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Old 11-21-2020, 04:33 PM   #21
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: S.E Missouri
Posts: 67
Year: 2000
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 5.9L 24 valve
Rated Cap: 78
No matter what you buy it WILL have problems of some sort and some time, just the nature of mechanical things. I have not worked on the chevy trucks or vans since the 1987 chevy van I owned back in the 2003 to 2005 era so I won't be much help there.

I would look for a vehicle that is designed to allow you to replace things like the starter, alternator, battery, water pump, idler pulley ect without having to disassemble the front end of the vehicle or drop the motor out the bottom to get to. Find a vehicle that was designed for ease of repair and then research it's power train to get a sense of it's known issues and owner happiness. As is the case here you can learn a lot about a car/truck/van chassis by searching and reading forums.

My wife had a 2000 Buick LeSabre that one day I needed to jump start due to a bad battery, come to find out the battery in those cars is under the back seat and the seat has to come out to access it. I was like "what the hell!?!"

Also I once considered buying a 1998ish Cadillac with 119k miles on it. I took that car to my mechanic to check it out and what I learned from him made my decision not to buy it. According to him the Cadillacs with the NorthStar engine have head gasket problems at around 115k to 120k and the engine has to come out the bottom of the sub-frame in order to replace them . My point is that every vehicle has it's problems but like UFO Pilot said "Better the devil you know than the one's you don't"
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Old 11-21-2020, 05:09 PM   #22
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shamoke View Post
I would look for a vehicle that is designed to allow you to replace things like the starter, alternator, battery, water pump, idler pulley ect without having to disassemble the front end of the vehicle or drop the motor out the bottom to get to. Find a vehicle that was designed for ease of repair and then research it's power train to get a sense of it's known issues and owner happiness. As is the case here you can learn a lot about a car/truck/van chassis by searching and reading forums.
I think ya cut right to the heart of what I'm asking, Shamoke! I'm wondering which cutaway buses have easy(ish) access to the majority of components one might need to repair?
I'm immunocompromised and won't be able to scope a number of chassis up close and personal like I otherwise might if pandemic was no issue. My daily driver is in the midst of some repairs, so I'm going on what I can sus from pictures without having that hands-on element. Before I start pursuing an ideal model, I'd like to ensure I'm gunnin' for the right thing for my needs.
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Old 11-21-2020, 07:55 PM   #23
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Virginia
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Cutaways, by nature, are HD cargo van chassis and are not designed or built with serviceability in mind.
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Former owner - 1989 Ford B700 64-pass Blue Bird
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:24 PM   #24
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 492
Year: 1999
well the best advice is to buy a truck and tow a trailer, not get an old school bus.
any truck is going to be easier to repair, and if needed, just replace it, whereas once you get a school bus converted, you are glued solid to your drivetrain.

If that is not good enough, then get a truck with a box, i.e. uhaul truck.

The e450 shuttle van has the engine half-way inside, which makes it easier for some things and harder for others. My old Dodge van motorhome has the motor basically all inside the cab.
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Old 11-24-2020, 03:37 PM   #25
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
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Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
The e450 shuttle van has the engine half-way inside, which makes it easier for some things and harder for others. My old Dodge van motorhome has the motor basically all inside the cab.
Thanks! This helps.

I used to want a box truck, but appreciate the built-in curve of a bus roof that keeps rain or snow from pooling so much. I imagine they're built a little sturdier too considering they gotta transport children, but that's just a hunch after seeing a few lids ripped off a trailer.

If I end up with a bunk bus, I'll retire it on my friend's land.
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Old 11-24-2020, 08:56 PM   #26
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 173
Id Run from ANY van cutaway Chassis bus.

For several reasons

1 a factory GM 4500 Thomas bus has a aluminum rear cap.
Thomas claims their 4500 bus is the only make in that class below its GVWR with a driver in the seat.

2 with their weight pushed to the limits It stresses the brakes, suspension and steering components to the max as well.

3 The only thing harder than working under the hood of one is working under the dash.
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Old 11-27-2020, 02:08 PM   #27
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 110
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas (ShortBus)
Chassis: E450
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke turbo diesel
Rated Cap: 15 person
Just tossing 2 or 3 pennies in the idea-jar

Living full time on the road for almost a year now, in a 2002 e450 7.3 powerstroke. Had a couple “major” stranding situations down the road.

ICP sensor failed (New sensor 200$, worth it, easy fix). UVCH on drivers side failed (fixed with 1/2 dozen of super glue drips, still working). And recently the alternator totally seized up (200$ for a new one, lifetime guarantied).

Running on 8 rebuilt injectors that were put in just before purchasing Lil’Bus.

So (not that) far, very very pleased about the learning process of fixing all the failing components around this beasty engine, able to get 90% of the job with my two hands and this brilliant skoolie platform.

Good luck Novice with finding your fit !

Cheers all !!
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