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Old 09-30-2020, 02:22 PM   #1
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89 e350 to buy or not to buy

I am considering pulling the trigger on getting an 89 ford e-350 short bus with, 7.3 navistar, e4od trans and about a 50% partial conversion. My only concern is the age of the vehicle, I plan on taking it on road trips but when talking to a few mechanics about getting a quote for a tranny rebuild (part of negotiating the price) I got spooked by an OG diesel mechanic. He said not to even consider a diesel this old that it would have tons of problems with the electrical etc. what do you guys think? I have time to work on it although Id be learning as I go, are problems with diesels this old just part of the game and it breaking down a lot or can I rewire the thing just to make it all fresh? I want to really travel around. Please give me some feedback, I have a few days to decide one way or the other.
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:43 PM   #2
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Also curious what happens when you break down in a skoolie? Anyone with experience needing a tow or repair on the road?
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:57 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: TX
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: E-350
Engine: 7.3 L Powerstroke
From what I read when searching for my bus avoid the non powerstroke 7.3 Underpowered, not sure about mechanical issues though. As far as towing I have AAA plus RV and it covers 4 tows a year...
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Old 09-30-2020, 04:18 PM   #4
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Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
I have both AAA and Good Sam's towing. I figure that if one can't do it maybe the other can--or both if I run short of miles.

No test of theory yet. Happily!
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Old 09-30-2020, 04:25 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Wild Wild West
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Year: 1999
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Engine: 8.3 Cummins MD3060
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From my experience wrenching in the '90's, I would avoid the non turbo 6.9 and 7.3 diesels. There was common problem with cracked heads and blocks. When they ditched the 6.9 and went to the IDI turbo 7.3, they seem to have fixed that problem for the most part. Then they really started to sing when they went to the Powerstroke in '94.
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Old 09-30-2020, 05:31 PM   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2015
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Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
Not sure I understand that mechanic. That is a 7.3 IDI. All mechanical and 4 or 5 wires to hook up. Not much can go wrong with electrical. I felt that mine was under powered but others swear with these mechanical engines.
i had one in a pickup and one in a van. If you are a lot in the mountains at high altitude then it smokes a lot and looses power because it does not have a turbo.
Now we have power strokes but those are electronic controlled and can be a bear to troubleshoot.



I had my tranny 4eod rebuild by a shop and installed it myself for $1500 including new torque converter and he used all heavy duty upgraded parts.


That van got scrapped after 15000 miles on the rebuilt tranny. i took all the guts out, motor / tranny / axles. Not sure where you are but I can sell you the tranny... and motor to if you want..


Since that is essential a E350 Van AAA towes it. I would not call it a skoolie when you call because that is confusing .


Good luck,
Johan
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Old 09-30-2020, 06:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
Not sure I understand that mechanic. That is a 7.3 IDI. All mechanical and 4 or 5 wires to hook up. Not much can go wrong with electrical. I felt that mine was under powered but others swear with these mechanical engines.
i had one in a pickup and one in a van. If you are a lot in the mountains at high altitude then it smokes a lot and looses power because it does not have a turbo.
Now we have power strokes but those are electronic controlled and can be a bear to troubleshoot.



I had my tranny 4eod rebuild by a shop and installed it myself for $1500 including new torque converter and he used all heavy duty upgraded parts.


That van got scrapped after 15000 miles on the rebuilt tranny. i took all the guts out, motor / tranny / axles. Not sure where you are but I can sell you the tranny... and motor to if you want..


Since that is essential a E350 Van AAA towes it. I would not call it a skoolie when you call because that is confusing .


Good luck,
Johan
Im in cali, he may of just been trying to warn me about staying away from much older vehicles but it was enough to give me a bit of anxiety about the whole thing. Im not married to this particular one, there are other options in my market though I did put like $200 down so he would hold it for me.

Do you guys have any opinion on the basic start to the build? I want to go all over, is it bad that the guy didnt start with insulation?
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Old 09-30-2020, 06:53 PM   #8
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Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 7.3L
Too old and not a desirable engine as far as economy and reliability goes.
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