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Old 05-12-2019, 08:10 AM   #1
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Newbie Schoolie gal wants to take her horse!

Meet the Hen! We just got a 2000 e350 diesel short bus. My dream is to be able to pull my horse trailer and have a cozy living space. We just installed a hitch and seems like this is doable! Looking for advice on towing with a schoolie. What can we do to beef up the brakes?
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Old 05-12-2019, 08:26 AM   #2
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Location: Asheville, NC
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: American Cargo 14'L x 7'8"W x 7'H Box
Chassis: Ford E350 Cutaway
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 11500 lbs
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Originally Posted by Alicia View Post
Meet the Hen! We just got a 2000 e350 diesel short bus. My dream is to be able to pull my horse trailer and have a cozy living space. We just installed a hitch and seems like this is doable! Looking for advice on towing with a schoolie. What can we do to beef up the brakes?
Start with a good, solid hitch installation and use electric brakes on the trailer. I drive the same chassis with a box in lieu of a bus body and find the brakes of the E350 chassis more than sufficient if the trailer does some of the work.

AFAIK, the 7.3L in the E-series does not have a waste gate on the turbo (Christopher, please confirm) that could be used as an engine brake with software tuning. However, if I disable OD with the button on the shifter, I will use the brakes very rarely going 6-8% grade downhill even when loaded for bear.

Never "ride" the brakes down a steep and long grade. Let the speed pick up to the limit, then slow down to let's say 10mph less than limit and give the brakes a chance to cool off while the speed climbs again.

UJoint Offroad offers brake upgrades for the E-series (Van) chassis. They are typically part of a 4WD conversion but you could just install the front axle from the F-series (Pickup trucks) and leave the drive line alone if you do not need 4WD. The original front axle on the vans is not the greatest solution anyway. I am going to do the 4WD conversion once my interior is done but will most likely go with the stock brakes on the F-series front axle.

The 7.3L engine in your bus has enough horses and torque to pull an additional horse in trailer since your short bus is light compared to what this engine is known to move along, like 26,000# GVWR trucks. The weak point with a lot of weight in the mountains is going to be the 4R100 transmission but that can be improved with a rebuild, using stronger internal parts.
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:18 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Alicia View Post
Meet the Hen! We just got a 2000 e350 diesel short bus. My dream is to be able to pull my horse trailer and have a cozy living space. We just installed a hitch and seems like this is doable! Looking for advice on towing with a schoolie. What can we do to beef up the brakes?
I traveled MANY miles through our local mountain passes pulling a heavily loaded 4 horse trailer with my 69 heavy half chevy pickup with virtually no problems - I added air shocks to the pickup suspension and had brakes on the trailer - the truck had a 3 speed automatic that locked up - that was a huge help coming down the steep hills - that transmission saved my and my families life, to say nothing of the horses and ponies in the trailer - between horses and ponies, and a tiny shetland foal, there were 6 of them in the trailer - both front drum brakes sheared the braking surface off the backing plates coming down the very steep hill between Rossland and Trail BC - the trailer brakes were not enough to control the speed of the truck and trailer on their own -if it weren't for the lock up transmission we wouldn't have made some of the corners - between the fading trailer brakes and the locking transmission we made it down the hill safely, although my nerves were shot by the time we hit the bottom of the hill - fortunately it was late at night and there was no other traffic on the road because although I could keep the speed down there was no way I could actually stop on the hill - my wife and kids slept through the whole adventure, as did the horses - I REALLY needed some coffee when we made it home - lol
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Old 05-12-2019, 02:13 PM   #4
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Do different states have different Total Length restrictions, or is that a DOT thing even for non-commercial vehicles?

All the liveaboard / camping horse rigs I've seen are built into the (very long) trailer, pulled by a HD pickup or "medium service" short truck, like 4500
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Old 05-12-2019, 03:11 PM   #5
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Each state has a differant maximum combined length for RV's towing trailers. 65ft in Virginia. Which I am right at pulling my boat.
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Old 05-12-2019, 03:52 PM   #6
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a useful list for Canadian drivers

https://www.rvda.ca/ProvRVRegs.asp
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Old 05-12-2019, 04:13 PM   #7
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Each state has a differant maximum combined length for RV's towing trailers. 65ft in Virginia. Which I am right at pulling my boat.
So if both trailer and TV are registered in a state that allows that total-length combination,

will it be legal to temporarily be driven through / in other states?
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Old 05-12-2019, 04:51 PM   #8
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So if both trailer and TV are registered in a state that allows that total-length combination,

will it be legal to temporarily be driven through / in other states?
As far as I know yes because of reciprocity. I am not a lawyer so......this is just to the best of my knowledge.
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:14 PM   #9
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So as not to hijack further, continuing here

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f18/to...gth-27016.html
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:23 AM   #10
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Welcome to the site.
What kind of horse trailer are you hauling? steel or alum? size? Axles? etc
What's the build plan for in the bus?
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:27 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
So if both trailer and TV are registered in a state that allows that total-length combination,

will it be legal to temporarily be driven through / in other states?
I have questioned this as well.

I understand reciprocity as it applies to drivers licensing but question if it applies to equipment as well.

I have been warned to be aware of maximum length laws in the various states as you can be ticketed even if you are complying with the laws from your home state.
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