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Old 04-17-2018, 01:26 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 22
Bunk bus build

Got this short bus for a smoking deal. its an E450 7.3 Diesel. 161k miles. rust free Which was shocking for a bus from NJ. $800 bucks and I could not pass it up. It only needs an Injector drive module. My plan is to build bunk beds along the walls for 6 people. I am going to make the top bunks fold down to make couches for seating while underway. It will be a long "build in progress" as i dont have a ton of funds I want to eventually add house batteries with a solar set up on the roof, but for now it will just be a place to sleep on various road trips. I attached a few 3d models of what i am basically planning to do. The only problem i have with the bus is that it has 4.56 gears which do not bode well for highway economy. I am going to change them eventually.
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:03 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,908
4.56 gears were pretty much the only rear gearing available on that chassis in order to get the GVWR. 4.10's or less are just too fast for that engine and still get a GVWR of over 12,000 lbs.

You will discover that even with a 12,000 lbs.+ GVWR that you have very little payload capacity as it is. Trying to get the RPM's down for traveling on the highway will mean that any sort of bump in the road and the transmission will be shifting out of OD. Any sort of serious upgrade will require dropping out of drive into the lower gears.

It isn't just a function of weight either. The frontal area really slows a rig down. I operated three cut-away buses with the same 4.56 gears, 7.3L engine, and E4OD transmission. One of the three was more aerodynamic than the other two. Consistently, regardless of who was driving, the aerodynamic bus got 1-2 MPG better and was able to hold speed on hills a little bit longer.

I suppose you could chip the engine to overcome the gearing but then you run the risk of overheating and blowing up the transmission. Putting in a DieselSite built E4OD transmission will solve a lot of the transmission issues but that is a lot of $$$ if you don't have to change a transmission. I wish this company had been in business when I had been in business. Over a three year period I put seven E4OD transmissions into three buses. The longest one ran was 42,000 miles. The lowest one ran was under 12,000 miles. I think one of their transmissions would go the distance! Legendary E4OD Heavy Duty Diesel Transmission
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:12 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 22
Thanks for the good info. I own 2 7.3 trucks so I am familiar with the engine and trans. I plan on adding a tuner even if I don't change gearing. I am also going to add gauges for trans temp, oil temp, egt, and boost. I know those gauges are extremely useful for the trucks engine health so I imagine they are that much more useful in the van setup. I also plan on adding a huge trans cooler to help keep temps down. I am going to use it for probably 85% highway and I really want as many mpgs as possible.
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:30 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,908
Be aware that there is a LOT of aftermarket support for F-series trucks and virtually zero aftermarket support for E-series vans/cut-away chassis.

Part of the lack of support is there is virtually no room under the dog house to change much of anything from what the factory put under there.

The other problem is you are going to have overheating issues is you try to turn the engine HP up. There just isn't a good way in which to move more air through the radiator and engine compartment.
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:17 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 22
Yes I am aware of that. I have been following a few people van builds on the truck forums and have gotten tons of helpful info. also f anyone is curious about what a short bus is registered as in NJ... Its a class 8 passenger vehicle. i still have to figure out if the insurance company will uphold their quick quote from the weekend.
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:21 AM   #6
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 179
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Corbeil
Chassis: Ford
Engine: Ford PowerStroke Diesel 6.0
Rated Cap: GVWR 11,500
Quote:
Originally Posted by E450Shorty View Post
Yes I am aware of that. I have been following a few people van builds on the truck forums and have gotten tons of helpful info. also f anyone is curious about what a short bus is registered as in NJ... Its a class 8 passenger vehicle. i still have to figure out if the insurance company will uphold their quick quote from the weekend.
Hey! Nice to see another Jersey skoolie! What part of the state are you in? My wife and I are in the Morristown area.
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:28 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 22
I am in Morris county Rockaway area. I started working on removing the School bus stuff yesterday and got frustrated by rusty fasteners. ill do a bunch of work this week and post up some pictures.
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:05 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 22
Made some progress this weekend. got the motor running but the 3 injectors are sticking so I have to deal with that. I discovered the air box had a crack in it so it has been sucking unfiltered air for a while. I hope not too long. I discovered the turbo needs a new compressor wheel but i was going to rebuild it anyway to freshen up the seals. I got all the seats out and most of the bus stuff off. I also did the "hutch mod" in the fuel tank because the screens were clogged solid. After we did that the motor started to run smoother. Has anyone had any luck moving these floor mounted heaters?
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:54 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: NorCal
Posts: 39
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: E-350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
For my floor mounted heater in my e350, the two coolant lines underneath had cut off valves. I turned them off, cut the hose with a bucket underneath to collect the coolant, and then pulled the heater off the floor.

Iíll be closing the loop closer to the engine in the near future, as I need that precious space underneath, but this was good enough for now.
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:02 PM   #10
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 9
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC Savana
That's a great price for a bus. What about the tires? and how much do you expect to pay to get the injector drive module fixed? Was it from a dealer or auction. I have 2 brothers in NJ and can having them help me with hunting if we know where to look. Any ideas?
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