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Old 05-03-2019, 08:36 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: BZN, MT
Posts: 59
Year: 1982
Coachwork: Ford
Chassis: E-350; 4x4 Minibus
Engine: 351c.i.
From the shadows...

Hey all! I've been lurking in the shadows here for a few weeks now. I think it's about time I said "hi" and let you know who I am.

My name is, Travis. I'm in SW Montana currently. When I moved here from WA, about nine years ago, I thought I loved snow. As it turns out, I do not... After several months of weighing my options, I decided a bus and some time spent exploring the U.S. was exactly what I need. So I bought a "bus."

Why the quotation marks? My bus borders cargo van status. It's a 1982 Ford E-350 cutaway with a Collins Bantam body. It's somewhere between 16 and 20 passenger. The other noteworthy characteristic of this bus... It was converted to 4x4 by the manufacturers. It's basically an E-350 cab with an F-350 drivetrain. The engine is a 351c.i. Windsor (5.8l). A gasser.

I'm not sure who the original buyer was but in its last 10yrs of service it was used for dog sled tours in AK (looking at you 'sleddgracer).' Two rows of seats plus one jump seat and the driver's seat were left up front. Rear half of the bus is dog kennels, two high, three wide. The last five years the bus was parked and not driven. Many of the suspension parts appear new but are sun faded in exposed areas. Many gaskets leak, however.

The engine and trans are being rebuilt by two local shops in town, known for their skill and honesty. I can't wait to get these back so I can install them to have a fresh drivetrain. Both shops are booked for the next few weeks so for now I can easily move the bus as necessary.

Once I pull the drivetrain I'll begin replacing sheet metal that's fallen victim to the elements. Front driver floorboard, possibly entire rear sub floor not sure yet, and the roof all need repaired. This week I've had multiple deliveries of metal for just this.

I've got a lot of work ahead of me but I'm ready! I look forward to meeting many of you here throughout my journey. One day I hope to join you at Skooliepalooza. Approximate project timeframe is 60 to 90 days to completion. I know how these things go though, fingers crossed.

*Attached images: Ad from FB - before I bought it, a couple from inside the bus today before I started removing seats and kennels. Note the driveline laying in the walkway. I had it flat-towed to my house rather than getting temporary tags. It runs strong and drives ok as is but, transmission is being problematic. Hence, planned rebuild.
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:33 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 18,494
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
I dig it man. I had an LTD with that 351 and it was great. 4x4 is always cool to have, too!
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Old 05-04-2019, 01:52 AM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 783
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
A 4x4 with a rebuilt drivetrain ... nice1
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Old 05-04-2019, 01:58 AM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
Posts: 1,992
Chassis: still looking for my bus
Quote:
Originally Posted by DawgBs View Post
Hey all! I've been lurking in the shadows here for a few weeks now. I think it's about time I said "hi" and let you know who I am.

My name is, Travis. I'm in SW Montana currently. When I moved here from WA, about nine years ago, I thought I loved snow. As it turns out, I do not... After several months of weighing my options, I decided a bus and some time spent exploring the U.S. was exactly what I need. So I bought a "bus."

Why the quotation marks? My bus borders cargo van status. It's a 1982 Ford E-350 cutaway with a Collins Bantam body. It's somewhere between 16 and 20 passenger. The other noteworthy characteristic of this bus... It was converted to 4x4 by the manufacturers. It's basically an E-350 cab with an F-350 drivetrain. The engine is a 351c.i. Windsor (5.8l). A gasser.

I'm not sure who the original buyer was but in its last 10yrs of service it was used for dog sled tours in AK (looking at you 'sleddgracer).' Two rows of seats plus one jump seat and the driver's seat were left up front. Rear half of the bus is dog kennels, two high, three wide. The last five years the bus was parked and not driven. Many of the suspension parts appear new but are sun faded in exposed areas. Many gaskets leak, however.

The engine and trans are being rebuilt by two local shops in town, known for their skill and honesty. I can't wait to get these back so I can install them to have a fresh drivetrain. Both shops are booked for the next few weeks so for now I can easily move the bus as necessary.

Once I pull the drivetrain I'll begin replacing sheet metal that's fallen victim to the elements. Front driver floorboard, possibly entire rear sub floor not sure yet, and the roof all need repaired. This week I've had multiple deliveries of metal for just this.

I've got a lot of work ahead of me but I'm ready! I look forward to meeting many of you here throughout my journey. One day I hope to join you at Skooliepalooza. Approximate project timeframe is 60 to 90 days to completion. I know how these things go though, fingers crossed.

*Attached images: Ad from FB - before I bought it, a couple from inside the bus today before I started removing seats and kennels. Note the driveline laying in the walkway. I had it flat-towed to my house rather than getting temporary tags. It runs strong and drives ok as is but, transmission is being problematic. Hence, planned rebuild.
there ya go - all you need now are a few dogs and a dog sled
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Old 05-04-2019, 09:17 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: BZN, MT
Posts: 59
Year: 1982
Coachwork: Ford
Chassis: E-350; 4x4 Minibus
Engine: 351c.i.
Thanks guys! It's a LONG way from being the little traveler I have in mind but, I've got a lot of friends and family standing behind me on this one.

EastCoastCB - I'm told the 351w was a very reliable little engine. I'm worried about no overdrive though. Ive got 4:56 gearing (unless someone swapped gears somewhere along the way) so lots of torque, not much highway speed.

Sleddgracer - don't be mad, I'll share! Haha

I'm going to start my build thread tonight or tomorrow and document the whole process. I'm considering doing a YouTube channel as well. I'm not exactly a social butterfly who likes to be on camera but, if the channel were to gain traction and start bringing in a little extra revenue... Every little bit helps, right?

There's big plans for a pop top rather than a roof raise. I'm looking in every classified section I can find in my area for either long bed truck canopies, junkyard van tops, or even a retired jon boat. I'm looking to copy the design (mostly) of a Sportsmobile Penthouse. Scissor Jack arms raise a solid top with canvas fabric walls with a trifold bed up top. It's a simple design but can I pull it off? Remains to be seen....

Lots of rust to deal with before I do any of the fun stuff. 3/4 of the bolts I pulled from the floor yesterday snapped off due to corrosion. I'm picking up my sawz-all from work in a few minutes to pull the kernels the rest of the way. Then I can lift the sub flooring. I'm not very optimistic about what lies under there....
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