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Old 02-02-2015, 09:17 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 23
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: E350
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 16
Thumbs up Another short bus project started

So. I flew out to Atlantic city and bought a short bus, drove it 1200 miles back to MPLS area on faith. Only real problem, fuel mileage was variable, and I determined that I probably had a fuel leak. I was right, it is weeping diesel on my concrete driveway as we speak. Small problem. It was -3 this morning, so I started it, just to see how cold before it is a problem. Doing that, I got a lot better idea where the leak is. This bus is small, 4 side windows, 16 passenger, about 18 or 18.5 total length, about 10 or 11 by 7.5 in the passenger area. So far, removed 7 of the 8 seats, swept it out, modified a free Craigslist futon couch/bed frame to fit over the wheel well and rear heater. Worked out very well. Price was right. Future projects include. Get a free countertop from Craigslist. Get a cheap, self contained portapotty, get a cheap propane wall mount, outside vent heater for cold nights, here in ice fishing land, I will probably be able to land a free one, get some sort of propane cooking device, get a small gas 110Volt generator. I intend on leaving the interior surfaces of the bus alone, in other words, the rubberized floor stays, sheet metal walls and ceiling stay as is.
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Old 02-03-2015, 06:11 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,852
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
Welcome!

Cool bus. What are your plans for it?

If your fuel leak is near the drivers door you probably have a leak at the fuel pump which is pretty easy to get at (but maybe not at -3 degrees). Ford uses quick disconnects at the pump and they can leak.
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Old 02-03-2015, 06:30 PM   #3
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
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Very sweet lil shorty you got hold of. Enjoy!
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Old 02-03-2015, 07:02 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Congrats and a big Skoolie welcome! --- Do tell us more...engine...tranny...plans...etc.
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Old 02-03-2015, 07:26 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 23
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: E350
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 16
Thanks, Roach. Our local pinstriper is name Monte Roach. Any relation? First, the bus is parked on a slight incline, the back and driver side are slightly higher than the passenger front. When I got home there was diesel dripping from multiple locations, but after it dripped out, now it all seems to be dripping off the front straight axle on the passenger side. It could be running to the low spot, from the pump. I am going to be recouping from med problem for the rest of the winter, so I can get at that in the spring. I will be limited to light interior remodeling until then. Beyond what I already said, I will be coming up with a color scheme. Right now I am leaning toward the surf buggy woody look. I got to change up the School Bus look, cheaply, to avoid problems with the authorities. Looks like your rig is very similar, same year and motor. Yours is larger. My main purpose for this project is 1. I drag race, therefore I need a tow vehicle for our large V nose enclosed trailer. Hence, a TURBO DIESEL. 2. We go to weekend events, and there is free camping at the tracks we frequent. Therefore, a tractor with a sleeper unit. 3. I am retired, and I want to explore the US, from New Orleans to San Diago, ect. I don't like sleeping on the ground. I am not intending to live in it unless I am in trouble at home. The name is tentatively ,DOG HOUSE
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Old 02-04-2015, 01:44 PM   #6
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,852
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
There's lots of fuel related stuff at the front of the engine but one quick thing to check would be the water drain in the fuel bowl. Look for a red (if memory serves) pull cable to the left of the alternator. Mine was buried behind all those plastic electrical conduits. Basically, you pull the cable to drain water out of the fuel bowl and it drains right where yours is leaking. Your drain may not have the cable and instead be a red lever on the side of the fuel bowl which is conveniently hidden behind the air filter. Unfortunately, there ain't a lot that's easy to get at on these engines.

These engines have an electric fuel pump that mounts to the frame rail just below the driver's door. When you turn the key to accessory you can hear it running.

No relation to your pinstriper. Roach was my nickname back in the 60's so I thought I'd resurrect it for this project.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:25 AM   #7
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Year: 2000
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Chassis: E350
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 16
It's too cold to do a fuel repair in my driveway, this morning I am taking it in to the local repair shop where they can get it up in the air for a look, inside a heated garage. I will have to drive it without plates, since I returned the dealer plates I borrowed, and can't register it as an RV until I have certain projects finished. I will need a propane heater, I have a small catalytic heater but I think I want a vented heater with a larger propane tank. Any ideas for something inexpensive?
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:08 PM   #8
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Join Date: Jan 2015
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Year: 2000
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Chassis: E350
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 16
The mechanic says it is the water drain, he has one ordered, should be able to pick it up tomorrow.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:45 PM   #9
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,852
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Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
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Progress! Glad it was something simple.
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Old 03-09-2015, 03:33 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 23
Year: 2000
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Chassis: E350
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 16
Next project, heat for cold nights. I have been searching for a 'cheap' way to heat the cabin, so I can sleep in it without letting the motor idle. My first thought was to get a free craigslist junk camper and install the salvaged propane furnace. In the process I can across the idea of installing a diesel burning engine block heater, which would circulate coolant through out the stock front and rear heating system. These are used in the trucking industry to heat the sleeping area of trucks, and come stock on some trucks. They are cheap to operate, using maybe a gallon of feul in 12 hours, but quite expensive to buy new. Does anyone have any ideas on this subject?
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Old 03-09-2015, 04:03 PM   #11
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,852
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
If you have shore power a milk house heater is an option. They're fairly cheap but the fan is a bit noisy.

Another option is one of the "Buddy" catalytic propane heaters. They're totally silent and 100% efficient. Downside is the humidity they put into the cabin (though some here have said it wasn't a problem) and the fact that they can burn up all the oxygen in the bus if it's unusually well sealed. My in-laws have wall mounted versions of these heaters in their trailers and have never had a problem. Several folks here use them too.

A standard RV furnace is vented so there's no problem with monoxide or using up the available oxygen, but they are really inefficient and the fan can be annoying. You also need to cut a hole in the bus to install it.

In the end, you pays your money and you takes your choice.
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:09 PM   #12
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Location: Moodus, Ct.
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Year: 1996
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Welcome Drag! Former bike drag racer here. Also using my shortie as a tow vehicle.
First piece of advice before towing-GET AN EGT GAUGE! These things WILL tow ok-but the vans have no intercooler like the trucks-you gotta watch it on the hills. (says the guy who cracked a piston being stupid up a big hill )
I have a propane heater out of a discarded pop up. Our last race of the year is in Northern Vt--in mid Oct. So 20's at nite-40's during the day. I have no added isulation. Its just enough for that. Anything warmer than that its great.
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Old 03-10-2015, 11:18 AM   #13
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Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Double Ditto on the EGT gauge --- sdwarf is absolutely correct. The more load you have (which gravity affects on a hill), the more you need to monitor temps. Depending on space availability, you may be able to install an intercooler which would significantly improve performance across the board, but...you still have to stay on top of the EGT to avoid a meltdown.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Double Ditto on the EGT gauge --- sdwarf is absolutely correct. The more load you have (which gravity affects on a hill), the more you need to monitor temps. Depending on space availability, you may be able to install an intercooler which would significantly improve performance across the board, but...you still have to stay on top of the EGT to avoid a meltdown.
im going to build a custom front bumper id like to know more about the intercooler if you have info.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:35 AM   #15
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Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
I never did see what engine you have but from the chatter here it sounded like a turbo diesel which is a candidate for an intercooler (also known as a "charge air cooler"). Basically, the air that is being pumped out by the turbo can either go directly to the intake or first be run through an intercooler which really is nothing more than a "radiator" for the intake air charge. By cooling it down, it makes the air denser which helps the fuel/air mix burn much more efficiently (better power & mpg in most cases). Depending on your engine and space available, you may be able to add an intercooler and the piping necessary. Best bet would be to find a similar rig that already has one to see how it is set up. There are tons of parts & piping on Ebay these days, but you first need to work out the location & routing. Generally not that big a project depending on how crowded things are in your engine bay.

Try Googling your engine/chassis combo with "intercooler" or "intercooled" added on and see what comes up.

My rig will require a custom intercooler and piping due to the extremely narrow front end configuration of the 1946 Chevy chassis it is in. My Cummins 4BT came with a cooler but unfortunately it's horizontal design won't fit in this situation. Come to think of it...if you decide to go this route, once you get some measurements, if it will fit, I will let the one I have go for a hundred bucks.

Happy hunting and let us know what you find out.
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