Jarrod and I had started planning a while back to buy an old school bus and turn it into an RV. We just want a way to be able to travel in comfort without having to rent an AirBNB wherever we go (and maybe someday live in it). While we haven’t quite been able to find anything suitable that large, I did find an old conversion van a few months ago. It’s a 1989 Ford Econoline Club Wagon, which I lovingly named the Red Daisy Van. The person I purchased it from had not driven it or done much of anything with it for 4 years. I was able to talk them down quite a bit on the price, and I happily drove it the 50 miles home.


For the first few weeks, it was running incredibly rough and kept sputtering and dying. Under advisement from a mechanic, I put premium gas in it, and Heet, to cycle out the old gas that had been sitting. It was at this point I realized the gas gauge didn’t work. And something was wrong with the gas tank too, because it kept triggering the auto shut off at all the gas pumps, meaning it took like 20 minutes to put in maybe 5 gallons of gas. Along with those issues, it needed a tuneup, it had an exhaust leak, a bad blower motor, the drivers side window didn’t roll down, and had a considerable amount of rust all over the underside.

First, I had a mechanic look into the gas issues. It ended up needing a new fuel pump, float, tank, and tank straps. Done.


Next I got it a tuneup. Which honestly I think it’s running rougher after.


Next weekend, it’s getting the fuel filter, blower motor and window motor replaced. So we will have heat and/or more fresh air.


After that, I’ll likely give it a rest for a while. I’ll have to address the exhaust issue next, and I’d rather wait until after the holidays. I’m not sure where the leak is, or how much it will be to fix it. But it won’t be cheap.


Also, I do know there are deeper issues now. The motor seems to have some sort of internal problem. May be a bad piston or something of that nature. Diagnostics need to be done to figure out exactly what. And once that’s diagnosed I face a choice: either fix/replace the motor even though the frame is pretty rusty (is it worth it?), or sell/trade it for something else. The whole purpose of getting a big ol’ van like this was for traveling. And as is, it’s not getting us very far. After an hour or two of driving, it doesn’t wanna keep going. I love this old van, I really do. It's sad to think the issues may be irreparable (or at least too expensive/not worth it).


I’d still like to get a bus. But my body isn’t so young anymore and I can’t do a lot of the conversion work I want, myself. I’d have to hire people and that would get expensive REAL quick. If I could find a bus that’s already converted, or well on it’s way, that would be preferable. But again, the expense of it could be barring.


There was a local guy who wanted to trade the van for his partially converted school bus, and we even did test drives. But that deal has sort of fizzled as the bus and the van both needed more and more work. It’s still a possibility, but I’m thinking likely improbable at this point.


Probly my wisest move right now would be to find something to replace my dying minivan (transmission is going out), and quit messing around with any hobby vehicle. Jarrod’s Jeep needs some work too. But I have no other big hobbies/projects right now since fixing up and opening the kennel is no longer an option.


I need to find something else to focus on, I suppose.