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Van Conversion / Re: Insulation : Stuck at the first hurdle!
« Last post by chris Fearnley on December 10, 2017, 11:42:41 PM »
Hi CamperDan,
I'm new here so trying to gain a whole lot of advice before starting my build. I've visited several other self-build forums as well as this one.

From your extensive experience you've evidently built up a lot of clear ideas about what works and what doesn't. But as an engineer with experience in heat transfer I'm puzzled by some of your advice - in particular about insulation and ventilation.

For example, in the post above you say "your insulation and lack of windows will keep the natural heat from the sun out in cold weather, and trap the heat in when it hot weather". Now, I'd agree that if the sun is shining in winter, it can add some heat through windows. But in winter the days are short and (in Europe at least) there's probably only a 25-50% chance at best of  a sunny day in winter. So the sun is only going to help perhaps 10% of the time at most - and never at night when a van is going to be at its coldest. Whereas all your windows (you seem to recommend minibus vans over panel/cargo vans) are going to be losing a huge amount of heat during the (coldest) 90% of the time.

As for trapping in the heat in hot weather, how can that problem be attributed to insulation? Hot sun will heat up bare metal to a high temperature; without any insulation that heat will be radiated straight into the van. Same with too many windows; the van becomes a greenhouse. Insulation will reflect much of it back, the opposite of trapping it. Yes, in hot weather you need plenty of ventilation, so you need to open windows or roof panels. But adequate insulation keeps as much of the heat out as possible; ventilation will try to remove whatever heat does get in.

I don't know which of your '3 types' of people I fit; I don't have first hand experience of campervan conversion (yet); I do have very relevant experience of keeping heat and cold in the right places; but I'm not out to make a buck. I'm retired  :)
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Van Conversion / Re: advice re buying an ambulace
« Last post by mrvanman on December 09, 2017, 11:06:02 AM »
naw  everybody i talked to to stay clear even asked a medic friend  so still saving, made the mystake off getting my daughter and grandson to move in costing me a bloody fortune loools  so might take me some time to save up lols xx mazzer
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Van Conversion / Re: advice re buying an ambulace
« Last post by championi on December 09, 2017, 01:31:30 AM »
Did you ever get one? I'm looking at a Renault Master, but I cant find anyone else that did one already... looks well possible though!
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Common Room / Re: Transit conversion about to begin
« Last post by Camper_Dan on December 08, 2017, 09:34:22 PM »
I've actually seen that design in person, and you have to be a contortionist to get in and out of those upper bunks unless you're a small child.  It was built for a 3 year old & a 5 year old...    I'd keep the parallel upper bunks.

You could still make the bottom bed narrower and add storage on one or both sides.

If you went with a forward facing rock & roll bed on the bottom, with seat belts, perhaps you could eliminate the second row of seating.  Westfalia style...  If only two people, the bed could be left up permanently, and just swivel the front seats.  You could still have the fold down bunks on the sides in back.  You could still have a slide out toilet under the bed, and a popup shower tent for outside.

Cheers!

PS: Hmmm... Looks like your pics disappeared...
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Common Room / Re: Transit conversion about to begin
« Last post by chuffstix on December 08, 2017, 09:44:01 AM »
I've been playing around with various designs. No matter which way I wrangle it there's no chance of a shower or separate toilet room, even with a dinette/ bed combo.

The van is an L3H3 transit, so a fair bit of height, but the person who is going to be using the van most of the time is not really up for doing any climbing into bed or using ladders due to neck/back/leg issues.

Here is a quick mock up of the queen size (king size in UK) dinette/ bed (dimensions are pretty accurate and take into account approx 2" of insulation all round...



As you can see, can squeeze in a kitchen unit and a couple of passenger seats but that's about it. Rear seats would be removed most of the time and a table of some sort would be there instead. Would have to sleep on seat cushions too rather than a normal mattress.

This is the design I'm leaning towards - still pretty tight but loads of permanent storage when the bunks aren't being used and massive space under the bed and steps to the side.



The overlapping bunks are stacked in such a way that the bed is full height from the thighs up and about 40cm high below that. Taken from http://www.thismovinghouse.co.uk, who in turn was inspired by similar designs in boats. His van has an extra few feet on mine though.
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Common Room / Re: Transit conversion about to begin
« Last post by Camper_Dan on December 08, 2017, 09:14:06 AM »
I enjoy my bed that is always ready to crawl into without having to first set it up.  With 4 people needing both seating and beds though, a permanently set up bed becomes much more difficult.  If vertical space permits, perhaps a permanent double bed could be above the dinette...
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Van Conversion / Re: Insulation : Stuck at the first hurdle!
« Last post by Camper_Dan on December 08, 2017, 08:58:25 AM »
There are mainly 3 groups of people who talk about insulation.  Those like me with first hand experience, those with no relevant experience, and those looking to make a buck.  The "Science" doesn't really count, because it is based on houses with constant heating and cooling methods.

Since you're starting with a cargo van, you will need as much insulation as possible, and it will be much more costly to convert than a window van, and will be much harder to either heat or cool, and will cost you substancially more to either heat or cool than a window van without any added insulation.  (I've been there...)

XPS foam board is the best, leaving a 1" gap both top and bottom so air can circulate to the outside skin to prevent moisture buildup.  The same one inch gap on  both sides of the ceiling for the same purpose. (These gaps can be hidden or disguised...)  Attach the foam to furring strips attached to the ribs.  DO NOT fill in any of the holes in the ribs etc. because these are there to prevent moisture build up inside the ribs and cavities.

The floor is more difficult.  You either need to keep free flowing air to the whole metal floor, underneath what you're looking at and using, or you put in carpet padding and a carpet, so that it will wick the moisture from the floor to the interior where it can then be evaporated out.  Passenger vans have a heavy fiberous, wicking material as carpet padding that acts as both sound deadening and insulation under the carpet.  This covers the wheel wells as well.  Floor insulation is the most important of all, because not only does it keep out the road noise, it also keeps the heat from the exhaust system, and the hot ground underneath out.  It also helps to keep the cooler air inside during the summer.  Heat is easy to trap inside, no insulation is really needed, keeping the heat out in the summer is much harder, and the majority of it comes from under the vehicle if it's not well insulated.

Avoid putting any holes in your roof for any reason.  Sooner or later they always leak.  Rain proof windows or vents in the side walls or doors are a far better choice.  An under $20, 12 volt,  9" or 10" fan from walmart will move just as much, if not more air than those expensive roof vents.

If you're planning on being anywhere cold,  you're going to need a BIG heater, because your insulation and lack of windows will keep the natural heat from the sun out in cold weather, and trap the heat in when it hot weather.  Insulation in vehicles works almost exactly the opposite of what we actually need or want.

Ventilation is a must.  If you don't already have opening windows in the side and back doors, then you need to get your ventilation scheme sorted out before anything else.  Windows are always the best choice, but side and/or floor vents can also work. 

Hope this helps, and feel free to ask if you need more help or clarification on anything.

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Common Room / Re: Transit conversion about to begin
« Last post by chuffstix on December 08, 2017, 08:04:25 AM »
Nice idea, think I've seen something similar to that in a few vans. Was hoping to have a permanent double, though a queen size does sound nice!
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Common Room / Re: Transit conversion about to begin
« Last post by Camper_Dan on December 08, 2017, 06:41:40 AM »
Greetings & Welcome!

Four berth is actually easy...  6.5 foot dinette at the back, seat backs fold up to make upper bunks.  Table can also fold down to make bottom bed a queen+.

Kitchen & bathroom in the middle.

Cheers, & keep us posted!
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Common Room / Transit conversion about to begin
« Last post by chuffstix on December 07, 2017, 10:37:49 PM »
Hello,

I'm just about to start a conversion on a newish Ford Transit (lwb high top), which will be for a family member to live in, as well as an occasional camping trip for me and family.

Spent some time living in a MK1 Transit motorhome about 16 years ago, some of the most memorable and interesting times I've ever had.

It's going to be fun trying to achieve the necessary spec in a panel Van (4 belted seats, 4 berth, kitchen etc.) but I reckon it's doable. I'm taking a few ideas from the 'thismovinghouse' blog but have less space to play with. Be interested to hear from anyone who has attempted it in their vehicle.
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