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Old 08-02-2022, 08:31 AM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Aug 2022
Posts: 1
What to look for/ask about re: E456 Shuttle bus

Hi all,
This site has been a great resource as I look for an affordable camper option for me and my 7 year old twins. I recently found an E456 partially converted shuttle bus that has two seats in the back for my kids booster seats. I'm going to look at it this evening, and I was hoping you all could help round out my list of questions and things to check out.

I'll paste the listing information below. The owner told me that her husband has been working on the conversion but they don't use the van and have decided to sell it. It's usable for sleeping but has no electricity or water yet - which is fine for my initial purposes (state park campgrounds). I would want to finish the conversion over time to be able to go on longer summer trips with my kids (I'm a teacher with summers off). I don't plan to live in it, though.

I'm a single mom trying to do this on a budget, so I don't want to get in over my head, but I'm also okay roughing it at first and finishing things over time. Any suggestions on what to look for (red flags) or ask about would be greatly appreciated!

Listing information:
2002 Ford e456 bus converted camper rv
Exterior color: White Interior color: Grey
Fuel type: Gasoline
2002 Ford E456 bus converted into a camper.
V10 10 cylinders economized super duty
23 long by 10 high
Sleeps 3
New Full size Ikea Mattress bed never used
Twin Ikea bed/couch never used
Portable toilet never used
Bathroom area/changing area
Pop up table
Large Storage under bed
2 seats with belt buckles for rear passengers
Could fit more beds if needed
Recent brakes, new lines and caliper done
Newer tires
Current inspection and registration. Clean title in hand.
96k miles


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Old 08-02-2022, 12:53 PM   #2
Bus Nut
sportyrick's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Location: mid Mo.
Posts: 621
Year: 1976
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: F33695
Engine: 427 chevy converted to 466
Rated Cap: 84
Ask some more questions about the brake problem they had. New lines means rusty lines that were leaking. If so then someone needs to look at the underside and check out the rust problem. Transmission serviced when? Otherwise I don't have any other questions I would ask but we're just starting to give you our opinions. Get ready for more.
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Old 08-05-2022, 07:03 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2022
Location: Midwest
Posts: 195
Originally Posted by sportyrick View Post
Ask some more questions about the brake problem they had. New lines means rusty lines that were leaking.
Not necessarily. This tells me one of the calipers was hanging up and they replaced the calipers and flexlines to me. But yes, definitely need to verify. If it was the flexlines that were replaced they are actually a long-term wear item and replacing them is not a bad thing. The flex lines connect the hard lines at the frame to the calipers at the wheels, as the wheels must move and the calipers move with them. There will also be a flexline at the back that connects the hard line on the frame to the hard line on the axle, as the axle moves independently of the frame.
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Old 08-06-2022, 02:23 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
HamSkoolie's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 1,185
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran (Now Navistar)
Engine: DT444E (7.3L) International
Rated Cap: 31,800 pounds
I worked on E350 and E450's from that era with the V10. And later I drove one on a daily route (drivers were paid more than mechs and I had both skill sets....hmmmm).
As a bus on a lightly loaded (75% of capacity was rare) they did fine but I lived in the flatlands where they grow tens of thousands of acres of rice (a flooded field has to be pretty flat) and tomatoes (open irrigation also requires flat land. We may have had a 300 foot elevation difference on the routes and that's a high guess).
I don't like the V10 as much as the 7.3 diesel from 2002 (and prior) but it seemed okay.
HOWEVER, with a E### you have a large chunk of the engine in the cabin which means a lot of it is going through the firewall and access is VERY limited there. I don't remember if it was the E350 or 450's but we actually drilled holes in the fender wells in order to get to a couple of the spark plugs in order to get to them without cutting ourselves up squeezing through. Just food for thought.

As for the chassis, look underneath and check the condition of the exposed floor. Many were made with just plywood decking over a framework. Some were undercoated, some were just BARE WOOD. I wouldn't touch one with bare wood!!!!!!!!

Another major concern is that most of them around that time had massive computerized control boards in the space above the drivers head inside the front bulkhead. Those boards were a nightmare when they broke and because they controlled all the safety interlocks, a bad component meant an immobile rig. The interlocks can be removed but it takes a bit of electrical knowledge and skills (schematics don't hurt either).

Other than that our biggest problems were brakes (they simply weren't up to the stop and go usage) though as an RV that shouldn't be an issue....AND..... operator error (one drove into an overhang and took out the front 5 plus feet of the front cap).

They also generally have fairly small fuel tanks as the bulk of the market uses them as short distance rigs. They're not smaller than a standard E450 but they're not long distance tanks either.

So the biggest takeaways:
Check for a non undercoated wood floor on the underside
Check for any sign of trouble in those control board(s)
YouTube: HAMSkoolie WEB:
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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