More Van Qs
As i am on the look out for a van (probably a Hiace – prefer LWB)
I am thinking about what to do to the back of it!! It will be a dual purpose van, commuting duties in the week (only 28 miles round trip) and bike van/camping for hols and weekends.
I want to panel the van in plywood.
What thickness is usually used?
Can you get panels pre cut?
What is the best way to insulate underneath?
How is it secured to the van side??
Flooring wise i think i will insulate, 6mm ply board and then either carpet or thick rubber flooring.
What have people used in their vans?
What is the best carpet for the walls and ceilings? is it a diy job or does it need to be done by a pro?
Led lighting iin the ceiling – best idea?
Whats the story with "leisure batteries" – how do they charge? how big are they (foot print?)
there will be more to follow so i will apologise in advancePosted 8 years ago
For the lining usually 3-4mm is used – the thinner stuff is lighter and fine if you take the care to secure things in the back – the thicker stuff is good if you will treat the interior like a tradesman. You can get pre-cut kits – google is your friend.
9mm minimum for the floor – 6mm will crack up.
Insulate with sheepswool – smells it a bit for the first few day but it will get better with time and its so much nicer to work with than glass-fibre and you won't be inhaling fumes as foams degrade. Check this video out for helpful tips. you can buy the insulation kits from amdro too. There are other useful vids on his youtube channel.
Covering the ply floor in contract vinyl flooring is a good idea.
LED's are good, wire them to the LB that is charged via a split charging relay taken off the engine battery with the signal wire taken off the alternator. Remember to fuse it all properly.
Leisure batteries come in all shapes and sizes – find one that fit the space you have.Posted 8 years ago
You'll probably find a local company who line vans full time and it's worth getting a price from them for doing it. They'll do it from templates so it doesn't take long and all the panels should look neat and even. Panels fix via self tapping screws into the various sections in the body.
Carpet is a bad idea for flooring as it gets dirty very quickly and is difficult to clean. Some kind of vinyl/rubber is much better but the bare play is also good.
Carpet for the walls you can either use very expensive car specific stuff or the cheapest cord type carpet that your local carpet shop sells. As long as the backing is thin/flexible it shouldn't be a problem. This is held in place with spray adhesive normally, make sure you get high temperature stuff as in the sun the metal of the van will get very warm.
You need to think about what you want to run with the leisure battery, how much space you have for it and if it's therefore worth while. If it's only for lights then I'd seriously consider battery powered ones, slightly more faffy to use but a lot less hassle, no carrying weight around all the time etc. I have 2 leisure batteries and a full zig unit in my van to give 12 and 240v for lights, tv, fridge, water heater etc.Posted 8 years ago
Utility/rail support vans tend to be lwb high top transits though which are a bit big to live with everyday. I've seen an ldv one somewhere but you really don't want that.
Kettle will kill a LB very quickly indeed due to the power required, if you need hot water it's gas all the way. Small fridge is not a bad idea, basically a 12v cool box, use ice packs for as long as you can and then turn on intermittently when they go to keep things cool. Leaving one like this on for 12 hours will drain a normal car battery though so don't expect huge run times.Posted 8 years ago
if you need hot water it's gas all the way
An alternative is a meths stove such as an Origo 3000 – you don't have to worry about carrying a gas bottle (and the subsequent venting that is required). Some insurance companies will frown on a permanent gas stove unless it is installed by a registered person. Mind you – any home conversion can be hard to insure.Posted 8 years ago
Yeah fair point alex, I really just meant that electric for heating is not the answer! My previous van just had a 2 ring camping stove and grill unit fixed to the top of a cupboard with 1 screw so it could be removed very easily and wasn't a permanent fixture, hence no venting etc.
I'd think about making a small unit you can take in and out of the van with a cooker and power if you decide you need it in. Make a plate somewhere with all the connections marked up so it's easy to just plug a few wires in and then you don't need to lose the space for it in the van all the time. An LWB hiace isn't as big as you think!Posted 8 years agoBlazin-saddlesMemberCurly68Member
If you go for a T4/5 then the resale value is much more then a Hiace will ever be. One of my mates kits them out and what he buys one for, then spends on bits and flogs it off the profit is very good. There seems to be a good market for converted T4/5's.Posted 8 years ago
I wanted something bigger so got a Renault Master LWB, which is the same as a Vauxhall Movano. Have a look at what there are loads of and take some for a drive. Some drive like vans (understandably) but some don't.andrewhMember
On the subject of insurance, I got my insurance from ibuyeco, rang them up and told them about the conversion I planned, no problem. Give them a try, I know some places can be a bit funny with home-made conversions. Also, if you don't min basic a 12v car-battery and an inspection lamp will be more than adequate lighting for your van, and give you a bit of heat too no doubt, I use one in the gazebo. Battery lasts for ever (well, I charge it once a season) with a 40W bulb and much less hassel to install than LB and LEDs.
If looking for ideas try some of the motorcross and sking forums.
WARNING! Possible thread hijack below.
Would be very interested to see some pics from you guys, you seem to know what you are on about.
I'm attempting a smaller scale conversion. I've got a Hyundai Trajet (don't laugh please). Just about big enough for a bed with tools etc underneath and 3 bikes in next to it. Just need a bed, have a gazebo for working on bikes if it's raining and all cooking will done outside on gas.
How should one attach the legs of the bed to the floor? Current thinking is a flat frame of 2×4 on the floor of the boot and then I can easily attach the bed and my home-made bike rack to that. Question really is what is best way to attach the frame to where the seats used to be? Or even directly to the floor? Buying old seat bases from a scrappy and attaching to them costs too much height (Trajet is somewhat smaller than even a Hiace!)
Need to be able easily to remove bed/bike rack and replace seats for use at running races, hence not getting a proper van (and I can't afford a 6 seat T5). On the plus side my interior lighting is already there and I have 4 12v outlets and speakers at the back. Also has a/c in the back for drying laundry whilst travelling. Need to get some nice curtains too. Not sure if rear windoms is advantage or disadvantage over a van. Certainly a plus at funny junctions and when parking!Posted 8 years ago
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