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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

Its taken a long time but Ive finally managed to persuade the missus that its time to get rid of one of the cars and swap it for a van!
As a family we do a lot of outdoor stuff (camping, caravaning, mtb biking etc) and need the extra practicality that a Kombi/ day van provides.

The plan is pretty simple, a second row of seats, fitting side windows and carpet lining will be the first priority so we can use it as a family vehicle. After that I plan to keep the mods pretty subtle, a suspension drop, colour coding, wheels, that kind of thing but nothing outrageous, I'm looking for a clean "factory plus" kind of look that has always worked well with my previous VW's.

I've owned a few VW's over the years, including a T4 Caravelle, so I'm really looking forwards to getting into this conversion.

We've managed to get hold of a nice 2010 T28 at a very good price, its only done 21k miles and before this I'd been looking at similar age vans with 80-100k miles for more money! Plus its from a VW main dealer so has a good 1 year warranty.


P1020241-2 by John Horsfield, on Flickr

First job was to remove the Ply lining and bulkhead. The ply is in very good condition so I should be able to recycle some of it plus the 9mm floor was a good fit So I'll keep hold of it to use as a template for the 12mm floor I plan to fit later.

P1020220 by John Horsfield, on Flickr

As I said, one of the first priorities is to get a second row of seats in so we all fit in! I managed to pick up a very reasonably priced triple seat plus a good friend of mine donated a set of Kombi floor brackets and seat belts that were removed from his Kombi prior to camper conversion. Ordered so reinforcement plates from TPS and yesterday I borrowed one of the lifts at work to get the floor brackets in.

Overall its actually a pretty straight forwards task, although the chassis rails are not easily accessible at all. I worked methodically underneath the van, first removing the plastic under protection, then the exhaust heat shielding, followed by dropping the tank. I found that by dropping the exhaust of its mounts and disconnecting the hand brake cable made it much easier to move the heat shielding to one side. Couple of points, I was surprised by the condition of some of the fixings under the van. The smaller 8mm bolts that hold the plastic under trays were very rusty, so I put them in cup full of oil to soak before refitting. Also the round spire clips that push on to hold the heat shielding was in variable condition, some almost like new, some rusted to hell, they are difficult to get off so make sure you've got some spares because chances are your going to spoil a few!

P1020225 by John Horsfield, on Flickr

P1020226 by John Horsfield, on Flickr

P1020227 by John Horsfield, on Flickr

As you can see, I skimmed some PU sealant around the reinforcement plates to prevent water ingress.

Job done, happy with the results!

P1020238 by John Horsfield, on Flickr

P1020237 by John Horsfield, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Next job, seat belts!
As I said, Ive been lucky to have a pair of seat belts given to me by a mate along with the correct bolts and washers. I ordered a pair of Kombi seat belt reinforcement plates, part number 7H0810563, for the c-pillar upper mounting.

As a side note, while looking for a van, I recently visited a Transporter "specialists" who were starting on a kombi conversion. I asked them about the c pillar reinforcers, they didn't even know they existed! I asked them what they used and if they strengthened the pillar at all, the guy replied "na, we don't bother, we just a use a rivnut". Jesus christ:confused:

Anyway, they aren't too difficult to fit. I drilled 2x 4.5mm holes in each bracket, then drilled corresponding holes in the pillar along with a larger hole for the seat belt bolt.

P1020229 by John Horsfield, on Flickr

I threaded a length of fishing line through the top hole on the pillar and tied it to the bracket, pulled it into position and put the seat belt bolt in to hold the bracket in place, while I used a couple of 4mm pop rivets to secure it. Worked well and actually very easy to do.

And yes, I know the black rivets look a bit pants, but they are all I had to hand!

P1020235 by John Horsfield, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Another day, another job on the van!

Yesterday I decided to remove the bulkhead retaining rails. Bit of a pain to do, especially as I don't like taking an angle grinder to my stuff! Removed both b-pillar trims (had to take the passenger seat out to gain proper access) and unscrewed the upper black rails. Nice and easy with a set of trim removal tools, I got a cheap set off ebay, they are good! (item number 331152635493)





Then covered everything a could up to try and keep the sparks from the grinder off the vans interior.




Not too difficult to grind off, just took my time. I used one of those really thin cutting discs to make a tidy job. Once removed I put a nice thick coat of white paint over any bare metal to protect it.

VW would really do us a favour if these were things bolted in!

Take that retainers!

 

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Good work so far. I need to do the bulkhead strip removal as well; it would definitely be better if they were bolted in!

I'm liking the work on the seat belt too; I might do this so I can have another seat in front of the rear seat/bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ive had a busy couple of weekends working on the van.

I'll normally have a go at anything, but decided that fitting windows was one job too much for me! I took it over to Van Window Specialists in Castleford who have done an excellent job. Totally transformed the look of the van IMO.



Also spent some time sound deadening the van. Ive used 40 sheets of silent coat which I found to be enough to do the sides and roof, plus Ive saved 4 sheets that I'll put in the front doors when I get chance. Silent coat is really easy to work with and has certainly reduced the noise in the back of the van. Ill also use flash banding on the arches. Once the van is carpet lined and paneled, Im hoping road noise will be cut down significantly.



Done a couple of other bits and bobs, the wing mirror caps are now colour coded and Ive routed rear speaker cables from the original quadlock connector into the back of the van, plus Ive made a internal bike rack that fits to the rear lashing point mountings and will hold four bikes with the front wheels removed. Very happy with this!:)



 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Been very busy working on the van over the last few weekends so thought Id post a few pics as the van is now.
Bumpers are now colour coded with rear parking sensors. Westfalia tow bar & electrics fitted, along with 40mm H&Rs.
Most of the carpet lining is done so next jobs will be the floor and headlining.

My original plan was to fit a Maxton Design front lip spolier however now I'm not 100% sure, I quite like the van as it is, it looks pretty subtle at the moment which I like!









 

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Like what you've done . Ive just moved into t5 ownership too for the same reasons you wanted one, and struggling to think whats best to use as seating in the rear. Don't think I can afford a 2k R&R bed option !! Do these seats click out easily enough as if I went for these I would need to move them around so wife would sleep on a foam matress in van as she hates tents
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Like what you've done . Ive just moved into t5 ownership too for the same reasons you wanted one, and struggling to think whats best to use as seating in the rear. Don't think I can afford a 2k R&R bed option !! Do these seats click out easily enough as if I went for these I would need to move them around so wife would sleep on a foam matress in van as she hates tents
Personally I'd always go for the proper VW seats. I wanted the piece of mind that you are attaching them to the floor as VW intended and that the seat belts are correct. At the end of the day its my kids that sit in them!
Plus I really don't like the look of some of the recovered minibus and coach seats that are finding there way into vans at the moment.

The triple does lift out, its easy to unclip from the floor brackets, but its heavy, I struggle to lift it by myself (Yes, I'll admit it, Im a bit soft!). You can fold the back rest flat and the roll the seat forwards giving approx 180cm of space to the back door at the centre of the seat and 200cm at either side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ive started to get a bit fed up with mud splashed down the side of the van so I been thinking about mudflaps. I hate the Genuine VW rear mudflaps that fit half way down the bumper (what's the point in that?!) so have been on the lookout for some that fit on the arch.

I fitted some yesterday which worked out pretty well so I thought Id put up some pics of how I did it.

Im a little dubious of the quality of some of the after market ones, plus they never seem to be quite wide enough so I thought Id have a root through the mudflaps we have in stock at work to see what might fit.

Turns out that Caddys have near enough exactly the same shape wheel arch profile as the T5, they're made from good quality thick rubber, are nice and wide and can be easily modded to fit. The part number is 2K0075101A.

They even have a nice thick lip which can be re-drilled to line up perfectly with the existing three screws holes that are already there on the T5 (longer screws required). The top most screw is actually behind the vans plastic splash guard so you need to drill a hole through the guard to be able to use it. The two existing holes on the caddy flaps (which Ive marked in blue) can also be used, one screw goes in to the splash guard and one into the lower edge of the bumper.
They do need a little trimming (easy with a stanley knife) but only on the bits that are in the arch and cant be seen.

Unmodified:


What you need to cut out:


Which should look a bit like this:



New holes in red, you can use the existing holes marked in blue:


On the van:



Overall Im very happy with these, plus its an easy mod for some proper OEM looking mudflaps:)

Next job will be the fronts, I'd like to try and protect the door shut with them so I need to figure out how Im going to do it while still looking OEM and tidy!
 

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That's much better than the T5 version, which are daft. Great instructions for someone who wants to do the same aswell. Have you offered up the fronts yet to see? I gather you work for a main dealer?
 

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Very nice looking conversion and well documented to help others. Did you have the original bumpers coded or buy new?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's much better than the T5 version, which are daft. Great instructions for someone who wants to do the same aswell. Have you offered up the fronts yet to see? I gather you work for a main dealer?
Cheers mate! Yes Im a parts manager. Not had chance to look at the fronts yet, but they wont fit the T5's arch as its part of the doorshut which I want to cover, so I think I'll have to go down the route of flat Universal type flaps.
Hmmm... going to be difficult to make them look good!
 

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Personally I'd always go for the proper VW seats. I wanted the piece of mind that you are attaching them to the floor as VW intended and that the seat belts are correct. At the end of the day its my kids that sit in them!
Plus I really don't like the look of some of the recovered minibus and coach seats that are finding there way into vans at the moment.

The triple does lift out, its easy to unclip from the floor brackets, but its heavy, I struggle to lift it by myself (Yes, I'll admit it, Im a bit soft!). You can fold the back rest flat and the roll the seat forwards giving approx 180cm of space to the back door at the centre of the seat and 200cm at either side.
Cheers. One more question regarding these seats. Can you get into the back of the van through the side door. By that Im meaning if the back doors are unable to be opened because I had a bike carrier mounted onto a towbar ,say, can I tilt the seats forward to acess the rear by going into the van via the sliding side door ??
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Cheers. One more question regarding these seats. Can you get into the back of the van through the side door. By that Im meaning if the back doors are unable to be opened because I had a bike carrier mounted onto a towbar ,say, can I tilt the seats forward to acess the rear by going into the van via the sliding side door ??
Yes, there's plenty of room to step through into the back. I'll post a picture for you when I get chance.
 
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