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Old 02-07-2016, 11:19 AM   #1
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Newb looking for education

Hi all. I am looking a maybe purchasing a 9 passenger Ford 7.3 short bus to pull my 24' enclosed trailer to the racetrack. I'm looking to educate myself before any purchase. Stuff like, best drivetrain, best year, do's and don't, reliability etc, is what I'm looking for. Or, option B would be a late 90's, early 2000 ambulance for the same purpose. I appreciate any help you can send my way.

Rob
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:29 AM   #2
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They all have 7.3 diesels in the E350/450 chassis. After 2004 they went to 6.0 which I would stay away from.
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:33 AM   #3
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They all have 7.3 diesels in the E350/450 chassis. After 2004 they went to 6.0 which I would stay away from.
Yup, the 6.0's are bombs. The early 2000's 7.3's is what I'm shooting for, with the 4R100 OD trans. My issue is where I live, and the surrounding area, is the rust belt. I don't believe bus co's invest in undercoating, so I need an education on spots to watch out for on these projects.
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:59 AM   #4
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Year: 1946
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If you are in a salted road zone...shop somewhere else or figure on going over every square inch of metal. The areas around the rear wheel wells are a common rot spot but the extra sodium chloride can wreak havoc in areas that aren't even accessible without pulling panels off. Even the frames can be eaten through in fairly short order with a few years salt exposure so if you decide to shop locally, examine any unit thoroughly and with care. Best of luck and keep us posted.
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Old 02-07-2016, 03:14 PM   #5
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If you are in a salted road zone...shop somewhere else or figure on going over every square inch of metal. The areas around the rear wheel wells are a common rot spot but the extra sodium chloride can wreak havoc in areas that aren't even accessible without pulling panels off. Even the frames can be eaten through in fairly short order with a few years salt exposure so if you decide to shop locally, examine any unit thoroughly and with care. Best of luck and keep us posted.
Yup. Big fan of southern sheet metal. Flew from Detroit (I live in Canada right across the river) to San Jose and drove a Jag convertible home for a V8 conversion. Hate rust, with a passion. If I wasn't paying $0.40 on the US dollar, I would be looking down south for this as well. Thanks for all the info guys. This is the info that helps me make the right decision the first time.
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Old 02-07-2016, 03:26 PM   #6
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Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
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My 2000 E-450 has lived near Detroit all it's life and has medium rust on the rear frame rails but they're still solid. Mine only had 92K on it when we bought it in 2013 so it probably wasn't the busiest bus in the fleet. The rear mud flap brackets were in pretty bad shape though. The Eldorado Aerotech and Aerolite bus bodies are heavy fiberglass so rust isn't a problem. They're the only shuttle buses that are crash tested.

As CrazyCal said, the 6.0L wasn't Ford's best engine ever though I'm told that the last two production years had the majority of the bugs ironed out. If you can get one that's already been rebuilt you'd probably be good to go.
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:41 PM   #7
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If you're towing, a EGT gauge is a must. The 7.3 vans/buses don't have an intercooler, you can get things too hot if you're not careful. It cost me a motor. Other than that, they make a good tow rig.
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