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BUS4X4 COASTER 4WD CAMPERVAN
This mine vehicle specialist has moved into the recreational market - November 2016.
4x4 Motorhomes Australia is part of the Bus 4x4 Group, the Brisbane based secondary manufacturer of 4WD Toyota Coasters and 4WD Toyota Commuters in addition to coach building on Iveco 4WD models.
Bus 4x4 Group also includes I-Bus Australia Pty Ltd which builds bus bodies on Isuzu Chassis Trucks. In the last few years, Bus 4x4 Group has diversified from a 4x4 conversion on mining company transport vehicles to school buses, coaches, tour vehicles, campervans and motorhomes.
The Coaster and Commuter models require converting to 4WD and then building motorhome fitouts.
Bus4x4 has cut its teeth - literally - in the Australian mining environment and we can't think of a tougher place to learn what works and what doesn't. Drivers of mining company equipment aren't exactly noted for their loving care of machinery!
Given the Bus 4x4 pedigree it's no surprise that campervans and motorhomes from this company are much sought after. They offer single coach body build,
quality fitout and the freedom of outback driving with very few limitations.
4x4 Motorhomes imports low-mileage Toyota Coasters and Hiace Commuters and converts them into 4WD with in-house-engineered 4WD componentry. The work is done in Brisbane, using locally sourced and imported parts, including New Process transfer cases and Dana differentials with limited slip Eaton centres.
In the last few years, most of the campervans and motorhomes have been based on the mid-sized Coaster and Hiace Commuter mini-buses. Bus4x4 acquires good used vehicles overseas; brings them down under, does the conversion and motorhome fitout job so the vehicle is ready for serious outback travelling.
OTA checked one Toyota Hiace Commuter a few years ago, and came away very impressed.
Bus4x4 has import rights over the higher-output Coaster models that Toyota doesn't import. The standard issue engine is a Hino four-litre with 110kW, but Bus4x4 can give you up to 135kW. A manual five-speed and a five-speed auto are available.
The transition from a 2WD Coaster to a 4WD Campervan starts with removal of the standard front end and its replacement by a purpose-designed live axle with Dana 70 or 80 centre, manual free-wheeling hubs and ventilated disc brakes.
The chassis is modified to accept long-travel coil spring front suspension and a front propshaft connects to a New Process, two-speed transfer case.
At the back the drive axle is slung under the leaf-spring pack, increasing ground clearance by a whopping 250mm. An optional Eaton TrueTrac diff centre can be fitted, as can final drive ratios from 4.9:1 to 6.1:1.
While all this is going on the customer's preferred interior is being fitted.The layout we saw had a rear island double bed, large shower-toilet module and galley with cooktop and oven, microwave and house-sized two-door fridge. Fit and finish was exemplary and there was ample strorage space.
Because this vehicle was still being worked on we didn't get to check it out off road, but a quick spin around some of Brisbane's lesser-quality roads soon showed that ride quality had been transformed from the standard Coaster's rigid reaction to bumps.
The Bus4x4 Coaster didn't feel like it was riding almost a foot higher than the standard machine, because handling was flat and predictable.
Also on offer is a High Lift 2WD Coaster campervan, albeit without the 4WD conversion.
Bus 4x4 warrants its 4WD conversion componentry and interior fitouts for 12 months.
The Hiace Commuter 4WD conversions are done to the SLWB models and mini-bus models, using a smaller, single-speed new process transfer case and limited slip rear differential with 110mm suspension lift.
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