The DIY Bus to Motorhome conversion. Do It Yourself building a motorhome.
How we built our large motor-home and saved tens of thousands.
The step by step guide to purchase a bus and build your own motorhome, wire solar panels, inverters, regulators, pumps and house batteries, build a 12 volt range hood, an electric kitchen, fit out the interior, basic carpentry, and install plumbing and water-tanks.
Converting a bus into a motorhome
Buying a bus or buying a motor-home is easy, but building a motorhome from scratch can be a challenge. The D-I-Y bus-build, whether to go home-built or to buy a motorhome project, we explore the options of a home-made motor-home for the home handy-man.
Our Aussie Motorhome is still called "Matilda", as she was known in her previous life as a bus.
A little bit of nostalgia has preserved the drive-train and the original exterior appearance of the vehicle.
The interior on the other hand is being fitted out to rival a modern apartment!
No "caravan wood" decor allowed!
That's right! None of that 70's veneered wood panelling with the plastic corners, nor the tartan covered convertible dinettes, purple vinyl covered foam matresses, piddly water-pumps nor gas fridges!
The decision was made earlier on that this was to be a "home" that could be parked anywhere and could rival the latest in modern architectural accomodation design, and not a large caravan with an engine and steering wheel!
100% electric - NO LP Gas!
After 13 years in the Fire Service, and having seen many many vehicle and caravan fires, the decision to stay away from LP gas was very very easy.
The major items in a motorhome using LP gas are fridges, hot-water services, and stoves. Gas fridges (3 way) are notoriously inefficient on 12 volts anyway, and driving while running a fridge on gas is a quicker way to get a fire-truck than calling 000, so the answer there is a 12 volt compressor fridge/freezer.
Now with sufficient solar-panels and storage batteries, a good sized inverter, and a backup generator there is no reason at all why you cannot use a 12/240 volt Hotwater service like the Duetto, and run an electric cooktop and oven!
Our piping hot water is provided by a marvellous little solar hotwater service. It's virtually a minature of what you would have on the roof at home. This little gem heats to 70 deg in just a couple of hours of sunlight, and is still hot the next morning. In case the weather is cloudy, there is a Duetto electric backup heater.
As for the stove, an elcheapo square-wave 2400w inverter provides ample power for the 240 volt hotplates, grill and oven unit, and yes there is a Butane stovette as a backup or for a quick cuppa.
Designed for Extended Free camping
The home has been designed for extended periods away from civilization! Enough drinking water for 6 weeks, a large 12 volt chest freezer, and a seperate fridge/freezer ensure a good month's supply of tucker, plus being all electric, there's need to worry about running out of LP gas either. Let the sun shine on our solar panels, and if it doesn't there's always the generator. Our batteries are also charged from the main engine while driving!