Wanderlodge

Because we have been impressed by the quality of our Blue Bird school bus (see: Skoolie), a Wanderlodge from the same manufacturer came as a godsent *. We found a really nice one, in quite good shape. It is an "oldtimer" which means both insurance and road tax are quite affordable. The period after the purchase we were busy looking into the details we wanted to adapt to our taste....

[* there are not many around in Europe and their owners usually hang on to them]


The colour scheme is not exactly what we would have chosen. On the other hand, it's not likely we'll meet another one like that.

Because there is so much storage room under the bus floor, the spare wheel - which is stowed away on the left side in Skoolie - had to find a place on the back.
Originally Wanderlodges come without a spare wheel, because "one of the twin rear wheels can be used in case you have a flat front tire".

The vehicle is powered by a Caterpillar 3208 NA, an engine of which countless were made in the years 1975-1999.

Sometime in the past 40 years the original cruise control disappeared. So one of the first improvements I made, was installing an electr(on)ic one.

For charging the household batteries when driving (and for charging the starter batteries when parked in the sun) I chose an intelligent relay, a Victron Cyrix.


This Wanderlodge is equipped with a towbar. Might come in handy at some stage. 


The seller (who originally wanted to keep the RV for his own use) is preparing it for sale. All hatches are newly spraypainted. 


Also the roof is checked for little rusty spots.


The interior towards the front. The previous owner renewed the carpet and upholstery.


Kitchen with microwave and double door fridge.


Dining room. At the back one can see the bedroom, which can be separated by a folding door.


Control panel in the kitchen

Instrument panel and air-suspended driver's seat.


Reverse camera monitor and more controls.


7.5 kVA Onan/Kohler generator which is controlled from the inside. Only had to renew the starter battery.


The two roof airco units are still supplied with 120 V. Therefore a 4 kVA transformer is provided between the old and the new world....


Unlike in Skoolie the toilet is connected to a black water tank, which will allow us more autonomy than the 17 l cassette.


In the meantime we have replaced the toilet with a new one and also renewed the 3" valves of the grey and black water holds.


The shower needed a new curtain. So I took the old sewing machine and made a standard shower curtain from the supermarket to fit.


We expected to use quite some propane (cooking, heating, refrigeration). Rather than using the 5 kg propane tank, I mounted a 100 l trank (80 l net). In combination with the compressor refrigerator we have an almost unlimited amount of propane.


We couldn't find the rear clearance lamp which we needed in Europe. So we ordered it in the States and picked it up during our California holiday. It turned out it is made in Taiwan :-)



Then there were some holes in the side of the bus, where apparently an awning light has been before. We thought this little lamp fits in well....


To improve our comfort, regardless of the outside temperature, I replaced the original absorber refrigerator with a "normal" low energy household fridge/freezer. This means that the inverter (12 V DC ’’→230 V AC) has to be be switched on at all times. In previous projects we have found out that this does not cause any problem if the household batteries have enough capacity.


To survive the long winter evenings, we installed a 20" HD TV, with DVB-T2 and DVB-S2 tuner. The bus came with a DVB-T antenna.


To keep the batteries charged, also when we're not driving for some time, we mounted two solar panels (130 Wp each) and a matching MPPT regulator. Almost all lamps, inside and out, are LED, so the consumption is extremely low.

On the right the remote control of the sinus inverter.


And to keep an eye on the SOC (State of Charge) of the household batteries, I installed this NASA battery monitor.

After the purchase, it turned out some parts of the vehicle itself needed attention. First we drove to Mainz, where the German branch of Allison is located. (We knew that the gear box had to be adjusted).

Apart from adjusting, the whole box was flushed out and all small bores were cleaned. In driving it made a difference as day and night.


In order to pass the annual test, I had to buy two new tires on the steering axle. Of course they also had to be balanced. The driving axle fortunately had two as good as new tires.


After a complete re-alignment of front and rear axles, steering was much more pleasant.


A specialised workshop in air brakes in Belgium could overhaul the 40 years old air compressor with original parts.

In Ingo Sillus's workshop in Neu Gülze the bus got new bearings and seals in the rear axle. Ingo also repaired the two bends in the exhaust, between exhaust manifolds and dampers, with stainless, flexible tubing.       


In Spring 2019 we had the MAN dealer in Mainz fit the bus with new air chambers on the front axle. And because we were there anyway, bought two new starter batteries to replace the weak old ones.

 

 



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