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Old 10-20-2014, 05:13 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 10
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Metrotrans
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.4 Gas
YAMBT - Yet Another Metrotrans Bus Thread

Hello all! I've been lurking around Skoolie.net for a few years and at one point even had an account/made some posts but those have seem to been lost. So I wanted to get everyone up to speed where I've been with my 1994 Metrotrans over the last few years.

Backstory: I purchased it from an auctioneer in August 2012. It's seen all of its days in the Minnesota/North Dakota winters so as you can imagine, it's suffered its share of rust wear, etc from poor upkeep. It's not ALL that bad, but some of the frame supports have rusted away. We'll come back to this later.

One of my former friends had talked me into buying something that with a "little" bit of work we could use, versus buying something that was ready to go. Famous last words, because when you find something that has stalling and a number of electrical components fried (we're talking the original blower fans all the way to the ECU needing to be replaced), I'm wishing I had sunk some money into something that was in better shape.

As this is going to be more of a chronicle versus a book at once, without further adieu I wanted to share a few current photos of my bus. The single purpose for me buying this was to facilitate transport of our (being me and my wife) group(s) of friends around the Twin Cities area. This summer I saw the single greatest undertaking in building custom vinyl benches to increase the seating capacity while adding and cool bar area plus cup holders along the windows. Plus now the emergency exit window latches are accessible in the case of an actual emergency

Outside


Inside
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Old 10-20-2014, 06:09 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 10
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Metrotrans
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.4 Gas
Re: YAMBT - Yet Another Metrotrans Bus Thread

Now let's dig a little bit into some of the mechanical work that I had to do after purchasing this sucker..... *groan*

2 days after purchasing the bus we had one of those pedal pub outings scheduled with our friends, about 15 of us. What should have been a "tell" of mechanical issues during the test drive is once it seemed to warm up there would be a significant loss of power. So my buddy's mechanic brother gave it a quick tune up: oil change, spark plugs, etc - $80 total. None of this seemed to work immediately so we had our outing and several "party stops" along the way to let it cool down so we could drive it again. After the event was over I took it to several places and the common theme seemed to be the ECU. So I sent it off to a place to be refurbished - $300 later no difference. This was the first tip off to some kind of electrical short at some point due to improper grounding as the ECU repair spot showed several capacitors being fried and they saying this was due to improper grounding. So I found another place (a transmission shop) that was able to trace it down to the fuel pump. Thankfully $700, and 8 months later after the winter months passed, this seemed to do the trick.

Now that we were approaching a full year of ownership, and things were starting to heat up in Minnesota, getting the AC up and going was high on the list. But of course it wasn't getting cold. Found a local guy who was going to refill the R34 but in doing so found a portion of the AC line was completely missing! So $600 later to repair it and refill, we now had cool AC! The flip side of this is that on the Trans/AIR system, come the winter time it was still pumping out cold air.

Another $200 later a local bus shop found that the switch that was supposed to automatically flip when the front panel switch was turned to Heat was not, and since that system's parts were MIA, they installed a valve off the heater line to the rear system. Turns out I guess a lot of school buses have these anyways!

Over to the bus doors. When we got this the polarity switch to open and close the doors was shot. And they used a bungee cord to hold the door closed (you can see in the upper left - plus heres a lovely view of the nasty original seats):

Thankfully one of our friends works for a local bus company and one of their mechanics were able to rig up an up/down toggle switch with new parts for $100. This at least opens and closes the door without needing any goofy cords or manual release. But the downside is that when driving the doors themselves do not stay put. They're in bad shape so I'm still at a loss on how to address:


I did completely remove the nasty stepping from years of wear and after some grinding used black rustoleum to make it look better!
Before

After


Finally for now - the exhaust line. With multiple holes and cracks providing some lovely CO2 into the cabin, I had a friend replace everything behind the catalytic converter to the rear. Another $500 but now all of that lovely exhaust is being pumped behind the moving bus (VS under it)

One of the biggest pains was going over the rear axel, so we had to use some flex pipe


At this point were probably close to $3000 out of pocket for most of the mechanical repairs. Next up I'll talk a little about the interior!
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Old 10-21-2014, 05:31 AM   #3
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Re: YAMBT - Yet Another Metrotrans Bus Thread

welcome and great story so far...kinda sad....looks like it worked out in the end

wow is DD when you go out, do you all swap around?

What/where is twin cities?
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Old 10-21-2014, 11:49 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 10
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Metrotrans
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.4 Gas
Re: YAMBT - Yet Another Metrotrans Bus Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
welcome and great story so far...kinda sad....looks like it worked out in the end

wow is DD when you go out, do you all swap around?

What/where is twin cities?
Well I sure hope that it has a happy ending because the story is still written!!

Typically I DD for driving, been able to make some money to go back towards repairs carting friends around the Minneapolis/St Paul (aka Twin Cities) area.

I've actually got it listed on Craigslist for the heck of it to see if anyone wants to take it off my hands. Unfortunately some of the years of wear have a way of selling themselves without me saying anything. I've got my eyes on a few transit buses and am ready for another project since mechanical and welding is out of my wheelhouse.
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