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Old 07-11-2015, 03:59 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 152
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
Hello from VT

Greetings all,
I have just purchased a 1996 Ford E-Super Duty dually with a 7.3 Powerstroke (215k miles). It's equipped with a Terra Transit 13-passenger body by Turtle Top. It has the storage compartment in the back.
The body needs a good scrubbing and quite a few fiberglass patches. The roof vent needs to be fixed or replaced. There is very little rust on the cab, and the main chassis is in great shape. The I-beam cross members that support the Turtle Top are quite rusty and will need replacing (this isn't a problem because I'd like to drop the floor a few inches anyway, and I won't be able to until I replace those I-beams with something shorter, but that is all down the road, ie when the current cross members fail).
Mechanically the bus is in great shape, and has been thoroughly cared for by an elderly couple until only a few weeks ago.
Does anyone know of any build threads on a similar platform? Also, if anyone has experience with registering and insuring these I'd appreciate suggestions. My plan was to call it a cutaway van because that seems like the easiest and cheapest route. The title calls it a Ford Cutvan, model no. E406, body type bus. However, VT doesn't require titles on vehicles older than 15 years, so all that info can be amended. Not sure what the curb weight is, or what VT's insurance regulations look like.
Excited to gradually move on from pen and paper.

Sprout (let's get goin'!) Root

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Old 07-11-2015, 04:40 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,440
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
Welcome!


it's cool you already got a name for your bus
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Old 07-11-2015, 04:41 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 152
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
Hey Milkman,
My parents liked the paint job so much they had named it before I'd even purchased it! I told them that I'd hand it over once they retire.
Bus dimensions are roughly 22'x8'. Apparently Turtle Top doesn't produce this floor plan anymore, but it's two rows of four, then one row of five. The cargo room is 32" at the back of the bus.
Here's the closest floor plan that they currently have on their website.

Sprout (dinosaur?) Root
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Old 07-11-2015, 04:48 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,440
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
paint this on the back!

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Old 07-20-2015, 11:24 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 152
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
I've started working on Bingo. Right now my focuses are: figuring out how to loft my bed over the cab, and getting rid of the side door. Both involve a lot of disassembly of the interior at the front of the rig.

If anyone has seen a lofted bed over the cab in a cutvan platform, I'd love to see how it was done. There isn't as much headroom there as I'd imagined, and the whole project is requiring altogether too much calculation.
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:27 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,440
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
It sure doesn't seem like much room up there for a bed.... maybe 5 feet across max?
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:44 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 152
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger


This image shows the width that's available above the cab. A full 8' if you can get around the roll-cage members, otherwise just a little over 6', which is adequate for me. However, the available height above the top of the windshield may not be.
I'm determined that it can be done, but there's still a lot of disassembly to do before I make any decisions. If anyone knows of someone who's done this successfully, please point me in their direction.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:40 AM   #8
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
What is the front overhang above the cab like? I had a little Toyota Odyssey in which the bed was located up there and it worked great. No...you couldn't really sit up in bed, but then I rarely sleep that way and that's all I used that area for leaving the rest of the floorplan open.
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Old 07-21-2015, 02:03 AM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Olympia, Washington
Posts: 557
Year: 87
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International s1700
Engine: 6.9 internatiional
Rated Cap: 65
i would definitely keep that as a bus name.
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Old 07-21-2015, 08:21 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 152
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
@proconsul100 don't you love easy decisions?

I've decided on a bed design that will work. Head room will still be tight, but I'm not overly concerned. The side-to-side space -as @milkmania said- isn't big enough. It took a lot of disassembly before the available space was revealed, but it's only 51" wide. Coincidentally, this is only a little smaller than a full size bed (which is what I wanted to use anyway), so by reorienting the bed it fits [almost] perfectly. However, that would leave the bed sticking out into the living quarters almost 6', which is far too much. Back to the drawing board.
I scoured the internet for way too long looking for any design that would fold/lift/disassemble easily into a more manageable space when I wasn't sleeping in it. I finally found what I was looking for in a renaissance craftsmen's forum of all places: The Armour Archive • View topic - Mac's new chest. More than meets the eye.

I won't be copying him exactly, as it will be a hanging bed. I'll have four ropes/chains attached to heavy duty eyelets on each of the corners of the bed frame. These will correspond to four eyelets in the ceiling. I'll construct it from cedar for weight and longevity. I'll use a blowup mattress for now with plans to upgrade.. It's going to be great.

While I'm working on that I need to start assembling the things I'll need to patch over the side doors. I'll also be picking up my batteries within the week, at which point I'll be able to put together a list of electronics.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:51 PM   #11
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 152
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
I wrote an email to the VT DMV asking what the requirements would be to get my conversion registered as a motorhome. Here's the response I got today:

"Mr. Root
Thank you for your inquiry. 32 VSA 8902 (11) defines a “motor Home” as:

A new or used pleasure car designed to provide temporary living quarters, built into as an integral part of, or permanently attached to, a self-propelled motor vehicle chassis or van. The vehicle must contain at least four of the following facilities: cooking, refrigeration or ice box, self-contained toilet, heating and/or air conditioning, a portable water supply system including a sink and faucet, separate 110-125 volt electrical power supply, and/or an LP gas supply

In order to convert the bus into a motor home you must have at least four of the facilities listed in the definition. If you do that the bus will be able to be registered as a motorhome. I hope this helps."



Being that this list does not include a bed, I think I need to re-prioritize. Also, you may have guessed that this is very much a "grow as you go" operation, so I'll be putting together systems in as minimal a fashion as I think I can get away with, just to get the rig registered. The bus already has heat and A/C; a big cooler should be adequate for an ice-box; I'll need to buy an inverter/charger once I get my batteries in order to fulfill the 110-125V requirement (or maybe I'll just borrow someone else's to pass inspection); and my sawdust toilet system should be enough to finish off the fourth requirement. Maybe I'll hook a camp stove up to the empty LP can I got with the bus, just for good measure.

After all that I'll get back to this bed contraption.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:15 PM   #12
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 152
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger


I just brought home two of these babies. M12V150FT GNB; 150 Amp Hours per battery; designed for backup power in remote telecom/utility stations. I got them for free through my summer job, so I'll be able to test the waters of the 12V world. They're pretty old, but they were extremely well kept, so I should be able to get some years out of them.

The next hurdle in terms of power will be buying the right Magnum inverter/charger, then buying the trimetric battery system (charge controller and battery monitor). It won't be cheap, but I figure since I've done so well in terms of expense thus far, I can afford to do this right.
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Old 10-22-2015, 05:45 PM   #13
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Vermont
Posts: 152
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
Quick question about plugging into shore power. I had planned on running my shore power line directly to my inverter/charger, but I've hit a snag.

I bought a Magnum 1212 (1200 Watt Inverter, 70 AMP Charger).

My question is: when I'm hooked up to shore power, will I still be limited by the size of my inverter (on the 120VAC side), or will I then be limited by the capacity of my shore power line (say, 30AMP)?

I did a little research on these Magnum 1212 units, and the only info I found pertaining to my question was this quote: "The standard 7 amp transfer relay will pass AC power through the inverter when using shore or generator power."

This leads me to believe that I will be limited to 1200 watts by my inverter, but I wanted to double check.
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