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Old 12-23-2016, 03:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ecomotorhome/Tour Bus

Hey all, it's been a while since I've posted here.

I've got a new project I've been working on. I play music for a living, so I needed an economical, fun, tax write off to haul the band/gear. I opted for an 85' Toyota Motorhome with the 22re. Just under 50k miles, basically no rust (by Maine standards).

I paid $1000 delivered for the motorhome.

Here's a link to the first video in the series. I'll post direct links to the other videos if there's interest.


Sadly, my old computer died last week and I haven't gotten the old photos out of it yet, so I only have current progress photos. I'll put one with the new walls framed up tarped wet your appetite. It's pictured next to my minivan... it sits pretty low now!


Goals for this project:
20+mpg
One vehicle to haul band equipment and sleep 4+ people - Furnace only
No sink/stove/bathroom
Towing option to pull existing equipment trailer and expand sleeping capacity to 6
Cheap build on a musician's salary
Reuse as much of the original parts as possible
Safety of the passengers greater than the original motorhome


How I'll do it:
Weight reduction (removed 1100#'s already with walls, roof, cabinets. Not including appliances, estimated weight is 250#'s)

Lower air dam.

Lower roof - about 20" or so shorter than factor.

Drag reduction with no outside vents, awnings, etc.

Rear folding boat tail made from aluminum beds from another camper. This will look like most big rigs have on the back of them now.

Rear fender skirts.

Electric fan conversion from belt driven.

Power steering to manual steering mod if reasonable (so far the steering is very light without modding and engine off)

Consider removing AC if it's leaking badly.

Alternator shut off switch.

LED headlight conversion.

LED interior/exterior lights.

Flexible marine solar panels on the roof (already have from previous projects).

MPGUINO unit.

A few other ideas I'm forgetting.




Thanks for checking it out, I look forward to your feedback.

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Old 12-23-2016, 04:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You might have a tough time keeping it cool during the summer. Keep the old fan and anything else that you remove just incase you have to put it back.
Electric fan conversations work well on almost all passenger vehicles, but are largely untested in medium duty hard working vehicles like this.

I'm from Maine too.
Also consider adding a big light bar tied into the high beam switch so you have a better chance at seeing a moose or deer.
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Old 12-23-2016, 11:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I was thinking a fan in the floor pulling air from under the camper into the camper with a closeable vent for cooling. Probably locate it under one of the seats with a shroud in front of it.
I just found another window I had laying around that opens. I might put it in the rear since its also less likely for someone to break in through due to it's size. That should help with ventilation as well.

As to the electric fan conversion... I should have added that I plan to install a real temperature gauge with it. Worst case scenario turn the heat on if the gauge goes up beyond normal operating temp and pull over for a while.

I do like the bright bars (we use a version of those for stage lights) but I'm pretty sure even on high beams those aren't legal here in Maine for road use.
The existing headlights suck! The LED replacements should be notably better than stock. Maybe some LED fog lights are in my future.
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Old 12-24-2016, 01:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh I know all too well about Maine vehicle inspections. Since I'm military I still have my vehicles registered in maine.
The light bar would have to be labeled "off road" or removed before each inspection.
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Old 12-24-2016, 02:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Is there a way to bend those mirror arms so that the mirrors are a little closer to the doors? Or would that render them totally useless?
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Old 12-24-2016, 03:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm guessing you'll do lots of freeway miles and fewer stop/go miles because of its purpose. That means that you aeromods are more important that the (still important) weight reduction. The weight matters most in stop/go. And if you are going to lower the roof that much, you might look into better aero possibilities in the roof shape/slope.

Can you share a link to any of your band's music?
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Old 12-24-2016, 03:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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And I can see that fifth gen 90s civic with the kammback on it in the background of your video. Cool.
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Old 12-24-2016, 11:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Natalya,
I've thought about that. I could remove the mirrors altogether and put in cameras/video screen. But they pretty much have to be out as far as they are in their current configuration. Of course there is no view of the rear through the truck since there's no rear window... so those mirrors are all I have to negotiate the relatively wide/long chassis.

California98civic,
The motorhome will get used a lot at 50mph. I avoid the highway when possible because I don't like driving that fast. We do occasionally do gigs far enough away that the freeway is best. I still think I'll be keeping it at 60 or so, unless it's rush hour.
Weight is important... but I can't get much more out of it than I have already. The band equipment is right around 1000 pounds. The camper is going to weigh more than it did originally due to this.... but hopefully not too much.
The walls/roof/tanks/cabinets were 1100#'s according to the dump scale. I've added a new floor and roughly 375#'s of steel framing. Insulation, luan layers x2, and the skin outside should add another couple hundred pounds or so.

I figure with equipment and 5 people, we're gonna have 2k loaded on the chassis. So probably a gross weight of 4500 or so...

The Toyota engine/trans combo in these motorhomes is pretty well maxed out with the original camper shell. LOTS of drag, heavy, etc. I've read on the forums that people pretty much have to be full throttle all the way up hills and have trouble maintaining the speed limit. That may still be the case with the final gross weight... but the drag reduction is going to be significant. The frontal area is going to be reduced considerably as well as much more streamlined.

As to the band, it's a cover band that plays primarily 90's hip hop. We do costumes/characters. It's a real party... very tongue in cheek. We have recently started doing original music, but none is up on the FB yet.http://www.facebook.com/theshizzle

Lastly, yes, that is a Kammback 90's civic VX. It's getting 60+mpg most of the year. I have a couple videos on my channel about it. But they were filmed when I made it... like 5 years ago... so the video quality isn't as good.
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Old 12-25-2016, 03:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I peeked at the later videos.

On the subject of x people times y days times z gallons of water and propane see posts by slowmover.

When are you going to apply a thin layer of aerodynamics over the work you've shown so far? I ask because you haven't addressed the two biggest opportunities with a class-A body the vertical edges abaft the cab doors, and plan taper abaft the rear axle centerline.

After that your opportunity lies in radiusing the longitudinal edges.

Where did the 375lb of steel go? Under the floor or into a roll cage? I look forward to seeing how you get from luan plywood to passenger safety.
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Could you relocate the AC and everything else to the rear? It would have difficulty messing up aerodynamics there.

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