Well, I done it... I fudd up. Around half way through my conversion and I have now realized that by the time I am finished I will be a bit over my GVWR by probably a hundred or so Kg so... dammit!! I was pondering it over in my head to sell it, but after making sure (and putting the $$$ into it) to make it run right, it just seems to be a waste of a good truck, and besides... it's my baby. We all know that in selling our converted rigs we won't get nearly the amount of money that we invested in it... never mind the time. So, after sitting in the ol' girl for a bit and taking a look around... i've decided to gut it and start from scratch.
It took a bit of convincing the G/f that this was a good idea (she just see's the bus as a money pit) and it is, but I know where my money is going and it keeps me happy. Building this thing has been just as rewarding as the road trips that I have Enjoyed with it, and now after having it on the road... camped in it, and seen other projects, I think I am going to enjoy building it even more the second time around.
Now, this is what I have to start with... A half camperized 1990 E-350 Shortie (16 pass) and it's rated to 4537Kg. When she's dry (no chairs, empty) she weighs around 3500Kg... Yeah i know, it' only gives me 1000Kg to play around with, but with no bathroom it shouldn't be too much of a problem. The first time I didn't rip up the floor or take down the interior steel panels and insulation so im hoping that by doing that I'll bring the dry weight down even more. Not to mention the fact that the first time I built this rig, I knew pretty much nothing about converting a bus, I had only converted 2 vans before and they were pretty simple, consisting of a dinette/bed counter and storage. As I was working on my bus I had discovered other projects on the web, built by people who had obviously done this before, which showed me that... I was probably using a bit too much lumber... 3/4" ply instead of 1/4"... stuff like that. So I think rebuilding the interior with my under 1000Kg Criteria shouldn't be a problem...
One other thing I was wondering.... if anyone knows a lot about the frame structure of shorties... namely Ford E-350's. I was wondering about doing a suspension upgrade. Just re-arcing the Leafs (maybe adding one more) and upgrading the Shocks. I know that this will help the ride out a bit but I am wondering if this will up the GVWR without any mod's to the frame? I believe that the SuperDuty series.. the 450's and 550's have GVWR's up to 7000Kg... and it looks like all they have is one more rear leaf and a set of "Helper" Leafs bolted on, yet the frame looks the same.
Don't get me wrong, the GVWR isn't somthing im gonna be messing around with, even if I "Beef Up" the rear... im still adhering to my sub 1000Kg guideline, im just a little curious. This is after all, just a hard tent, I know that when I find that perfect International, then I will have a project where I can "Go for the Gusto".... untill then this little pig will do just fine.
Btw.... thanks to all you Bus Nuts with extremley comprehensive web sites, And of course Schoolie.net. Without you's... i'd be lost
1990 Ford/Bluebird 16pass Shortie....
All right, brain, I don't like you and you don't like me - so let's just do this and I'll get back to killing you with beer. -- Homer Simpson