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Old 05-20-2021, 12:35 AM   #1
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Thoughts on this bus-should I buy?

I've been looking for a 7.3L diesel short bus.

Description of ad:
1999 Ford Econoline E350 Super Duty Cutaway
7.3L V8 OHV 16V Turbo Diesel
Vehicle is operational, no issues with the engine
No rips to interior seats
Driven 280,588 miles
Automatic transmission

$7500

and here is the link https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...5-8f35dfebc1e9

What questions should I ask, it's close enough that I could make a drive out to see it. Anything I should be concerned about with this year, engine, or mileage etc.? Any and all advice is welcome as I am a newbie

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Old 05-21-2021, 01:42 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 619
Year: 2000
Coachwork: IC / Amtran
Chassis: 3000 / 33' Flat Nose
Engine: IC T444E / Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 72 Kids / 48 Adults
The T444E is a strong engine, yet at 280k+ miles, what they call the b10 and b50 (https://www.google.com/search?q=b50+...4dUDCA4&uact=5) it's probably pass the b50, meaning you really want to make sure it's thoroughly inspected. I believe my T444E b50 is at 200k.

It's HP ranges from 190 to 250, so knowing which it is, is important. Although the 190 is small, in a cut-a-way it would be fine.

The tranny is important to know which you have. Some are known as solid, others with beyond the normal inherent issues of all things mechanical.

It seems to small a vehicle for a Allison 3000, and the 1000 and 2000 were not yet out in 1999. So, it's probably something like a:

AT545 - Yellow (smaller, doesn't take much abuse)
MT643 - Green (biggest issue is the electric modulator, but it's addressable...ask me how I know)

Beyond that, cut-away vans are just that, vans. 280k on any vehicle is going to mean there is wear and tear on the major systems. Brakes, suspension, steering, wheel bearings, body (damage / rust), etc.

These items can add up fast!

Again, a thorough inspection is important.

Best of luck!
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Old 05-21-2021, 02:05 PM   #3
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Location: Philadelphia
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Year: 2003
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Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicity View Post
I believe my T444E b50 is at 200k.
The B10 for the T444E is 200K, the B50 is 350K - which 280K is still getting close to.
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Old 05-21-2021, 03:46 PM   #4
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Location: NM USA KD6WJG
Posts: 778
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE 40 FEET
Engine: Cummins 8.3
That is a single rear wheel unit and therefore has a low gvwr. That will impact what you can put in it.
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Old 05-21-2021, 10:27 PM   #5
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Reccomendations

Thank you for all the responses. What would be your recommendations for a short bus for someone who is brand new to the scene.
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Old 05-22-2021, 12:41 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 377
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC1000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
Way too many miles
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Old 05-25-2021, 02:17 PM   #7
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 619
Year: 2000
Coachwork: IC / Amtran
Chassis: 3000 / 33' Flat Nose
Engine: IC T444E / Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 72 Kids / 48 Adults
Per a recommendation, determine what your needs and wants are first. If you don't know what your needs and wants are, you might want to rent a RV it's approximately the size of bus you're looking at and seeing what works and doesn't work for you.

Once you have an idea of what you want and don't want then you just have to find the vehicle that will do it for you. That may or may not be a school bus. It may be an ambulance, a cutaway van that's like a shuttle bus or a U-Haul type truck.

If you don't know where you're going, you're sure to not get there.
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Old 06-05-2021, 11:05 PM   #8
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: SoCal
Posts: 39
Year: 03?
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: MicroBird
Engine: 7.3L powerstroke
7.3L Ford Diesel is a workhorse of an engine. It is what Ford built their medium duty commercial fleet around for MANY years. 280k miles is a bit on the higher side, unless you have maintenance records and it's been well taken care of (can go 350k-500k with proper maintenance).

*Best to stay 2003 or prior due to emissions add-on crap.
*In my opinion a diesel is a must.
*Van busses can be worked on anywhere Ford diesel trucks can and should be cheaper to maintain/repair overall
*Be mindful of your intended use and the length of bus. In my area of SoCal anything over 26 ft is considered oversized and banned for parking on ALL city streets overnight
*That particular bus is a 4 window short/narrow bus. It will fit in a normal parking space (1+ ft narrower than dually busses and it's only around 21ft long)... it's actually a bit of a unicorn in the bus world (just not for me... I can squeeze my 5 window e-450 dually into most parking spaces with a lil lube!
*Rust IS NOT your friend on a bus (check underneath etc)
*Check that the engine is stone cold when you try and start it. An already warmed up engine could be signs that seller is trying to dump a dog that's hard to start (a somewhat common problem with older 7.3L diesels)
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