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Author Topic: The infamous $20k emergency fund I keep reading about - Really?  (Read 3082 times)
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« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2011, 08:47:44 PM »

This one I have a hard time understanding the $ and common sense you blow a 6-71  or a 8v71 engine the dealer wants $12,000 for a rebuild and you are going to pay 5 grand for a tow.

  Clifford, ive learned a lot from you, and I respect you a great deal. But IIRC you have stated several times that an inframe overhaul is a total waste of money. It just does not make practical sense to blow $12K out on the road for half an overhaul, when you can just as easily blow the $8K Brian did and have a totally brand new engine, clutch, hoses, and all the other goodies, with a turbo to boot.

  And $5K is a lot of towing to get home. I would hope before someone tooted off more than 2000 miles from home they would have their $hi# together enough to leave with checked out stuff. But if I happen to find myself up in Minnesota with an engine problem I cant fix, an $1800 tow back home might make a lot more sense.
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« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2011, 09:07:30 PM »

The condition of the coach when you got it, in effect, meaning the amount of preventive maintenance that the previous owner ignored, the condition of the coach now, meaning the amount of preventive maintenance caught up and done regularly by the present owner, are all indicators of how much trouble will be had on the road.

What is your religion? Change parts according to schedule or wait for failure?
The price tag in the driveway is significantly less than on the road.

How much "chance taking" is being done by busnuts with out of condition coaches?

Can you hear it trying to tell you, or are you blissfully unaware of the signs?

Drive the coach infrequently or regularly? Familiarity is not achieved with one use per quarter.

Do you wrench your own, or pay to have it done?

And then mix in some old fashioned bad luck...

I'd suggest that many of us do not have/will not spend a $20 000 slush fund for recovering the coach.

Some of us are finished when the coach craps out, some of us will sell off the entrails to start again, and some of us will pony up and get it fixed.

I'd suggest a minimum of bus fare home on the Megabus/Greyhound/Trailways be kept safely set aside.

happy coaching!
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« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2011, 10:56:24 PM »


What is your religion? Change parts according to schedule or wait for failure?
The price tag in the driveway is significantly less than on the road.

  This is the jist of it right here folks. A water pump, alternator, oil pump, rocker cover gasket, radiator, Thermosatat, you name the part, it will be lightyears better and cheaper to have your Bus figured out at home than it will 500 miles down the road.

  Engines dont often just blow up or explode, something precipitates it. A bad water pump or coolant leak, or plugged radiators, anything leading to an overheat can create a boil over and crack a head. This is truth here, heads dont up and crack very often for no reason.

  Injectors. Weve heard they can crack, drop parts into a cylinder and raise hell. But its more likely on engines that are out of tune and havnt been massaged in decades rather than a fresh one.

  If youve had the pan off and rolled in new bearings, looked in the side ports and seen the liners, had the covers off and ran the rack, changed seals and gaskets against leaks, got a new water pump, good rads, newer T-stat, oil in the tranny, oil in the motor, coolant in the block and air in the brakes, youve headed off about 99% of the garbage thats going to put you on the side of the road.
 
  But like the man said, you should keep some Bus fare.
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« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2011, 05:42:06 AM »

Something that I don't think has been mentioned yet is what I call "project creep".  That's when you get into a project and the cost grows because you justify additional expense by saying "well, we're in this deep already, might as well do it right."  That definitely happened to us 3 years ago - we could likely have got out of Camp Luke for 12-14,000 if we'd cut every corner we came to.  I'm glad we didn't do that but we likely could have cut our final bill by a third if we had.  Project creep is going to be a factor whether you are on the road or in your own shop but its likely worse on the road because you're paying somebody else to pull the wrench.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2011, 06:06:28 AM »

One thing nobody has mentioned so far is the cost of maintaining a coach (chassis only) to keep it in the highest state of reliability possible. The costs do not reflect unplanned expenses such as a transmission or motor rebuild, but does include preventive maintenance including timely replacement of air bags, brake chambers, hoses, coolant, oil, tires, Transmission fluid and filters, lubes, brake service, etc. etc. Based on my annual mileage I allow about $6000 annually and this does not include repairs to the house, insurance, fuel, or other expenses.

I have included labor based on the hours it takes me to do the work at $100 per hour, but for an owner to do all the work themselves the cost annually can be cut down to about $4000 or a little less.

To help put this in perspective these are coaches that have a chassis that now costs north of $500,000 and even if our coach is decades old and worth 1% of the cost of a new chassis the cost to maintain it will be just as much or more if we start to consider rebuilding, repairing or replacing old parts. With fuel now costing $.50 or more per mile, insurance, maintenance costs, this is not a hobby for those faint of heart. Not doing maintenance will save a lot of money, but that is almost akin to playing Russian Roulette and just because the broken down bus is only worth $XXXX it doesn't mean the cost to tow or repair will be any less than the cost required to repair a six figure bus with the same needed repair.

The good news in all of this is my costs to own the bus are insignificant compared to owning the plane I just sold.
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Jon Wehrenberg
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« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2011, 07:16:22 AM »

Paul, I thought we we talking about road repair here,2 strokes give you plenty of warning before they need a major out of frame but most do not heed the warning then they pay the price on the road  that is my take on it anyway

 I'll say it again owners kill the engines no more than you guys use a bus the 2 stroke should out live the owner lol  

It is not a problem for a DD dealer to drop 1 liner set in one to get you going or overhaul 1/2 of a v engine then do the other 1/2 later a inframe will get another 50 to 100,000 miles and that may work for you but the engine will give warning.

Most of the rebuilt engines I saw are working on the 2nd or 3rd inframe kit and after market kit on top of that.
 
If you want 3 or 4 hundred thousand miles from one do it right if you want less patch it

good luck
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 07:33:18 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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Rick59-4104
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« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2011, 07:43:10 AM »

This one I have a hard time understanding the $ and common sense you blow a 6-71  or a 8v71 engine the dealer wants $12,000 for a rebuild and you are going to pay 5 grand for a tow.

You get home and don't have the tools, experience or a good source of parts and you are under the impression you are going to do it cheaper..  

A good take out low mileage engine is going to cost you Brian did a great article cost him over 8 grand without the tow he would be at over $13,000 with a $5000.00 tow we all do it different nature of so called hobby  

I have had to bite the bullet before if I was in a 100 miles from home maybe a tow home but I was 1400 miles wasn't going to happen to this cowboy I told the dealer fix it and call me



good luck

 Clifford,  let me restate what I was trying to say. Running up a 5 grand haul bill and then putting 12 more into a 671 dealer overhaul or other repairs when I get home is not in the future for me. My coach is a '59 4104, if it was a late model Prevost that might be different.

  I was trying to make the point that if I was on the road and had a major problem hauling the bus home for repairs would be just one of several options I would take into consideration. I think that would be using common sense. Once home I do know that with help from this forum and a few of my friends I could get the 04 up and going again.

Sorry for any confusion with my earlier post.

Rick
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 08:59:24 AM by Rick59-4104 » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2011, 09:10:21 AM »

Deciding to buy and use an old bus is a gamble with no guarantees.  But the original question was about the appropriate amount to set aside for an "emergency fund."  An "emergency fund" is just like an insurance policy.    Carry no insurance and you are taking an enormous risk that you may or may not get away with.  Have enough of an "emergency fund" and your overall risk of an unmanageable situation disappears.  

The amount to set aside is really a judgement call based on what your contingency plans would be, what you can afford and what kind of gambler you are...  (What you are willing to lose).  A person with just a $1,000 emergency fund is a big gambler, but a person with access to $100,000 doesn't worry about anything.
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« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2011, 09:42:08 AM »

So far I like the "enough for a bus ticket home" suggestion the best.  Work has been lousy recently so I'm just glad my bus has free storage or it would be gone.  When I have the cash to run it again, I'll  do my PM, run good tires and fluids, watch my temps and gauges, hope for the best, and have the means to get home without my bus if needs be.
That being said, it you take it easy you can get lots of miles out of an old rig.
One of my favorite quotes is from a buddy of mine years ago, "old cars are like old people, they need plenty of fluids"...That guy was really not a mechanic, he could barely work out changing a tire, still in the 1990's he drove a 68 Volvo  from Canada to Guatemala and back, he also drove 25 year old schoolie
almost as far.  Fluids aren't everything, but all my old rigs get new everything before I start to use them for long distances.....When was the last time you changed/checked your Dif anf Trans oil?
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« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2011, 09:46:55 AM »

The amount of your emergency fund should reflect how you plan to handle said emergency!
If you plan/need to get back up and rolling ASAP, then you'd better pack a hefty fund.

If your in no hurry with no place to go, and no certain time to be there then you can get by with less.

If you are limited on funds, but need to get home & it will be a while before you can get the funds for a major repair towing it home maybe the best option. (especially if you or someone you personally know are going to do the repair)
In that case a $3000-$5000 fund should get ya home.

On the other hand like Clifford points out. (and we all know if anyone can fix it himself, Clifford can!)
If you gonna fix it right away & not going to try to cut corners then the $3-5000 will go along way toward the repair bill.

Just remember one thing a blown tire can cost $1000 or more for a service call, tire, and any damages that HAVE to be repaired right away to get you back on the road. (like an airbag, airline, etc.)

SO the magic # is what it takes to make you comfortable.
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2011, 11:48:18 AM »

I don't have an emergency fund for the bus, different from any other fund that I might have.  If something happens, I'll just deal with it.  I figure no sense planning for what you can't control, but  do the things you can control and the rest will fall into place.

Brian
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« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2011, 12:32:42 PM »

I am part of the 20K fund crowd. My first thought, why not? Grin Extra security never hurts.

We just had a new tranny put in our bus, while on the road. See the thread that I just started on the replacement.

I am with Brian, though. Do what you can, don't worry about what you can't. That is what we did, still lost the tranny on the road, but it really didn't matter too much. Simply moved on.

FWIW

John
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« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2011, 12:55:33 PM »

My problem with having a special fund is that it tends to distort the decision making process.  I mean, I have enough money in my general fund to buy a brand new bus if I felt like it, but that ain't gonna happen.  If I have 20 large set aside for the bus, odds are when something happens I'm gonna just spend it, when the right thing to do is to sit back, analyze, review options, make a decision based on all the factors.  Maybe the right decision is to fix the bus at the camp site, have it towed home, have it towed to Choo Choo, or just load all the crap in the toad, take the plates and VIN numbers off it and run away under a cloak of darkness....

I carry credit cards with maybe 75 grand of available credit on them (I have no idea why, they just keep increasing my limits).  I have access to say 100K in cash within a week.  More than that I have to start to sell stuff.  The bus cost me $40K all in, it's worth way less than that now, you have to make decisions....   and having the ready in your pocket whispering "let me out, I can help..." can help you make a bad decision.

Brian
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« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2011, 03:46:50 PM »

I don't have an emergency fund for the bus, different from any other fund that I might have.  If something happens, I'll just deal with it.  I figure no sense planning for what you can't control, but  do the things you can control and the rest will fall into place.

Brian

I'm with you Brian,  no need to have a special "bus emergency fund"...  Just a life emergency fund.  If I'm at home and something horrible happens that isn't covered by insurance then it will certainly come out of the same money that a bus emergency would.
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