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Author Topic: bus ownership.  (Read 1692 times)
robertglines1
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« on: June 20, 2013, 06:55:43 PM »

The recent event stirs up questions? Should I own one? Should I repair it? I have a friend that owns 108 tractors.  I build buses. Can I really ever expect to recover the cost of the drive train changes I have made in fuel savings? prob not. Should I have bought a XLII or kept the original MCI 8 and been $$$ahead probably. Or just went to Hawaii each year for a week.  What would I have missed---A whole bunch of friends and experiences.  So whats my plans for a major break down? Prob major haul it home and fix it. That's sort of fun also but will have to admit could use some wheel time now. How close am I to getting done?? No hurry here--if it gets to hot ---I go to cool.   So ask yourself; Am I in this for profit? For the experience? Do I have a plan B?  If it's for profit you might seek help!  ......I did notice between the 2 boards there were over 8000 reads on the recent breakdown.......Just my opinion.   Bob  PS charter service is a commercial business and is separate!
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 07:22:26 PM by robertglines1 » Logged

Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
Dave5Cs
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2013, 08:00:13 PM »

More reads on their Blog too Bob.
You are so right though. I remember when I started out only 3 years ago and you all told me to enjoy it and realize that I will never get our money back. We have only had it on the road for about 1 year so far and that was not continuous. Camp ground parked for 6 months of that but ran it on the weekends for at least 50 miles to keep her belly full and lubed.
We have enjoyed it enmencly. Like others it is our home even though right now it is parked behind the ranch trailer we live in temporarily.
I have put a few bucks into fixing the air leaks. All new valves and still will replace the compressor. New roller shades. New Awnings. re arranging the bays and running a lot of new plumbing pipe soon to pex. Pulling out the big LP tank and got 2 pullouts that will hold 4-20lb LP tanks and take up 1/2 the room.

Point is it is always something. and we like others have worried about our 6V 71. It runs well now but would like the 6 V 92 TA but also am not going to use the repair fund to do it when other things could happen.
But it all comes with the territory. Bus Life also as Cheri said, Also comes with a family and all these last few days posts say that.

Dave5Cs
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2013, 08:22:46 PM »

Yes.. lots (lots and lots) of reads on our blog too. And our Facebook page. It's hard to say what the ultimate reach is, but we know it's pretty wide.

We went into this eyes wide open with thanks of others sharing their challenges, and are so very thankful for that - we could prepare for what we're facing now. We know several folks actively shopping for their first bus who we told to get a feel for what bus ownership is like by getting involved with these forums. Some are lurking (hi!), some are active.

We want to make sure any new bus owner knows what they are getting into, and consciously chooses the challenges ahead of them.

That's why we share.. the good and the challenging. We do not regret for one instant having a bus and being in this situation. We love bus life, we love the bus community (and like family, sometimes we have our moments) and wouldn't change a thing.

 - Cherie

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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2013, 02:30:05 AM »

As long as your enjoying the bus lifestyle, great,  BUT, if your thinking your investing and one day will recover your money, your ready for the ocean front property in Kansas.
You can not take it with you, so spend it wisely and get some enjoyment out of it.
Dave M
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Jon
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2013, 04:32:37 AM »

Keep in mind the remarks below are from a guy who owns store bought coaches.

When I bought our 87 Prevost Liberty in 1990 I couldn't count the number of people who told me how many nights I could stay in first class hotels for what I spent on that coach. I'm on my third now and I still hear those comments.

If I had the money I spent buying and maintaining my coaches I could be tooling around in a late model Citation jet, or staying in expensive hotels. But that is not the point.

I may not build my coaches, but once I own it, nobody touches it except me (with a few rare exceptions). I maintain it, I repair it, I modify it and of course I travel in it. When I am not enjoying it on the road, I am monkeying with it in my garage. It is not a coach or a bus. It is a hobby. It is something I enjoy in every respect. The only question a new or potential owner has to ask is what they expect to get out of coach ownership and if they are prepared to handle the financial costs. Buying one without recognizing the costs is the biggest mistake I see owners make.
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Jon

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Knoxville, TN
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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2013, 06:47:44 AM »

Yeah, better step into bus ownership with eyes wide open. Always something to fix or spend money on. Do a little myself but thank goodness I've found a gentleman off the board here (Justin Griffith) that knows his way in and out on coaches and he takes care of many issues on my old bus. Only problem is he hauls charters (bands) around and sometimes hard to track that cat down.
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Scott Bennett
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2013, 07:09:05 AM »

Interesting post Bob. After seeing how everyone came through for Techno, I'm convinced I'll stay an active member of this board even if and when we head the "truck conversion" route because you guys all have each other's back. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, busnuts, and esp the ones on this forum are some of the best people, quality people, I have ever met in my life. Wish  we could have one big ginormous rally someday...(preferably before heaven)
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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2013, 07:18:03 AM »

I have to agree with you Jon,you buy any bus you need deep pockets they are not for the faint of heart for sure starting with a bus that probably has 2 million plus miles under it yours would be low mileage Jon even with 300,000 miles lol
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 08:57:41 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2013, 08:23:28 AM »

If you consider that any RV costs to maintain,  I don't think that the costs of the bus are as far out there as it seems.  Most RVs need  maintenance and repairs just like our buses.   One difference is with the RV is you probably can't work on it yourself.  And they have that value loss every year.  A bus engine might be expensive to fix or replace, but all engines are.  Your house requires some expensive maintenance and repairs,  but yet homeowners still choose to be homeowners.  If this is the way you choose to travel or live then the benefits out weigh the expenses.

Don and Cary
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« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2013, 09:06:32 AM »

I rarely read of anyone blowing up an engine in a motorhome unless it is a older gasoline model with a 454.  I visit rv.net from time to time and it is fairly rare to hear about a diesel engine blowing up that wasn't a warranted failure.  There are a lot more users there than here.  Motorhomes rarely have over 100,000 miles on them.  There is almost nobody on this forum who owns a bus with less than 100,000 miles on it.

I'll bet I would have spent less on a used motorhome as far as maintenance goes then I have spent on my bus.  I probably would be in the group of having to park or scrap my bus if my Series 60 blows up.  I could possibly swing a rebuilt B500 transmissions if/when mine blows up. 
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
robertglines1
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« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2013, 09:28:03 AM »

Brian; drive by a Cummins dealer. Here it seems like there is at least 1 in lot all the time. In Florida usually many.   Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2013, 10:17:12 AM »

I still think percentage wise older buses have more engine problems.  I drive by the local Cummins dealership every time I go to Sam's Club.  There is often a motorhome or two there, but not always.  I almost always see a newer bus or two there getting something done.  I doubt they are all engine failures in any case.  They have two camping slots, but only seen them in use a time or two.  I suspect a lot of motorhomes are there to get Onan generators fixed rather than Cummins engines.

I bet a new bus would be no more likely than a new motorhome to need engine work.  Most of our buses tend to be older with more miles than motorhomes.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Dave5Cs
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« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2013, 03:38:37 PM »

So then the real question is; Why do people buy a Bus if they either are not prepared for the cost or if they can not afford the repairs?
Is it the old it will never happen to mine attitude or just not doing their homework.

Dave5Cs
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robertglines1
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« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2013, 03:41:00 PM »

Brian; Not referring to the nice properly power cummins. Like Dave and others here have. There was /is a tendency to use Diesel Pusher and overwork some small ones. Have 3 friends that have them (to small for the load). I like what Dave (in his big motor home) and the guys have and are doing with the big ones in Buses also .Awesome! Enjoy the ride!! Happy busssin to all.   Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
robertglines1
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« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2013, 03:49:59 PM »

Dave; Your asking ME?" You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!"  Quote: Cash Carter D. My 5 yr old grandson.  Sort of the way you got to look at it.  If you let it ruin your health or life you just better walk away.   Bob   PS I did not say go into it blind!!
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2013, 05:39:44 PM »

Dave; Your asking ME?" You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!"  Quote: Cash Carter D. My 5 yr old grandson.  Sort of the way you got to look at it.  If you let it ruin your health or life you just better walk away.   Bob   PS I did not say go into it blind!!
Bob which Dave ( there are to many Dave's on this board ,LOL)?
If you were meaning me, No I wasn't asking, I was merely wondering what some people's thinking when they just bought a Bus with no idea of what they could be getting into. I find it very interesting.

Dave5Cs
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robertglines1
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« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2013, 05:53:08 PM »

Just sort of grinnin. Life is good.  99% of bus people are great; the other 1% keep us on our toes. Guess I'm hopeless because I'm on #4.  Dave5Cs looks like you have the busnut bug also. Lots of long time fulltimers here and we haven't heard much from them!  Would you do it again?   Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2013, 06:01:17 PM »

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels a bit concerned over the future of our busses only because one decided to go kaboom.
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Jon
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« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2013, 06:49:48 PM »

When comparing RVs and busses you have to look at what most of us are actually doing. We are buying old, well worn busses and fixing them up. My guess is that most spend under $20k to get their bus before starting the conversion. If we spent the time and money to replace all the moving parts we might go many years without major issues. However we would be spending about $30-$40k per bus on drivetrains, seals, bearings, tires etc. So we fix what we know is bad and hope for the best going forward. If we did the same with a used store bought RV we would likely have more repairs as RVs aren't built to last like busses are.

When completed I should have around $25k in my bus. Of course anything can happen at any time but I feel much better about my $25k bus than I would about most $25k RVs I've looked at.



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Miss Scarlett is an Eagle 10 with a 6v92 and Allison 740
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« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2013, 06:56:29 PM »

Jon, you need more sunlight  I have had 3 here in the shop in the last 3 months or did you mean 1 a month
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« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2013, 07:07:14 PM »

Bob yes we would do it all over again. We love it when we were fulltiming and even now that we are sidelined temporarily. But at least momma's foot is reattached and working well , now for the knees and back. Then back to the road but so far we don't know when. I am just enjoying finally being able to work on it again.
We actually sleep better in the bus than we do at the ranch we are at right now. The Bus is quite and seems more comfortable but then I built it to be!
yep I am sure we will have to get things fixed if it is something I don't do, sometimes it will be something i don't want to do. We are not rich by any sense of the word, but we put some aside just in case and that is the piece of mind that helps.
I even like washing her and watching her shine.

Dave5Cs
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robertglines1
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« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2013, 07:35:14 PM »

We had a Crewcab dually and a 36ft 5th wheel. You want sticker shock! Also-- Try riding down the road with 3 children.( We did just fine.) That was before we discovered the bus life. Much more under/around you going down the road and parked. The Dually was expensive to drive back and forth to work also.  We flat tow a HHR  25mpg Avg. Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2013, 09:13:04 PM »

So then the real question is; Why do people buy a Bus if they either are not prepared for the cost or if they can not afford the repairs?
Is it the old it will never happen to mine attitude or just not doing their homework.

How many people buy older cars and are not prepared financially to replace an engine or transmission if it blows up?  Did you have enough money set aside to replace your engine and transmission when you bought your bus?  I bought a bus with a Series 60 factory installed partially in hopes of not having issues with a four stroke.  How many besides Jim here have had to replace/rebuild a Series 60 in a bus?

I know many, myself included, would have a hard time coming up with the money to rebuild their engine if it needed a rebuild.  There are buses selling for under $10k right now and chances are they don't have the best engines.  If I lived in my bus and it wasn't just a hobby I would have a far easier time coming up with money for an engine rebuild.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2013, 05:30:25 AM »

In 2005 I got our bus from spike in Boston the price at the time was $32,000 ( same bus today $ 12,000 - $ 16,000 )  . Was in good condition with about 180,000 on rebuild 6v92ta so I was told .  So I knew it would need to be rebuilt . Converted it to a rv and in dec. 2006 we went to florida for our 1st long trip . We used 12 gal. of oil on the way down (wrong oil 15 / 40 ) After I changed to 40 w oil I used 4 gal on the same trip the next year . In 2010 I started looking for someone to do a out of frame rebuild Like most I looked close to home .The 1st price I got was from s/n diesel in Toronto $ 26,000 next was harper diesel $ 29,000 to $ 31,000 . I started looking on the web and after some time I was told about leid diesel in PA usa . I called and talked to them and found out they rebuild them all the time not like harper or s/n diesel who had not rebuilt one for months . I shipped it to them on a skid and 2 weeks later it was back total price $ 9,500 plus $ 1200 for shipping . Now , I knew when I 1st bought the bus , it need a rebuild but if I   had to pay the $ 30,000 I probably would have stayed with a sticks and staples . ouch that hurts . All is good now time to go camping .                         dave
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1990 mci 102c  6v92 ta ht740  kit,living room slide . home base huntsville ontario canada
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« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2013, 06:52:56 AM »

Brian, usually it is Clifford the reminds me that I am on my second Series 60 Grin Roll Eyes Tongue

As I look back on the purchase of my original Series 60 I reflect: "WHAT WAS I THINKING".  It had well over 600K miles and from the looks of the truck, it was not well maintained.  In a minor effort to make  me seem less stupid, it was the only Series 60 available in the area.  Besides that, everyone knows that Series 60 engines are "million mile engines".  Roll Eyes Undecided  I have good documentation on the rebuild of this engine (had a bit over 200K on a full rebuild by a DD dealer).

I was going to stay out of this subject, but now I have been drug into it kicking and screaming Grin

Like many folks, I have way too much money in my bus and it is considerably less than great looking.  BUT, it is fully functional and extremely comfortable.  We have spent nearly 800 nights in the bus since we got it on the road in 2006.  We now have over 72K miles on it.  We don't use it as much as we did when we were in business, but we still do a few trips per year.

When we started our business, the bus was not done, so we bought a new motorhome (lower-mid range) and justified that purchase by putting it in rental service.  What a piece of crap it was.  Had a Ford V10.  Terrible mileage and no power.

When I built the bus I used the very best parts (Aqua-Hot, full sine wave Trace inverter, Wrico generator, etc) and that makes living in the bus very comfortable.  Even have apartment washer and dryer. 

Would I do it again?  Don't know.  Part of the issue is age (70).  Just don't have the ability to put in long hours.

Unlike others, I did not enjoy working on the bus for the most part.  Always seemed to be on a tight schedule.  Plus I had to give up working on some fun car projects (getting back to them in the near future).

Many of us play the game of thinking what we would have if we hit the lotto.  I tend to go two directions in that thought process.  One direction is to have someone come in and finish the interior of our Eagle (I am not good at working with wood).  The second direction is to buy a semi-truck conversion. 

Sorry about the ramblings.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
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« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2013, 07:22:10 AM »

Well said Jim my latest project every time I go to the hanger and see it I ask myself "why in the world did you do this" being in my 70's it not going to happen I know that plus I have had a few offers where I can break even well sorta of lol so I am going to forget about it and enjoy my wife of 40+ years,my kids,grand kids and friends it doesn't get any better than that IMO


good luck
« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 07:24:32 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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