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Old 02-09-2019, 08:50 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 10
2001 Ford E450 Bluebird Short Bus Pros, and Cons?

HI All,

We have decided to convert a Short Bus. We are moving forward with buying one, the model and year is: (2001 Ford E450 Bluebird School Bus, 30 Passenger 7.3L V8 OHV 16V TURBO DIESEL.) With 100,738 miles on it.

Can anyone share any pros and cons of this type of bus and engine?

What are the challenges with installing water holding tanks?

What kind of MPG can we expect not towing anything?

How do we go about applying for an RV title and insurance in Florida?

Any information helps!

Thank you!

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Old 02-09-2019, 09:34 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
Posts: 1,263
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 7.3L
All I can help you with is info on the cab/chassis. The E-series has been around forever and is a great cab and chassis combo. The 7.3L diesel engine is one of my all time favorite engines and yours has very low miles. A properly maintained 7.3L can easily go 300,000+ miles or even more. Never overheat these engines! Keep the oil/filter and fuel filter changed every 8-10 thousand miles and keep the chassis and driveline greased at regular intervals between oil changes.

You can expect 10-12 MPG depending on how you drive it. The only thing that sucks is when the engine needs repair it is a pain in such a small chassis.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:16 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 5,767
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
+1 on what Johnny said.

I drove a 2005 E450 for quite a while. I loved it until I had to work on it...... PITA.....

It's been sold and I am looking for an International 6 window.
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:17 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 10
It's a 5 window length short-bus, we are just trying to figure-out the layout. We want a shower/toilet/sink space, gas burners, kitchen sink (mini fridge considering running it off solar and deep-cycle batteries now).

I also think we will tow a 20-ft trailer with our car considering it has the 7.3L V8 OHV 16V TURBO DIESEL.

We will keep posting about our progress, questions, and post pics when we start.
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:09 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
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I have a 1999, I don't think you can have a better diesel than what we have, others are as good, but this is one of the best diesels ever made, downsides, getting access to the engine to do routine maint.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:02 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 108
I have the fiberglass body, my guess you can count on 10mpg if you have the turbo version of the bus, it is difficult to maintain and get access to the engine even for simple things like changing fuel filter, I get about 13 mpg in mine, but the body is fiberglass and that is a huge wt savings, you will need to look out for rust. I paid $700 for mine about 7 yrs ago, mine is a 1999, figure out a diesel mechanic and price common maintenance charges like changing injectors.
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Old 03-02-2019, 04:05 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluespoet View Post
I have the fiberglass body, my guess you can count on 10mpg if you have the turbo version of the bus, it is difficult to maintain and get access to the engine even for simple things like changing fuel filter, I get about 13 mpg in mine, but the body is fiberglass and that is a huge wt savings, you will need to look out for rust. I paid $700 for mine about 7 yrs ago, mine is a 1999, figure out a diesel mechanic and price common maintenance charges like changing injectors.
How did you steal one for $700?! I'm looking and they're 3-4k... ? "Show me bama!" 😉
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Old 03-02-2019, 04:12 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: On the Road
Posts: 34
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Ford E450 Van
Engine: 7.3L V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 5 window / 29 person / WC
I've owned a 2001 E-450 7.3L short bus since November 2018 and love it so far! I bought mine in Denver and it's done great in the mountains, on windy roads, highways, you name it.

It's gotten up to 75-78mph, and probably could go higher, but I prefer not to drive that fast in the bus. I've put about 2k miles on her since I bought it and have gotten around 11.5mpg.

Accessing the engine is definitely tricky, but at least Ford parts are available readily and cheaply.

The worst thing I've experienced with this bus so far? If your oil pan ever needs replacing, you'll either have to remove the engine or cut a cross member under the pan to drop the oil pan. I had to do this for my first oil change (the factory-welded drain nut had come undone and was spinning in place with no way to remove it) and the labor involved at a mechanic is shocking...it was a $2,000 job for what I thought would be a routine oil change. Yikes
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:45 PM   #9
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Join Date: Apr 2016
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I didn't steal it, I went to the same auction the bus dealers did. They buy the busses for $1k and mark them up on their lot for $15k. Then I was able to sell the wheel chair lift for $300 so really only cost me $400 after doing that and has been running great for years.
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:47 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 108
the bus I had for years before that I paid $300, but had to replace all the windows due to vandalism, that cost me $100 for plexiglass cut to size and a couple of bucks for a jig saw blade to round the corners, install took less than an hour.
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:00 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluespoet View Post
I didn't steal it, I went to the same auction the bus dealers did. They buy the busses for $1k and mark them up on their lot for $15k. Then I was able to sell the wheel chair lift for $300 so really only cost me $400 after doing that and has been running great for years.
I meant no offense! I know you didn't actually steal it, just mean that's an awesome deal! May I ask how you find and sign up for those auctions?
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Old 03-03-2019, 12:09 AM   #12
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I bought my 2002 Tbomas H/C E450 Shorty and put a Diamond Eye turbo back straight piped 4 inch exhaust plus a tuner on it and managed 15mpg from Oregon to Cali through the hills at 55+ mph. Best mpg I got before the 4X4 conversion and was through the hilly section too.
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Old 03-03-2019, 12:23 AM   #13
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 108
no offense taken, ask your school district how they auction off their busses also transit.
Then contact your local auctions and ask if they get surplus busses. Where I live the county has an auction in the spring and in the fall and also look at tires, because they often auction new tires, because they only keep them so long, if not used, they auction them off. Big thing is line up a mechanic for repairs.
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Old 03-03-2019, 12:34 AM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 10
Excellent! Thanks for all the help / advice.
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