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Old 12-16-2017, 04:46 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Leaving Austin, Texas
Posts: 2
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Ford?
Chassis: ?
Engine: Triton V8 5.4L
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Leaving Austin in a 1997 Ford E350 Shuttle Bus!

Howdy, y'all!

First, yeah, I actually use those words in real life, though I am but a northerner who's been in Texas long enough to leave behind "you guys". And I just like "howdy" for some reason.

Anywho, I'm converting a 1997 Ford E350 Shuttle Bus with a Triton V8 5.4L - and that's about all I know of the vehicle. It had a luggage compartment in the back, but I pulled the wall out and stuck the bed all the way to the back, leaving about 8 feet of room between the bed and the front seats. I have a 300+W solar panel for the roof and plan on hooking that up soon once the rain here ends for a few days. I've done this once before, that time in a 1997 Astro Van.

I definitely have some questions and I'm hoping to find some answers here.

Also, I'm fully stoked for the first day I get to wake up, look out my window, and see nothing but road and mountains.

Not sure if this is the place for questions too, but hey, while I'm at it - anyone have any idea what to put underneath the frame on the floorboards to protect them?
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Old 12-16-2017, 05:49 PM   #2
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 5,571
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
Welcome. You've got a lot of good bus people for company there in TX.

I didn't understand your question. What do you mean by "underneath the frame on the floorboards to protect them"? Is the wood rotted in your floor? The floor is commonly stripped out and replaced as one of the first projects on a bus. Most buses have a sheet metal floor under the plywood, while others have a frame that supports the plywood. Sealing plywood that will have exposure to road spray would be important for making the plywood last longer.
I'm unaware if there is a particular sealant used for sealing the plywood. An undercoating product would likely work well.
Others who actually have that type of floor will add information as they find this thread.

Good luck.
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Old 12-16-2017, 06:58 PM   #3
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Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
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Your bus has a plywood floor bolted to the frame. Can you tell if it's rotted out? Welcome aboard.
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Old 12-17-2017, 11:40 PM   #4
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Location: Leaving Austin, Texas
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Ford?
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Engine: Triton V8 5.4L
Rated Cap: ?
Yeah, that's what it seems to be. I've dug around a little bit - I don't see any real rot, so far. And I've stomped around in there and haven't felt any give/weak spots. My concern is that I can see some grey stuff peeling off the bottom (that's when I noticed the wood and was surprised). I figure I can just go get some undercoat spray from the auto store and spray that on there to continue protecting it...?
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Old 12-18-2017, 12:13 AM   #5
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Year: 1993
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E350
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Most shuttles are wood floored. I'd peel up the rubber floor on the inside and expose the wood for inspection. Mine felt decent... pulled back the rubber floor and found 3 large areas that were all but gone. Easy to cut out and fix the rot now.. then have to rip everything back out later.

If everything looks good, I'd just undercoat the wood with standard automotive undercoating. Pressure treated plywood will hold up to the elements fairly well as is... with a layer or 2 of undercoating, it'll last a good long while.

I found on my shuttle that the roof to wall seam had been leaking for years undetected. After fixing the leaks, resealing the windows with butyl tape, and fixing the floor... I feel that it'll be good to go for many years.
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Old 12-18-2017, 12:15 AM   #6
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Year: 1993
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E350
Engine: 7.3 IDI
Rated Cap: 14
Also... check the driver's side door jamb area for a coach build sticker. There should be a "Ford Incomplete Vehicle" tag and then another tag from the coach builder who built the bus body, etc. That will help you down the road.
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Old 12-18-2017, 08:23 AM   #7
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Location: Cuyahoga Falls Ohio
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Year: 1997
Chassis: Ford e-350 single wheel
Engine: 5.4 litre
Rated Cap: 12
I have the same running gear in my shuttle with the plywood floor. Love this thing ! A little underpowered for towing my 20' enclosed trailer but it gets the job done. I have 2 bunk bed/futon couches in mine so I can sleep 6 people when we go atv riding.
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