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Old 10-19-2017, 02:06 PM   #1
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Mildred Zebrus 01 E450 7.3

First time posting on here, but this page is awesome and Iíve been reading and learning through it for awhile! Yíall rule! Anyways about a year ago I purchased my first bus, a Thomas Built 2001 E450 with the 7.3 diesel motor and 203k miles on it. The guy was asking for $1500 but stated it had starting issues and needed new injectors. When I checked it out with a friend we found it also had an exhaust leak so i offered him $1000 and he took it! Itís been great to me so far, Iíve had friends help me with the exhaust leak and since switching to 5w40 rotella and putting two new batteries in the starting issues arenít too noticeable anymore and once the bus is up to temp (5-10mins of idling) she runs great! (Iíve read/heard injector issues with the HEUI injectors in the motor are common and thinner weight synthetic oil seems to be helping me out)
Iíve attached some photos from the first day I got the bus to the first trip I took with it about two weeks after I picked it up. Also the water pump in my car broke down on the way to purchase the bus and we ended up using the bus to tow it home that same day! Anyways Iíll probably just post some progress photos as Iím working on it more now and I just ripped up the floor last week to check it out and insulate it. I live in Milwaukee Wisconsin and am mainly using the bus for band/bmx/roadtrips but would like to keep my options/floorplan open for rv/extended vacations in the rig. Last winter we played a few shows in northern Wisconsin and being on the freeway at night for 5 hours in -2 to -9 degree weather was brutally cold! Hoping to avoid that issue this winter!

Again thanks to the people who run this page for inspiring me to jump into this project! Also diesel bus gets the same or better mileage than all my previous full size Chevy vans! 😎
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:17 PM   #2
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Location: Billings, MT
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
Nice find and welcome to our collective nightmare.

For heat, I suggest a Wave 6 or Wave 8 heater. Insulate the sides and back with some 1" rigid foam insulation, available at Home Depot for about $20 for a 4x8 sheet. Elevate your mattress off the floor.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:30 PM   #3
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Year: 1991
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Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
you should have tons of heat when on the freeway... are the rear heaters removed from the bus? or is there a leak and the heater valves are closed? ive driven my larger tin-can style bus in 0 degrees and never wear a coat..just short sleeves and stay nice N warm...

-Christopher
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:32 PM   #4
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Location: Billings, MT
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
Sounds just like what I did in my Freightshaker, except I wore a fleece on my left arm because it was by the window.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:41 PM   #5
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Thanks! I just realized I didnít post how that bed worked, it flips up out of the way and I keep a memory foam mattress on it. Which was nice because when itís against the wall I can pack things up against it but when itís folded down I can barely keep milk crates under it. Iíd like to make a shelf thatís smaller on either side that maybe folds down and meets in the middle and have it be almost window height so I can keep gear/guitar cabinets underneath it. Hereís a bunch more photos of it over the past year next post will be demo pics.
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:56 PM   #6
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Nice looking bus you got there. Lucky(?) you didn't have to paint it. Like what you are doing on the inside and will follow your build.
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:55 PM   #7
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Location: Moodus, Ct.
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
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If you have injector or glow plug issues, its most likely the under valve cover wiring harness. The load of the glow plugs going thru the harness+ valve cover arc out over time. Theres a reason they sell everything in a kit like this. https://www.ebay.com/itm/BRAND-NEW-V...JW-p-u&vxp=mtr
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my bus build http://www.skoolie.net/gallery/Skoolies/Sped
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Old 10-20-2017, 08:33 PM   #8
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Iíve definitely heard that the clips for that valve cover wiring harness go bad and make a bad connection, thanks for reminding me I should look into replacing that!!

Also my heaters work but the vacuum line that controls where the air flows is broken so it just defaults to defrost mode, Iíve since learned that using the school bus driver fan pointed at the dash helps move the warm air around more, also noticed how drafty the seals around the door by the steps are, so Iím sure they were just letting in loads of cold air! Working on sealing all those things up better as I get more into the build!

Here are some floor removal photos, glad I pulled it up, but it was kind of a nightmare, next time I do this Iíd like to have bigger pry bars, after struggling for an hour or two I realized cutting the wood into smaller pieces then removing it with a pry bar made it wayyyyy easier.

Rust removal seems to be never ending, living in the rust belt sucks!! Wear a mask 😷 while doing this, wish I had something better than the paper ones but it was definitely better than nothing.
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:01 PM   #9
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Pretty much all of this progress was made over the past two weeks. I was able to patch some holes around the wheel wells after I harvested some contruction signs and scraps of metal and made it watertight to the best of my abilities without a welder. Did as much rust removal as I could bear, coated everything in rust converter and rolled the floor with black rustoleum. Purchased $30 Worth of 2x4s went to a friends house to rip them down to 1Ēx1.5Ē on his table saw to use them as framing pieces for the subfloor.

Another friend was able to salvage a bunch of scrap blue 1Ē foam insulation from worksites for me to use so using that plus some 1/2Ē osb for the subfloor. I had purchased the osb then read/realized maybe it wouldnít be the best thing to use Incase of water getting on it and the wood expanding so I covered all the osb pieces with deck sealer to try and prolong the life of those pieces.

And I just finished the subfloor last night probably wonít get around to throwing down the laminate floor until Sunday or Monday but Iíll post photos as I get there, still a bunch of other small things to tackle but having s good time now that I have a floor again! Felt great to take everything out of the bus and see it cleared of equipment and walk on it!

Thanks again for any input/kind words yíall have!
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