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Old 03-16-2019, 07:41 PM   #1
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Outnabowt 6 window build

Okay, so here is the plan. I just picked up my 2003 Collins E450 six window and plan to do a simple conversion for camping and travel (towing the Jeep to places we want to off-road). We tend to stay in campgrounds with hookups or park in a family member's driveway while we visit. No boon-docking or off grid stuff for us so our build might be a little different than most.

I like to build things with budget in mind and this will be one of those projects. I plan to keep a running total on all expenses so folks can get some idea of what each modification may cost. I didn't see anything that would prevent me from sharing cost information and I won't name any stores or vendors used. Please let me know if that isn't allowed.

Now, on to the project details:

Bus cost - $2500
miles - 292,000
Insurance - $125 per year (MH titled in FL)
Dimensions of interior - 15'1" long x 7'6" wide x 6'3" tall at center
NO RIVETS!!!!everything is attached with torx screws


Tomorrow will be day 1. I plan on evaluating the engine, drive train, and verifying road worthiness.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20190308_120911 - Edited (1).jpg (461.6 KB, 32 views)
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File Type: jpg 20190308_120924 - Edited.jpg (241.4 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg 20190308_121048 - Edited.jpg (346.6 KB, 30 views)
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Old 03-16-2019, 07:50 PM   #2
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Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy cut-away 6-window shortie
Engine: 6.0L Gasser
Nice! It's very similar to my bus, a 2003 Collins with a Chevy front. If you choose to remove the upper wheelchair racks, they're relatively easy to punch the middles out and drill through with a 1/4" drill. The floor rails, on the other hand... I'm still fighting with them, but glad I did as there's rust under the plywood for me.

Best of luck with it, and I'll be following the build!

Chris
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Old 03-16-2019, 08:20 PM   #3
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Thanks farok. The only concern I have about drilling and saw work is that I just had rotator cuff and bicepital tendon surgery so I am pretty much one handing it for the next few months. Slow and steady for now, I guess.
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Old 03-17-2019, 09:53 PM   #4
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Day one ended up being spent replacing the glow plug control module and charging batteries. Apparently there is a parasitic draw on the system somewhere. I guess I will start pulling unnecessary bus wires to try to narrow down where it is coming from. It was crazy how tight everything is under the hood. 30 minute job took 2 hours and I had to practically take the bus apart.

I found the bus driver's license and fleet fuel card buried in the dash. I am going to try to contact her to send it back. Anyone know what the unattached plug I found is for (see picture)? I assume it is a heated element but I couldn't find where it should go.

Hopefully the next day of work will go better.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg 20190317_092754 - Edited.jpg (157.5 KB, 14 views)
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:28 PM   #5
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What is the unused plug in pic #3? Could it be related to the plug in your hand? I don't know, just guessing from the pics.
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Old 03-18-2019, 12:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
What is the unused plug in pic #3? Could it be related to the plug in your hand? I don't know, just guessing from the pics.
That is a different sensor. I disconnected it to get to the bolts hiding under it's loom. The sensor in my hand was balled up in a bunch of loom i was moving to get to the gpcm.
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Old 03-26-2019, 10:06 PM   #7
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No pictures from this past weekends work. I am still getting the mechanical stuff squared away. Replacing the GPCM didn't fix the cold start issues so I bit the bullet and ordered the fuel injector shim kit and spent a full day installing them along with new glow plugs since I was going to be under the valve covers anyway. All of the injectors were out of spec and needed to be shimmed. FYI, there are several contradicting posts about how to get the valve covers off. I was able to remove both without lowering the engine or raising the cab. It is tight but can be done. I went out the next morning and it started right up after cycling the glow plugs once! This was on a 47 degree morning. It was taking me over an hour to get it started before the shimming unless it was plugged in. I highly recommend shimming. $75 for easy cold starts and quieter, smoother running seems like a good investment to me. Next weekend will be finding the power drain. I have a feeling it is the voltage regulator.
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Old 04-20-2019, 10:27 PM   #8
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So after a couple days, I have removed the seats, seat belt tracks, and started stripping out wiring. I have decided to disassemble the switch box and move the switches to the dash. I will cut a plate and mount the switches in the factory stereo opening. Hopefully I can get the wiring cleaned up tomorrow so I can start focusing on the fun stuff. I will also keep the seat belt rails and repurpose them as cargo hold down points. I have the smaller versions mounted in my Jeep and they work great.
Attached Images
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:01 PM   #9
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Wow that looks familiar - I'll be following as I have a 2003 Collins, but with the Chevy front. I saw the wiring and thought it looked very much alike!

Chris
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farok View Post
Wow that looks familiar - I'll be following as I have a 2003 Collins, but with the Chevy front. I saw the wiring and thought it looked very much alike!

Chris
I have been following your build. I like your idea to cover the light holes. I decided to keep my flashers and use clear covers. I am going to wire then to switches so I can have front and rear flood lights.
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Old 04-24-2019, 01:37 PM   #11
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I am now in process of trying to figure which small bus suits me best. Either a van front or a dog nosed style. I recently been in a five window E model, but like this 6 window a heap too. Question:: Do you know how tall it is interior height? Your bus looks like there might be more headroom...which is important to me being 6 feet. Thank you

Also...can you please share the length bumper to bumper? Thanks
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Old 04-28-2019, 12:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian TX View Post
I am now in process of trying to figure which small bus suits me best. Either a van front or a dog nosed style. I recently been in a five window E model, but like this 6 window a heap too. Question:: Do you know how tall it is interior height? Your bus looks like there might be more headroom...which is important to me being 6 feet. Thank you

Also...can you please share the length bumper to bumper? Thanks
Dimensions of interior - 15'1" long x 7'6" wide x 6'3" tall at center. I am 6'1" and can stand up fine. I don't have the bumper to bumper length. I can measure it tomorrow for you.
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:27 PM   #13
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I haven't updated in awhile so I figured I would share a few pictures.
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:33 PM   #14
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And a few more
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:35 PM   #15
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Looking great!


Is that vinyl plank flooring?
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:44 PM   #16
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Thanks! Yes it is vinyl plank from Lowe's. It was under $2 per sq ft.
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Old 08-24-2019, 01:16 AM   #17
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Well, it sure has been a while. You got a lot done. Coming along nicely!
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:52 PM   #18
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Finished up the shower, put down some floor trim, rough in exterior outlet, and closed in the fridge.
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File Type: jpg 20190902_111407.jpg (201.8 KB, 10 views)
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:57 PM   #19
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12v lighting done and I got the "porch lights" hooked up.
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Old 10-19-2019, 10:08 PM   #20
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We are pretty much finished until we get back to FL. Only 5 more weeks until retirement then a 3k mile test drive from CA back to Crystal RIver.
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File Type: jpg 20191005_171915.jpg (289.2 KB, 5 views)
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