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Old 12-13-2006, 01:43 PM   #1
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School Buses- Title Registration and "RV" Insuranc

Ok so I am 16 years old, and I'm problably buying a bus from Western Bus Sales over my winter break in Oregon. I know how to register the bus and all that, but how easy do y'all think it is to get insurance for a 16 year old, (obviously on my parents policy) ????
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Old 12-13-2006, 01:59 PM   #2
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I have a friend with a short bus who is under 21 who could not get his bus insured. (Although I don't know how hard he tried)

If you are putting it on your parent's insurance I don't think there should be a problem.

I have insurance through State Farm and they had no issues with my insuring my bus when I was under 25.
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Old 12-13-2006, 03:13 PM   #3
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bus insurance

say, im from out by astoria, oregon and i tried to insure my bus through all of the local insurance comp. nobody would touch it. these places will insure any factory motor home / rv no matter how big a peice of **** it is but they wont touch a school bus. long story short- (and i am serious) join the good sam club-( 20 dollors a year-plus all there bs they send for you) then you are elligable for there good sam discount through GMAC insurance. or just go to there web site. i got 2 buses insured with them with no hassels. i am 48 years old though. but i got a 1984 34 foot crown bus i bought from western bus sales in boreing oregon. BUY THE CROWNS IF THEY GOT ONE. LAST TIME I CHECKED THEY DID. OR GET THE INTERNATIONALS. they are built like a tank. they will deal to. but go the gmac route.they have a section for bus conversions. good luck.
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Old 12-13-2006, 03:21 PM   #4
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Thank You

Thanks for all of the good advice! I've seen GMAC and I think I'll try that. I was looking at a 1978 International. For only $1200! By the way how have you been maintaining your bus, does it need any additional maintenence besides on oil change every 3,000 miles?
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Old 12-13-2006, 03:24 PM   #5
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If your bus has hydraulic brakes there is no maintenance differences from a car. However it is more important to regularly check everything over before you drive it.
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Old 12-13-2006, 05:24 PM   #6
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The only two companies that come up routinely in duscussions for insuring bus conversions are State Farm (if you already have a policy; the word has been they won't insure a skoolie by it self) and GMAC. I have my insurance with GMAC but I just went with them directly and didn't join Good Sam (actually, originally, I contacted them as Camping World insurance). Not that Good Sam is a bad thing but you don't need to join to get insurance. You also don't need to have your other vehicles insured with them (I didn't at first) but it turned out they were pretty competitive when I put all my vehicles on the policy so I did and they've been nice to work with. I suspect your parents will need to be the "insured" party with GMAC with you as a listed driver but you'll just have to check it out.

Good luck!
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Old 12-13-2006, 07:16 PM   #7
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Congrats! My insurance is through State Farm with whom I've always had my insurance, as had everyone else in my family, save for my brother in law and sister who get a fantastic insurance deal through the teacher's union. It runs roughly $200 per year for my bus. I was actually insursed when I was 16 with my vehicles then as they were titles to me though I'm not sure as to whether or not that is common practice. Either way, atleast go into it knowing that age is NOT a factor in policy prices with recreational vehicles with State Farm atleast.

As for maintenance, I'd get a copy of the CDL regs. I'm sure you can get a free copy at the DMV. Follow their pretrip inspection sheet and you should be ok.

You may be able to get the manuals for the bus which will list the maintenance schedules. It all various a lot with engine and tranmission combinations, etc. If it is a diesel, chances are your 3000 mile interval is twice as often as you need to change the oil. I know my bus only requires an oil change every 6000 miles or more if an oil analysis shows the oil is still good. That's nice being that it takes 5 gallons to change my oil.

Make sure you are greasing your u-joints every couple thousand miles. Check fluids like your differential. Follow Allison's guidelines for transmission maintenance if it is an auto.

The biggest difference I have found with my bus as compared to my truck is that everything is more expensive. That means preventive maintenance helps the pocketbook as well as safety. A set of ring and pinion gears along with a complete set of differntial bearings for the bus costs as much as a set of gears, bearings, and diff lockers front and rear for my truck. See why checking that gear lube level could be helpful?

Keep us posted on your progress and let us know a little more about that bus you're looking at. Good news is it will have a bulletproof engine in that era, gasser or diesel. There is plenty of support for the IHC gasser motors thanks to those crazy Scout fanatics and if it's a diesel it will likely be a DT466, a legend among legends in the diesel crowd.
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Old 12-13-2006, 08:45 PM   #8
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I was looking on the WBS site just to see what they had available. They had a couple 1978 Internationals so I wasn't able to figure out exactly which one you're looking at. I did see that two of them have MV404 gasser engines though. I would urge you to avoid these because they weren't a very popular engine and aren't known to be as strong (read: long lasting) as the 304, 345, 392, etc. You aren't going to find parts for that MV404 amongst the Scout crowd.
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Old 12-13-2006, 10:51 PM   #9
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More Details about my situation

Yeah, insurance for all my parents car and mine are through State Farm already. I suppose that it helps that I'm already making business with them. My parents seem to think that because I am 16, I won't be able to get conversion insurance. I really want to prove them wrong because they don't believe me at all. They also don't believe that people have been getting yearly rates of only 200 bucks like yourself. It might be more since I'm young but hey I'm willing to pay up to 400 for one year.

I'm going to the DMV over my Winter Break to get copys of the CDL reg. I don't have much bus experience, so this whole skoolie thing is new to me but I'm really trying hard to get involved early! Also I don't think need a CDL if it is less than 26,000 lbs. or less than 15 passengers, I think. It sounds really important to keep everything greased up and good so I dont have any major expenses.

I have some more details about the bus I'm looking at:

1978 International Gas School Bus
Automatic Transmission
Blue Bird
392 engine
The website said "A' for brakes so I'm assuming that means air brakes.
And it's $1200

Pix:

http://images.wolfpk.com/westernbus/buses/05ub207.jpg


What exactly is the difference between air brakes and hydralic brakes? Are hydralic like the ones in normal cars?

The problem with this bus is that it has air brakes. I think in my state, Oregon, there is some kind of regulation on air brakes, like I think you need a CDL if it does. Being underage I cant obtain a CDL. If that is indeed the case, I would need to buy some other bus with hydralics- according to the current inventory @ WBS and my budget limit of $1200 I would be looking at a 1977/1978 Chevys with automatics and 366 engines. pix of these-

http://images.wolfpk.com/westernbus/buses/06ub274.jpg


If those links dont work you can always check the website @

http://www.westernbus.com/westernbus/se ... ionID=1482


Also, any pointers to tell my parents about the positive things about owning a bus? They can't seem to get past the gas expense and practicality. (BIg deal I have a job and work @ a gas station.)

Let me know.

Thanks.


Dan
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Old 12-13-2006, 10:58 PM   #10
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I found It

Hey I actually looked on the Oregon Gov website and heres what it says:

"You may operate...

With a regular Oregon driver license (Non-Commercial Class C) you may operate:

Any vehicle for which a commercial driver license is not required, except a motorcycle.
Any emergency fire vehicle, regardless of the weight of the vehicle or combination of vehicles. The driver must be a firefighter as defined in ORS 652.050.
Any Search and Rescue vehicle equipped with lights and sirens, regardless of weight when the vehicle is operated by an emergency service worker.
A vehicle owned, operated, or leased by a public transit or transportation district that carries 15 persons or less and has a manufacturer´s GVWR of 26,000 pounds or less when the driver is a volunteer.
Any motor home for personal use, regardless of the weight of the vehicle or combination of vehicles. Motor homes for personal use have not been included in the definition of commercial motor vehicles in ORS 801.208 and, therefore, operators are not required to possess a commercial driver license. "


So it sounds like I dont need a CDL! Granted I re-register it as an RV, which is what I'm supposed to do right?
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Old 12-14-2006, 12:29 AM   #11
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First things first....yes yes yes you want it registered either as an RV or a private bus. Some guys are getting better insurance rates on a private bus, but I'm not sure if you would given your age. There are also other benefits to being registered as an RV, but we don't need to go into that until you figure out if you have a choice in the first place. Again, what my agent told me is that the rates for RV's are NOT based on the age of the operator.

The 392 is a GREAT engine. Just make sure you find out the gear ratio of the rear and and if it has a governor. I can't imagine you want a bus that will only do 45. Part of having a skoolie is the journey, but 45 mph on the interstate might make things a bit too scenic.

You were correct in assuming that hydraulic brakes are like on a car. These use a pressurized fluid to move the shoes into contact with the drums. The difference, however, might come in the power assist system. While some buses with hydraulic brakes have a booster that uses engine vacuum to assist much like a car, it seems that far more have a hydraboost system instead. In this system, pressure from the power steering pump (which is essentially just a hydraulic pump ) is routed to a booster which then provides the vacuum assist. 1 ton pickups have had this system for YEARS and it tends to be very reliable.

Air brakes are kind of a different animal. I will go ahead and put my neck on the line in saying they stop better. This is the same system 18 wheelers and trains use, afterall. With air brakes, an air compressor on the engine will pump a set of air tanks under the chassis up to about 120 psi. When you step on the brake pedal (called a treadle in air brake applications), an amount of air is routed to the brakes. It is proportionate to how hard you push the pedal. Push harder and you put more pressure to the brakes. At the wheels themselves there will be chambers. Inside these are pistons which when pushed will move the shoes into contact with the drums. Additionally, your parking brakes will be air operated. The shoes in this system are held against the drums by heavy springs. When you push the release lever, air is applied against these springs causing them to retract. That means that you must have air pressure to start moving and if you lose air pressure on the road, the brakes will automatically come on.

I don't want to complicate things and admittedly I am not the best at describing these things with words so I'll let someone else try.

http://www.newbiedriver.com/ABCsUpda...rBrakes101.htm

Do make sure you read the air brake section of the CDL regulations. There are some important numbers to know and braking techniques to understand. I certainly hope I'm not scaring you away from them! They are a fantastic braking system. You just need to fully understand them. It does give you an air supply for running air tools, an air ride seat, BIG air horns....whatever you want!

If you choose to go with the Chevy buses, rest assured that the 366 is also a popular gasser motor and another well built piece. I *think* Chevy was actually the last company to offer a gas engine in a bus and it was the 366 with throttle body fuel injection.

As for convincing your parents....it might be hard at first, but after you buy it, make sure you make progress on it, but take your time. Make it look nice. Do a good job on the electrical and plumbing systems. Take shortcuts within what's safe to fit your budget, but don't let them know I'm sure they will come around. Just make sure you keep up on it. There are all too many half finished skoolie projects on eBay because people lose interest.

If your parents are anything like mine, and I bet they are, they will come around as they see it come together. My parents scoffed at the idea, but once they saw exactly what it was, they started to like it a little. Maybe you just need to take them camping once. They'll never go back.

Best of luck and keep us posted.
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Old 12-14-2006, 12:08 PM   #12
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Insurance

I just contacted an agent in State Farm Insurance and they said "If we COULD insure a converted bus with a 16-year old it would be for liability only."

I wonder what exactly that means. She said to call so thats what Im going to do.

Is liability insurance all the insurance that I need? By the way I am not planning to convert this bus to a RV. I simply just wanted to remove all the seats and install a stereo, Fog Machine, Lasers, and a strobe light for a party bus. Maybe leave a couple rows of seats in the front so i can haul around 15 people so its legal. Anyways get back to about if liability insurance is enough, given my details. Thanks

Daniel
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:07 PM   #13
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Yes, liability is the most insurance I've ever seen a state require. What it means is that if you hit someone else, their lose is covered (to a point...there are different levels of coverage) but yours is not. Of course if it is their fault, your insurance woon't matter. Accidents happen, but if you respect your bus for what it is, I don't think you should be causing many accidents. Just take care in those parking lots. Liability will likely include no-fault insurance as well for medical expenses.

Next time you talk to an insurance agent, say it is an RV, not a bus. Afterall, if the plates say it is an RV and the title says it is an RV, that's what it is, right? I probably wouldn't even throw them for a loop if you said the body manufacturer was Bluebird being that they have been doing the Wanderlodge thing for years. You aren't lying when you say it is a converted bus....you're just not volunteering information they didn't ask for. There's something so American about that idea....
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Old 12-14-2006, 09:57 PM   #14
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As far as what type of brakes you want. I will never own another bus with hydraulic brakes again. They have been a pain to deal with. The master cylinder in bad shape so I had to rebuild it, then a bunch of the steel brake lines were rusty and they had to be replaced. This all cost a lot of money.

At least with air brakes a you don't need to deal with brake fluid and a master cylinder. I don't like having to change the brake fluid, it is just one more maintaince hassle.

As far as insurance a lot of the cost has to do where you live. When we lived in Newberg it was high but not nearly as high as in Denver. Here in Idaho it is about 1/3 of what it was in Denver.

IMHO there is no reason to have anything more than liability. If you even have a small accident with a car or pickup you bus will have very minor damage. The car on the other hand will probably be totaled.

Once your bus is titled as an RV you should have no problem getting insurance regardless of your age. My bus was already titled as an RV when I bought it. I called my Farmers agent and she put the bus er RV on my policy. I did mention that it was a converted bus and she did not care. The title says RV and that is what she cared about.
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