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Old 09-10-2019, 08:08 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Michigan
Posts: 20
Post Should I buy this bus?!

Hey guys.

This has been a long time coming, but I feel the universe telling me this is it. However, there have been a few caution flags and I want to get the pros' opinions before I sign the dotted line.

This week I am looking at (finally) buying. Some circumstances kind of aligned, and even though I still imagine gutting and converting my own beast some day, this one's already got the vast majority of the leg work done. I'll just paste the listing information, it's pretty descriptive. I'll add in bits where I've learned more info.

Thanks for whoever puts in the time to read all this just to help a noob like myself.


1994 Ford E-350 Mini Bus. This has the 7.3L IDI diesel engine.

The time has unfortunately come to let this bus move onto other adventures. We are sad to let it go! We traveled around much of the NE coast, SE, and SW states. It gets tons of positive attention and people are very excited to see and ask about it. We bought it from the previous owners in Aug-2018, made some significant electrical system & engine improvements, and hit the road for roughly 6 months. The bus never left us stranded and performed better than anyone might expect from a 25 year old vehicle.

Brief maintenance history:
- Previous owners (2017/201 had a rebuilt transmission put in, new tires, batteries, and brakes
- They also did the majority of the original bus conversion (insulation, painting, build out of bed/furniture, etc)
- We replaced the following at 150,400-ish miles:
- New injection pump
- New fuel return lines & fittings
- Injectors were pop tested & cylinders were compression tested (all passed)
- Fuel filter, air filter, PCV valve, and heater core all replaced
- New oil pan gasket (had small leak)
- Oil changes were done at proper increments while on the road
- Transmission was thoroughly checked over by two professional transmission shops, and serviced in April SIDENOTE: The current owner told me this about the transmission: the previous owners had a rebuilt transmission put in. While the current owners were on their adventures, the transmission light came on at some point. It was checked over, and the general consensus was something about the part number made it difficult to be sure what was wrong or how to fix it? I don't speak mechanic super well (yet!!). The current owner cleaned some corrosion off the electrical terminals, and for another 3,000 miles the light was off. Then it came back on, he cleaned the terminals again, but it only stayed off for a couple hundred miles. There doesn't feel like any sticking/slipping, the ride is very smooth (and surprisingly quiet!) The current owner said this makes him feel like the "issue" may be electrical, not mechanical.

The bus performed really well for us after fixing some major components (namely the injection pump) prior to leaving on our journey. We were never left stranded, under-powered, or broken down.This engine has a bit of a cult following / legendary status and rolling into various truck stops / gas stations we were asked countless times about it: ("Is that the 7.3?!?!"). It has a solid reputation for a reason.

Interior Features:

- Kitchenette
- Mini fridge (120V)
- Dinette/couch/storage/crib area
- Double bed (with ample storage under/behind bed)
- Electrical control panel (would be super easy to add/remove/upgrade any electrical components)

Electrical System Components:
- 2 x 200Ah Renogy Deep Cycle AGM Batteries (400Ah total - that's a lot!!). Has a Victron battery monitor and an MPPT charge controller.

Powered through 3 different sources:

- 3 x 100 Watt Renogy solar panels (on a tilting platform to better reach optimum sun angle: see pictures)
- Sterling B2B (Battery-to-Battery) Charger; This will charge the batteries while driving the bus
- Inverter/Charger - Allows you to connect to shore power system (All normal electrical outlets; campgrounds, garages, homes, generators, etc.)

Quick note on performance: We spent 1.5 months in Maine in the fall (Oct-Nov); It rained and was cloudy almost every single day. The combined effect of the tilting panels plus the MPPT charge controller makes this setup squeeze every watt out of this array. We only spent one night to re-charge our batteries during that time; and I was using a laptop & cell range extender for 9 hrs a day. The batteries have never been depleted to anything less than 50% charge capacity. We are very happy with this setup.

- LED Puck Lights all the way around the interior with a dimmer switch
- Multi-colored LED light strips w/ remote from original owner
- 3 x 12V cigarette / accessory-type chargers around the bus. We put in double-USB chargers to power our phones, camera, laptop, fans; anything with a 12V/USB charger port!
- Aims 1250 Watt inverter/charger
- WeBoost Drive 4G-X RV Cell Phone Range Extender/Booster (This thing is awesome for working remotely or needing a boost to your cell service)
- LED 'light-bar' lights all the way around the exterior of the bus; super helpful for backing up, seeing campsites at night, finding a spot to park, partying, etc.

Exterior:
- Trailer hitch cargo carrier
- Custom Built Roof Rack / Deck (w/ ladder)
- Extendable awning
- Bike rack
- Will NOT come with black rooftop cargo carrier as pictured

We are sad to let it go; but it is time.

So for anyone still watching at home... what do the pros think this bus is worth?

Thank you for your time, and good night
Attached Images
File Type: jpg bus.jpg (43.2 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg bus2.jpg (25.6 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg bus3.jpg (34.5 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg bus4.jpg (39.9 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg bus5.jpg (34.0 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20190905_182702926.jpg (169.3 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20190905_182730192.jpg (171.0 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20190905_182759728.jpg (201.0 KB, 10 views)
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:18 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Anaconda,MT
Posts: 259
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 Turbo
Rated Cap: 90
What it is worth is a pretty subjective question, I think anymore then 7500-10k would be overpriced. But I have seen some buses sell for insane money.

On the trans, check the MLPS if itís the E40D. They are know to make lots of problems and are often overlooked on rebuilds.
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:24 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Michigan
Posts: 20
thanks for the advice! he's asking a bit more than that, but I feel like he'll definitely get asking, whether I give it to him or someone else does.

real quick, sorry, what is MLPS?
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:28 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Anaconda,MT
Posts: 259
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 Turbo
Rated Cap: 90
What is he asking?

I don’t what it stands for but google E4OD MLPS it tells the computer what gear the the transmission is in. Really easy to change driver side of trans were the linkage is
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:02 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Michigan
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thank you. I understand now. so with this simple maybe $100 fix, the light may go away, along with my worries that the rebuilt tranny is faulty?

he's asking 12. I wanted to offer 10.5 because I know I have to replace the brake lines and master cylinder but not only does he have several other interested parties (I feel like he'll get what he wants for it), but I've also had him driving around to different mechanic shops (one could check the body/tranny but could not do the compression check, now looking for somewhere to do the compression check in the next couple of days. So I feel like at this point, if I try to barter, he'll just be annoyed about all the strife just for me to offer less than the next guy will. I'm also pressed for time right now with my situation, which I'd be lying if I said isn't playing into my wanting to jump.

The 7.3 L will also run forever if it's treated right, which it appears it has been so far.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:32 PM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 18,528
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
I"m pretty sure that bus has been on here before.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:37 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Michigan
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You may be right, it was originally called "green bus and us" - there is a treehugger.com article about it as well as a few local news stories where I'm from. Do you recall anything important about last time it was on here or have the link to the other conversations about it? I'd love to learn as much info as I can about it before I purchase.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:43 PM   #8
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 18,528
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveBusTreatery View Post
thank you. I understand now. so with this simple maybe $100 fix, the light may go away, along with my worries that the rebuilt tranny is faulty?

he's asking 12. I wanted to offer 10.5 because I know I have to replace the brake lines and master cylinder but not only does he have several other interested parties (I feel like he'll get what he wants for it), but I've also had him driving around to different mechanic shops (one could check the body/tranny but could not do the compression check, now looking for somewhere to do the compression check in the next couple of days. So I feel like at this point, if I try to barter, he'll just be annoyed about all the strife just for me to offer less than the next guy will. I'm also pressed for time right now with my situation, which I'd be lying if I said isn't playing into my wanting to jump.

The 7.3 L will also run forever if it's treated right, which it appears it has been so far.
IIRC we have a forum member who has that same bus/engine and says you have to pull the engine to replace the head gaskets. Says he wishes he knew how hard it it before he built the bus out.
I'd pass and let the other "parties" have fun with it.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:02 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Michigan
Posts: 20
Do you recall the member/build name? I'd like to ask them if this is the case. Also, if I get the engine compression checked and the head gaskets aren't a problem, is this really an issue for me if I only plan to have it for 2-3 years max?
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:09 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: The Great State of TX
Posts: 19
"7.3 Legendary Status" is mainly for the 7.3 PSD (Power Stroke Diesel) the updated, turbo version of that engine made from 1994.5 to 2003.

Yes the "IDI" version is a very good engine also but it lacks the power of the "PSD" without the turbo. As long as you dont expect it to get up and go you should be fine.

Because it's and IDI 7.3, I wouldnt let the "legendary" factor over to any added price influence for you.


Also that rust on the undercarriage is meh. If you plan to take time to address it soon then you should be fine but I wouldnt let it go much longer otherwise repair will get more significant.
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