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Old 07-11-2015, 04:59 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 91
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
Hello from VT

Greetings all,
I have just purchased a 1996 Ford E-Super Duty dually with a 7.3 Powerstroke (215k miles). It's equipped with a Terra Transit 13-passenger body by Turtle Top. It has the storage compartment in the back.
The body needs a good scrubbing and quite a few fiberglass patches. The roof vent needs to be fixed or replaced. There is very little rust on the cab, and the main chassis is in great shape. The I-beam cross members that support the Turtle Top are quite rusty and will need replacing (this isn't a problem because I'd like to drop the floor a few inches anyway, and I won't be able to until I replace those I-beams with something shorter, but that is all down the road, ie when the current cross members fail).
Mechanically the bus is in great shape, and has been thoroughly cared for by an elderly couple until only a few weeks ago.
Does anyone know of any build threads on a similar platform? Also, if anyone has experience with registering and insuring these I'd appreciate suggestions. My plan was to call it a cutaway van because that seems like the easiest and cheapest route. The title calls it a Ford Cutvan, model no. E406, body type bus. However, VT doesn't require titles on vehicles older than 15 years, so all that info can be amended. Not sure what the curb weight is, or what VT's insurance regulations look like.
Excited to gradually move on from pen and paper.

Sprout (let's get goin'!) Root
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Old 07-11-2015, 05:40 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,241
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
Welcome!


it's cool you already got a name for your bus
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Old 07-11-2015, 05:41 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 91
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
Hey Milkman,
My parents liked the paint job so much they had named it before I'd even purchased it! I told them that I'd hand it over once they retire.
Bus dimensions are roughly 22'x8'. Apparently Turtle Top doesn't produce this floor plan anymore, but it's two rows of four, then one row of five. The cargo room is 32" at the back of the bus.
Here's the closest floor plan that they currently have on their website.

Sprout (dinosaur?) Root
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Old 07-11-2015, 05:48 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,241
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
paint this on the back!

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Old 07-21-2015, 12:24 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 91
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
I've started working on Bingo. Right now my focuses are: figuring out how to loft my bed over the cab, and getting rid of the side door. Both involve a lot of disassembly of the interior at the front of the rig.

If anyone has seen a lofted bed over the cab in a cutvan platform, I'd love to see how it was done. There isn't as much headroom there as I'd imagined, and the whole project is requiring altogether too much calculation.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:27 AM   #6
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,241
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
It sure doesn't seem like much room up there for a bed.... maybe 5 feet across max?
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:44 AM   #7
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 91
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger


This image shows the width that's available above the cab. A full 8' if you can get around the roll-cage members, otherwise just a little over 6', which is adequate for me. However, the available height above the top of the windshield may not be.
I'm determined that it can be done, but there's still a lot of disassembly to do before I make any decisions. If anyone knows of someone who's done this successfully, please point me in their direction.
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:40 AM   #8
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Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,173
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
What is the front overhang above the cab like? I had a little Toyota Odyssey in which the bed was located up there and it worked great. No...you couldn't really sit up in bed, but then I rarely sleep that way and that's all I used that area for leaving the rest of the floorplan open.
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Old 07-21-2015, 03:03 AM   #9
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Olympia, Washington
Posts: 554
Year: 87
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Chassis: International s1700
Engine: 6.9 internatiional
Rated Cap: 65
i would definitely keep that as a bus name.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:21 PM   #10
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 91
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
@proconsul100 don't you love easy decisions?

I've decided on a bed design that will work. Head room will still be tight, but I'm not overly concerned. The side-to-side space -as @milkmania said- isn't big enough. It took a lot of disassembly before the available space was revealed, but it's only 51" wide. Coincidentally, this is only a little smaller than a full size bed (which is what I wanted to use anyway), so by reorienting the bed it fits [almost] perfectly. However, that would leave the bed sticking out into the living quarters almost 6', which is far too much. Back to the drawing board.
I scoured the internet for way too long looking for any design that would fold/lift/disassemble easily into a more manageable space when I wasn't sleeping in it. I finally found what I was looking for in a renaissance craftsmen's forum of all places: The Armour Archive • View topic - Mac's new chest. More than meets the eye.

I won't be copying him exactly, as it will be a hanging bed. I'll have four ropes/chains attached to heavy duty eyelets on each of the corners of the bed frame. These will correspond to four eyelets in the ceiling. I'll construct it from cedar for weight and longevity. I'll use a blowup mattress for now with plans to upgrade.. It's going to be great.

While I'm working on that I need to start assembling the things I'll need to patch over the side doors. I'll also be picking up my batteries within the week, at which point I'll be able to put together a list of electronics.
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