Hi everyone, I have been wanting to get a deisel school bus, convert it to cooking oil & drive around the country with my 4 Giant Schnoodles (dogs). I found what could be the answer to my dreams. Its a diesel school bus already converted. The only problem is it has 400,000 miles on it. What do you think? The owner wants 4,000. Its an 1988. Also, is it true that you don’t need to smog diesels in California? I am an older woman with some car smarts but no diesel experience. I’m also disabled so couldn’t do a lot of work myself. But I’m really stoked about doing this. But I’m afraid of investing in something that will leave me stranded somewhere. All input appreciated.
It seems to me that whether or not you buy this bus involves the same questions you’d ask in buying any vehicle. The vehicle may have been on the road for 400,000 but - unless you have specific information to the contrary - that obviously doesn’t mean that all of the parts have 400K. There’s a good chance that the motor has been rebuilt at some point. Probably the transmission too. But either way you can still check an engine for its condition - you need a good large engine diesel mechanic to evaluate it.
The same goes for all of the major systems. How is the suspension? Brakes? tires? Etc. Watch esp for the condition of the frame and major mounting points for signs of bad rust or deterioration.
Adventure is adventure.
And just exactly do you intend to find fuel during your trek around the country? I think the cooking oil has to go through some sort of cleaning process before it goes in the fuel tank. You can’t just take used french fry oil and pour it in, potato bits and all.
Running a diesel on cooking oil is for the person who stays close to home and can process the fuel in his or her home or back yard, and I believe it’s sort of labor-intensive.
I think you’d be better off with a standard diesel vehicle, in which you could burn bio-diesel when it’s available.
Then there’s the whole 400,000 mile thing. I believe this requires more thought.
Just why is the converted bus being sold? I’d consider this unreliable transportation with 400,000 and a hybrid fuel system. Imagine yourself stuck somewhere remote looking for help on a system that was converted to run like this . . the poor mechanic trying to fix it would go nuts. Also . . . 400,000 miles on the rest of the bus . . . look at the suspension . . . brakes . . . body . . . electrics . . . etc. I have an older Accord with over 475,000 miles on it and “funky” stuff comes up now and again . . . nothing major (yet), but stuff that needs fixing to stay safe, to run right and so forth. If you can’t do it yourself, you’ll likely pour a lot more $$$ into it than you save on the bio-diesel. Good luck! Rocketman
I would highly suggest taking it to a bus repair shop to get the real skinny on the vehicle. They know the typical trouble spots and what age brings. 400k sounds like a lot but the bus(Scania) I drove shortly in college had nearly 650k miles on it and was in excellent condition.
A school bus with 400K miles is not a reliable vehicle. It’s salvage.
“Hi everyone, I have been wanting to get a deisel school bus, convert it to cooking oil & drive around the country with my 4 Giant Schnoodles (dogs).”
Where are you going to find cooking oil as you drive around the country? Fuel prices are collapsing, dropping .10-.15 cents a week. The savings once obtained by using alternative fuels are quickly evaporating. The hassle of finding a fuel source while traveling is just not worth the effort.
First off, I’d want very good documentation as to how exactly the bus has been “converted”. I’ve seen older diesel vehicles people claim they “converted” to run on veggie oil that all they did was buy some fuel filter off the internet-- a proper conversion involves changing all of the fuel hoses and any other rubber components in the fuel system as well as installing a second tank with a heat exchanger running coolant through it. That last part is especially difficult, and in some places like southern California you can get away without it for maybe 90% of the year, so most of the fry-oil “conversions” in these areas don’t work when the temperature gets below 40 degrees.
And, as for the whole veggie oil thing, it’s not really all it’s cracked up to be. First off, as MC mentioned, it’s an extremely messy and labor-intensive process and this bus is going to take a LOT of it. After making 50 gallons of the stuff, you might think the $150 or so it costs to fill it up with diesel is a bargain! Also in an increasing number of places, the cost of waste oil is actually going up quite a lot because so many people are doing this-- it’s no longer a matter of driving up behind the fast food place hat in hand. I had some friends who bought an old diesel ambulance to tour the country in with romantic filling the tank behind the burger-king notions and they were definitely wishing they had just bought a smaller van that got better mileage because they ended up having to run on diesel probably 95% of the trip and a couple of times in cities on the west coast paying about the same for (processed) veggie oil as they did for diesel.
My problem is the ‘convert to coooking oil and drive around the country’ idea. Where will you find the fuel? Lots of folks using cooking oil, not like you just drive up, like previous poster said. I’m all for you driving around in something reliable, not something that’s likely to leave you stranded somewhere.