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Old 06-14-2024, 08:47 PM   #1
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Smile Should I buy this? 1989 E350 5.8L with only 28k miles

Howdy folks,
This is my first bus purchase (and forum post so please let me know if I'm in the wrong thread.)
I'm planning on purchasing a 1989 Ford Econoline E350 CUTAWAY, gas engine 5.8L V8 OHV 16V with an Allison automatic transmission and hydraulic brakes. It only has 28k miles on its original engine, this was originally a school district bus purchased with grant funds and for that reason restricted in its use. It was driven from Anderson, SC up to Bakersville, NC (150 Miles) in 2023 and parked, after facetiming with the current owner who is a diesel mechanic I saw it start right up from cold (I can only assume as I was not there) and demonstrated to idle and rev with no audible misfires or pulley squeals. All seals are sealed minus a crack in the emergency hatch up top and there is minimal rust on the frame concurrent with its age.
If anyone has a similar build I'd love advice tips or tricks and even warnings about any part of it. If possible I'd also like some advice on registering it in NC as an RV and what that process will be like.


Thanks in advance and please let me know about any questions you may have and I'd be happy to answer them!
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 06-14-2024, 10:52 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 1,119
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 29
It's a good sized Shorty.

I live in Rock Hill, SC. We east coasters need to stick together.
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Old 06-21-2024, 12:18 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2023
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thompson
Chassis: GMC Savana
Engine: 5.7L
I remember seeing that listed recently.

Last year I bought a 2002 GMC 3500 Savana with a 4 window handicap Thompson body on it. The VIN was for a cutaway chassis. Had no big problem getting insurance on it for personal use, as I'm using it for personal and not commercial use. Not sure what may have changed in the state this year, but I ended up having to change my coverage to a commercial coverage, but the price difference was minimal.

My first call for insurance for GEICO, and got put onto a national line. They were actually surprised that in NC I didn't have to have commercial insurance for it. The national line agent was surprised, as they mentioned in most other states it would be a more difficult process.

YMMV though, good luck!
It's probably worth it in the long run when dealing with insurance to let them know the state of it currently, your intended use, and how things may change if you were to do XYZ with it in the future.
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Old 06-21-2024, 11:58 PM   #4
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Just a few questions I would ask if it was me buying it: If it has been sitting for a year or so, aren’t there issues that develop with the engine just from sitting? Also, do the tires develop dry rot from sitting that long? How much are they asking for it? If you have trouble registering your bus in NC, I believe you can register it in another state. It used to be Vermont, but that might not be true now. Good luck.
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Old 06-22-2024, 06:29 PM   #5
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Location: topeka kansas
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Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
5.8 ford

Should be an inexpensive motor to purchase parts, or even to find good used engine. They made, probably made 300,000 of a year from 1970 to around 1995.

I have not seen an Allison transmission behind a ford 5.8, might exist, but I have never seen one. Usually this engine has a ford automatic transmission.

Weak points- the amount of fuel per mile.

5.8 is much much easier to work on than the 7.3 diesel. In the space the engine occupies.

William
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Old 06-26-2024, 09:25 PM   #6
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Location: mid Mo.
Posts: 916
Year: 1976
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: F33695
Engine: 427 chevy converted to 466
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Looks like a deal to me.
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Old 06-27-2024, 09:58 AM   #7
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: El Dorado Fiberglass
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Age is the biggest factor. That vehicle is 35 years old, and things just go wrong the older the vehicle gets. And the older the vehicle, the fewer mechanics who will work on it. Unless the vehicle was regularly maintained up until recently you may need to replace bolt-on parts (starter, alternator, other electrical parts) that seemingly fail at the most inconvenient time.

If the engine and drive train are good, I would plan on budgeting to do this as a preventive activity over the next couple of years, until everything is recent.

Plan on replacing the tires-same reason-unless they were recently replaced. Tire shops won't repair tires that in their opinion are too old-ten years is pretty much the limit. Budget for replacement tires so you can choose what to buy and when to replace, without a tow fee associated.

Regarding the bus itself, is the interior height sufficient for your plans? Some of these buses may not give you enough room to insulate the ceiling and/or floor without losing critical headroom.

My personal opinion: the bus looks great but its true market value has to factor in the cost of those preventive maintenance items that come 'standard' with a newer bus. To figure out what that market value is, get the average asking price for a handful of similar buses that are newer, subtract the cost of tires and bolt-ons, and see how the asking price compares.
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Old 06-27-2024, 10:53 AM   #8
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Iíd avoid at all cost.
I donít believe the 28k miles.
I donít believe it has a Allison trans
Ford did not offer a Allison transmissions in anything smaller than F-600
The only auto trans in that model is C-6 3 speed auto
Non overdrive. Good trans just takes about 30Hp to run the front pump. (Itís just gas money, right?)
Hyd brakes do not age well sitting inactive.
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Old 06-27-2024, 01:45 PM   #9
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Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,154
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mekanic View Post
I’d avoid at all cost.
I don’t believe the 28k miles.
I don’t believe it has a Allison trans
Ford did not offer a Allison transmissions in anything smaller than F-600
The only auto trans in that model is C-6 3 speed auto
Non overdrive. Good trans just takes about 30Hp to run the front pump. (It’s just gas money, right?)
Hyd brakes do not age well sitting inactive.

the AOD wasnt out yet? I had a 1988 ford club wagon with a 460 and an AOD, not a C6
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Old 06-27-2024, 06:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
the AOD wasnt out yet? I had a 1988 ford club wagon with a 460 and an AOD, not a C6
No AOD in anything heavier than a 1/2 ton truck/van
AOD had no electronics for shifting.

1990 was the first year of the AODE used in all F/E-250-350 gas and diesels. E stood for Electronic much different trans.
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Old 06-28-2024, 11:25 AM   #11
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Motor City
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E4OD was the successor to the C6, right? Switch happened in different platforms and engines at different times around 1989 +/-.

If it's an E4OD it'd have an overdrive cancel button on the shifter? That shifter doesn't look like it would. Looks like the shifter in my '77 E350 motorhome.

Airbox is for the EFI 351, so at least it's not carbureted, that happened in that timeframe too.
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Old 06-28-2024, 11:43 AM   #12
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,154
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by ennonne View Post
E4OD was the successor to the C6, right? Switch happened in different platforms and engines at different times around 1989 +/-.

If it's an E4OD it'd have an overdrive cancel button on the shifter? That shifter doesn't look like it would. Looks like the shifter in my '77 E350 motorhome.

Airbox is for the EFI 460, so at least it's not carbureted, that happened in that timeframe too.



they had a non 'E' AOD.. the lockup was probably electric like it was in the GM.. (GM released their non electronic overdrive transmissions in 1982 with the 700R4)... I honestly dont know what model the club wagon I had was.. it was a brief time.. and didnt have a 150/250 designation it just said "Club wagon" on the outside and inside it said "Chateau" right under the air con vents.. but it had over drive.. you could feel the lockup in 3 and the OD kick in after
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Old 06-28-2024, 12:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ennonne View Post
E4OD was the successor to the C6, right? Switch happened in different platforms and engines at different times around 1989 +/-.

If it's an E4OD it'd have an overdrive cancel button on the shifter? That shifter doesn't look like it would. Looks like the shifter in my '77 E350 motorhome.

Airbox is for the EFI 460, so at least it's not carbureted, that happened in that timeframe too.
You are correct
I got the E4OD and the later AODE switched in my head.
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Old 06-29-2024, 04:48 PM   #14
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Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 105
The following reply was sent to me by accident I think. It probably was meant for you:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mekanic View Post
I’d avoid at all cost.
I don’t believe the 28k miles.
I don’t believe it has a Allison trans
Ford did not offer a Allison transmissions in anything smaller than F-600
The only auto trans in that model is C-6 3 speed auto
Non overdrive. Good trans just takes about 30Hp to run the front pump. (It’s just gas money, right?)
Hyd brakes do not age well sitting inactive.
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Old 06-29-2024, 10:29 PM   #15
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Join Date: Aug 2022
Location: Oregon
Posts: 144
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: ford E350
Engine: 6.0 power stroke Diesel Navistar EFI
Rated Cap: wife & 2 corgis
spedo is only 5 digits so i would think its been rolled over?
cool little bus short & short!
old stuff is fine if you are prepared to do a lot of fixin.
wrenching on old stuff can be fun if your mechanically inclined.
the bus looks in pretty good condition and may be worth the effort!
it always take awhile to get all the bugs out so be patient if ya get it.
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Old 06-30-2024, 12:49 AM   #16
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I am not the prospective buyer. Her post at the top shows her name: ThisThangBussin97.
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