A forum for van conversions, van living and travel

The vanlife => Common Room => Topic started by: MrShoeShineMan on April 18, 2017, 04:44:24 PM

Title: Hello all I am MrShoeShineMan
Post by: MrShoeShineMan on April 18, 2017, 04:44:24 PM
Hello one and all likeminded people. I have recently been inspired to fully uptake the van life as both a new lifestyle and part of a career path. I am an artist, graphic designer and sculptor and have always been an oddball by societies standards.

I went to look at my first van this morning only to find it had a bit of a naff back door and no service history so was extremely tentative about buying it, so I didn't. I'll be looking at more in the coming weeks and hope to have my van within 2-3 weeks of posting this. Currently making my way through the van dog book to become familiar with what planning is involved.

I have decided on a LWB Hi-top ford transit for conversion and have already got a few friends interested in helping me out. UNfortunately due to mental health problems (borderline personality disorder) I can't work a traditional type of job, ie with other people, so I have tried my darnedest to be self supporting and living in a van will be a step towards both the career and the life I want to lead, but have otherwise lacked the confidence to pull off, lacked the confidence to ask my friends and family to help me out where I can't work for the money by trading my time for efforts. So I have a kickstarter going live on friday to help raise funds towards it and a few friends offering to help out already so with any luck I will be well on my way by the end of summer.

It really is a now or never type thing. I can only see this as my vision for my future, I have already spoke to so many wonderful and free individuals that I definitely know this is the right path to take to not be filled with regret.

So hallo one and all and excuse the rant if it is a bit ranty and I hope to meet some of you on my journey and really find my place being in no place :) So excited, so incredibly excited.

Title: Re: Hello all I am MrShoeShineMan
Post by: kryten on April 18, 2017, 11:25:48 PM
Hello and welcome to the forum. Good luck with your van search, hope you find a suitable van.
Title: Re: Hello all I am MrShoeShineMan
Post by: Camper_Dan on April 19, 2017, 01:23:52 AM
Greetings & Welcome!

Don't forget to consider window vans.  A lot of people, me included prefer them, and they can save you a lot of money in the conversion process if the interior is already nice.  Passenger vans have usually had much better care taken of them too, employees just beat cargo vans to death.

Good Luck & keep us posted!
Title: Re: Hello all I am MrShoeShineMan
Post by: MrShoeShineMan on April 19, 2017, 01:11:35 PM
Thanks for the tips there Camper_Dan much appreciated advice. I plan to live full time in my van so is insulation a concern with a lot of windows? I will also be taking my graphics tablet so that extra level of security with a panel van is something I am considering.
Title: Re: Hello all I am MrShoeShineMan
Post by: Camper_Dan on April 20, 2017, 04:49:26 AM
Insulation won't last either all day or all night, so you still need at least heating, and at least a fan if not a 12 volt air conditioner.  I heat and cook with kerosene because it is cheaper and drier than propane.  I have a window van with no added insulation, and if the temperature dips below freezing, I run my heat all night long.  Where I winter it can remain below freezing, down to -40 or so, for months in a row.  Still my yearly heating/cooking fuel cost is usually $50-$60(USD).  Insulation couldn't keep me any more comfortable, and would take many many years just to pay for itself.  Insulation can also trap moisture and cause mold & rust problems.  Insulation only slightly slows the inevitable, because a vehicle has so much outside wall space compared to very little interior space.  It's your heating/cooling power that actually keeps you comfortable, not insulation.

When I had a panel van, it was a huge target for thieves, hoping they could get tools or other easy to sell items.  Since I switched to a window van, I have never had a break in, but in all fairness, I make it a priority to make sure nothing worth breaking in for is ever visable to anyone looking.  My laptop & valuables stay hidden from sight when not in use.  Only some clothes and bedding are obvious, so nothing of any immediate interest to thieves.  Window vans aren't normally associated with anything thieves want any way.  Life's a gamble, but you can play the odds.  So far window vans have been the best winners for me.

Title: Re: Hello all I am MrShoeShineMan
Post by: Rustbuss on April 20, 2017, 09:20:45 PM
Welcome MrShoeShineMan,

I have to agree that a window van is a much nicer thing to have for although reasons above plus if you did fancy cutting a hole it's not as easy as people suggest...well it's easy to cut a hole its just not very easy to stop leaks/rust in a used vehicle

I slept in my van as soon as I insulated it, before I had built anything into and it was freezing, I might as well have not bothered. Its not something I would bother with next time, I'll just ramp up the burner and get a thicker blanket

Don't be put off by lack of service history on a van, I carry out service and regular maintenance on my vehicles and I do it often and to a good standard but I keep no record. Likewise I run a fleet of delivery vans, these are serviced and inspected every 12 weeks but if I sold a van there would be no "service history" as such

All vehicles can have problems regardless of mileage age or history but I would avoid anything showing signs of rust. Welding is quite a skill and you will pay heavily for welding work, once rust starts you never really stop it, it just moves on to the next tasty piece of steel.

If going for a transit, I'd recommend a pre-2003ish 2.5DI but that's just my preference. If you are planning on travelling to Europe you may want to consider a French or German vehicle