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1968-2013 Full Size Vans Econolines. E150, E250, E350, E450 and E550

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  #1  
Old 05-16-2007, 08:00 PM
eehoepp eehoepp is offline
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E-350 "short bus" mileage?

My step-son's band-mates just bought a 1988 E-350 minibus at a truck & equipment auction. The band is planning to tour (live) in it this summer.

I have had a quick look at it, and this is what I know:
21 feet bumper to bumper.
It looks like a short school bus, but saw duty as a hospital shuttle bus. It had a side-mounted floor-level wheelchair lift in it (long since removed), but no chassis modifications to accommodate the lift - standard E-350 dually chassis as far as I can tell.
Multi-point fuel injected 460. Automatic transmission (didn't notice if it's an OD transmission or not).
Odometer reads 079,9xx.x km (just under 50,000 miles). This may not be the original odometer, but...

This bus was set up primarily for wheelchair transport - there were only ever 2 rows of seats (seating for 8) and lots of space & E-track for wheelchair tie-down. This size of bus would normally seat 24. The condition of the seats and interior walls is really good - I would have expected a lot more scuffs & dents in the inside from manoeuvering wheelchairs is a small space. I think/hope this bus may have just sat around a lot.

There is a Province of Quebec safety sticker on the window valid from April, 2005 to March, 2006 so it has been out of service for a little over a year. It needs some rust repair before it can be licensed, so I have not been able to road-test it. Aside from a dead battery, it starts easily and it ran smooth for the few minutes they were jockeying it around when I was there.

Obviously I am concerned about this thing getting them where they need to go with a minimum of trouble, but I am also concerned about them being able to afford to fuel this beast.

What can you folks tell me about what gas mileage the boys can expect to get (touring will be a mix of hills & flat country)? I would also like to know what common problems this type of vehicle has so I can check stuff out beforehand & equip them with a sensible list of spare parts.

Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
Eric
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  #2  
Old 05-17-2007, 03:30 PM
HAB HAB is offline
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Take a big wad of cash. A 460ci loves fuel in a regular van, not to mention a great big box. My last 460 got less than 10mpg.
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:49 AM
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My guess would be about 8.
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAB
Take a big wad of cash.
Ain't that the truth!

8 mpg is about what I was telling them to expect. Four years ago I borrowed a 23 foot class C motorhome and drove it from Toronto to Florida & back. It was powered (?) by an overworked chevy 350 with a non-functional gas/propane fuel conversion (not optimum tuning for gas) and got about 7 mpg. But we were 2 adults, 3 teens and a toddler and we pulled a utility trailer full of bikes & kid stuff. Of course, gas back then was only about $1.65 per gallon. Ah, the good old days...

Thanks for the info.

Cheers,
Eric
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Old 05-23-2007, 07:57 PM
mhg mhg is offline
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Good ol days? 1.65 a gallon
my first truck was filled with 0.30 a gallon gas
1970
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  #6  
Old 05-23-2007, 10:20 PM
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I'd expect about 10mpg. The EFI makes a huge difference in mileage. If it were mine I'd ditch the stock muffler and put a cherry-bomb or other straight through muffler (or even just a pipe) on it. It'll yield more mpg. I would think that with a few guys and some band equipment it should get at least 10mpg. It all hinges on the rear end's gear ratio. It it's a 3.70 (doubtful) you may get a little more, but if it's a 4:10 (likely) expect 6 to 10. I know it's a broad range, but it depends on hills, air quality, and fuel quality.
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  #7  
Old 05-25-2007, 05:00 PM
rmarquet rmarquet is offline
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I have an E-350-based motorhome that weighs in the neighborhood of 9,000 lbs, and it has the EFI 460, so I'm going to jump in: I get 10-12 mpg with mine, believe it or not. 9-10 mpg while towing a car. Go easy on the gas pedal, and the 460 EFI does better than you'd expect.

Interestingly, the same motorhome was also made with a 351 (I think), and that engine is actually LESS efficient than the 460 - possibly because it has to work harder to pull all the weight, so you're pushing the pedal farther down.

Another word of advice: ever see what happens to an underinflated tire? I found out the hard way recently; I mention it because I'm sure there's going to be some weight on that rear axle. Figure out what they should be inflated to and keep 'em there. Mine have to be at 80 psi, which is difficult to do with a lot of air compressors. Also, keeping them properly inflated is going to help mileage, too.
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmarquet View Post
I have an E-350-based motorhome that weighs in the neighborhood of 9,000 lbs, and it has the EFI 460, so I'm going to jump in: I get 10-12 mpg with mine, believe it or not. 9-10 mpg while towing a car. Go easy on the gas pedal, and the 460 EFI does better than you'd expect.

Interestingly, the same motorhome was also made with a 351 (I think), and that engine is actually LESS efficient than the 460 - possibly because it has to work harder to pull all the weight, so you're pushing the pedal farther down.

Another word of advice: ever see what happens to an underinflated tire? I found out the hard way recently; I mention it because I'm sure there's going to be some weight on that rear axle. Figure out what they should be inflated to and keep 'em there. Mine have to be at 80 psi, which is difficult to do with a lot of air compressors. Also, keeping them properly inflated is going to help mileage, too.
I think your dreaming. My 24 passenger gets 7.5 MPG with a high of 8.2. It's a low mileage unit with only 30,000 miles on it and a fresh tune up. Even if I shut it off on every downgrade I wouldnt get 9. We will be taking it from MI to TX in a couple months and I'm guessing it will cost $1500 in fuel at $4 a gallon.
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:42 PM
rmarquet rmarquet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rulebreaker View Post
I think your dreaming. My 24 passenger gets 7.5 MPG with a high of 8.2. It's a low mileage unit with only 30,000 miles on it and a fresh tune up. Even if I shut it off on every downgrade I wouldnt get 9. We will be taking it from MI to TX in a couple months and I'm guessing it will cost $1500 in fuel at $4 a gallon.
I think you're resurrecting 5 year old threads.

No, I did exceed 10 mpg a couple times. I just checked the calculations again. Conditions were absolutely perfect (flat roads, no winds, truly highway only, etc.), and I was driving like grandma. Note the A/C didn't work either, so it was off, which helps too.

We sold the B190 last fall in favor of an F-250 and a 30' Airstream trailer. My wife and I (who I hadn't even MET when I wrote the post above) loved the B190, but we wanted something larger.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:02 PM
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Seems to me for some reason the motor homes do better. I have 2 friends with motor homes that get 10-12. Makes no sense to me.
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  #11  
Old 06-14-2012, 04:13 AM
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Maybe it's the cam?
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:47 AM
rmarquet rmarquet is offline
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Originally Posted by Rico47635 View Post
Maybe it's the cam?
I'm not sure they used anything special for ours at least - it was a stock 460 as far as I could tell, with the F53 cutaway chassis. I forget what gearing it had, though, but maybe that helps too - it was surprisingly quick off the line (no 10 MPG when I did that, of course) for a 9,000 lb vehicle, so maybe there was a sweet spot at 55 mph that let the engine run efficiently.
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:19 PM
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Mine has 4.10 gears and 225/75/16 tires. I was going to go up a size but it shifts into 3rd gear more than I like as it is so I stayed with the 225's.
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  #14  
Old 10-25-2012, 08:11 PM
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I put 3205 miles on her on my trip to TX and I found mine gets the best mileage at 70 MPH. My best tank was 9.35 (cruise set at 70) and my worst was 7.3 (cruise set at 76 MPH) My average for the entire trip was 8.22. If I set the cruise between 65-68 it gets in the 8's. 55-65 is down in the high 7's. I never dreamed the sweet spot would be 70 but it's at that speed that it typically wont down shift on a hill. Total cost was $143x.xx RB
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:11 PM
 
 
 
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