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Author Topic: Bus Road Air Cost per Year  (Read 3224 times)
luvrbus
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« on: July 22, 2009, 01:56:18 PM »

Guys, I spoke with Steve Busskohi a friend and x neighbor of mine also one of the family that owns  Arrow Stage Lines.
Reading all the post to keep or toss out the road air I ask him if they keep records on how much maintenance and costs were with keeping the air going.
Keep in mind now these folks use buses that are no more than 5 years old then they are transferred to another division.
They  use MCI, Vanhool,Prevost and Setra here are the numbers he gave me from the shop in Phoenix per year of service

year 1 0
year 2 600.00 to 800.00
year 3 1500.00 to 2000.00
year 4  2500.00 to 5000.00 +
after year 5 ( per him) God help you  
He said the Setra S417 has the most trouble free AC followed by Prevost,MCI and Van Hool the worst.
Just food for thought guys I found it interesting year 3 and 4 would buy a lot of generator time for us        good luck
« Last Edit: July 22, 2009, 01:58:53 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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John316
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2009, 02:03:35 PM »

Clifford,

We were at the "after five year" God help you, category. We sold ours Grin.

BTW, when is the EHP coming? Thanks.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2009, 02:09:10 PM »

John, I have it packaged and will try and go to Bullhead on Friday for shipping I wish those guys open before 10 AM at that time it is already over a 100 degrees here     

good luck
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loosenut
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2009, 02:10:29 PM »

Is the road air in most buses similar to car air with a compressor on the engine, condenser and fan?
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2009, 02:21:34 PM »

Clifford, Thanks. I thought that you guys from down there always say, "YUP, it's hot, but it is dry heat....No big deal." Grin Shocked Grin.

Loosenut, They operate similar, just magnify that by, oh, say 200 percent at least. Add tons more fittings, lines, bigger compressor, bigger condenser, three huge fans (in ours) that draw sixty amps each, and a major headache (for us), and you just about get the picture. Oh, yes, one more thing....Add a ton of money and you have our old system set up and "drinking" (money and power) Grin Grin Grin.

All that to say, "If it is working don't mess with it." We wanted ours to work, and that is why we spend so much $$$ on it.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2009, 03:43:13 PM »

Wow.

Well, they likely use the air any time the unit is rolling in Phoenix. My over the road air in Seattle runs about 50-100 hours a year, even this year that's been hotter than most. I have a Thermo King unit, that's not made by a bus company. I trade with Thermo King here in Kent, Wa. and they inspect my unit and top off the referigerant every other year for $90. I have had this bus since 03, so for 6 years use I'm a little under $300.

My Eagle is well insulated and well ventilated. Anything under about 85, we are pretty comfortable using the roof vents and windows. When parked it is about the same temperature inside as it is outside in the shade. In the heat at Rickreal our bus was still comfortable without air.

We use the over the road heat alot more than the air, but its not to bad even below 30 degrees just using the defrost and drivers heat. If the coach heat is on very long someone will be yelling at me. Its still nice at the ski areas though to be able to throw alot of heat when everyone is cold.

I couldn't take mine out for no more than it costs me in the area that I live in and when I really need it, nothing else even comes close to the BTU's of the Thermo King Unit. Most of us probably will never use our over the road air in our life times as much as a bus company in Phoenix uses theirs in a year, I know that I won't.

I took the over the road stuff out of my first bus and I will never do that again, that's just what works for me.

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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2009, 04:08:01 PM »

Hi Folks,

My personal coach.

Year 1- $250 for a used condencer fan motor.
Year 2- .30 cents for a "O" ring and $80.00 worth of R-134A
Year 3- $0
Year 4- $0
Year 5- $45 worth of R-134A to top off.

Hummmm? Goes to show you how much less wear we assume as private owners.
Nick-
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2009, 08:03:26 PM »

Nick, you also have no labor costs.
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2009, 08:22:43 PM »

And, gee Nick, what do you do for a living?  Grin

I'd bet your OTR got a excellent rebuild and receives expert service on a regular basis. If nothing else you know all the tricks to keep them happy and running about which an average Joe has no clue. 

But I won't argue with the hours on the road compared to a coach line like Arrow.  That definitely had a LOT to do with the maintenance numbers. 
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
1989, MCI 102C3, 8V92T, HT740, 06' conversion FMCA# F-27317-S "Wife- 1969 Italian/German Style"
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2009, 03:25:35 AM »

Nick, you also have no labor costs.

Hi Brian,

Neither would you. Don't most of us do most things ourselves?

Hay, you guy's have a guy on this board that likes to help out with HVAC systems for free... Take it for what it's worth.

I don't think I have ever charged $$ to anyone on this BBS for guidence. Wink


Nick-
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 03:29:36 AM by Nick Badame Refrig. Co. » Logged

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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2009, 03:31:32 AM »

And, gee Nick, what do you do for a living?  Grin

I'd bet your OTR got a excellent rebuild and receives expert service on a regular basis. If nothing else you know all the tricks to keep them happy and running about which an average Joe has no clue. 
 

Hi Matt,

I did list everything I have done to my system..

Nick-
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2009, 06:38:25 AM »

Well I see it costs more in AZ than it does in TN to maintain A/C. Of course Arrow's bus are out on the road day after day and in HOT climates too!
Our coaches probably see 25%-50% of Arrows use time and of that the A/C time is probably 70% so our A/C systems might see 25% of the used time that Arrow's do!
I agree with the run down as far as;
SETRA
having the BEST A/C (yes S417's are better than 215 & 217's both they all are great)
Prevost is close behind, but when a prevost has problems just write 3 blank checks (it'll cover it!)
MCI is not as efficient as either SETRA or Prevost but cheaper to repair!
Van Hool if it works great! If it don't work bend over and leave the check book behind you!

Grin  BK  Grin






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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2009, 06:45:24 AM »

We use the fans on our a/c units to grind up mosquito's.
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2009, 07:00:08 AM »

Nick, you also have no labor costs.
Neither would you. Don't most of us do most things ourselves?

You have the tools and expertise to do the work.  A lot of us don't even with help and we end up paying for someone to fix our A/C systems.

I'm a computer guy.  If I need additional help with a computer problem I will call support for help.  I will understand the lingo the support guy uses and have no problem getting the issue resolved in most cases.  Now, if I called someone for help with A/C I would have no idea what he is talking about for the most part and be really confused.

I have no over the road A/C in my bus because it would have been big bucks to get it working.  All of the condensor motors were shot which had caused the system to overpressurize at some point and it blew all the R134A out of the system.

Trying to do some stuff myself has ended up costing me big bucks in the long run.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2009, 07:18:02 AM »

We've had a pesky slow leak in our hockey team's bus A/C, MCI 102A3, and it has cost about $1000 a year to keep up the last 3, 4 years.

I took it to Esquimo Refrigeration in Calgary this spring, and they seem to have fixed right this time. So hopefully, it will be good for a while.

You can't beat the OEM A/C in a bus for getting it cold, but it can be expensive to maintain.

JC
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JC
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luvrbus
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2009, 07:45:16 AM »

Guys, all of the Luxury Class the S417 and the LX MCI used in their fleet have a Honeywell electronic air filtering system that is also included in the cost for operaration. 
I would have thought the H-45 Prevost would be in the luxury class but he said no.
With a 180 units in service how about that for a maintenance bill with all the other things involved in owning a bus BK spooky to me    good luck
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« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2009, 08:26:31 AM »

I am so glad we are talking about this... A friend that works on AC systems from the board in a city near me has offered to help me diagnose what is wrong with my AC and I am pretty clear that I would be better off spending money on maintenance for my two bay AC units and more genset maintenance as well if this proves to be a major issue. Maybe if I had 400 hp and diesel was a buck a gallon it would make sense to rebuild it but as it is it is a hp robber and hurts my mileage pretty significantly (somehwere around a mpg).

I agree with the earlier post that nothing works like OEM Bus air when it's working right but man it can get expensive quick and in the case of leaks it just seems to keep on costing us year after year.

Has anyone ever checked the difference between running an genset (1/2 gallon an hour at load sound close?) and running our Bus A/C to see what the difference would be as far as fuel usage?

Good conversation... timely for me and many others I am sure.

Rick
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« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2009, 10:29:04 AM »

The biggest advantage of road air is the amount of cold air that can be supplied.  When parked we can cover windows and such to reduce A/C load.  One really can't do that when driving down the road.  The european styled buses with the large windows are like greenhouses for the driver on a hot day and a lot of A/C is required.

I don't have road air, but it would be nice to have versus just the roof tops I do have.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2009, 11:04:28 AM »

Help me decide to get reed of the large ac system in my new bus


I would like to ask you guy your opinion about the debate about removing the large ac units in my new bus. I do not need it mainly  and I will be living in it when camping  not driving  and I would like to get better mileage while removing all the weight. If you would please help me with the selling of the parts. I do not see much on ebay so I do not know where to go. I can also put a water tank or gen set in the area. My bus is an Orion 1990 ddec 1 dd6v92
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« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2009, 01:39:22 PM »

I've got three Coleman 13,500btu/hr roof top airs as my only air conditioning.  Two are sufficient while travelling down the road in over 100 degree weather with 75 degree inside.  Also, with a 90 degree interior, the three running will have the interior at 70 degrees in 30 minutes.  How much maintenance? Except for one external shroud and cleaning the filters every year-zero!  Hard to beat that.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2009, 01:48:28 PM »

TomC,

Great to hear from you. I was just about to start a new thread asking where you were.

No wonder those roof airs keep you cool. You have great insulation. We tried to do as much as we could, but didn't get as much as you have.

Now our biggest problem is sealing the front of the bus up Tongue. That is tough.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2009, 03:52:01 PM »


I'm a computer guy.  If I need additional help with a computer problem I will call support for help.  I will understand the lingo the support guy uses and have no problem getting the issue resolved in most cases.  Now, if I called someone for help with A/C I would have no idea what he is talking about for the most part and be really confused.


I'm a computer guy, too. But that didn't stop me from learning what I needed to convert my OTR A/C to R134. It was not cheap, because I had to replace the 4 hoses, and the dryer, and flush the old oil out with a gallon of synthetic oil which costs $20 per quart, and fill with the same oil and R134. So, it cost me about $700 to do the conversion myself. It worked a year, and then I developed a leak in the condenser. A fellow busnut gave me a used condenser that he was removing, which I installed, and recharged. That was 2005. I haven't added any freon or had any problems since, and it was working this past weekend just fine. I will have to replace the seals in the compressor soon, and will probably do that myself, also.

The numbers shown at the top of the thread are for a coach being operated on a daily basis in revenue service. A company cannot afford to have it fail, and annual preventive maintenance is going to be expensive. My bus mechanic, who is one the most respected people in the bus industry, once told me that companies will spend close to $1000 a year on A/C maintenance.  In my situation, I have a redundant system that I can run if my OTR system goes out on me while on the road. I'm a huge proponent of the OTR air system. I can put my family into stasis in mid August temps and don't have to listen to them complain  Wink

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« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2009, 06:46:48 PM »

If one had a bus ac system full of R134, and one wanted to remove it, what would one do with the R134?  Do you dump it out behind the barn, do you need a hazmat  crew to come in and recover it, do you need an HVAC guy?  what do you do with the stuff?

Also, what do you do with the big, heavy compressors and condensors and evaporators and such?  feed the landfill, recycle, or what?

Brian
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« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2009, 07:11:00 PM »

The evaporator and condensor should be able to stripped down and sold as scrap.  Same for any copper tubing in the system.

A local bus garage might buy the compressor to rebuild and give you a few bucks.
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« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2009, 07:41:23 PM »

I have to agree with nick and I am not a hvac guy. When I got the bus two years ago I put in a bunch of those little cans of 134A and mine was still running cold last week Jerry
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« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2009, 08:14:09 PM »

If one had a bus ac system full of R134, and one wanted to remove it, what would one do with the R134?  Do you dump it out behind the barn, do you need a hazmat  crew to come in and recover it, do you need an HVAC guy?  what do you do with the stuff?

Also, what do you do with the big, heavy compressors and condensors and evaporators and such?  feed the landfill, recycle, or what?

Brian

The R134 can be sucked out by an hvac guy with a recovery tank. You can use it in your car.

As for the other components, you should load them in your bay, and come visit me.  I'll help you find a place to unload them... right behind my garage.  Smiley

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« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2009, 06:54:28 PM »

STASIS!  LOL

Thanks for that

John
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