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Old 08-07-2018, 04:19 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
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My "Special" 1999 Chevy Express 3500 Cutaway Mini Shuttle

Just picked up this 99 Chevy Express 3500 Mini Shuttle. Not sure what the final plans will be yet, but some sort of moto hauler/weekend RV'er.



72,000 miles
5.7L Chevy 350
15 passenger
New tires about 1000 miles ago, but at least 2 or 3 years ago so hoping they aren't cracking or anything from sitting.



Previous owner bought it from the Atlanta airport I believe and they had it converted to propane with a PoliAuto (?)(i.e. "Flux Capacitor") system of some sort, but it doesn't run like it's supposed to. He spent a bunch of money throwing parts at it to make it run better, but it still hesitates and sputters if you step on the gas too hard. If you baby it, she'll drive around town all day no problem. I think I'll look into converting it back to gas and ditch the propane altogether if I can't figure out what's wrong with it. Gas or propane it gets horrendous mileage anyway so I don't foresee it being a real cross country tourer or anything.


Will update as it moves along but there are a couple of other projects around the house that need attention before I dive into this thing headfirst. Cheers!


Brian
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:21 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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few more pics
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:24 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I hope to see more of this build......nice platform
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:26 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Poliauto

If there happens to be any "Poliauto" experts on here, any wisdom about that propane conversion system would be very much appreciated. In all my years of different Forums and searches, I've never found something so obscure that no one in the world seems to have used. Or I'm not looking in the right places.


http://www.poliauto.net/technical_fe...ators_72_.html
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:31 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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And for the record, my wife hates it. (So far) She knows me well enough to expect it to sit in the driveway taking up space and pissing the neighbors off until I get time to work on it. What's even worse is that my in laws loved it when they came for our 2nd oldest's graduation earlier this summer.
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:33 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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And if there are any "Poliauto" experts on here, any info on this propane conversion system would be very much appreciated. Thanks


technical features of lpg vaporizer regulators 72 C4 - 83 C5
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:36 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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What I was thinking might be cool is to kind of copy this design with 6 captains chairs, 3 on each side, facing forward, then bike/gear storage across the back.



Just not sure yet if I want to go more "people" seating for now, or go with less "seating", and more "RV", with bed, sink, fridge, shower, etc.
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:46 PM   #8
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Year: 2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vfrman View Post
Just picked up this 99 Chevy Express 3500 Mini Shuttle. Not sure what the final plans will be yet, but some sort of moto hauler/weekend RV'er.



72,000 miles
5.7L Chevy 350
15 passenger
New tires about 1000 miles ago, but at least 2 or 3 years ago so hoping they aren't cracking or anything from sitting.



Previous owner bought it from the Atlanta airport I believe and they had it converted to propane with a PoliAuto (?)(i.e. "Flux Capacitor") system of some sort, but it doesn't run like it's supposed to. He spent a bunch of money throwing parts at it to make it run better, but it still hesitates and sputters if you step on the gas too hard. If you baby it, she'll drive around town all day no problem. I think I'll look into converting it back to gas and ditch the propane altogether if I can't figure out what's wrong with it. Gas or propane it gets horrendous mileage anyway so I don't foresee it being a real cross country tourer or anything.


Will update as it moves along but there are a couple of other projects around the house that need attention before I dive into this thing headfirst. Cheers!


Brian
Congrats! Can't wait for updates. Welcome to the skoolie family.
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:55 PM   #9
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Thanks Happy and Harold!
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Old 08-13-2018, 04:20 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Curious if there's a better place to search for what all is involved with converting this back to gas? What(if anything) is different about an Express 3500 Cutaway vs. an Express 3500 standard van? (As far as fuel system goes).


Would "ideally" love a list of parts that I'll need to source to make sure I can round up any obscure parts that might have been removed as part of the propane conversion.



I'm assuming I'll need:
Fuel tank
Straps to secure it to bus

fuel pump
sending unit
filler neck
fuel filter

gas cap
Fuel lines if they happen to have been removed


What other little bits could potentially be missing? Pressure regulators, sensors? I've been searching for a nice parts diagram/microfiche online, but haven't found one yet for the exact set up I've got. Thanks.
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Old 08-22-2018, 04:36 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Well.....after about 700 miles, It sputtered, backfired, and died. Just like the previous owner told me it did to him. It's sitting in the grocery store parking lot now and won't start again.



It was low on propane the day before so I put a bunch in and was running the same as ever. (You have to baby the throttle or it stumbles.)


It fires right up for a second, then dies. Over and over again. Just like it's starved for fuel.



I pulled the codes, even though there was no CEL on. P0172, P0174, and P1345. Could be totally unrelated because I honestly don't know if those codes would always be on anyway, since it runs on propane and not gas anymore? No idea how the fuel is managed now vs a typical fuel injection system.



Also, the little red and blue sensor connector (vapor canister purge valve solenoid) was unplugged when I finally got the engine cover off. I thought maybe it was a miracle and the only thing wrong with the bus was that someone forgot to plug that in!! I plugged it back in but same result. Bummer.....


Anyway, I'm just beginning to trouble shoot but thought I'd throw this out there for the shadetree mechanics to chew on for now. Thanks!



vacuum leak?
Fuse?
Sensor/Solenoid somewhere?
Relay?
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Old 08-22-2018, 07:45 PM   #12
Almost There
 
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Chassis: Chevrolet Express 3500
Engine: Duramax
I don't know much about these conversion systems, but you may need to replace the injectors also to go back to regular gas. I suspect if you went on LS1Tech you may find some help or reasonable used parts.
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Old 08-22-2018, 08:42 PM   #13
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Kinda reminds me of the 4.3 Vortec I had. Does that have the "spider" injection?
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Old 08-22-2018, 08:48 PM   #14
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If it seems the fuel pressure is low or intermittent, I'd be looking at the regulator.

Same symptoms on a gas engine recently near drove me nuts finding it.
But I don't know propane engine fuel delivery so this is only a suggestion.


John
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Old 08-25-2018, 04:33 PM   #15
Skoolie
 
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Location: NC, TN, and CA
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Year: 2001
Coachwork: Eldorado (REV)
Chassis: Chevy Express Cutaway g3500
Engine: Turbo diesel 6.5L
Rated Cap: 14
Thanks for showing the photos. I just bought a 2001 Chevy Express 3500 6.5L turbo diesel. The prior owner had already converted it, but the insides were run down. We gutted it. And removed the carpet on the walls. Yours is the first one I have seen as a true before scene. Now I know how the seats went. I am leaving in the metal channels that hold the seats in. The wall ones can be used to secure the cabinets to the walls. The floor channels can help hold stuff to the floor or I will think of a use for it. Do you have something that looks like a fused together double pedal under the driver seat or near the driver seat? Someone said they thought it was for left/right turn signaling using your left foot. And I see your shuttle is white. Mine is blue and green, but I understand that originally it was white. Again, thank you for the photos.
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Old 08-25-2018, 04:38 PM   #16
Skoolie
 
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Year: 2001
Coachwork: Eldorado (REV)
Chassis: Chevy Express Cutaway g3500
Engine: Turbo diesel 6.5L
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I am curious and anxious to see what you do with the windows. I need to replace 2 windows and all the seals/gaskets or whatever they are called and have no idea how to do that.
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Old 08-25-2018, 05:11 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I'm at a race in Seattle this weekend and away from the bus but Id be happy to look at whatever you want when I get back. Cheers!
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Old 08-25-2018, 05:21 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I'm a cranberry grower...and have a lot of experience with Propane, Gasoline and Diesel on running irrigation pumps. To put it into perspective...to run a 10 acre cranberry bog on Propane is 8 gallons of propane per hour.....on gasoline, it 6 gallons an hour......on diesel..... 3/4 of a gallon of diesel an hour. guess what...all my pumps are diesel....diesel motors cost more...and diesel fuel is comparable to propane....sell the bus and buy a diesel....
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Old 08-25-2018, 05:30 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I don't like cranberries(sorry....no offense), but that is about the best comparison I've seen on the topic. Well put!!
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Old 08-25-2018, 05:33 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Share,
I'll probably spend weeks online researching what everyone else did......then try something totally stupid and wreck something else. ��
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