- Not another, yet another van conversion thread.
Both my conversions have cost £5-6k in parts alone, thats a fairly good quality conversion with double glazed windows, heating, insulation, pumped water, well equipped kitchen. They also took hundreds of hours, a pro converter would be much quicker but I suspect the labour rate would be well in excess of the parts, especially if you want a non-standard and fiddly layout eeking out all the space.
The popular vans such as T5s must be quite easy as you can buy pre-built units or flat packs that perfectly fit the van, which takes away countless days of scribing cardboard templates trying to make everything from a small shelf to a whole wall that will fit the wheelarch, curved floor, sloping roof and the next bit of furniture and that water fill point you put in without realising it would get in the way, without any huge gaps, or tight spots that squeak when you drive!Posted 3 months agotrail_ratMember
Painted ply save you about 1k over vohsprunger.the wood work is the cheap part
You can go cheaper on the components but they generally don’t last or work very well.
Fridge , sink/hob /pump / proper isolation box , leisure battery and charger , lighting , switches roof lights and functional windows ,, heater all add upPosted 3 months ago
I’ve used normal ply and a fixed bed in my conversions…as trailrat says, its the parts that add up.
Its not hard to sink close to a grand into windows, rooflights and sealant. If you want an oven, compressor fridge, custom space saving tanks and refillable LPG, another grand please. A 2nd hand single passenger seat and a couple of swivels, £500.
And then there are all the little bits, plumbing connectors, crimps, heavy duty battery cables, fuse boxes, interior lighting. The costs keep on coming!
At the same time you can do it for less by using cheaper single glazed or caravan windows, 2 way fridges etc but generally (not always) it will show on the outside, and may compromise the layout/storage due to things like the huge vents needed for caravan fridges, or needing jerrycans stored under the sink unit etc.Posted 3 months agoandrewhMember
I’m about a week behind you OP, stripping out the ply lining to see what’s what, so following this with interest, and looking for ideas to nick. Plenty of detail please (especially a ‘how to’ guide with the electrics)
Its not hard to sink close to a grand into windows, rooflights and sealant.
I’ve budgeted about a hundred and twenty quid…Posted 3 months ago
Got a skylight here https://magnummotorhomes.co.uk/shop/rooflights-ventilation/mpk-vision-star-pro-rooflight/ Also two tubes of silkoflex and some steel jigsaw blades. That’s the budget gone. Side window? On my previous van I bought a sliding side door from an old minibus for, IIRC about £100 and then sold my old windlowless one for about £150, just swapped the doors over, much easier than cutting holes and factory-fit seals. Currently keeping an eye on the ebay and the like for a suitable replacement door.trail_ratMember
I’ve budgeted about a hundred and twenty quid…
Got a skylight here https://magnummotorhomes.co.uk/shop/rooflights-ventilation/mpk-vision-star-pro-rooflight/ Also two tubes of silkoflex and some steel jigsaw blades. That’s the budget gone. Side window? On my previous van I bought a sliding side door from an old minibus for, IIRC about £100 and then sold my old windlowless one for about £150, just swapped the doors over, much easier than cutting holes and factory-fit seals. Currently keeping an eye on the ebay and the like for a suitable replacement door.
That’s all very well if you just want a window. Spooky was referring to double glazed fully opening camper window with built in thermal builds and mesh fly screens.
Not all windows are equal
You enjoy that heki timid wheeler. I had an mpk fitted in mine originally it went brittle and opaque in the sun and broke in short order. Made the hole slightly bigger and went with a fiamma crystal 40 the second time. Still couldn’t stomach the cost of a second heki. Got a heki over the bed , can’t beat having it fully open on a starry night looking straight out from the bedPosted 3 months ago
We got a few bits done today. We have been painstakingly adding insulation. The old van was really well insulated and it made such a difference.
Different types of insulation work better in different places.
So far this build has the following:
Kingspan 25mm and 50mm
Closed cell foam mat
Open cell foam mat
And silver foil bubble wrap.
None of which is photogenic. So here is a picture of the hook up. It was a fiddly cut and I ended up drilling 20 odd guide holes. It fits perfectly and I have no doubt will be completely watertight.
Posted 2 months agocouchyMember
The 1.5 cable to the double socket what type of 1.5 cable is it ?, what breaker is backing it up in the DB ?
Assuming it’s a 16A or 20A mcb and the cable is in the fabric of the vehicle for the installation reference method you’re gonna struggle to get the circuit to comply for overload protection, stick 2.5mm in. 😁Posted 2 months agotimbaMember
As couchy and giant_scum suggest…Posted 2 months ago
Unless you’re using mineral insulated cables you almost certainly need to upsize the radials on the mains side, mainly because of the high-spec insulation
Upsize that input cable as well. Lots 🙂
You haven’t specified the earth on the drawing so have a look at that too, and clip the cables down more frequently than you would in a bricks and mortar house
You could consider midi or maxi fuses for the high current items such as inverter and main battery feed. It looks like your inverter will backfeed and make the input socket on the van live, use a dedicated socket just for the inverter, or you can get a changeover relay that goes into the distribution board so everything thats 230v is switched between hookup and inverter in the board.
How much mains stuff do you expect to run? I’ve had a single inverter in both my vans and they’ve hardly been used, laptop charging before I bought a laptop car charger off ebay, electric toothbrush (killed a couple before realising it was my modified sine wave inverter that broke them) and some old fashioned bike lights.
Everything is USB now so you may find there is very little mains stuff, so you could go mains charger straight to the batteries, and the 12v everything.Posted 2 months agotillydogSubscriber
Unless you’re using mineral insulated cables you almost certainly need to upsize the radials on the mains side
Mineral insulated cables? In a camper van?
The supply to the whole thing will be from a 16A mcb via 25m of (if you’re lucky) 2.5mm^2 three core arctic flex.
Internal wiring is also very likely to be done in the same stuff. I would have thought that a 1.5mm^2 spur was ok on a 10A breaker, but not a nellyctrishun.
Earth wire from the CU to the chassis needs to be 4mm^2 AFAIK.
Am also concerned about the proposed inverter wiring. Leave it on a dedicated socket. Only certain types of inverter (expensive ones) can be correctly earthed for switching over to an rcd protected distribution system.
Nice work though, and keep the updates coming! 🙂Posted 2 months ago
Thanks for all the input.
Mr TW says…
couchy, the consumer unit is a standard caravan one with double pole breakers at 6A and 10A. 1.5mm is good up to 14A Method A according to the onsite guide and this conduit isn’t burried in the insulation.
giant_scum, it’s a campervan, not a steelworks. The supply will be at most 16A over 2.5mm flex. 2.5mm is in line with the regs – see Table 721 page 310.
spooky, there are maxi fuses in the battery supply that aren’t shown on the diagram, as well as the circuit breaker that is. That thing you think is an inverter is a battery charger.
There are some concerns arount reversed live-neutral in the supply and the sockets only having single-pole switches and fuses. The consumer unit will complain about this and we intend to use a reversing adapter in the supply cable to fix. The other unresolved issues are around the solar controller being common-positive, which might lead to a small rejig of the -ve 12v side, and the best way to charge from a smart alternator.Posted 2 months agotimbaMember
2.5mm is in line with the regs – see Table 721 page 310
You’ve clearly thought about it, and so I don’t suppose that you’d be caught out with 25m of coiled hook up cable to span a short distance to the supply. I’d be belt and braces with a short internal supply cable and upsize, it’s a lot easier to replace just the hook up cable and the braces come at minimal cost 🙂Posted 2 months agocouchyMember
If you’re happy with 1.5 according to the on-site guide then fill yer boots,there’s more factors to it than just the reference method though. As a designer I don’t use the on site guide I prefer to use the regs as they hold more info and you do need that info. I wouldn’t use 1.5 😀Posted 2 months ago
We spent a bit of time working out our layout. The van needs to be able to carry any two of the following in any combination: 2x mountain bikes, 2x road bikes, 2x large kayaks. Lots of time was spent experimenting to make sure we got the best use of space.
Whilst this was time well spent we did faff around a bit. We are off to the Alps next week and staying in the van for a fortnight. We really need to get a move on.
So we got the electrics and solar panel fitted.
And got the basic frame in for the bed. We basically built around a kayak and the fridge so we know it will fit. The batteries and wiring are all in but just need tidying up
Posted 1 month ago
Just before leaving for our fortnight trip to the alps we got the rear bulkhead/headboard in and finished the bed. The mattress is a proper king size “Casper” mattress. I have a bad back so having a proper comfortable bed is one of the main reasons for doing a self conversions. There aren’t many options that have a real king size bed and room inside for bikes and kayaks.
Posted 2 weeks ago
We then packed tons of stuff in to the van which we had nowhere to store. At the last minute I realised that I was going to need some form of step to get on and off the bed. Almost as we were leaving the house I cable-tied our old set of decorating steps to the front of the fridge and off we went. I appreciate that the décor is a little bit unfinished 🙂 but we just didn’t have time to do any more.
We did manage to get the bikes all screwed down. This is a temporary solution. Ultimately the bike mounts will be easily removable so that we can pack the kayaks.
Posted 2 weeks ago
Cheers, but lets be honest it is still very unfinished.
One thing that we did do before leaving was to make a fly screen for the sliding door and one for the passenger window. There was no way I was going to the alps without a fly screen. I used ultra thin midge net and magnetic strip. It worked fairly well although I am going to add a few extra magnets in to strengthen the connection. It only took a gust of wind to pull the magnetic strip away.
And a view of the door net rolled up and secured with a magnet. You can see all the insulation and the remote control for the light switch.
Posted 2 weeks ago
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