Viewing 40 posts - 161 through 200 (of 238 total)
  • XLWB Campervan build – what I’m learning
  • Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Full Member


    Quick question? In the early side windows you say the windows are 1100*550 I can’t seem to find these only 1000*550… I want some windows the same as yours but i’m just double checking yours it’s not a typo..

    And where did you get the sliding window from?

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Full Member

    Oh…. and thanks to you and Mike for the inspiration…

    meet Evan our L4H2 Boxer..

    He’ll have his own thread as soon as my wallet recovers from the initial purchase 😳

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Full Member


    What’s the DVLA (or whoever) process for adding the seats in the rear so it becomes a 4/5 seater instead of 2/3 seater? Or was this a kombi/crew type van originally?

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    @Tiger6791 Definitely 1100×550 Polyvision (not aero)
    I think ours were being sold off after a caravan company went bust. Magnum Motorhomes had them on ebay. Same with the side window. I paid £95 each which is a bit different from the Seitz list prices! I paid an extra £84 for each of the blinds though, which the seitz include.

    It’s always worth a call to Magnum – they had others in that they never listed on ebay.

    Welcome to the club! I look forward to seeing your thread. I see you’ve gone for a fancy colour 🙂

    It’s really simple – just put ‘4’ in the box, add a couple of photos and send off the V5 (I changed it to ‘Van with windows’ at the same time).
    Then it’s up to the MOT inspector to check them each time they see it (I’ve just had my MOT last week). I just closed the buckles to make it obvious they were seat belted seats and all he did was check that they were bolted through the floor. No stress.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    @Tiger6791 – the side window was 900x450mm

    This is the Magnum listings, but it looks like it’s weird shapes and sizes only now:

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Full Member

    @dmorts It’s really simple – just put ‘4’ in the box, add a couple of photos and send off the V5 (I changed it to ‘Van with windows’ at the same time).
    Then it’s up to the MOT inspector to check them each time they see it (I’ve just had my MOT last week). I just closed the buckles to make it obvious they were seat belted seats and all he did was check that they were bolted through the floor. No stress.

    It is unnerving that a more in-depth assessment isn’t required, imagine what people could (and probably do) get away with. Even if DVLA/DVSA aren’t too interested, insurers would surely be?

    For me, DIY seats and seat belts are just a step too far and not something I would consider attempting. That said I think there are question marks over the seats installed on some ‘professional’ conversions too.

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Full Member


    Looks like biggest I can go is 1000 * 550 then.

    Welcome to the club! I look forward to seeing your thread. I see you’ve gone for a fancy colour 🙂

    How can you tell when it’s a black & white photo 😂😀

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    @dmorts I’m insured with a company called Greenlight and they specialise in modified vehicles. It’s pretty cheap £300 a year and I just have to send them a photo and text of everything I modify. They’ve been brilliant – especially useful since the rules changed for what constitutes a ‘Motor Caravan’.

    I know what you mean about the stringent tests, but obviously the rules change if I was a trader or professional converter. In fact I think the rules change if I were to rent the vehicle out – although I’d be more worried about most of the gas installs I see on the web compared to a passenger seat.

    To be honest, I’m glad there are things you’re allowed to do without health & safety being all over it. Some of the recent house building regs are just silly – designed to stop cowboys (fair enough), but also stopping creativity and in some cases going against common sense. Basically putting hard rules in place of a good common sense inspection.

    When I see people sticking on large solar panels with only glue to a van with flaky paint, I do shudder though. Mainly because it endangers others rather than just the occupants.

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Full Member


    It raises an interesting point, motorcycle helmets are mandatory (helmets are only going to protect the individual wearer), but any seat/seat belt is fine as long as it’s bolted in and looks ok (the seat belts are going to be used by people other than the installer).

    So you end up with a system that only cares about an individual’s safety in certain circumstances. This means that people may wrongly assume that the law always equates to what’s safest for the individual, which just isn’t true*.

    There is a counter argument, that if you mandate too much then people will ignore it all together, so best to have something attainable by most. But following that means you end up with something that protects a majority, rather than potentially all.

    You mentioned differences if you were a pro-converter or renting it out, but I assume you can sell it with those seat belts fitted?

    * EDIT: Thought of an example. We were round at our neighbours, who are both doctors, and were expecting. They said they’d been looking at the law regarding child car seats as a guide as to what they should purchase. However, the law mandates a minimum and doesn’t equate to what would be safest. The law allows a child to face forward once they reach 9kg. However, this is actually advised against and the child should face rearwards for as long as possible. Government backed safety schemes advise this as well as the medical profession. A bit like smoking being legal but advised against.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    two point on that seat – is the back really just held in place by some 2 x 1 inch timber ?

    Maybe i am not seeing due to the ply lining it but there looks to be no top side punch through protection under typical front end impact rotational loading where the feet meet the body work.

    Neither would take much work to sort but both would significantly improve the safety aspect of those seats – the engineering principle of how they turn into beds is pimpy 😀

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    @dmorts Yes, private sale is fine. I think it must be assumed that the buyer has to inspect and make sure they are happy with any fittings – not always easy to check – for example are the overhead lockers attached to wood or metal, or just the cladding, etc, etc.
    Even if I decided to rent or convert a few vans, it only needs a class IVa check which can be done at any MOT station.
    They look for the correct spreader plates and attachment points.

    For gas – you need an annual gas safety certificates.

    Other things are a bit more vague – I haven’t heard of anything to do with electricals for instance which seems a bit daft.

    In fact, if it was just a 2-berth, and I was renting out a van, I reckon I’d avoid gas altogether and put a diesel cooker in there.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    No – those upper parts of the kitchen and bed have metal reinforcements. But mainly, the back is lightweight to prevent the forces squashing the passenger in the case of front impact.

    I’ll get a pic sometime (unfortunately, due to neighbours, the van doesn’t live very close to me most of the time 🙁 )

    The seats have 570mm lengths of 40mm x 25mm x 4mm angle iron between the legs at the point where it sits on the van floor, so the surface area exceeds the spreader-plate specs by about double.

    Premier Icon andyl
    Free Member

    – Also in 30-degree heat the Air Con was a bit pants – just not enough for an open bulkhead maybe. Not sure. It was fine when I bought the van with the bulkhead in.

    I’ve pretty much resigned myself to going for a van without aircon and fitting a caravan aircon unit to the roof instead. Just an auto box left on the wishlist now…

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    Just an auto box left on the wishlist now

    It’ll be interesting to see if you can find one.
    I didn’t see a single L4H2 one for sale in the year I had a saved ebay search going.
    It’s a shame Europe still seems so fixated on manual gearboxes – in Asia, they are reserved for pure sports cars. Loved my auto Hiace and Bongo.
    Good luck!

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Full Member

    How we doing? Feel like a Friday update?? 🙂

    Premier Icon dyna-ti
    Free Member

    Sorry for not reading all 5 pages, I’ll get back to that.

    Have you considered an awning, or side tent ?, to expand the space for sitting. Placing the cooking opening onto that makes it possible to cook,eat and sit and use the camper for sleeping, toilet etc.

    Premier Icon surfer
    Free Member


    New ceiling arrived and had planned on putting in spot lights so ran the cabling ahead of fitting units etc but new units have 2 overhead units (built but not fitted yet) with lights so Mrs decided that will be enough as well as a reading light on one side. Makes it easier to fit ceiling but need to cover it first so finish next weekend. This weekend offer up the units to get the holes lined up and finish electrics. Bed fitted and front seats retrimmed on Wednesday…

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    @dyna-ti – so far, a side tent just doesn’t fit with our camping style. We’ve spent years on campsites with our lovely tentipi, but in the end got tired of not wanting to move on because of the hassle of unpitching/repitching. It’s amazing to just be able to drive on to another location after about 20mins of packing in the van.

    Awning-wise. it might be handy for mega-hot sun, or when returning from a bike ride in the rain and wanting to strip/let the bikes dry, but I can’t stomach the prices of the cassette-type ones.

    So far (23 nights in it) we haven’t needed one enough to warrant the cost. I keep thinking about just getting a traditional awning rail and tarp for peanuts and doing it that way, but then you’ve got to able to pack it away wet. We normally spend our days away from the van and then happy to crash straight into the van – the living area is so nice that we just tend to sit around the table eating and playing board games.

    Still deciding to be honest.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    Small update – Step

    Completed most of the step. As mentioned before – I’d do it differently if I were to do another. I’ll write that at the end.

    I think it looked like this in the last mention:

    Then I made a 15mm birch top for it that was used on our first trip visible in this pic:

    I’d already sikaflexed a baton along the back to support the top.

    So I took that back our and jigsawed out where the hatches are to go

    Then made some hatches. I wasn’t clever or neat enough to make them all out of the same piece (no knock-in edge trim here).

    Used these ‘easy-fit’ hinges from Wickes:—104mm-Pack-of-4/p/159738

    and did a test-fit and a sand and another fit:

    The slots for the rear seats to slide into (when in bed mode) are CNCd in and then sanded a little to drop at the front edge. Work really well.

    I don’t really like using 15mm birch ply in the van as it’s pretty heavy and a bit overkill. I know we’re going to have a lot of kit, so anything I can do to save weight is being done.

    So I put the hatches and the rest of the top on the CNC to trim out some of the back.

    Then lined the bare metal with insulation

    And polyeurathaned it. I wish I’d just used osmo matt to match the rest of the van, but my thinking was that this would be more durable in a heavy-use area. Truth is – it marks just as easily and as a little yellower than I like. Ah well.

    Then I started on the front vertical

    I kerf-cut 4mm ply in the same way I had the ceiling using the track saw.

    Used all the clamps

    And it came out good!

    (now polyeurathaned to match the top – not pictured)

    Eventually, I’m going to try and get hold of some 2mm pvc sheet and line it with that so it’s easy to clean. No local suppliers unfortunately.

    So – what would I do differently

    Hatches just aren’t as useful as we thought – jamming shoes in is a bit of a pain – they aren’t very reachable from the back seats, etc. They’re fine and it’s still where we put shoes and I don’t think I’ll change them, but I think I could have done something much simpler which would have been more useful.

    So I would probably make a slightly wider (front of van to back of van) and quite a bit higher (so feet sit on it more easily from the front swivels) horizontal platform on top of the floor. It would be supported by a few vertical sheets and you would just be able to shove stuff under it (a bit like the overhead storage). Much easier to shove shoes under, water bottles, etc. Maybe put a lip at the entrance to stop things rolling out.

    Ah well 🙂

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    Garage update

    Before our first holiday with bikes, I needed to come up with a way to strap down/in the bikes.
    After some headscratching – I came up with this configuration:

    Really really happy with this. Strapping down from the centre to the outside corners is perfect. Amazingly bikes seem to fit together quite tidily this way too – both bikes facing the same direction.

    We’ve had two different sets of bikes in here (including a CX bike) and it seems all good.

    There does seem to be a limit on bike size though. My son’s XL 29er only just fits down below (and wont fit up top) with 800mm bars. Any bigger and the rear wheel would have to come out.

    The wheels are a little awkward – often needing 2 straps per wheel – I definitely need to optimize this. First thought was to mount the wheels to axels on the insude of the back doors, but initial measurements seem to suggest that 29er fat-tyred wheels don’t quite fit (one door is larger than the other, but it’s still marginal).

    Takes about 7 mins to unpack and about 15 to get it all in – bikes are easy – it’s those damn wheels

    It’s not the protecting from the other bikes that’s the problem, it’s how to secure them with fewer straps, or less awkward straps.
    Another idea is to have wheel hooks at the top of each compartment, so only one bottom strap needed per wheel, but I’m worried they’ll get in the way of loading the bikes. hmmmmmm. All suggestions welcome.

    Anyway – here’s 4 bikes, a scooter and a municycle all neatly packed and ready for a week taking my boys around the scottish trail centres (they’ve never been before).

    And here it is without the scooter and muni for a quick weekend to Dalby Forest and Leeds Urban Bike Park.

    Premier Icon Murray
    Full Member

    Looking very good, the garage is neat

    Premier Icon Marin
    Free Member

    Very nice.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    Cheers fellas! Need to post about starting the interior furniture next!

    Premier Icon breninbeener
    Free Member

    Loving this!!

    Premier Icon Straightliner
    Full Member

    Could you use wheel bags and just hang them from hooks?

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    Maybe @Straightliner – know of any cheap ones? That would certainly reduce the size of the needed hook and take care of the padding. It’s also something a son could be doing while I’m lifting in the bikes (at the moment there aren’t many opportunities for dividing up the work, so I end up doing it all.)

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    Bonus step pic – taken today – showing the polyeurathane and the machining on the back of the hatches. As you can see I got through to the ugly glue line, but I don’t really care.

    Premier Icon Straightliner
    Full Member

    I haven’t bought wheelbags for ages, but eBay appear to have some, as does Amazon

    A cheap and cheerful option might be something like an Ikea bag, or with a bit of tarpaulin, make some up. If they’re hanging they probably don’t need to be padded.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    I guess it would be a case of trying it and seeing where the various bits touched. I think the axle on the van back doors would need protecting. I don’t like the idea of tyres constantly moving against the frames either. Easy enough to test with some scraps (or even straps) though as you say

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Free Member

    I would have a look again at trying to get a couple of wheels hooked onto the inside of the back doors with a couple of bungee loops to stop them swinging about.

    We have that arrangement on the rear bulkhead and it works well for 27.5 & fat bike wheels (no 29ers here). Road wheels go in a wheel bag if we have road and MTB in the van at the same time:

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    Thanks @tillydog – I’ll check again with the widths of 29ers because putting them on the doors would be a dream. Currently got 1 29er and my next bike might be too.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    At this point the c-pillars were still bare metal and I needed to work out how to clad them before starting the furniture (which would trap them in).

    After a bit of measuring and head-scratching, I decided that a flat piece of 6mm ply with an extra layer of 6mm around the edges would do the trick.

    So I made templates, cur the ply and then glued strips all around the edge.
    Then used a router to flush trim the strips to match the panel.

    Once done, I decided they looked a bit severe, so got the router table set up to bevel the edge to 45-degrees about 8mm deep.

    I couldn’t do it in one piece (sheets not big enough in the grain direction) so I decided to stop at the seat belt bolt. I probably shouldn’t have done this in retrospect as if I’d have gone to the top, the rest might have been covered by overhead lockers – ah well 🙂

    To affix to the c-pillar, I sikaflexed in some ply behind the holes, so that I screw into those. You can just see an example in the very top of the pic below.

    The sliding-door-side was a bit different as it doesn’t overlap cladding

    (sneak peak of the kitchen framing just getting provisionally assembled – try not to get too excited)

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    Framing of furniture

    After much deliberation, I decided to frame the furniture a little differently to what I’ve seen before.
    I thought that using 15mm birch ply would be too (needlessly) heavy. I still wanted it to be birch, but didn’t really like the idea of unbroken sheets of birch, so I decided to make the framing a visible part of the structure.

    To do this I had to rebate the framing so that I could fix in the 6mm birch ply sheets.
    Pretty complex to work everything out, but I got there in the end.

    Plan was to use dowel joints to assemble it and then attach metal brackets inside once we were sure of everything.

    To help with the dowelling, I 3d printed 2 little marking jigs to stick my bradawl through. I made them fit on the ends of the pieces and then transfer the hole positions on to the verticals too.

    Once I’d got a frame together, I stained it with Liberon Dark Oak and then covered with Osmo Clear Matt for protection.

    Roughly placed it all in position to check all dims

    You can see I’ve left room behind the front part of the frame to run the wiring to the service channel and also the fridge (which is going to go under the side bed)

    And then screwed it all down to the floor and wall and glued all the dowel joints.
    Some of the wall piece screws into vertical battens that I put in before on wall and garage bulkhead, but some of it just goes into the 6mm ply walls.
    Same with the floor – some of it goes through into battens, but other bits just go into the 12mm floor.

    I was expecting to have to brace this further with diagonals, but it feels really solid.

    Repeated the same with the kitchen unit. The kitchen was a little more complicated as we wanted to include storage for the rear bunk user.

    had loads of ideas, but because of using 6mm ply, most fast joint methods don’t work. I could have used modesty blocks behind, but instead decided to invest some time into creating a box-building CAD file in Fusion 360 that would make easily machined finger joints. I knew I’d need it later for drawers and other cubby holes, so got cracking.

    It’s all perameterised, so that you can change dimensions, tool diameters and material thickness and it spits out the g-code. They aren’t the prettiest joints in the world because they have tiny gaps where the tool has to run beyond to leave a square hole, but they are quick to machine, fit together really nicely and have a decent ‘machine aesthetic’ that appeals to me personally.

    Cutting on the machine


    Finished panel osmod and ready to fit

    Fixed into position

    Because we were going away on holiday again, I fitted a temporary 15mm birch ply worktop on top of the kitchen unit and covered it with book-covering plastic (to protect it in case I wanted to use it as the basis of the proper top).

    I realise I haven’t shown how I did the bed fence, so I’ll take some pics sometime (it’s a pain that the van lives a mile away).
    Basically, I bought some aluminium angle from Wickes, sikaflexed it to birch ply and then screwed it into the top of the frame. Added a couple of top angles to support the top of it at the garage and seat ends.

    Then I added in the side panels and bed slats and off we went on holiday!

    I also made a table, but I’ll cover that later.

    The van’s in there somewhere…

    New interior worked reeeeeallly well. Phew!

    Premier Icon duncancallum
    Full Member

    Anyone else not seeing any pretty pictures?

    Premier Icon Murray
    Full Member

    Pictures work for me

    Premier Icon towpathman
    Full Member

    Awesome, I love seeing updates to this thread. Keep up the great work!

    Premier Icon weonsnonge
    Free Member

    No pictures for me either <sad face>

    They are there on the server (if you look at the code then copy the image link, it works) so I can only assume that the STW servers are struggling to pull them across for everyone.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    The STW servers shouldn’t be involved – they should be loading directly from my server.
    Weird that you can see it from the direct url though e.g.

    I just checked from my phone over 4g without being logged in and it all looked fine.

    hmmm – all the images throughout the thread were done in the same way – is it just these latest ones you can’t see?

    Premier Icon nbt
    Full Member

    I can see them all, they look great

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    Dining table

    After much thought (as usual) about how to integrate a table into the van, I ended up deciding that a completely separate table was the best route to take. It would move aside to let people move to the kitchen or out of the van. It could also be moved outside.

    Also as usual, I decided that no off-the-shelf solutions were suitable so began designing.
    In the end decided that off-the-shelf legs would be the best route with a home made thin lightweight birch ply top. This time using Osmo Top Oil (specifically food-safe).

    After looking around, I decided on a pair of these legs:

    They fold neatly under and looked better than some of the steel ones around although they are not cheap at £70 a pair!

    As it happened, it was a good choice, because I ended up needing to shorten them by 10mm and make the bottom foot narrower by 15mm each side.
    The extrusion contruction and plastic end plug method allowed this with no problems.

    The reasons for adjusting were:
    To make the overall length of the table fit under the side bed for storage.
    To make the table a tad lower (our benches are a little lower than a standard chair)
    Then the foot narrowing was just to allow it to move side-to-side in the corridor slightly easier.

    I made the top out of 2 layers of 6mm birch ply – the extra layer was just in the middle to give the leg screws something to grip on and to increase rigidity. Works great.

    It’s permanent home is going to be under the bed behind the driver’s side rear seat. For now it’s held in place with a bungee.

    It’s not quite as light as a cheap aluminium camping table from decathlon, but it’s much more practical in terms of sliding your legs out from under it at the sides.

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