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Discussion Starter #1
Not too many posts under my belt here so go easy on me! Thought I'd like to document the build process of our T5 as I have found the information on this forum extremely helpful, so maybe someone might find the images i post helpful in their own endeavours.

Back in June '17 me and the wife were sitting in an All Inclusive resort in Lanzarote thinking that there must be places in UK and more locally in Europe that are beautiful and maybe we should explore more. Now my brother in law has a T5 camper and I had made it no secret over the past couple of years that i would like one at some point and having watched the builders build my house, thinking it didn't look that hard, then deciding to build a fence, which turned out pretty good, i decided to build a 40sqm Garden Office for my wife's business which turned out even better, so i thought how hard can a T5 conversion be?

So by the end of the holiday it was decided, we would join the #vanlife club. I would pay for the van, do all the research and convert it. Wife would pay for the bits i needed to convert it. Plan! Now we just needed a van. I quickly realised that T5s are bloody expensive and what i wanted and what my budget would allow did not match up. So i searched. and searched. and searched. looked at a couple of risky bets with intergalactic mileage on them, or with body damage. Nothing fitted the bill.

It was now September. We still had no van. Then, while in weymouth getting ready to do Weymouth 70.3 (half ironman for those thinking what the hell is a 70.3, which is a longish triathlon for those who are unaware of what an Ironman or indeed half of one is), anyway while there, a mate sent me a grainy photo of a relatively decent looking T5 he'd noticed advertised in the local rag crucially for a not so unrealistic price tag. I rang the bloke, 49k on the clock, air con, twin slider panel van 102. he sent me some more photos and I thought, "its the one". Luckily he had advertised it nowhere else other than our local newspaper. I said i'd be there monday, went armed with the cash i'd picked up from the bank on the way back down to Kernow and had it off him there and then.

So we've got a van. quite pleased with it. few little marks here and there and terrible wheels, but the base van is good. I have already started the conversion, but i've got to do some work now so i'll leave that too my next post(s)







Oh and after doing a little exploring, turns out it has an OEM split charge already. Winner!

 

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A realistically priced T5 anywhere is a rare thing, even more so in Cornwall! Good luck with the build.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
cheers guys. yeah, our wallet is also taking a battering.



After putting the conversion off until i finished other projects, I finally got bored in a beach car park in early January and got in the back with a screwdriver and started removing panels. We had discussed whether or not to get a pop top during the previous three months and in the week before had finally decided not to do it on the grounds of we couldn't really justify the spend. No kids mind so not an issue (yet).

With that pretty big and expensive decision shelved, I saw no reason to not get cracking. So after the beach car park i drove home ripped out the carpet lining, what little insulation that was dotted around and removed the headlining. At this point the conversion was on. I then took another day to remove the floor in the back and clean off all the glue residue using white spirit, quite a few rags and a scouring pad.





 

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Discussion Starter #9
It was also evident once i removed the floor in the back that there was a little bit of corrosion here and there, but only largely as a result of carelessness with the stanley knife when the previous carpet guys had lined the van. A little more recently I have got a wire wheel on the floor and rear steps and given it some love with the Hammerite. Has come up pretty good. but i'm jumping ahead a little now.











 

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So yeah, jumping back, after removing all the panels and floor I realised vans are proper noisy. So I got 2 bulk packs of Silent Coat 2mm and set out with some panel wipe, a little roller and a hairdryer to silent coat everything i could. I did the roof, panels and doors first.



 

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Discussion Starter #14
Next job was to pull the seats out and pull apart the dash to silent coat the floor and run some additional power cables from the leisure battery position under the passenger seat up to the centre console in the dashboard. I ran 5x 2mm cables up there to run the stereo and some USB charging points with some spare capacity for things i haven't thought of yet.

Also turned up was my replacement headunit, a Pioneer AVH-Z5000DAB, and an aerial for the roof as my previous experiences with windscreen mounted aerials have not been amazing. As I don't have parking sensors and I my wife was scared to drive it without them i put a brake-light mounted camera in the rear door. The high level is good i think over a number plate area one as I'll be using a towbar bike carrier a lot and would like to see over them when reversing. To wire it in from the headunit I ran one wire from the headunit trigger wire all the way to the +ive wire for the camera, then where the wire passed the reversing light wire i spliced it into that so it would power the camera and trigger the reverse feed on the head unit. Drilling the hole for the aerial in the rear of the roof was a nightmare until a friend introduced me to step drills. (or christmas tree drills to some), then it was a walk in the park. ordered some off ebay the very next day.

Also around this time I started putting thermawrap insulation up. now i'm aware the subject of insulation is a controversial one but I have chosen not to go down the vapour barrier route and just line with multiple layers of thermawrap and then put the plastic bottle insulation in. However with the 2-3 layers of thermawrap I put up, i was keen not to glue it directly to the panels in order to keep and air gap so instead I used foam tape usually used to fix number plates as it provides a 2mm stand off and i know from previous experience or trying to removed number plates stuck on with it, there is no getting it off easily. so thats what ive done. I've also foil tape and the gaps in insulation and silent coat as i had a load left over from doing the house and office.

Something i noticed in both rear quarter panel areas which had insulation in was small areas of rust. I originally though this was due to condensation, however after a spell of wet weather driving i realise that the plastic black covers that i can only assume give you access to the sliding door rail area, they leak. on both sides. So i sealed them up the best i could but thought because of this alone i would choose breathability over sealing it all up tight.













 

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Then it was on to windows. probably the most scary bit. I ordered all my windows from CamperGlass and found them all to be really good quality. I have two sliding windows, rear quarter windows (one real one fake) and the barn doors ones. So i set to it with the passenger side. Firstly drilling holes in each corner with various sizes of holesaw. The from the inside, using a reciprocating saw, i cut between the holes leaving a small bit of metal in each top corner so the sheet wouldn't fall out while i went outside to remove it using the sucky handles, trimming the final bits i'd left with a jigsaw. To use the reciprocating saw i did have to remove the sliding door inside handle and trim to get close enough

After removing both panels, i cleaned up the edges where needed with a flappy sanding disc on my grinder and installed the trim and then primed the bare metal. i used a wide trim that just goes straight on as opposed to the one where you have to do some further work with the bonding between the two skins. was relatively easy.

Then i cleaned the panels and primed and it was time for a dry fit, at which point i noticed there was a problem. the silk print on the back of the passenger window slider did not cover the inside trim. I went and measured the drivers side windows and sure enough the passenger one was short by like 18mm or something. Fair play to camperglass though as it was a Friday afternoon but they managed to get me a replacement swap out for the Monday. Obvious issue being was that i now had two massive holes in the side of the van and no dry storage. time for the duct tape.

Anyway the Monday came and it was raining but managed to find a space in a farm shed to put the windows in. got the van wrapped up, primed the windows and reprimed the van. I'd left my window bonding glue in my cupboard under the stairs which is the warmest place in my house to aid easy squeezy on the gun. However on breaking the seal on the tube i realised my gun was too big to fit into the hole on the tube. Luckily i managed to find another gun in the shed and proceeded to apply the bond to the window but then as i was halfway around the first window, the gun broke! I was a little stressed at this point. so i set to dismantling both guns i had to try and build one that worked. fortunately i managed it relatively quickly before the glue skinned over and was able to apply the rest of the bond and then fit both windows and adjust at the same time. I think they turned out well given the less than ideal circumstances.























 

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Discussion Starter #16
Also while this was all ongoing we managed to pickup another captains seat to replace the twin seat. Sadly not heated as the van also has OEM heated seats but i'll look to sort that for her at some point. Also did some tests of the 130w solar panel and charger before sikaflexing it to the roof. Took a while to go off but it is pretty strong stuff!

The cowl thing for the cable entry for the panel on the roof was gloss white, but i had some reflex silver paint so sprayed it up to match (ish) Also, step drill came in handy for drilling clean holes for the cable entry grommets through the roof.















 

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Discussion Starter #20
Nice work!!! Keep the updates coming.
I will! I am a prolific photo taker. probably should spend more time doing stuff than taking photos of the things i'm doing.

But I've got to do some work now before she realises i'm just doing forum posts on this side of the desk
 
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