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Old 05-02-2016, 06:25 PM   #1
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Buster the '05 Ford E450

Hello all, first time poster here.

So I dove head first in a couple months ago and purchased a bus, and now that the weather is starting to improve here in upstate New York I'm ready to get going on my conversion. I was looking for something fairly small, for one because it will likely just be me or me and one other person traveling, but also because I have relatively limited driveway space living in the city. Also I just really like the idea of having everything in a nice compact space, I'm kind of a minimalist. I settled on a 2005 Ford E450 Bluebird 24 capacity short bus, and couldn't be happier with the size/style etc! The inside was pretty clean, although the undercarriage is admittedly pretty rusty... but to be expected living in an area salty winter roads. That being said if I had to purchase again, I'd look for something with a little less rust. The interior floors are in pretty great shape though.

Anyways, here are the goods.









And here is how Buster is looking as of today...







So as you can see the seats, flooring, rear heater, wall panels, stop sign and door mechanism have been removed. Up next is the ceiling...
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Old 05-02-2016, 07:09 PM   #2
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Nice shorty Dude. It's not often one can say that to another guy.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:08 PM   #3
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what are you going to replace the ceiling with once gone? I ask b/c I see those bus bodies on the road, but have not seen the inside of one till just now. The curves on the sides are really hard curves. what can bent that tight?
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:26 AM   #4
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@Robin97396 Haha, thanks.

@scootie I was thinking tongue and groove boards, the 4" stuff definitely wouldn't work but I think 2" would do the trick. Alternatively, I've seen some thin/really flexible wood paneling type stuff that would probably work as well. Here's a link, but I have no experience with it.

https://www.plywoodcompany.com/appli...ingpanels.aspx

I love this body type on my bus, but it's definitely going to make the ceiling a bit more tricky.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:16 AM   #5
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Another thing you could do is angle the curves out and use them as a cable chase for overhead lighting, speakers, etc.
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:08 AM   #6
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Why has shag carpeting fallen out of vogue?
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:51 PM   #7
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What size engine do you have and did you buy from a dealer or private individual? I'm eager to see how your build progresses since an E450 is what I am planning on buying and converting.
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Old 05-04-2016, 03:15 PM   #8
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Another thing you could do is angle the curves out and use them as a cable chase for overhead lighting, speakers, etc.
I was thinking the same thing, cables one side, A/C duct on the other.
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Old 05-04-2016, 05:49 PM   #9
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@Scooternj @Docsgsxr Angle out the curves is definitely an option, it would probably make things a bit easier, in addition to giving that extra space for the cable routing. I really like the curve aesthetic though, so I guess I'll see how complicated it ends up being.

@Robin97396 Shag carpet... plan b, ha.

@dgorila1 I bought it from Don Brown Bus Sales in Johnstown, NY. Definitely recommend them, they have a huge selection Don Brown Bus Sales, Inc - Home. Honestly I don't know much about the engine, it's an International 6.0L DIT diesel which I believe is a Power Stroke model?

Now a couple questions for everyone.

I'm clipping out the wires for the heater, stop sign, dash fan, etc. Is it fine to just put wire butts (terminal connectors) on the ends I cut off and leave them? It'd be handy to have them for potential future use, and also not have to trace them all the way back to the source/disconnect them. I don't know a ton about electrical so I don't want to leave any chance for shorts or anything like that.



And rivets... I've read a ton about removing the ceiling panels, people drilling them out, using a pry bar, etc. and honestly none of those options are working out very well. I'd prefer to drill them out, but even an expensive cobalt drill bit is dull after just a couple rivets. Anyways advice on drill bits for the job?

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Old 05-04-2016, 06:06 PM   #10
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you likely dont want to clip all the wires for your dashboard heaters.. you are going to need those and the dashboard Air-Con for when you are driving.

whenever I cut wires I crimp terminating splices on the ends and then I pull the fuse for that item fro mthe fuse box..
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Old 05-14-2016, 06:45 PM   #11
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I finally got some time to dedicate to getting the ceiling out. I continued with the punch out core, drill out the center, and cold chisel off the head, method of removing the rivets. It probably took about 10-12 hours total of work, but it's done!







Up next... removing any unnecessary wiring, re-sealing all the windows, and patching a small hole in the roof and the hole left from removing the stop sign arm.
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Old 05-14-2016, 07:13 PM   #12
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I think they look so much bigger inside when you're looking at all the little girders.

Nice work.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:43 PM   #13
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Spent the last couple days disconnecting and removing any wiring that I won't be using. I plan on the RV portion of the bus being entirely on it's own solar/battery system so I've pretty much disconnected and removed everything, rear heater, flashers, dome/cabin lights, emergency window/door buzzer, etc. I took the time to un-wrap and trace back each wire to make sure I wasn't disconnecting anything that I'd be needing, and took note of which wires go where just in case anything needs to go back. My plan is to move all the wiring to one side of the bus, and also to put it into some type of conduit so if I need to run anything new, I won't have to open the wall.









Once I'm done tinkering with what wiring is left and making it all nice and neat, I'll hopefully move on to re-sealing all the windows, fixing a few small holes in the roof, and ordering my sky light and vent fan.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:56 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mattbus View Post
I finally got some time to dedicate to getting the ceiling out. I continued with the punch out core, drill out the center, and cold chisel off the head, method of removing the rivets. It probably took about 10-12 hours total of work, but it's done!







Up next... removing any unnecessary wiring, re-sealing all the windows, and patching a small hole in the roof and the hole left from removing the stop sign arm.
I think it depends on the rivets used by the manufacturer. The rivets on my Ward took me DAYS. The rivets on Sharon's Bluebird took about an hour and a half.
Nice work, excellent pics!
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:14 PM   #15
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lookin good! the floors in it look good!
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:51 PM   #16
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Vermonter looking to mirror you. Gonna purchase from Dan Brown, want a 5 window. What is the interior height after you've gutted it?

Nice work btw, gonna follow this build for inspiration.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:03 PM   #17
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Nice shorty! I've got an '01 Chevy 4 window and it's wayy rustier than that, had to replace a section of the floor that was sagging. Looks like you're off to a good build.
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:01 PM   #18
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It's been awhile... work and some travels have kept me busy but I'm putting in as much time as I can on the bus. Here are a few updates!

I installed the roof vent, which is a Maxxair 7500K MaxxFan. Remote, thermostat, built in rain shield, really happy I went with this one. After cutting the hole in the roof. I reinforced both sides of the fan cut-out with cut down 2x4's which keep the roof much stiffer around the fan.











Patched up the stop sign arm hole. Fiber glass, bondo and primer. I'll probably sand it back down and prime it again, definitely didn't come out as smooth as I would have liked.







And removed the door. Thinking of going with the Andersen 4000 Series based on Roach's build.

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Old 07-12-2016, 07:42 PM   #19
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Patched, cleaned, rust converter'd and primed the floor this week. Going to re-caulk the seams and edges tonight, and hopefully get the insulation and sub floor done this weekend. Most likely going with this 3/4" insulation on the floor (Owens Corning FOAMULAR 250 Squared Edge R4 Insulation Board 3/4 in. x 2 ft. x 8 ft.-55A - The Home Depot), trying to get as much insulation as I can but keep it as low as possible to maximize head room. Plus it's the exact same thickness as 1x2" furring strips which keeps things simple. Open to any suggestions on something even thinner though!

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Old 07-17-2016, 10:46 PM   #20
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Quick weekend update. Vapor barrier, 1/4" insulation, and OSB tongue and groove subfloor installed successfully! In the end I went with only 1/4" insulation, to be on the safe side with my head room. More insulation would have been nice, but not as nice as being able to stand up straight. Feels good to be building for a change.







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