the new website

ABOUT US

 

THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE ADVENTURE:

We are William (Bill) and Satsuki (May) Calder and we hail from the Caboolture area of South East Queensland. For the last 21 years we have been developing a very successful hydroponic farming business, supplying Australia’s largest supermarket chain.

Bill has experience in a wide variety of fields,

  • accommodation (running first biz while still at school)
  • mechanicing (qualified but don’t even change spark plugs these days),
  • fishing (prawn trawlers, easier to buy from the co-op now though),
  • flogging encyclopedias (how long ago was that, but made quite a bit of money from it) 
  • shooting people (qualified, and can justify on the grounds they were shooting back, and was government trained),
  • cheffing (qualified but too many drunks and prima donnas in that game, wasn’t sure which would become)
  • greenhouse builder (some pretty innovative products were designed by us over the few years we did this)
  • control systems (developed for our own use, complex horticultural controls run out of a simple PC)
  • website development (had our first up about 18 years ago)
  • and hopefully as a good parent having raised 2 great kids with their feet firmly on the ground
  • and of course successful and sustainable farming.

May has been involved in the toy business in her early working life, with stints in retail and teaching. For the last 26 years she has very capably handled all the administration for Fancyleaf, our hydroponic farm, and of course has been half of the parenting team referred to above.

After all this time building a successful business, which anyone who has done that, knows requires a lot of commitment, it is time to think about other things in life and to have a look at this great country before they won’t let you anymore. (Don’t get me started on our current politicians, we are in dire need of a benevolent dictator I think !) So we have decided to travel and take it a bit easier than we have in the past.

The chosen mode is to convert a tourist coach to a very comfortable motorhome and go where the detroit diesel may take us.. Please feel free to browse this site, many people are telling us they have learnt a lot from our efforts, others say they have found some inspiration here. If that is the case, excellent !

ROOF LIFT

THE ROOF LIFT:

Our roof lift went somewhat differently to others, as the whole steel structure of the roof was removed. This happened because of a couple of reasons, it was easiest if our fibreglasser had the steel roof structure at his place to match it to his many moulds for horse float rooves. But mainly, as we had to remove all the roof supporting structure, it was safer to have it out of the way,rather than suspended above and in the way of the work. This is not recommended unless you have such rust problems that you have to remove the supporting structure for replacement. These older monocoque built coaches have a ladder type of arrangement under the windows, usually about 600 mm high that keeps the front and rear modules in plane. The front and rear modules can be and often are built in different sections of the factory, brought together and then these side sections added. The large chassis members on either side of the walkway are not designed to keep the 2 modules in plane, unless substantially reinforced as we have done. So, if yours are substantially degraded by rust, they need repair.

You can see by the pics that the steel roof section grew a set of wheels, this was just for easier manouvering in the fibreglass factory. It is very important before lifting a roof that the coach is blocked substantially underneath as you are removing one of the structural elements from the mix for a time. It is also important to work safely, if it slips it will not stop until it hits/damages/kills something substantial. We were lucky that on the farm we have 3 forklifts and a set of extended forks so it was reasonably easy for us to get the roof where we wanted it, but even then it was done slowly and carefully. Start out with a level coach or your marks do not mean much. Use a plumb bob to establish data points. Work out how you are going to actually lift the weight well in advance, something as simple as 4 or 6 car bumper jacks from the wreckers have been used. Use you tube for ideas.

PROJECTS PAGE

 

OTHER PEOPLES PROJECTS ARE DETAILED BELOW:

We have been asked by several viewers to put up a page where they can show some photos of their own conversion. This may be because they don’t have the time, or perhaps the skills or inclination or spare cash to do a whole website about their own experience. We are happy to oblige, so if you are in the middle of a conversion, or even just about to start drop us an email with a photo(s) of your vehicle and we will be glad to show it, and then other viewers will also be able to follow your progress.   We have created a gallery for each project, so, whenever a critical or satisfying stage is reached, drop us a pic so we can all see how you are progressing.

Some of our projects have been updated with lots of photos, this is what is of interest to other converters, if you pride is here please make an effort to show us all where you are at!

BRIAN AND JENNI

Brian and Jenni are living on a cattle station a few hundred K’s from Brisbane while they do the second conversion on their vehicle, a 79 Tourmaster. This time around they get to rectify the mistakes they made in the first conversion, like a roof lift and removal of a lot of the windows to assist in keeping the coach cool in summer. In these latest pics we can see the frame is quite clean with minimal rust. Just a stress plate along the side, so much simpler than the later ones that used all that webbing, which rusted really well.The coach has an unusual roofline, which must have been the go when it was produced. Not too sure about the Leggo model though, unless to show off meticulous planning !!

NEILL AND TRACEY

Neill and Tracey from Melbourne have a very pretty 84 Tourmaster on a Merc chassis that they have stripped and have now started on their conversion. No roof lift this time around but a BIG sound system from what I hear. Neill reckons his Merc is so much faster than Detroits that he needs a big air brake (like a plane) to slow it down. He is trying to tell us it is a pop top roof for the bedroom, using the old aircon pod, but we can see through that ! Neill has some later photos on the web, so here is the link for that http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k526/Sidecar44/

DREW AND SARAH

Drew and Sarah from Perth came to Brisbane to find their own 87 Tourmaster and drove it home. They are still stripping it but plan a roof lift and a couple of slide out rooms as soon as the dirty jobs are out of the way, then its off to see the country. Young couple doing at the right end of their life together.

UPDATE: Tax problems have forced this couple to put the coach on the market. Drew was working so much to make money to spend on the coach, he had no time left to work on the coach. Just got himself a big tax bill. Very good buy for someone in the west. If interested contact us and we will put you in touch.

UPDATED UPDATE: Coach has been sold for more than was paid for it, first bub is on the way, thats the end of that dream for a few years.

DIRK AND MARY

Dirk and Mary from Urunga have an 87 Austral that had a large amount of frame rust, necessitating a complete frame rebuild above the floor. This has been a long process, working under tarps with some not very kind weather to contend with, however the frame is now ready for glassing. 2 slide rooms are being fitted, with the design and fabrication by Dirk. As you can see he has had a lot of rust to contend with.

BILL FREEMAN

Bill from Bendigo has aquired a very tidy Merc to convert, still a long way to go but should be a nice job.

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MERVIN

Mervin fom Whyalla has done a few short trips, with 5 kids and another on the way needs plenty of bunks !

GREG AND HEATHER WHITE

Greg and Heather are from Hamilton in Victoria, 2 years into their conversion, at the stage of getting it weather tight. Leyland chassis, Scania motor, Custom Coaches body originally. Slow and frustrating but enjoyable at the same time ? We hear ya Greg, nothing good happens overnight !

BRETT AND LIZ TIMEWELL

Brett and Liz are from Perth. They have owned their Tourmaster for almost 2 years now and have got to the stage of being ready for interior fitout, and are having trouble finding anyone in the west able to do what they want

GARY AND TRISH JOHNSTON

Gary and Trish hail from Calliope in Queensland and have now registered their Denning coach “In The Longyard” which looks a very neat conversion. Still got things to do but already enjoying the fruits of their work. Gary has retired recently and Longyard is getting a few miles on her these days.

RAY AND DEBBIE SCOTT
Ray and Debbie have purchased a Denning and started their conversion, will be looking for some photos as you go along guys?

ANTHONY CLIMAS

Anthony has a very colourful Denning, until recently was also doing an Eagle but let it go to someone “that loved it more than me”. Got caught in the recent rain on a trip back from Melbourne and had to do a few detours on back roads which tested both driver and coach

WOODY

Woody is in the US army, has contacted us for info about slides, I have added to the projects page just to show some people have a really unusual choice of toad !

COL’S BUS
These pics were sent to us by Owen (forum member) you can contact him there. The conversion started life as a ’78 Denning as you can see, but has been extremely well transformed as you can see from the extensive gallery. As an aside, how many of you would absolutely kill to have a shed like this (and the gear) to do your conversion in? I have not added any captions at this stage as there are just too many pics, but it shows what can be done with an older coach with some knowledge, perserverance and equipment. Well done Owen, you have done a great job on this one, when do we see some pics of the latest Denning ?

OWENS BEDABAGO

Owen has what he calls a Bedabago, cause he can’t afford a Winniebago. Based on a Bedford chassis and called “Dunno” because he could not think of a name, but I suspect the Denning? parked behind is the next project.

GLEN

Glen has kindly sent us some early pics of his Denning and a two level layout. He is quite open to your comments on these layouts, if you wish to make any constructive remarks please do so on the forum. The layout must cater for 2 adults and 2 small children. It is now roof lifted, sheeted and painted, so on with the interior.

FRANK

Frank is working on a Volvo coach at Jimboomba in Queensland and has joined the buyers group. We expect some more photos as the build progresses, as you can see has reached the fitout stage.

ASHLEY
Ashley has been involved in the RV industry for a few years now and is working on a Volvo conversion, with a fair way to go at this stage Has some pics on the web, here are his

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.136772096400807.34923.100002040537385&type=3&l=262e312041

BERNIE

Bernie is fitting out a Volvo/Volgren as a motorhome on the Sunny coast of Qld, way to go yet but is tackling with gusto.

PETER SARA

Peter is fitting out an Isuzu in South Australia, looks like he is doing it in the open which is pretty hard, some more pics as you get further along please Peter.

DANNY AND ROSALIE MC SHANE

As you can see Danny and Rosalie have made a good start on their project and have joined the buying group, hopefully we can save them some money further down the track

STEVE MAGNER

Steve Magner is embarking on his Denning conversion, early days yet, lets see some more pics as you get further down the road Steve.

MARK

It seems I never added Mark’s original pic of his Denning from way back, dunno how I missed that one, sorry Mark. I will add that one in a gallery and also a link to some more pics that he has on the web. Here that link is:

http://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=6aa94c25f59524a3&page=play&resid=6AA94C25F59524A3!134&a! mp;type=5&authkey=6PSMgvRVKyc%24&Bsrc=EMSHOO&Bpub=SN.Notifications

If you have a section in this projects area and have other pics on the web somewhere, please send me a link as I am happy to include it (saves my hosting space as well)

TROY TELFER

Troy hails from Orange in NSW and has purchased a very clean looking Tourmaster. The man has great taste ! Looking around for someone to help with a roof lift.

CLIVE BECK

Clive hails from Moranbah in Queensland, got a uni course to finish before he can get stuck into his conversion but as you can see has made good use of his coach already

FAY AND GRAEME FREEMAN-SMITH

Fay and Graeme are from Western Australia. Graeme is a fly in fly out mine worker who has had some holdups in his conversion with health and other issues. Now all sorted and the conversion is being undertaken on his time off.

CHRIS AND LIZ BURGESS

I have had these pics for some time now and did not realise I had not added to projects page. Chris and Liz have an ex Brisbane Bus Lines coach that has been configured in a very unusual way, before the seats were removed. The floor had been levelled and 72 seats fitted. This coach is currently undergoing a roof lift by an experienced RV builder that is quite affordable, more on that to follow.

STEPHEN FLEMING

Stephen and his partner have an unusual coach, a Denning “Jumbo” which has duals on the rear axle. Not the drive axle, the tag axle. There were only a few of these made as the extra cost was probably not embraced by some hard as nails bus operators. They hail from the west and are gearing themselves up for a roof lift, better do it soon or I will be over there to do it for you !

BRUCE NORRIS

Bruce has a Mercededs based Tourmaster and hails from the hinterland behind the Gold Coast. He did this build in 3 months !!!! That is absolutely staggering but shows what you can do when you put your mind to it. I havent bothered to put descriptions on the pics as they are pretty self explanatory. Well done Bruce !

Room Slides

We will be using a suspended system for our room slides, as the pictures in the gallery show. This is far superior than having things buried under the floor, is less susceptible to being out of level, as well as being strong and priced well. We would prefer 24 volt motors but they are not available, however we can get around that. Easier to operate and seal, we believe this is the way to go for sliding rooms. Our slide out rooms are on the way and will be here around the end of June, by which time we will be well and truly ready for them. Framing for each  is complete, just need the shipment.

We are fitting the slide rooms quite forward, opposite each other. They are glide rooms more accurately than slide rooms, and float above the floor, not touching it. The floor or platform for each one is 75mm high, but we will have room to walk between the 2 when travelling. When stopped, press a button and the lounge/dining area opens up a massive 5 feet, or over 1  1/2  mtrs. The use of moveable furniture, combined with a built in dining area in one glide room, means 8 could be comfortably seated at the dining table. The other will have a pull out bar !

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It is really nice to be able to start adding material to these pages after mainly working on the frame and roof lift pages. Sometimes it is difficult to work out where something should go, as with the vertical exhaust stack we have constructed, but you should not miss anything if you flick over the main pages. The glide rooms or more correctly floors which is what the makers call them, arrive tomorrow all being well (second week of July) and we should be ready to get straight into them. As we are currently finishing off the radiator and new hoses and rear insulation, which needs two more days, the timing could not be better.

So we have added some “chunky” steel to the tops of the 3 slide areas as it is necessary to beef up what was the top window rail when you have a couple of metres with no posts. We have probably gone over the top a bit, but would rather be that way than too light. The material we have used is 130mm x 10mm flat mild steel. We pretensioned it as it was put into place, ensuring the top window rail is nice and straight when it settled down. Some pics are below, we probably won’t have much else to add here until the glides arrive.

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Glides will be delivered tomorrow, woooohooooo!! Can’t wait to start getting into them. We had never actually fastened the last three sheets of structural formply down (glued and screwed) so we polished this job off to be sure we were ready for them when they arrive.

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Glide rooms have arrived. We have unpacked and done a “tack” opening in the coach to see where we are at. Now is the time to work out the sealing options. We are very happy about how simple it is to fit to the prepared hole, and how little enegry is needed to move the room in and out. Still don’t like the 12 V motors but we have plenty of them lying around, so not a major. just happy to get started in this area.

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The slide rooms have got our attention at the moment, we have been busy framing up the “house” for each one. It has been necessary to modify the side of the coach to a vertical wall where the rooms are, to gain maximum travel. The room gained by including these rooms is amazing and well worth the effort and expense. We are extremely happy with the mechanism, the floors themselves leave a lot to be desired, we could see heaps that could have been done better so have modified them ourselves. More on that as those pics are available.

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As mentioned above, we have reworked the floors themsleves for a better result, they have been built down to a price, not up to a standard, which is unfortunate, as the swing mechanism is top class. We have already come up with a design far superior to this, just from talking about what we have been doing while untertaking the install. When you consider the difficult communication with the company, and I know some of you have experienced this, the lack of decent instructions (many parts not even mentioned) the poor packing which has resulted in damage to the finishing pieces and the generally poor finish of the floors, (meaning you really have to rework them) it is pretty dissapointing. Our third slide will be our own design and far superior to the first two !

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Bit of a mixed bag for you today, we have been refitting the Liftco slides after the fibreglass people fitted some strips underneath the Liftco gear, so we will have an unbroken fibreglass skin over the vehicle. We also took care of the window steel on one side of the bedroom, and started the bed slide out that we talked about in the news section. Bill has also been busy making the new entrance door, there are a couple of pics in the gallery below. We get the glass skins for the slide room houses tomorrow so they will need to go on immediately so the top joins can be fibreglassed, the others are covered by an extrusion.

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The slide rooms have been attached and glued to the floors for good and the walls and ceilings of fibreglass have been glued on. A little work remains to finish the corners, after that they are ready to fit to the coach

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Today we fitted the slide rooms. We are STOKED ! The amount of room the opposing slide rooms open up in the living area is almost unbelievable. So much so we have decided to add a cocktail bar to Vanishing Point ! Forget those old chestnuts about leaks and wind noise. Fit a decent seal and replace it every couple of years, costs SFA and you will have the benefit of all this extra space. FANTASTIC !!!!!!!!!! WOOOHOOO!!!! You get the idea ? And they work beautifully, push in and out with your pinky ! The mechanism is excellent, can almost forgive the fact that we felt the floors themselves could have been finished better.

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Today we insulated the slide rooms and made the frame for the seat. Ordered some different height table legs to match the new seating height, and chased down the bar stools for the bar. They are gas lift and are perfect for the other side of the table when we have more than 3 to eat, or great for sitting at the bar when set high. The table will seat 8 easily when in the up position. We are not lining any areas yet, until the outer fibreglass skin is on and all gel coat spraying has been completed. We also secured to polyurethane foam for the fridge/freezer which will be hidden in the bar.

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SLIDE 3

We have started on slide three, the bedroom one. We are doing this in a manner we have not seen before, using supported rod and bearings. It has worked superbly. Because of Mike leaving Bill has been working really hard and has had little time to post here. However there are some uncaptioned photos in this gallery to whet your appetite.

The bedroom slide room has been built, we will use the Liftco sealing system and outer extrusions, so it looks the same at the other slide on this side. Now it just needs final welding (instead of Bill’s crap tacks) and it can be glassed  the same as the rest of the vehicle. Also the bin doors have been completed, photos of them tomorrow. They have been totally stripped and the locking system changed, which you will see in the future.

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Back working on the Liftco slide rooms, starting to trim the inside of them and add windows. also in this gallery are several pics of the doors which have been getting coat after coat of gloss urethane paint.

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WE have been asked for some more slide room seal detail, here it is below

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FRAME REPAIR

THE VERY DAUNTING FRAME REPAIR ON VP:

Should be called rust repair maybe, instead of frame repair ?

Anyway, if you buy one of these old coaches you should be prepared to do some frame repair as they were built from steel and over the years and sometimes millions of kilometres of body flexing, moisture can get in and start it’s silent but deadly work. We were at the extreme end of the scale which took some time to repair but we know now what we have and are happy with the result. Of course we also saved tens of thousands in the purchase price which was probably the only thing that got the project past the book keeper !!

One thing that we were fortunate in though is that we were able to build ourselves a shed to do the conversion in. I simply do not know if we could have completed this amount of repair, if we had to do the job in the harsh sun, or in rain. It was a simple greenhouse construction with a shade screen for the hot days and it allowed the work to continue, no matter the weather. I take my hat off to those that do a conversion, even without major repair, in the open, even more so if there is big stuff to do as well.

Anyway it is all done now and VP is being used for what she was intended, short trips of up to a month so far, but we are only home a few days and are wanting to go again. If we can unload the business soon they will become way longer !

I am not going to replicate the text of the old website,  each picture is captioned and the gallery tells a story I think. Enjoy.

 

Energy generation and usage

SOLAR:

We intend to fit an extensive solar array to the roof of our motorhome. This will consist of 10 solar modules each ouputting 175 watts (rated), more likely 150 watts real at 24 Volts. They will be connected to charge at 24 volts. We will use a profile system by Maytec (see links) to secure the panels to the top of the coach. Maytec profile system is used in our Simplicity Stamping Machine and simplifies design sooo much. Strong and vibration proof too, which is important when you are attaching it to the roof of a coach at 100 kph !

ALTERNATOR:

These coaches are fitted with HUGE alternators, with the detroit diesel one sometimes being over 200 amps. Ours is 240 amps so will have ample spare power for both house and crank battery banks. The Super Combi will charge both banks of batteries, the house at the maximum it is set up for, and the crank at 4 amps, wherever the amps are coming from.

SHORE POWER:

We are not caravan park people, we prefer to camp in places where you are not kept awake all night by a noisy neighbour, or someone having a domestic.  No thanks. Nevertheless there will be occasions where shore power may be available and we will have the facility to use it. The Combi can be programmed to use whichever you like, and it will even charge the batteries on cloudy days.

STORAGE:

A large battery bank will be fitted (coaches may have some disadvantages but also some real advantages) of about 1,200 amp hours. This bank will increase weight by approximately 1/2 a tonne, but be spread out in 2 seperate enclosures in the storage bins under the coach. The batteries will be Absorbed Glass Mat type or AGM. Calculations have been done on 4 peak sun hours per day.

POWER MANAGEMENT:

We are going to use a Super Combi power management inverter. These are fairly new to this country but come from one of the largest inverter companies in the world. They are very smart inverters and can handle multiple input sources such as solar, engine alternator, generator and shore power, whatever you have to throw at them. An MPPT regulator from the same company will also control the solar input. The optional battery temperature monitor will also be fitted as the unit is smart enough to slow down charging when the battery bank is too hot. This unit will even start/stop your generator, if you have one, when required.

HOT WATER:

There will be 2 systems fitted for the supply of hot water, with some simple electronic control stuff. We are manufacturing our own heat exchanger/hot water holding tank which is insulated with closed cell foam. We will also have some pool heating hose on the roof which will solar heat our water when we are not on the move. It is surprising how quickly heat can be picked up when you pump some water up there, let it sit for awhile, then return it to the insulated tank.

GAS:

Space has been found for 4 x 4 Kg gas bottles under the passenger seat. This compartment has no bottom panel so any leaking gas will fall to the ground and be safe. However we have welded in a steel plate between the gas compartment and the co pilots seat. Gas will only be used for cooking, both in the oven/range and the slide out barbie hidden in one of the bins, so we expect we will be able to go quite a few weeks with our 4 bottles.

ENERGY USAGE:

We will not be large energy users as a couple in a well prepared home does not need to be, even if the house has wheels. Having said that we have reached a stage of life where a certain degree of comfort is attainable and even expected. As mentioned above gas will be used for both inside and outside cooking, as this is the most economical way to do it. We have purchased a small twin tub washing machine (240 volt) that will do 2 Kg at a time. As we will spend less time in the cold, it should not be too heavily taxed. All interior and exterior lighting will be LED as rapid advances are being made in this area. Comfort will be taken care of by 2 split system reverse cycle air conditioners. The one in the lounge area can be used continuously while travelling, and both (at seperate times) when stopped, depending on battery status. Of course the coach will be extensively insulated. The air cons chosen are 5 star energy efficient, drawing a mere 700 watts at 240 volts.

Decided to take advantage of all the rain and do some work on the roof. It can get very hot under the plastic roof of the shed we are building this project in, so rain and clouds meant it was the time to start up there. Lots of cutting and drilling for the anchors for the profile system, have at least the backbone in place so far will update this area in the next few days.

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Because of the subdivision I have not been able to do much for the past week. We are at the stage now where some things must be done, in order for others to proceed. Bathroom had a couple of tiny things left to do, they are now done, working on finishing the bedroom and staring on the profile system on the roof.

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BUYERS GROUP

 

BUY GROUP DEMISE

I have decided to close the buyers group, unfortunately one can spoil it for all.

I had been asked to buy something for a considerable amout of money, but when it came time to pay, the member could not, due to noy havin a job at the time. Not a problem, however, perhaps to hide embarassment, became abusive to me personally.

Life is just too short for this sort of rubbish so I have pulled the pin on the group.

 

BUDGET,EQUIPMENT

 

Below are a a couple of  pieces of equipment we use. We would regard what is on this page (when complete) as the minimum to undertake this sort of conversion.

I am doing a PDF of costs, just have to work out how to link it !

Click HERE and you will be taken to the PDF which is a work in progress, funny how the total can move up so rapidly ! You will need to click on the TAB at the top of the page to make it go away and take you back to the budget page.

LINKS

 

LINKS TO SITES YOU MAY FIND USEFUL:

On this page you will find links in three areas. The first is people/businesses we have used over the years and know and recommend. The second area is people/businesses we will use in the conversion project. It is up to you to determine if these people/businesses are suitable to be used in your own projects. The third really just pertains to websites that may give you some ideas

LINKS FOR KNOWN PEOPLE/BUSINESSES.

Spotty Dog Computer Services. Local supplier for all things PC, computer repairs, website design, etc. Highly recommended, Iain really knows his stuff. http://www.spottydog.com.au

Simplicty Control Systems. Our supplier of PC based control systems for horticulture that are affordable and robust. http://www.simplicitycontrols.com

Fancyleaf. Fancyleaf is our hydroponic business (farm) where our conversion will actually take place. http://www.fancyleaf.com.au

Bus and coach parts. If you have a Denning or Austral you need to keep this link nearby. http://www.busandcoachparts.com.au

The suppliers of some bus parts to the above business worth talking to them as well                                    http://www.kirg.com.au

Maytec Australia sell the Maytec profile system in Australia. Highly recommended if you are in the market for a profile system that is strong and vibration free. Use for solar module attachment to roof.

http://www.maytec.com.au

Shanes Autoglass. Shane has many years of experience in fitting glass to just about anything you can think of, highly recommended if you are in Caboolture/Sunshine Coast area and need any glasswork

http://www.shanesautoglass.com.au

MOTORHOME LINKS

Ozefridge Pty Ltd. We will use an eutectic fridge setup in our build and these guys will supply the hardware. http://www.ozefridge.com.au

Mammoth Motorhome. No interest from prospective buyers so Peter and Alison have decided to finish themselves, as finances become available. Good on you guys !                                                                                                         . http://www.mammothmotorhome.com

Hobo home site. A couple of people that have been living the dream for the past 6 years. Practical people that have learnt as they go and shared with many.  Site is a great read and very informative. Have linked many people to this site

http://www.hobohome.com Hobohome the Australian Motorhome

CMCA is the organisation that really cares for us. If you contemplate anything like this in the future JOIN NOW. There is a wealth of experience and help out there, avail yourself of it                          http://www.cmca.net.au/pages/index.php

OTHER WEBSITES THAT MAY INTEREST

Bus conversions 101. A yankee site that may give you some ideas of what is possible with deep pockets! http://www.busconversion101.com/Index.htm

Northcoach equipment. We may use these guys for supply of some parts as they seem to have a good range. http://www.northcoach.com.au

Ron Morris Engineering. Used to be insight engineering. Seems to have the runs on the board,   http://www.ronmorrisengineering.com/buses

Norden. Produce room slide stuff and slides for barbies etc. May be of some use so try http://www.norden.com.au/index.php?sectionID=3224&pageID=3992

Peninsula Motorhomes. Leveling sytems , tank moniotrs some of that sort of stuff. http://www.peninsulamotorhomes.com.au/

Liftco Inc from the states. Can’t find an Aussie distributor but we like their wall mounted slide systems.              http://www.liftcoinc.com

My busparts is a site devoted to helping people with bus parts getting together with people who need bus parts.  We hope to sell some excess parts here   for a quite reasonable price. Definitely worth a look.               http://mybusparts.com.au

Springers low voltage specialists. Brisbane solar installers with a large range of stuff to do with RV elec systems. Very competitive on modules and batteries, especially if buying a few. Will be doing the mains voltage stuff on our vehicle.  We have found them to be quite helpful with good advice                                                          http://springers.com.au

Useful bits and “would we do again?”

 

This addition to the site is specifically for bits and pieces that are not RV unique. That is they may be a product from Bunnings, as indeed the first one is, or your local plumbing shop, as is the second. The point is, these products are out there, easily accessable and if they work in our situation, even though not specifically designed for it, why not use them ?  Visitors are invited to suggest products like these that they may have found useful, or are intending to use themselves. Send an email to: products@motorhomeconversion.com.au if you wish to suggest something. If you find some of these suggestions useful, please drop an email to the above, as it takes time and energy to maintain this section which can only expand with feedback and input from people like yourselves.

ACCESS PANEL:

This one is for fairly flat areas such as a flat roof etc. This is where we will be using these in Vanishing Point. As we have a glossy ceiling (white) planned these willl be very unobtrusive. They work by simply pushing into the hole you cut, (8″ x 8″ as they are made in the states) the spring loaded clips snap into place to hold it there with quite a bit of pressure. To access whatever you have fitted under there you simply pull down on the panel, overcoming the spring loaded clips. A very simple, elegant way to cover and conceal, yet have ready access. Highly recommended, available from Bunnings.

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HEPWORTH FITTINGS AND TRAPS:

Hepworth have invented a waterless trap that is great in confined situations. It can even be installed vertically ! Used with some of the company’s other products plumbing that was previously impossible is now possible. Definitely worth a look if you are converting. Try LEAP LTD website or contact us for a better link.

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AIR/HYDRAULIC JACK

Brian has found an air hydraulic jack in one of the catalouges he has that we think is great. It is air over hydraulic and will lift to 20 tonnes, reasonably priced at under $300 and oh so much better than messing around with hydraulic bottle jacks. We are purchasing one for our own use in tyre changing and bog extracation. If this product sounds useful to you email us for a link to the sellers site.

A guy in Sydney has contacted us, they are wrecking a Britz Elite, have the full camper conversion available, if any interest get in touch and I will get you some contact details. Seems quite good nick, is complete, would be a quick start for someone with one of these vans. He wants to sell the whole conversion in one go, not bits and pieces.

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BAR B QUE

We have purchased a barbie on special from Barbeques Galore, all stainless for $149 AUD. Great value, will fit in the bin where the entrance steps used to be. Have a look and see what you think. Only change we will make is a steel plate instead of the grill, which is our preference, otherwise just gets bolted up to the slide out rails. Oh, it has adjustable feet as well, though we won’t be using them.

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LED LIGHTS

No doubt most of you are going for or considering LED lighting for the low current draw. We certainly are, to the extent we are not fitting any 240 V lighting to Vanishing Point at all, as we don’t think it is necessary, and of course it is less for the sparky to do, so saves a few readies.
The problem of course with LED’s is the lower ight output. There are some high power LED’s on the market, but usually in the direct fed higher voltages. We have been trying to solve this problem for some time now and as we are at the ceiling stage it has become critical. We have looked at the types of lighting and chosen 2, the first will be some strip lighting along the pine which covers the middle joint, easy enough to source and the second will be some downlights to add a bit more light in specific areas.
We have been buying some stuff from a HK company, Horizon Star Energy, but have not been able to settle on anything we thought really fitted the motorhome fitment for a variety of reasons. For instance MR16 globes just have 2 pins, and with the globe pointing downward, hit a good bump and there is every chance your globe will all out. There are now springloaded pin holders on the market but one lighting shop told me that there is also the risk of pin breakage, so for us, that ruled them out. Next to GU10’s but the globes are all mains power. Tried Edison screw as well and was going to go this way (albeit with fittings where the globe lays on it’s side as normal ones are too high) when the manager of the lighting shop I was in walked past the discussion, got himself really excited and said “I have just what you need”
He ducked into his office and came out with a light in a box which we took into the darkest part of the place (the kitchen) and plugged it.
I was blown away, here was excatly what I was looking for.
It is not on the market yet as he is importing this himself, and it is going throuh testing to get approval.

Ok here is some pics of what there seems to be some interest in. This is the way we are going, if you think you may have some interest in looking at one of these lights get in contact. They will only be available to buying group members and if you register and interest it may
be possible to get you a sample with our shipment. This is directly from the factory, not via my local guy who hinted at twice the price for the round light and 4 times for the bar light. Let me know if you have any interest as they have minimum quantities, I will not be able to get one or two after we grab all of ours.

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Do it again?

At this stage yes, we are no doubt lucky we have had some talented help to shorten the process but there is no turning back as far as we are concerned. If contemplating something like this, be aware it will become a major part of your life and will, in some respects, take over. However, from the experience and ideas gained from the first one, we know we are on the right track. People our age are disgusted by the inabilty of governments to govern, instead giving in to any minority group that proposes anything that suits their agenda. Whatever happened about gov for the masses? Or in other words the greater good?

Nope, country like others is stuffed, we just want to get away from all this crap and enjoy the place before they won’t allow you to. So, yes, we are doing the right thing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PURCHASE

 

PURCHASE PICS OF OUR AUSTRAL TOURMASTER:

The Austral Tourmaster refered to in other parts of this site is what we have purchased and already started stripping the stuff still remaining to remove. We purchased the vehicle from a charming lady in Bundaberg (thanks Wia) whose partner had unfortunately contracted a terminal illness. The vehicle had been sitting for 19 months, badly deteriorating, when purchased by us. It had had the seats and windows removed, as well as some of the inner skins. The air conditioning had also been removed. It was purchased by us for 3 reasons.

  • With the inner skins mostly off, the extent of frame rust was apparent.
  • The owner was realistic about what the vehicle was worth.
  • Mechanically it seemed fine, the engine was supposedly reco’d 5,000 K’s ago but there is no paperwork to substantiate.

We decided to float the vehicle the 400 K’s to our farm as Bill’s time is too valuable to be sitting beside the road with on old blown tyre. I am confident it would have been fine for the trip, but with the hassles of getting a permit etc, we took the easy option. West Moreton Towing did a great job, delivering on time as usual.

I have looked at quite a few coaches around the 25-30 years old, when the inspections just get too tedious for bus companies to continue with them, even though the rest of the coach can be in very good condition. EVERY ONE had AT LEAST SOME frame rust, but some owners seemed to have selective vision when it came to rust. If it wasn’t visible (or in one case if you could stand in front of it, covering it up) then it did not exist.

If you are purchasing a coach of this age you can bet you have some work to do to get it back to scratch. Once you get those skins off  all manner of things are revealed. Even with our buy where we could see most of the rust damage (typically under windows on the sides and around any roof mounted aircon) we have still been surprised at some of the work we have to do.

However it is simply a matter of doing a bit each day and finally you get to the end of the tunnel. Rust repairs on these things are not rocket science, you go back until you find good metal and chop and start from there. In some cases you will be able to improve on the original design quite easily, as certainly the Australs and most Dennings were overbuilt. Just think about water getting in and if it does, how it can dry out before forming rust. A prime example is the double skin on the rear part of the mudguard behind the tag, I reckon it was engineered to rust. Just leave a single skin in place and never have another problem.