Bus conversion: Making the door

Standard bi fold door
Now that the outside panels are up, the next job was obviously the door. In Australia, the federal government has recently changed the regulations relating to bi-fold doors on motorhomes and caravans.

"ADR44.8.1 Every motor vehicle (motorhome) or trailer (‘Caravan’) equipped with fuel burning (cooking) facilities or living or sleeping accommodation shall have only outward-opening or sliding doors. At least one such door shall be located on the left-hand side or at the rear."

So the original bi fold door had to be replaced entirely. Whilst we were at changing the door, we decided to change the height of the door too so Rob and other tall people don't have to duck their head entering or exiting the bus.

Rob changed the height of the door at the same time as when he lifted the roof.
Changing the door would, of course, change the look and character of the bus. As the door is at the front, the change to a solid door will also reduce visibility.

To purchase a custom made hinged door was going to cost a small fortune and so Rob set himself the challenge of making his own door. We had already decided to keep the doorway at the front but that meant the door has the 'angular' shaping since it is not straight edged due to the nose and windscreen of the front of the bus! Rarely is anything just plain simple and easy, is it?

Designing the door

At first Rob played around with the idea of making a 2 part door, with a fly screen inner door and the main security door. That was much more difficult than expected to design and almost impossible to do with that shaping for the 'nose' of the bus.

Door frame work goes up
After lots of designing, fiddling and frustrations, Rob scrapped that idea and had to stay with a regular solid door. Even so, the angle still caused some angst especially with the top hinge being only half way down the door, which puts a lot of weight stress on that hinge. Another frustrating part is the the side of the bus is understandably not straight up and down, it curves in at the top and starts to curve towards the window, which meant we had to do likewise with the door. The framework was hard enough. It is relatively easy in comparison to cut, bend and twist the steel to shape, you can hide that. However to one can't exactly do that to the aluminum panel on the door.

Door windows:

He also wanted to address the lack of visibility a solid door would present by adding some windows including one low for seeing the kerb side for parking.

Main door window
Bottom peephole window

Dead lock:

The main consideration for us was that this type of lock is stronger and safer. It has a stronger locking mechanism than a standard RV lock and it does not matter how thick the door is. It is not connected with cables or rods therefore it cculd be installed wherever we wanted. There were cheaper models but we liked the look of this better and fitted with the square-ish stainless steel look else where on the bus.

Installing the door lock

The door

The door closes off the side


  1. I don't think you would need that peephole! PErhaps another window for light to come in.


    1. Rob thought the peep hole would be beneficial in seeing just where the kerb is when parking! Well it is there to stay now! Thanks for reading. I hope you will come back again.


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