Maroon92
Maroon92 MegaDork
9/6/18 4:58 p.m.

It's a Ford E-350 with a diesel engine. It was an airport transporter. I'll be stripping the interior and installing shelving, etc. 

Ideally this would be used for hauling an under-2000 pound track car. As for camping, I'd probably only really sleep in the thing at the track or on long hauls. Don't really need it to be kitted with all the bells and whistles. Probably no more than a folding military-style cot to sleep on. 

It's a late 1990s model, costs $7500, and has under 200,000 miles on the odometer. Would probably rack up 20,000 highway miles per year, not always hauling a car. 

What could go wrong? 

JmfnB
JmfnB MegaDork
9/6/18 5:27 p.m.

Joey48442 has done the homegrown camper out of a E250 SRW. Pack in features of possible. You can often hide a small generator, air compressor and storage/tool chest up under the floor level behind the exterior skin.

Luan and LED lights will be your new best friends.

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
9/6/18 5:32 p.m.

Late 90s might still be the IDI 7.3 engine. They were never very powerful and never got the fuel economy the Powerstroke did. It will probably run forever though. 

Other than that, I've used my E450 for towing a good bit and been very happy with it. It's a 6.0 Powerstroke and gets 12 mpg with the car trailer and car behind it. I got lucky on this one and picked it up for $1500. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/6/18 5:35 p.m.

In reply to Maroon92 :

Your own Mongo (of sorts)?

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/6/18 5:37 p.m.

In reply to Maroon92 :

Also, pull seats if needed to keep the seating to 15 or less (14 + driver.)  If more than that a CDL is required.   

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
9/6/18 5:46 p.m.

As a track support only sort of vehicle that is quite similar, I'd be looking for an ambulance.  They have sooo much built in storage and even a bed sort of thing, plus lights inside and out and inverters and dual batteries and all that sort of stuff.  You can find them in the same price range from what I have seen.  

 

In 5 minutes of looking, here is one that is already setup: https://denver.craigslist.org/cto/d/2001-ford-e450-ambulance/6675553225.html

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/6/18 5:59 p.m.

In reply to JmfnB :

Is it Throwback Thursday for screen names?  Love it! 

rslifkin
rslifkin UltraDork
9/6/18 6:41 p.m.

That body style should be a 7.3 PSD, not the IDI.  But the van version wasn't intercooled in the early years, so it's only going to be about 215hp.  In other words, not much power (but that's fixable). 

Maroon92
Maroon92 MegaDork
9/6/18 6:59 p.m.

Sorry, should have mentioned it's a Powerstroke. I can always add an intercooler and do some tuning for power/efficiency. 

Basically, as I go to events this will haul our event merch and pop-up canopies for Radwood. Ambulance doesn't have enough open floor space for my liking. And I'd probably only keep one of the benches in the vehicle, so it would effectively only seat three. No CDL needed (hopefully). 

Maroon92
Maroon92 MegaDork
9/6/18 7:03 p.m.
John Welsh said:

In reply to Maroon92 :

Your own Mongo (of sorts)?

Such a hateful machine.

Wally
Wally MegaDork
9/6/18 7:21 p.m.

As others said it will be fairly slow but I’ve had a couple of those engines go over 500k without much trouble. Keep an eye on where the bodies are bonded to the steel cab.  My father’s church had a few of them and a couple of them developed leaks.  

buzzboy
buzzboy Reader
9/6/18 8:41 p.m.

We had an E450 7.3 for a year or so. What a flaming pile of poo it was. Alternator went out twice(3 maybe?) with each one being "good" or "nothing wrong." Cam position sensor went out(common problem). On the way back from Sebring one of the injectors started "putting out the wrong sine wave." The last time I drove that piece around the block smoke came out from under the dash.

The good: It towed fantastic. Fully loaded our trailer was 6000lbs and you couldn't tell it was back there. Plenty of power and plenty of brakes. It got an honest 7mpg towing with the cruise on at 70mph. Near the end of it's time with Idle Clatter it had a tuner. With the tuner there was noticeably more power and she'd get 8mpg cruising at 85mph.

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UberDork
9/6/18 8:47 p.m.

Might want to call your insurance agent and double check your deed restrictions,  both of which can be nasty surprises when you bring something like that home.  Otherwise,  party on Garth. 

Maroon92
Maroon92 MegaDork
9/7/18 12:57 a.m.
oldopelguy said:

Might want to call your insurance agent and double check your deed restrictions,  both of which can be nasty surprises when you bring something like that home.  Otherwise,  party on Garth. 

Deed restrictions? Like on our home? 

This whole neighborhood is zoned for RV pads. I live in rural Nevada. everyone wants to get out for the weekend. Neighbor next door has a 35-foot Class A motor home. 

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UberDork
9/7/18 7:49 a.m.

In reply to Maroon92 :

The problem with that bus is that it isn't an RV; it's a commercial vehicle. And it's bigger than a pickup.  Even in RV friendly communities sometimes there are rules designed to keep semis off the streets or commercial vans out that would apply to the bus. If you live somewhere where your neighbors can have a say it's something you want to look into. 

As to the insurance, my Transit was designed to be a bus chassis.  Instead I finished off the back of the cab and put a flatbed on it. That state still considers it more than a pickup,  so my license plates have to include tonage on them.  The thing with tonage plates is that even non-commercial I have to plate the truck for the maximum GCVW I might have,  including any trailer I might pull, so it's about 30% more expensive to plate than my 3/4 ton Silverado. The insurance companies have the same idea as soon as they get the VIN. USAA won't insure it, they referred me to Progressive. Progressive would only cover it with a commercial policy that is about twice what the Silverado costs to insure.  Geico also wanted nothing to do with it and State Farm finally wrote me a policy.  Thing is, it's a commercial policy, and it comes with restrictions.  For example,  with Progressive I could only get insurance for a trailer being towed if it was listed on the truck policy.  I could only add 3 trailers max to the policy and since my two car trailers are both homemade they were going to require some sort of inspection before they would allow them.  Even with State Farm the commercial policy specifically does not allow me to pull a trailer if the usage furthers a commercial endeavor.  My agent wasn't sure but he thought that restriction might apply to taking a car to an event where there could be prize money. 

The DOT in neighboring MN was much clearer on what they thought was considered commercial.  The officer I spoke with said in no uncertain terms that if I was bringing home a parts car and I was going to sell any part of it then I was commercial and needed to have logs, a DOT #, and roll across the scales.  ND, IA, and NE were all a little less uptight,  but in my own state of SD the DOT officials I spoke to said that since I was registered for 8 tons they would expect me to roll over the scales in SD.

You want to do some research before you bring something weird home. In SD for a real bus the easiest answer would be to add a 120V roof AC and some 120V wiring, a bed, a porta-john, and a sink with a couple of tanks and get it reclassified as an RV.  Everything is easier for an RV. In my case I can't fit enough of the RV parts into my cab, so I am stuck. 

44Dwarf
44Dwarf UberDork
9/7/18 9:45 a.m.

Having converted two large buses and helping on a 3rd to get RV plates it really depends on what your state rules are.  

For instance in Mass you need sleeping quarters and a toilet at a minimum.  Both my buses used eye hooks in the sides with a hamock to clip to it.  As for toilet I got a 5gal pail and a seat made a wooden box. Never used it but it was there when i got pulled over and the state cop wanted to check out how i stuffed a lime green 67 dodge dart in to a purple bus .....

A racer friend made it from Washington State in a converted bus all the way to NH to get a ticket for it still being Yellow!  Lucky for us the fair grounds let use spray it behind one of the barns.  Local NAPA had some nice white paint.

NY requires an inspection for converted busses a friend just went thru that pain in the ass....

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/7/18 9:48 a.m.
Wally said:

As others said it will be fairly slow but I’ve had a couple of those engines go over 500k without much trouble. Keep an eye on where the bodies are bonded to the steel cab.  My father’s church had a few of them and a couple of them developed leaks.  

PSDs are surprisingly quick... not necessarily in a bus maybe, but towing 10k with any of mine I never met a hill I couldn't top at any speed I chose, and I'm talking rocky mountains, Appalachians, Cascades, the works.

BTW... 94.5 was the switch from IDI to PSD in case anyone was wondering.  Sometime in April they started hitting lots.

PSDs can be chipped pretty easily, but make sure you do supporting mods.  Better exhaust and an EGT gauge are bare minimum upgrades before you give it more fuel.  The stock turbo will get you to 350-400 hp, but beyond that it runs out of efficiency fast.  Keep boost under 40psi without head studs.

yupididit
yupididit UltraDork
9/7/18 9:55 a.m.

 

Dont forget a 6.0 transmission cooler. I got a Dorman 31 row cooler from rockauto for less than $150. I think the stock cooler is like 9 rows. The transmission will appreciate lower temps when you're towing, especially uphill! 

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/7/18 9:56 a.m.

I don't have experience towing with a bus like that, but at one point I did tow the same trailer with two different E250 vans; one was the standard length and the other was the extended.  Ford doesn't change the wheelbase like Chevy does, so there was a bit more tail wagging the dog with the extended van.  It was a bit of an issue with my 30' enclosed trailer (billboard in the wind) but I doubt an open trailer would have as much effect.

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