Van conversion - help me make a plan

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Pete C.
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Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by Pete C. » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:51 pm

I need help - and I reckon the massed knowledge of UKRGB will come to the rescue...

My girlfriend's just picked up a van - a second hand Volkswagen T5 transporter. It's lovely to drive - a lot less agricultural than my old Toyota Hiace - but it's not so good for sleeping in at the moment. That's what I need the help with...

We've done the prep work, which has involved taking the ply-lining off to insulate it with 'thermawool' and 'thermahemp' - insulation that costs even more than using Patagonia fleeces. We've also got some sound deadener mat to go in the front (floor and wheel arches) to make it a bit more pleasant on long journeys.

Now's time for the conversion proper to start. Lately we've been biking as much as kayaking, so we've got to be able to sleep in there and also fit two bikes in at the same time (front wheels off if necessary). It would be good to have a stove too, because I'm sick to death of trying to make proper food on my MSR. I'd also like enough room to sit around and make tea. Not so important to have boats inside, as creekers are enormous and so live on the roofrack and squirt boats fit anywhere.

As much as I'd love to get it done professionally, that's not on the cards - but I'm handy enough with the jigsaw if I concentrate. Some people have said futons, some have said folding boards, and I had a terrible system of shuttering ply and butterfly bolts in my last van.

How have you done it, or seen it done, and what would you recommend? Extra points for pictures or illustrations!

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RVabdn
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by RVabdn » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:58 pm

I looked into this a while back and a really good option is a rock'n'roll seat/bed from a place called cannon forge. I think they coast around £300-400 depending on spec and their made to measure so you can choose to have it full width or 3/4 which would probably allow bikes down the gap.
Richard Veitch

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Dom c
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by Dom c » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:16 pm

Pete
Have just kitted out my new Vivaro Van..
I've not got bikes so have a fixed platform bed made from 18mm ply.. but should be easy enough to do one that folds up allowing bikes in.
Also carpet it out throughout, which makes a huge difference with sound and insulation..
Best place for automotive carpet, is Mega Van mats, www.megavanmats.com
The guy really knows his stuff and it makes such a difference compared to my old van where i used normal cheap carpet..
Will try and get some pics up on stalk book tomorrow and will send you the link
:-)

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Ollieswims!
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by Ollieswims! » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:29 pm

Just my opinion on this-
Put the bikes behind the front seats all squashed up.
Put a sofa behind that.
On the back door put a LCD portable TV & DVD player.
Have a mini fridge next to your sofa.
Have a mini stove next to that.
Have a CD rack on the right of your sofa (opposite side to the mini fridge and mini stove) Filled with GOOD music!
Get some of these- http://www.dnacaraudio.co.uk/car-audio- ... ce-active/ -And stick 'em all around you.
Have a paddle rack above your heads (on the roof).
Make sure you have an up to date first aid box stuck to the wall.
Maybe a few posters? (running out of ideas here)
Oh and, make sure the floor is made from memory foam, custom fit so your sofa, mini fridge, mini stove, bikes and CD rack fit in perfectly (obviously with rasied sections so you can open the doors of your mini fridge and mini stove! And get to your CD's).
Get some low profile tires with some sweet alloy's. Get a nice paintjob (all one colour, not any of this graphic malarkey).
Maybe some solar panels on the roof to help power your electrical devices?
And to top it all off, blanked out windows & swish blue headlights!
Quote - "Disco ball.
Enough said."
With strobe lights...
This is my dream car, and shows the full extent of my boredom. Feel free to use these ideas, although don't come running to me for a place to hide when a rowdy clan of bank managers with pitchforks and flaming torches start hunting you down!

Cheers,
Ollie
Last edited by Ollieswims! on Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sarajames
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by sarajames » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:40 pm

Disco ball.
Enough said.

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Ollieswims!
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by Ollieswims! » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:49 pm

sarajames wrote:Disco ball.
Enough said.
Would make an awesome addition to my van.
Especially if i add strobe lights!

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morsey
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by morsey » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:57 pm

Pete you need to raise the roof, add a gas vent, add roof vents. Get some nifty shutter over door pods, these fit on the existing doors and windscreen and give you full shutter without the faff of frilly little curtains. Add an opening window to the sliding door. Obviously swivel front seats are a must. The raised roof should give you the height to suspend a permanent bed in the rear high enough to put bikes under. You can get under floor water tanks then you can lift the floor slightly, insulate and run cables (you will need a leisure battery to run lights (booster solar panel on roof) power lap top etc). An ipod dock attached to your stereo with a mini remote takes care of the sounds. A fridge with a stove/sink combo above (get a combi diesel water- van heater). Have flip up covers on the sink and stove to create work surface. Run a retractable shower hose out of the rear door and fix a shower cubical curtain off the rear door, for those apres muddy bike ride wash downs. Fix a wind out awning for rainy/sunny days to cover the sliding door. Oh yeah run relays for the electrics and add a 240V consumer unit so you can run hook up on sites for laptop/video camera charging/use. Put high level storage units in. I would be tempted to add another seat (with belts behind the drivers seat) if you have space.

Oh yeah I almost forgot you are into squirt boating a two tone shimmer glitter purple to green fade paint job.

Also because you are adding weight, get the engine chipped for more beans (increased fuel efficiency).

James Weight
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by James Weight » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:58 pm

i think you are all forgetting one essential thing

http://www.pinktentacle.com/images/vanning_1.jpg

nuf said lol

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MattBibbings
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by MattBibbings » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:05 pm

Surely you have visited http://www.vwt4forum.co.uk

It is THE repository for all things VW van. More conversions than you can shake a stick at.

Meanwhile, my effort with my T4 here

Image
Image
Image

I have tweaked it a bit since (Eg - water jerry with tap now on side of unit by door, etc.)

Good luck with the conversion. Its a fun game!

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Jonny Briggs
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by Jonny Briggs » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:21 am

This is my T4,

Image

Image

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ol
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by ol » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:58 am

A friend of mine has his Volkswagen van with a long shelf/bed going along the drivers side behind the bulkhead. Towards the rear he has a double seat which folds flat and allows widening of the shelf at the right, some of it supported by the folded rear seats. Behind this he has a 'false bulkhead' with a ply floor in it about a foot up, this leaves about 2 feet of room right at the back, leaving room for comfortably 3 mountain bikes with both wheels removed resting upside down on the shelf in an alternating arrangement of bars one side, rear the other. There is then space for tools and kit beneath this...

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allymartini
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by allymartini » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:16 am

Some pretty useful stuff here, including things to think about if you want to use if for specific sports e.g. kayaking! http://www.campervanconversion.co.uk

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Andywillson
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by Andywillson » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:02 pm

Hears my van....

Image

The van i had before was a merc vito, i fitted it out myself.
I also used the wool and hemp insulation, fitted an eberspacher diesel heater and a futon style fitted bed/sofa which was very comfy.
Go to B&Q they do some nice chequer plate lino for the floor, looks the dogs.

I fitted 12V soket in the rear from ebay, 12v lighting in the roof, small led downlights as not to make a head bumping hazzard and a split charge circuit most of which you will find on ebay.

In a T5, i would put the kitchen near the bulkhead in a l shape opposit the side door and bed at the rear and fit a bike rack on the rear doors, saves all the hassle of throwing bikes around the van and stumping your toes on them when its dark and you need a piss.
Make the bed so there is loads of stoage under it for all your gear.

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mitch
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by mitch » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:19 pm

Pete,

Would spinning captain seats with the bed folding onto them be an option? This would give you more room at the back for kit.

You'll also have to join myself, Dave and Tom's club of "our girl friends have vans and we just talk about clothes and make up."

Lucy is currently getting her van sorted, she's paid a friend who is a caravan fitter to do it though. I'm too excited not to go on about it, even if it isn't T4/5

Image
Before conversion, myself living the dream as a removal man for the day.

Image
Bedroom, with folding bed eventually.

Image
Bed folded (if you bought the £40K one...)

Image
Bathroom

Image
Image
The design(ish).

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Edwindle
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by Edwindle » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:26 pm

Image
Edwin Runagle.

Life's short, paddle hard.

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Pete C.
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by Pete C. » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:17 pm

Loads of great info already - cheers, guys!

Matt - is your bed long enough to sleep on? It looks like a great layout, but I want to be sure that I fit... And is that one of those fancy Rock and Roller beds? Looks great, but the price!

Morsey - a bit overkill for the budget, but some really good ideas there. I love the idea of flip-up covers on the sink and stove.

Mitch - your bathroom still makes me laugh, but there are some great thoughts in there otherwise. Loads of my mates have convinced their good lady friends to get vans while they drive something easier to park. The prize for that game, though, has to go to James Reeves.

James - you're a sick man.

Dom - looking forward to the pics. I always imagine your van would be quite, well, black on the inside ;-)

Jonny - love the fold down shelves, and your sink looks great!

RVABDN - Loving the bed hint - that could work really really well...

Andywillso - looking good! How did you do the bed - just modify a futon, or get something fancier? Like the chequer plate idea too. We're definitely after bikes in the van, though - boats are so much less desirable, and less likely to go walkabout. And when I think about the monetary damage someone could inflict on a locked mountain bike with just 4 and 5mm allen keys, inside is the only choice.

Keep 'em coming -

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steddyjames
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by steddyjames » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:33 pm

Is it a SWB or LWB, that makes a big difference to what I'm about to say...

I now have a spanking SWB Renault Trafic and this is the general layout....

Bed goes across the van sideways, not length ways. It goes from the back doors to about where the side door starts. The side panelling is indented to follow the shape of the van to allow for that few extra inches so the bed is long enough but both my wife and I are fairly short so it's not to much of an issue.

The bed does not move but is high up, this does restrict headspace when you are sleeping but means you can fit biking and all other piles of crap under the bed without having to make up or take down a bed at night. It also means boats slide underneath but for long stays a roof rack is prefereable.

The floor space between the bed and front seats then has a chest stylee seat opposite the sliding door. All cooking implements are stored in the chest to save space. The chest seat fits two people.

A friend of mine has a T5 LWB and his bed is in the same place but that bit of extra length means he can sleep length ways in the van keeping all the area next to the sliding door free as well. As mine is a SWB I didn't have that option.

This is my second van and to be honest is the best layout I have found for a DIY job. My pre-requisites were to be able to fit two mountain bikes, two surfboards and a bed that can just get left where it is so it ticks all the boxes for me.

SJ

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Magpie
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by Magpie » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:37 pm

hiya mate ...

Join this forum for a tenner a year . you get access to all kinds of info , from beds to lighting .

http://www.vwt4forum.co.uk/

Hope this helps

Anymore help gis a shout
paddle like f##k

TomWardill
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by TomWardill » Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:44 pm

Pete,
Over the weekend I'll grab some pictures of My T4.
Just about complete now, it's turned out pretty well.
Tom Wardill

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Ross W
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by Ross W » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:16 pm

Does everything have to go INSIDE the van? as opposed to on top of the van?
Dartmoor / Plymouth based
www.rosswildman.co.uk

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MattBibbings
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by MattBibbings » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:56 pm

Pete C. wrote:Loads of great info already - cheers, guys!

Matt - is your bed long enough to sleep on? It looks like a great layout, but I want to be sure that I fit... And is that one of those fancy Rock and Roller beds? Looks great, but the price!
I'm 6 ft and sleep fine on the bed. More than 6'3" and I think you would overhang. The bed is made by Cannons Forge and this one was £870 fitted because I had three 3 point seatbelts and headrests fitted. Without them it woul dhave been more like £600 or £650 ish. Look Dave at Cannons forge up here. He is very very helpful and top bloke.

Toby
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by Toby » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:45 am

We've got a LWB Hi-Ace, with fold down seats in the back. I made a removable table to go over the folded seats and that with a twin burner stove will cook dinner. We put a permanent platform in the back with a foam pad on it for sleeping on. A lot of the kit type stuff goes in big plastic boxes under the bed. It isn't brilliant or especially pimp, but did us for a six week road trip around South Island. We can fit two bikes in the front space with the wheels off, but we have just bought a cycle carrier that fits on the tow-bar. Oh, our curtains are vecro so we can remove them when we are just using the van as our regular car. So we look less like tourists...

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2 ... 819c9d6251

(Neil B, former housemate of Tea Boy is undertaking a big van project atm, if you can get hold of him. Possibly via Facebook?)
We don't wear sequins because we think we are great, it is just we think sequins are great

gtn33
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by gtn33 » Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:48 pm

Dave at Cannons' Forge for the bed is a must, and local too based near Worksop.

Nearly finished my T5 conversion. Inside for camping & Kayaks on top.

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Pete C.
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by Pete C. » Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:45 pm

Right - just put in an order with with Cannon's forge for a frame. I can't believe I've been upsold on a bed, but having it fold up looks really really useful. Dave was really helpful too...

Good hint with the forum, Magpie - I'll go and take a look.

Toby - it's a lot more pimp than the van I used to travel the South Island! Cheers for the pic. As it happens Neil's also an old housemate of mine - I'll look him up next time I'm over that way for the statutory 'van chat'.

Ross - it's only the bikes that need to go inside - and because they cost even more than the bed (!) that's something I'm sticking with!

And I've also found this record of one chap's conversion process: http://porangivan.blogspot.com. Some good ideas...

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morsey
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by morsey » Fri Jul 10, 2009 5:00 pm

We cruised the alps in an RC sports van last week, it is a bit bling. :-)
Camping has been ruined forever!

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MattBibbings
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by MattBibbings » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:08 pm

Pete C. wrote:Right - just put in an order with with Cannon's forge for a frame. I can't believe I've been upsold on a bed, but having it fold up looks really really useful. Dave was really helpful too...
You wont regret it. Top quality stuff.

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morsey
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Re: Van conversion - help me make a plan

Post by morsey » Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:57 am

Pete you need to get one of these bad boys for your van. :-)

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