This is my first post on Skoolie, so- hello!
I just purchased a '97 E450 (acc to VIN lookup on Ford site) w/290K miles on a Powerstroke 7.3 turbo diesel. I did some basic research and came up with pros/cons, vs. newer engines and decided to go for this one.
So far, in CA, '97's do NOT require smog check (but it could change...) so that's a plus. Tho it may spend much of its life south of border (I own a lot that I may park it on, while doing some construction work this summer)
It is also NOT an RV- it is a BUS. My city passed new parking regs in 2014, prohibiting long term parking of RVs/trailers or anything over 27' long AND 7' tall. So- I bought this 24' bus (over 7' tall, tho) in part to avoid those regs. Modifications will be simple/basic multipurpose to avoid the RV look.
We shall see how the neighbors react...
It's a former shuttle bus w/wheelchair lift (handy for loading heavy camp gear), currently seats 9 (8 passengers/driver) to avoid need for commercial license, and otherwise is empty. I bought it for very little, so now... leap of faith to convert to travel vehicle!
The engine sounds solid in a rumbly diesel kinda way (as far as my untrained ear can tell)- ran fine on drive home, about 40 miles on freeway, at 60-65 mph easily. Decent acceleration w/overdrive switch. Looks dry underneath- no oil leaks, no rust, spent its life in SoCal.
Suspension... hard to know, but feels solid, no wobbles etc.
So before I depart for Baja w/friends in a few weeks, a few q's:
1) What needs to be professionally inspected in terms of engine? What maintenance should I do to be safe (I have no maintenance records
What should I definitely do before driving in MX end of March?
2) Can I run biodiesel without making big changes? I live in sunny/warm SoCal, most often drive south into sunnier Baja, rarely north. Do I really need a dual tank system (it has a 60 gal), or just gradually add biodiesel and change fuel filter as the crud loosens us (there are several professional biodiesel options near my home, from 99.9% to 20%)
I've never owned a diesel but have owned Fords, and currently drive a Mazda B-4000 w/small camper shell into Baja often. La Bus will transport friends/family/toys for longer adventures that my little .5 ton can't carry.
So... that's my story: I have a bus, not an RV, that will be used for fun adventures, and hopefully the 7.3 will give us all another 100k of miles.
Your advice/comments/helpful suggestions welcome!