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MWeiner

What's Your Yearly Budget For Maintenance Costs?

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5 hours ago, MWeiner said:

The main reason I probably won't go full time is that it's a bad financial move, in my opinion

I worked for what I now have to be able to enjoy my retirement. With that said, if I ever retire, I will go full time. I told both my children that when I'm gone, they will still be on their own, as they are now. I have seen a tag on many coaches that read "Spending my childrens inheratence so they don't have to." I plan to put one on mt coach when the sticks and bricks is sold, not too many years from now.

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8 hours ago, desertdeals69 said:

My yearly budget is zero.  I fix what breaks when it happens.

Same here.  If it breaks, you're going to have to fix it (or quit going) regardless of the ''budget."  I see no point in a budget.

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Richard,  how many miles are on your 1974 bus? 

And, may I ask, what's the difference between rebuilt and replace of parts??? Still accomplishes the same thing... don't see your point?  

Not sure I have enough years or energy to go 3 million miles 😁😁😁... let alone 500,000 miles.. probably will take 20 years or more just going half million miles....😁

---MARK

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34 minutes ago, MWeiner said:

And, may I ask, what's the difference between rebuilt and replace of parts???

 

There are many choices in replacement parts:

Replace with OEM new

Replace with OEM reman

Replace by someone else's reman of an OEM component

Replace with "replaces" ..... (read that Chinese knockoff)

Replace with good used

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1 hour ago, wolfe10 said:

There are many choices in replacement parts:

Replace with OEM new

Replace with OEM reman

Replace by someone else's reman of an OEM component

Replace with "replaces" ..... (read that Chinese knockoff)

Replace with good used

Really Brett....???  I DO NOT replace with used, salvage or Chinese knockoff parts for my cars, motorhome or anything else....and would NEVER recommend that to anyone....

I have on occasion instructed my mechanic to use remanufactured OEM parts for the vehicle from a reliable source.... nothing wrong with remanufactured...

Don't know what you do?? BUT, it really makes a difference....

I wouldn't purchase a salvage title vehicle either.... not worth the risk.. 

As far as I'm concerned...if you cannot afford to maintain your vehicle as it should be... you shouldn't have it....

And, I NEVER work on my vehicles... always have them professionally serviced... vehicles today are "rolling computers".... VERY complicated..  IF you don't know what you're doing, you can screw up a lot of stuff very quickly. 

Seems to work better that way...for me... I know it's usually done correctly and have a mechanic that's been working on our vehicles for over 20 years.. long term professional relationship....he is not interested in ripping us off... extremely honest and fair with his prices....you can't get better than that...

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1 hour ago, MWeiner said:

Richard,  how many miles are on your 1974 bus? 

And, may I ask, what's the difference between rebuilt and replace of parts??? Still accomplishes the same thing... don't see your point?  

Not sure I have enough years or energy to go 3 million miles 😁😁😁... let alone 500,000 miles.. probably will take 20 years or more just going half million miles....😁

---MARK

Our bus only has about 43,000 miles on the odometer. It was purchased from GM in '74 by the owner of a charter bus company and was sent directly from the GM factory to the coach conversion company (Custom Coach). It's been a private motor home its entire life. I have no plans on running this for the full 3 million mile life and only pointed that out to show how over-built vehicles like this used to be.

The difference in being able to rebuild vs. replace is like this. We've got a pump on our bus that circulates hot water from the engine (in the rear of the bus) to the HVAC equipment located in the front of the bus. There is a small seal on the shaft of the pump, along with a few other gaskets & seals that wear out over time. The seal on ours is dripping slowly, but the pump body and main parts are still in great condition. Rather than spending a few hundred or more for a complete pump assembly, all I needed was a rebuild kit for about $50 that came complete with seal, gaskets, new impeller, etc. Rebuilding or repairing both accomplish the same thing, but the older method of rebuilding did it at a much lower cost and used far fewer resources to accomplish the task.

In the 'old days' when cars had carburetors, a rebuild kit was about $20. This allowed the carburetor to be rebuilt and put back in service. Nowadays, the shop would simply replace the entire carburetor rather than rebuild. Which one uses more resources and is more wasteful?

When my pneumatic wiper motors need attention, I can buy a rebuild kit with new o-rings & seals and just rebuild the wear parts. More modern coaches with electric motors usually just get the unit replaced in total.

A couple of years ago I had one of the new Fiat 500 coupes. There was a very inexpensive plastic (nylon?) part in the transmission that failed. The factory instructions for the repair was to pull the entire transmission and replace with a new one. No attempt to repair the transmission was made, as it was not designed to be serviceable. Seemed like a lot of waste to me.

I guess the bottom line on these things is that the mindset was different years ago. The product designers intended for their products to be in service for many years, so they tried to anticipate which parts would fail from wear and tear. They then designed the final product so these parts could be either serviced or rebuilt in the field so that the entire unit didn't need to be replaced. Today's method for building most equipment is to use a more modular system. This greatly decreases the cost of production, but it also greatly increases the cost of repairs in the field (if repairs are even possible).

A very poignant example of this is how phones are now being built with batteries that are not replaceable by users. Just a few years ago, if ones battery was in need of replacement, it was simple to purchase and install a new battery. Now, the plan is to throw away the phone and just buy a new one.

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9 minutes ago, MWeiner said:

Really Brett....???  I DO NOT replace with used, salvage or Chinese knockoff parts for my cars, motorhome or anything else....and would NEVER recommend that to anyone....

I have on occasion instructed my mechanic to use remanufactured OEM parts for the vehicle from a reliable source.... nothing wrong with remanufactured...

Don't know what you do?? BUT, it really makes a difference....

I wouldn't purchase a salvage title vehicle either.... not worth the risk.. 

As far as I'm concerned...if you cannot afford to maintain your vehicle as it should be... you shouldn't have it....

And, I NEVER work on my vehicles... always have them professionally serviced... vehicles today are "rolling computers".... VERY complicated..  IF you don't know what you're doing, you can screw up a lot of stuff very quickly. 

Seems to work better that way...for me... I know it's usually done correctly and have a mechanic that's been working on our vehicles for over 20 years.. long term professional relationship....he is not interested in ripping us off... extremely honest and fair with his prices....you can't get better than that...

I made absolutely no statement about what parts I use-- merely that there are a number of choices out there.

And, having run large automobile dealerships for a career, I can assure you that an owner who knows what he is doing does a better job than 90% of techs out there.  The owner CARES.  Most techs are on the clock.  Ever see a tech scrub the bottom of the transmission before servicing to make sure no dirt get in? And, it is amazing how many times the oil level is under or overfilled when serviced by a tech.

Is a tech superior to an owner who does not know what they are doing-- ABSOLUTELY.

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5 minutes ago, richard5933 said:

Our bus only has about 43,000 miles on the odometer. It was purchased from GM in '74 by the owner of a charter bus company and was sent directly from the GM factory to the coach conversion company (Custom Coach). It's been a private motor home its entire life. I have no plans on running this for the full 3 million mile life and only pointed that out to show how over-built vehicles like this used to be.

The difference in being able to rebuild vs. replace is like this. We've got a pump on our bus that circulates hot water from the engine (in the rear of the bus) to the HVAC equipment located in the front of the bus. There is a small seal on the shaft of the pump, along with a few other gaskets & seals that wear out over time. The seal on ours is dripping slowly, but the pump body and main parts are still in great condition. Rather than spending a few hundred or more for a complete pump assembly, all I needed was a rebuild kit for about $50 that came complete with seal, gaskets, new impeller, etc. Rebuilding or repairing both accomplish the same thing, but the older method of rebuilding did it at a much lower cost and used far fewer resources to accomplish the task.

In the 'old days' when cars had carburetors, a rebuild kit was about $20. This allowed the carburetor to be rebuilt and put back in service. Nowadays, the shop would simply replace the entire carburetor rather than rebuild. Which one uses more resources and is more wasteful?

When my pneumatic wiper motors need attention, I can buy a rebuild kit with new o-rings & seals and just rebuild the wear parts. More modern coaches with electric motors usually just get the unit replaced in total.

A couple of years ago I had one of the new Fiat 500 coupes. There was a very inexpensive plastic (nylon?) part in the transmission that failed. The factory instructions for the repair was to pull the entire transmission and replace with a new one. No attempt to repair the transmission was made, as it was not designed to be serviceable. Seemed like a lot of waste to me.

I guess the bottom line on these things is that the mindset was different years ago. The product designers intended for their products to be in service for many years, so they tried to anticipate which parts would fail from wear and tear. They then designed the final product so these parts could be either serviced or rebuilt in the field so that the entire unit didn't need to be replaced. Today's method for building most equipment is to use a more modular system. This greatly decreases the cost of production, but it also greatly increases the cost of repairs in the field (if repairs are even possible).

A very poignant example of this is how phones are now being built with batteries that are not replaceable by users. Just a few years ago, if ones battery was in need of replacement, it was simple to purchase and install a new battery. Now, the plan is to throw away the phone and just buy a new one.

Richard, 

Tell me...you have an odometer in your coach with an extra digit like new cars showing your mileage is 043,600??? The reason I ask is that many older vehicles from the 60s and 70s didn't have this extra digit....so, for example my 1978 VW only had the five digit odometer reading up to 99,999 miles....you know what I mean??

I'm not saying it's "impossible", but, given the fact that your bus is 44 years old and the mileage your saying is 43,000 miles..that means that it was driven less than 1,000 miles per year or 2.7 miles per day??  Do you really think that sounds reasonable?? Maybe, it was in storage for a very long time??? Vehicles not driven in storage have all kinds of problems ...  Didn't this concern you??  I would have been very concerned about the provenance of the vehicle and its service history... Just me.. 

Now, if you say that it doesn't have the full six digits on the odometer...I would suspect that it had gone around several times during its 44 years history... that would sound much more reasonable to me..

Sounds like you work on your own vehicle, engine and otherwise... good for you..

Everything is easy when you know what to do...I'm know my limitations....

--Mark

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7 minutes ago, wolfe10 said:

I made absolutely no statement about what parts I use-- merely that there are a number of choices out there.

And, having run large automobile dealerships for a career, I can assure you that an owner who knows what he is doing does a better job than 90% of techs out there.  The owner CARES.  Most techs are on the clock.  Ever see a tech scrub the bottom of the transmission before servicing to make sure no dirt get in? And, it is amazing how many times the oil level is under or overfilled when serviced by a tech.

Is a tech superior to an owner who does not know what they are doing-- ABSOLUTELY.

Brett, understood.... however, believe me when I say that my mechanic is so honest and meticulous....he will actually tell me when it's time  to consider switching cars...

He will do a superior job and if it's not done right by his shop..he will do it over at his expense... let me give you an example....he recommended replacement shocks for my 2009 Toyota Prius...he said that we should use KYB shocks.over the Toyota factory shocks......and said you'll save money and be very pleased.. 

Well, the ride was much stiffer than we were used to...he said drive it for a while...we couldn't stand it...I got back in touch with him.... you know what...he replaced the shocks with the original Toyota Prius shocks.. and I paid the difference for the parts...NO LABOR charge...he did it as a gesture for me....

Tell me, do you know anyone else who would do that??? Like I said, we have an excellent business relationship..he does not want me to be unhappy...

 

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Mark. 

Perhaps you should study a little more about cars, truck and RV's that are older than 20 years old...Think Jay Leno's collection of Antique vehicles are due for the scrap heap?  He's got vehicles that has less than 30 miles or 7 hours on them and they all are in excellent condition...yes he has 3 full time mechanics helping him, the important part is that he can take them all apart and put them back together again...Oh, he also has a large assortment of Motor Cycles!

I got a 1972 Bentley with 1,913 miles on it...by your standards, I guess I should just throw it away?  

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15 minutes ago, MWeiner said:

Brett, understood.... however, believe me when I say that my mechanic is so honest and meticulous....he will actually tell me when it's time  to consider switching cars...

He will do a superior job and if it's not done right by his shop..he will do it over at his expense... let me give you an example....he recommended replacement shocks for my 2009 Toyota Prius...he said that we should use KYB shocks.over the Toyota factory shocks......and said you'll save money and be very pleased.. 

Well, the ride was much stiffer than we were used to...he said drive it for a while...we couldn't stand it...I got back in touch with him.... you know what...he replaced the shocks with the original Toyota Prius shocks.. and I paid the difference for the parts...NO LABOR charge...he did it as a gesture for me....

Tell me, do you know anyone else who would do that??? Like I said, we have an excellent business relationship..he does not want me to be unhappy...

 

 Mark,

You are most fortunate-- certainly not the norm.

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23 minutes ago, manholt said:

Mark. 

Perhaps you should study a little more about cars, truck and RV's that are older than 20 years old...Think Jay Leno's collection of Antique vehicles are due for the scrap heap?  He's got vehicles that has less than 30 miles or 7 hours on them and they all are in excellent condition...yes he has 3 full time mechanics helping him, the important part is that he can take them all apart and put them back together again...Oh, he also has a large assortment of Motor Cycles!

I got a 1972 Bentley with 1,913 miles on it...by your standards, I guess I should just throw it away?  

Carl, OKAY... I'm not going to tell you to scrap it.... BUT, I will tell you that I'm not interested in a museum collection of old cars. 

It's interesting that people love to was on about how few miles they have on their vehicles like they were bonds maturing... I don't purchase vehicles for this purpose..I purchase vehicles to drive and enjoy... My last trip was a 12,000 miles journey across the upper part of the USA to the east coast, down to Florida and across the lower 48.... 3 months..had a blast..

I collect houses, not cars or RV's... I have an income stream from two rental properties ...and like it... Probably won't get more but, anything is possible... I could have easily acquired another rental property if I had not purchased the coach... BUT, wanted to have the fun of owning and using the RV.....it's fun and interesting, but, not a good investment... 

I'm sure that Jay Leno can afford anything he wants... maybe you are also... good for you if that's the case... 

I'm just pick and choosy about the things I do... can't do everything...

I suppose that your 1972 Bentley has reached the status of a VERY collectible car..and I certainly know they have significant value.... but, I doubt that you have an income stream from it.... Maybe I'm wrong..if you rent it out to movie studios??  Do you??

The risk of maintaining, insuring and protecting a car like yours means the cost per mile for driving it is astronomical.....

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1 hour ago, MWeiner said:

Richard, 

Tell me...you have an odometer in your coach with an extra digit like new cars showing your mileage is 043,600???...

Yup - That's what I'm saying. This photo is from when I purchased the bus at the end of the summer. It has a few more miles on it now. The photo of the engine bay shows what a new Detroit Diesel 8V71 looks like complete with factory paint (but the photo was just taken last fall.)

Not only is it possible, it's quite common to find older vehicles with very few miles. This is not my first time to find such an old vehicle with very low mileage, but it's probably in the best condition of the many I've had. I've driven all the classic cars I've owned and never treated any of them like a museum piece. In the early 90s I found a '68 Cutlass with only 2000 miles on it, and I drove it for another 30,000 before selling it. I don't collect cars (or buses). I just prefer and enjoy driving older cars. Actually, I enjoy using older equipment of all kinds whenever possible.

This bus was personally owned and used by the owner of a charter bus company. It was stored indoors for most of its 44 years. The owner had the luxury of having a full-service bus repair shop at his disposal, and now I'm the beneficiary of the work he put into maintaining things. The person known across the US as the guru on all things related to old buses has personally worked on this bus in his shop in NJ and can attest to the near-stock condition of the bus. I'd guess that they used it more in the earlier years than later on, and it looks like they didn't use it all that much. The generator only has about 980 hours of use total.

You are correct about things 'aging out' and needing repairs. Fortunately for us many of those repairs were done over the years as needed on this coach before we got it. I'd say that the majority of issues I'm dealing with come from things not being used enough rather than from being worn out. I've also had to do some of the routine maintenance that would have been done on this coach during the first few months it was first put into service had it been a normal passenger coach. For example, I just had the clutch adjusted and it was probably the first time it had been done.

I had a few engine gaskets on the Perkins Diesel running the generator that dried out and needed to be replaced, the windshield washer pump needed service due to the corrosion from sitting (I was able to rebuild the pump though - it didn't actually need to be replaced just opened, cleaned, lubricated, and reassembled), and I had a few other rubber bits and pieces that needed attention. I had a thread earlier talking about how I repaired a nearly-new 44-year-old furnace due to the bearings on the motor drying out, and a few clamps on the coolant lines needed to be replaced and/or re-seated due to age. Overall though, I anticipate having no more problems than anyone buying a brand new top-of-the-line Class A from a dealer today. Might even have fewer problems, based on some of what I've read recently about the lack of quality control at the factories.

We do things differently than many with motor homes though. I understand that. For us it is truly about the journey and not the destination, and we really enjoy taking the journey in a classic vehicle like ours and getting to experience history while we travel around. The destination board on our previous coach read "Anywhere" because we really didn't care where we were heading, as long as we were on the road.

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5470-1974GMC4108A-23.jpg

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Mark.

4 door, custom made for a family member.  I have it on a umbrella insurance policy...not expensive at all.  Last month, I got a really good deal on a MB 2005 AMG 55 convertible 2 door roaster, 24 valve, 493HP.  The last 55 AMG built before the Daimler take over.  Yes, I drive it, for the same reason as Richard stated.

Brett, I do believe this thread has run way away from OP!  Feel free to shut it down, before it gets to personal.

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Richard, 

I agree completely with what you said below... HOWEVER, you can certainly enjoy the trip in any vehicle of your choice.... And, I really enjoy and appreciate newer vehicles with electronic stability control, disc brakes, automatic transmission, fuel efficiency, etc.

 

Quote, 

For us it is truly about the journey and not the destination...

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For my situation, I would rather have the smaller coach, better MPG... and less repairs and maintenance.... kinda like a smaller house..  

Let me ask you this...how many long road trips are you planning on this 44 years old  coach? 

Do you have a generator on this coach???  

I hope that the availability of parts while you're on the road will NOT deter you.. 

I feel more comfortable in a newer vehicle, one that is easier for a tow truck driver to bring to a garage if repairs are needed... 

While I think on one hand that an old bus like yours is very nostalgic....it scares me.... keep thinking it's a money pit... just my opinion... And, saw a news report tonight that there's a legion of folks who are buying old school buses and transforming them into "condos on wheels"....no kidding... I don't think you're doing this, but, it was an interesting news story! 

My 2012 Mercedes Benz Roadtrek RS Adventurous has just under 40,000 miles... And, I'm sure I'll have more miles in the future... I'm not planning on putting in mothballs... Never understood why people do this... 

Listen Richard, GOOD LUCK with you classic!   It's better to be lucky than good....

---MARK

 

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