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Author Topic: Can you afford a bus ?  (Read 5208 times)
travelingfools
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« on: June 27, 2011, 05:33:09 PM »

Can you afford a bus ?

Over the years of reading posts here, we occasionally read someone make the comment that if you don’t have the money to do the project, or the available cash to replace a motor, you shouldn’t be in the “bus hobby”. Well, I'm here to say that I can’t afford a bus. If my motor goes, my bus will be down for a long time. If I blow a tire, its going to kill my budget to spend $300 on a new one. If my tranny goes, my bus will become a semi-permanent fixture in my driveway till I can scrape together enough money to repair it. But, I love my bus.

When we first bought our bus, we scraped together enough money to go to Nashville to look at it. It looked like a bus to us and we were very excited. We had done our homework and looked at all the “problem area’s” with good results. It was as close to seeing a real bus that we had been in the year of looking and I'm sure we looked too excited. Everything went well until we took it out for a ride. It only went 54 mph due to a governor. We ended up using the money we had saved for fuel for the return trip to rent a car and get home empty handed. The up side was that we had met some good folks the we trusted to help us get a bus. The bus went to a Nashville Detroit diesel shop were a chip was supposed to be replaced to remove the governor at a cost of $350 and aprox two weeks time. This worked out for us as we needed that time to scrape that money together. When the job was done, we sent the money down and the bus was picked up with the new chip. We got a call from the bus dealer telling us it didn’t work and the bus was still at 54mph. The bad news was that the dealer did the work as promised of replacing the chip and would not budge on the price.. Ya, lesson learned.

He told us he had another bus that was straight and in good shape and was not governed. He also had a driver that wanted to go to Toronto, so if we got him there from our house, he’d bring the bus up for the cost of fuel. We trusted in the dealer, sent down a check and we were on our way. We made arrangements for the bus to come up in a couple weeks to allow us time to save the money for fuel and we were on our way. The bus arrived a few weeks later and ran out of fuel in our driveway as it was backed in. Sooooo, we saved for a few more weeks and started hauling fuel in 5 gal cans. With the help of members here, and 20 gal of fuel, we were able to prime the fuel and we were off and running.

We stripped the interior and scrapped the alum and steel. We got enough from that to fill the fuel tank. With our empty tube and a full tank of fuel we were off and running, and this time on the road! We have followed the advice of Jack Conrad and have taken the bus out once a month no matter what state its in. We started out with a big empty tube with sheets for walls to where we are today at a working but nowhere close to finished conversion. We have traveled with family and friends and have had the time of our life. We have held parties and gtg in our driveway and we camp at the state campground a few miles up the road. We replaced the starter last week at a cost of $250. Could we afford it or was it in our budget ? Nope, but luckily and coincidentally we had scrapped  parts from the a/c earlier in the week, so we had a little extra money. I guess the underlayment for the floor can wait. With the cost of fuel, we are doing a lot of close to home camping trips but we are loving our bus. We were blessed with a mechanically sound bus that has new brakes and runs great. It needs paint and a ton of other stuff that we can’t afford to do now, or even in the near future. We really want to make it to Acadia with our bus, not just a car, but we’d like new tires before we make that trip. 2 more months and the credit union no longer has an interest in the bus and we can apply that payment to purchasing tires. Fla for 2012 / 2013 rally!!!!!

Can we afford our bus ? You bet we can. Its been worth every penny we’ve spent and every drop of sweat we’ve put into it… And if it breaks, once we get it back home, we’ll work on it and enjoy it in the driveway till we can afford to get her back on the road ! Bussin… it’s a journey, not a destination.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 06:26:58 PM by travelingfools » Logged

John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2011, 06:01:17 PM »

if there were a "Like" button I would be clicking it now.  Grin
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Mike
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2011, 06:18:59 PM »

I don't think anyone is disrespecting anyone for purchasing a bus on a budget. Folks just want others to know what they may be up against. We have had people posting that purchased their dream bus to be stranded on the side of the road with a big tow bill on the way and storage costs while they ponder throwing more money at the project. Forum's are worst case and best case scenarios. If I ask how to check my oil I will get 10 differing ways. It's the way it is. I do believe that most folks are good hearted and for sure want everybody to have good luck. The main thing we all want is for others to enjoy their journey and not wish they had never even thought about buying a bus. But if one is buying such a vehicle expecting to travel all over carefree....... consider yourself warned. I think that's all folks are trying to say. At least that's what I'm thinking.
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travelingfools
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2011, 06:23:52 PM »

I certainly meant no disrespect to anyone's opinion.  Just sharing my journey ! And yes, everyone should be forewarned on the financial end of buying a bus.
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John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2011, 06:33:06 PM »

I'm sure you didn't John as nobody else is either. I sat down and added up what I have into my bus and basically couldn't buy the tow rig for a 5th wheel trailer much less include the cost of the s&s trailer that is falling apart as I tow it. So basically we are on the same path. I use mine more as a local camper but more because of my limited free time than anything else. I keep telling the wife that someday we are going to be "homeless" when we retire and turn into fulltimers. Hopefully it won't be because of all the $$ I put into the bus!! Cheesy Cheesy
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Seven Heaven.... I pray a lot every time I head down the road!!
Bad decisions make good stories.
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2011, 07:33:39 PM »

I sometimes tell folks "My bus is not one that is likely ever to be a featured bus.  Rather, it is an example of what you can do when you have have to and have no money."  And I am currently limited to the local area by virtue of five old tires that I don't trust for the highway and no budget for the fuel. 

But I love my bus.  For about 4 years it has been home sweet home and I still enjoy living in it.  The engine is a good one and when I do get her on the road she rides like a dream.  The bus is solid and without any serious rust.  I shopped carefully and as patiently as I could (being me that is a relative term I'm sure).  As a result I got a great bus at a great price.  That is my biggest advise to anyone considering buying a bus.  Take your time and shop carefully, taking full advantage of the advice and help available in this forum.

The last time down to Florida it set me back with a new tire needed on the side of the road after business hours and a water pump when I got down there.  But I found a good price on the water pump and some great friends helped me with the R & R of it in through a space man was not meant to traverse (at least not one my size).

I consider myself blessed with my bus.  And if the economy keeps going the way it is, some of my non-bus friends that thought I was crazy just might end up deciding it is the way to go.
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Dave5Cs
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2011, 08:01:04 PM »

Ever since the wife and I gave up the house , we say we are HOUSELESS not HOMELESS. We have a "home" and for a lot less than the money we had in Houses!

Full-timing is great and we are working for our spot each month 40 hours a month on the river. We love the Bus we built.

Dave  Cool Cheesy Grin
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2011, 09:20:29 PM »

  In every group of people who share a common interest, there will always be different classes. Some have so much income or money salted away that cost is truly no object. Others will always come up short. Most people whether wealthy or not so much, all more or less get along with one another. But there will always be some, usually on the high end, who just dont want to share road or parking space with the lower end of life. But its their loss.

  Whats sad is when some who really arent poor, just conservative, ask about fuel economy. Thats kind of a touchy subject for me, because regardless of income or wealth, there just is no need to be wasteful or unconscious. I dont really care if theirs gets 5 or not, jusy dont shoot me for askin if there is somethin that does a lil bit better. I dont have that fat a wallet that I wanna blow the whole wad on fuel up to Alaska and not have fun along the way buyin somethin besides fuel.

  For me, ive been blessed to have lived on both sides of tracks, and fortunately (or unfortunately) more than once. I learned young to never look down on people for their station in life, but rather their attitude. Ive known wealthy people who you would never know were wealthy because they dressed down and were humble, and ive known a few mediocre wannabes who blow every dime they can muster (or their dads dimes) trying to "look" wealthy. They are usually the ones looking down their nose at everyone.

  My attitude is if you can do it, and still keep your family satisfied and your bills paid, it aint nobodies business how you done it or how your doin it. Long as you aint a jerk or a total brainless moron, you can park alongside anytime. Backerin.

 
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luvrbus
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2011, 09:38:43 PM »

In all my years school bus people were the happiest group a 3000 dollar bus and you thought they own a 1mil Prevost they always wanted you to check their bus out some were well done some not so well done
 I enjoyed our buses but when you put 12 to 30 thousand miles a year on one like we did those suckers can get heavy on the wallet lol be happy and spend time with family that's what it is all about no matter what bus you own.
Then when you get done with bus gig you buy a boat and a helicopter lol

good luck
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 09:46:33 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2011, 10:22:16 PM »


Then when you get done with bus gig you buy a boat and a helicopter lol

good luck


  LOL. Thats pretty funny. Just make sure you let someone test fly that dude first.

<iframe width="425" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/z4xGZdpWcK4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2011, 02:42:55 AM »

When we got ours eight years ago our budget was tight, as time went on we did what we could.  We always came up with money to do this and that, and now we live in it full time going on three years now. We have enjoyed making new friends in the bus community over the years and would not trade that for anything.

I've been lucky to acquire quite a few things along the way that were pretty good deals on used equipment. Did all of the interior work ourselves and now we get the opportunity to do an engine/tranny swap. We have managed to scrape up the fuel money, buy new tires and a few other things along the way. Would I do it again, yur durn right!

I had always wanted one and I fulfilled my dream. Cool

My wife even enjoys it, although sometimes the space is a bit tight for her!  Wink
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2011, 05:27:58 AM »

If you concentrate and thank God for what you have instead of what you don't have you will be happier! He will make sure you have what you need not want at the exact moment you need it, Not before and not after. You just have to believe.

The Irish have a saying,
When asked what they have or want.

They say,"I have enough" "I have what I need"

Dave Cool Grin Cheesy
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MEverard
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2011, 05:55:12 AM »

My wife and I were told many years ago, "Don't have children until you can afford them". Here we are 27 years later and our children, who we couldn't afford, are grown up and out of the house. Now we have a bus. We love our chldren, but we have much more freedom with our bus. I think it it actually costs less to raise a bus.

Good Luck,

Mike
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Mike Everard
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2011, 06:54:17 AM »

"I think it it actually costs less to raise a bus."

Amen.
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Len Silva
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2011, 07:23:44 AM »

My biggest concern would be (and still is) a catastrophic failure thousands of miles from home.  If I couldn't find a way to limp home, I would probably have to abandon it where it sits for scrap.  A $10,000 repair on the road would be out of the question.
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