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Old 02-10-2021, 06:05 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 1
Vanhool conversion

Just bought a 2002 vanhool c2045. Already removed all of the seats and planning to turn it into a weekend rv. We bought it to take to different off road mudding events. Only time we are in it will be to shower, eat, and sleep. Most of the time we are in the woods on atvs/ Utvs. I am wanting to put a bedroom in the rear, a set of bunk beds, and 1 to 1.5 bathrooms, a kitchen area with fridge and microwave and then the rest will be party bus style seating with a tv and stereo. My questions are:
-Do I need a diesel generator? Or can I just use a power inverter and batteries for everything minus the ac and re use the bus engine ac?
-what all needs to be done to be able to tile the doors without tile popping up from all of the movement?
-where do I start with electrical? Do I wire it like a house with an electrical panel? Are there any systems I can buy a complete kit for to have smart controls for everything?

I know I have many more questions but just not sure where to start. Any help would be appreciated. If you know of any companies in the central Florida area Iím open to having a reputable company do a lot of the work.
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Cjones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2021, 07:04 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,340
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas 4 window w/lift
Chassis: G30~Chevy cutaway
Engine: 5.7/350 Chevy Vortec
Rated Cap: Just me and my "stuff"?
Welcome to the site Cjones.

You'll have the nicest looking bus at the mud bogs when its finished for sure! Vanhools are slick.

Good luck with the project, and post pics of the work if you can...
peteg59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2021, 07:11 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 1,001
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: TE 444
Rated Cap: 12
the bus AC require the engine to be running, it is somewhere between 10 and 15 tons and take about 100 amps of 24 volt power to run the blowers, for camping you are better off with a couple of roof airs in place of the emergency hatches on the roof or installing mini splits

as to electricity, if you are going to use an inverter, you are going to need separate house batteries and there are many threads on doing that here on the forum, also have to figure out your anticipated load to size it right

I own an 1998 MCI 102D3 so I am familiar with what you have, mine is not converted yet
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Old 02-10-2021, 08:20 PM   #4
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 342
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
you need to check out a site dedicated to Coaches where they can address your questions with collective experience and authority. They KNOW Coaches. A well known site is:

Vanhools as a rule are more complicated and European in their design, engineering, construction, and parts usage. I've driven them for years for several companies and my experience is they seem to break things all the time and constantly giving me fits when stuff doesn't work as it should. Lots of plastic used everywhere and again overly complicated systems. You'll be well advised to find and nurture a knowledgeable mechanic/shop who knows them and how to work on and get parts for them. As all coaches are, Vanhools are an order of magnitude more complex and expensive to work on, and keep on the road than a simpler school bus will ever be. Keep that in mind and be prepared for a truly Epic learning experience.

One other thing. Vanhools don't have a lot of ground clearance to go off pavement. They do have a nifty system to adjust the ride height from the driver seat....which may help a little, when it works, which is another story. You'll also notice, real fast, that the rocker switch labeling is worn off many switches and it's all merely symbols which means you need to decipher what they all do. If worn off it's even worse. Find and use a user/repair manual to show you the switches, their locations, and what it is they all do. There's a lot of switches on all Vanhools.

All dimensions and ground clearance parameters are pretty much optimized for paved operations. I had many thrills and more than once made passengers walk into various camps I was supposed to drive the bus into. All coaches are made primarily for on pavement use and a few manage to go into the rough and tumble better than others, but Vanhools aren't one of them. Take it easy until you learn the limits of your coach.

Driving Vanhools with other operators confirmed my choice of MCI's as the only one for me. Way too many reasons to go into. But it boils down to great design, simple as coaches go, systems, built and made to be reliable and easy to get parts and repair. This is what most Charter Operators look for, and doubly important for a private individual with limited financial resources. When the time comes, that's what I'll be getting for sure, a solid MCI, that I also have decades of experience driving so I'll know what to look for.
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