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Old 11-28-2020, 08:46 AM   #201
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I'm so sorry to hear of this horrific accident! But so happy to see that you and doggie are ok! Isn't this everybody's nightmare?! It sure is mine!
I'm so impressed with your strength physically, emotionally and mentally to continue to work on your dream.
I'm rooting for you...Keep the updates coming!
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Old 11-28-2020, 06:17 PM   #202
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Join Date: Dec 2015
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Posts: 2,065
Year: 98
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Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
Thank you tobeamiss. I am very fortunate with my super supportive and understanding wife and sweet kids.

Did you ever get your solar panels on?

My attempt to pull the rear door post down failed, now I can spend another night thinking about a better technique.

Spend the afternoon on the scrapyard looking for econoline windows and bus doors..
None of the above.there is a thomas b700 bus but the doors are to wide... On the positive side I found a cool old engine..

Ronnie , any idea what this engine is.?


I have a nice rv door so I am going to fit that..not in style but insulated and better sealed.

I have a bedframe angle profile that I will us to reinforce the existing straightened door posts. That will make it stronger at the same time.
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Old 11-29-2020, 04:37 PM   #203
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Join Date: Dec 2015
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Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
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Hm..no takers on the engine???

Oh well..I thought it was cool.

Today I pulled the window out...what a pain..
After pulling the deformation is 1/4" diagonal difference.. need to get a window first and use that as a template. The old window was a replacement and poorly glued in . The top was not attached for a large area.. wonder if that was on purpose.

Looked at the rv door in more detail and it can fit.this bus does not have straight walls.. the original double door used a piano hinge on the inside of the door pillar so the junk in the wall did not matter. The rv door trim fits inside the original door pillars but the door lip is so wide that it has to be against the outside.

I will try to find a u profile and cut one leg to accommodate the angle in the window section of walls.
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Old 11-29-2020, 10:13 PM   #204
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Location: Mt Vernon, WA
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Bluebird, Collins
Chassis: G30 Bluebird Microbird, E350 Shuttle Bus
Engine: 1995 Chevrolet 350, 1992 Ford 460
Hey Johan. Good job salvaging your Elf bus. Im double impressed now.
Did you figure out why the engine doesnt start as quick?
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Old 11-30-2020, 06:05 PM   #205
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He Doktari,. No I am not sure. Wanted to see if I can get the body passable before I start stressing over the engine. It takes 6 sec before it fires... I assume the check valve to hpop reservoir is dislodged and so the oil would leak back. Not confirmed yet.

Today I got a new windshield , tomorrow is freezing over here so likely no progress.

Johan
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Old 12-04-2020, 11:44 AM   #206
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I am really impressed, both with your build (wicked customization, a 4x4) AND the post-accident efforts. Please keep posting as you make progress.

I'm super conscious of the need to make the interior reasonably safe for passengers if I get into an accident. I'm wondering if you have any insight to share from your experience into 'safe' conversion practices, like bolting heavy objects down, etc. Are there things you will do differently inside this time?

Seeing your pictures I realize that a very real scenario would be laying the bus on its side. A lot of the builds in this forum might benefit from a couple of extra fasteners...
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:01 PM   #207
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Hi Rucker,

Thanks for the compliments. Now more then two weeks later I still cannot sleep thru the night. No nightmares but for sure unrest in my head.

There was a lot of loose stuff in the van. ..tools..blankets...spare IDM....

The only thing not properly fastened was the table... Just never put the screws in.. it showed..it flew thru the bus..the what ifs if one of the kids would have been sitting there ....the seats are the original bus seats with seatbelts.. but the flying table would have hurt them for sure... the freezer was loose and tumbled around...

Then from the distortion one shelve came of the wall.. all other cabinets , beds stayed in place.

I know it is discussion points on this site but I am very happy I left the original metal inner ceiling in. It is tweaked here and there and has a couple of dents from the table and freezer box.

Here is a shot from the inside.. you can see the fridge door hanging open..

Solar racks were all bolted thru the main ribs and amazingly the panels were not cracked..

The sink area stayed in place. The center bed shelves were just laying loose and obvious flew around.

I think we were lucky again that because the bus swung 180 degrees around the nose ( burrows in the dirt) that most loose stuff was swung to the back.. ...at least halve my sockets are Missi g and they must have flown out of the bus.

I hung the 19" Dell monitor with shock absorbers and hard stop limiter and it stayed on the wall..

I had upgraded the dash with a factory tach and never bordered to put the screws back in.. it did not come out completely but was hanging on its side..

What to do better..

The original double bus doors opened from the twist and impact. The front door opened and got folded under the bus doing a lot of damage to the front door post.

A door with one hinge is easier to lock securely against twist... Yes bus doors look cute..but that is
about it.

Same for the rear door. Although it had three points of locking it still flew open.. maybe additional pins like some car doors have might be a solution.

Johan
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Old 12-05-2020, 10:37 AM   #208
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Another 3/4 day of putting around and trying..it is amazing that the damage is not so visible anymore but if you srtart looking at uneven gaps then it is clear that there is still a lot to do.

With my pulling equipment I was not able to generate enough overall force to push the body back. So I am trying to push at the same time with the forklift and a 6*6 hanging from the solar rack..

With that I was able to move it in the right direction. Then I had a straight door from another E350 schoolbus ( the one I am grafting on to a unimog 404) and mounted that to see where the window frame is in relation to the door.

It is hard to take relevant measurements.

It appears now that the body is also twisted as is more pushed in the back then in the front...or even in front it came out. So I am going to try and move the forklift more to the back and push more in the back to straighten the back first... Still with the 6*6
load divider.

Waiting for the weather to get a bit more pleasant.

Johan
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Old 12-09-2020, 03:19 PM   #209
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Onwards in this cold weather.. the driver A pillar is pulled in.. according the new door fit and the new window fit.. not completely sure why..so now nervous about frame twist ..the first measurement with a building laser..measured 6 spots all in one plane within 1/8" . Sofar it looks good. I was afraid that the driver side would have been bend up because it drove up the berm. It may have twisted the cabin but the frame seems to have come back where it should be.

I had pulled already some with the forklift but more is needed. Nevertheless I am getting more positive after the door fit and window fit correlated.

It showed quite a bit of rust under the window frame... Well at least now I can take care of that.
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Old 12-09-2020, 03:31 PM   #210
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Man, awesome work putting your bus back in order. I'm interested in that old engine you found at the scrapyard, FWIW. Looks like one of those circa-1900 jobs with the big flywheel, would be fun to try and restore it. I know I could handle the rust, at least.
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Old 12-10-2020, 10:56 PM   #211
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Thanks MG. Not sure if that motor is still there. How much is it worth? I will probably be there during the weekend and can ask him..but it is better that I have a price in mind.

It was a nice day today so pulled some more. Starting to look like something.. just watched the last Mandalorian with kids. Seeing him hovering around his wreck and using a spoolgun welder to get it to run again.. besides the welder I can identify a bit. Haha.

We had in mind of making a shower in this bus. So the dinette has to go. I had changed the driver to a swivel seat and moved the forward looking dinette bus seat a row up. The table had separated itself from the wall already so the demo was slightly easier.. our youngest was wrenching on the inside with the seat bolts with me holding the nut under the bus.


Tomorrow I will fit the window again and work on the rust before the wind shield can be mounted. I hope by that time that the front door frame is ready for the rv door.

Moving the seat forward created 27" wide space. Will see if we can create a recirculating shower with a litterbox that slides out of the way under the seat.
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Old 12-10-2020, 11:35 PM   #212
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Well, I think I'll pass on the motor for now - I have this other small renovation project that's been taking up a bit of my time lately.

I tried to ID that engine and found this page: https://www.old-engine.com/engines.shtml. It seems to look like most of them.
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Old 12-12-2020, 04:23 PM   #213
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Getting closer to acceptable..today I only worked on the back side.. the rear exit door post was pulled out of the floor and the welds were torn.

By now these pictures of my bus in chains is getting boring.

Made a tee piece designed to pull it back to the floor. Used the forklift and all other chains and puller I had . Bus started sliding sidewards.. so another chain on the chassis to keep it.. tire did not appreciate it but ....no choice.

The rear door frame is diagonal square within 1/4.. I would do the final adjustment and weld or rivet little braces in the top corner and maybe at some other locations as well.

On to the sheet metal.. tomorrow is colder so will see what gets done.
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Old 12-13-2020, 05:33 PM   #214
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I start to feel better about this fix up.

So here is a mangled back corner that I carefully removed. Aluminum outside with the inner panel ,equally mangled, made of steel.

Our Rosie walks careful on all legs. Once in a while a hear something popping. She is over 11-1/2 and was slowing down but was still chasing the puppy.
The chasing is over unfortunately.

Johan
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Old 12-14-2020, 11:09 AM   #215
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So this is the aluminum part. Still have to weld up two cracks in the bottom half where it was torn.

The window frame was pretty racked. So I made two wooden blocks with a groove to prevent the window lip from bending or crushing.

Now onto the steel inner part. As you can see that is also racked ..about 3/4".. I hope the wooden blocks will help here also.
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Old 12-14-2020, 07:32 PM   #216
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Hi there. I am new here and have the skills of a simpleton, so am in awe of most everyone here. Although i dont expect to have much to offer to others in this group, having read of your terrible accident, i really wanted to comment. You sir are a trooper. Not only do you have some amazing skiills, talent, and ingenuity...you are a testament to perseverance. I could not imagine anyone i know that would pull up their boot straps, dust themselves off and basically start over. What a shining example you are for your kids. Thank God you and your family are safe. Continued prayers for any physical or emotional scars...including Rosie. Thanks for being such an inspiration!!! Liz
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Old 12-14-2020, 07:50 PM   #217
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Good progress. How much of that E350 body is aluminum? Did the shower fit?
Is it close to straight again.
Im thinking of cutting a 4x8 hole in my roof and wondering how to keep the structural integrity. Will framing the hole with steel be enough?
I guess we get to play engineer.
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Old 12-15-2020, 05:25 PM   #218
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Join Date: Dec 2015
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Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
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Thank you Liz, haha, will see what kind of example I was when the kids are grown up. Today Rosie was running ,not fast, but for an 11-1/2 GSD not bad. Hope we will continue to be fortunate with her leg.

Hi Doktari,
Only plans for a shower / bathroom, very tiny. Created space by using a swivel driver seat as part of the dinette. Will have to make a dropped shower pan.

The roof and floor are aluminum. The sides are galvanized steel..
It is pretty straight now. Still a bit more to do and or redo. I am planning on little gusset plates around the back door to reinforce and mount them while I am pushing / pulling.

Yeah a big hole in the roof is going to be tough if something like a rollover is happening.
I am very happy I kept the original metal ceiling.

Tigged up the cracks in the rear window panel.
It was nice to see that all the rivet holes lined up with the bus frame.

Had to shorten the rv door. Installed a u profile around the door post assembly as to give it extra strength. Wanted it tight so it had to be 1-1/2 inside . Made it from super strut c channel and had the cut the folds of the legs..
my last HF 4-1/2" cutting disc lasted 3 ft. TS had dewalt cutting disc. One disc did the remaining 9 ft.

Here is the installed door..mockup only.. snow warning for tomorrow. So would be nice if that hole is closed up.
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Old 12-16-2020, 01:29 PM   #219
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Dec 2015
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Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
This morning in a big hurry to close up as much as I could before the snow hits.

Made an aluminum cover for a the driver window. I want to hang a wvo fuel filter in that location and use the obsolete pane to make a double pane on the passenger side..

Installed the front passenger window in the fiberglass and braced the cracks in the fiberglass with metal strips.

After the weather clears I will a couple of more pushes to see if the last 1/4" can be gained. Probably will screw braces in the back wall to recreate and increase stiffness.

Most all is now test fitted. It will take a lot more time to rivet / weld and reseal all joints.
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Old 12-25-2020, 10:13 AM   #220
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Glad to hear you and Rosie are ok after the accident. I worried about accidents when building our bus as I have 3 children that ride in it. I think I have everything secured. But I always wonder if I did enough. Seeing your pictures and reading makes me want to re evaluate my bus and make sure everything is safe.

You are doing some great work on pulling that thing back into shape! Keep up the good work. Merry Christmas!
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