Bus Or Rust Bucket?

The morning after  my first taste of life on the road ended we returned to our new motorhome to have a really good look at what we had bought. Had we bought a bus or rust bucket?

Discovering What We Have Bought

What had we bought? All that we new about our new motorhome was what the EBay listing and the vendor had told me as well as what I had discovered on the journey home.

After reading all the records dating back to 2002 that came with the bus and a lot of research on the web, I discovered that we had bought a 1970 model Bedford Comair VAM 70 bus with the original Bedford 466 motor and four speed gearbox still installed. It had gone through a professional bus conversion to a motorhome some time before 2002 by persons unknown.


Our New Motorhome

Our Motorhome as it was when purchased

 As you can see from the photos externally almost everything is still the same as the day our bus took its last paying passenger. It even has the air operated door with its old number 42 on it behind the fly screen.


Our Bedford Comair

Our Bus As We Bought It

The interior has been professionally fitted out  with a queen size bed in the rear, bunk beds forward of that, shower, robe and vanity opposite the bunks. In front of the bunks is a full size gas oven and a sink. Opposite that in front of the shower is a gas electric fridge with a microwave above and a bench with cupboards underneath forward of the fridge. At the front just behind the drivers seat is an L shaped lounge and table with another straight lounge opposite.

Interior Of Our Motorhome Facing Rear

Interior Of Our Motorhome

Looking at the layout and trying to imagine seven people living life on the road and traveling Australia in such a small space with only four beds just was not working for me. Could I come up with a solution? Or would we have to sell our motorhome and start from scratch?

It was then time to check everything from top to bottom and front to back to determin what condition the whole thing was in.

Opening A Can Of Worms

I had already experienced how well the engine and drive train were operating and a quick visual inspection confirmed that everything looked to be ok there. The electrics seemed to be the week link in the operation of the bus and would need a good tidy up and some repairs. The internal fit out had a few nasty surprises in store for me though. 

The first area that I checked was the rear bedroom. On close inspection of the robes I found that they had all been water damaged in the past and would need replacing. The headboard of the bed was in a bad state also from water leaking through the rear window which had a faulty rubber seal. 

 Closer examination of the other windows revealed previous water leaks and signs of rust under the seals also. There was water damage to the back of the robe opposite the bunks as well as the backs and fronts of the two lounges also. The rest of the fit out seemed to be ok though it was a bit looking tired and worn.  Everything was in need of a sand back and a coat of paint.

The Outside Story

 Externally the windows had been resealed with silicone and the rubbers looked like they needed replacing. There were some places  at the bottom of the windows where some rust had been previously patched up also. Up on top the luggage rack had some rusted sections that would need replacing. Overall the original paint job was starting to peel in places and needed renewal.

It was time  to weigh everything up and decide wether we could live our life on the road and travel Australia in this motorhome or to sell it and find something more suitable. For the answer to that decision you will have to wait for the next post.

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David Wood

New Life On The Road.





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14 thoughts on “Bus Or Rust Bucket?

    • November 9, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Kristy,

      Any problems can be overcome, so life on the road will continue.
      We would love to catch up also and will definatly give you a call when we are in Sydney.

  • November 8, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    The adventures of a life on the road! I hope the old girl is going to hold together for you, since she has come this far!

    Keep it up guys!

    • November 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      With the modern repair materials available I will find solutions to all the problems. It is just a matter of working out the best and most cost efective solution whilst keeping everything compliient with transport regulations.

  • November 9, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Life always throws us challenges. Good luck in making the right decision for you and hope your life on the road comes to fruition. My Aunty has just paid $95 000 for a brand new caravan and it already leaks so I don’t think it matters whether you buy old or new, you will still have problems to overcome.
    Jackie Stenhouse recently posted..Organic Baby Wear

  • November 9, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I have worked in the caravan industry Jackie and seen how shabby some of the work is. Particularly in some of the mass produced vans. One of the advantages of an older bus is that it was built to a standard not a price. Everything that has not been damaged through age and exposure is still in good condition.

  • November 27, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I hope the old girl is reparable and that there’s not too many leaks. It looks to be a good size bus so it would be a shame if you have to get rid of it.

    I’ll have to wait and see….

    • November 28, 2010 at 10:15 am

      All is good Jill – hubby is a boat builder by trade, and has also worked in the Caravan industry so I have total faith that he will make this good old bus a beauty once more 🙂


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  • January 13, 2014 at 1:50 am

    Hi dave, good to no I’m not the only one going true this, we have a 1992 Isuzu school bus that we are transforming into our new home on the road, shit loads of leaks, finding them is not easy, most is from the window rubbers,would you no where I can find the rubber seals, hope you keep it up, only us no how hard and frustrating it is, be good to liase. Tony.

    • January 14, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      Hi Tony,

      Its Lisa {Dave’s Wife} – I got Dave to search online for the Window Rubbers and he said to give this mob a go – http://www.scottsoldautorubber.com.au/

      Its a lot of hard work when a Bus if full of rust but at the end its worth it 🙂

      Great to hear from you, will pass your details onto David {email} so you guys can connect that way!



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