Conversion of 12 seater transit van to camper

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 23, 2017 at 21:52
ThreadID: 134348 Views:2949 Replies:6 FollowUps:2
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Hi
I have been thinking about buying a used 13 seater transit van/bus, removing some seats and using the spare space to put in a double bed for sleeping while away. Has anyone had experience with this in particular pitfalls in QLD registration wise. I had a look through the transport dept website but am more confused now than before. Points I am interested in are can I take seats out without notifying transport dept,. inspections if they are not advised. rego costs, Insurance problems? and anything else you think I need to know. All info appreciated regardless of how trivial.

thanks Kevin
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Reply By: TomH - Thursday, Feb 23, 2017 at 22:18

Thursday, Feb 23, 2017 at 22:18
An engineer who specialises in that stuff will set you right QLD TMR will have a list of who to talk to. If you remove seats permanently you will need an LK1 mod plate from an engineer definitely. Insurance class may change
EG taking the seats out and using it as a Courier vehicle would change it Dont know about a camper.
Talk to QLD TMR They are the ONLY people who will give the absolutely correct answers as they have to sign off on it.
AnswerID: 608845

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Feb 24, 2017 at 16:00

Friday, Feb 24, 2017 at 16:00
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I have had experience with seat removal in Queensland.

The Troopy required Engineer inspection, a Modification Plate and TMR approval when changing from the original 11 seating positions to the remaining 3 front positions. Then the same again when I changed the OEM front seats to a pair of Stratos suspension seats. Cannot remember the costs of these actions. I did advise my insurer of the changes as they actually had it listed on the policy as "11 seating capacity".
I also have plates for suspension upgrade and long-range fuel tank. Can't do any more mods....... no space left for plates! lol

Then with our Getz, I unbolted the rear seat to allow greater cargo area. When getting it ready for sale I needed to replace those seats before the Licensed Inspector would issue a roadworthy certificate.

Sorry cannot assist with other matters.



Cheers
Allan

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FollowupID: 878615

Follow Up By: TomH - Friday, Feb 24, 2017 at 18:46

Friday, Feb 24, 2017 at 18:46
Xactly what I had to do when I made my Landcruiser a 2 seater for 3 years. Had to get new plate when I replaced them as well $60 a time
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FollowupID: 878616

Reply By: PeterInSa - Friday, Feb 24, 2017 at 21:02

Friday, Feb 24, 2017 at 21:02
Kevin,
My comments, if I were going down the DIY motorhome route I would do the conversion on a Coaster, preferably a Turbo Diesel Version. To me at the CMCA Rallies with over 1000 Motorhomes and Campervans around 20% would be Coasters. I would also look at a crowd in Brisbane, Slacks Creek who buy Coasters/Do Conversions/Sell the completed unit for ideas.

As others have said get involved with and Engineer from the start, who will sign off your finished unit.

My understanding is that a number of members of the Forums below have carried out a similar exercise to you.

Aussiemotorhomers.com and.the Campervan and Motorhome Club (CMCA)
CMCA.net.au

To have access to the CMCA Forum you need to be a member and access to Aussiemotorhomers you need to be interested in motorhomes which if you are going to do a DIY its a given.

Peter
AnswerID: 608871

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Feb 24, 2017 at 22:21

Friday, Feb 24, 2017 at 22:21
I converted an ex tour bus OKA to a motorhome.
Bus bodies are far from ideal for use as motorhomes.

Windows inappropriate style, wrong positions and wrong height.
Lousy insulation.
Curved walls and ceiling makes everything difficult.
Not quite wide enough.
Not quite high enough.
Door in the wrong place and wrong style.
etc, etc, .....

I removed the bus body and built a custom body in its place.
It works.

Seating changes need engineering approval.
Registration (in SA) is cheaper for motorhomes than for busses or vans.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
AnswerID: 608872

Reply By: Member - pete g1 - Saturday, Feb 25, 2017 at 18:11

Saturday, Feb 25, 2017 at 18:11
As noted by others, engineering certification would be required when altering seating configuration & for the roadworthy inspection.

Point I'd add, ensure you have the vehicle reclassified (by the engineer or Dept Transport) from it's current commercial category (bus/ delivery van etc) to a, caravan / motorhome or similar; ie, a private recreational classification.
This should provide cheaper registration / insurance (does in SA)

( I've converted 4 ex ambo Merc Sprinters, all into campers/motorhomes)

have fun
AnswerID: 608887

Reply By: kcandco - Sunday, Feb 26, 2017 at 21:51

Sunday, Feb 26, 2017 at 21:51
Thanks Everyone

I am now thinking the easier way to go may be a van with mods and plate already done. I have seen a six seater for sale that would suit. Its a lwb with dual rear wheels. Are there any problems with these? I am also wondering about fuel economy on such a big rig.

Thanks Kevin
AnswerID: 608936

Reply By: PeterInSa - Monday, Feb 27, 2017 at 12:22

Monday, Feb 27, 2017 at 12:22
Kevin, What type of van? LWB Coaster?, if so to me you cannot drive it on a standard licence. Do you need 6 seats if not, I understand that will still need an engineer certificate to remove them.

Have no experience with dual rear wheels, but have heard that there could be problems with the inner wheel going flat and U not noticing, I would look at a TPMS unit to monitor all tyre pressures.

I personally would look at a Sprinter Van pre 2006 manual, for a DIY project, great to drive, great fuel economy and used by Ambo's in SA and Australia Post in some states. However the Ambo units are not LWB I think MWB and suggest you do not buy a 315 Sprinter.

Peter
AnswerID: 608954

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