I’ve compiled a list of many of the products I have used in van conversion and that I’d recommend to anyone converting a van. Choose a category below:
Alright. We’re getting really close now to the ebook being available (see book announcement post if you haven’t already).
The release date is the 15th of June.
What’s in the book?
Here’s a screenprint of the contents:
Thanks for all the help and encouragement
It’s been really good to hear from people who have also done ebooks and self published books. I don’t feel so much on my own with it now.
So over the next 5 days I’ll be posting updates on facebook as well as a pictures from the book to give you an idea.
The van conversion is finally complete. See more pictures of the complete camper conversion here
I love the idea of living in a van
But I don’t really find the look and feel of most motorhomes or campers very appealing (I mean home like). Months of daydreaming allowed me to get a pretty clear image of how I wanted the van to be. No plans/layouts were drawn up or measured. It was pretty much built on-the-fly.
UPDATE: My book, From Van to Home, is now available as an instant download. It covers every detail of my conversion and much more. Read more about it and get it here
My van – a space for living
I used common materials found in DIY and home shops rather than using the specialised (and expensive) materials from motorhome/camopervan shops.
The result is something that feels pretty cosy and home like, and you can easily forget you are in a 10 year old van by the side of the road.
Features of my converted camper van:
- Compressor fridge/freezer (can select mode)
- pressurised water system with 70L fresh tank
- 200W solar charging system with approx. 190Ah lead-calcium batteries
- 240V mains socket from pure sine inverter
- 12V power distribution board with mains hook-up
- LED lighting 0.8W in ceiling and ultra-bright 4W in lamp
- studio reference speakers
- shower and toilet
- extendable bed – sleeps 2
- large hammock fits multiple people, sleeps one
- work desk area
- hot water on demand
- refillable LPG tank 11KG
- gas cooker and sink
- plenty of storage under bed. Overhead shelf fits 3 60L backpacks
Here’s the van before conversion
The van is 10 years old. It was rusty, holey and hacked up. This is after repairing some of the rust on the floor – see removing floor rust
Now it’s time to travel Europe!
For more images see the completed van conversion gallery
Make your own van home!
The ebook is available now to buy as an instant download here
OK not ALL the details. I’m gonna liken this post to that kitchen draw where you just throw all those batteries, screws and paperclips in. Maybe you can get some ideas…
You cant have a book shelf in a van, they will all fall off. Whoever said that was right, but it didn’t stop me.
Fold down table
I made this from the scrap wood pile. I fixed the rope to the wall using builders strap. Its nice and solid and folds up out of the way easily.
Holding things down
I used hooks and rope to keep things in their place whilst driving.
I glued down any loose panels of wood that clatter around a lot when driving. The chest of draws sits right above he wheel arch so layered some bitumen flashing on the underside of the draws to reduce the drumming sound.
The hooks attached themselves to some rope in my big box of parts so I decided it was a good idea for hanging stuff off, like hacksaws and spatulas.
Otherwise some people seem to get annoyed.
The cab curtain should serve two main purposes; privacy and insulation – or at least stopping drafts
Back door curtains
I was going to use blinds at first but decided they would flap about too much and not fit right up against the window. Here is a much cheaper solution using fabric and magnets.
I was reusing some old caravan cushions which are really comfy but look crap. A nice throw will sort that out.
Doormat of course
I bought a coir doormat and cut it in half. I put one side on the side door entrance and the other half at the rear doors. It seemed to fit exactly – just by chance (again).
Again, I was going to fit a blind here but the idea of a simple shutter came to me in a dream.
Some extra security
Pretty pointless really. The main reason I fitted these bolt locks is because the door would not fit flush and looked a bit precarious. Smash the window if you want to get in… innit
There’s probably a lot more to add to this but the page is getting really hefty now. I may do a version 2 at some point
The van has been in the garage for nearly 2 weeks now so I thought I’d do a list of all work done. It went in to get the steering box fitted/setup and to get a new full MOT on the 13th of Feb. Yeah I’ve been bored and frustrated.
The list of work done below has just been to get it running reliably how it should, not to upgrade or intentionally modify. If you’re thinking of buying an +10 year old van then either think again or expect some problems… I guess.
One thing after another
From previous owner
Part of the reason I bought this van is that the previous owner had sorted out many of the common problems. Little did I know, there was a lot more to come.
1. starter motor
The starter motors tend to fail on these because they get jammed and clogged up with bits from the deteriorating dual mass flywheel (which is another problem). The starter motor will keep failing until the DMF is sorted or replaced with a fixed type.
2. dual mass flywheel changed to single fixed flywheel
Known problem with this Ford gearbox. It seems to be at round 70k miles, the DMF begins to fail. Rather than putting a new one in, it was replaced with an older type (normal) fixed flywheel. The only disadvantage is that the gear changes are little more jerky – especially low gears.
3. brake lines changed
The old ones rotted. Replaced with copper
4. new kingpins
Apparently these wear out rather fast if not well maintained and frequently greased. A fellow Convoy owner recommended that they be greased once a month!
5. new windscreen rubber seal
Another (simple) common problem but if left unfixed will lead to much bigger problems; water getting onto the ECU box directly under the windscreen, passenger footwell.
6. new crank sensor
monitors the rotation of the crank shaft. Symptoms of a fault can be intermittent starting or engine cutting out. This component gets hot and dirty quickly so can be prone to failure.
Work done since I’ve owned it
When I got the van it took about 7 seconds (sometimes more) of cranking until it fired up and also leaked a fair bit of oil. This was the first of many frustrating problems and sourcing of obsolete parts.
7. new vacuum pump
This was source of the oil leak. Replaced with a new one.
8. new rear brake shoes
Old ones nearly disintegrated
9. new front disks
10. new handbrake cable
These have a tendency to corrode, snap or completely seize up. Mine was seized on one side. The handbrake hardly worked.
11. new rear doors
The old door had been attacked with a crow bar and no longer opened
12. new prop shaft center bearing
The old one had been crushed for whatever reason – driving over boulders?
13. replaced prop-shaft center bearing mount
The mount that the center bearing sits on had been bent upwards and also twisted. I sourced a new one from the transit centre in Doncaster.
14. new offside track rod end
This was badly worn resulting in speed wobbles and pretty sloppy steering.
15. rust removed, repaired and undersealed
This was a big job but hopefully worth it. See the post on undersealing and rustproofing
16. new steering box
The steering box was too warn to be tightened up. There was excessive play which made dodging cars and high wind difficult.
17. fuel line leak repaired
A perished fuel line from the fuel tank was the culprit for the bad starting. The fuel would drop back down the line one the engine was turned off due to air getting into the pipe. This meant that the fuel pump would have to pump the fuel all the way through the whole fuel line (from tank at back of van) when starting and hence took about 7 seconds until it fired up.
18. new fuel filter
The wrong fuel filter was fitted from previous owner
19. new air filter
20. new oil filter
21. new radiator
The old radiator was cracked and I made it worse when I removed it for rust proofing. Got an old one from a used parts dealer.
22. new rear brake cylinders
The rear brakes were not coming on evenly. Found out the cylinders were different on each side! This was an MOT failure
23. new brake lines (again)
The ends were not terminated properly – Someone did a bad job of replacing the brake lines.
24. new drive belt
The old belt was slipping and squeaking – probably ready to snap. I’d rather change this now rather than at the side of the road. All good
I just hope this list does not get much bigger!