School Bus 101, long technical post

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Postby ygmir » Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:49 pm

I may re-visit the idea of getting a schooly......or, a "tour" bus, depending on affordability.
I'd be ok with less than 40', but, do the prices vary much, with size?
Having an MV now, I'd like to be able to drive one thing out, and tow, my MV, instead of two trips out and back, like I did this year.
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Damn this bus talk!

Postby busgypsy » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:57 pm

Hearing all this talk of buses really makes me miss having mine. Her name was Celeste and she was a 1978 40' BlueBird. I liked having the doghouse in the winter time as she kept me nice and warm. I lived in the bus for 3 years with my wife and two kids as we travelled and worked festivals.

With plans to go to BM in 2011, I think I might need to buy another bus. Thanks everyone for relighting that bus fire again.
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Re: Double articulated

Postby BAS » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:43 am

SnowBlind wrote:And if you want to go all out, you can always go for a double articulated bus:

Image


:shock: Good Lord! Imagine trying to steer that over the mountains and out to the playa!

Darn. I STILL have the major problem of living in an apartment building with a tiny parking lot.

After realizing how much I was spending per month on drugs, money doesn't seem as big an issue now. Once I get caught up on bills I should try to save something like $75 to $100 out of each paycheck for a few years. Maybe by then the storage/workspace issue will sort itself out.

Tiahaar-- your story regarding the Christian Ministry bus got a smile out of me. Thanks.
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Postby JStep » Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:27 am

Awesome thread! Thanks Elliot!

I don't have time to read the whole thing right now but here's the little stubby I am planning to buy from a friend.

Image



Image

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Re: Double articulated

Postby TomServo » Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:51 am

BAS wrote:
SnowBlind wrote:And if you want to go all out, you can always go for a double articulated bus:

Image


:shock: Good Lord! Imagine trying to steer that over the mountains and out to the playa!

Darn. I STILL have the major problem of living in an apartment building with a tiny parking lot.

After realizing how much I was spending per month on drugs, money doesn't seem as big an issue now. Once I get caught up on bills I should try to save something like $75 to $100 out of each paycheck for a few years. Maybe by then the storage/workspace issue will sort itself out.

Tiahaar-- your story regarding the Christian Ministry bus got a smile out of me. Thanks.


I drove a single, articulating bus through a very tight auction yard. In each bus, we had a person in back, to tug the stop cord, if we were about to take out a car. It was still unnerving....but we made it through just fine. I believe its the same principle as pulling doubles and triples, with a tractor.
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Re: Double articulated

Postby BAS » Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:32 am

TomServo wrote:
BAS wrote:
SnowBlind wrote:And if you want to go all out, you can always go for a double articulated bus:

Image


:shock: Good Lord! Imagine trying to steer that over the mountains and out to the playa!

Darn. I STILL have the major problem of living in an apartment building with a tiny parking lot.

After realizing how much I was spending per month on drugs, money doesn't seem as big an issue now. Once I get caught up on bills I should try to save something like $75 to $100 out of each paycheck for a few years. Maybe by then the storage/workspace issue will sort itself out.

Tiahaar-- your story regarding the Christian Ministry bus got a smile out of me. Thanks.


I drove a single, articulating bus through a very tight auction yard. In each bus, we had a person in back, to tug the stop cord, if we were about to take out a car. It was still unnerving....but we made it through just fine. I believe its the same principle as pulling doubles and triples, with a tractor.


Yeah, I suppose it would be. (Those make me nervous, too.) I don't know what the rules are about articulated buses are around here, despite having worked for the Division of Motor Vehicles at one point. (They never came up in training-- too specific, I guess.)
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Postby BAS » Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:35 am

JStep wrote:Awesome thread! Thanks Elliot!

I don't have time to read the whole thing right now but here's the little stubby I am planning to buy from a friend.

Image



Image

For Far Side fans, yes, it really says Midvale School for the Gifted. :D


That bus looks practically new. Good find!
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Postby JStep » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:52 pm

BAS wrote:That bus looks practically new. Good find!


It's a friends and he's put money into it and I think had the whole thing repainted, not just the lettering on the side, judging from the pictures. I haven't had the opportunity yet to visit it. He's out of town until May which works great for me as I want to pay off a credit card before I go to a bank to ask for a loan to buy it. He's giving to me for what he's put into it, not looking to make any money but it's still going to be over $4500.

It is a 1995 chevy G30 cutaway van, with a 6.5 liter diesel. 90k miles.
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Postby BAS » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:55 am

JStep wrote:
BAS wrote:That bus looks practically new. Good find!


It's a friends and he's put money into it and I think had the whole thing repainted, not just the lettering on the side, judging from the pictures. I haven't had the opportunity yet to visit it. He's out of town until May which works great for me as I want to pay off a credit card before I go to a bank to ask for a loan to buy it. He's giving to me for what he's put into it, not looking to make any money but it's still going to be over $4500.

It is a 1995 chevy G30 cutaway van, with a 6.5 liter diesel. 90k miles.


I understand the finances. I got quite a bit further to go with mine, and what I want to buy costs more. (I'm kind of hoping to "go mobile" if I am ever able to retire. 'Course, from what I understand, that lifestyle could cost less than my fully employed one. Confusing, this whole reality-thing!)
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Postby JStep » Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:10 am

Well the price just dropped a grand so I just got a lot closer overnight!
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Postby BAS » Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:26 pm

Well, that's good news!

Around these parts, you can't leave an ex-school bus yellow, so no putting a fake school on the side. I don't know how well enforced it is, nor how much has to be "not school bus yellow." (And I even worked for the state's DMV for a while and read the regulations.)
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Postby JStep » Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:35 pm

BAS wrote:Well, that's good news!

Around these parts, you can't leave an ex-school bus yellow, so no putting a fake school on the side. I don't know how well enforced it is, nor how much has to be "not school bus yellow." (And I even worked for the state's DMV for a while and read the regulations.)


Apparently not an issue here in NE where it's currently titled and registered. Then again, they probably don't ask to see it just because it's a bus. I'll have to try and look that up.

Edit: Searched the NE DMV website for rules and regs on decommissioned school buses and couldn't find anything.
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Postby BAS » Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:13 pm

Yeah, I only know about up here in Wisconsin. Even here, I don't think the enforcement side has school buses a high priority. There just aren't that many of them to bother with if they aren't obviously hurting anyone. My guess is it is just something someone could get nailed with if the officer has them pulled over for something else.
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Postby JStep » Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:11 pm

BAS wrote:Yeah, I only know about up here in Wisconsin. Even here, I don't think the enforcement side has school buses a high priority. There just aren't that many of them to bother with if they aren't obviously hurting anyone. My guess is it is just something someone could get nailed with if the officer has them pulled over for something else.


Sigh... Wisconsin.
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Postby BAS » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:00 pm

JStep wrote:
BAS wrote:Yeah, I only know about up here in Wisconsin. Even here, I don't think the enforcement side has school buses a high priority. There just aren't that many of them to bother with if they aren't obviously hurting anyone. My guess is it is just something someone could get nailed with if the officer has them pulled over for something else.


Sigh... Wisconsin.


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*not so much these days, thanks to global warming.
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Postby JStep » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:42 am

Lived in Eau Claire from 95 to 09, love it there. Moved to Omaha due to a promotion opportunity with my job. I don't know of I'll ever live there again but WI is a very special place.

Oops, I drifted again, didn't I?
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Postby BAS » Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:09 pm

Well, I seem to have stumbled on the correct part of Craig's List to look at storage places for all sorts of things-- up to and including RV's. Prices for RV's; however, seem to be mostly "Call to ask".

Anyone have any experience with Midwest Transit Equipment? They seem to consistently have the size bus I'd like to get. (Right now I am using them for an estimate of about how much I will have to obtain/save up. Looks like between $6,000 and $8,000.)

Thanks.
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Postby busgypsy » Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:24 am

Recently I've been watching the ebay auctions and there seems to be a good number buses going for around $2,000 to $3,500 and in really good condition. If I can't find one closer to Vegas by Feb I might have to fly out to get the good deals.
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Postby BAS » Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:02 am

Actually, if you dug a hole through the center of the Earth and out the other side, then jumped in, you'd yo-yo through the Earth until air resistance brought you to a stop in the center. Which would suck, since the center is really hot and, if I recall correctly, radioactive.

*sigh* My eBay account... something got screwed up on it so I can no longer log in, and, after finding out about its founder's politics, I have no incentive to get it straightened out.
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Postby Freesponge » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:30 pm

I recently acquired a 73 MCI mc7 converted coach. It is in good overall shape but some of the drive tires are retreads. Here in Canada vehicles are permitted to use retreads on the drive wheels only while steering wheels must be new. We will be driving through Montana, Idaho, Utah and Nevada. Can anybody comment on if these states forbid the use of retread tires on drive axles?


I was inspired by this thread over a year ago so I started looking around for buses. Here a Decent diesel bus can cost up to $7000 unconverted. I was lucky to find a fully converted 40 foot mc7 for the same price as a decent school bus. It has an 8v71 Detroit diesel with a 4 speed standard transmission.

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Postby BAS » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:14 pm

Unfortunately, I can't give a definitive answer to your question. The general rule is that each state honors the rules and regulations of the state in which the vehicle is registered-- and that usually extends to Canada, too. The problem is that it is pretty much done on the honor system, and all it takes is a jerk of a police officer to try to cite you for violating a local rule, and another jerk of a judge to uphold the officer's citation.

On the other hand, a lot of trucks in the USA run on retread tires, and it is highly unlikely anyone would even know unless you pointed it out to them, or had somehow REALLY attracted the attention of a law enforcement official (say, for example, by operating the bus while really, really high and with drugs out in the open-- and then proceeded to seriously annoy/fight with the law enforcement officials.)

(A disclaimer-- my advice is based on working for the Wisconsin DMV for about a year, and watching the television show COPS. YMMV.)
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Postby Tiahaar » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:19 pm

Freesponge wrote:I recently acquired a 73 MCI mc7 converted coach. It is in good overall shape but some of the drive tires are retreads.


Excellent bus!! I'm jealous from 2200 miles away. Nice uncluttered and useful looking interior too.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Part 393.75 (d) specifies that no bus
shall be operated with regrooved, recapped or retreaded tires on front wheels.

The rears can have them, and apparently trucks can have them on the steerers too under certain restrictions (more info here: http://www.retread.org/PDF/SteerAxle.pdf ) but I wouldn't.

Ideally all tires on an axle should be a matched set for even wear, all equally and properly inflated, and hey another site I was just on reminded me that some places will ticket you for having no/plastic caps on truck/bus tire stems...metal all the way...best go check mine...

Yay for another burner bus :-)
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Postby unjonharley » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:56 am

Tiahaar wrote:
Freesponge wrote:I recently acquired a 73 MCI mc7 converted coach. It is in good overall shape but some of the drive tires are retreads.


Excellent bus!! I'm jealous from 2200 miles away. Nice uncluttered and useful looking interior too.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Part 393.75 (d) specifies that no bus
shall be operated with regrooved, recapped or retreaded tires on front wheels.

The rears can have them, and apparently trucks can have them on the steerers too under certain restrictions (more info here: http://www.retread.org/PDF/SteerAxle.pdf ) but I wouldn't.

Ideally all tires on an axle should be a matched set for even wear, all equally and properly inflated, and hey another site I was just on reminded me that some places will ticket you for having no/plastic caps on truck/bus tire stems...metal all the way...best go check mine...

Yay for another burner bus :-)


Ya your bus should look like that inside.. You would not be able to find a damn thing..
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Postby ygmir » Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:45 am

very cool bus, Freesponge!!
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Postby Tiahaar » Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:48 pm

unjonharley wrote:Ya your bus should look like that inside.. You would not be able to find a damn thing..


ha, I know exactly where everything is...I just can't get to it :P
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Postby Elliot » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:56 pm

:D
Confirming recaps are OK on drive tires in all US states. :D

I used them on 18-wheelers for 27 years. :cry:

Modern recaps are "ring" caps -- no splice. :D
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Postby Freesponge » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:41 pm

I have another question regarding road laws. I understand the passenger limit is 15 with a basic license but my bus only has actual seats for 8. We will be transporting other Alberta burners down to the event but I was curious If I will get any flack from law enforcement if they aren't in actual seats.
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Postby FIGJAM » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:44 am

bump
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Postby CapSmashy » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:35 pm

Freesponge wrote:I have another question regarding road laws. I understand the passenger limit is 15 with a basic license but my bus only has actual seats for 8. We will be transporting other Alberta burners down to the event but I was curious If I will get any flack from law enforcement if they aren't in actual seats.


Are you registered as a bus or an RV?
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Postby Dr Jet Sinister » Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:02 am

I would strongly recommend new steer tires instead of being upside down in a ditch. :shock: It's a very important thing to not lose a steer tire. Also, those huge tires can look okay but they are not since the UV can breakdown the sidewalls on a vehicle that isn't driven very often.

As for shopping, if you want "cheap" call your local school district's bus barn and ask about the latest auction. We found some good prices in our local industrial area with some big truck repair shops where the owner bought from the auction. Cheap is relative since it will cost some money to make it more RV-like.
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