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Old 02-14-2021, 10:41 PM   #1
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Decisions on what bus to start with (Long explanation)

Hello all, I have opened this thread to seek advice on a decision coming up that I will have to make soon. I have not done many trips in my past but in 2018 I had acquired a 2000 Ford E150 StarCraft conversion van and built it up to take a trip with in 2019. I had a very successful trip and would not change any of it as it was great experience. That van when bought for very little money $600 needed much work in which I did as a labor of love for the trip that I would take. I refurbished an engine for it a 5.4 Triton with new timing chains guides, tensioners, water and oil pump, alternator, starter, etc... and replaced shocks, all brakes, tires, and needed front end components, and built a real bed in the rear, to a total of $4500 once complete. This led to me being comfortable that my trip should not be interrupted by a break down which it went well. I took a month off work and drove from Ontario Canada through the United States to New Brunswick, then ferried to Nova Scotia, spent over a week or so through the province, then on to PEI, over the confederation bridge, then had to come home as family emergency came up so through quebec and back to Ontario. Longest trip I have been on. All 21 nights we camped in the van and I learned a few things that if given the opportunity to do another trip that I would consider doing differently. The travelling bug has bit me hard so here I am thinking about doing another trip since I got back but would like some comforts like headroom as I am 6'2" tall and could use a little more storage space. I also rented a motorcycle when in Cape Breton to ride the Cabot Trail and wished that I had been able to take my bike with me but I didn't want to tow a trailer. I like to travel with no agenda and roam when and where I like. So now I have been strongly considering the build of a short bus for my needs. I have been looking but with Covid I have been limited to my area which leads me to North Eastern busses. I have found people here have high prices in mind for any available project busses and i am hoping to find something in need of work that I amy refinish to my needs at a reasonable price. That being said so far I have come across 2 options and am not sure which to choose. I want bus with a lift, I want to use the lift to load my motorcycle in the rear and have a partition between the garage side and R/V side. I also find the handi bus taller inside which I prefer. So back to my choices, Currently I can acquire a 2008 GMC Savanna 3500 Bluebird 6.0 gas with 220000km, out of service in the last year. Unfortunately some thieves have stolen the cat converters off of it at the transportation companies yard. Their asking price is $2000 canadian. It needs some love, has indications of use but out of all their current busses available it has the lowest mileage and best condition. My second choice from the same company is a coming out of service in the next month or so 2008 Ford E450 with the 6.0 turbo diesel with 170000 km on it currently in stand by service for the price of $3000. Thus my dilemma, the diesel I know has a bad reputation by some but the bus itself is almost 4 feet longer in useable room, is in better overall condition, and has a little more head room for a tall guy like me. Either way I go I have work to do, I do not want to live in it, I want to travel with it and use it as a camper maybe on one trip of distance a year. I am not planning on cooking in it but rather a bed, counter, sink, fridge, storage and a toilet. Outside cooking, and use of facilities at campgrounds on the way of travel would work for me as they did on my last trip. Both busses currently run well and I have worked on trouble engines before (the 5.4 triton most recently) with success as I am a licensed auto technician but I'm not sure which to go with. I am not as knowledgeable with these busses that others may be and with this decision coming up I thought I might reach out to that know these machines better. Thoughts please.....

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Old 02-15-2021, 12:39 AM   #2
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Brenner, I would like to welcome to to the forum. However....
There is no way on Lucifer's Scorched Earth I am going to even attempt reading that giant solid block of words on my computer screen.

Using a chisel and forceps to extract a few random words, I see there may be an amusing or informative story in there. And I would be happy to respond to your inquiry the best I can.

But please break up your posts with paragraphs and sections -- white space, logically placed, as I have done here -- so my eyes can make sense of it.
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Old 02-15-2021, 04:58 AM   #3
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Yes paragraphs are easier on readers but I DID read it all.

The dilemma of a gasser or a PowerStroke 6.0L which has a poor reputation in my opinion comes down to less the reputation of PS and more whether you want a gas or diesel engine. I'm not up on Canadian emissions regulations but in several US states there's a veritable war on diesels, to be honest it's about to become a war on internal combustion in general but I'll leave that for now. Take an older non-compliant diesel into the wrong state and you could be looking at hefty fines.

If you're genuinely not feeling either of these vehicles then the answer may be to just keep looking. Sometimes we proceed down this path of decision making that locks us into two distasteful choices and become myopic, forgetting that until you actually buy something the sky is still the limit. If it were me, I would keep looking for what I want that doesn't feel like a compromise. Without getting too zen about it, I'd say when you find the right one you'll know it.
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Old 02-15-2021, 09:26 AM   #4
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Yes please on the paragraph breaks. I was able to read it all on my desk top with a 32" screen. There is no way possible that my old eyes could decipher all of that on my phone screen.

I would NEVER consider any rig with the Ford 6.0L Powerstroke/IC Bus VT365/MaxxForce7. Even if you spend the $5,000.00+ to bulletproof the engine you are still left with an engine that isn't the best.

The GM 6.0L/6.2L gas V-8 has become one of the most reliable and durable engines out there. In actual bus service it gets 2-3 MPG less fuel mileage than the same bus with a diesel engine.

Using a wheelchair lift to load and unload a motorcycle is a great idea as long as the lift is rated to lift the weight of your motorcycle. Most wheelchair lifts are rated for a maximum capacity of less than 650 lbs. I know that when I have ridden up a lift with a person in a wheelchair it really moans and groans under the weight of 600+ lbs.
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Old 02-15-2021, 10:04 AM   #5
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We have both Braun and Ricon wheelchair lifts and both brands rate theirs for 800 pounds. Ricon also has a 1000-pound capacity lift, but all of the ones I've seen are 800 pounders. They do definitely make "straining" noises as the pressure increases and the pump loads up, but they should handle up to 800 pounds just fine. I'm guessing they'll do more, since they must have a safety factor built in...but I would never recommend exceeding the 800-pound limit.
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Old 02-15-2021, 10:21 AM   #6
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Keep looking.
Sometimes it takes longer than one desires, but the right bus is out there for you.

As said above and on many threads on this site, the Power Stroke 6.0 is an engine to avoid. Like the covid virus!

Good luck...
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Old 02-15-2021, 10:53 AM   #7
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Thanks guys for the replies, I am definitely taking it all in. Regarding the lift in the busses I have considered both are Ricon Lifts and are rated at 800 lbs and the bike that I am choosing to take does not weigh 500 lbs so I feel that I am good to go on that consideration.

I had looked into weight considerations prior to deciding to grab a bus. What's keeping me undecided I think is that the E450 diesel was driven by a single driver and has the little bit of extra length and looks to be a little more respected in the past.

The 3500 6.0 gas GMC I know is one of the best tried tested and true motors, also the availability of parts in case of breakdown is awesome. It has had a few drivers, has a few more bruises, is a few inches lower inside, 4 feet shorter, and
needs the exhaust repaired which explains the difference in price.

If I end up going the diesel for the size advantage I will end up updating the oil cooler and performing an egr delete as well as adding a coolant filter and fuel pressure pup upgrade to reduce as much as I can the chance of breakdown. The 6.0 PS had heat issues for a few reasons that I have read.

I'm not afraid of either project as either will require time, effort, and money but I guess it depends on where to apply it. Its a gamble on an old bus either way as both have their goods and bads as I have seen both engines these offers blown up and seen transmission problems, all depends on how they were maintained and if abused.

I really don't want to spend the asking prices around here for clean used busses with the same mileage as they are from what I have seen $10k and up. Anything with high mileage seems to to bring a bit better than half that price.

I keep looking daily and maybe wrong time of year to look but have seen worse sell for more recently so that's why I am trying to decide what to do. Thus my request for opinions. I'm still listening...
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Old 02-15-2021, 11:55 AM   #8
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If you really like the 6.0 powerstroke bus just bite the bullet, do the new Design Fel pro head gaskets, ARP studs, throw the egr in the trash, add a coolant filter and the sinister water pump. We have done many of these and the six-oh has been okay, btw that is 11 grand almost. In an f-350 my tech takes about 3 days to accomplish this not including machine shop time. If you can do the work yourself it will cost you less than half of that. The 5r110w is a good tranny but there is no automatic light duty transmission I trust past 200k. you will probably end up rebuilding the front end, doing brakes, and shocks anyway. No big deal really just money, that 6.0 powerstroke Just adds $4500 or so. I tell my customers who are looking for trucks that because truck prices are so crazy the 6.0 powerstroke is the best value. You get a nice truck with coil springs in front that has good power And often low mileage for cheap then sink 10 grand into it and it is fine for the long haul for less than $25k total investment. But I have 2 7.3‘s and a 6.7 cummins.
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Old 02-15-2021, 12:15 PM   #9
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Ford is selling the new gas 7.3 brand new for $7500...0 miles brand new engine, just like getting a new 2021 $40k truck for $12k.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/f...EaAn08EALw_wcB

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Old 02-15-2021, 12:23 PM   #10
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I have yet to see one of those in the wild, I am curious though because they sound pretty good. I think the california air resource board would frown upon that in anything newer than 1975.
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