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Old 11-25-2010, 08:39 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 13
Year: 1996
Chassis: E350
Engine: 7.3l Powerstroke Diesel
Looking at my first mini-bus...any tips?

Hello all,

I'm looking at buying a '96 E350 15-pass van, powerstroke, auto, 200k miles. It's a minibus, not a standard 15-pass, and was part of a fleet. It's a dually. It has 4.10 gears. The sticker says it's "equipped with the ford rv prep pkg". The previous owner, who bought it last april from a local transit company, has done a partial conversion: ripped out seats, added a bunk bed in the back, fridge, microwave, AC, table and chairs. I'm not planning to fully convert it, though I like the idea of it as a spare room. I'm planning to tow a travel trailer, somewhere in the range of 24 to 32 feet. I was looking for a powerstroke truck, but I haven't had luck finding one, and this is cheaper. Here's a pic:



The seller is asking $3500. Thought that was pretty good at first; but I've since wised up. It's looking like it's worth closer to $2000, give or take a couple hunded. Does that sound like a fair amount? Someone in my area just sold a PAIR of these -- same year, model, etc -- for $3000, and while one wasn't running, the other ran fine and had had the tranny replaced and motor rebuilt only a few thousand miles ago. I don't know what has been rebuilt/replaced on the one I'm looking at; the seller has called the transit company to get the service papers, but it's gonna be a few days til they can get them. What are the odds this vechile would still have the original trans? Assuming best case scenario -- both trans and motor rebuilt in the last few thousand miles -- what other big repair issues should I be on the lookout for?

Finally, has anyone here ever towed with one of these? I'm pretty sure the powertrain could handle a small/medium camper, but I'm worried that any hitch I could put on it might be too far behind the back axle. I'm hoping a weight distribution hitch would solve this problem, but I don't know. Also, do these buses come with a pseudo-tow package due to their heavy-duty use, or would I need to add a trans cooler to be safe? Would it be hard to add a trans cooler myself? If anyone here has actually towed a camper with one of these, I'd love to get their two cents. I've never bought a vehicle like this before, and I'm feeling over my head here. Anyway, thanks in advance, and happy turkey day...

Cheers,
Tim
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Old 11-26-2010, 12:26 PM   #2
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Location: Montana
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Year: 1995
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Re: Looking at my first mini-bus...any tips?

What engine? 460, I would say no. V10 and it will pull it all. You might want to consider pulling a fuel tailer behind you though, as well.
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Old 11-26-2010, 01:01 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 13
Year: 1996
Chassis: E350
Engine: 7.3l Powerstroke Diesel
Re: Looking at my first mini-bus...any tips?

Engine is diesel; 7.3 liter, 8 cylinder powerstroke. Would that be sufficient do you think? Thanks for the suggestion about the fuel trailer; I'll keep it in mind.
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Old 11-26-2010, 04:13 PM   #4
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Location: Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 1,485
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Goshen
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Re: Looking at my first mini-bus...any tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus
What engine? 460, I would say no. V10 and it will pull it all. You might want to consider pulling a fuel tailer behind you though, as well.
he said it has a powerstroke so I assume the 7.3L in it.

It should pull okay. It will have the tranny cooler and a large transmission already. I plan on using mine to pull my camper some day.

My rig - 1990 E-350 Goshen with the 7.3L non turbo.

The TT - 2010 392FLFB salem villa estate. 42' long 11klbs emty (went and got it with my father's truck because the bus doesnt have a hitch or trailer brakes on it yet and was kinda all apart inside..)
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Old 11-26-2010, 04:16 PM   #5
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Re: Looking at my first mini-bus...any tips?

Wow, I must still be in a turkey coma to have missed that!
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