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Old 10-29-2016, 11:33 AM   #1
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The Short Bus Journey begins....

Hey Everyone,

I have been pitching in a bit to give my sister a hand putting together a rig for her to use while traveling and displaying at art shows.

Here are some examples of her work:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/lagunasilks
https://www.etsy.com/shop/frans2hands

I have been lurking on this site for quite some time. I converted an Eagle 10 a while back and loved the process. When I finished I knew that I would convert another one day. Well, here we go....

After several months of shopping and lost bids on auction sites Francie (sister) found a 2005 E450 5 window about 80 miles from me at the First Students facility. The bus has the 6.0 Powerstroke, 5 speed OD auto and only 121k miles. It runs and drives like a dream.

So far we have removed all but one of the seats and are working on design decisions. We count ourselves as extremely fortunate to have found this community of knowledgeable, helpful and generous folks to give us guidance on the way. Many questions to follow....

Thanks Everyone for the information and inspiration that has gotten us this far.

Steve





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Old 10-29-2016, 11:38 AM   #2
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You're a real gambling man, eh Steve?
Congrats on getting a bus, man!
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Old 10-29-2016, 11:43 AM   #3
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Ok, while I figure out how to upload pics I will throw my first question:

We were discussing ceiling finishes last night. I recommended a "soft" finish of some sort for better acoustics. Francie strongly prefers a non-fabric finish as fabric (carpet, headliner material etc) can hold dirt/odors and be more difficult to clean than a smooth finish.

She had the idea of using nicely finished 1/8 birch plywood over the insulation. I can visualize it and I am certain that it is doable and will look nice.

I have an idea that the birch ply will be "softer" as far as reflection sound than the metal ceiling but I have no idea how much or how it would compare to a plywood ceiling covered with some kind of heavy fabric.

What can you all tell me about the reality of a finished plywood ceiling? Acoustics, appearance, maintenance etc?

Thanks

Steve
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Old 10-29-2016, 11:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
You're a real gambling man, eh Steve?
Congrats on getting a bus, man!
Thanks!!

This one is for Sister. Next one will be mine

Not sure what you mean by "gambling man". A good thing I hope

BTW: We are working hard to arrange a trip to Skoolie-Palooza. Look forward to sitting down with you for a pint or two.
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Old 10-29-2016, 12:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Thanks!!

This one is for Sister. Next one will be mine

Not sure what you mean by "gambling man". A good thing I hope

BTW: We are working hard to arrange a trip to Skoolie-Palooza. Look forward to sitting down with a pint or two.
Nice, I'm working so hard I may not be able to even make 'palooza. When money is coming in, I try to let the momentum continue! We'll see how this winter goes.


By "gambler" I was just poking at you a little. Buying a 6.0, and from First Student is a gamble, if you ask me!
But truly not trying to start any flaming or anything!

You're definitely "good people", Steve!
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Old 10-29-2016, 12:31 PM   #6
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Nice, I'm working so hard I may not be able to even make 'palooza. When money is coming in, I try to let the momentum continue! We'll see how this winter goes.


By "gambler" I was just poking at you a little. Buying a 6.0, and from First Student is a gamble, if you ask me!
But truly not trying to start any flaming or anything!

You're definitely "good people", Steve!


As far as First Students goes, I have heard a handful of first hand good accounts of bus purchases from FS and quite a number of bad accounts that start with "I knew a guy..." or " My great aunt used to drive for...".

After reading all I could find and talking to the service manager at the local facility I feel good about the purchase.

Regarding the 6.0: Again I did my due diligence. A 2003 7.3 would have been my first choice. No EGR etc. That said, I found plenty of knowledgeable resources that told me pretty much the same thing: If you are going to run it stock the 6.0 is among the better Powerstrokes built. It does have a couple of well known and addressed issues. If you are going to build a 6.0 up for big power then there are a number of rather serious issues to be dealt with.

All said, I think we did well. I think the gamble will work out in our favor
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Old 10-30-2016, 09:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Ok, while I figure out how to upload pics I will throw my first question:

We were discussing ceiling finishes last night. I recommended a "soft" finish of some sort for better acoustics. Francie strongly prefers a non-fabric finish as fabric (carpet, headliner material etc) can hold dirt/odors and be more difficult to clean than a smooth finish.

She had the idea of using nicely finished 1/8 birch plywood over the insulation. I can visualize it and I am certain that it is doable and will look nice.

I have an idea that the birch ply will be "softer" as far as reflection sound than the metal ceiling but I have no idea how much or how it would compare to a plywood ceiling covered with some kind of heavy fabric.

What can you all tell me about the reality of a finished plywood ceiling? Acoustics, appearance, maintenance etc?

Thanks

Steve
Anyone have any thoughts regarding the ceiling finish?
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Old 10-30-2016, 12:42 PM   #8
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We are planning on using some sort of white hardboard - like this. Haven't quite made up my mind but, have seen it done before it looks nice and clean.

The folks at Outside Found had a good article about attaching it... link here.
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Old 10-30-2016, 02:40 PM   #9
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regarding the 6.0... I had a conversation about VT-365's and 6.0's with a Powerstroke guy just a couple days ago... we also talked about my T-444E as well..

by 2005 Ford had rectified a couple of the Major issues regarding Powerstrokes.. sure there could still be issues with EGR coolers and Oil coolers.. but the 05 is a decent motor...

the big thing is to keep very clean oil in it.. service the coolant properly, and never begin to get it hot... an oil temperature of 260-270 will cause a complete and utter meltdown of a 6.0...

a water temperature of 230+ and an engine under heavy load can easily mean on a slightly older 6.0 that your oil temp is reaching that danger zone...

so be vigilant.. dont drive the *&^% out of the bus.. make sure all of your cooling items are serviced and working properly...

make sure your EGR is working properly..

if you have a check engine light be sure to take care of it... yes it mnay cost some $$ to fix it now however you get Longevity... you CAN bulletproof a 6.0.. for a few grand and have a 500,000 mile engine...

but many 6.0's are on the road without bulletproofing and that have been well taken care of and not run hard... and not let-go because of the "harmless" check engine light... that ends up not being so harmless..

take care of your 6.0 and it will give you very good service....

oh and what I mean by a Meltdown is that plastic parts.. yes plastic parts in the oil filter area Melt and send molten plastic through the engine... that does NOT dissolve in the oil.. but the travel like goo through the bearings, oil passages, lifters, etc ..then they harden.. and those oil passages are permanently stopped-up...

-Christopher
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Old 10-30-2016, 04:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
regarding the 6.0... I had a conversation about VT-365's and 6.0's with a Powerstroke guy just a couple days ago... we also talked about my T-444E as well..

by 2005 Ford had rectified a couple of the Major issues regarding Powerstrokes.. sure there could still be issues with EGR coolers and Oil coolers.. but the 05 is a decent motor...

the big thing is to keep very clean oil in it.. service the coolant properly, and never begin to get it hot... an oil temperature of 260-270 will cause a complete and utter meltdown of a 6.0...

a water temperature of 230+ and an engine under heavy load can easily mean on a slightly older 6.0 that your oil temp is reaching that danger zone...

so be vigilant.. dont drive the *&^% out of the bus.. make sure all of your cooling items are serviced and working properly...

make sure your EGR is working properly..

if you have a check engine light be sure to take care of it... yes it mnay cost some $$ to fix it now however you get Longevity... you CAN bulletproof a 6.0.. for a few grand and have a 500,000 mile engine...

but many 6.0's are on the road without bulletproofing and that have been well taken care of and not run hard... and not let-go because of the "harmless" check engine light... that ends up not being so harmless..

take care of your 6.0 and it will give you very good service....

oh and what I mean by a Meltdown is that plastic parts.. yes plastic parts in the oil filter area Melt and send molten plastic through the engine... that does NOT dissolve in the oil.. but the travel like goo through the bearings, oil passages, lifters, etc ..then they harden.. and those oil passages are permanently stopped-up...

-Christopher
Good information Christopher!!

So far in its life this engine has gotten fresh synthetic oil every 6000 miles. I intend to continue that.

The coolant is clean and the bus shows zero signs of cooling system issues.

I intend to send samples of coolant and oil off for analysis before it goes out on the road.

I am also going to recommend the installation of an EGT. I have one on my Cummins and will never own another diesel rig without one.

Lastly: "Check Engine" means STOP AND CHECK THE ENGINE ASAP!!

All good points that will help promote longevity of the 6.0 or most any diesel.

Thanks again.

S.
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Old 10-30-2016, 04:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chad.nuesmeyer View Post
We are planning on using some sort of white hardboard - like this. Haven't quite made up my mind but, have seen it done before it looks nice and clean.

The folks at Outside Found had a good article about attaching it... link here.
Thank for the suggestions Chad.

I have worked with that material and had a bit of trouble getting it to bend without breaking. It looks like the folks at Outsidefound have it figured out. We may have to snag a sheet and see how well it conforms to the ceiling for us.

Thanks again.

S.
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:26 AM   #12
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Good morning Everyone,

It looks like we may be leaning towards a painted or stained wood ceiling. I would love to hear from anyone who has thoughts on managing noise?

Also, I have another question regarding air conditioning:

The bus came equipped with Carrier road air condidioning. What are the advantages/disadvantages to keeping it vs getting rid of it and engineering our house air conditioning to run while on the road?

Keep it or loose it? Why? Why not?

What do yo all think? Christopher?

Thanks.

S.
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:48 AM   #13
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road A/C.. alot depends on how much the bus is going to be on the road vs parked.. and whether the space is needed under the bus and on the ceiling where the unit resides..

in a cutaway E Series bus they often have Dashboard A/C as well as the rear system...

this allows you a path to remove the rear portions and then rework it to have your Dashboard A/C for the road... I only suggest yanbking the rear system if it is physically either non-working or gets in the way somehow space-wise for what you want to do..

some coach builders simply tie the rear system into the Van dash system.. others make the only condenser used the one under the bus..

if it is simply a tie-in its usually really easy to yank the rear system, evacuate and re-charge the front.. if it is completely custom then sometimes you have to visit a ford junkyard for a condenser and a few hoses (or make your own hoses.. they are easy).. and put it back together..

making your Parked A/C work on the road depends on how you plan to handle it.. a normal alternator wont likely run a rooftop A/C on an inverter which means you likely need a generator running while driving.. (mounted, and installed somehow)..

an insulated short cutaway bus like that will likely cool decently on one rooftop A/C as you dont have the curse of massive engine heat like a full size conventional bus..

part of your A/C decision also should be made on whether the art-work carried in the rear of bus needs to stay cool while travelling from site to site... road A/C is mnuch easier while oin the road... but of course useless when not...

-Christopher
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Old 11-01-2016, 02:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
road A/C.. alot depends on how much the bus is going to be on the road vs parked.. and whether the space is needed under the bus and on the ceiling where the unit resides..

in a cutaway E Series bus they often have Dashboard A/C as well as the rear system...

this allows you a path to remove the rear portions and then rework it to have your Dashboard A/C for the road... I only suggest yanbking the rear system if it is physically either non-working or gets in the way somehow space-wise for what you want to do..

some coach builders simply tie the rear system into the Van dash system.. others make the only condenser used the one under the bus..

if it is simply a tie-in its usually really easy to yank the rear system, evacuate and re-charge the front.. if it is completely custom then sometimes you have to visit a ford junkyard for a condenser and a few hoses (or make your own hoses.. they are easy).. and put it back together..

making your Parked A/C work on the road depends on how you plan to handle it.. a normal alternator wont likely run a rooftop A/C on an inverter which means you likely need a generator running while driving.. (mounted, and installed somehow)..

an insulated short cutaway bus like that will likely cool decently on one rooftop A/C as you dont have the curse of massive engine heat like a full size conventional bus..

part of your A/C decision also should be made on whether the art-work carried in the rear of bus needs to stay cool while travelling from site to site... road A/C is mnuch easier while oin the road... but of course useless when not...

-Christopher
Thank you Christopher!!

Could you give me some tips on determining whether the dash & rear are tied together or separate? I understand the concept but have little experience in this area and a bit of expert direction will likely save me hours of trying to figure it out on my own

While we are planning on a generator with enough capacity to run a 9k to 12k BTU air conditioner it would be preferable to have road air to keep the driver comfortable.

My last conversion had no road air. I had two 12.5K roof airs and an 8k genny. I ROASTED in the drivers seat while driving through the desert.

On this one we must have road air or coach air that serves the driver well.

Thanks again.

S.
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Old 11-01-2016, 02:17 PM   #15
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Hi! Do you mind if I ask what you paid for yours?
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Old 11-01-2016, 02:33 PM   #16
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the first thing to look for is if there are 1 or 2 compressors under the hood..

if there is 2 then the system are completely separate.. its easy then.. you can just yank the rear system..

if theres only 1 compressor (which is most likely the case on a bus that size)... then you next look to see if there is a condenser in front of the radiator... if there is, then it gets easier as its usually just a matter of unscrewing some fittings and then recharging..

if theres no condenser in front of the radiator then things get more complex... as you need to find a condenser and some lines to tie into the dash evaporator..

ive seen them both ways as far as a condenser.. Carrier (I THINK) is the last scenerio i described where they dont have a condenser in front of the radiator.. they are all different...

too bad we asrent closer together i could probably size up exactly whats going on in 10 minutes
..

I totally agree on road air.. I added it to my Carpenter nhus... and was Roasting in the driver seat while the mid section was cold.. so I then added Custom dash air.. (into a conventional bus never designed for it)... now Numero Uno stays cool!..

my newest bus already had road A/C when I got it..but its all the way at theback...so i have a feeling in spring I'll be fashioning custom Dash air for it too... althiugh since it doesnt have a doghouse itsnot nearly ashot as the carpenter..

-Christopher
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