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Old 11-20-2020, 09:10 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Coachwork: Thomas School Bus
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Is it safe to drive cross country

Hello, I just got a 1995 40ft Thomas Westcoster school bus in Los Angeles and now I'm kinda scared about driving it cross country to my home in Florida. Any advice and warning about how much fuel I can expect to pay for?
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:11 PM   #2
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I would expect to average about 8 MPG in that bus
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:19 PM   #3
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I would expect to pay for ALL the fuel!
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:20 PM   #4
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Also, if it has seating capacity of 16+, is over 26,000 GVWR, has not been retitled as a motorhome or RV (requires seat removal and subsequent inspection by state police or DMV), you technically need at least a Class C / B CDL with P endorsement, S if school bus markings and/or equipment are still intact. There are a few members here with CDL licenses that can help with doing this legally. I am one. ;)
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sehnsucht View Post
I would expect to pay for ALL the fuel!

a Hose N hike might be kind of tough in a bus so best to pay lol
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sehnsucht View Post
I would expect to pay for ALL the fuel!
I have like 2k budgeted for fuel just in case. ��
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:44 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
Also, if it has seating capacity of 16+, is over 26,000 GVWR, has not been retitled as a motorhome or RV (requires seat removal and subsequent inspection by state police or DMV), you technically need at least a Class C / B CDL with P endorsement, S if school bus markings and/or equipment are still intact. There are a few members here with CDL licenses that can help with doing this legally. I am one. ;)
I already have a class B with Air and Passenger endorsements. I guess I'm asking if anyone has made a long drive with a bus right out of an auction and wondering if they had any mechanical problems or regrets.
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:47 PM   #8
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well..some people have no problem, others have disaster, you feeling lucky? Do you have the funds to deal with a $1,200 tow and costly repair or storage fees?
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Old 11-20-2020, 10:53 PM   #9
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Compared to paying to have it flatbedded, worth rolling the dice.

Maybe locate a respected mechanic local to the auction house to give it a $200 look over?
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:33 AM   #10
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I ran one from IA to PA this summer for its new owners, who found out the hard way the 8.3 Cummins typically wears a camshaft out every 9000 hrs. Did well until it broke down though. My advice, research the mechanicals and stave off any potential issues as much as possible.
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Old 11-21-2020, 05:01 AM   #11
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If the date on the battery is to be believed, they are 4 years old. They may get you home just fine, or they may take a puke (if they haven't already). Any number of things could happen including a smooth, trouble free trip. You may want to ask if the bus has a governed speed, and if so, if it can be bumped up to something long-distance friendly. You will absolutely want to have insurance for the trip along with paperwork proving recent purchase.
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Old 11-21-2020, 06:30 AM   #12
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Also, learn the engine's safe rpm range, and stay within it. These beasties weren't built for highway cruising speeds.
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Old 11-21-2020, 08:35 AM   #13
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Before your trip, please take 30 mimutes or so to perform this pre trip checklist that Cheese_Wagon made. It has saved some of us from potential catastrophe. https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f9/re...ist-33026.html
The skoolie.net community will be here to help if you have any hiccups on the way back home. What part of FL is home? I'm in Central FL.
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Old 11-21-2020, 09:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruzer View Post
...I guess I'm asking if anyone has made a long drive with a bus right out of an auction and wondering if they had any mechanical problems or regrets.
Key "drive cross country" in the search bar and you will find plenty of threads dealing with the topic. Add more info to your profile and/or add the link to the govdeals auction. It would help to answer questions you may have during the travel home. When will take your trip?
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Old 11-21-2020, 09:40 AM   #15
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gas buddy has a great trip advisor app, that will tell you the cost of fuel from zip code to zip code. i use it before trips to get an idea of what its going to cost me.

https://www.gasbuddy.com/tripcostcalculator
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:06 AM   #16
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I would advise to avoid areas hit by hurricanes, as fuel may be hard to come by or contaminated. You might consider running the 10 to the 20 into Atlanta, then 75 down to FL.

Also, use anti-gel and Diesel 911 every fill-up to help prevent fuel quality problems -- I've seen a bit of that lately with newly purchased buses on their maiden voyage home.

Moving at night into the morning and planning food / fuel / sleep stops during rush hours will be more low-speed friendly, fewer idiots and will work great if you can adapt to sleeping noon to about 8 pm.

Most hotels/motels have 11 am checkout / 1-3 pm check in, but some will allow early check-in, just make sure parking with easy ingress / egress is available nearby. People are stupid and tend to make things as difficult as possible for larger vehicles by parking too close.

As far as fuel, going by CK's 8 mpg (I got 7.5 running 70 with a Cummins 8.3 that turned out to be sick, rocking a 5-speed MD3060 and towing a car), the route I suggested is 2,750 miles.

2750 divided by 8 = 343.75 gallons, call it 345 just in case.
345 gallons times current natl average of $2.11/gallon = $725 for fuel. Call it $800 just in case.

Fuel really isn't what you should be worried about so much as blown tires, etc. It's good that you way overbudgeted for fuel, because you may need it if a tire blows or a brake hub sticks or something.

By the way, if you haven't seen my posts on the bus safety thread, should you blow a steer tire, do NOT brake. Floor the accelerator and steer against the pull until you regain control, then slowly back out of the accelerator until you can get it off the road safely. Braking at speed with a blown steer tire can cause the rim to dig into the pavement and possibly roll the bus.
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Old 11-25-2020, 06:02 PM   #17
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A few notes based on your pictures. The rear tires are not retreads and do not show visible dry rot. Have you looked at the date code? So it would appear they are good as long as not way old. Tire pressure, get a gauge and check them. Biggest cause of tire failure is low air pressure.



Engine looks to be painted recently? A rebuild or replacement engine? if so that puts you in a good place. By the color is should be a Cat.


Fuel additives are a good idea, but they can also loosen junk in the fuel tank. So be prepared with spare fuel filters and know how to change them, as well as have some spare fuel to fill them. If you do not use fuel additives you could run into fuel gelling if you end up in a cold spot. I had fueled in Oregon and by the time I made Wyoming the temps had dropped to 5 degrees. Good thing for fuel heaters or I would have been stuck. I refilled and added anti gel without shutting down till the treated fuel made it way through the engine.
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Old 11-25-2020, 06:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruzer View Post
I already have a class B with Air and Passenger endorsements. I guess I'm asking if anyone has made a long drive with a bus right out of an auction and wondering if they had any mechanical problems or regrets.
Do You know when the last time it was used daily?

No matter if you do know or not,
I'd carry at a minunum:
half a dozen Fuel filters and any tools needed to change filters on the side of the road.
A 2 gallon can a of fuel
a couple gallons of oil
a couple gallons of coolant.
10 feet of good quality 3/8ths air hose and a dozen clamps.
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Old 11-25-2020, 06:32 PM   #19
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Fuel cost is all you are concerned about? Hahahahahahahaaa!

What if you blow a tire? What if the radiator starts leaking? What if?????
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Old 11-25-2020, 06:38 PM   #20
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Agree with you Johhny!

Used to be that you'd whip out the AAA card and wait for a tow. Long gone are those days... Their basic membership doesn't even get you 6 miles of towing on a small car. Ain't happenin' on a bus for sure.
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