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Old 12-27-2016, 03:15 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Ravenna, OH
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Year: 1991
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Chassis: Ford E350
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Hello from NE Ohio

New member from Northeast Ohio.

Well, I'm here with my 1991 E350 7.3L Metrotrans Shuttle Bus. 30 Passenger and fresh out of charter service.

Heads have just been done and transmission has 20000 miles on it. Body only has 86000 miles.

I'm starting the conversion in the next couple of weeks.

The plan is to see the lower 48, Mexico, and Canada over 14 weeks this summer.
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Old 12-27-2016, 03:38 AM   #2
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looks like a cool body.
dont forget to share more pics as you go alone.
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Old 12-27-2016, 06:41 AM   #3
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Hello dad. Was that bus listed on craigslist akron? Always nice to have another buckeye.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:44 AM   #4
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That looks as if you have found a pretty nice bus.

You will find two issues with that bus.

First, you have an E4OD transmission. In a bus of that size the transmission is barely up to the task. At 20,000 miles it might still be good for another 20,000 miles or it might be dead in another 100 miles. It seems that behind the 7.3L the transmission has a particular penchant for munching itself. Keep an eye on the color of the transmission fluid. The original design of the transmission does not allow enough fluid to flow through it fast enough to keep the fluid from overheating. It doesn't matter if you had a semi-truck radiator for a transmission cooler--the fluid will still get cooked as it passes through the valve body. If you should munch the transmission find a replacement from one of the builders online that have figured out some work arounds that allow the transmission to live behind diesel engines that have had serious HP increases. It won't be cheap but it just might be the last transmission you will have to purchase.

Second, the tax axle is a maintenance headache. The tag was not installed by Ford and many times not by the body builder but by an third party upfitter. Many of the parts used to upfit the tag axle are no longer available. Of particular problem is the braking system used by the tag axle. Various systems were used. Because it is no longer a bus that is being used to transport passengers it might be easier to find someone who can retrofit a system that will work. Most shops are not willing to take on the product liability issues that go along with changing a major safety system from what the OEM put on the bus.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 12-27-2016, 05:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadsled01 View Post
Hello dad. Was that bus listed on craigslist Akron? Always nice to have another buckeye.
Yes, it was! I spoke with the mechanic that did the current work and the operator that had it before.

I think I found a decent bus.

Do you currently have a bus in Cuyahoga Falls? Would love to see it and get some ideas.
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Old 12-27-2016, 06:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post

First, you have an E4OD transmission. In a bus of that size the transmission is barely up to the task.

Tough to hear about the E4OD. I had one in my 92 E350 with the 7.5 and it pulled 7500lbs plus 7 people and gear all the time. The GVWR on this thing is 11000, so hopefully it last. Fingers Crossed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Second, the tax axle is a maintenance headache.
The tag axle headaches I'm aware of. Talking to the owner who used this bus in his coach business - he said they're aligned and don't tear up the tires. When the breaks become an issue, they'll be removed and the lines snipped. I'm not carrying 30 people so I don't think I'll need the extra stopping power. When I asked him why he got rid of it - he had a cylinder lose psi. He looked at the rebuild cost and the fact it's an older design. He said that people had trouble looking past it's aged look. He took the money and bought a newer MCI 9.

Thanks for your advice, keep it coming.
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Old 12-28-2016, 06:30 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dadto5 View Post
Yes, it was! I spoke with the mechanic that did the current work and the operator that had it before.

I think I found a decent bus.

Do you currently have a bus in Cuyahoga Falls? Would love to see it and get some ideas.
I see you are in Ravenna. (grew up in Rootstown). Now I live and work in Cuyahoga Falls. My bus and atv's and tools are in Akron. I have a 1997 shuttle bus that I use as a camper/tow vehicle. Just some futon bunk beds but its great for what I do. Jerry
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Old 12-28-2016, 06:32 PM   #8
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I see you are in Ravenna. (grew up in Rootstown).

My kids go to Rootstown. We moved there 2.5 years ago and into Ravenna because of cheaper housing. Love Rootstown, great people. Come on out for a football game and say hi, I'll be announcing the band at halftime.
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:34 PM   #9
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Welcome! Great Walls of Windows! That'll be a fun adventure

Good luck!
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Old 12-29-2016, 06:40 AM   #10
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Band!! We have a lot in common.. My son is a tuba player for the falls. My wife volunteers to help the band every week..
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Come on out for a football game and say hi, I'll be announcing the band at halftime.
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Old 12-29-2016, 06:48 AM   #11
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wow, great looking rig. those windows are awesome. i hope you keep them all in. if there is any other style of vehicle i want other than my own bus it is this, so i cant wait to see what you do.
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:09 PM   #12
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"The tag axle headaches I'm aware of. Talking to the owner who used this bus in his coach business - he said they're aligned and don't tear up the tires. When the breaks become an issue, they'll be removed and the lines snipped. I'm not carrying 30 people so I don't think I'll need the extra stopping power. When I asked him why he got rid of it - he had a cylinder lose psi. He looked at the rebuild cost and the fact it's an older design. He said that people had trouble looking past it's aged look. He took the money and bought a newer MCI 9."

I would not remove the brakes or snip the lines. The legal jeopardy you will be putting yourself into is so great it would be difficult to quantify. In any sort of accident the opposing counsel is going to ask to see what was changed after the bus left revenue service. Even if the other person was at fault that person's legal team will contend that your modifications were a contributing factor to the accident and will reduce their clients indemnity. At the same time your insurance company will say that they were not informed about such a critical safety modification. If they had known about it they would not have insured that vehicle.

The brakes on an E-350/450 are barely adequate when they are stopping a 24-pax size bus. Add an axle and several more feet in length with only two axles stopping you and you may find yourself taking more feet to stop than there is room to stop.
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:55 PM   #13
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Those seats!!!!! I love those seats!!!!!!!! what you gonna do with them???
-Christopher
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Old 12-30-2016, 10:01 PM   #14
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Those seats!!!!! I love those seats!!!!!!!! what you gonna do with them???
-Christopher
Probably sell all of them. If you're interested let me know. I see you're in C-Bus, we could meet you 1/2 way or stretch her legs and come to you.

I would say we'll be ready to start pulling them in late March.

BTW we moved here from Delaware. Where in C-Bus are you?
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Leaving June 10, 2017, for 15 weeks. Destination, lower 48, parts of Mexico, all the Candian Provinces that border the USofA. Taking 5 kids and some sandwiches.

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Old 12-30-2016, 10:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post

The legal jeopardy you will be putting yourself into is so great it would be difficult to quantify.
The brakes on an E-350/450 are barely adequate when they are stopping a 24-pax size bus. Add an axle and several more feet in length with only two axles stopping you and you may find yourself taking more feet to stop than there is room to stop.


That is an excellent thought that I didn't have. Thank you. The brakes will remain and I'll just keep them properly adjusted.
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Leaving June 10, 2017, for 15 weeks. Destination, lower 48, parts of Mexico, all the Candian Provinces that border the USofA. Taking 5 kids and some sandwiches.

Yes, I am crazy.
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Old 12-30-2016, 10:06 PM   #16
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Band!! We have a lot in common.. My son is a tuba player for the falls. My wife volunteers to help the band every week..
NICE.

I can't wait to tailgate a couple times with the new bus.
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Leaving June 10, 2017, for 15 weeks. Destination, lower 48, parts of Mexico, all the Candian Provinces that border the USofA. Taking 5 kids and some sandwiches.

Yes, I am crazy.
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:44 AM   #17
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thats a perfect time-frame for the seats.. im in floirida now and will spend most of my time here till spring when it starts to warm up in ohio..

Grove city is where my house is.. I have one bus in ohio and one in florida.. the Bluebird is what im looking for low-cost seats for..

so did you rebuiold the engine to take care of the dead cylinder? im a bit lost in this conversation or is it cowlitz that had a dead cylinder?

I definitely recommend driving your bus as much as you can .. for one, to get used to it, and for another you also learn of any quirks and mechaniucal issues it mauy have that cant be determined by one trip home and letting it sit.. drive it to dinner, get it on the freeway and in town.. learn its size, and its blind spots, turning radius etc.. as well as anything you may find wrong.. gives you heads up early on of things to fix and watch out for..

drive it in dry weather and in the rain as well to help find leaks that dont show up when just parked...

at some point I want to get measurements on your seats.. and of course how much $$ they will set me back.. lots of pricey-seats out there and i dont want to waste your time or efforts if the $$ is too high like a lot of the ebayers selling..

im looking for them for my little bluebird which I pretty much use as a daily driver... not so much here in florida as I rarely drive down here.. I'm in a walkable city so i dont even touch my car for a week or more at a time...

definitely keep all the braking power you can... we all see how traffic stops instantly on the freeways.. and you can try all you want to leave tons of space in front of you.. but some little car will always slip in front of you and take that extra space you leave.. most people have no regard for busses or trucks on the road, so you may need all the braking power you can get at some point.. Brake fade is real, and brake fade is scary.. and Yes brake fade happens to Disc brakes..

-Christopher
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