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50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Original Pics from the Dealership. I guess its never going to look better than these, in terms of polish and paintwork.


This is the Build thread for my new joy, currently named - Prudence. I have to say, the name is still under some debate. If this were a baby, we're probably at the 3x month stage, of discussing names, so its not gelled yet. I was considering "The Spirit of Prudence", but that would require a tone of "irony", because I feel like I'm splashing out and indulging myself here.

But the name is in honour of where the money came from. It was a nice long contract of work, which allowed the funding of this camper dream. So in honour of Prudential, I want to get "Prudence", into the name.

The name was going to be Silver Surfer or Silver Steed, but I missed closing the deal on the Silver van by 1 day!#! :eek:. Yes, there a bit of a back story to that, so ask me someday.

The aim is to keep the van for work use. But its also going to be put to a multitude of other uses. It replaces my old Citroen Synergie People carrier, so a Kombi was a good option.
  • Carrying boxes etc for ICT installation work/exhibitions,
  • Family/People carrier,
  • Windsurfing day van,
  • Trips to the Mountains,
  • Festivals,

And my ultimate dream is to spend many happy days by the beaches of Bordeaux, and other travels across Europe to get to interesting lakes, mountains and festivals.

So the principle behind the interior design are, flexibility, and ability to take everything out and get back to a basic van.

At the moment, main aims/projects are:-
Essential list:-
  • Webbing slings to suspend boards + sails under roof,
  • Extra power - USB/Cigarette/leisure battery,
  • Lights [don't want to use a headtorch a year from now],
  • Cooking pod or crates to carry my existing camping stoves + cook set,
  • Hammock/camping cot,
  • 3/4 Rock N Roll bed [trips with wife],
  • Roof fixings/Roof bars for Bushcraft Tarps to side/tailgate,

Nice to have list:-
  • Probably nice sound in back,

More later, as it happens.
Best regards, Bill

50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Luggage/Storage Options

OK, a trip to Ikea, yesterday, has prompted me to make a start and explore what's behind the fibre board roof panels. The aim here is to find a place where I can bolt into the roof frame and suspend webbing straps, which will hold various interchangeable storage options.
  • Cargo netting on the roof,
  • web straps for board and sails,
  • clip in a hammock,
  • Hanging Wardrobe organiser,
  • Hanging a rucksack,

OK - a bit about my inspiration for this design.

Since seeing Generation_Kill I've wanted to take a leaf out of the US Military book, and wanted to use my existing gear bags, with some sort of hook mechanism, to get stuff up off the floor. Here's a couple of images of rucksacks slung over the side of a HumVee.

Not that I wish to glorify war scenarios, but you have to admit that lots of great design ideas come out of the demanding environment that military kit goes through.

BTW - Hat's off to the producer - David Simon. I'd recommend lots of his series: Generation_Kill (2008), The Wire (2002-2008), Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–99),

So, after lots of browsing Ebay and conversion stories for furniture options, this is where I am heading.
For long weekends/week long trips, I really like the SKUBB hanging wardrobe from Ikea.

A couple of these can sit each side of the wheel arch, and we have hanging space for clothes not-to-be-creased, bags/rucksacks or even a suit carrier in middle.

So here's the prototype of hanging a rail from the roof frame. I think I'll end up putting a bolt and washers into the panel pin holes. Sorry for the messy roof, this image has the roof panel removed, to have a look-see. Note - the wheel arch is boxed-in and carpeted.
Hmmm..... Wonder why everything I buy is coloured black?

They are 45cm deep and will fit by the side of 3/4 RnR bed [110cm wide ] nicely :ILU:

50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hanging Space -

This is the first attempt at rigging a webbing strap for the under-roof board/sail store.

Same view as last week, but now with the hanging shelves down, and web straps and 5x sails in place.


50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here is a link to another thread where I'm searching for idea's of where to place a bolt for the webbing straps. Some good pics with other examples of how it can be done.

I'd like to fit some webbing straps to the inside of my roof, to keep the windsurf board off the floor.
Been searching for other threads and ideas on how to fix a bolt or anchor plate into the roof frame. See below for what I found.

And another thread that is going to be useful, when I've broken the clips on the roof panel trim strip,

Evening All,

The plastic strip that separates the cap and rear of the van has fallen off the roof. Any ideas as to what the clip is that holds it up is?


Try these

George :ILU::ILU:

I think this is going to be a useful tip, so I'm adding it into this thread, so I can find it again. When I get round to stripping out my roof + doing all the cable/insulation jobs.


925 Posts
The problem with hanging things is that they sway back and forth as you accelerate and brake. (I used to hang windsurf sails from the roof of my swb van and had masts fixed at high level to a couple of cross beams fixed to the gutter rails - the beams were curved to maximise space and the longest of the masts stuck above my head in the cab).

I think a vertical divider of some sort with the stuff piled up from the floor is probably better?

50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The problem with hanging things is that they sway back and forth as you accelerate and brake. (I used to hang windsurf sails from the roof of my swb van and had masts fixed at high level to a couple of cross beams fixed to the gutter rails .....

I think a vertical divider of some sort with the stuff piled up from the floor is probably better?

Hi Jem,
thanks for your comments.

Yea, think you're right here. I've not done a long trip with the hanging luggage yet.

I'm still considering fixing a couple of load restraint rails along the sides, to provide abundant lashing points. Then you could tie down the hanging things to stop swinging by lashing at the wheel arch level. Sort of thing I'd do for a trip to S.France, but not each W/E. Flexible lashing is going to be good for work situations too. You really don't want the 50" plasma screen falling over, when you're going round a roundabout, on way to the installation job. :confused:

Couple of rails like this [below] would also open the possibility of using spring-loaded load restraint rods, as cross beams, to build a temporary bed platform. T:

That takes you to the day van mode - with a mid-hight platform and board/sail storage under the platform, on floor. I could prob get the 2nd row of Kombi seats into use, and still get the windsurf gear in under everyone's feet. But its going to be a squeeze to get a cooker pod in too. So that would push me back to using a Trangia or small camping stove, which is doo'able, [time to raid my Son's D-of-E gear ]. And for day van mode it would be good to avoid having to load up with a heavy gaz canister. It might be possible to get a cooker pod in the position of the single seat/left door side. But that would leave nowhere to step out of the bed, except to open the door and slide straight out the van. OK for nice summer weather. Not ideal for 70% of UK weather. But, I must keep to the plot, this is day van mode, not Stealth camping mode. :D Not yet.


One thought, was to have standard VW furniture or some conversion kit strapped-in at the w/e or long summer trips, that I could take out, when I'm back at work. But I havn't followed this idea far.

Another idea is to build a really basic wooden frame, something like the carcase of a wardrobe [before flat pack chipboard furniture], which is strapped in over the wheel arch area, to provide a rack for board + sails for day van trips to water. It also keeps the board + sails out the way of a Rn'R bed, if/when that gets fitted. But this design conflicts with the space I want to put my cooking pod and storage cupboards - ie next to the road side sliding door. This would alternately support a hanging rail when in 'tourist holiday' mode/festival camping mode, with lots of clothes, in the hanging wardrobe. Again, I haven't followed this idea far.

When I tested the web straps, I see that its a bit of a faf to load the board. Sails slide in OK. Not happy with the idea of what happens to a mast, in an emergency brake situation. [New windscreen] As you push the board in, the weight bearing down on the web strap has the tendency to make the strap grip on the edge of the board. You tuck the nose in OK, but push further, and the board gets to the fatter part, and the web strap grips the sides. Lot of friction with a board bag :(

I can see how a nice solid roof beam at front, maybe covered with carpet or slippy silicon nylon would be a good front support. With an adjustable strap to hold the back end in place. I like the look of the board support by bigcat on this forum. Looks like there is a handy slot in the T4 roof structure, to hold this beam, but that same slot is behind the roof lining of the T5. I think he's working on a new design for T5. :)

Hey, I just thought about sliding a bit of pipe over the front web strap, to stiffen things up. I feel a trip to Wickes coming on; where's my spare bathroom piping? A:

Now that I've got 6x luggage rings bolted into the roof frame, I find the cargo netting on roof works a treat, to stow bedding + the odd fleecy . You have to get it tensioned right, or its too saggy. I have an adjuster web strap in one corner, to make it flexible. Might add some lengths of bungee too.

One downside is the conflict between roof LEDs and stuff in the netting stow. But bedding come out into use, when it gets dark. So no prob there.

50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Anchor Rings under the roof frame to carry loads

Warning - Lots of details and pics of each anchor position, in this post.

I keep getting drawn into more and more tasks, things I originally wanted to leave till next summer. It goes something like this.....

-Well now I've got the luggage rings in the back. That was easy, but I really need to take out the mid-panel. But I was avoiding pull down the divider.I:
-So now I've got all the roof-panels out, I might as well look at :-

  • Insulating the roof,
  • running wires, before I block it all up with insulation,
  • LED down lights on roof,
-So if I'm doing lights, what to do about a leisure battery? And that runs into More power outlets - 5v USB, 12v Cigarette outlets. Where do I position the power outlets? Is it time to take the side panels off.

-And if you're running wiring, might as well consider some nice speakers. :D

Erg !! Hang on. My plan was to do the minimum to make it usable for day trips, for this summer. And get serious about camping mode, next year.
Teetering on the edge of just going for it and get stuck in. Hmmm... how much time do I realistically have for this right now??

T5 Roof Panel Divider

OK, I found the divider strips come out easily if you pry with two screwdrivers, and gently rock from either side. They are fixed by conical pins, sliding into plastic socket. Weird noise as it pops out ! But Nothing broken. :) Gain confidence to press on.

I also got pictures + part numbers if anyone needs them for divider strip and fibre board panels.

'D' rings in roof frame.
I found the best location for 'D' rings is the existing holes for the fixing points for the roof panel. Using an M8 bolt spreader washer and lock nut. Its tricky to reach some holes because the roof rack nuts or the welded layers of the roof frame block the access to the hole. Its a tempting option to use Rivnuts, but I've heard that these are a bit unreliable. I saw forum discussions where people were drilling them out on restoration projects, and going back to simple nut + bolt. The holes next to Cross beams and the back corners are really difficult to get into. Sadly, there are no existing captive nuts that could be used, in a LWB Kombi roof frame. I'm not going to drill into the frame!

Here's a set of photo's showing the holes I used.

Above tailgate hinge,

I had to get some large washers and M8 bolts. This pic shows an M6 bolt as a trial.

Above the wheel arch,

See now I've got the roof panels off, I'm looking at how much insulation I can get into the gap between metal and roof panel. 5cm at sides, about 3 in middle of roof.

First webbing strap - over wheel arch

1st hole next to the mid-divider - This position is really difficult to get a spanner behind the head of bolt. I ended up fixing the bolts with araldite, then I can refit the panel over the bolt, and finish off with the 'D' ring and nut.

Above sliding door, near holes for a handle, and the roof rack captive nut,

50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Collecting idea's about a bed.

Short term plan is to use a camp bed frame, or perhaps a hammock.


And Dream of warm places.

Longer term, I'm probably going for a R n' R bed, but I want to try lots, at van meets, before I decide. Looking for max space under seat for boards, sail + gear. Ease of attachment to van, maybe luggage straps and ease to get back to an empty van after a trip.

Also liking the idea of playing about with a wood frame, till I make up my mind on where to splash the do$$h.

DIY Wooden frame RnR bed

Nice looking 3-fold wood platform
6mm ply with wood frame. Lighter than an 18mm board.

I'm thinking about using load restraint tracks and spring load bars, to put a bed platform in the back for the weekend.

50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm thinking of having a platform made up of horizontal load support bars, then pop one of these 3-fold bed frames on top.
I'm wondering if you can have it set as a bench seat, looking out the back, over the beach, by day, and fold down flat for night. If you place the load bars in the right place, should work OK, but I might end up needing a flat frame, with slots or registers to hold the back support in the right place.
Nice build job Mr Woodcraft.

Hello mate, got it from Langhams foam in Fore St, its 3" thick, wasn't any point in any thicker 'cos I found there is only so far it will squash, whatever the thickness

here are some pics of mine. So far, its still a little crude but will finish it next week as I'm using it over the next few daysT:

this is how it will sit during the day use. can use as sofa in back of vanT:

As simple as it gets really, secondhand 2x2 with some old door hinges and topped with 6mm plyA:

Will have a proper material cover to make for it still and fixings for the floor. and it doesn't need to be crash tested cos no-one will be travelling in it whilst moving:ILU:

bargain rock & roll type bed... and when i need my van to be a van again... it flat-packs to about 300mm thick for easy storage in the shedT:

So pop this on top of a frame and you get'll something like this.........

Or I could just wait till I've picked the right R n' R bed and end up with something like this......

With windsurf kit in.
We made the cushions out of half memory half normal foam and material from dunelm.


50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Loving the windsurf storage ideas from this thread.......

Speaking of my windsurfing............. here is how I custom designed the rear
All made by my very own fair hands- to which I broke many a nail, bruised myself and cut myself- but hey, it was worth it ;) x

The rear storage and bed platform. The walkway just off centre is for my light wind board. The storage to the right is for sails/masts/booms and high wind board- and the fridge can still be accessed with the equipment in.

In 'bed' mode, the light wind board is removed and securely attached to the roof bars.
The rear passenger seat folds forward and a ply board is hinged over to make part of the bed. Also with the headrests removed the storage unit can still be opened with the bed down T:

A second hinged ply board is then folded over the walkway to create the whole bed.
For the mattress I went for 3" high density blue foam topped with 1" medium density white foam- and to say it is so comfortable is an understatement.
The foam has yet to be covered- but I can't figure what colour I want :*

Any comments welcomed :D

And the guys at ActionVan have an example of using load rails to make windsurf rack or a platform. Personnaly, if your van walls are near vertical, I don't see why you wouldn't simply fix the load rail directly to the ply lining.

Here's a sneaky pic, and they have many more on their own page. Go check it out.

So, if you combine all these idea's, from the last 2x posts, you could have an adjustable rack of load bars, with a 3-fold wood bed frame, which [with a bit of magic ] could be set-up as a bench seat looking out the back, coast wards for the non-surfing, newspaper reading, tea brewing. crew. A Nice sunny and sheltered spot to hide from the wind.

50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wooden Bed Frame

Job done. Nice bit of Bank Hol woodwork. The bed is done, and the shelving project is for another weekend.

Good enough to use for civilised trips with Her-Indoors. Now this gives me time to go to a year's worth of van shows, and compare loads of M1 Crash Test bed systems, before deciding where to splash the Do$h.

Bench seat

3/4 Rock N Roll - Futon on-steriods.

The Futon base, 99p on Ebay.

With a frame of Studwork beams, around £15

What I like ....

+ I really like the knock-down structure, that allows the bed to get tied-down in the van, but can be dismantled to take it out of van.

+ Loads of storage to side and under the bed frame.

A few compromises, I'm not so happy with.
- The existing wheel arch boxes make the seat a little too high for comfort.

- 195cm long, it just conflicts with the kombi middle row of seats. I was planning for a typical 3/4 Rn'R bed at 1830mm long, which fits nicely in LWB behind the kombi seats. But not a big hassle.

I even got a bit of help from the dog to measure up. :)


65 Posts
Great work and great thread. I'm going to keep an eye on this as I need to do something with the back of my van to temporarily store windsurfing kit. :) T:

50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Glastonbury 2014

Campsite is a bit of a jam. Because of limited space, I was forced to park on a diagonal slope.

Decathlon Sun Shade/Awning sheet working well


Storage spaces working well:-
On this trip I'm providing transport support to a video crew at Glastonbury.
Sound and photography gear in flight cases and crates below bed frame, Tripods and long things in the carcase frame to right, camping gear on top of bed platform.


With the bed frame down, I can still get a single Euro crate [60x 40 cm] behind the front seats. Handy, because a combination of slope + no access to kerbside doors, I decided to switch the cooker pod to the kerb side. In this configuration these 2x crates hold 'cooker pod' contents. Bottle gas below, Plates, cutlery and some dry non-chilled food stuff [PB+J, sugar, T, coffee, etc]. Its tied down using a ratchet webbing strap. The crate has a 6mm plywood/Formica laminate board, which serves to close-off the access hatch of the crate, or sits on top as a work surface, or could be lifted off and used as a chop board or tray. I've used this set-up for around 15 years with Conway Trailer tents. With a set of 6x crates, you can assemble a kitchen store/bench, with two stacks of 3x boxes, and the boards fit between to make shelves.

I have a portable 2x ring gas stove + toast grill. I'm planning to make a board to sit on top of these crates, with slots/grooves to hold the legs in place. But it could be placed on the ground outside the van. My preference is to keep gas exhaust fumes and cook smells outside the van. Whatever I end up with, it has to be safe. Don't want to set fire to curtains or seatbelt, or spill boiling hot food. But for day trips I also have the option to go lightweight with a Trangia meths stove, or one man meths stove for a brew kit. On this trip the cooking set-up didn't get tested, 'cause we had access to a catering tent. So just snacks and breakfast.

The cooler box is powered by 12v cigarette socket. I got this about 10 yrs ago from Towsure. I've seen a better model at Aldi, last year at £50, powered by mains or 12v. Handy to chill down while packing or night before, in the house, then move it into the van. I haven't done any electrics in the van conversion yet. Plans are for a leisure battery under the driver seat with a split charging relay off the alternator. Haven't decided where to put the outlet sockets yet, but I want a couple of 12v and 5v USB. I have a sey of Ikea 12v LED lights to be fitted.

The blue bucket is a handy thing. For this Glasto trip it holds fruit + veg at the start, the food gets eaten, and then muddy boots on way back home. I'm planning to use it to hold wet gear on beach trips, and it can be used as a big wash bucket. Great way to rinse out salty wet suits when you get back home.

Download 2014

Did a run to Nottingham/East Midlands for Download festival 2x weeks ago. I was providing transport for my son + buddy.
On that trip we had me + son in sleeping bags on top of the double bed, and a cot bed, in the storage area under the bed frame. OK for one night's kip, and easy for a quick pick-up @ 00:40 hrs and drive home the next day.

50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Easter 2014 - Snowdonia

Great hillwalking weekend in Snowdonia, N.Wales.

The cot bed worked well. Stowed it in the roof straps during day, to leave all the floor space clear.
Had all the rucksacks and boxes of food/cook stuff and the dog cage held steady with the cargo nets. Good to have on the windy mountain roads!!!

My son and buddy did their Scouting thing, with lightweight tent, at Ogwen Cottage YHA. I parked up in the car park. Hostel owners not too happy to have someone in a van in car park. So I ended up paying for camping, and could use the facilities.

Fun on the Glyders......
The Circle of Life - "Simba" @ pride rock moment - recreated.....

Some general arsing about on the Cantilever stone.


50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Catching up on the build diary.
I've been adding some fabric and webbing components during the summer:-
Curtains, web straps on roof 'D' rings, upholstery for Rock n Roll bed.

Web straps on roof 'D' rings March 30th
Made up a set of 6x web straps for the roof tie down rings.

Bed upholstery in the making.. Photos - May 24th
Upholstery for the bed frame: 6cm standard foam, 3cm Memory foam, Black cotton drill tent cloth, Reflective beading no problem finding the bed in the dark ;-)

Photos of Canopy Beading - June 13th
I have made up some awning tarps. I really like the idea of having a bit of shelter to the side of the van when its drizzling, or when the sun is harsh [south France, thinking about the skin cancer!! ]

Added a bit of reinforcing at the stress points,

Constructed a double Kador strip by stitching two lengths together. This can be used for a Free Standing hook-up to tent/awning or also used to attach a Shelter Sheet as an awning. I have two of these from bushcraft activities. NATO stock number NSN:8415-99-360-4782


50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Sun shade / Shelter Sheet canopy

I got a couple of awning rails, to fit into the roof gutters.
Must get hold of some marine grade 6mm bolts, to fix the alu rail into the roof rack captive nuts.

Hope to get some photos of the Awning Rail

50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Day Trip to Littleton Lake, Shepperton.
June 2014

Some more posts to catch up with trips this summer.

Bed folded up with only a single board and sail

Note - the under roof web straps come in handy as a towel drying rail, too.


50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hayling Island
Aug 2014

Bit more stuffed with stuff for a Weekend camping at Hayling Island.

Here you can see the dog crate, with a white Jack Russell snoozing under the blue cargo net.

And here, a view of the crates that hold my cooking gear. This is the kitchen option which uses gear from Lightweight backpacking, in a crate, with a formica coated 9mm ply cover [which doubles as a chop board / tray / coffee table on top of crate / seat. Ha, ha, there must be a BBQ in there too, cause I have a bag of charcoal in bottom crate. And a cardboard box with food direct from the supermarket.

I still havn't got round to any electrics, so Cooler box is running of the 12v cigarette power.


50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
North Devon, Barnstable - Ilfracombe area
Aug Bank Hol 2014

Another Weekend camping and messing about on a beach.
The Decathlon Tarp/Awning works well. Rained all night, but no problems with the slide window open. No condensation. Nice bit of sunshine for breacky.

Beach graffiti, lol

Just look at those waves rolling in off the Atlantic.

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