converting a bus to motorhome

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 09:58
ThreadID: 92581 Views:12349 Replies:7 FollowUps:2
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Hi, Im new to the forum. My husband and I (3Boys) are planning to travel around OZ. We want to convert a bus into a motorhome and are finding it very confusing about how to register it. Any help would be much appreciated.
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Reply By: Steven G1 - Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 10:58

Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 10:58
Hi Christine,
I would check with the your states road authorities to see what needs to be certified.
Cheers Steve.
AnswerID: 480616

Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 10:59

Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 10:59
Hi Christine,
What state are you in as they all have different rules.
AnswerID: 480617

Follow Up By: christine m1 - Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 11:37

Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 11:37
Hi Andy we are in Queensland
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Reply By: Ross M - Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 12:35

Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 12:35
As other have said, you must check first with motor reg authority to see the current regs which apply.
Generally, people converting older buses don't want to spend the money for the mechanical repairs and upgrades the law now requires you to do, then on top of that you have a conversion which has to meet current standards and guidleines.

Have you noticed, there is a lot of advertising about for example Winnebago but you don't see many if any newly renovated busses. The market is capitalising on the current state of play.
I worked for a bus/coach company for a while and they can't sell busses for conversion anymore because no one wants them, or rather they can afford to buy them but can't afford fulfilling the regulatory requirements.
Worse still. You still have an old vehicle as the base of your conversion and all authorities are trying to get rid of older polluting vehicles and have them off the roads.

Ross M
AnswerID: 480626

Reply By: Rockape - Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 13:18

Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 13:18
Have a look in the classifieds at a bus that has been converted.

Looking at what has been done to it I believe it would be a great buy.

Also I notice it is in SE Qld.

Happy travels.

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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 17:08

Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 17:08
Hi Christine,

My brother was going to do what you suggest.
He was looking at a low kilometre import from Japan, already right hand drive.

He decided to import one from America instead and he now regrets that decission as it has taken much more time and brain power to convert the American motorhome from left hand drive to right hand drive.
We have been working on it for 2 years now as there are all sorts of engineering hoops to jump through not to mention regulatory hoops.
Not to mention the blind alleys you go up when you are prototyping.

If he were doing it all again he assures me he would go with the Japanese import.

He didn't go with the Japanese unit at the time as there are certain regs in NSW which meant the overhang at the back was too long. He could have had that rectified and engineer certified for around $12,000 at the time. Several years ago.

In hind sight it would have been the better option.

The brother informs me that in NSW, at least, all you need do is install a bed, a fridge and a sink and it qualifies as a motor home for rego purposes. "so he informs me".
Any further fitout is optional and at the discretion of the owner. Keeping an eye on weight of course.

You may be lucky and get a converted bus nearly completed where someone has gone cold on the project, I have seen many but I would not take them on, but now and again a reasonable one comes along, although they are few and far between, in my experience.

There is a mob in northern NSW or southern QLD who do the Japanese importing. A check of the web might shed some light.

My preference is a 4 wheel drive and a caravan large enough for my needs. That way you have a runabout when the van is parked up in a van park.
But, each to his own.

Cheers, Bruce

At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: christine m1 - Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 17:42

Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 17:42
Thanks everyone for the advice, I think we will look for another option now, I think the wise head in on. As you all mention the red tape would be a big problem.

FollowupID: 756085

Reply By: Member - Trev A (SA) - Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 18:17

Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 18:17
We are currently doing a bus in SA. and enjoying the challenge. It isnt a quick project by any means but we will get the bus we want and will suit our family and needs. We looked at ones already done and couldnt find one that suited. So here we are.
Good luck with your choices.
AnswerID: 480658

Reply By: Tim HJ61 (WA) - Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 22:53

Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 22:53
A friend of mine bought an old Mercedes coach in Canberra, drove it across the nation to Perth and converted it to a nice traveling home.

The first thing he said he would different next time, is 'buy a square framed coach'. His is rounded, and has made the fitting out much more difficult.

AnswerID: 480856

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