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Old 05-04-2018, 09:17 AM   #1
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2003 Ford E350 Cutaway 7.3

Hey guys! So we're excited to announce that we've finally bought a bus and the journey is starting after months of searching.

I found a storage lot close to my dad's shop (which I also work at) so my partner and I can work on her on the weekends. This is especially helpful because not only do we have a place to work on it, we have access to all the tools we could need, including a badass CNC cutting table!

I'm really super stoked to get started on this. I can taste the adventure already!
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:03 AM   #2
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nice. congrats. glad you have the logistics figured out (storage and shop)

keep the pics coming
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:05 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruubbiiee View Post
Hey guys! So we're excited to announce that we've finally bought a bus and the journey is starting after months of searching.

I found a storage lot close to my dad's shop (which I also work at) so my partner and I can work on her on the weekends. This is especially helpful because not only do we have a place to work on it, we have access to all the tools we could need, including a badass CNC cutting table!

I'm really super stoked to get started on this. I can taste the adventure already!
Welcome to the forum! There's a lot of good information on the site (especially as pertains to the Ford 7.3). As requested, please post lots of pics and share any creative ideas and solutions you come up with!
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:49 AM   #4
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Welcome! It's unusual to see a diesel without a dually axle.
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Old 05-04-2018, 05:47 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone. I'll post more pictures when I pick it up tomorrow. As for ideas, I have a solid layout planned (one with a permanent bed- thank god) that will have solar, a chemical toilet (no shower), and a decent sized kitchen with room for storage, a garbage and a battery bank. I'm stoked to share it with you.

I've been following this forum for a while and it seems like everyone here is super friendly and helpful. I also just miss posting on sort of old school forums like this one. I mean look at these smileys!

Edit: Also I should say it has 180,000 kilometres and I'm getting it for $6500 CAD so I'm pretty excited about that. It needs diesel injector cups, but aside from that I think that it's in good repair.
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruubbiiee View Post
Thanks everyone. I'll post more pictures when I pick it up tomorrow. As for ideas, I have a solid layout planned (one with a permanent bed- thank god) that will have solar, a chemical toilet (no shower), and a decent sized kitchen with room for storage, a garbage and a battery bank. I'm stoked to share it with you.

I've been following this forum for a while and it seems like everyone here is super friendly and helpful. I also just miss posting on sort of old school forums like this one. I mean look at these smileys!

Edit: Also I should say it has 180,000 kilometres and I'm getting it for $6500 CAD so I'm pretty excited about that. It needs diesel injector cups, but aside from that I think that it's in good repair.
6500 bucks and it needs injector cups??
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:43 PM   #7
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6500 bucks and it needs injector cups??
That worried me too. Depending on the engine, it can be a very expensive job.
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:29 PM   #8
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You paid a premium price for that bus and it needs not so minor engine work. Hope this works out for you. These are great engines and if it's fixed properly, it will serve you well.
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:58 PM   #9
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Dang, really? I got a quote from a mechanic for $2500. I figured if I could walk out of this thing spending $9000 then I'll be happy. It comes with brand new lines so once I get the cups fixed I should be good to go. It also has new tires as well so it has had some work done on it... I hope I didn't get ripped off!

Keep in mind it's in Canadian too. $6500 to me is $5000 to the States.
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Old 05-05-2018, 07:21 AM   #10
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I really like the single rear wheel e350. It took me a couple of month to find one. How do you know it needs cups? What are the symptoms? How wide is the interior above the rear wheel wells? It looks in great shape.

Later j
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Old 05-05-2018, 08:49 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ruubbiiee View Post
Dang, really? I got a quote from a mechanic for $2500. I figured if I could walk out of this thing spending $9000 then I'll be happy. It comes with brand new lines so once I get the cups fixed I should be good to go. It also has new tires as well so it has had some work done on it... I hope I didn't get ripped off!

Keep in mind it's in Canadian too. $6500 to me is $5000 to the States.
It's not so much that you would be ripped off, as it is that bus repairs are expensive if you have to pay a shop.

That's why we usually caution against buying a vehicle that needs repairs upfront, unless you can do them yourself.

For example ... a bus needing $5000 worth of body repairs is better value than one needing $3000 of engine repairs, if you can do the bodywork yourself.
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:07 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
I really like the single rear wheel e350. It took me a couple of month to find one. How do you know it needs cups? What are the symptoms? How wide is the interior above the rear wheel wells? It looks in great shape.

Later j
Thanks Joe. I think it looks pretty cool too. Nothing wrong with a dually but I like this better. The person I bought it from told me it needed cups. I guess they needed them when she bought the bus too. I saw on her old bill of sale (when I asked for the VIN number) that she bought it for $8400, so I feel worse for her. At least she told me about it!

The interior of the bus is 11' long by 8' wide.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
It's not so much that you would be ripped off, as it is that bus repairs are expensive if you have to pay a shop.

That's why we usually caution against buying a vehicle that needs repairs upfront, unless you can do them yourself.

For example ... a bus needing $5000 worth of body repairs is better value than one needing $3000 of engine repairs, if you can do the bodywork yourself.
I gotcha. If it's a matter of paying the money and fixing the issue and it's gone, then I'm ok with that. Honestly my lady and I were going to buy a Sprinter (not new, mind you!) before we found this bus so a few extra grand isn't a big deal, especially if it's going towards making the bus mechanically sound.

However, if it needing cups this early is a bad sign of things to come, then that's a different story.
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Old 05-05-2018, 11:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruubbiiee View Post

I gotcha. If it's a matter of paying the money and fixing the issue and it's gone, then I'm ok with that. Honestly my lady and I were going to buy a Sprinter (not new, mind you!) before we found this bus so a few extra grand isn't a big deal, especially if it's going towards making the bus mechanically sound.

However, if it needing cups this early is a bad sign of things to come, then that's a different story.
It's not necessarily a bad sign, but while the injectors are out it would be worth having them re-built. That's around $100 per in a decent independent shop.
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:22 PM   #14
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typically when the injector cups are bad there is a slow loss of coolant and it is being burned off in the cylinder... having the cooling system pressure tested would be as first step.. if it passes the pressure test then the injector cups are probably just fine.

if it doesnt pass the pressure test then other investigations can be done to make sure the coolant is not leaking someplace else..

ultimately, pulling the valve covers and injectors and then pressurizing the cooling system, will usually reveal the leaking cup or cups.

an injector cup job done right is as you think, fixed and gone... more than likely forever as replacement cups i believe were updated to be less prone to hairline cracks..

the miles on your bus arent as important as the engine run hours..a bus may spend hours upon hours of idling or moving slowly where it doesnt rack up as many Km's but racks up a lot of hours.. injectors are firing the whole time... i dont know if the ford computer saves hours or not... if it does, a reputable shop whould be able to tell you how many hours it has been running..

im with other posts, if the injectors are pulled out and you are already putting in cups, get the injectors rebuilt, also while the valve covers are off, all 8 glowplugs can be resistance tested to make sure they are good as well.
-Christopher
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Old 05-07-2018, 02:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
typically when the injector cups are bad there is a slow loss of coolant and it is being burned off in the cylinder... having the cooling system pressure tested would be as first step.. if it passes the pressure test then the injector cups are probably just fine.

if it doesnt pass the pressure test then other investigations can be done to make sure the coolant is not leaking someplace else..

ultimately, pulling the valve covers and injectors and then pressurizing the cooling system, will usually reveal the leaking cup or cups.

an injector cup job done right is as you think, fixed and gone... more than likely forever as replacement cups i believe were updated to be less prone to hairline cracks..

the miles on your bus arent as important as the engine run hours..a bus may spend hours upon hours of idling or moving slowly where it doesnt rack up as many Km's but racks up a lot of hours.. injectors are firing the whole time... i dont know if the ford computer saves hours or not... if it does, a reputable shop whould be able to tell you how many hours it has been running..

im with other posts, if the injectors are pulled out and you are already putting in cups, get the injectors rebuilt, also while the valve covers are off, all 8 glowplugs can be resistance tested to make sure they are good as well.
-Christopher
Good to hear about fixing the cups. At least when they're fixed, they're (hopefully) fixed. I'm 99% sure that that's the problem, so I'm ok with fixing it. I'm gonna have to be- I bought the thing!

I've read a lot about the miles on the engine before. I'll see if I can check that out. I do know that the bus used to be a translink shuttle bus in Vancouver, and when I lived in Vancouver those things never sat for more than a few seconds. I was left coughing up dust a few times trying to run for those suckers when I lived in Van.

Thanks for the input so far, everyone. I had a fun time trying to pick this thing up in an adjacent town the other day- my insurance company told me to call back on Saturday when I could send them a picture of the VIN plate so I could insure and register it to drive it back to town, only for me to call back and be told that commercial vehicle insurance exclusively couldn't be done over the phone by their "after hours" team. So my partner and I were stranded and, ironically, ended up taking a bus back to our city. Not our bus, though.
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Old 05-19-2018, 03:53 PM   #16
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Ruubbiiee,

I just made a "befriend" request. Relatively new to The Skoolie Forum so hope that's ok.

We have the exact same bus.. and you are going to LOVE IT.

See my bus for ideas.. the previous owner built interior boats for a HOBBY and was an engineer/architect by profession.

What he ended up doing was amazing!

I wish he kept a log of the build, but he did not.. that said, I can steer you in the right direction if you need measurements and things because we the same dimensions so just know that you can do this build!!
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Old 05-19-2018, 03:59 PM   #17
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Rubbiiee,

Also.. just read your concerns over insurance.
We had this problem too as most insurance companies recognize the VIN as a "commercial vehicle" and that's a different ballgame.

The previous owner of our rig wrote me this:

" we had it insured last with Safeco Insurance. The vehicle is licensed with the State as a 20’ RV. Size wise it should fall in the 9,600# gross range, and it is for sure no longer a Commercial vehicle . . . . or registered as such. Send them a copy of the registeration."

We are also going to try Safeco Insurance with this information this week so we can finally get her insured.. it was a pain in the neck before that.
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Old 05-19-2018, 05:02 PM   #18
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Looks like a great starting point!


Interesting that it was a shuttle bus, usually don't see those for sale until they are well over 400KM.



If it makes you feel any better about the price, I paid 7800 CDN for my single rear wheel E350 7.3 back in 2014. 220K KM, no major repairs pending(then). It was worth it to me for shorter and narrower footprint compared to most, for maneuvering/parking/ferry costs.



I lived in it most of the time up until this spring when the tinyhouse was done enough to move into. Now she's for sale, no time to travel...



The biggest gotcha was trying to keep the weight down, since from the factory it was sitting veeery near the GVWR. The upside compared to a bigger unit was it would fit pretty much anywhere, squeezed through some very tight spots, took it up logging roads and through creeks... never came close to getting stuck.




In BC, mine remains a 'commercial vehicle' as I never went through with officially converting to RV, but this is just based on weight. My van and pickup are also 'commercial vehicles' here. Different type of plates, but just because it's a commercial vehicle does not mean you're automatically insuring for commercial use.
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Old 08-22-2018, 10:44 PM   #19
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Ruubbiiee,

I just made a "befriend" request. Relatively new to The Skoolie Forum so hope that's ok.

We have the exact same bus.. and you are going to LOVE IT.

See my bus for ideas.. the previous owner built interior boats for a HOBBY and was an engineer/architect by profession.

What he ended up doing was amazing!

I wish he kept a log of the build, but he did not.. that said, I can steer you in the right direction if you need measurements and things because we the same dimensions so just know that you can do this build!!
Hey there Bert, sorry I've been away for so long! Hopefully I at least remembered to add you as a friend!

I'll check out your build for sure. I haven't seen many of these busses around (and even less converted) so it's good to be on the same team.



Quote:
Originally Posted by weaselblade View Post
Looks like a great starting point!
Interesting that it was a shuttle bus, usually don't see those for sale until they are well over 400KM.

If it makes you feel any better about the price, I paid 7800 CDN for my single rear wheel E350 7.3 back in 2014. 220K KM, no major repairs pending(then). It was worth it to me for shorter and narrower footprint compared to most, for maneuvering/parking/ferry costs.
That's good to know on both counts. Honestly I'm ok with the price regardless. I know that it will serve me well for years to come. It's all fixed up and we've even taken it camping a couple of times with no issues.

So a very late update on my bus (and thanks for your patience). It took a while to gut it, and now there are furring strips along the floor, and the floor and walls are insulated with a little bit of the new subfloor in.

I have a question about insulation. I have used rigid foam board for the floor and walls, but I'm wondering if it's better to get someone in to do spray foam on the semi-curved ceiling (curved on the edges, flat in the middle). If you recommend rigid foam board, can you tell me how to adhere it? Every type of adhesive I have used seems to snack it back like nothing and leave big old gaping holes.

Thanks for any suggestions guys. I'll try and post more often.
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Old 08-23-2018, 12:22 AM   #20
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112k miles and needs injector cups? I find that highly unlikely. Possible (and semi-common on the 7.3)... but unlikely with such low mileage (unless hours are high.. lots of idle time, etc..)



Before taking it to a mechanic and telling them to replace injector cups.. I would dig into it and verify that is what the issue is. Don't ever take someone's word for it... especially a previous owner who could have been getting hosed by a shop.


Is it losing coolant? Steaming? Follow the advice given by cadillackid. Pressure test the cooling system and verify.


If that ends up being the case, I'd replace injectors, glow plugs, and valve cover harnesses while it's apart. Some fords have an hour meter built into the digital readout on the gauge cluster.
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