2007 Chevy 3500 Express with Thomas back
6.6 Liter Duramax Diesel (LMM)
212K miles, running strong.
I bought this from a friend who completed the initial conversion. It was a disability bus in its prior life.
It is in the middle of another renovation (by me). As you’ll see from the photos, it is in an awkward growing phase.
- Great year Duramax: starts, runs and shifts like a dream
- Motorcycle carrier on back, ramp included
- Walls and ceiling already insulated, overlain by aromatic cedar panels and window framing
- Large real bed built in, storage underneath, bamboo memory-foam mattress, solid cabinetry and sink (with pump and tanks), electric RV fridge
- Electrical components all there: 4 panels, 2000W inverter, charge controller, fuse blocks, isolator, switches, etc…
- Brand new engine batteries
- Comes with new, uninstalled Chinese diesel heater
- No “house” batteries are installed currently, all house electric is disconnected. Interior circuits will need new wire run
- Check engine and ABS light on. (one glow plug, ABS likely erroneous)
- AC must have a freon leak, have not traced it yet
- Original bus passenger-door is pretty terrible
- Muffler cracked
- Radio disconnected
A friend of mine renovated this bus from its initial state with his father, he used it while travelling and working as river raft guide. He boon-docked with it full-time and took it around the country.
When I got this bus, both the “house” batteries, and one engine battery had fried. The other engine battery had a badly corroded neutral. He had them all wired together with an isolator, but didn’t seem to understand the setup well. I essentially detached everything and re-connected only the engine components with 2 new batteries (these engines use 2 batteries). It fires up immediately and runs great.
All the house electrical i.e. solar panels, controller, interior circuits, are still disconnected. It’s for the best, he must have had something amiss. He also used dinky wiring and the lame connectors which come attached to appliances (a pet-peeve of mine) so all that was pulled out. From what I can tell he had 12v DC circuits coming right off the batteries for the fridge, water pump, and recessed lights. He had the inverter feeding a power strip at the bedside for his AC circuits. The Renogy components are very nice: 2000W inverter and Rover MPPT charge-controller. The panels I assume are 400w but I don’t actually know, there’s 4 of those.
The check-engine light is on for the cylinder 1 glow plug. It’s still firing clearly, but I guess it’s going bad. The ABS light allegedly appeared after my friend replaced rear wheel hubs on one side. I assume it’s just a sensor issue but haven’t investigated further. All I can say is it runs and drives remarkably well engine/trans/suspension wise.
The brakes are soft, I would bet they haven’t been bled in a while. The rear tires are pretty worn but not useless. The front’s have a lot of life left. The muffler is cracked, allegedly while the bus was killing-it in Moab. It’s not loud though, I guess because it’s so far from the engine.
The radio head-unit is detached currently but still in place. My friend did that, haven’t investigated it yet. Also the air conditioning did work for me, but now isn’t blowing cold. He left the adaptor piece to charge your own freon in the center console, so I assume there’s a leak somewhere.
There’s a porch built on the back of the roof. It’s very solid, room for 4. You get up there from the original emergency pop-up roof thing, which I think is pretty cool.
The motorcycle carrier is sweet. I’ll include a fold-out aluminum ramp that you can use to ride a bike up and down. I did ram my bike into one of the tail-lights while loading it and cracked the cover off (sorry) so there is some skill to it, but it succeeded in hauling my heavy dual-sport around on multiple occasions.
The floor is not insulated. There was foam and carpet throughout the whole thing. I pulled up what I could to reveal the original bus floor. I personally think the floor is the coolest part. The walls are insulated as is the ceiling, with cedar boards shaped across. I’m 6’ tall and I can stand up straight in it. My friend never had issues with it getting cold apparently. I have a new Chinese diesel heater that I will include uninstalled.
My friend used a composting toilet while he had it. I just pulled all that out. I still have the large beefy plastic chest that used to house all that stuff if you want it. It could also go on the back as extra storage.
Overall it’s a great rig, I just don’t have the time to do all the small things it needs. It will be a great way for someone to get into the game for cheap with just a little elbow grease. Price is OBO and I am open to trades. Text or email and we’ll set up a call! Thanks, Liam