A forum for van conversions, van living and travel

Author Topic: Long term users irritations  (Read 9593 times)


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Long term users irritations
« on: February 02, 2015, 10:23:47 PM »
So you got an old van, with 1 previous owner, a granny who only used it to go to church on Sundays, and fitted it out with unseen items from eBay.
Which now causes more irritation, the Van not getting you places without lots of attention,
or the living equipment not being reliable? 
If you were starting again would you direct more of the available money on the Van, or the fittings?

David Evans

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: +3/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Long term users irritations
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2015, 07:55:27 AM »
My irritation is the Carver Cascade water heater I installed. It heats the water only when you switch it on, taking around 15 minutes to do so. Then, when you've used that it goes on and heats up another load, unless like me you turn it off as you don't want to use gas keeping water hot all day on the offchance you may need it.

The 9 litres (I think) of water it heats up is barely enough for a decent shower, despite my doing the wet, soap, rinse thing.

If I was to re-fit the van I'd definitely try an on-demand water heater for continuous hot water.
Just a heads-up to people converting now or in the future.

On the other hand the extra external shower I fitted (if it was on Mike's van it would be behind the sink as you open the side door) is excellent. I have a high-up shower head clip and on a nice day an outside shower is wonderful. Great also for cleaning muddy boots, filling the dog's bowl or even washing foreign matter off the dog.


  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 25
  • Karma: +6/-0
  • Live to work, work to live. The choice is yours
    • View Profile
Re: Long term users irritations
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2015, 08:29:51 AM »
We have a 2000 Convoy purchased for 400 it cost 200 for me to do the brakes, belts, waterpump myself to make it reliable. The welding work it needed was done in part exchange for recovering a caravan from the south of France. I paid the fuel and ferry to get there, he paid the fuel and ferry to drag it back, little did he know at the time that this was the start of our 2014 adventures so it was a pleasure to do this.
A caravan was purchased for 350 to strip for the fittings, in hindsight a mistake because by the time you have spent adapting the fittings it would be better to custom build. Leisure battery, inverter and gas bottle and microwave brought our total to around 1500.
The satisfaction from making an old van usable far outweighed what we would of gained from buying a newer one and making the thing work during the 10.000 miles of our 2014 tour was just part of the pleasure.
I would still go for an old van I can work on myself and we came across far to many other travellers with modern vans who were searching for a service centre to go and get plugged in to find out why they were in limp home mode. The only problems we had were from operator error (we drove to the top of the Simplon Pass in 90deg heat with the rad cap off after I failed to refit it after my morning checks but props to the banana engine she survived and went on to finish) and a flat battery in the key so the immobiliser was on.
The time we spent in the van told us what we needed to do to make it more useable for our needs, a high level bed with garage underneath for bikes and toys being one of them came to me one morning when lying awake looking at all the 'wasted space' above me and wondering wether to tow a trailer on our next venture to carry the stuff we left behind, bikes, inflatable kiyak and so on. I would of hated to spend a lot of money on fittings to have to rip it out and start again.
So for my response to your post. Keep all costs to a minimum on van and fittings and use the money on travel. I would rather take in the experiences from doing 10.000 mile in a oldy and cheapy than the plaudits from spending on a new van with the best fittings and not being able to travel.
But whatever you choose..........get out there, go and find what you didn't know you were looking for, it will amaze you what can be found
The Euro Bimble


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Long term users irritations
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2015, 02:18:04 AM »
wow, you folks really "rough it'.  :-) I lived in a mini-van for 10 months in OK,  110F down to -10F, and I had nothing in it but my clothes, a few tools and my sleeping bags and pads. I parked at the college library all day (spent inside) and in a church parking lot at night (free wifi)

Tai-chi wanderer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
  • Karma: +8/-1
  • Sherborne, Dorset.
    • View Profile
Re: Long term users irritations
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2015, 10:53:47 AM »
Agree with Treevorb, fit it out for you basic needs then improve as you get to know your drive.
You can have just as much fun as a traveler in a 100 grand van without the hassle of being a bandit target. You can tell we are abroad alot, boy has it changed over the last 3 decades, still worth doing though.


  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 493
  • Karma: +15/-87
  • 20+ years of Life On Wheels
    • View Profile
Re: Long term users irritations
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2016, 09:32:03 AM »
I totally agree with keeping both van and interior as cheap as possible.  I've tried both ways, and cheap and easily replaceable wins.
My negative karma ratings reflect the number of spammers,
scammers and bad advice that I've exposed, feel free...