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Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

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Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby Harry da Hino » Sat Jun 25, 2016 11:46 am

Hi all new to this forum and just wanted to introduce myself, I've had a long term dream of owning an old transit bus and turning it into a cafe/coffeeshop.

Well the dreams started to turn into reality with the recent purchase of a Hino CM277 Commuter, ex Bendigo Transit #129.

PLEASE NOTE: Fleet disposal list shows it as #29 but it was #129

She is a tough old girl with a pretty low k 252Hp Diesel motor coupled to a ZF 5 speed auto.

I have commenced the refurb with removal of all but the rear seats, hand rails and wiring.

This is a long term project as I am on an invalid pension and only able to do so much before a time out is called for.

I would appreciate any and all input though as I figure I can only be so inventive on my own.

Look forward to reading through others posts and hopefully gaining some ideas along the way

Regards Allan

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Last edited by Harry da Hino on Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby ax8 » Sun Jun 26, 2016 9:47 am

The only issue would be fitout requirements to meet the health code for a cafe and any permits etc required, also will the bus be statonary or will it be mobile as carrying passengers will mean different rego considerations.
With the fitout, try to keep the weight balanced as there are axle weight limits.
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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby Harry da Hino » Sun Jun 26, 2016 12:13 pm

Hi Ax8,

while permits are an issue but we are only selling cold foods, cakes, sangers etc etc and foods that can be microwaved, places the bus into an far easier category to deal with as far as those permits go.

Bus will be static, rock up to an event and park it, turn on the aircon on those hot day, heater on the cold and fingers crossed, people will pop in sit down and relax over coffee and cake

Front door will be closed permanently and the area from the front to the emergency exit window will be turned into the service are, from that point to the back of the bus it will be booths and a couple of bar stools, in total 32 customers seated.

Where the front door was will become the takeaway counter the floor will be lowered to the first step and a seat placed there for someone to serve takeaway customers.

A quick touchup via Paint, done to get an idea of what it will look like.

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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby ax8 » Sun Jun 26, 2016 7:36 pm

Sounds like a good idea, plenty of mobile coffee vans around, yours just takes it a step further with the internal seating.
Fitting out a bus can be a big project just remember one step at a time and you will get there in the end, good luck with it, I'm sure it will turn out great.
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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby Harry da Hino » Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:04 am

ax8 you sound like you are knowledgeable as far as refurbishments go, I hope you don't mind if I sling some questions your way as I progress? This is all a new process for me and I'd prefer to ask twice undertake once and end up with it right first time around ;)
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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby bagmaker » Mon Jun 27, 2016 6:06 pm

some rambling musings from a popcorn maker-
you should pop down to a few local markets and see what the future opposition has, no sense re-inventing the wheel. I have seen kombi's, caravans, trailers and a motorcycle with sidecar selling coffee and cake.
Its a good gig if you do not need to rely on the money or have a lot of backup in the bank. Weather is the biggest influence to the gig, a good forcast and its a good gig. A nice day will often turn sour just in time to pack up so be prepared for heavy rain and recovery from muddy grass.
Perhaps even a few hours a week in a coffee shop helping out, its not as easy as it looks, you need to smile while under pressure. The product quality is numero uno, folks may buy one dodgy thing but they will never buy another and neither will their friends. Make a great food product, however, and folks will line up and pay a premium for it. Turnover speed and customer comfort are critical but they dont play together, its hard to get a balance of personal, time consuming service, and high dollar turnover. As stated, if you dont concentrate on the monetary side and just enjoy the gig (and people) in general, things work out.
Trade with other vendors wherever possible, their recommendation to customers is well regarded.
Local council will assist (takes a bit to hunt down the right department) with regulations regarding food handling, storage and compliance.
you will have issues to contend with regarding refridgeration (milk and perishables storage) get on the front foot with this sort of thing as they like lots of signage, bins, gloves, etc.
Storage and proof of cleanliness regarding fresh water is essential, waste water and general waste disposal may also be an issue.
i would concentrate on battery backup a fair bit for your fridges, you need to ensure they do not fail. Take enough tools and gear with you to fix any problem you might encounter.
The fitout is back to front, consider the wiring, pipework and how everything is positioned BEFORE you start fitting artwork and furnishings. POWER will be an issue, a genset will give everyone the shits but is essential for not being trapped in a market/event position than needs to supply power. Consider long and hard what sort of genset to buy and insulate the living hell out of it.
Then insulate it some more, your customers do not want to hear it at all.
Music is great, alcohol is highly recommended too but don't even think of trying for a licence. :roll:
Keep a good track of all your purchases, expenses and hours input, it will all be tax deductable for a year or two.

Again, check out the local farmers markets in your area and chat to the proprietors.

Good luck!
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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby ax8 » Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:26 pm

No problem Allan, feel free to ask any questions as I'm sure others on here will help too.
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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby boronia » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:21 pm

Bus will be static, rock up to an event and park it, turn on the aircon on those hot day, heater on the cold and fingers crossed, people will pop in sit down and relax over coffee and cake

And how are you going to power the air conditioning, heaters, microwaves, lights, etc.

You wont be able to have the engine running, so if you are going to run off mains power you will need a licnced sparky to set it up for you.

You are really going to need a proper plan of what you want to do, you may even need engineering certification, BEFORE you start. Making it up as you go along just won't work.

Also you just can't "rock up" to events and expect to start trading. You will need to get permission first and most probably have to pay handsomely for it. Apart from rego and vehicle insurance, you will need Public Liability insurance, and Workers Comp if you employ someone, or even have "volunteer" staff.

I don't want to be pessimistic, but you may be out of your depth here....?
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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby bagmaker » Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:12 pm

No, its not that hard @Boronia
You need to pre-organise the event, sure, usually a month in advance at least. BIg events can be expensive but it is tailored to be worth you while, some charge a percentage of the takings, like Phillip Island GPs, etc.
It will take a couple of years work to even consider muscling in to that size gig, start each journey with a single step, grasshopper :D
You need a few hundred bucks worth of PL Insurance, available online, a business name, registration with your local council's food department and registration with government "streatrader" system.
The power, cool and heat can be had by plugging in onsite but as I indicated above, a super quiet genset would be much more desirable as you would be self-sufficient.
You wont need any specific certification for passengers unless you start driving them around.
internal 240v wiring should be done by a licenced sparky, for sure.
IMHO its a great idea but you will have issues finding good events to get a start at, coffee is a popular vendor item.
I see you are in Wangaratta, suggest you check out markets at Benalla, Violet Town, Echuca and Shep. Get the vibe, feel the air.

Good luck
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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby Harry da Hino » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:37 am

Thanks everyone for your input and its all been taken on board.

My focus is however on issues that may arise as far as refurbishing the bus goes, I will be asking advice on how to go about things such as removing a window, body trim, doors etc if I get into a tough spot.

Other things might crop up where questions can be directed to the forum

As owners who have probably carried out such works on your own buses I can assume that you all come with a wealth of knowledge in that field?

As an example this response from axe8 provided me with information that will require me to look into weight distribution

ax8 wrote:With the fitout, try to keep the weight balanced as there are axle weight limits.


Simple to those already in the know but just one thing that could bring a job undone if you're not aware of it.

Thanks again I do appreciate the advice and know as far as legalities go, insurances, permits etc that we have already delved into that quagmire and possibly have an understanding of it, or not :shock:
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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby Harry da Hino » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:21 am

Can anyone advise me on how to remove this side panel? Its a laminate and is seated under the window frame and behind the angle bracket that the seats were originally bolted too.

It would be nice if i could remove it in one piece but I have a sneaky suspicion it is somehow secured by a glue of sorts.

I want to ensure the walls are insulated and with some minor rust externally along the panel trim I will need to clean it up and if insulation is fitted I don't want to be setting fire to it.

Any advice would be appreciated on this one and thanks in advance :wink:

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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby ax8 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:00 am

On my bus the panels were glued on and the edges of the panels were riveted to the frame which made them difficult to remove.
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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby Harry da Hino » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:53 am

Yes I think I am going to be in for a little fun, it might be a case of destroy and replace unfortunately as the panels are in perfect condition. Thanks again ax8 ;)
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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby DiAmOnD T » Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:28 pm

pop the window cap off to expose the laminate, odds on it will be glued to the frame and you should have a foam in there between the frame.

CM277 are a good reliable bus, but alas with all things Jap once they hit 10 years they stopped producing spare parts. You can still get most things via suppliers like "I know parts" in NSW and Hino do stock some bits but others are getting hard to find.

Some of the big issues I had when running them was the mounting plates for the air bags rusting out (think replacement ones were available but quite $$$)
Constant junk in the air tanks - so make sure you fit new drain taps and drain as often as you can
No alternator light incorporated in the dash - had a few fail with no warning to the driver till the bus dropped out of gear (ZF) due to low voltage then wouldn't reselect gears again.
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Re: Hino CM277 Commuter - Refurbishment

Postby Harry da Hino » Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:19 pm

Thanks DiAmOnD for the response.

I will go check out the window caps, I thought they might be glued too causing more grief but if they only pop off that will end up being a saving.

I'll also make it a point of monitoring the issues regarding the airbags - probably anal of me but I have a check list I go over every time the bus gets started and a monthly list as well.

As for the air tanks while it does have an air dryer setup fitted I found that it still needed to be drained occasionally, I tend to now do this after each trip out.

I am trying to contact the owner of another CM277 - sold from the same company - he has stripped it for the gearbox ZF, the remainder of it sits in his yard as its a different model Hino to the one he fitted the gearbox too. i am hoping to score some basic spares from him to place in storage just in case they are needed down the track.

Appreciate the input ;)
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