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Old 08-01-2011, 01:44 PM   #1
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Which skoolie would be better for me?

I took a look at a number of shuttle buses today and each had good and bad points that I'm trying to sort thru.

My need is for something that can carry 10 passengers, so its not quitr an RV setup I'm after.
Also, havung something smaller would be good on my driveway but larger would allow for hauling more gear.

At this one place I narrowed thing down to two vehicles

98 El Dorado Diesel 128k miles 9 pass + driver overall good condition (abt $1000 over my budget)
Also, i dont knoe how to tell but i think it's a 350 not 450
Gvwr 10700/4854

Other was an E450 , 16 pass + driver. Rust in outside but no water inside at all.
201k miles Gas engine. One the plus side it had a number of rows that flipped up plus two seats had built in child seats that fold out of the seatback. If i ever wanted to modify things there's def mire room to play aroubd with configs in this bus.

Obviously the gas one is within my budget buy i worry abt the high miles and dont know
How long an E450 gad engine should last?

So does anyone want to give me the warm and fuzzies in the gas bus ir should I be trying to work the diesel into my price zone somehow?
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:54 PM   #2
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Re: Which skoolie would be better for me?

201,000 miles is about the limit on a gas engine, no matter who made it, and it being a bus probably has a few more stop and go's on it too..... For me I would vote for the diesel...... or look else where,lots of buses on CL and internet if you shop around.

the Ford E350/ E450 should be posted on the side on the cab somewhere. you didn't give the year of the buses but if the older one is the diesel it's more than likely a E350 with the 7.3 diesel engine, really good engine. check and be sure before you buy, better to lost a few hundred bucks having it tested by a good tech than to buy it and be sorry later...
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:13 PM   #3
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Re: Which skoolie would be better for me?

The difference between a E350+ 450 are minor. Another leaf spring + something with the rear axle. It wouldn't affect you "beeeg station wagon."
I agree with Grey--even the best gas motors are ready to be rebuilt after 201k--and god knows how much idling. And rust inside = wheel arch issues. Fixable but a pain.
Too small will be regetable for a long time-and unless you want a project-and can work it into its final cost-keep looking for a 16 passenger-its a common size.
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:32 PM   #4
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Re: Which skoolie would be better for me?

i vote diesel aswell!
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:11 PM   #5
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Re: Which skoolie would be better for me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdwarf36
The difference between a E350+ 450 are minor. Another leaf spring + something with the rear axle. It wouldn't affect you "beeeg station wagon."
I agree with Grey--even the best gas motors are ready to be rebuilt after 201k--and god knows how much idling. And rust inside = wheel arch issues. Fixable but a pain.
Too small will be regetable for a long time-and unless you want a project-and can work it into its final cost-keep looking for a 16 passenger-its a common size.
WHOA! The differences between E350 and E450 are HUGE! Offhand...
MUCH higher GVWR (14,050 versus 10,700)
Higher rear axle rating (9450lbs versus 7600lbs)
Higher front axle rating (4600 versus 4200)
Hydroboost brakes (even on gassers) with 4-wheel discs (A 1998 E350 will have rear drums.)
Driveline-clamp e-brake
Larger engine (the V10 was standard, E350's have 5.4's standard)
Larger rear axle
Larger fuel tank
Larger trans cooler
Standard PS cooler

A diesel E-350, even a shorty, is pretty much guaranteed to be overweight when converted! It is probably right on the edge of the front GAWR just as it sits now.

What year is the E-450? If it's a 1997 or newer, it's a Triton V10, one of the best truck engines ever built...truly, 200K on a V10 is no big deal, it could easily wind up twice that (or more). The body will fall apart around it while the engine keeps going. I saw one (1998 E-Super Duty, Champion WC body) with 180,000 hard miles, about 16,000 hours on the engine. It ran perfectly, the company still has (and uses) the bus six years later. I'm certain it's over 200K, it's probably near or over 250K.

I also saw one wind up 430,000 miles (it's still running) in one of the harshest applications imagineable: it powers a 2000 F-550 4x4 with an Eagle Claw self-loading hoist...a repo truck.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:46 PM   #6
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Re: Which skoolie would be better for me?

Thanks for the notes. I hadn't realized there were that many differences b/w the E450 and the E350 series. MOst folks just mentoin the chassis/axle which is the reason the towing weight is different. I didn't know about the inter cooler and other details.

For my own mods I'm not really looking at adding anything heavy, I may even end up removing the lift gate.
The E350 (El Dorado) diesel I saw was in fact the prettiest and smallest shuttle I saw. The Ford coach E450s are a bit more boxy and seem to look more run down for their age.

Do you have any comments about the Ford 7.3L vs the 6.0L???
From what I've read out there many folks like the 7.3's (also poss to do the veggie conversion though I'm not thinking about that now).
I've been leaning toward the 1998-2004 or so b/c of the 7.3s The newer models seem to have the 6.0L ones people complain about.

In the end, I think it will likely come down to availability and budget for me but I'm hoping to avoid getting something that ends up needing engine or transmission work. Paint and rust I feel qualifies to deal with.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:43 PM   #7
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Re: Which skoolie would be better for me?

Fords 6.0 & 6.4's diesels are not the best engine out there..... Most have had a slew of problems .
just google ford 6.0 diesel engines and you can read all you want but........
For my money I would stay with the 7.3

best of luck on whatever you pick

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Old 08-05-2011, 11:17 AM   #8
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Re: Which skoolie would be better for me?

Someone had mentioned to me earlier that a lot of my options are dictated by whatever is available, which is sort of a catch 22.
At this point the cleanest bus seems to be the 98' E350 El Dorado Diesel 7.3 (about 150K miles on it)

I've also been speaking to a fellow who has a 94' Gas E350 (460 V8 I believe) with 120K miles on it. He's asking substantially less than the first guy but would be a hike for me to go out and get. I was pretty much discounting the gas versions but the price point makes me think that perhaps it's an attractive option. The question is, is it a sound choice?
Will a gas engine last me to 200K? Would a diesel last me to 300K? Is one more expensive to repair? thoughts?
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:58 PM   #9
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Re: Which skoolie would be better for me?

diesel is always more to repair but it makes up in the power and fuel cost.
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:19 PM   #10
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Re: Which skoolie would be better for me?

The 6.0 diesel (2003-later) is awful, avoid it completely. The 6.4 was not installed in vans--it doesn't fit. A 2003 could be a 6.0 or a 7.3--and a 2003 or even a 2004 shuittle could easily be on a 2002 (7.3) chassis...so look closely at the vehicle!
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