New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

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New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby Crisco » Wed May 18, 2011 9:20 pm

Hi! I just picked up a 2003 Ford E450 17 passenger van. I think people call it a transit bus? It has the hydraulic handicap lift on the side.

Currently I bought it to move across the country with, and plan on converting it to a full on board WVO system and basic motor home amenities.

I have quite a bit of experience working on cars and 1 ton trucks, but this thing is pretty new to me. The wiring added by the coach company is very extensive! The spot where the passenger air bag would be is full of circuit breakers, relays etc. And they are all controlled by a master body disconnect switch by the driver.

Has anyone had any luck getting a wiring diagram for these buses? I want to make the entire rig a little less idiot proof and less redundant. IE easier to trouble shoot.
For instance the rear Carrier A/C works great, as does the heater, but they only work when the master body disconnect switch is on. Shouldnt the heat and A/C work all the time?

The next question is batteries.
I read on here quite a bit, and think I want to go with 2 8D batteries under the frame and a regular starting battery under the hood. It already has a 2 battery system. How are these typically done on these? Both in parallel? Does one run the A/C like some threads said? I didn't see a battery isolator under the hood.
Since I plan on running WVO I want to make sure I have the cranking power needed if I run into a problem and also to run 12v heaters as a backup.
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby Stuff » Wed May 18, 2011 10:40 pm

who makes the body? that would be the best thing to google up to begin with.


Also, PICTURES MAN!!
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby lornaschinske » Thu May 19, 2011 11:36 am

Ascend wrote:I know someone said they start their diesel with just one battery but as I stated in another thread, the factory manuals for the 350's and 450's w/ the 7.3 diesel show the vehicles require 2 starting batteries. I found out personally the other day how true this was as one of my batteries was going and finally went bad. The bus would turn over but not fast enough to start with just one battery. I replaced both and it starts like a charm now.


You people do know that you can wire your bus up to use the house bank as an emergency starting bank don't you? This is a common setup on the highway coach buses that drop their starting bank down to one battery. Considering how big my house bank is, I would rather spend the $$ on a big house bank and a switch rather than waste a starter battery. But that's me. It was how we were going to set up the Eagle and how we will do the Skoolie.

Our batterry that we use to crank the bus... when it's not being used on the food cart... and yes, we know the battery cables need to be replaced. We have plenty of the wire to build all the new cables we need from stripping out the Eagle.
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby Crisco » Thu May 19, 2011 1:44 pm

The rear A/C and the blowers for the floor mounted heat exchanger don't get power (or I should say the switches to run them) until the master body disconnect switch is on.

I want them to have power when the ignition is on, and as of right now since they work great I would like to keep them. I don't venture south too often so if I have to I can use electric heat when plugged in. That is once I figure out how to do a house panel, switch, converter or whatever it is I need!

I do prefer the idea of having a bank of house batteries and a starting battery that can be tied together IF needed to start.
If I go that route, and have a switch, how does the house bank charge if they aren't connected?

The coach was assembled by these guys

http://www.coach-equipment.com/
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby lapeer20m » Thu May 19, 2011 4:33 pm

The ac doesn't work if the engine isn't running, correct? If you have to run the engine anyhow, what is the point of circumventing the master switch?

If u do want to make the ac fans come on with the ignition, simply find the relay that feeds the ac and replace the low current + wire(s) with a + wire that gets energized with the ignition.

All relays for this application have the same basic function. A pair of Low current wires (1positive 1 negative) that make the relay "actuate" or turn on. And a pair of high current wires, usually larger in diameter. One larger wire connects to battery and the other connects to the device you want to power.
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby opus » Thu May 19, 2011 6:50 pm

The master switch generally removes the ground.
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby Stuff » Thu May 19, 2011 7:04 pm

looks good!
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby Crisco » Thu May 19, 2011 10:38 pm

Thanks!
I got a SMOKING deal on it. 1600.00
Has just under 160k on it.

As for the relays and just bypassing them, tomorrow I'll take a pic of the "glove box" It's quite a bit more than I would have thought necessary for a bus! I can only assume once the coach builder adds the handicap sign to the side they cover their ass ten fold with safety measures!

That was my first thought though. Bypass the trigger for the relays and switch it to a key on power source. The heater has 2 relays, and the A/C has more. I called the coach builder today and asked for a wiring diagram. They wanted to fax it to me. Didn't know how to email it. I might have to make a drive down there!
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby Crisco » Fri May 20, 2011 12:19 pm

I do plan on getting a generator, if I can get a good deal on one.

Is there any good write ups on starting from scratch and wiring up a generator? Do I need a transfer switch?
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby Stuff » Fri May 20, 2011 6:10 pm

take a look around in that pannel box above the driver seat.

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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby Redbear » Sat May 21, 2011 10:17 am

opus wrote:The master switch generally removes the ground.

On 24-volt front-end loaders, and on highway coaches (with the switch in the battery box), maybe yes. On the ambulances, vans, motorhomes, and fire rigs I've seen, in cases where the switch was accessible from the driver's seat, it usually breaks the hot instead. On any given vehicle it could go either way, depending on the beliefs or opinions of the person designing the wiring. :?

I've made a decent living tracing these systems out using a digital meter, and scribbling diagrams on a legal pad. 8)
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby Crisco » Sat May 21, 2011 12:28 pm

Yup, it cuts the hot on mine
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby Crisco » Sat May 21, 2011 3:12 pm

Finished the hitch, now I am going to work on getting the trailer brake controller wired up
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby Jarlaxle » Sun May 22, 2011 9:38 am

Depending who buiolt it, the A/C might be set up so that the DASH A/C will not work unless the REAR A/C is on. Several of the shuttles I drove were set up that way.
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Re: New to me 2003 E450, looking for help!

Postby Stuff » Sun May 22, 2011 5:57 pm

Jarlaxle wrote:Depending who buiolt it, the A/C might be set up so that the DASH A/C will not work unless the REAR A/C is on. Several of the shuttles I drove were set up that way.



that is how mine is to. nice big "DO NOT OPERATE DASH AIR WITHOUT REAR AIR OR BLOW OFF MAY OCCUR" yet the rear wont do anything if the dash air is off.
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