiple mechanics do major work on the engine and transmission. I think these guys are missing much more than a prepurchase inspection.



I have a few assumptions.
1. They aren't mechanically inclined (although seem to be making progress on using tools and building a bus)
2. They don't have ample money to pay the mechanics to do all the work required.
3. They cant find proper mechanics who will work with them and their budget (non-fleet). Probably going to lower tier mechanics who will gladly take their money for quick fixes
4. Completely trusting that the mechanics are taking care of everything and the bus will be reliable with the fixes made.


I did see some of their latest facebook posts where they aren't getting enough on their fundraiser and plan to scrap or part out the bus. Hopefully they scrap it and make enough to cover the tow. parting out a bus effectively takes resources and know-how that they just don't have. They do keep re-posting old content as they are trying to be influencers.


I think they could totally make as van-life people. Buy a ford transit with a loan (that they can afford) and build it out.
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Old 11-29-2022, 02:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fo4imtippin View Post
These guys were lucky with their first bus, they blew the engine on the drive home and were able to get a refund from the school district. It was a huge setback for them because they didnt really have any money and spent it all to get the bus home (batteries, oil, towing, rental car, etc).


They regrouped and saved enough for another auction bus that was "way better because it was newer than everyone else's". Then they had to have the thing towed a bunch of times for nonsense. They took ages to do things like seat removals (like 1 seat a day) and easy stuff. Based on what i have seen, they are 2 weeks of progress into a build and want to fundraiser an engine because of how much labor and money has already been spent. I finally went and watched their channel after seeing the blown cummins video where they were asking whats wrong. This all happened after they have had multiple mechanics do major work on the engine and transmission. I think these guys are missing much more than a prepurchase inspection.



I have a few assumptions.
1. They aren't mechanically inclined (although seem to be making progress on using tools and building a bus)
2. They don't have ample money to pay the mechanics to do all the work required.
3. They cant find proper mechanics who will work with them and their budget (non-fleet). Probably going to lower tier mechanics who will gladly take their money for quick fixes
4. Completely trusting that the mechanics are taking care of everything and the bus will be reliable with the fixes made.


I did see some of their latest facebook posts where they aren't getting enough on their fundraiser and plan to scrap or part out the bus. Hopefully they scrap it and make enough to cover the tow. parting out a bus effectively takes resources and know-how that they just don't have. They do keep re-posting old content as they are trying to be influencers.


I think they could totally make as van-life people. Buy a ford transit with a loan (that they can afford) and build it out.
I was just about to post much of the same info but you did it so much better. The only thing I would add is that they should have gotten more advise prior to purchasing a bus. There is a "jessandjake" here as members but never posted or logged on after joining.
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Old 11-29-2022, 03:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fo4imtippin View Post
They do keep re-posting old content as they are trying to be influencers.
I will admit that I could probably take lessons from them. They're creeping up on 100K subscribers on YouTube. That's damned impressive of them. It's also a bit of a commentary on the audience and what people seek.
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Old 11-29-2022, 03:13 PM   #12
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oil leaks.. something seems up.. if youi drove your bus with a massive oil leak (I didnt watch videos or read the sites im just reading what I see in this thread).. then isnt it on you?? if you lose the oil once and the engine shuts down or beeps at you then yes thats OK as you didnt know it had an issue till it ran out of oil.. (but losing gallons id have thought youd see some kind of smoke out back)..



anyway if you filled it back up and drove it again over and over then sorry its on you if you blow the thing up..
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Old 11-29-2022, 08:20 PM   #13
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I think that some people simply shouldn't be involved with bus conversion, or even owning a bus at all. These big beasts are not toys: if not maintained and used as intended, they could be lethal to other road users, and at least they will quickly drain the owner's financial resources. It's really little different than a boat: a bus is just like a hole in the ocean that you fill with money.

A few weeks ago, while driving back from one of our Crown get-togethers, my engine "ceased to proceed". I'm now in for, at the very least, an out-of-frame top-end rebuild (at least one camshaft doesn't move, so valves have probably hit pistons), so I'll take advantage of the situation and also roll in some new bearings and do whatever else may need to be done in the next decade of its use. Sure, it won't be cheap to do all this now, but it will, I hope, give me peace of mind when I drive it again. When I bought the bus I started putting money away for a slush fund to pay for major unplanned expenses, like what's happened now; if you don't have a pot of money available for when $hit happens you're going to be hurting. I briefly considered walking away from it, but I've spent almost fourteen years and many thousands of hours and much cash to get my conversion 95% finished now. I've wanted a bus for literally decades (I first thought of buying a Bristol/ECW double-decker when I was eighteen, and I'm now retired!), so it would be silly to abandon this project now. I'm still working on it now even though it's not mobile, and in a month or two I'll get it repaired when the mechanics have time for it.

John
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Old 11-29-2022, 08:45 PM   #14
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Slush fund .. that’s the key.. I’ve had a couple transmissions go out, I’ve put tires on a couple busses.. brakes on one.. batteries.. numerous oil changes and cartridges for the grease gun .. heater motors .. A/C compressor ..
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Old 11-29-2022, 08:54 PM   #15
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Soon enough they'll probably see this post if they go on skoolie.net at all. It's kind of a shame that they're not active on here because they'd get actual advice here rather than people's dumb Facebook comments and YouTube comments.
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Old 11-29-2022, 09:49 PM   #16
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How to make a Skoolie Video

Quote:
Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
I will admit that I could probably take lessons from them. They're creeping up on 100K subscribers on YouTube. That's damned impressive of them. It's also a bit of a commentary on the audience and what people seek.
Damned straight! And here is my eight step program for you to get a hundred thousand skoolie subscribers for your channel! It should work, because although I've never made a single YouTube video in my life I've watched enough of them to be an expert. And you can be too!

1. First, find a precarious situation, then dive in without a plan. This ensures a high level of drama. You can't just appear to be ill-equipped to deal with the resulting crisis; it must be obvious to the viewer from the get-go that you actually are incapable of handling any problem at any level and this video is going to be fun to watch.
2. Do several videos documenting trips to supply stores while ineffectively addressing the problem. Bonus for inserting side trips to local restaurants with 'amazing' food even though your average viewer lives approximately a thousand miles from you.
3. Make every video a reveal that is teased for the first 90% of the clip, with the actual content being blindingly obvious to the viewer who sat through three commercials just to get to it.
4. More crying at the beginning of your videos. Crying develops empathy, which gets viewers, which you can convert into subscribers.
5. Include long asides to explain why your problems are the result of other people's errors. People subscribe when videos validate their emotions.
6. If you have a partner, include them in the videos doing your channel's trademark slapstick humor handling power tools they are using for the first time.
7. Finally, do a video that is just you talking to your subscribers for thirty minutes about your experience on this 'journey'. Include the following words several times: 'heart', 'growth', 'insight', 'love', 'myself', 'amazing', 'totally'.


You're welcome. :-')
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Old 11-29-2022, 10:20 PM   #17
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You're welcome. :-')
Oh my, my friend! This is priceless and literally made me laugh out loud...not just the whole fake LOL bs...out loud. Thanks for the thought you put into that and for the humor. I'm off to work on my crying now...
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Old 11-29-2022, 11:36 PM   #18
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Thanks Rucker, I always wondered how to go about it. So...

Everyone, I've just bought a 1994 Thompson 50ft double decker minibus with a MaxxForce engine and an AT543. On the way home, the engine blew up half a dozen times when the EGR pumped DEF into the radiator, and it shorted the batteries and blew the connecting rods through the side of the transmission. I must be talented! PLEASE HELP! I keep having to bail it out of impound lots when it stops running halfway between the impound lots and the mechanics, so I can get the engine rebuilt. WAA! WAAA! SEND CASH PLEASE, My GoFundMe page is www.somethingorother.com. Between impound lots we stopped at Joe's Bait and Burgers, and the food was AMAZING! Burgers with the taste of the ocean! It's done my heart good to share this amazing journey with all my fans, love you all! SEND ME MONEY PLEASE!

Did I mention that I'm a world famous optimist? I'm 100 percent positive that people will say anything to get people to send them free money.
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Old 11-30-2022, 07:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veloc View Post
Thanks Rucker, I always wondered how to go about it. So...

Everyone, I've just bought a 1994 Thompson 50ft double decker minibus with a MaxxForce engine and an AT543. On the way home, the engine blew up half a dozen times when the EGR pumped DEF into the radiator, and it shorted the batteries and blew the connecting rods through the side of the transmission. I must be talented! PLEASE HELP! I keep having to bail it out of impound lots when it stops running halfway between the impound lots and the mechanics, so I can get the engine rebuilt. WAA! WAAA! SEND CASH PLEASE, My GoFundMe page is www.somethingorother.com. Between impound lots we stopped at Joe's Bait and Burgers, and the food was AMAZING! Burgers with the taste of the ocean! It's done my heart good to share this amazing journey with all my fans, love you all! SEND ME MONEY PLEASE!

Did I mention that I'm a world famous optimist? I'm 100 percent positive that people will say anything to get people to send them free money.

they do and when you wont give it to them they turn nasty.. and make it sound like you are the oger.. and pour on a pitcher of blended guilt-trip too...



im a firm believer in the proper financial resources are a must for bus life.. well heck for bus enthusiast life...



im sure ill catch flack (as i seem to draw that out in people here) but ive spent a *LOT* of $$ on my busses. not in their purchases but in all the things ive done to them to ensure they are as safe and sound as possible.. as well as for fixing broken stuff... that and learning or having mechanical skills.. I hate to think what both broken AT545s wouldve cost me if i simply dropped the bus at a shop and said "upgrade my transmission"... or how much the HPOP / ICP / IPR / Injector swap on my 7.3 wouldve cost... and lets talk tires.. once in a while some can get lucky and buy great used tires that will last a good number of years but in general buying new tires is gonna be a decent kick in the shorts.. oh and how about those 4 chests and a few cabinets full of tools I have at the house.. granted those didnt cost all at once. but in those youtube videos you dont often see how the tools came about.. you know that their parents had garages full of tools for them to build their dream bus...



someone starting out new that has nothing and thinks this is a way to get out of the "broke life?"..
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Old 11-30-2022, 08:27 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
im a firm believer in the proper financial resources are a must for bus life.. well heck for bus enthusiast life...



im sure ill catch flack (as i seem to draw that out in people here) but ive spent a *LOT* of $$ on my busses. not in their purchases but in all the things ive done to them to ensure they are as safe and sound as possible.. as well as for fixing broken stuff... that and learning or having mechanical skills.. I hate to think what both broken AT545s wouldve cost me if i simply dropped the bus at a shop and said "upgrade my transmission"... or how much the HPOP / ICP / IPR / Injector swap on my 7.3 wouldve cost... and lets talk tires.. once in a while some can get lucky and buy great used tires that will last a good number of years but in general buying new tires is gonna be a decent kick in the shorts.. oh and how about those 4 chests and a few cabinets full of tools I have at the house.. granted those didnt cost all at once. but in those youtube videos you dont often see how the tools came about.. you know that their parents had garages full of tools for them to build their dream bus...



someone starting out new that has nothing and thinks this is a way to get out of the "broke life?"..
Agree 100%

Let's start being real with the folks and post running tabs on costs. The bus purchase price is the smallest # for sure.

I'm doing the 545 to A-1000 swap, so far used trans/harness was $1200, proper torque converter had to be made as the TC-222 is unobtanium $900, labor $1200, tcm reflash $100, tps sensor, tach, alternator, and pyro/boost $450. And the trans is sitting in the back of the bus still! Hopefully I can bypass the dongle/reprogram but that'll be $500. Expect another $800 for the physical swap.
So the quest for road speed and overdrive for a 12v 5.9 bus cost more than the purchase price.

It was ~$1000 for a full service, replace all water hoses and belt. Got tires from Marc here, some wheels from FB, mounted and installed was ~$2000 for decent used tires.

The paint shop in Guate wants $9k for the chicken bus cosmetics. Which I think would be comparable in cost to the alternative of de-skinning, roof raising, spray foam, and interior paneling.

I'll be $20k into a shell. It'll be what I want mechanically and mechanically sound. Then to the interior/generator/plumbing & electric/appliances. Probably another $15k-$20k there. And that works for me, but folks please realize that these skoolies can't be conjured out of thin air with no budget or skills.
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