Sunday, November 21, 2010

Planning for my next road trip

Year end holiday season is coming and my campervan has just returned from the workshop ready for action! My wife has suggested that we visit the archeological site for the Perak Man at Lenggong Perak and also visit the picturesque Laban lake there. I hope this will be an interesting experience for my children, and also a chance for them to see history first hand instead of just reading about it from their school books.

The picture of Raban lake as shown in Google Map looks promising, I hope it will be as good as "advertised".

Road to Lenggong as shown in Wikipedia.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Slide on camper

Slide on camper is a type of camper which is designed to be carried on the cargo bed of light truck without requiring any modification. The advantage is that it can also be standing on it own  at the campsite, freeing the carrier truck for other use at the destination. It is quite common in countries like Australia or US. Ironically such camper is almost unheard of in Malaysia, given the popularity of crew cab light trucks here. I came across this unit in on sale in Sarawak, if the picture is the actual unit then it looks like a good option for people who want to convert their Ford Ranger or Hilux into an off road camper yet having the flexibility of  taking it off when their truck is on daily use.

This particular  unit looks like it is designed for single cab truck instead of the crew cab type, it is unfortunate that private ownership of single truck is not allowed in Malaysia ( except Proton Arena ), but I have seen models designed for crew cab truck but at the cost of less interior space for the camper.

It has a pop top design, when folded down it will stay within the cargo dimension limit

Just put it on your truck and you are ready to go!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The old girl need some attention

The old girl on my last trip to Port Dickson a few weeks ago

Lately, my campervan has not been well. The alternator charge light comes on intermittently, a sign that it need replacement soon. I use a 30amp relay as simple split charger to charge both my starting and leisure battery, the load must have killed the alternator prematurely. The rear aircon blower is not blowing cold air at all, even after numerous trips to the workshop. Actually, to fixed up everything properly is a project by itself, but I would rather spend my time doing actual travelling than fixing it, so I have been muddling along and nursing all the minor problems along the way. After taking our family for many wonderful trips, she deserves some attention and care.

Update: It is comfirmed, the alternator is dying, the old unit was rated for 80Amp, but it has to charge two batteries. Every time we stop and camp at a place, the leisure battery gets drained by lights, fan and water pump, the poor alternator has to work overtime to get it fully charged when the camper is on the road again. Looks like it need a replacement with higher Amp rating.

On my last rip the Port Dickson, the charge light lit up half way through our journey, after I stopped for a break and resumed our journey, it went off. Next time, it may not be that forgiving.

We took some time to visit the army museum there. The best thing about this museum is that visitors are welcomed to climb into armoured cars to play with it and explore it. And entrance is free!

Road rage? Road bullies? I have no problem with them!

This is better than any toy I have ever had!

Hmm.. if this is our campervan, we can park anywhere we want.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bus conversion

Andy Pag and Christina Ammon at Johore Baru, Malaysia ( TheStar photo )
Bus conversion to camper is interesting because of the inherent interior space and standing headroom typical of buses. Around the world, there are plenty of examples of such conversion, some of which are truly amazing. Incidentally an expedition overlander( biotruck expedition ) arrived in Malaysia in a bus converted to run on bio fuel. Welcome to Malaysia Andy and Christina!
For TheStar's report read here.

On the same topic I once came across someone in the Malaysia who has converted a bus into something called mobile studio. The bus originally started life as a mobile library, it spent most of tis life sitting stationary in a city council carpark. It was subsequently decomissioned and put into auction sale. A guy bought the bus spent a considerable sum of money to convert it into a mobile studio to be hired out for on location movie shoot. Unfortunately, his business plan fell apart and he was forced to sell the bus to recover some of his investment. The conversion done professionally and with all the required papers in order. It was a perfect candidate for a camper, just add the interior fittings and it should be good to go. Unfortunately there was no one was interested in buying the bus for it's intended purpose. The last I heard, it was sold to a bus operator who "restored" it back to a normal bus. What a waste!

Freshly painted exterior

Interior ceiling and lining was nicely done, with a 1 HP air con!

Plenty of power plugs for the actor's hairdryers and irons.

Proper fuse box.

Split unit air con compressor under the chassis.

Bus aircon driven by dedicated small engine.