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Old 04-07-2016, 07:53 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 155
Year: 1998
Coachwork: corbeil
Chassis: ford e350
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke
Elf Bus E350 corbeil

Left home in PA with my car and dolly to pick up a 1998 e350 corbeil srw in Erwin North Carolina. Found it on Craigslist. The owner sent me pictures of the rust situation and after a couple of days we made the decision to drive out and take it unless something was seriously wrong.
Left at 6PM. We have a station wagon and I was able to get a bed in there.
Drove 2 Hrs, napped 2 hrs, drove again 4H, napped again. Arrived the next day around 11 in Erwin, NC. Bus looked good but after more careful inspection showed a big rust hole under the drivers feet. The body and frame at the body mounts was all good so I figured it would only take some sheet metal to make it like new. Could not find other rust worth mentioning for a 17 yr old vehicle. Chassis looked perfect, Corbeil must have used galvanized steel, not even the seat bolts were rusted.
I had made a bumper hitch and bracket to reinforce the bumper. Installed that, connected the wiring and settled the financial business. The owner was a real nice to guy to deal with even had some bones for my dog. Used some yellow duct tape to modify school bus and cool bus to fend the cops off and removed the guard at the front bumper. Did not want to cut the wires from the lights in the stop sign and let it be. Driving most of it by night anyhow
My mercedes 300td had gotten 25 mpg with the dolly. I was curious what the powerstroke would get hauling it all back.
Left around 4PM and stopped at a rest area 1 hr later to catch up on sleep.
When I woke up it was getting colder and decided to look at the heat in the bus. Two valves next to the radiator were closed and decided to open those. I assumed they must have been closed for a reason and indeed something started dripping. The steel coolant lines to the rear of the bus were corroded thru at one of the clips. Closed the valves. Caught the leaking coolant in a XL coffee cup and took a hacksaw to cut the bad section out. The hoses to the rear heater were long enough and reconnected the whole thing. It got dark but good enough had a head flashlight, best invention ever. Second try, still leaking, the hoses at the ends were in poor shape. Shortened those as well. Had it idle for a while and purge air and there was some heat in the rear, front still out. I knew from my other econolines that the heater flap gets damaged, poor design, and left. Wanted to make some miles. Lost a cup of coolant, cleaned up the mess I made in the parking lot so some animal would not lap it up.
The rear heat was not enough to keep it comfortable. At the next nap the dog provided heat. The other driving I did with the sleeping bag around me.
Two Waffle houses and one MCD later and back during daylight, the sun shining all was cool again. Made it home around 3PM.
Wife excited, kids, 4 and 9 very excited. Life is good.
About 14 mpg mostly 50 to 55 Mph. It has 4.10 in the rear axle.

The next day my wife and I took some of the seats and front compartment "fence" out. Amazing the fastener were easy. Wife on the inside with a cordless impact and me under with wrench holding the nuts. Did I mention no rust. Love it. We made a booth seating directly behind the driver by using a seat from the opposite side. This is convertible as bed for either of the kids. Removed the closing and locking system from the entry door. I am planning on using a similar system as is used on the exit door with the clever use of a dead lock that I found on this forum, .... Thank you....

Going to make a fridge cabinet at the third window behind the driver.
I have a swivel seat from my old ambulance camper van conversion that is going to the first window behind the entry doors.
The second and third window behind the entry door is the kitchen. The last two windows at both sides are for the our bed. No bathroom or shower planned. I need one more bed. In the old ambulance we had a hammock above the drivers seat where the 9 year old was sleeping. In this case that is not that convenient with the entry doors. I can gain some space by removing the electric cabinet above the driver and some diagonal construction?
We will call her "Elf bus"
later J
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:14 PM   #2
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
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Sounds like you're well on your way to a cute build. Welcome.
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:35 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 155
Year: 1998
Coachwork: corbeil
Chassis: ford e350
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke
Sorry I realized that this thread should be in the short bus section.
I will make a new thread and start over.

later, J
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:04 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 3,383
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
sounds like the beginnings of a great bus build are taking hold!! those E350's are indestrctible .. however the climate systems are almost always in disrepair... the heaters are the easy part.. retrofitted rear Air conditioning almost always is in need of some TLC.. but there are lots of parts for many of those shuttle style busses out there...

-Christopher
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Old 04-08-2016, 07:47 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 155
Year: 1998
Coachwork: corbeil
Chassis: ford e350
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke
Elf Bus E350 Corbeil DC motor belt driven airco?

I haven't tried the airco. It looks like The compressor is engine driven but the condensor is on the driver side under the bus. It like to modify and move the compressor with a belt driven DC motor and mount them under the bus to.
Increase the alternator capacity Then it will be easy to run it off Shore power or on reduced capacity of the 300 watt solar array.
It seems that some new parts were fitted to the airco system, newer lines and fill nipples so maybe it is working or like you said some TLC.
The condensor under the bus is pretty wide and is suspended from two transverse bus floor frame profiles. It would be nice if it would fit in between then it would be 4" higher and give better ground clearance. May be there is a shorter version.

later J
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:07 AM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 3,383
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
your bus may have 2 air-conditioning systems.. it may also have a Ford Dashboard A/C system.. and then the rear system may very well be a separate compressor..

the condenser you are speaking of is a skirt mounted condenser.. they do hang a bit low but are the best way to cool the rear of a bus..

if you have dash-air that would likely cool the front seats and maybe any captains chairs you might install as passenger seats right behind..

you wont get much cooling for 300 watts off of a system designed for engine-drive and then converted.. there is a lot of wasted energy foing from solar to spinning an engine-style compressor... you might be better off looking into a DC compressor and then designing in the existing evaporator and condenser.. your condenser fans are going to pull a minimum of 150-200 watts on a system like that... your indoor fans will pull 100-150 watts.. maybe a little less on low speed.. doesnt leave much for the compressor from the solar..

wonder if you could fashion up an absorpton cooler and use the existing heat exchangers.. then you could harness the HEAT from the sun and use it for Cooling...

if shore power of generator power is your main interest you could fashion in an electric compressor... or remove that rear system altogether and put a camper A/C on the roof.. still retaining the front dash air for travelling...

you'll be able to tell once you get under the hood if you have 2 compressors or one... but MOST shuttle companies retain the original equipment dashboard A/C and add a complete second system...

-Christopher
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:33 AM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 155
Year: 1998
Coachwork: corbeil
Chassis: ford e350
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke
Yes you are right, the power is very limited. In my old ambulance conversion I used a 5000 btu window airco of an inverter. It worked but only at 50% duty cycle.
I noticed only one compressor on the engine but will look again.
Shore power is not my interest. I will find out how much the solar panels on the roof and better insulation will reduce the heat load.
Thanks for the Amp numbers on the cooling fans.

Will start with moving the condenser more to the rear wheel to make more space for an extra battery.

I like that absorption idea and study up on it.

Created album under joeblack5 and added pictures.

Thanks for the quick heads up.

Later J
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Old 04-08-2016, 06:20 PM   #8
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Location: Moodus, Ct.
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Year: 1996
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Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
If its like mine (or any other Ford I've seen) Its the engine driven compressor-and the bus builder spliced into the stock AC + put their stuff in series. I have a (added on) sticker the states "rear ac must be on for the front to work." Or is it the other way...
The ambulance package had 2 alternators-which has to be quite a feat of packaging with all the crap already up there.
If you do move the compressor, You'll have to find some form of pulley from an ac delete truck. You'll be in serpintene belt hell....
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Old 04-08-2016, 07:01 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 155
Year: 1998
Coachwork: corbeil
Chassis: ford e350
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke
Elf Bus E350 Corbeil DC motor belt driven airco?

I checked and it is engine driven but does not have a condenser in front of the radiator. More engine cooling. I haven't followed the airco hoses to see how it is hooked up. From the compressor the high pressure line first has to go to the condenser and then split in two to the rear and front evaporators. Will check later

Today i took another seat out in the rear and started planning the bed.
Also removed the spaghetti in the electrical cabinet above the driver.
Found a funny looking box from VDO. It seems to be a blackbox data box?

In a small setup like this all space is important.
It rained a little today and the roof has several leaks. It will be fun to track them all down. Above the windows is a hollow profile that carries a cable for the rear lights and such. I will try to add the rear airco fan cable to it so that less wiring is below the bus and also potential shorter.

Tomorrow I will cut out some yellow steel panels from a big bus that is at the scrap yard and use it to cover up three rear windows on the driver side and two rear on the other side. It looks that i can reuse the obsolete windows and modify them into double window for the several other ones as to get less noise and better insulation.

I want to remove the roof rivets and slide the metal under the roof panels and then re-rivet them to reduce leak potential. ould be nice to get the old rivets out so that will not become rust scrap inside the square tubing.

later J
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:47 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 155
Year: 1998
Coachwork: corbeil
Chassis: ford e350
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke
Elf Bus E350 Corbeil lowering floor

Robin 97396
well ... on the insulation / mold thread I spilled the beans about thinking about lowering the floor.

I used to live in a DAF vanHool city bus, front engine flat nose. This city bus had a lowered walkway and the floor for the seats was , I estimate, about 6" higher. The bus was tall enough for me at 6'-2" and we covered the "trench" up and ran heating ducts and cables thru it.

Before buying the 5 window corbeil I was looking for a high top collins but could not find one in the couple of month that i was looking. Then it occurred to me that with the height increase of the 4x4 conversion and the solar panels this would become pretty high and instable / tip over / wind drag. So i decided that a normal 5'-8" bus should do.

Nevertheless a walkway in this bus could be possible and have best of both worlds. The frame members of the E350 chassis are 30" apart, The walkway is about 24 " between the kitchen along one wall and seating along the other. The bed room is in the back and so no floor lowering is required.

My not yet "refined" plan is to cut the 4 pieces of 2x4 C channels and dropping that as the E350 frame allows about 5" or more where it does not interfere with the e350 cross member / drive line.
So far my search has not shown anybody has done this.
Would be using a 4 or 6" purlin Z-channel to connect the walkway floor back to the original floor and gusset / connector plates to weld the cut out C channel back to 2 ft section that hold the high area of the floor.

Later J
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