Originally Posted by Alicia
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.
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.