The Bus Conversion

With absolutely no experience in any building, plumbing, electrical & without owning a single power tool - we decided we could convert a former school bus into our tiny home. We used YouTube and Google and over the space of around 13 months of working every night after work and every weekend - we got the job done! 

I spent just over a year building this tiny home for my family, while also working a full time job. Before starting this I had no experience in building, electrics or plumbing & learnt everything needed from YouTube.

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Our Bus Conversion YouTube Series 


Bus & Conversion Specs

The Bus:

  • Manufacturer: Volvo (Sweden)
  • Model: B6FA
  • Year: 1987
  • Engine: Volvo TD60 (5.5 Litre). Mid/front mounted
  • Transmission: 5 Speed Manual
  • Dimensions: L=11m (36ft) W=2.5m (8.2ft) H= 3.6m (11.8ft) with chimney
  • Weight: 12 tonne (Gross)
  • Chassis: Galvanised steel
  • Body: Fibreglass/Aluminium (Fibreglass roof)
  • Original Owner: Birkenhead Transport (Auckland)
  • Cost to buy: NZD$10,500

The Conversion:

  • Solar/Electrics
    • 850w Solar
    • 960AH 12v Battery Bank (Century Yuasa)
    • 70A MUSTPOWER MPPT Solar Charge Controllers (1x30A & 1x40A)
    • 1 x 400w Inverter for the fridge, 1 x 500w inverter for charging laptops etc. Both are pure sine wave.
  • Building Materials
    • Framing
      • 35mm x 70mm treated pine
    • Insulation
      • Walls & Ceiling 40mm Foam boards
      • Underfloor: Reflectix (entire floor) & 60mm expol foam boards (Rear bedrooms) 
    • Flooring
      • 21mm Plyboard
      • 2 coats of aterproofing paint
      • 1 coat of flooring latex
      • 1 coat of flooring adhesive
      • Peel & Stick laminate floor boards
    • Ceiling & Walls
      • 7mm untreated ply, sanded and finished with 3 coats of satin varnish
      • New pallet wood, sanded, stained & varnished.
  • Kitchen
    • Counter top: 21mm untreated ply sanded and finished with 5 coats of varnish
    • Tap/faucet: Ikea Black Glittran
    • Water filter: Shurflo Waterguard
    • Fridge: Samsung SR255MLS
    • Oven/Stove: Thetford Triplex
  • Plumbing
    • Pipe and connectors: 12mm John Guest Flexi
    • Water pump: Shurflo 12V 11L/pm (3gal/minl) 45psi
    • Water heater: Suburban 22L (6GAL) Gas only
    • Toilet: Natures Head Composting Toilet
      • Solid container lasts around 2.5 weeks
      • Liquid tank lasts 2 days (we have 3 tanks)
    • Fresh water tank: 250L - lasts approx. 5 days
    • Grey tank: 250L - lasts approx. 5.5 days
  • Wood Stove/ Fire: Little Cracker, Woody
  • Running Costs
    • Approximate running costs for all fuel, taxes & repairs for the 12 months from April 1st 2017 to March 31st 2018 was NZD$0.80/km
  • Cost to Convert: NZD$25,000-$30,000

A selection of these products are available for purchase on our Amazon Influence Store.

*We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. 


Our Memories from the Build