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1954 Short Bus the project

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Old 08-17-2018, 07:04 PM
1954b500
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1954 Short Bus the project

I have a 1954 Ford B-500, wayne body, 22' 9" bumper to bumper, and badged a v8 on the front grill. Came out of Pueblo, Colorado.

The plan.
Put the bus bodywork on a newer truck chassis. For this I have a 2005 F-450 crew cab, diesel and about 174" wheel base. This means if I have a need for parts while on the road, I am not looking for seventy year old parts. Gives me disc brakes, I will be driving over the Rockies from time to time. Antilock brakes and power steering too. 19.5" rims. The brake calipers will be rebuilt. new brake pads, new rubber brake hoses, new rotors, if needed. I have a new steering box, this will be opened and a couple of the parts in it "massaged". Tie rods, ball joints, drag link all will be new. At a later point I may change "hydro boost' to the 'hydro max'. The truck wheel base is about 20" longer than the bus. I will have the frame shortened at the area where the cab sits. The F450 has a turning radius of an oil tanker already, any thing I can do to get this thing turn turn tighter will help in small spots. The frame will be too short behind the rear axle and will have to add on to the rear of the frame. I have seen f350, f450, and f550 cab chassis trucks, all will work as donors. The pickup f350 has a bump over the rear axle and will not do what I want it to. Also the the cab chassis trucks are all 34.2" width on the main frame rails and will mate to the bus body very well. The bus will be able to carry two, 40 gallon fuel tanks, both will be plastic and mounted to the frames, the way ford did them when new. I have the 2005 Ford F450 crew cab already. I have an eye on a late model f350 cab chassis, that is in a salvage yard, that has a plastic diesel tank.

The drive line.
Use a cummins 5.9 12 valve diesel engine, will be rebuilt. Non stock camshaft, hot rodded fuel pump, stronger valve springs, exhaust brake, non stock turbo charger, non stock intercooler. Expected to out put 325 hp to 400 hp and 700 ft/lbs to 800 ft/lbs, rpm limit 3600rpm. Geared to run 65 mph at 1875 rpm in 6th gear, and 2525 rpm in 5th gear at 65 mph. Peak torque is expected to be near 1875 rpm. Might use some thing called "AFC live". 4" or 5" exhaust. One air conditioner compressor, unless I cannot get the bus cool in the summer heat.

NV5600 six speed transmission, twin plate clutch, company called south bend, comes with new flyhweel. Most of the F450 drive shaft will be stock, with front portion remade to correct length and ujoints to mate to the transmission. Clutch slave is expected to be stock unit, with fabricated clutch pedal and aftermarket clutch master cylinder.

The Ford F450 rear axle, S110, will use a 3.73 differential carrier from an International Terrastar. This differential carrier has a speed sensor in the differential and so I should be able to connect directly to the Ford antilock system. The stock parking brake cables are expected to be used. I will have to find some sort of aftermarket speedometer that can use this axle sensor output. This driveline combination has not output that can use a cable. I have the differential from salvage,

I bought a 1995 Dodge 3500 pickup truck for the engine and wiring harness parts. Dodge does not sell any new harness parts that I could find, not even the tailshaft, so the entire truck was a good thing to do. The transmission is $8,000 new... uggg so bought a rebuilt trans.

Some of the headaches.
Finding new glass is a project all by itself, as is the window rubber. I know other people have done this, but seems no one records the part numbers for others to use.
The out side edge of the 2005 F450 front tires are 9.5" wider than the front fenders. So, from reading and looking at pictures, I believe the answer is F700 or F800 Front fenders are the answer. I ended up buying a 1955 ford fire truck for the front fenders, as a plus I will have a hood, grille, siren, and other bits and bobs that the bus is missing. I will fly in to Virginia, rent a u haul, disassemble the fire truck and drive home. Then blending in all the different systems. Oops gotta go.I will post more a bit later.

william
 
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:28 PM
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Welcome, William. Way to build suspense!

Pics, pics, pics!
 
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Old 08-17-2018, 11:07 PM
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so, where to continue....

Okay so I now own, 1954 Wayne bodied, Ford B-500, a 2005 Ford F-450 crew cab chassis, a 1995 dodge 3500 extended cab dually, and a 1955 Ford F700 fire truck, make currently unknown.

The fire truck odometer shows to be only 33,000 miles. I kinda hate to take it apart, but I want that front sheet metal/bumper. I did not dawn on me until today that the bumper would need to be wider to match the F-700 fenders. The bus hood has a couple of stress cracks, so I can use the hood too. The engine and transmission are still in this truck. and sitting on tires that appear to still hold air. For anyone wanting the rest of this truck, it might be possible to buy what is left, cheap.... really cheap.. that would be a cab, doors, frame, pedals, chassis stuff along with related fire engine specific items still attached. I am planning to take a/the siren. maybe one of the police car style "A" pillar spot lights.

When the time comes, the bus chassis will be up also, I think bus chassis, B-500 have rear springs that are longer than truck F-500 chassis. I think I saw a video recently where a fellow put rims from a fed ex truck.. MT45 chassis, on a mid fifties Ford F-600 with the five bolt wheels.

wow what else ... um the steering column I have a tilt/telescope from a class 8 truck, frieghtliner, i think. Has the buttons on the steering wheel for cruise, exhaust brake, and lights. Three seats are from 2018 Ford Transit Van. They are doubles, cloth, head rests, arm rests, integrated seat belts, one of the two seats in each double has baby seat latch points, and they recline. But they do not recline far, kind of like air plane seats in cattle class recline, about ten degrees. The seats are also removable, but I don't see removing them often. I will take a picture of the 1/4 scale graph paper lay out I have and post that with other pictures tomorrow. What else do I have for this already......

Oh hell! How could I forget, The air rear suspension! https://reycogranning.com/suspensions/model-rd11kdf/
I was looking to get the smoothest ride I could. This also give me an on board air compressor for air horns, air ride drivers seat, and I dont ever have to look for an air line to fill up my own tires when they bleed out enough to get low. I like this one for a few reasons, The air bags are the same as the big rigs, means if I pop a bag, I should be able to get a replacement at any truck parts place. This uses the stock front spring perches, so front to back location of the axle assembly should be good to go. The mounting Z bars will work like traction bars controlling axle wrap up on take off. As long as I keep adding throttle input, I should not get any kind of bouncy take offs. This seems to have more suspension travel available than the system that mount springs on the axle housing... install drawings show about 7.5" available travel - that counts bump and rebound. I usually run Bilstein shocks but I might find a different shock I can adjust bump and rebound to match the axle dynamics.

I will use stock front anti sway bar, F-450, to start with and evaluate handling dynamics after the build. I like corners......

accuride or alcoa rims, four. I have been told, cause I don't know bout this part myself, that the flanges of the alloy rims are too thick to run four alloys in the rear. Standard practice appears to be two inners are steel, and two outers alloy. 245-r70/19.5 michelins F rated, in all six positions... This is a decision in wet sand, I might change the rears to something with some sort of lugged tread. Dont know yet.

I am going to the ford dealer tomorrow to look at late model trucks, so I can see and feel how the front seats fit a human body. I might buy three of these for adult passengers. Remember I am planning to use an air ride seat for the driver.

Pretty certain firewall mounted clutch and brake pedals will be used.

With the big rig steering column I was looking at the drivers position and stuff.... I am betting the stock dash panel is not going to get used, but some sort of panel with six or seven gages will go into a dash. two big gages, tach 0-4,000 and speedo 0-85 mph Cruise speed is expected to be best at 65mph, the tires rated at 75 mph maximum load and pressure. At 65 mph my aim is 12 mpg. That is why I chose an ol jelly bean shaped backside anyways. and it looks pretty cool.

so much is already purchased, so many little details still to be decided!

story of how I got the bus to kansas coming soon.

william
 
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Old 08-17-2018, 11:25 PM
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how I got the bus to kansas

June 3, 2018
The bus is still in Colorado, bummer. Shipping has been paid for and I am not afraid of a rip off. Just sometimes life happens.
June 23, 2018
I leave at nine in the morning for pueblo colorado. I have Okie coming from texas to load and haul the bus to lawrence kansas. If all goes well, I meet up with Okie sunday night, and will have the bus loaded monday morning. Nervous, I have not been able to make contact with seller for a month. I am trying not to think the worst. This has gone well so far.

June 26, 2018 EBAY SELLER WIGS OUT!

Okay, sit down and hang on.

I arrive at the seller's home on sunday about 7 ish. Keep in mind, I have been trying to contact sell via telephone and text messaging for a month, with no apparent success.

So he opens the door and I introduce my self, "Hi, I'm Will. They guy that bought the bus. I came to pick it up."

He says " You can't pick it up. You did not call me and give me any notice you were coming!"

"Can we go check it out?" I say.

"Who is we?"

"My two friends, me, and the truck driver that is hauling the bus." I respond.

"NO! I'm not gonna let that many people in my back yard. I don't want people looking at my stuff. No you can't all go back there."

I am not having good vibes on this gig..........

"Would it be okay if just the truck driver and I go back with you?" I ask.

I try to lower my voice and be as non confrontational as I know how. I do not want this to blow up in my face. I have hired a semi with lowboy, driven 8 hours, bought a winch, 40 feet of chain, big battery for the winch, that will go into the bus, the battery, not the winch, a ****** block, and dinner for five people. In addition to buying the bus, and already paying once to have it moved.

Can you tell I am a little leery of all of this getting really ugly in a hurry.

Victor, the guy that sold the bus, took my money, and I am talking with now, says "Okay I can do that. But not any more people than that."

We walk back in to his yard, that has three rottweilers chained up in three different spots in the back yard. We three are standing by bus and Victor says " You did not give me any notice. You can not pick up the bus today. I have my stuff in the bus I have to take out."

"I tried to call you and send you text messages for a month now." I take out my telephone to show him.

Victor "When did you call me last?"

Me "The last text message was two days ago and I tried calling the day before that and the day before that. I have been trying every couple of days for last two weeks. I have not been able to get a response for a month now"

Victor "Come back Wednesday, I can have it empty then."

Me "I already have a truck here to haul it. We are set up to load it tomorrow morning. It will cost me another $1000 to have that truck sit for a day. Look, I am not asking for the tow money back. I know that things can happen and go wrong. I don't expect it back. I am more worried about being able to load this and get it back to Kansas because I have things ready to start putting this back to a running condition. Stuff will be ready in a few days to start putting this together. I need to get this bus rolling. Can I do anything to help you clean out your stuff from the bus?"

Bus driver, he goes by Okie. Okie chimes in "This is not too much, we can have this unloaded in an hour, two at the most."

This sets Victor off again. "Nobody is gonna tell me what to do in my own house. You can leave now."

I stand between Okie and Victor and turn facing Victor and as quietly, politely, and controlled as I can, " Victor, could we be able to load tomorrow moring?"

"No. The soonest I will have the bus empty is nine tomorrow morning. There is still the engine" - some buick 350 and an automatic transmission, and I think a radiator sitting, not bolted in the engine bay.

Victor continues, " I thought you did not want the engine. That will take at least an hour to get the engine out."

"You are correct. I have no use for the engine. So, how about I come at 11?"

Okie adds "Let's give a little more time and just aim for noon." Thank you okie, I think to myself.

Me "would that work okay for you, Victor? Noon?"

"Yea I can do that"

Me "Thank you, Victor. See you tomorrow."

Victor " I am not talking to any one but you. I don't want to anybody else talking to me, only you. Got it?"

"no problem Victor. Just you and I"

Victor adds " I don't want that trailer in my driveway. I will pull the bus up to front and you can tow it out from there with your jeep, then you can load it out in the street. I don't want that truck backing up in the driveway."

I respond " Sure, not a problem. See you at noon, tomorrow."

Already I am three hours late from the planned schedule. Wanted to start loading at nine and now am loading at noon. ****. But it looks like disaster avoided.

Here is what I think happened.

Victor, and/or the guy that was supposed to haul my bus to Kansas, a month ago. They spent the money already. Victor, I think, really did not get my text messages for some reason. The telephone had a recording that said ' that said the user has not set up the in box for messages"

So, when I was standing at the door, he was blindsided by me just standing there. I think Victor is the kind of guy to go in with a baseball bat and demand his money back and because of that, he expects the same kind of brute force approach in return. I caught him so far out he just did not know how to react and went into full circle the wagon defense mode.

I helped the situation by telling Victor I did not expect the money back. That let him know I was not going to go off the deep end with the tow money I sent him. Okie helped by giving him more time to get stuff done. I think being left alone over night to think about the situation helped too.

The truck driver, my friends and I have a pow wow and make a plan for loading the bus. I want to set up the winch, battery, chains and wheel chocks and get the tow trailer as ready as possible out of sight of Victors house. To keep any possible tensions to a minimum. We meet at 11 and go to the neighborhood and park the next street over, a block away. We set up and pull in front of Victors at 12:08.

David, one of the friends that came with me on this adventure backed the jeep up to the bus, I chained up the bus and we towed out of the driveway.
Victor has to say "Don't hit my fence!"

I stop and turn and look at him, a little exasperated at this point, muster all the politeness I have left, " We will not hit the fence. We will be carefull."

Jeeze!

We get the bus in line with the trailer and hook up for the winching up the trailer. Julie, david's wife is steering, david and Okie manage cable and chains for the pull. Okies wife is operating the winch under my instruction, and julie is steering according to David. I make a mistake and have to stop loading halfway up the ramps. There is a chain I did not fasten the d ring correctly and the ring is pulling apart. I park the bus, Did I mention there are no brakes on this at all. none. no pedals, no cables, no hand brake. none.
I replace the one damaged ring with two rings and make certain this time I screw them shut. We continue the pull and chain the bus to the trailer. We are able to hit the road in an hour.

Victor as some point tells Julie, " I sorry about how I was last night. " Victor does a nice suprise and hands me the title for the bus. Last tagged in 1971.

Turns out this was a skoolie back then, there is a propane bottle under the bus, and shards of curtains in the windows. one or two of the seats are still there. Was painted red with blue on the rub rails. You can see the colors when are farther away from the bus.

The bus is about two hours out as I type this. Time for me to shut down for now. and call the place that is doing some of the big work for me and let them know when the bus will be there. I will post a slew of pictures later. I am going to have to lean how, I have not posted any yet and will have to practice, I have many to post.

william
 
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Old 08-17-2018, 11:30 PM
1954b500
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About that fire truck

The engine and transmission are still in it... was told that 33,000 miles is showing on the odometer. Radiator is there too. Dont think I can use it.

william
 
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Old 08-17-2018, 11:54 PM
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Wow! What a story. I'm glad you got it. And welcome to FTE the best Ford truck Forum on the world wide web. Can't wait for pictures.
 
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Old 08-18-2018, 12:40 AM
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I have met people like Victor before. You have to treat them like nitro-glycerine. Great story. Glad the project has begun. Drooling for pics.
 
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:27 AM
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Victor, the seller, and I, in the back yard.


First view of the bus, way back there in the middle.You can't see me, I am on the front porch, ugg what an ugly vibe from that first encounter.
 
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:38 AM
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Getting flatbed prepped, we parked on the next street over. Wanted to load and go!


Pulled out of the driveway. It is in line with the flatbed. That chain in the front we had attached to the jeep to pull it out of the driveway. Some one had taken a disc sander to the paint, that is why it looks so splotchy.
 
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:47 AM
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View from inside, getting ready to winch up on to the trailer. The trucker hauling the load is named "Okie" that is him on the left rear of the trailer. I am the guy in flap hat, keeps me from sun burn on my neck and bald spot.


Tying down the load. Woman in red is the truck drivers wife.
 
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:57 AM
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It took me a while to see the red and blue paint. Up close I did not see it. The guy at the front of the bus is David. Julie, not seen in pictures, is taking the pictures These two came with me for the adventure.


To say "I am stoked." about this project would be an understatement. Only surface rust, Colorado desert environment has been kind to the steel.
 
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:01 AM
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Thanks for the pics! That bus is in great shape. I am glad you made it out of there alive.
 
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:07 AM
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On the road. I got the title! I got the title! Did not think that was going to happen. The blue dude on the wiper is an air freshener, too stinky to put inside. I put him on the wiper. He is still stinky and still there a couple of months later.


On the road again... da da data dum. C'mon who here just read that and did not think of Willie Nelson singin that in your head? Kansas here we come.
 
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:21 AM
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Reps for that story. Amazing!! Glad you got out of that whole, one piece.
And, welcome to the forum.
 
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:58 AM
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Way cool project, I love the bus, but wow the story of what you had to go thru to get it off the po's property is one that you won't soon forget. I hope you keep us updated on your build, with lots of pics. Oh and a big warm welcome to FTE, I know it has been said already but it is really the best site on the net for these old Ford beauties.
 
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