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Toyota Coaster Conversion


A diary about converting my Toyota Coaster school bus into a motorhome.

19 images :: Gold Coast :: 2019


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Purchase

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5 Feb 2019
There was always the idea in my head to build a tiny house or a van. A tiny house needs a piece of (expensive) land to rest and a van offers not enough space to really live in it. Both is very tempting but somehow not really ideal for me.


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But then Phil Barlow, a friend of mine, bought a bus and turned it into his home. Once I saw his bus I got very interested. I browsed the internet a bit and stumbled over this old "Caboolture Police Youth Club" bus. A Toyota Coaster 22 seater. 7m long. It was only 30 minutes drive away and overall looked like a good bargain: 1999, a bit over 300.000km, $15.000.

I hesitated a little while but then realized that there is nothing to loose here. I could always sell it if it doesn't work out.


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Get her registered

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18 Feb 2019
Because the bus has a maximum weight of 4.99t, I would have needed a special licence to drive it. After a bit of research I found out that most people get it "down-graded" to a 4.49t light vehicle that can be driven with a normal licence. So I had to take all seats out, put a temporary bed in and got an engineer to certify it as a 3-seater motorhome.


First day at home

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20 Feb 2019
First day home. I took these photos and sent them to an insurance company specialized in motor-homes and camper vans. It wasn't too expensive to get a comprehensive insurance for the next year.

Not too much rust on the bus but the paint is damaged where the previous owners tried to take of some stickers.


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Couch and Guest Bed

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Here is a test section of the bus interior where I tried to figure out how to best fit any furniture to the walls. I'm using 4 mm hardwood plywood sheets and dressed timber. The bottom timber is fixed with M 10 screws to the threats where the seats where mounted. This should be very solid. There are also threats for the seat belts and below the floor that I can use to mount furniture.

The Floor throughout the seating area is just a simple 12 mm plywood. I replaced the old floor with commercial grade (thin) vinyl planks. This seemed the best option. I would have liked to put some real timber in it but the height of the bus was already just high enough for me to stand in it.


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The couch can be used as a guest bed.


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Below two drawers on wheels.


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I found these cheep stainless steel hooks online. The handles are from bunnings.


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Water damage

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Turns out the left side tail light was leaking and the last plank had some serious water damage. It had to be replace. Underneath where some patches of rust. Most of the rust just traveled from the view spots and could be wiped away. I treated all the rusty bits with rust converter and painted them primer and enamel. I should have done that before I put the floor in but I thought I could ignore the rust as there was only a little bit inside.


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The new marine grade water resistant plywood. I also treated it with good old linseed oil. You can see the neat and tidy white metal beams after rust treatment.


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The plywood after I ripped it out.


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The finished vinyl floor and the partly spray painted wheel guards. I also gave most of the interior metal parts a good clean. Better not to have dust from the last 20 years behind the panels. I should have done all this before I put the floor in.


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The bus with the large hazard lights removed and with most window tint removed or replaced. This was the most annoying task so far. Getting the old tint off is a pain. I also found out that the new tint might not be the best. It looks good from the distance ;).

The windows will be either behind cupboards or will have fly screens so I'm not too fuzzed about it.

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