Maintaining an Old Motorhome

Our motorhome is a 1968 Bedford bus. At the time of writing that makes it 40 years old. Having a vehicle this old has many advantages and just as many disadvantages. On the plus side I count the fact that the bus was designed and built at a time when the majority of roads were not well made and many were unsealed and very rough. Our bus has a riveted chassis – this makes it more flexible than a welded chassis and therefore less likely to fail on extremely rough roads.
Of course there are no electronics or engine management systems – one less thing to give trouble when you are 1200 kms from the nearest diagnostic computer.
The downsides of course include the difficulty in getting parts and in fact some parts are impossible to get – they have to be manufactured.

Hobohome

We spend a few hours every couple of weeks looking over the bus, crawling under the bus and looking for things that may be come an issue. This is just normal preventative maintenance and it has paid off time after time.

 


 

Here is a brief list of issues that in the last year we have resolved before they became a problem:

  • A suspension bolt working it’s way out of a spring shackle.
  • The bracket holding the fuel tank was cracked.
  • A rubber brake hose that was weeping and near rupturing.
  • A bolt on the exhaust manifold coming loose.

Many of these issues could have become far more serious – a quick inspection and a little work has saved money and potentially major issues.

Here is a list of the work we carry our regularly:

We change the oil and filters every 5000k’s

Every few weeks

  • Adjust the brakes (this is a Bedford thing)
  • Full check under the bus – looking for loose bolts, oil leaks, worn parts etc.
  • A check over the drive train (tail shafts)
  • Check over the engine and gearbox looking for new oil leaks and anything out of the ordinary.
  • Inspect the battery connections and other electrical terminals

Every couple of months

  • Grease the drive train and all the universal joints

Every year

  • Repack the wheel bearings
  • Replace the fuel filter
  • Clean the water trap

 Every two years

  • Flush the radiator and replace the coolant

We enjoy travelling in an old bus – we feel that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and if well looked after an old bus can be very reliable.

Tags:

 

Has the information on this site been useful?

If it has, please consider using the donate button at the bottom of our home page. All donations are used to maintain and improve the website and we are very grateful for any support.

 

Ever wondered why are there Google Ads on the Hobohome Site?

It costs quite a bit of money each year to keep the Hobohome site running. We have decided to allow advertisements on selected pages of the site to help offset the costs involved in maintaining and hosting the Hobohome website. You can read more about how this works by clicking here. Thanks and happy Motorhoming and Caravanning - Gavin & Tracey.

7 Responses to “Maintaining an Old Motorhome”

  1. Colleen Says:

    I to am looking at purchasing an old bedford (68 model). I have the obvious concerns…getting parts, status on the mechanical side of things, what to be wearing of, the cost of replacing parts.

    I really enjoyed your comments and appreciate that you had posted them.
    Thank You Colleen
    Wondai Qld.

  2. Hobo Says:

    Just speaking from our experience, we have never had issues getting parts and in general most Bedford parts are reasonably priced. There are a few odd parts that are very difficult to get (eg rear axles). Being built at a time when things were made to last, not too much breaks.
    If it is a 466, have a very good look at the head and make sure there is no discharge around the gasket. Also check the oil pressure at both run speed and idle (engine at full temp). 466’s are good solid engines – but they do wear out and cost between 4 – 8k to rebuild.

  3. Chacoo Says:

    I’ve recently purchased a little 1950s Bedford Bus K series converted house bus. Could you please give me some advice in accessing parts (when needed). You’ve given a general maintainence guide. Very helpful.
    Is there any other advice you could give me. In terms of what to be aware of?re: the engine upkeep, body work, insurance etc…Any help would be most appreciated.
    Thankyou Chacoo…

  4. Hobo Says:

    Our best source of spare parts is Adrian Dawes – (03) 9776-6809
    What is the engine/gearbox in your bus?

    Cheers

    Gavin

  5. Jill Says:

    Hi Gavin, we are looking to buy a bus for our family to live in. Sufficient beds and seatbelts is our first criteria (5 kids) but following that, what do you recommend we look out for? Is it engine quality? the electrics/solar being all ready? or some other factor that is most importatant to get right?

    thanks

  6. Hobo Says:

    Hi Jill,

    I would think about the skills you have (and more importantly don’t have). For example if you happen to be an electrical engineer, it is not too costly to fix or upgrade the electrics – but the mechanical side could be very expensive.
    Be sure that it has all the correct registrations and certifications (gas/electrical etc) and that it is registered as a motorhome (and NOT a bus). I would pay very little attention to the decor – this is very easily sorted. Look for signs of leaks – these are a major pain to fix.

    I hope this is of some help – please keep us informed as you go through the selection process.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Admiring the time and effort you put into your site and detailed information you
    present. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information.

    Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS
    feeds to my Google account.

Leave a Reply

Anti Spam Captcha - Please complete this math problem before submitting *