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Old 11-18-2020, 08:26 PM   #1
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Real-World Upkeep / Repair Costs?

This evening, it came up in a conversation that, as my previous project was not a liveaboard and was never driven, I had no real unexpected expenses. This gave me pause for thought, wondering what everyone's experiences in upkeep and repair costs have been.

I am concerned about these costs as I progress toward making a move on another bus, as well as my relative physical inability to do most of the work involved. I will have a finite supply of money, and not much in the way of prospects for maintaining cashflow for such things, once that money is gone.

At the moment, my options include depleting my projected budget just buying a bus and fitting it out, only to have little to no money for fuel / insurance and no place to park it, or possibly doing a bare-bones alternative setup, and be able to afford property to park on.

I would have a tight enough budget for purchase and build-out, and even one or two expensive repairs could ruin me after doing so, especially if they occur frequently or close together enough in succession.

A blown or stuck brake chamber could be a real problem for me, as could a blown transmission. Even a bad starter or bad batteries could be disastrous without the ability to do the work myself and knowing I have funds to cover the cost.

In short, I am not confident I can afford the lifestyle once I get a(nother) bus.
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Old 01-24-2021, 01:21 PM   #2
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What is stopping you from generating additional income to support the lifestyle?

Is it lack of skills?

Is it lack of motivation?

Is it the "i just can't do X" mentality?

I'm slightly perplexed by this post. Help me understand your situation from the perspective of cashflow; it's the cash that provides options so this is the issue you're really facing.
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Old 01-24-2021, 01:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkoolbusLife View Post
What is stopping you from generating additional income to support the lifestyle?

Is it lack of skills?

Is it lack of motivation?

Is it the "i just can't do X" mentality?

I'm slightly perplexed by this post. Help me understand your situation from the perspective of cashflow; it's the cash that provides options so this is the issue you're really facing.
Future cashflow for upkeep is a problem, but it's not THE problem. I have severe asthma and can't even wash or clean my own car. I get winded just taking out the trash. So I am physically unable to do any of this work myself.

The DIY aspect is more or less one part of a two-pronged problem, the other being that engine exhaust keeps my asthma stirred up. Especially a diesel, not to mention the smell of the fuel, imminent even when leaks are not present. And the exhaust even from a gas generator could kill me.

I've had offers of help as far as build-out and such, but it's likely I'll be on disability with a fixed income in the coming years, so one stuck, bad, or blown brake chamber, starter, etc. could financially ruin me. And that still doesn't keep the other factors from keeping my asthma stirred up. It sucks, but I think I should pursue other avenues.
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Old 01-24-2021, 02:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
I've had offers of help as far as build-out and such, but it's likely I'll be on disability with a fixed income in the coming years, so one stuck, bad, or blown brake chamber, starter, etc. could financially ruin me. And that still doesn't keep the other factors from keeping my asthma stirred up. It sucks, but I think I should pursue other avenues.
If you had little to no overhead, (i.e.; no rent/mortgage, electric bill, cable/internet bill, etc.), living as a nomad travelling at will, you should more than likely be able to sock-away enough cash to survive while living out of a bus.

Don't know if you've been on Bob Wells YouTube website: Cheap RV Living, but he has multiple videos of folks making it on little to limited income. They actually detail how they make it living as nomads, that make it look fairly easy!

Homes on Wheels Alliance is a non profit formed by Bob and others, that offer converted vans to people for free a few times/year. Worth checking out if you have any desire to full time it in a vehicle.

Your health situation would eliminate a diesel rig, but other than limiting you in overall size to a shorty type, gas ain't a bad way to go IMO.
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Old 01-24-2021, 02:20 PM   #5
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Yep, I'd suggest you get a fifth wheel trailer and a truck. Trailer can be parked wherever while the truck is in the shop, and a truck can be repaired by any common mechanic.
And heck RV places can repair your fifth wheel too, while you have a truck to drive around.

Another thought....I have a 32ft transit bus available without an engine..
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Old 01-24-2021, 02:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
This evening, it came up in a conversation that, as my previous project was not a liveaboard and was never driven, I had no real unexpected expenses. This gave me pause for thought, wondering what everyone's experiences in upkeep and repair costs have been.
Well, "the lifestyle" can vary immensely as you likely know- how much driving are you anticipating? Also when parked, are you looking at a dry camping arrangement (no or electric only hookup) or a wet camping arrangement (where you are plugged into sewer, water)?

I'm not moving, so I have little in terms of upkeep. Where I'm parked, I'm dry camping so I'm not really paying much there either. About twice a week, I dump and fill fresh, although I'm having to be a little more vigilant about ti all when it is freezing or is about to freeze.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
Yep, I'd suggest you get a fifth wheel trailer and a truck. Trailer can be parked wherever while the truck is in the shop, and a truck can be repaired by any common mechanic.
And heck RV places can repair your fifth wheel too, while you have a truck to drive around.
Shout out to you btw- we ended up getting a fifth wheel camper to rescue a homeless relative. Its working out great so far... slide outs offer tons of space. It was also very decently equipped for winter! Going to have to use some design cues from there in my next build- including a couple sliders =)

Anyone who goes the trailer route- don't buy anything you aren't confident is water tight!
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Old 01-24-2021, 03:13 PM   #7
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I second the 5th wheel, diesel pickups rarely leave my shop for less than $3000 much less busses. My labor rate is $139.00 an hour much less than complete coach works who I send people with actual busses.
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Old 01-24-2021, 06:49 PM   #8
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expenses

I would say a bank account or credit cart able to suck up $10,000 for major engine repair.

example: woman I know has a dt466, she was wearing earphones playing music and did not hear or recognized the bad engine sounds... She has a connecting rod hanging out the engine block in a remote location in Wyoming.
She cannot do an inframe, cause the block is junk. gonna cost her $5000 to $10,000 to replace it, depends if going good used ready to go, up to a fresh rebuild with new water pump, injectors, injection pump......

My rig, about $1000 in parts for all new front steering/suspension. And a weeks labor and $600 in tools to do the work. kingpins, brake calipers, rotors. wheel bearings, brake pads, drag links tie rods etc....

$800 for a new steering box - not a rebuild, new.

$4000 for fresh rebuilt 6 speed transmission

$700 for new twin plate clutch.

$7000 for fresh engine

$1000 for rebuilt bosch mechanical pump...

$500 to $900 for a brand new radiator

I hope this gives you an idea of the kinds of expenses for parts....

I have spent better part of a year rebuild the machine part of my bus before I ever go anywhere. When I do, it will be a new bus.

william
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Old 01-24-2021, 08:24 PM   #9
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My bus which isnt really even a bus wouldve cost over :
Over $7000 dollars should I have had to pay professionals more than I did for mechanical repairs
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