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Defjr333 08-10-2017 02:08 PM

Defcomm
 
This is a thread for my upcoming build. Currently, I am heavily leaning toward a Shuttle Bus conversion. I originally was going to build an enclosed trailer like a camper. But after a year of research and collecting of parts, I have decided it does not BEST meet my needs and wants. The following are what have guided me to the Shuttle Bus choice:

1) Large windows
2) Easier to drive and park
3) No worry of being stolen (where I go it goes)
4) Walk thru (enables stealth camping and no egress if bad weather)
5) Want to use the wheelchair lift as "garage" for gas scooter or bike
6) Higher clearance for tanks etc under
7) Aesthetics

Now for preferences to look for in vehicle:

1) Fairly low mileage
2) Prefer Diesel Powerplant
3) NO/ little rust
4) Handicap lift at rear (sides but as far back as possible)
5) High Current Alternator (or able to add)

PLEASE: Feel free to let me know what I may be overlooking in reference to my vehicle search. I am pretty thick skinned, so fire away

Defjr333 08-10-2017 02:39 PM

Now the fun stuff. The parts and components already purchased and awaiting a vehicle:

Electrical:

30Amp Marine Grade Shore Plug
30Amp AC/ DC circuit breaker/ fuse panel (not converter)
3000W/6000W Pure Sinewave Inverter/ Charger (built in transfer switch)
All wiring
LED recessed lighting
LED strip lighting
All Fuses and Holders
260W solar panels (4)
Charge Controller (MPPT)
3000W Champion Inverter Generator
40" HD TV
WiFi extender and antenna
TV antenna (RV type)
Wall switches
Batteries (Duracell GC2 x8)
Battery isolator (160Amp)
MiniFridge (120 and 12v)
AC unit (5500btu)
Microwave (800W)

Plumbing:
Red/ Blue Pex tubing (25' each)
City/ Gravity input
Fresh Water Tanks (2x40 gal)
Toilet (Thetford cassette)
Hot water heater (10 gal suburban Elect and LP)
Water Pump (Sureflow 12v)
Kitchen Sink/ Faucet
Shower Faucet and head
Outdoor shower box (faucet and head)

LP:
Furnace (19kbtu Suburban)
RVQ grill
20lb LP tanks (2)
Regulator (dual tank)
Stove (3 burner Suburban)

Im sure I am forgetting some as I have been collecting for a while. But it gives you all an idea of what is going into the build. There are some things still needed, but I think I have the bulk of the big ticket items. Still need:

Shower surround and Base
Insulation (panels or spray on)
FRP for walls
Plumbing vent
Outlets (ac and dc)
prob few other odds and ends

AGAIN, feel free to inquire or inform if you believe there are better options.
:Thanx:

Defjr333 08-10-2017 04:06 PM

Those who know more about the drivetrain good and bad......6.8L V10?

1999 Ford E-450 Super Duty 15 Pass. W/Handicap Lift Bus In MANASSAS VA - MANASSAS AUTO TRUCK

Super low miles, great shape. Found zero rust. Only downside I could find was not diesel. Any reason to stay away?

roach711 08-10-2017 05:02 PM

That year V10 had a problem spitting spark plugs and rotting manifold bolts but is generally considered a good engine.

Rusty 08-10-2017 05:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Defjr333 (Post 218712)
Those who know more about the drivetrain good and bad......6.8L V10?

1999 Ford E-450 Super Duty 15 Pass. W/Handicap Lift Bus In MANASSAS VA - MANASSAS AUTO TRUCK

Super low miles, great shape. Found zero rust. Only downside I could find was not diesel. Any reason to stay away?

I had a Champion e450 w/ the V-10, was a nice unit. I prefer a diesel, but stay away from the 6.0L Ford as they have been costly to own. Vans can be a pita to work on sometimes- tight fit.

There are different shuttle body manufacturers, so read-up on who makes the best body. Check the interior height on that one you posted as it would be tough to raise.

Yours has uber low miles, which is good if it has been driven regularly. 18 years and 30K mi means 134 miles/month?

Shuttle does not have the heavy truck frame of a school bus and lower GVWR to consider. Water, generators, batteries, waste tanks get heavy fast, so do some math based on your wish list weights.

Defjr333 08-10-2017 08:44 PM

Greatly appreciate the info about engine, frame, interior height. Those are the items I am not knowledgeable on. Will have to check gvrw and such. thnx

roach711 08-10-2017 09:30 PM

That looks like a 21' Eldorado Aerolite body. Ours is a 24' Aerotech. Body construction is the same for both (well made). Head room will be 6'7" at the center aisle. floor space behind the driver's seat should be about 13' and inside width will be 7'8".

Ours has an aluminum stairwell and a stainless steel battery box. The floor is 3/4" plywood. The white fiberglass body does a good job of keeping interior temps down on a sunny day. Much better than a steel body. If you want to insulate there's no problem with thermal bridging. The inner fiberglass skin holds a screw real well. Rear gear will likely be 4.10 so it will do 70mph no problem.

GVWR on ours is 14000 lbs and as converted we're 2000 lbs under that. Space under the bus is fairly tight. We have a 15 gal grey tank hung behind the gas tank and our 35 gal. water tank is under the bed inside.

Defjr333 08-11-2017 12:16 PM

AWESOME INFO......appreciate it all. Going to go look at it tomorrow. Really wanted diesel, but with that low mileage........who knows

Thomas1985 08-11-2017 05:17 PM

My 1999 V10 E450 shuttle bus gets 6 MPG highway. Fair warning

EastCoastCB 08-11-2017 05:27 PM

My folks RV with 6.8 Ford gets 5mpg on a good day on the highway.

Defjr333 08-12-2017 02:42 PM

Think im gonna hold off to find a diesel version. While this one was super clean and low miles, it just did not feel right on test drive. Seemed to no have the power on start/ stops on hills. Made me worry as to how it would perform after adding 1500lbs to it! I also happen to live 15 miles from the base of Skyline Drive in VA.........so the search goes on. I dont mind paying a little premium for a nice unit, but this one just didnt cut it. After returning from dealer I saw two posts reflecting 5-6 mpg!!!! SOoooo glad I decided to wait for a diesel now:Thanx:

Defjr333 12-20-2017 06:26 PM

Revival of my Build Thread. Would not have thought im still searching all this time later. Should I settle for less than what I want? Who knows, my wants seem to change a lot.:rofl:

The reason for the revival of the thread is that I have FINALLY added some pics of components atleast. Seems I have nearly everything but the vehicle:facepalm:
**Note: For those that choose to check out my album with pics,
1 Any questions on components just ask and I can add websites and pricing. Just too lazy atm
2 I did not include "smalls" like wires, fuses, breakers, connectors etc. If you have questions on what I am going to use for a certain installation just ask, I can add and do descriptions. Again too lazy atm
3 As I am still hunting for the vehicle, if you have ideas for a better choice in a certain component by all means feel free to discuss.

:Thanx:

Doug

Rusty 12-20-2017 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Defjr333 (Post 240340)
3 As I am still hunting for the vehicle, if you have ideas for a better choice in a certain component by all means feel free to discuss.

:Thanx:

Doug

You mentioned shuttle earlier- I had one and they are very easy to drive, but they are built to a different Standard. The fiberglass tends to leak and create building challenges.

Get a real-deal steel-short bus with a diesel on a 3800 chassis. What is your bus budget and do you have parking?

Defjr333 12-20-2017 07:27 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Being a single guy, (divorced 44yo) with no kids or attatchments, I am pretty open to budget. While I dont have a Prevost wallet, Im certainly not looking for Woodstock look either. That is my personal issue i guess. I just like some Shuttles FAR more than a schoolie. This is my unicorn:

Defjr333 12-20-2017 07:35 PM

Something similar but 1 row of seats longer (thats a 10 pass). AND with a diesel engine. I just like the look and roofline. It is made by Turtle Top, which from what I have dug up is even superior to ElDorado body in respect to scoring for federal rollover and crush standards.
That one is still for sale for $6900. But gas and too short. If i have not found something similar by spring, I will be forced to compromise. Therefore I have started to dip my toe into the "Shoolie Shorty" community. So By all means feel free to give pros/ cons on anything in this thread.
As far as budget......I have already purchased nearly EVERYTHING for the build.....I know, kinda backwards buying parts before the vehicle, but this road has had a few turns, u turns, pit stops, and layovers:whistling:
My lease is up 10/30/18. I originally wanted to give myself a full year for build out and buying parts. But since finding the "right" vehicle has taken so long I seemed to have finished buying. At least the big stuff. So now spring is it. I gotta start the build by april max.
But...I think 12k will be my max for vehicle.....INCLUDING any immediate repairs needed when purchased.
And parking no issue. Church behind house im renting. When complete it will be moved to a "Private Campground" (gated w/ security)
Doug

Robin97396 12-20-2017 10:02 PM

A gated campground? How about a natural gas campfire too?

Defjr333 12-20-2017 11:09 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Its a place in Va where you own your land. Some lots very cheap. The deal is you can only stay there like 200 days of the year. They are open year round so u can go whenever.....its to prevent people from moving in trailers and such living year round on a campsite pedestal. They had probs in past and are very up front about it. Lots of the type you wouldnt sleep too soundly around. But new owners group took it on and evicted/ forced sale/ and cleared it out.

- Home

Figure i prob use it 100 times year. But I couldnt pass up 2 adjacent lots central to a new shower house(even tho i plan to have one on board), Lake, and Community center/ arcade/ mini store/and a dump site. Both lots have 60Amp service, and cable tv hookup. Got the 2 lots for 1500 for both. $1500 year member dues includes everything....incl elect. Water hookups there also, billed seperatly

Doug

Robin97396 12-21-2017 12:26 AM

I can understand the appeal of a safe place to camp. That's an issue everywhere.

We've also had folks living in tiny camp trailers and even cars over monopolizing the campgrounds even during the winter. The campgrounds have been free to use for years, but not anymore. There are always going to be some people that take advantage.

I like to park this bus on mountain tops on logging roads. I'm seldom in the same place twice. There are no hookups of any kind. There is cell service and an incredible view when at the top of a ridge. I'm not quite set up to be comfortable off the grid yet, but I'm getting there.

brokedown 12-21-2017 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Defjr333 (Post 240350)
Being a single guy, (divorced 44yo) with no kids or attatchments, I am pretty open to budget. While I dont have a Prevost wallet, Im certainly not looking for Woodstock look either. That is my personal issue i guess. I just like some Shuttles FAR more than a schoolie. This is my unicorn:

That is a sexy looking shuttle. I hope you find one! -Hillary

cadillackid 12-21-2017 07:59 PM

shuttles definitely have the advantages of usually having dashboard A/C for driving, nicer windows, being van based parts are easy to get.. some shuttles ive been in seem to be fairly wide too... they definitely come in varying lengths.. a dealer in new york, don brown bus sales seems to have quite a few at any given time.. midwest transit as well.. I dont know if they end up on the auxction sites at all or not.. youll have to shop around for a good deal.. an d remember you can talk a dealer down just like you do with a car..
-Christopher


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