Jump to content

Thinking of building a camper....


Recommended Posts

Hope "off topic" is ok as it probably fits a few places?

I've been contemplating a camper of some sort for a while. Hoping to get out this summer.

Never really fancied one as I like my comforts but I'm getting into the idea. So I bought a Peugeot boxer from eBay. It seems cheap enough and it's tidy. I've a a few of this type of van and I like them.

However this one is refrigerated. I'm thinking of just stripping the fridge unit out (building a chiller for deer) and fitting out the well insulated van.

I'll probably build all of the units myself rather than buy a kit.

So the question is has anyone done similar and have any advice?

Edd

Things I've already considered:

Side windows fixed or openers?

Ventilation

Heating

Bulkhead or not?

Shower and toilet?

Diesel heater?

Fixed beds or folding?

 

Ideas and advice please guys.

 

Edd

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, lampro said:

Will sort flooring out for you always have of cuts knocking around 

That would be great, thanks.

I've not seen the van yet other than a few pics but the inside looks immaculate as you might expect from a food delivery vehicle.

I know that the insulation isn't how a camper would normally be done but it seems a shame to waste it.

I've fitted a few vans to various degrees, my brother has has a few vw campers, but I'm undecided on how far to go or how much to spend on this.

 

Edd

Link to post
Share on other sites

Folding beds no bulk head and but the units made from lightweight ply that are designed for your model if van. Toilet just buy a camping toilet with chemical flush, shower 12volt pressure wash kit off the bay and heat a pan and kettle to add to a bucket for the shower water.

Solar panels with split charger, cheapo Chinese diesel heaters work very well or the Russian one for a more money.

Helped my son build his VW T5 campervan, windows are easy, opening window where your job and sink goes on fixed side. Fixed windows elsewhere. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The two problems these days are its taxation class and getting it insured. The big question "is the vehicle modified in any way?" is the killer

There are companies that will insure them but its not the mainstream companies.

other than that, go and have fun.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Insurance might be a little more expensive but I'm prepared for that. Tax too. Pretty unavoidable.

First concern is the insulation, can I make everything work with what's there or should I take it out. Will it cause too much condensation?

Will some roof vents work or even an opening window/sunroof.

I've thought about buying units but I think I'd prefer to make everything. Probably. Maybe..

Edd

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm waiting on a Transit Connect L2, hopefully in the next week or so - it's primarily for fishing but would like to have a mobile office capability (so that I work from home <the lake> most days of the week when it's convenient to do so).

Since the van has been delayed, build delays at the plant, I've had even more time to look into various aspects. I'm not going camper per se, just comfortable but here is what I've gleaned.

Side windows fixed or openers?

If you insulate the van sufficiently (insulate with the best insulation you can afford) then fixed side windows should be OK but if you're sleeping in it securely then you do need ventilation.

Ventilation

Roof window that you can crack open a little for ventilation and to reduce condensation. A good combination is smoked side windows and clear roof window (better light penetration too).

Heating

Personal choice and depends on where you'll use it and during what seasons. 

Bulkhead or not?

Most camper conversions remove the bulkead, particularly on smaller vans but even bigger ones too.

Shower and toilet?

Again, personal choice and dependant on use-case, what about hob and sink? Decide on your priorities unless you can readily have a kitchenette and a shower / toilet. A self contained shower / toilet cubicle is a great choice if space and budget allows.

Diesel heater?

Personal choice but don't buy a cheap ****** one.

Fixed beds or folding?

Space is the key constraint - if you can place a fixed double at the rear (elevated so you have some storage space underneath, accessible from the rear) then that is preferable. Pull out bench is another option with a finger arrangement.

Insulation is key. Don't waste too much cost or space in the floor insulation. Insulation needs to be sealed in order in to provide a vapour barrier. Use foil tape across all seams. Where you are insulating large panels, use kingspan or cellotex (50mm is sufficient for roof and side walls, 25mm max on the floor) - on the roof buy "stick-pins" to fix it - they are brilliant. In little holes and gaps fill with a loose fill insulation like natural wool; don't use expanding foam as it's been known to ripple the outside skin as it expands.

You'll also need a secondary means of power. If it's an older vehicle electrical system with a conventional alternator then you can use a split charge relay (~£40) and a leisure battery. If the vehicle is fitted with a smart alternator then you're going to need a battery to battery charger which is £100+. You want a sealed lead acid or AGM if the battery is located in the passenger compartment since charging releases harmful gases. Lithium is great but really expensive and probably overkill.

You might also want to consider an external hook-up power and solar.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I built one about 10 years ago . Gave it a lot of thought before I started  desided the best thing to go for was an ex PTS ambulance  . Reasons , windows sky vents insulated lights 12 volts . I priced up a 12/240 and Gas fridge,  silly money.  So went for a scrap caravan with all working parts . Saved money.  Used all the units bedframes cupboards.  I built it in two months 

08052009(001).jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, team tractor said:

I used to build these in a day for a local horse box manufacturer. Light weight paper faced ply using a knock on edging. 

C9194F9B-9854-4DB9-83B7-99B85A6AB143.jpeg

26045820-8186-48DC-90BB-755FADBA6EA3.jpeg

0018972C-9AB5-460E-B62A-4A9F7A4567A2.jpeg

There you go edd , ask nath to do it for you. 

Did you ever do the bus conversion that you were thinking about ?.

 

If that knock on edging is the stuff that , comes on a roll , and , knocks into a routered groove nath  , I was talking to the guy that designed and patented it some time ago . He was a very nice fella , and the van conversion that he'd just finished , was very simple , but absolutely top quality.

Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, mel b3 said:

There you go edd , ask nath to do it for you. 

Did you ever do the bus conversion that you were thinking about ?.

 

If that knock on edging is the stuff that , comes on a roll , and , knocks into a routered groove nath  , I was talking to the guy that designed and patented it some time ago . He was a very nice fella , and the van conversion that he'd just finished , was very simple , but absolutely top quality.

That’s the stuff dude . It’s so easy to use . These we made for Tim Douglas that I mention to you who has just passed away . 
I never did a bus conversion in the end but it’s still a plan after my divorce 😁😎

Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, mel b3 said:

There you go edd , ask nath to do it for you. 

Did you ever do the bus conversion that you were thinking about ?.

As a joiner by trade I'm probably going to want to build it myself but will likely come down to time. Also as I'm undecided on layout etc I might have to make it up as I go.

The bus is still waiting to be done but I have the use of a large workshop for that and it's probably going to be a burger van.

40 minutes ago, oowee said:

What are you going to do with your boat? ;)

I'm not allowed into the yacht club at the moment. As soon as I can it will be out of the water for a quick refurb.

Between the boating, campering,  fishing, shooting and finishing my flying lessons anyone would think I had no work to do!!

Definitely going to have to prioritise. 

 

Edd

25 minutes ago, team tractor said:


I never did a bus conversion in the end but it’s still a plan after my divorce 😁😎

Looks a similar plan for me.

You can convert my bus if you want, looks like I'm going to be a little pressed for time!

Edd

Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of burger vans working around the area that I work at the moment (I'm guessing because a lot of cafes are still closed),  most of them are the trailer type that you see at fairgrounds,  but a few of them are buses .

I've done a couple of van conversions with my old man over the years , but I'd love to have the time and space to do a bus , the options would be endless. 

On the subject of your camper build , you can buy most things you'll need on amazon these days . With your carpentry skills , it should be easily doable for you.👍.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, Take a look on youtube, there are hundreds of camper conversion videos, you can cherry pick the best tips , but before you start any lining , floors etc, get the plumbing and electrics planned and installed, as all pipes and cables need to be hidden and terminated at the point you need them, so a good layout plan is essential. good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, lakeside1000 said:

Hi, Take a look on youtube, there are hundreds of camper conversion videos, you can cherry pick the best tips , but before you start any lining , floors etc, get the plumbing and electrics planned and installed, as all pipes and cables need to be hidden and terminated at the point you need them, so a good layout plan is essential. good luck.

The issue with that is that the van is already fully insulated.

This is the biggest decision so far, strip it or hide the services in furniture....

 

Edd

Link to post
Share on other sites

Way back in 1971 I did 12 Commer van basic conversions in two weeks. Nowadays the standards are much higher. Keep the insulation and go for windows that will be deep enough to cope with the maybe 50mm sandwich walls. Yup to doing a detailed plan before starting out. The whole roof around the rooflight could be covered in solar panels pretty cheap these days then you will need to decide where to stash the storage batteries.

Link to post
Share on other sites

These are a couple of my projects, the large boat I bought sunk, 45 ft x 12 ft, stripped and refitted stem to stern, including engine and drive overhaul, (2006) spent £18000 total and sold it for £32000, the camper in the background was an Adria Duett bought new in France , cost new £22000, lasted 17 years with 2 minor refits, but sold last year completely rusted out with 300,000 km on the clock.

We just bought the other boat last month, 37 ft x 12 ft Bounty, so once lock down and the bad weather is over we will be starting on her, not a full refit just a good tidy up ready for the summer fishing on Barton Broad, Norfolk. 

DSCI0053 (2).JPG

MAGIC GEM 3 (2).JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is nothing wrong with the cheap Chinese diesel heaters, my son has one fitted, I gave it a good looking at before it was fitted. Watched all the YouTube videos on them too  All sealed so no chance of fumes inside.  For the cost they're a good unit. Pump needs to be outside of the vehicle as it makes a clicking sound that would drive you nuts if it was inside. Great thing is the remote control, one press from in the house and ten minutes later it's toasty inside all thawed out.

The sound deadening material is foil covered and also insulating so adding lightweight polyester insulation basically it's the same stuff from inside duvets makes a difference.  The bits my son said he was not bothered about, he has took apart and added the insulation.  It's nice and cosy inside and so warm you could sleep in a tee shirt when it's minus ten outside. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, figgy said:

There is nothing wrong with the cheap Chinese diesel heaters, my son has one fitted, I gave it a good looking at before it was fitted. Watched all the YouTube videos on them too  All sealed so no chance of fumes inside.  For the cost they're a good unit. Pump needs to be outside of the vehicle as it makes a clicking sound that would drive you nuts if it was inside. Great thing is the remote control, one press from in the house and ten minutes later it's toasty inside all thawed out.

The sound deadening material is foil covered and also insulating so adding lightweight polyester insulation basically it's the same stuff from inside duvets makes a difference.  The bits my son said he was not bothered about, he has took apart and added the insulation.  It's nice and cosy inside and so warm you could sleep in a tee shirt when it's minus ten outside. 

could you point me in the direction to buy one of the remote control diesel heaters please figgy .

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, mel b3 said:

could you point me in the direction to buy one of the remote control diesel heaters please figgy .

Mel I will soon as my son finishes work, I'll get the place he bought from.

Ed the biggest ones lots use them as workshop heaters, they're cheap to run and pump out plenty of heat.

Edited by figgy
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...