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Thread: Got me a bus

  1. #1
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    Default Got me a bus

    I idly asked SWMBO if she thought trading the caravan for an RV would be a good idea. That somehow turned into a bus conversion project.
    It's at the wrong end of the country, on the wrong island, on the wrong side of Auckland city - getting it home will involve planes, Ubers, a couple of days on the road, and a ferry trip. It's a used import from Japan, and all conditional on passing an NZ heavy vehicle certification inspection. LOL, what could possibly go wrong .
    It's basically a Mitsubishi Fuso truck with a short bus body, so pretty bombproof mechanicals, with enough grunt to not be one of those gutless hippie house buses that belch smoke at 40km/h on any sort of climb.
    Anyway, road trip sometime in the next two weeks, then a tiny housebus build.
    Screenshot_20210411-155848.jpg

    Pete

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    A friend has a very large touring bus he's nearly finished, but I reckon he's left his run to late as he's really getting on in years.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Mine is an ex Britz rental on an Izuzu 2 1/2 ton truck base, Suzi is in pretty good shape for her age, has everything I need, and we're having a lot of fun in her. Freedom camping in a house bus or RV seems much more do able than with a caravan, we parked last night at Butchers Pool near Reparoa, a 40c gothermal hot pool maintained by the Rotorua district council, free, and with toilets and changing rooms. No charge for staying the night, so, a soak in the rain last night, and a cuppa in the morning, sitting in the pool watching the sun come up.
    Welcome to life on the road.
    Oh yes, she has a towbar, and will pull a decent load so there will still be a wooden boat in my day to day life.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    coolness
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    If that's the same mechanicals as the FUSO/Canter - then you'll enjoy the momentary lag in the handbrake.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Sure looks like a great adventure to me! I hope you'll post some info on what you're doing to her.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Looks like a fun project. All those windows could be challenging. Iíll be watching.

    and whatís the difference between a caravan and an R/V? I thought caravan was just what you guys called R/Vs.
    Last edited by StevenBauer; 04-11-2021 at 06:59 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Looks like fun. Hope it works out.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    A great adventure begins!
    What color are their hands now?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    looks like it could be as much work as you want it to be. neat machine.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    Looks like a fun project. All those windows could be challenging. I’ll be watching.

    and what’s the difference between a caravan and an R/V? I thought caravan was just what you guys called R/Vs.
    I thought a caravan was a trailer, while a R/V was more of a motor home.

    Now you've got me wondering!
    Rattling the teacups.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    ^ my understanding, too.

    Have Fun!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Looks like a fun project.

    Best to put an "Out of Service" sign up front so you don't piss off the people waiting for a ride at bus stops as you drive by?
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    A caravan is a trailer, a motor caravan is an R/V..A Dormobile is like Winnebago, though smaller.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    My, otherwise smart, 48 year old daughter has become fascinated with Skoolies. Converted school buses.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Skoolies look like fun but where to park one is always going to be an issue.

    But I might be biased

    This is currently under major renovation in the my shop but it has served me well for overland travel over the last 20 years.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    Skoolies look like fun but where to park one is always going to be an issue.

    But I might be biased

    This is currently under major renovation in the my shop but it has served me well for overland travel over the last 20 years.
    If only Honda would beef up the Odyssey w higher ground clearance it would make the perfect equivalent. It gets better mileage with about 100 more hp.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    15483171-58E5-4C16-8911-D7A1FE2D7334.jpg
    My schoolie, although they weren’t called that back then, a half century ago.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    My sis did the opposite to you in November. Bought an older and smallish motor home in CHC, flew down and drove it back to AKL over 3 days. She loves it. 4 litre so it makes it up the hills ok without totally infuriating all behind. I'm in Auckland this week if You'd like to catch up for a coffee.
    Screenshot_2020-11-29-07-33-28.jpg

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Ken Kesey had him a bus, too.
    11278473-8DAB-4D0F-A3E7-CE028640F9BD.jpg
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    My sis did the opposite to you in November. Bought an older and smallish motor home in CHC, flew down and drove it back to AKL over 3 days. She loves it. 4 litre so it makes it up the hills ok without totally infuriating all behind. I'm in Auckland this week if You'd like to catch up for a coffee.
    Screenshot_2020-11-29-07-33-28.jpg
    I( did that in February, flew down to Chch, picked up my "Suzi". She's an Isuzu NPR200 2 1/2 ton truck based ex Britz 6 metre motorhome, a bit shorter than that one, but still has all the necessary bits and pieces.
    Slow, but gets along fast enough to keep up with most of the traffic most of the time.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    All I want is a Ford Transit Connect for a microcamper.

    But about 6 months back, there was for sale in California, a mid-aughts MCI 102EL3 with less than 100k miles if I recall (on an engine good for a million miles), immaculate condition, used by a fancy kids music school for years. They needed to sell as CA passed a law that applied retroactively on emissions to commercial vehicles, by Jan 1, 2021, all commercial vehicles with diesel engines older than 2010 would be banned. I think the coach could be used for a private RV. Retro. Used to be you just needed to pass emissions that were in effect when the vehicle was built. Anyway, this immaculate bus with huge storage compartments was $15k. New it was something like $350-400k. I would have grabbed it but there would still have been a TON of work converting it to a motor home. It's usually a better deal to buy a finished one used. But I don't want one with all the fancy interior, mirrors on the ceiling, triple slide-outs, etc, I just want a tasteful interior, berth aft, head and shower just forward, then galley, then a flexible space with wood floor that I would outfit as lounge on one side and workbench on the other, but capable of changing. Gas grill on a slideout from one cargo bin, a rollout awning on that side. Bonus points for one with a wheelchair lift midship to easily lift things into the workshop.
    When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    I don't really get the whole Skoolie thing. The red tape required to register it as something other than its original purpose (which you need to do unless you get CDL with passenger endorsement) is quite onerous, and renders it very difficult/expensive to insure, and after all of that you're working with a shell that has 5'10" headroom.

    I admire the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into those things, it just seems like a poor starting place. If I'm going to have 90db of noise in the driver's seat I'd rather start with a bread truck.
    What color are their hands now?

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Quote Originally Posted by Figment View Post
    I don't really get the whole Skoolie thing. The red tape required to register it as something other than its original purpose (which you need to do unless you get CDL with passenger endorsement) is quite onerous, and renders it very difficult/expensive to insure, and after all of that you're working with a shell that has 5'10" headroom.

    I admire the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into those things, it just seems like a poor starting place. If I'm going to have 90db of noise in the driver's seat I'd rather start with a bread truck.
    My aunt Ann did the bread truck thing.

    She was a tenured art professor at Western Reserve College during the Vietnam war. She and several of he colleagues made vocal protests against that war, and were fired for their efforts.

    Ann rode out the lawsuit for several years living the bohemian dream in the student ghetto there in Cleveland.

    When Western lost, they had to sell out to Case to pay the judgement.

    Tenured professor.

    Back wages and bennies/retirement plus a lifetime of wages/bennies/retirement plus actual damages plus punitive . . .

    Annie bought a bread truck and cruised around the country looking for the perfect spot to settle down with her new-found generational wealth.

    Annie was the coolest.
    Rattling the teacups.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    I’ve done two schoolies and two bread trucks. Well, one was a 1950s Mack city bus. They were all cantankerous, unreliable, and dirty. But I was in my twenties and loved every minute. Months lived in Peoples’ Park in Berkeley, Greatful Dead concerts in Germany, and maybe a few less than legal substances.
    Why youth, if not for such endeavors?

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    I remember a call to Car Talk from a pilot at SFO who lived in a VW van in the employees parking lot. She wanted to know where to put an anti theft switch..
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    I was talking this morning to the owner of a home conversion Nissan Civilian house bus. He's having a lot of trouble getting it all "legal'. Cant find a sparky who will certify it without tearing the linings off so he can see that the 240 volt wiring is all proper, had to pull the black water tank out because when it was test filled it was a couple of litres short of required capacity for the four bunks that the bus has so no self containment certificate, he cant find anyone who will certify the seat belts unless they are able to pull them out, check the fastenings are per spec and so on. He says, be seriously careful and get every step inspected, its a great deal harder to get all the boxes ticked than it used to be and it sounds as though its going to get tougher.
    He's wishing he had just gone out and bought one ready to roll.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    I was talking this morning to the owner of a home conversion Nissan Civilian house bus. He's having a lot of trouble getting it all "legal'. Cant find a sparky who will certify it without tearing the linings off so he can see that the 240 volt wiring is all proper, had to pull the black water tank out because when it was test filled it was a couple of litres short of required capacity for the four bunks that the bus has so no self containment certificate, he cant find anyone who will certify the seat belts unless they are able to pull them out, check the fastenings are per spec and so on. He says, be seriously careful and get every step inspected, its a great deal harder to get all the boxes ticked than it used to be and it sounds as though its going to get tougher.
    He's wishing he had just gone out and bought one ready to roll.

    John Welsford
    I'm lucky, in having a tame sparky at work who can sign off on the electrical system as it's built .
    The self containment thing is pretty easy, done it before - the rules on tankage for potable, grey, and black water are extremely clear, and are all done on a per person/day sort of basis.
    The Thetford cassette toilets are by far and away the easiest way to make the whole black water compliance problem go away - we have a strictly enforced "no poo's" rule in the caravan to reduce the yuck factor for the poor sod who has to empty it .

    Our diesel mechanic son has been telling me all sorts of light truck "clogged DPF and EGR" horror stories - one more thing to worry about. As its a new import that stuff gets a fairly thorough check supposedly, but I'm tempted to have the DPF cleaned before I leave.

    @ John B, doesn't look like I'll be in Auckland this week, as still hasn't cleared out of the port. They were hoping it was going to be released last week, and good to go about now, but not to be.

    Pete

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Quote Originally Posted by epoxyboy View Post
    I'm lucky, in having a tame sparky at work who can sign off on the electrical system as it's built .
    The self containment thing is pretty easy, done it before - the rules on tankage for potable, grey, and black water are extremely clear, and are all done on a per person/day sort of basis.
    The Thetford cassette toilets are by far and away the easiest way to make the whole black water compliance problem go away - we have a strictly enforced "no poo's" rule in the caravan to reduce the yuck factor for the poor sod who has to empty it .

    Our diesel mechanic son has been telling me all sorts of light truck "clogged DPF and EGR" horror stories - one more thing to worry about. As its a new import that stuff gets a fairly thorough check supposedly, but I'm tempted to have the DPF cleaned before I leave.

    @ John B, doesn't look like I'll be in Auckland this week, as still hasn't cleared out of the port. They were hoping it was going to be released last week, and good to go about now, but not to be.

    Pete
    Sounds good, I needed somewhere to live for a few months, sort of "yesterday" so just bought something that was ready to go, with all the boxes ticked. I did though put in a new fridge, 2 new 150 watt solar panels and charge controller, and a few other updates, none of them 240 v, and the tanks are all compliant so I'm not having to worry about any of that.
    My next door where I'm parked though, I suspect that one, he didnt have a clue, two, thought he could get away with not bothering to get the proper people checking a he went, so has really only himself to blame.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Three days, 1000km, one ferry ride, and a long chat with the ex, and we're home. We are on a back section, with a tight dogleg between where we'd like to park and the drive. It makes getting the caravan out a bit of a PITA so it doesn't get used as much as we'd like. The bus scoots around in and out, and even just fits in what is normally a spare car park. Once the bus is usable, the caravan is gone
    20210508_174001.jpg

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    My aunt Ann did the bread truck thing.

    She was a tenured art professor at Western Reserve College during the Vietnam war. She and several of he colleagues made vocal protests against that war, and were fired for their efforts.

    Ann rode out the lawsuit for several years living the bohemian dream in the student ghetto there in Cleveland.

    When Western lost, they had to sell out to Case to pay the judgement.

    Tenured professor.

    Back wages and bennies/retirement plus a lifetime of wages/bennies/retirement plus actual damages plus punitive . . .

    Annie bought a bread truck and cruised around the country looking for the perfect spot to settle down with her new-found generational wealth.

    Annie was the coolest.
    Did she find the perfect spot?

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Quote Originally Posted by epoxyboy View Post
    Three days, 1000km, one ferry ride, and a long chat with the ex, and we're home. We are on a back section, with a tight dogleg between where we'd like to park and the drive. It makes getting the caravan out a bit of a PITA so it doesn't get used as much as we'd like. The bus scoots around in and out, and even just fits in what is normally a spare car park. Once the bus is usable, the caravan is gone
    20210508_174001.jpg
    How was it to drive? I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with it.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    How was it to drive? I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with it.
    Well it's no sports car at 3.5 tonne, with agricultural leaf springs and beam axles, but it's very easy to drive. It was a bit bouncy on broken road surfaces, and pretty noisy inside, as the usual load of seats and sound absorbing people are all missing . I'm hoping both of those improve as we get some insulation and weight back into it - we have about 1600kg to play with between the tare weight, and "gross vehicle mass" or maximum rated weight. It is surprisingly maneuverable, and to be honest, I think it's way easier to reverse than my Hyundai ix35!
    Under the skin it's a Mitsubishi Fuso truck, including the 4.9 litre turbo diesel, six speed auto, and exhaust brake - this ain't no slow, smoke belching hippie bus. The engine does almost everything between 1000 and 2000rpm, about 520nm torque and 120kW - after 1000km, the oil is way, way cleaner than my diesel Hyundai which I'm hoping bodes well for the future.
    In NZ, provided the GVM is under 6000kg, you can driver it on a car license.

    Anyway, today's mission was measuring up inside to see if the floor plan that had been carefully negotiated with my significant other was going to survive the harsh reality of the space available, and getting the cover off the massive air con unit at the back of the cabin.
    With a few minor tweaks to account for the rear wheel tubs, the floor plan survived mostly intact.
    The entire air conditioning system is sized for 27 hot sweaty people, takes up way too much space, and uses what will become overhead locker space along each side as the cold air ducts all the way to the front. It pains me, but it has to go.
    I need to talk to an air con place about getting it de-gassed, and the possibility of getting the air handler out of a junkyard car plumbed in to the existing compressor and radiator, so we at least have cold air up the front. If not, that'll be another 50kg of useless stuff that can come out.

    Pete

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    The AC is going to be an interesting project. I wonder if you could pull a unit from a cab-only model and bolt it right in?
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Got me a bus

    When are you going to install the flying bridge and upper deck steering station?

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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