Hello Charley! Welcome to Skoolie.net!
Your bus is somewhat similar to mine. I have a 2001 Eldorado Aerolite shuttle bus that also has the 7.3L Diesel engine. With a little time and research, you will discover that the 7.3L diesel engine is a very good and strong motor with a very good reputation overall. However, proper maintenance is extremely important, and it is imperative to take it upon yourself to learn everything you can about the Ford 7.3L diesel in order to understand what is necessary to help avoid unnecessary trouble over time. There are several things to be aware of and I will not try to list *all* of them here in a single response. Instead, I will only at this time mention a few things that I think are critically important for you at this stage of your new adventure with this nice vehicle.
First -- Because the vehicle has been sitting unused for awhile, you should (as already mentioned) immediately replace all of the fluids. This includes the motor oil, brake fluid, and cooling system anti-freeze. I believe you said you have already changed the anti-freeze and that is good. But you should also probably drain the old fuel as well. Don't take a chance and try to run the existing fuel through the motor. It *might* be ok.. but already I see that you have some concerns about possible water or other potential problems with it. I suggest there's no way to know how bad it (old fuel) may be..and there's just no sense in risking the problems it might cause. In fact, if the vehicle has been sitting for over a year or more, then many would probably recommend that you start by cleaning the fuel tanks and the entire fuel system (lines, pump, etc) as well.
But even beyond the old fuel (with unknown possible contamination issues).. the MOST important thing is the motor oil. You should know that motor oil for a diesel engine is a somewhat different and special oil (higher quality & more expensive). Most people agree that maintaining good diesel-engine lubrication (engine oil) is a much more critical maintenance concern than it is for ordinary gasoline (petrol) engines. As somebody else mentioned already, the engine oil also functions to operate the all-important fuel-injectors. What many people do not realize however is that it is very important when you change the motor-oil -- that you MUST ALSO drain the oil-pump reservoir which is a part of the fuel injector system. This pump is called the High-Pressure-Oil-Pump ( HPOP
for short) and is served by the same motor-oil as the rest of the engine. -- What is important to understand is that the oil in the HPOP does not actually circulate very well with the rest of the engine oil
, and this basically means that the oil in the HPOP does NOT get replaced/replenished even when the rest of the engine oil is renewed. You must periodically drain the HPOP and add fresh oil to it separately, as this procedure is a vital part of good maintenance practices.
Second -- If you are serious at all about your new project, then you MUST acquire proper and complete service manuals. Without good service manuals you will find your vehicle difficult to understand, and unnecessarily expensive to work on (or to have serviced/repaired by others). I believe someone else has already mentioned that Ford service manuals may be purchased online through the one or two official vendors who provide them for Ford. HOWEVER, you will find that they are not cheap when purchased this way. A very good alternative is to keep a close eye on E-bay for good hard-copy service manuals that will typically cost only a fraction of the price you must pay through the *official* manuals vendor websites. You will want to hunt for and purchase the official Ford Workshop Service manuals only that are for your SPECIFIC model-year (1995 I believe).
Finally, someone else suggested you take a look at the http://www.dieselstop.com
website. I certainly agree.. the dieselstop.com site is a very good information resource. But there is also another (just as good...maybe even better) website to be aware of. And that is the largest Ford/Forum support site of them all. --- www.ford-trucks.com
--- You will find more information resources (and friendly people) to help you with your bus than just about any other place on the internet.
That's it for the moment. I hope you will see many years of pleasure and enjoyment with your new bus.
dave (aka: electric~dave)