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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, I have finally found a moment to put some pictures on here of my van which I have owned for about 3 years and am starting to feel slightly more proud about the way it looks! I have done everything myself and much of my knowledge has been gained from this website so a big thanks to those that have helped me.


































I will run through some of it's key features and additions:

- Diesel Webasto heater
- Rock n roll bed/seat with three point fixing seat belts
- Bespoke lightweight cabinets both sides of the van with lots of storage space
- Duel batteries under bonnet
- Webasto extra large electric sunroof
- Fully insulated with kingspan and foil bubble roll
- plywood and vinyl rubber floor
- Inverter and mains hook up with double power socket
- Trickle charger and volt meter display
- Swivel seats and retrimmed in real red Leather hide and waterproof Cordura Grey fabric
- Blaupunk DVD Player and Blaupunk 8" screen (monitor sucker mounted onto windscreen)
- Pioneer stereo with HTC Android Nexus one link up
- 6 speakers and one JBL 8" sub woofer
- Two amps, one for the Sub hidden under speaker enclosure one running rear (small) JBL's
- Smev double burner gas hob/sink with stainless steel splashback on lift up lid
- 15L Water tank and tap
- LED lights under sink part and built into cabintry and 10watt directional halogen lamps in top cupboard
- Tinted windows
- Bespoke double layer curtains with poppers to fit over all windows and front has a silverscreen
- 16" Audi A6 alloys with new load rated tyres
- De cat exhaust downpipe
- Eibach heavy duty rear springs
- New Sachs front dampers and lowered 30mm ish
- blocked off the EGR and cleaned it all out
- Awning attaces with rare earth Neodymium magnets
- New discs and pads fitted all round
- Resprayed much of the pearl green paintwork but still a bit more to do
- Auxillary Eberspacher heater under bonnet which activates when >zero deg


So as you all know all 'van' jobs always take much longer than you think and it's always hard to explain what you have been doing with all your time and many weekends have been consumed doing this. I will be adding some more details and pictures of things which I have done during the conversion as I ofter took a lot of photo's of each stage. Like most people I did all of it on a tight budget and often patiently waited for cheap things to come up on Ebay or just waited until I had enough money to get something else I needed. My insurance company insured it for £9k after seeing the pictures but it's worth more than that to me due to all the hard work!

There are some larger pictures available here:

http://s660.photobucket.com/albums/uu323/lopenheaddesigns/Van%20Conversion%20Finished%202011/#!cpZZ1QQtppZZ28
 

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Lovely job there mate. I really like the idea of slim cabinets down both sides. I also really like the overhead cabinet at the back. I was thinking of doing something like this to put my speakers in.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hello again all,



Thanks for the positive feedback and comments coming in!


I am going to write up a bit about my thoughts and ideas back at the exciting stage when you have just purchased your van and you are at the stage where you wan't to decide how best to go about converting it. I started with a simple 'Design Brief' and I can return back to it after a few years and feel that I can infact tick a lot of it off and have achieved it. Although some of the things were a bit pie in the sky and not realistic!

Here is my design brief:

Design Brief


As at: 28th March 2007

What will the vehicle be used for:

Weekend Camping trips to campsites with power hook up and also some ‘wild camping’ in isolation all year round. Require independence and ability to cook a meal and make hot drinks.
The vehicle will also be used as a means of urban transport when required but will not be used for a daily commute. The weight of the cabinetry, fixtures and fittings will need to be kept to a minimum in order to yield good fuel economy and provide a smooth quiet drive without rattles or unsteady cornering.


Mountain biking
Surfing
walking
seeing the uk and Europe for weekends and/or holidays




Essentials to incorporate


• ¾ size double bed, either positioned to one side or across width of van at rear.
• Small void under cabinets to slide in surfboard (s) This will be accessible by opening boot and hide boards also will keep sand out of van
• Mountain bike rack should be fine on boot door and keeps dirt outside!
• Seats to swivel around to make best use of space at front of van
• Insulation for cold nights (see Design brief)
• Heating to run off gas or diesel and not off electric. The van may have built in rear heating but may be inefficient to run/require battery power or engine running
• Lighting. Low consumption bulbs such as LED or fluorescent to save battery power. The lighting needs to be both task and mood and be positioned for reading, cooking, whilst driving, etc
• Cooking facilities. Microwaves can heat food quickly without much power

Other Storage Considerations:

• Space for folded duvet
• Plastic pull out box for wetsuits and dirty things
• Other removable storage boxes for taking into house and filled with food etc
• Washing line or drying rack like on old bay window campers – research more
• Hooks to hang hammock on for 3rd person





My use of the van did change as you may have seen my old conversion thread and I had a removable kitchen unit which was accessed from the rear tailgate at the back. I had intended for the van to be generally empty to keep it useful as a car and for mountain biking, moving furniture or whatever. However, I decided after a long while to go down the full conversion route and keep the van as just a camper and let it retire if you know what I mean.

Some people have shown an interest in the 'layout' of the van so I am going to look mainly at the cabinets at this stage and go into some of the conversion details (electrics, heater, insulating etc) later.


So I began drawing up in detail my plans as I wanted to spend less time making it and so though it wise to pre-plan as much as I could as I don't have my own workshop and didn't want to spend too much time scratching my head (and other parts of the body) trying to decide on something or work out how to do it.


Here are some Autocad screenshots I had done at the time:







I managed to get a CAD drawing of the van from someone on this forum (thanks for that) as this would ensure I can get the best use of space and ensure the cabinets fit the profile/curves of the vehicle. When you take a cross section through a T4 you can see its an odd shape to fit straight cabinets into.

The general idea of my layout was to move away from the traditional cabinets down one side. Why? Well it was my opinion that the weight should be spread as evenly as possible in order to satisfy my original design brief of a making the van drive and handle as well as possible. Some folk may not agree with this but its my thinkng anyway! I also didn't want a large wardrobe type arrangement blocking off one side and wanted to keep it more open. When my passengers sit on the rock n roll bed its quite comfortable as the cabinets are good arm rests whilst in motion. One of the cabinets (nearest the side door) was intended to make up for not having the wardrobe and also to store all the electrics and switches as well as to spread the weight more evently.

The cabinets took along time because the process I used has not been done before (to my knowledge) I made my own lightweight boards. Yes, I purchased large sheets of 10mm thick high density styrofoam and bonded it inbetween two layers of 4mm thick moisture resistant MDF. I did this using a vacuum bag press in whole 8' x 4' sheet form then cut all the sheets to size. I then used standard grey edging strip and fitted it into the component edges where visable. This took a lot of time and often needed contact adhesive to keep it firmly in place.

I painted all of the cabinets by hand with a roller as I didn't want to spend too much of spraying costs (believe me I wanted to) and did the best job I could.

Here are some photo's of the work in progress of the cabinets to complete this part of the 'cabinets and van layout design' post
















 

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I love your conversion mate. I don't suppose you would have a copy of the plans that you could forward ?

It would be greatly appreciated
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Sorry mate my drawings are full of amendments and changes - it would take my a long time to re-draw it so that someone else could use them. Anyway everyone has their own objectives and probably the design wouldn't suit everyone.

I just loaded the van up with some 8' x 4' sheets of plasterboard today as they fit across top of the cabinets as no wardrobe in the way. This was one of my design requirements so that I get the most out of the van for other uses not just camping.

All the best. Aaron
 
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