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Old 11-16-2010, 09:16 PM   #1
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Shopping for my first Skoolie.

Hello, new member here.

I am ready to upgrade our conversion van for something that I can have some living space in and room for more than two people. "The Bondo Condo" was definitely a inspiration.

At this point I am looking for a E350/450 bus, the longer the better. 7.3 diesel being a must. I do have couple of silly but important questions to me:

- Passenger seat, I see that some have passenger seats some don't. Can you install a passenger seat to ones that don't have a "bus type" side door? For example I see a passenger seat on sdwarf36 conversion but I don't see how this was done. I'd like to have a "normal" passenger seat for my wife beside me. Ex. from sdwarf36...http://www.skoolie.net/gallery2/d/35126-2/IMG_3026.JPG

- Do all of these have rooftop mounted A/C's? Is that a 120v system?

- What gear ratio are these built with? I suppose this is important as most traveling will be highway driving for me, are there models I need to stay away from?

- Cruise control? Do any of these come with it, and more importantly is there a way to easily retrofit a cruise control to these? I plan to do some pretty long traveling and my current conversion van has me spoiled.

We're looking hard, hope to pick something up before Christmas.

TIA.
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:52 PM   #2
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Re: Shopping for my first Skoolie.

You can add a seat wherever you want one... thats the beauty of building it yourself!!
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:52 PM   #3
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Re: Shopping for my first Skoolie.

I believe that most of the van chassis buses will have similar if not the same equipment as the conversion vans themselves. I imagine that if not equipped with cruise control, you should be able to add one for a similar van. If you have a roof air unit (Coleman, Duo Therm, etc) you will have a 120v unit. If your bus has a factory installed unit, it probably runs off the motor and you can use it running down the road. Those units seem to have the condenser units down on the side and are ducted throughout the coach. Well, you can use a Coleman or Duo Therm unit if you run a generator as well.

While my bus is a little larger than what you're looking for, I just installed a navigator seat. It's in my 88 GMC C60, and we made it so that it tilts when we need to get in/out the bi-fold door. It's pretty sweet if I say so myself! Hopefully, here's a picture:
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:49 PM   #4
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Re: Shopping for my first Skoolie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt59
Hello, new member here.

I am ready to upgrade our conversion van for something that I can have some living space in and room for more than two people. "The Bondo Condo" was definitely a inspiration.

At this point I am looking for a E350/450 bus, the longer the better. 7.3 diesel being a must. I do have couple of silly but important questions to me:

- Passenger seat, I see that some have passenger seats some don't. Can you install a passenger seat to ones that don't have a "bus type" side door? For example I see a passenger seat on sdwarf36 conversion but I don't see how this was done. I'd like to have a "normal" passenger seat for my wife beside me. Ex. from sdwarf36...http://www.skoolie.net/gallery2/d/35126-2/IMG_3026.JPG
Its just a simple 4 bolt swivel seat base-I just welded some metal to floor to make a level place to mount it.
- Do all of these have rooftop mounted A/C's? Is that a 120v system?
MIne had an large rear AC -internal run off the front system.

- What gear ratio are these built with? I suppose this is important as most traveling will be highway driving for me, are there models I need to stay away from?
I've never heard of anything besides 4.10's. 2600 rpm =65mph. Wish it was winding less.

- Cruise control? Do any of these come with it, and more importantly is there a way to easily retrofit a cruise control to these? I plan to do some pretty long traveling and my current conversion van has me spoiled.
Mine has it stock-I bet most do. Its great-holds rpm +-5--yup 5 really!

We're looking hard, hope to pick something up before Christmas.

TIA.
Sorry-I must have missed this when it was 1st posted.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:17 AM   #5
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Re: Shopping for my first Skoolie.

Most SHUTTLE buses will have front & rear A/C...it's off the engine. Some use a second compressor, some run both off one compressor. The dual-comp setup is MUCH better. Many van-chassis SCHOOL buses will NOT have A/C at all.

Most do have 4.10's...with 225/75R16 tires and the OD automatic, 65MPH is about 2100RPM, according to the AIC readouts in the ones I drove. 2600RPM sounds like no OD or 4.88 gears. Be aware: while the E4OD was introduced around 1989, the E-350 was available with the 3-speed C6 until 1994!

MOST (but by no means all) Econoline cutaways will have cruise control...if not, it can be added.

Some have a full cab (like a class C motorhome), a passenger seat in those would be very simple to add. If they have the "cut cab" with the entry door on the side, that's more problematic...I cannot think of a SAFE way to add a shotgun seat to one of those.

One VERY important thing: you said "At this point I am looking for a E350/450 bus, the longer the better. 7.3 diesel being a must." You might want to rethink this. The biggest problem witrh a cutaway is WEIGHT. I have driven an E-450 (a 2000 with a massive luggage-van body) that was overweight EMPTY. A diesel E-350 will be VERY easy to overload. The diesel adds several hundred pounds of lard on the front. I wouldn't convert an E-350 unless it was a gasser and a shorty (17 or 21-pax). Any bigger, I would want an E-450 for the extra 2500lbs of chassis capacity. (E-450 is 14,050lbs, E-350 is 11,500-12,600lbs.) The 450 also gives bigger brakes with 4-wheel discs, better parking brake, hydroboost (even on gassers), larger rear axle, and usually more fuel capacity. Also, anything badged "E-Super Duty" is an E-450.

Don't overlook gas engines...expecially on an E350, they have plenty of guts...a 5.4 E350 has no problems with hills even (over)loaded with passengers. The 5.4 and the V10 are easy 300,000+ milers if maintained even sort-of properly.
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:48 AM   #6
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Re: Shopping for my first Skoolie.

Thanks for the responses.

At this point I'm still shopping. These things are a little more expensive than I anticipated? Trying to do this on a budget. Seems like the lower priced ones are simply worn out. Then it skips straight to "can't afford" category.
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