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Old 02-16-2018, 06:04 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Tigerman67 View Post
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?
Here's what I am doing:
1) got a pro to inspect the bus
2) took it to a shop and getting issues fixed before taking it home
3) signed up with Good Sam - sale right now thru Presidents day they SPECIFICALLY list converted buses as something they will tow AND they cover your other cars for all drivers, unlike AAA.
4) getting liability insurance
5) considering getting 2 new front tires. tread is fine, but somewhat weather checked - not dry rotted but 2011 so very old for tires. then again, there is hardly any load with no seats and it's gonna sit in my driveway for a while.....
6) driving with a chase vehicle
7) taking stuff with me so that we can spend the night on the side of the road if needed without being miserable
prayer
9) studying the non-commercial class B study guide

but I am also considering paying a bus driver to drive it home for me. At only $300 it's pretty reasonable but he wants to do it all in one day which means getting up really early and I will be miserable AND if we can't get the clearance lights hooked up we can't drive after dark and then it will be more..... If he wants another $300 for another day, no way.
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Old 02-16-2018, 06:15 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
Forty years riding motorcycles taught me at least two things:

1. If the bike won't start, check the engine run switch first

2. If you have fueling issues, check the gas cap first

My son learned the first one the hard way after he pushed his scooter a mile home because the engine wouldn't start
Yes, you do start getting creative if you are riding older motorcycles long distances as well. I had a simliar problem once, vent hose kinked on me, bike was running horrible and got worse the longer it ran, pressure release when opening the cap made me realize what it was.

One of my motorcycles is a 1951 Panhead rigid jockey at the moment, and that thing usually has something break or it tries to hurt me most rides. It forces you to pay attention more, and it forces you to be more creative in the roadside fixes since not much room to carry tools and spares.
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Old 02-16-2018, 06:35 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2martins View Post
Here's what I am doing:
1) got a pro to inspect the bus
2) took it to a shop and getting issues fixed before taking it home
3) signed up with Good Sam - sale right now thru Presidents day they SPECIFICALLY list converted buses as something they will tow AND they cover your other cars for all drivers, unlike AAA.
4) getting liability insurance
5) considering getting 2 new front tires. tread is fine, but somewhat weather checked - not dry rotted but 2011 so very old for tires. then again, there is hardly any load with no seats and it's gonna sit in my driveway for a while.....
6) driving with a chase vehicle
7) taking stuff with me so that we can spend the night on the side of the road if needed without being miserable
prayer
9) studying the non-commercial class B study guide

but I am also considering paying a bus driver to drive it home for me. At only $300 it's pretty reasonable but he wants to do it all in one day which means getting up really early and I will be miserable AND if we can't get the clearance lights hooked up we can't drive after dark and then it will be more..... If he wants another $300 for another day, no way.
How far away is this bus. If your bus driver has a commercial license, I believe he is suppose to follow the appropriate commercial time lines. I think that is 11 hours of driving without a break? If he can't get it where you need it in that time frame??? Although I suppose that is on him if he gets busted for not keeping a log or something.

Tire manufacturers guidance for tire age (on cars anyway) is 10 years. If they have sidewall cracking, I would replace them without hesitation. Otherwise, I'd take a look at them and might consider waiting to replace till after you have you do your conversion since unless you are going to put alot of miles on, the new tires will probably age out before you wear them out. In my area, a bus has to go in for an emissions check, and they won't put it on a dyno with even questionable (rear) tires, so I might be tempted to replace them a bit more aggressively if I knew I would have to replace them anyway when I get home.

I'd also add route planning to your list, not the time to go exploring the shorter routes on the back roads.

Hopefully with some advanced planning you could have the pro and the shop you used checked out as well, because people who don't know what they are doing (or are trying to rip you off) can cause more damage than they fix.
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Old 02-16-2018, 07:06 PM   #24
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I say keep your money and drive it home yourself. That's $300 or a possible $600 you could put into the bus. Besides, you got to start sometime. That thing is going to drive like a van. This is where the adventure starts. Make us proud.
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Old 02-16-2018, 07:43 PM   #25
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Last year I headed from Arkansas to Minnesota to go to my grandfather's funeral. At this point we have been driving the bus for three years. All the fluids and belts were checked before the journey as usual. We broke down 45 minutes away from where we were headed and didn't make it. It was a Friday night 15 minutes until 5:00.
The alternator rocked itself lose and broke three out of four bolts that were holding in on. So it kicked the belt off and that's why we overheated. Some awesome guys helped take it apart and put it back together in an oriley's parking lot into the evening. The alternator was shot so we had to wait in a hotel over the weekend until we can take it to Ford on Monday.
This is the second time I had to replace the alternator and it's a big 200 amp one and the company had gone out of business. Believe it or not they ran it around town to all the bus garages and no one had one to match so the guy at Ford calls a retired machinist who makes me a new shaft and bearing from scratch with a lathe!
You can't always control what happens so your attitude is everything.
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Old 02-19-2018, 09:40 AM   #26
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Coach net check into coach net this company will do anything for you if you have a bus conversion including an old greyhound bus.
AAA is useless even for car help long waits if anyone comes at all when you need AAA the most they do the least. Coach net is a good choice reasonable at a reasonable price point. 1,000 mile tow no problem.
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Old 02-19-2018, 09:57 AM   #27
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i checked with both aaa and good sam they will not tow an unconverted bus under any circumstances, this was with my ford e350 9 passenger.
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:29 AM   #28
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When I bought my bus I bought one within AAA Plus towing distance(100 miles). I was not interested in jumping on the road with a $1500. 30yr old bus that was unknown to me=Things could get expensive real fast...

So I call AAA they say "Has the bus been converted" ? = All seats out, water system and bed ? Of course it is..

Then the tow company calls and asks some questions about the bus and it state of conversion(AAA had talked to them about it). I answered all questions correctly and he send out the massive tow truck and 2 workers to haul it off. The deal was the massive tow truck cost $200-$300 an hour AAA does not want to pay this. The tow company does not care they tow stuff and just want to get paid.

The bus ran fine. a couple of weeks and a few miles later on private property the gas pump starts leaking gas everywhere.. No big deal $25. and 15min of time fixed.
But.. that would of been a nightmare diving home having gallons of gas leaking all over the exhaust.. License plates that expired 5yr ago and..? a massive tow bill, state police tickets, ???.

You just never know with old vehicles. When I was younger I bought a lot of old cars and trucks it was an adventure driving them home, when things failed I usually had a truck following me with a tow rope. With a school bus things can get much more complicated and expensive for sure.
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:32 AM   #29
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coach.net seems to keep coming up. Does anyone have them and have actually used them to tow an unconverted bus?

I am picking my bus up the 1st weekend of March and that would be a weight off my mind if I had something like this.

James
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:13 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by pbeggs View Post
i checked with both aaa and good sam they will not tow an unconverted bus under any circumstances, this was with my ford e350 9 passenger.
When I called GoodSam they were fine with my bus which is not yellow, has all the seats removed, and is a motor home on the title. I guess it's the converted vs unconverted issue. The seats don't weigh THAT much, so maybe it's because people were signing up to get them home from auction and then cancelling the service?

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Old 02-19-2018, 11:37 AM   #31
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I do have coach net never had to have the old mci greyhound towed took a 8,000 mile trip in
A bus sporting two million miles other bus nuts have coach net all stories were of good service. gave me some peace of mind when we went to the Grand canyon.
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Old 02-20-2018, 08:57 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
I say keep your money and drive it home yourself. That's $300 or a possible $600 you could put into the bus. Besides, you got to start sometime. That thing is going to drive like a van. This is where the adventure starts. Make us proud.
If the weather cooperates I am going to try to go get Moby next week with my husband. Back up plan is spring break with my son. Back up, back up plan is wait til my ex-truck driving brother in law is in Oregon in 3 weeks.

I have my reflective triangles but heavy duty wheel chocks are expensive! I don't want to get hurt or hurt anyone else, but I don't want to waste money either. What should I get?

Also, if I end up needing to spend the night in the bus for whatever reason, I'd probably run the engine some for heat. I have no idea how much fuel an idling diesel engine uses. A lot less than one running, I'm sure, but I don't want to run out of fuel!

Also, how cold is too cold to start for a diesel engine with glow plugs?

I'm thinking I should take a CO monitor in case I sleep in the bus in addition to the normal stuff.

Fire extinguisher maybe. Anything else? People say tools but I don't know what to DO with any of the tools so I'm just relying on Good Sam if something happens. Moby is at the mechanic now getting all fixed up to drive so hopefully I won't have problems, but I'd rather be prepared.

I almost certainly will have to spend Monday night in the bus on the way home just because I have several errands to do Monday morning before I can drive back and the clearance lights aren't hooked up. Unless it's just a fuse I don't want to pay the mechanic there to fix it because chasing down electrical stuff can be time consuming and it's fine during the day.
Monday am I plan to:

1) correct title at DMV
2) get trip permit at DMV
3) pick up bus and have them show me how to start it, and where the fuel tank is so I can put fuel in it, how to check the air brakes, what else?
4) fill up on fuel, clean mirrors and windshield, check tire pressure and add air if needed.
5) go to a parking lot and practice driving the bus!
6) drive home.

I'm thinking that after an hour or so of step 6 my husband can just drive home and I should be ok. I'd rather he was my chase vehicle all the way, but really it should be fine after a while of step 6, right?

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Old 02-20-2018, 09:13 PM   #33
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Just for reference and I was thinking of signing up with coach-net before I pick up my bus, I called and ask about their towing..

They will gladly tow a converted bus, but will not touch a bus that isn't converted.

Just a point of reference for those thinking about coach-net before your conversion.

James
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Old 02-20-2018, 11:43 PM   #34
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That just sounds like to much fun. I hope you like adrenalyn. You're going to have sore hands from gripping the steering wheel after this first bus ride. I'm sure it will go well. You're way over analyzing this. Wooden blocks make good wheel chocks. No rhyme intended.

Yeah, I'm not sure about that far south of my location but I've been getting light snow at nights for the past couple days. It's not enough to stick good and doesn't seem to be affecting traffic much. Traffic cams are your best indication.

So far most of my buses have had the triangles still in them. I still run the engine if I'm having a hard time warming up the bus in the mornings. It works best if you set the high idle at about 1500 rpms, otherwise you get very little heat. During cold days I usually run the engine for about 30 minutes, and shutting down is often about getting to warm in the bus. So what if you burn a few gallons of fuel. I doubt you'd use more than a gallon or so throughout the night even if you warm up the bus 3 or 4 times.

It's too cold to start the engine when it won't start. It kind of works itself out. Use the glow plugs the way you're taught to avoid burning them up. Burning out the glow plugs won't happen immediately but it's something you want to avoid if possible.

I wouldn't worry about a CO2 monitor. These buses have enough air flow in them that you'll be more concerned with staying warm. A quilt would be nice. That does not sound like a comfortable night in a bus without a place to lay down. I tried a hammock but didn't like it much.

A fire extinguisher kind of goes along with the reflective triangles and wheel chocks. With air brakes that land yacht isn't going to roll away anyhow. I haven't used wheel chocks except when I'm working under the bus.

You might want a few small hand tools like a crescent wrench, pliars, screwdriver, knife, electrical tape. Don't attempt making any wiring changes until you've got your bus safely parked at home. You may want to read about the interlock system on school buses. It's kind of self explanatory anyway and I don't want to preach to the quire if you already know about it.

Wise choice on the clearance lights. It's likely as simple as one of the lights being shorted out needing to be replaced. I'm guessing because that's what's wrong with mine. Two and a half years later how many times do you think I've been stopped because my clearance lights didn't work? None. You were talking about parking overnight anyway.

Don't forget, buses are invisible. People see a huge yellow object and they give way. It's engrained in us to be nice to school buses. You'll get that treatment as long as it's yellow. After you paint it you loose that respect from other drivers. Kidding, sort of.

A lot of people have gotten stuck with not being able to get a trip permit. After several days they get mad and drive home anyway, without getting stopped. Buses are invisible. You have to make really gross driving errors to get stopped in a yellow bus, even with no plates. A three state trip without any tags or plates is the record.

Sounds like a good plan, but we all know #5 is really going to the parking lot to do a fatty. Save it for your rest break because the adrenalyn gets in the way.

Take a deep breath. This should be uneventful. You sound like a very prepared person. Just don't overstress the engine and transmission while climbing hills, meaning if it heats us reduce your speed to half and you may be able to avoid stopping to let it cool down. I'm not saying you're going to overheat, just recognizing the potential. Check the fluid levels when you stop for rest breaks. Do stop for rest breaks instead of driving straight through. Oddly it's easy to get dehydrated on that adrenalyn filled first drive.

It'll be fun. Don't worry.
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Old 02-20-2018, 11:58 PM   #35
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Concur.

My ride home (500 miles) was uneventful. The first 10 minutes or so were a bit hairy, pulling a 40' bus out of a coach depot onto a narrow road when you've never done it before can be a bit like that.

After that I settled down, figured out my visual clues so I knew where the bus was on the road, and simply settled into a 10-hour ride. I stopped frequently at rest stops, often climbing out just to look at the bus and wonder what the hell I had just done.

Oh yeah ... with a long bus, filling with diesel can be interesting. Pulling up to pumps takes a little planning, so slow down the approach and take it easy. One trick I learned was to figure out which window was above the filler, and line that window up with the pump.

Take it easy on the air-brakes. They don't have the feel of the brakes in your car, and pushing too hard will stop you quicker than you wanted to stop
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Old 02-21-2018, 12:16 AM   #36
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I drove 700 miles home without a plate on my wanderlodge when I bought it, GA, TN, KY, OH
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Old 02-21-2018, 12:34 AM   #37
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When it comes to fueling a bus, most have the filler on the curb side of the bus. All truck stops have the main pump on the driver's side and the slave pump on the curb side.

Once you get stopped to where the hose will reach you will need to start the main pump on the driver's side and set it on the ground. Then walk around the bus to the curb side and use the slave pump. The down side is rarely will the slave pump have a gallon meter so you will have no idea how much you have pumped or what it is going to cost.

If you pump diesel fuel in OR at a truck stop do NOT get the PUC priced fuel. It all has to do with paying the tax. Without a PUC permit you have to pay the tax at the pump.

I wouldn't worry about wheel chocks. I haven't had a wheel chock in a bus in more than 30-years. When I work on them and need to block the wheels a piece of cord wood works just as well.

If the ambient temperature goes below 30* you might have some fun starting your bus. The biggest issue is how strong your starting battery(s) are. When I drove a very used school bus from MI to WA state between Christmas and New Years one year the only time I shut the bus off was when I stopped for fuel. I figured that in the time it took to fuel up the bus it wouldn't get so cold it wouldn't restart. And if I had some problems there was usually help close to hand. Temps going across the country were teens for the highs and zero or lower for lows. The highway got closed while going through WY. I had to spend almost 24-hours in a truck stop waiting for the highway to reopen. I had the bus on high idle the whole time. Fuel use on high idle was about a gallon per hour, maybe a little bit more.

Just be aware of the road conditions. Things can go from okay to terrible very quickly. At one point on my middle of the winter trek across country I could barely see the grab handle on the tilt hood in front of me. It was all hunky dory and then all of a sudden I felt like I was trying to drive in a snow globe that had been vigorously shaken up.

Stop before you get tired. Even if it is for just a cat nap or to get something to eat or drink you need to stop.

Good luck!
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:58 AM   #38
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Rated Cap: 84 pass, 40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
When it comes to fueling a bus, most have the filler on the curb side of the bus. All truck stops have the main pump on the driver's side and the slave pump on the curb side.

Once you get stopped to where the hose will reach you will need to start the main pump on the driver's side and set it on the ground. Then walk around the bus to the curb side and use the slave pump. The down side is rarely will the slave pump have a gallon meter so you will have no idea how much you have pumped or what it is going to cost.

If you pump diesel fuel in OR at a truck stop do NOT get the PUC priced fuel. It all has to do with paying the tax. Without a PUC permit you have to pay the tax at the pump.

I wouldn't worry about wheel chocks. I haven't had a wheel chock in a bus in more than 30-years. When I work on them and need to block the wheels a piece of cord wood works just as well.

If the ambient temperature goes below 30* you might have some fun starting your bus. The biggest issue is how strong your starting battery(s) are. When I drove a very used school bus from MI to WA state between Christmas and New Years one year the only time I shut the bus off was when I stopped for fuel. I figured that in the time it took to fuel up the bus it wouldn't get so cold it wouldn't restart. And if I had some problems there was usually help close to hand. Temps going across the country were teens for the highs and zero or lower for lows. The highway got closed while going through WY. I had to spend almost 24-hours in a truck stop waiting for the highway to reopen. I had the bus on high idle the whole time. Fuel use on high idle was about a gallon per hour, maybe a little bit more.

Just be aware of the road conditions. Things can go from okay to terrible very quickly. At one point on my middle of the winter trek across country I could barely see the grab handle on the tilt hood in front of me. It was all hunky dory and then all of a sudden I felt like I was trying to drive in a snow globe that had been vigorously shaken up.

Stop before you get tired. Even if it is for just a cat nap or to get something to eat or drink you need to stop.

Good luck!
It's a good thing I asked because I would NOT have figured this out! Thanks for explaining so well.

I have back up dates to go get Moby if the weather isn't good for it. I am used to driving in the mountains in snow- but in my AWD Subaru with excellent snow tires!! I am going to learn to drive the bus first and *then* learn how to drive it in the snow. And I will have enough stuff with me to comfortably spend the night in the cold just in case. My husband knows this, or he wouldn't be asking if it's ok to leave me once I get going.

THANK YOU!!




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Old 02-21-2018, 01:20 PM   #39
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fuel main on the left.. I always hate that about truck stops... and the truckers get Ticked at you for pulling in backwards.. lol .. since both my busses are shorties. i can get into the car fuel islands many times... the DEV bus is a little tougher as it is about 3 feet longer than the red one.. I like the truck stops though as i can pump the tank full in about no time since i just have a 25-30 gallon tank (not sure which.. ive never put more than 23 gallons in and the gauge still moved)..

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Old 02-21-2018, 01:32 PM   #40
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I saw that you plan on sleeping in the bus. I love the sense of adventure, I am considering it myself even. But its probably going to be a stressful day as it is, you may want to think about getting an inexpensive hotel for your stay that has truck parking. If you pull a couple of seats, put down an air mattress or something along with a sleeping bag, and the weather isn't very extreme, might be kind of fun to do it on the bus. But if you are having a ton of cold seeping up from the floor of the bus into your sleeping bag, and you are uncomfortable you may not sleep well and you probably don't want to drive a full day the next day all bleary eyed and tired.

But I would guess you would need to remove all of your stuff out of the bus for the night if you aren't physically in it, since Its unlikely that you will be able to secure the bus in any meaningful way if you just have bought it.
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