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Old 12-04-2023, 12:27 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2023
Location: PNW
Posts: 4
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: E350 Cut-away
Engine: 7.3L PowerStroke
Our Unnamed Short Bus

We have had our bus for a few months now and the work has begun. I'm going to use this thread as a way to keep track of what has been done before I forget what has gone into it...

The bus-that-has-yet-to-be-named is a 1998 E350 5-window by Girardin. It's a single rear axle and narrow (78" interior width). The body is not steel - much to our surprise.

It must have been an elementary school bus because I have just a few inches headroom (I'm 5'3" on a good day); DH brushes the ceiling. We were happy to find an almost blank slate. We bought it from the school district mechanic (now retired) and his son. We know who serviced the bus for its first twenty-five years. They used it for about six years, toodling around the PNW.

Plans: We aren't planning on living full time in this but finding that happy middle point of what I would like to do and what the DH is willing to do is the challenge. We are planning for this to be a three season bus. His other requirement the bed has to be convertible, keeping the aisle clear to the back door. Given we will be using this primarily as a weekender, it's a reasonable ask. I've narrowed down the design - I'm not thrilled about losing storage space but there will be some under the bed/benches. (I wanted a fixed bed across the back for maximum storage).

There will be a kitchen pod with a foot pump sink. I would like a hidden shower - an extension of the counter unit - with a minimalist shower (a Geyser shower or something similar). I don't want to haul a ton of water. Either a dry toilet (Trelino) or a composting unit (Cuddy) for when we aren't near facilities. Both are small compared to other non-flushing toilets. Either will easily fit in the shower box.

Reality: We took out the remaining four seats which were arranged to make two single bunks. Ripped up the linoleum and plywood after much, erm, discussion. Once he saw it my way , it was fairly smooth sailing.There was no rust because, surprise! the floor was aluminum. The few actual steel pieces did get a coating of Chassis Saver (entry stairs and side battery cover).

After cleaning, painting and patching the floor, we have laid down a layer of 1/2" insulation and 5/8" plywood. DH is adamant that he be able to stand up so if the floors are cold, I'll be wearing shoes. For the floor covering, we want to lay down sheet linoleum - basically what we took out of the bus but new. The Forbo product is 79" wide which means we should be able to do this with no seams.

During this floor work, we found a local guy who will do the electrical things that are above our pay grades. He swapped out the steering wheel so we now have cruise control! A back up camera is definitely on the docket.

We found a passenger seat at a wrecking yard - it's temporarily installed - that will be on a swivel. It's situated to the left of the entry way as you enter. It's not the optimal location but he'll have to turn up his hearing aids when I'm the navigator.

That's all for now.

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Old 12-04-2023, 12:29 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 795
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 29
You should look into doing a roof raise. It's really not that difficult if you have a tiny bit of welding experience. This would give him the height he requires and maybe you can use that as a compromise on the bed.
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Old 12-04-2023, 03:06 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2023
Location: PNW
Posts: 4
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: E350 Cut-away
Engine: 7.3L PowerStroke
Oh, I have mentioned it! Neither one of us has the welding experience. If we were going to be full time, it would easier to find a more suitable bus.


Then again, there's nothing to say that it couldn't be done in the future. What is going into the bus could be easily removed to do a roof raise.
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Old 12-06-2023, 02:51 AM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 2,496
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford 1998 e350 4x4 7.3 2 mercedes 2004
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
He xeres, welcome to the small exclusive club of swr 7.3 powestroke E350 buses.

The swr we built has a fulltime bed in the back, we make up with swivel seats in the front. The bed in the back has a middle section that can be taken out if you want to haul 4x8 sheets thru the back door...
It is not tall and I can not fully stand up with 6ft2. Dropped the shower pan thru the floor to make that possible., recirculating shower for less water and waste. the reality, at least ours with 2 kids and two dogs that I am not standing that much in the bus.

The other one was a girardin swr that we used the body to graft on a404 unimog.
Aluminum is great. Hope you did not have rust on the crossmember under the bus. Mine came from New York so it was rusty. Not a problem for my application.

You can search with my username for our short bus adventures.

Anyhow ,have fun

Johan
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