BUYERS GUIDE - MOTORHOMES
4×4 Motorhomes Australia is part of the Bus 4×4 Group, the Brisbane-based motorhome builders on Iveco and Isuzu 4WD cab/chassis and secondary manufacturer of 4WD Toyota Coaster and Commuter vehicles.
Bus 4×4 Group also includes I-Bus Australia, which sells buses built on Isuzu truck cab-chassis. In the last few years, Bus 4×4 Group has diversified from 4WD-converted mining transport vehicles to school buses, coaches, tour vehicles, campervan and motorhome bodies.
4×4 Motorhomes Australia predominantly concentrates on 4WD models of Toyota, Isuzu and Iveco vehicles.
The Isuzu and Iveco cab-chassis come with factory-fitted 4×4 drivetrains, but the Coaster and Hiace Commuter models require converting to 4WD before they are fitted with external motorhome modifications.
Converting to 4WD is second nature to this company since it cut its teeth – literally – in the Australian mining environment. We can’t think of a tougher place to learn what works and what doesn’t, as drivers of mining company equipment aren’t noted for their loving care of machinery!
Bus 4×4 Group also builds custom vehicles, including wheelchair-accessible models, so 4×4 Motorhomes can offer customised solutions to specific transportation needs. Two such custom vehicles are a Landace for a Perth customer and the LandCruiser Safari built for Emirates Resorts: both on the Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series GX model.
Given the Bus 4×4 pedigree it’s unsurprising that motorhomes from this company are much sought after because of their body build, external motorhome modifications and the freedom of outback driving almost without limitation.
Bus 4×4 Motorhomes converts new or used Toyota Coasters, as well as Hiace vehicles from two-wheel drive (2WD) to all-wheel drive (AWD), using in-house designed technology with genuine Toyota parts.
The conversions suit both manual and automatic versions of these vehicles, although the Hiace is only available in the super-long wheelbase (SLWB) model.
The transition from a 2WD Coaster to an AWD motorhome starts by adding a lift-kit to the front and rear suspension. Next, another Toyota Coaster differential is added up the front, which gets its drive from an AWD LandCruiser 200 Series transfer case. With this system there is no need to engage free-wheeling hubs to get off the road and control of the 4WD system is by a simple dial control.
The standard ventilated disc brakes from the Coaster are changed for an updated type, to accommodate the front drive axles. Callipers and disc pads remain as standard.
A front prop-shaft connects to an AWD, two-speed transfer case that’s stirred by an electronic rocker switch.
At the back the drive axle is slung under the leaf-spring pack and with optional super-single tyres the ground clearance is increased to a whopping 230mm. Also on offer is a High Lift 2WD Coaster that can be converted to a motorhome. The Hiace system is similar to the Coaster, in that it is also AWD, with independent front suspension.
We inspected a Bus4x4 Coaster in build at the company’s Brisbane factory and were most impressed with the design and quality of the kit.
The dimensions have been worked out so that the new front hub carrier picks up the existing upper wishbone mounts and the front diff bolts to the standard lower suspension mounts. The front diff cradle carries the lower control arm and leading arm mounts, so the standard suspension parts are retained, but with a taller hub carrier, to increase ground clearance and allow room for a custom-built half shaft to connect to the front hub.
Also impressive is the use of standard propshafts and jack shaft. The remotely-mounted LandCruiser 200 Series transfer case is positioned so that the standard rear shaft and jack shaft become the front drive link and a standard rear propshaft – minus the jack shaft – becomes the rear drive shaft.
The whole concept is aimed at using as many standard Toyota parts as possible.
We took a 2017 Bus4x4 Coaster for a brief on-road drive and were most impressed with its ‘factory feel’. Steering, ride and handling felt no different from standard 2WD Coaster behaviour, despite the higher stance of the modified vehicle. The Bus4x4 Coaster is fitted with full-time 4WD and the dial
control for 4WD with centre diff locked and for low range engagement is straight from the LandCruiser 200 Series.
Also on offer is a High Lift 2WD Coaster that can be converted to a campervan or motorhome.
Price for a 4WD Conversion Kit for an existing Coaster is $49,990 + GST.
The advantage of a 4×4 Motorhomes Australia converted Coaster over one of the European cab/chassis is that it has readily available Toyota parts and service is available around Australia.
Another clincher is that the Coaster can be fitted with an automatic transmission that none of the Japanese or Europeans offer.
I-Bus motorhomes can be supplied in two specification levels.
The first is a generic I-Bus bus-based motorhome body on a front-engined Isuzu truck chassis.
The second stage is a customised motorhome, including body modifications such as rear-mounted tyre and storage space, roof racks, brush bar, bull bar, tow bar and other accessories.
4×4 Motorhomes builds on three Isuzu 4WD cab-chassis variants: the 300 Series (75-155); 600 Series (110-210) and 800 Series (139-260). In addition, I-Bus 2WD motorhomes can be built on the 450 Series (87/80-190), right up to the 1000 Series (165-300).
I-Bus 4×4 motorhome bodies come with part-time or full-time 4WD systems and with super single tyre and spring suspension options. Importantly, Isuzu spare parts and service for the engine and drive train are available at Isuzu dealerships and service centres across Australia.
Bus 4×4 has had a long-term agreement to build bus and coach bodies on Iveco Daily, Iveco ML 150, and Iveco Trakker vehicles. These models are very popular with mining companies and outback tour operators, and all these engineered bodies can be built as motorhome bodies.
An Iveco Daily 4×4 Mini Bus built by Bus 4×4 debuted at the Sydney Bus and Coach Show in November 2016. This vehicle, with its 24-ratio transmission and excellent ground clearance has the best off-road ability in its class.
The body design was developed to include a motorhome option and Bus 4×4 is already processing orders for the motorhome version of the Iveco Daily 4×4.
As with the Isuzu motorhome range the finished product can be generic or fitted with similar options. The larger models in the Iveco range – Tonto and Trakker – make ideal motorhomes and the Trakker can be supplied as a 4×4 or a 6×6.
All Iveco 4×4 motorhome bodies come with factory 4WD systems and standard front, centre and rear differential locks, plus factory super single tyre options.
Backed by Iveco, spare parts and service for the cab-chassis are available at all Iveco centres across Australia.
Bus 4×4 Group also builds custom vehicles, including wheelchair-accessible models, so 4×4 Motorhomes can offer customised solutions for specific transportation needs. Two such custom vehicles were the Landace for a Perth customer and the LandCruiser Safari built for Emirates Resorts: both on the tough Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series GX model.
4×4 Motorhomes don’t build internal fit-outs, but can source them through reputed specialists who use cutting edge materials for innovative design, with ample storage and space. external contractor and the final layout and options.
All layouts include living, kitchen, shower and bedroom areas with vinyl flooring; cooktop, fridge, water tanks, hot water system, house batteries and an external awning. Slide-outs and extra body modifications can be planned at the motorhome body build stage.
Bus 4×4 warrants its motorhome body for three years and the fit-out warranty is dependent on the chosen contractor.