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Old 04-18-2022, 08:41 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2022
Location: New York
Posts: 2
Year: 1995
Newbie unsure where to start

Hello everyone!

I'm as new to forums as I am to skoolies so bare with me. My name is Leanne and I'm from New York, not the city. I recently purchased a '95 Ford E350 7.3 Diesel and am feeling a bit overwhelmed, anxious and very excited to begin this journey.

I haven't started much on demo yet. The seats were already removed when I purchased the bus and I just began to take up the flooring. Looking forward to reading through threads and reaching out with problems, which I'm sure I will be doing plenty of. I'm starting with basically zero experience but I'm ready to learn.

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Old 04-18-2022, 09:41 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: mid Mo.
Posts: 590
Year: 1976
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: F33695
Engine: 427 chevy converted to 466
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Welcome to a place where very knowledgeable share their experiences. Read, read and then read more. sportyrick
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Old 04-18-2022, 11:59 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 998
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran (Now Navistar)
Engine: DT444E (7.3L) International
Rated Cap: 31,800 pounds
Congratulations on purchasing a bus with the 7.3L. It's an awesome engine with tremendous versatility. Yours, being in a E350, is the Ford 7.3L Power Stroke. I have one of those in my F350 pickup.
Installed in an International chassis (such as my AmTran) it's known as the DT444E for Diesel Turbo, 444 CuIn, Electronic controlled.
The block and basic engine are the same animal though there are some differences.
You'll find that there are a number of things about the 7.3L that you need to know and that it's a very desirable engine.

It's known as a "million mile" engine when properly maintained with a B10 (10% of all units need an major repair) of 250,000 miles and a B50 (50% need a major repair) of 500,000 miles. Not to stress though "major repair" is considered anything that requires dropping the oil pan (possibly pulling a head) so it doesn't mean needs replacement.

In the DT444E configuration it is rated for a gross vehicle weight of up to 75,000 pounds.
The coolant is very important and must be properly maintained. Most do a complete flush and change to Extended Life Coolant to reduce maintenance and improve longevity.
The Crankshaft Position Sensor is a $30 part that can leave you high and dry. Many carry a spare.
The oil needs to be changed at 5,000 mile intervals (cheap insurance) unless on an oil analysis program or the vehicle specific manual says more often.
You should be able to obtain a maintenance manual for the base E350 which will cover all the chassis, and drive train stuff you'll need.
I would highly recommend joining one of the Diesel pickup forums that have sub forums specifically for the 7.3. They've been worth their weight in gold for me with just the coolant replacement making them worth my time (and I'm a retired mechanic among other things). Because of the forum I knew where to find the little bitty drains in the block to get all the liquid out.
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Old 04-19-2022, 07:29 AM   #4
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Chassis: Amtran / International
Engine: DT466E HT 250HP - Md3060
Quote:
Originally Posted by LKK0517 View Post
Hello everyone!

I'm as new to forums as I am to skoolies so bare with me. My name is Leanne and I'm from New York, not the city. I recently purchased a '95 Ford E350 7.3 Diesel and am feeling a bit overwhelmed, anxious and very excited to begin this journey.

I haven't started much on demo yet. The seats were already removed when I purchased the bus and I just began to take up the flooring. Looking forward to reading through threads and reaching out with problems, which I'm sure I will be doing plenty of. I'm starting with basically zero experience but I'm ready to learn.
First thing you might do is to create a workflow plan.
Grab a notebook, dedicate to your bus, and start writing down your ideas and try to create a very simple flow chart on the direction you want to go.

Simple floor plan, and a list of necessary components that you want in/ on the bus.

Next, decide on how much recycling your willing to do and how much your budget is gonna. Be for all the new stuff you want to buy for the bus.

As for skill sets, grab a dril and practice, if your gonna use power saws, please have someone teach you about all the safety steps involved. Using the saws themselves is not hard you just got to be super safety conscious when you use them.

Donít be afraid to share you ideas here and asking for help is encouraged!

Enjoy the journey!
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Old 04-19-2022, 09:29 AM   #5
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird Mini-Bird 24'
Chassis: Chevy P30
Engine: Chevy 6.2L Diesel
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Originally Posted by LKK0517 View Post
Hello everyone!
...
I'm starting with basically zero experience but I'm ready to learn.
This forum is a great place to start for bus-specific stuff, and I'm 120% behind HAM's recommendation to also check-out/join some Ford/DT444E forums for maintenance and engine/tranny troubleshooting.

But when it comes to learning tools and tradecraft for making custom things for your bus project, I've found that Hackerspaces/Makerspaces are also a great place to start--particularly when you're talking about 'doing something you're not supposed to do with stuff you're not supposed to do it with'. I was a Director of Facilities guy in one some years back; here's a list of ones in your state: https://wiki.hackerspaces.org/New_York

They're notorious for not being updated, as they're usually ran by volunteers, but the general gist is that you get to pay a monthly fee to come in and use tools that you probably either couldn't afford, couldn't store/keep, or wouldn't know where to start with in the first place. There's usually a bunch of people willing to teach you how to use them, or you can pay for classes to learn, and you can generally find all kinds of people with all kinds of expertise willing to help out on all kinds of projects. It's not uncommon, either, to meet another skoolie fan there--the one I was at in Texas had 2-4 while I was around.
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Old 04-19-2022, 12:19 PM   #6
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Year: 1995
Thank you ALL for so much information! @HamSkoolie I've started looking into some other forums for the engine! I knew when I purchased it was a "million mile" engine but anything past that is lost to me. Thankfully I know a couple people that work on diesels but I'm trying to troubleshoot as best I can and learn as much as possible since I'll be the one on the road. I'm currently working on the bus at my friend's place who has woodworking tools he's taught me a bit over the years so I'm not completely lost there. The hackerspace is also new to me but I looked and there's one not far from me if needed. I have a timeline now of about 7-8 months so I'll definitely be reaching out and reading up.
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Old 04-19-2022, 01:05 PM   #7
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird Mini-Bird 24'
Chassis: Chevy P30
Engine: Chevy 6.2L Diesel
They're also interesting places for 'finish work', as many have things like CNC routers and laser cutters, so you could theoretically cut some birch/maple/plywood panels down to something like 12"x12" and laser-cut/etch some kind of tesselations, sacred geometry, or anything else you can think of and stick them up like tiles is something I've seen done before.
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Old 04-19-2022, 02:11 PM   #8
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before you do anything else check out you tube for things we wished we did and mistakes we made building a schoolie. really nice of these people to post this stuff and will open your eyes as to what you want to live in a easy bake oven or be comfortable.
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Old 04-19-2022, 02:38 PM   #9
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Join Date: Sep 2015
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird Mini-Bird 24'
Chassis: Chevy P30
Engine: Chevy 6.2L Diesel
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Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
before youdo anything else check out you tube for things we wished we did and mistakes we made building a schoolie. really nice of these people to post this stuff and will open your eyes as to what you want to live in a easy bake oven or be comfortable.
This 100%.
Learn from the mistakes and regrets of others.
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Old 04-19-2022, 04:31 PM   #10
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Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 998
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran (Now Navistar)
Engine: DT444E (7.3L) International
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Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
before you do anything else check out you tube for things we wished we did and mistakes we made building a schoolie. really nice of these people to post this stuff and will open your eyes as to what you want to live in a easy bake oven or be comfortable.
Here's two of the big gotcha's we see here all the time:

1) Help, I cut some wires and my bus won't start. We see this time and again. DO NOT cut a bunch of wires and pull them out then wonder why your bus won't start.
DISCONNECT one or two wires at a time, then make sure EVERYTHING still works before pulling them out...... the engine starts, the lights all work, the dash works, EVERYTHING. THEN consider "will I need a wire this size running through here for something in the finished bus?

2) Help I have ______ problem with my bus and it won't ________. I've checked ______ and this ______ as well as replaced (list of 10 parts). Help, I'm at my wits end.
DO NOT "shotgun"/"throw parts at" ANY issue. Parts are known to be bad out of the box. Seals and connectors are known to fail when you manipulate or replace them, etc. TROUBLE SHOOT the issue, come here to ask for advice, and you'll be money ahead and probably a few less skinned knuckles.

3) Help, my engine won't start. It turns over but won't start. I've changed the glow plug relay, the cranckcase position sensor, the fuel filter, and the ignition switch. Please help. This is a common occurrence in diesel buses. First of all, you should have read item 2 above. Second, charge your batteries. Yes I know you checked them with a multimeter and they had 12 volts but 12 volts is actually only 1/2 charged for a "12 volt" battery. Your engine is turning over but if it isn't at a high enough speed or the voltage drops (because of the load of spinning the starter) to below the value the computer is looking for, no fuel will be injected. Seriously, this is one that makes repeat appearances here.

4) If you post in the forum looking for advice on how to solve a problem (the above battery issue for instance) and you ignore the advice while floundering around trying to fix it some other way.... and it turns out for instance that YEP it was just low batteries, we may well pick on you..... but we don't hate you.

I haven't been here all that long, a little over a year I think, I'm still in demolition though..... WOO HOOO...... we've started some of the puttin' 'er back taguther stuff! For the most part you'll find a very helpful community but it is the Internet and there is some bad advice out there. Generally, it will be called out most riky tik by those who know better.
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We've done so much, for so long, with so little, we now do the impossible, overnight, with nothing. US Marines -- 6531, 3521. . . .Ret ASE brakes & elect. Ret (auto and aviation mech). Extra Class HAM, NAUI/PADI OpenWater diver
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Old 04-23-2022, 03:50 PM   #11
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 15
Breath....

It's a big undertaking but worth all the time and effort. As some have said get a flow of things to do. Surface prep, insulation, flooring, walls, and ceilings, plumping, solar, ect. List all the things on your wishlist and then see whats really feasible. Decide a layout and that will help with where to start. The forum is a fantastic resource and welcome to the community. You'll do great and were here to help.
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Old 04-23-2022, 03:59 PM   #12
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LKK0517 View Post
Hello everyone!

I'm as new to forums as I am to skoolies so bare with me. My name is Leanne and I'm from New York, not the city. I recently purchased a '95 Ford E350 7.3 Diesel and am feeling a bit overwhelmed, anxious and very excited to begin this journey.

I haven't started much on demo yet. The seats were already removed when I purchased the bus and I just began to take up the flooring. Looking forward to reading through threads and reaching out with problems, which I'm sure I will be doing plenty of. I'm starting with basically zero experience but I'm ready to learn.
Rust..... If you bought an NY bus, you have rust issues. I recommend Corroseal. But you should You Tube up what you can about patching holes and stopping rust. When you've got all the holes patched and sealed, then insulate and lay down a plywood floor. Northeast bus needs 1> Rust solution 2> Insualtion, 3 Heat. This all assumes bus is in good mechanical condition, is insured and registered.
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Old 04-24-2022, 07:00 AM   #13
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Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Baja often, Oregon frequently
Posts: 320
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Our hot little grubbies...
Chassis: Ford CF8000 ExpeditionVehicle
Engine: Cummins 505ci mechanical
Rated Cap: Three RedHeelers
Leanne,
.
Before you do anything else, toss in some car-camping gear, go have fun.
.
As you experience your rig, you learn its benefits and faults.
Example:
* Size -- practical for city, parking, interior
* Mechanicals -- brakes, suspension, heating/cooling
* Weather -- rain, insulation, and my peeve... 'whistles' as it travels.
.
The action I would never suggest:
* bogging in reading about trivia concerning that particular model of ______ (fill-in the blank (trans, engine, schematic...)).
First, find out if the truck suits your RequirementsStatement... and if your RequirementsStatement fits your evolution in camping/full-timing.
Everything else is secondary.
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Old 05-21-2022, 09:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by LargeMargeInBaja View Post
Leanne,
.
Before you do anything else, toss in some car-camping gear, go have fun.
.
As you experience your rig, you learn its benefits and faults.
Example:
* Size -- practical for city, parking, interior
* Mechanicals -- brakes, suspension, heating/cooling
* Weather -- rain, insulation, and my peeve... 'whistles' as it travels.
.
The action I would never suggest:
* bogging in reading about trivia concerning that particular model of ______ (fill-in the blank (trans, engine, schematic...)).
First, find out if the truck suits your RequirementsStatement... and if your RequirementsStatement fits your evolution in camping/full-timing.
Everything else is secondary.
Awesome! Never even thought about having a camping trip once I get seats out of bus! I really like that Idea! Thanks
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