XLWB Campervan build – what I’m learning

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  • XLWB Campervan build – what I’m learning
  • Premier Icon AlexSimon
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    Floor

    The floor is pretty straightforward.
    I fancied 25mm celotex (I haven’t used celotex on the rest of the van because I don’t like the dust, but on the floor it’s all straight cuts that I can do very cleanly with a knife and by folding to break).

    Unfortunately, 25mm timber is pretty hard to find, as it’s usually planed down to 21mm. The cheapest option is to buy roof battens. usually either red or blue tanalised (but don’t seem to be heavily pressure treated compared to tanalised 2x4s).

    As I already know where the furniture is going from the layouts above, I judged where the battens should go. Mid-point of the walkways, just behind the front edge of the kitchen and side-bunk. Then split them into roughly 40mm centres) definitely not exact – much better to position them usefully.

    I stuck all this down with Sikaflex EBT+

    Then filled in the gaps with 25mm Celotex

    Then foil taped over all the joints. For some reason I haven’t got a pic of this, but you can see the rearmost batten taped over in this shot. It was all sealed over.

    Beware – some foil tapes aren’t actually foil, but silvered plastic.

    We fancied a step behind the front seats. 1. To create more storage and 2. to give somewhere for your feet to go when the front seats are swivelled. To give enough room to get onboard from the side door, this had to taper.

    Just made with pocket joints and 21mm planed timber. Height matches the height of the back edge of the grey plastic trim. The top will be scribed to go around the seat legs.

    Then we started to lay the flooring. We decided on outdoor cladding ply in 12mm thickness after doing a test with some 9mm. Could have got away with 9mm, but decided the weight difference wasn’t worth it. It’s pretty heavy stuff though 🙁

    This is screwed with countersunk screws into the wooden battens. Plan is to put some tough vinyl down over the top.

    This pic shows where we’ve left a service channel behind the rear seats. This will take all the electrics and gas pipes from one side of the van to the other. I can’t see how you’d do it well otherwise. We’ll leave access to this as long as possible.
    You can see some of the conduit sticking out where it’s going to connect the main leisure battery location to the kitchen side of the van.

    This shows the markings on the floor where the rear seats are going to go, but I’ll do the seats in another post.

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
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    Awesome stuff keep it coming 👍👍

    dooosuk
    Member

    Enjoying your updates…keep em coming.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
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    Cheers! I’ll try!

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Subscriber

    Gas tank pt.1

    Before finally attaching the floor above, we made sure we’d drilled as many of the holes through the floor as we could.

    We’re not going to bother with underfloor water tanks, but we are going to have LPG under there.

    GasIt do some nice (if expensive) kits and I ummed and ahhhed for ages about diesel heaters vs gas, etc, etc.

    Anyway – in the end we decided to go the Propex route and run that and the cooker from the same underslung LPG tank.

    To keep the warranty you have to spray the tank with anti-chip paint which is pretty horrible stuff. It says sticky for ages (maybe even still). So we masked off the important bits and got spraying outside with a cardboard booth.

    I think we gave it a few coats.

    Once dried, we fitted the brackets and measured everything to work out where it might go.

    Got drilling (with paint protection as usual)
    As you can see, it’s pretty roomy under the van

    This kit comes with long standoffs to keep access to the nuts easy.

    One change from normal.
    Because we have the rear seats, we decided to keep them apart a bit one floor rib towards the sliding door.
    Unfortunately this decision made it so that some of the pipes supplied with the kit weren’t long enough 🙁

    I’ll have to fix that sometime, but for now we’ve got the tank where we want it and can continue with the floor.

    If you haven’t already sited your regulator, amkensure you can easily reach it. ours is a bit of a stretch and it’s a bit of a pain when turning up for the tunnel and they insist on it being turned off for travel.

    Premier Icon spooky_b329
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    I spent ages trying to find a direct bolt on ‘drivesafe’ regulator to remove the ‘weak link’ of high pressure pigtail under the van and that also has a crash sensor shut off. After I fitted it they changed the regs so you are meant to fit a remote regulator with a pigtail…so I could have just bought any old one!

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
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    Thanks – no I haven’t positioned anything yet.
    Obviously , my notes above don’t fully reflect the weeks and weeks of agonising over all these decisions – bonded vs caravan windows, celotex vs thermoliner vs wool vs pet bottle insulation, gas vs diesel heater, etc, etc, etc
    The more you research, the more confused you get in some cases!

    Amen to that! Spent 6 months thinking and planning and was still making decisions on the hoof sometimes, mostly good but some I would have revised with hindsight.

    ElShalimo
    Member

    Does anyone want a step for their van? We’ve got one we no longer need.

    It’s like the one below, hardly used and free to a good home. Must collect from West Yorkshire (HX4)

    Premier Icon bornstar
    Subscriber

    I’m looking to do a similar conversion on an L2H2 Relay (without the garage) and am debating between diesel, probably Planar 2kW, or gas heating. I’d be interested to know what made you go for gas in the end? Is it because the gas heater is quieter? This is my main concern about choosing a diesel heater, as we prefer to stay on more tent orientated campsites than caravan sites. If we did go for diesel though, then as we’d only need gas for cooking we were thinking we could get away with a much smaller gas cylinder, so it probably wouldn’t be worth the expense of fitting an underslung gas tank. Any thoughts on the subject appreciated!

    Premier Icon spooky_b329
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    I’ve had both. I have had several Ebers, granted they did not have the optional exhaust silencer fitted, but they were noisy, often come with a 1 hour max timer, and they use a glowplug whilst running (I think it stays on all the time) so uses a fair few amps as well as diesel.

    The propex in comparison is fairly quiet without needing a silencer, peizo ignition so it only really uses power for the fan, and the control is designed to stay on 24/7 if required, it can cycle on and off at will to maintain the set temperature.

    Underslung gas tank is expensive but the main reason I chose it is the space saving, mine is around 30 litres and it lasts ages, I probably squeeze a 10-15 litre top up into it twice a year.

    Premier Icon bornstar
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    Thanks Spooky. I hadn’t thought about the electrical power requirements, but yes, if the Propex takes a lower current that would also be a benefit.

    phil5556
    Member

    Ebers do use a fair bit of power to get started but not once running, the glow plug is only used for start up. They keep burning very low and ramp up as requested by the control. Diesel use is negligible tbh. Buying new the 1hr limit won’t be a problem and buying second hand you can replace the controller.

    It sounds like a jet engine on startup but quietens right down, not as quiet as gas though.

    Personally I chose to use a diesel heater and a spirit cooker to avoid having to fit gas.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
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    Yes, noise was definitely a consideration, but it also came down to ease of install of tank under the floor, the fact I’d tried a diesel cooker and didn’t think it would suit a family of 4. Once I’d made the gas cooker decision it was easier to pick gas heating too.

    I made the decision when the Chinese diesel heaters were still a bit of an unknown (and around £200) compared to the current situation.
    Also, if I was doing a 2-berth or 1-berth, I’d definitely consider the diesel cooker option – expensive, but much safer than gas and all other options end up expensive anyway.

    I’ve got an Eber for heating and an underslung LPG tank running the hob, oven, water heater and bbq points.

    I chose them as I wanted to keep the heating and the other stuff separate. Now, choosing again I might have ditched the Eber and run a Truma combo system, but at the time they were just released and very expensive, they also nicked a fair bit of space I couldn’t afford to give up.

    My Eber is under a false floor so takes up no space in the van, and works very well when needed.

    I’d always use an underslung LPG system as I’m very happy with it and once paid for it’s only the refill’s that are cheap and again, it takes up no valuable space inside the van.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
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    I need to get a post written about insulation and then one about the seats.
    I thought I would have loads of time over Christmas, but nope!

    alpin
    Member

    @AlexSimon

    Awesome work! Surprised this almost passed me by, but I’m glad I spotted it.

    And timely, too…

    Need to sell my T5 LWB as I’ve out grown it. Too many compromises regarding storage, cooking, sleeping, parking up with the roof up and obviously the bikes.

    Currently looking at Ducatos. Across the border in Italy they are about 5-6K cheaper than here in Germany. 21k€ would get me a new L3H2 in silver with cruise control, reversing camera and fancy radio. In Germany the same motor in white would be around 27k€.

    Looking at what you’Re doing and thinking whether the GF and I need a L3, but then again, why not…? Bikes, fixed bed, decent cooking area (possibly a stove unit that is removable so we can cook outside), plus slouchy lounge seating. Shit and shower outside or at amenities.

    I’ve got a Gasit tank fitted to my T5 purely to save space. Never got round to fitting a heater.
    Maybe fitting one on the new van might make sense (cost of refills and space saving), but I want to be able to cook outside.

    Anyways… enough of my rambling.

    Top work!

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
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    Yep, L3 is a pretty easy-to-live-with size. If it’s just the two of you, that’s what I’d go for. Personally, having bikes inside is the only way to go.

    List price for these vans is silly money, but there always seem to be pre-registered ones around the £15000+VAT mark here in the UK.

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