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Old 05-10-2011, 03:05 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2011
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Year: 1993
Coachwork: ElDorado
Chassis: E350
Engine: 460ci Gas
1993 E350 Conversion Questions..

Hey guys,
Been a lurker here for the last few months, but now it's time to make my first post. I just recently purchased a 1993 E350 Cutaway with an ElDorado Hawk body. It has already been half-@** converted into a camper/RV... but like i said, it wasn't done very well. I have a few questions as to how to get this thing to my liking. First, let me show you photos of what it looks like right now. Sorry that these are little, they came from the ad that i was looking at before i bought it. I promise to try to get some normal sized photos soon.

What it looked like originally:


What the outside looks like now:



Interior:




And my favorite part, the ISRINGHAUSEN driver's seat:


This is part the original ad description btw. Just in case you wanted to know what all it came with:
1993 FORD F-350 Econoline Cutaway Class C El Dorado Hawk RV custom conversion 460ci V8 gas engine 132,000 miles. Separate locking 30 gallon fuel tanks for vehicle & Onan 6500W Commercial Genset generator mounted on slide-out rails for easy servicing w/ inside cabin control switch. Roof mounted Duo-Therm BriskAir air conditioning; Polar White Windshield Bonnet for privacy; Audiovox AOS-22 B/W CRT back-up CAMERA and beeping reverse signal for safety. Custom TV/DVD cabinet mounted in front of cabin; Sony CDXR3300 Sterio AM/FM/CD player w/ removable face plate and speakers throughout cabin for FANTASTIC sound; wall to wall carpeting and acoustically-carpeted rear wall. Hidden locking electrical panel, circuit breakers and storage compartment. Oak cabinate WET BAR w/ under-counter tanks, removable table for 4, space-saving spring-loaded side bench jump seats, removable folding couch/bed and ISRINGHAUSEN suspension driver's seat. Shore power cord, inverter, four 12vDC and 120vAC outlets throughout cabin, custom overhead lighting, reflective windows w/ mini-blinds and slider panels. Electric dual-entry doors for easy access. idle switch. Locking storage in rear of vehicle, tow package, 6 low mileage matching tires and safety kits.

Now for the questions...
On the inside, I ripped off the paneling on the wall that was on the driver's side towards the rear and i found the wall to look like this photo (taken from another conversion in the project forum)

What i want to do is be able to use that wall as an anchor point for mounting a wall to section the bus off or put some shelves. My problem is that i don't see this being strong enough to hold anything up. Am i right about that? If so, how do i make that wall strong enough (to screw into) to hold things like shelves? Do i rip it out and try to mount wood instead? I'm so lost when it comes to this. I have no idea of what is behind that fiberglass though. I'm assuming that there are not metal supports or anything behind it, just the fiberglass on the outside of the bus.

Another question. This bus came with an Onan 6500W generator that powers 12 separate outlets and the overhead lighting. This may sound like a stupid question... but is this something that can be run while driving? Reason why i'm asking is that, some of the times while driving, i will have a few business partners on the road with me who will need to get work done. We will be mostly traveling at night, so that's why i ask. and i'm sorry if you laugh at the stupidity of that question (i'm new to this whole RV conversion stuff).

Those are my first few questions... it's late here so i'm going to sleep on it and post the rest that i have tomorrow. I'll try to get some better pictures as well.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:11 AM   #2
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Re: 1993 E350 Conversion Questions..

looks not bad. half skinned already lol


as for the generator, if you're driving why not just get an inverter and power what you need to that way?
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:14 PM   #3
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Re: 1993 E350 Conversion Questions..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascend
Its hard to see exactly what part of the bus you are talking about from that photo because its too close and I can't really figure out which part you are talking about. That said, I've got a similar 95 E350 and when I removed my panels there were steel braces that ran along the top if we are talking about the same area.

No reason you can't run the genset while driving (make sure the exhaust is properly positioned). My first suggestion would be to start checking for water/air leaks, as I was amazed at some of the areas that were left open from the manufacturer (and which ultimately ruined my floor, a nightmare you definitely don't want to go through).

The construction of the fiberglass shell on my bus consists of fiberglass on the inside, 3/4" of polyurethane foam, and then skinned with another fiberglass layer on the outside (though the back of the bus was actually plywood sandwiched between the fiberglass rather than foam). An easy way to check for sure is to pop one of the windows out. They should just be compression frames and should come out with nothing more than a phillips head screwdriver. Then you can know for sure what your shell is made out of.

Overall, looks like your bus is in good shape though. I'm curious how much you got it for
This is the part i'm talking about, but on both sides of the bus:


With those white panels removed, i can' see any sort of beam or metal all i see is a green fiberglass wall that doesn't look like it can be removed very easily without ruining the whole wall.

I am going to check the exhaust on the genset. I took a good look under the bus to see if there were any places that i could see through to the bus and everything looks awesome. i even turned all of the lights on inside at night and check underneath for any place that the light was leaking and there was nothing. At this point, the only leaking spot i am concerned about is from the roof, where the A/C sits. I'm going to take care of it though by resurfacing the roof and sealing it. The original owner told me that the only time it leaked was when he was in a massive storm with extremely high winds, other than that, the roof never leaked on him.

I'm going to pop on a window today and see what's going on. I'll be back to post a few more pictures of my findings. Sorry i haven't replied in a week, had a family emergency that i had to tend to. Now it's time to get back to the work on the bus.

P.S. Got the bus for $5500 It was more than what i wanted to spend on a bus, but i couldn't let this one go at that price. Definitely a steal!
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Old 07-25-2011, 02:08 AM   #4
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Re: 1993 E350 Conversion Questions..

Quote:
Originally Posted by zenmonkk
I'm a big fan of liquid nails and screws. Since your bus is like mine, you have a metal frame above the windows and a track that runs about a foot off the floor that the seats secured through. you could weld in some extra u-channel or flat bar stock and attach things to that. just a thought Good to see another fiberglass bus on the forum. do you have a panel issue like I was going through?
That's exactly what i did! I bought 5 panels of luan, painted it grey, and used the DAP BEATS the NAIL Construction Adhesive and screws to put new paneling up. This is what it looks like now. I still have to do the bottom 6 inches though. It's just been WAY too hot to be inside of that bus.



I'm having a hard time finding the bar above the windows.... Is it behind the white ceiling stuff? I'll take more pictures tomorrow when i work on it. It's starting to look better.

I have a few more questions.

Does anyone know where to get a BIG emergency window? One that's about 48" wide and maybe 24" tall? I prefer one that either pops ALL the way out. or one that has a hydraulic arms and lifts towards the sky (with a hinge at the top i suppose)? I'm asking this because what this bus is going to be used for, the window needs to come out or lift up so if people can see into the inside. I know it doesn't make sense, but when you see what this is going to be transformed into, you'll get it.

Another question is, when i purchased the bus, it had a sink. I'd like to keep the sink, but the only problem is that the previous owner had both the freshwater and graywater tanks on the inside of the bus, inside of a cabinet above the passenger side wheel well. I want to move the sink to the very rear of the bus, passenger side but i cant figure out where the hell to put the tanks and i don't think there is an ample amount of room under the bus. Any help on how to do this would be great. As you see in the above picture, there are gravity water hookups coming in through the side of the bus. That hookup is going to move to the rear of the bus and that hole is going to become an electrical hatch. You can also see the size of the freshwater tank in that picture.

Any other suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated. This is my first conversion, so i need all of the help i can get!
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:16 PM   #5
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Re: 1993 E350 Conversion Questions..

lots hide the tanks under the bus. narrow and skinny and lots of supports = works fine.
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