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425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yo! It looks like a build thread is due for me too I:

Let me introduce myself, I am a 29 y.o. italian living in London since 2010 and have been toying with the idea of buying and converting a T4 for about a year... Its main use would be for kitesurfing, a few trips around the UK (Cornwall, Devon, Wales, Scotland) and summer holidays in southern Europe. :ILU:

In Jan this year I went for a kitesurfing/campervaning trip to Western Australia, I fell in love with the idea of having a van and when I came back, after a week I found this beauty that ticks pretty much all my needs :)

It's a '97 Caravelle, 2.5 TDI, 102 BHP, 88k, full electrics, aircon, LWB :eek: , Twind Slider :eek: :eek: ... and it's in mint condition :eek: :eek: :eek:, the carpet at the back still had the plastic covering film!!! The van has been used for carrying children around so it really doesn't show its age mechanically and paintwise.

but the most important thing is... it's NOT LEZ COMPLIANT... but it's LEZ EXEMPT!! LOL:

So first thing I took it for a full servicing by a VW specialist in Essex. Confirmed it was in a very good condition, it just needed a new exhaust pipe coz the old one was rusty!

Right, here she is the day I got her (I look chuffed innit):

First thing... seats & plastics out! See the original film on the carpet? Still there after 16 years!

Stripped and cleaned, mushroom bolts replaced with flat headed bolts (roll of sound barrier on the floor, drivers seat cover in the washing machine - hell of a job but they smell like new now, go for it):

Covered panels with the polymeric sound barrier from classicacoustics.co.uk:

Insulation done with closed cell foam (2x25mm sheets), plus a 2nd layer of sound barrier on the wheel arches:

Got some nice stickers from fleabay so I customized the barndoors a bit :D

Time to refurbish the cab! Seats out

Front mat out, looking tidy!

Ooops hehe ;)

Sound barrier on the floor

Next weekend is for the ply floor, side panels and stereo system installed by a mate who's good with electrics (unlike me).
Then in the coming weeks: poptop roof, wheels, furniture..

Stay tuned! :ILU:

425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
some more bits done yesterday...

fitted 4'' Hertz speakers in the dash and 6.5'' in the doorcards, sounding sweet.

oh, and clarion DVD :)

weekend after easter van is going for a poptop roof and campervan electrics

yo :ILU:


425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
More progress during the past couple of weekends...

I'm done with the interior panels (bought ready made ones off a guy on eBay as I don't have the space to do it myself in London - the cut was very approximate so i had to work quite a bit with a hacksaw) and the LWB ply floor (12mm, from Vanguard, top guys).

Also played with some stickerbomb vinyl...

I hope the hidden message on the ashtray is clear lol... I:

Next Saturday van is booked for an Austops poptop roof at Ansett Automotive + electrics done by Travelvolts... looking forward to have that done!

Oh and an idiot on a LWB T5 Caravelle (it was a minicab 100%, seen the plate and the licence displayed next to it...) ruined the side of his van by kindly leaning against my bumper while I was wating at some lights right at Piccadilly Circus... The guy didn't even notice it as he was probably in a rush and drove away. Got his number plate, plenty of cameras filming that square I hope, so tomorrow I'm going to call my insurance company. Here' the damage.

I'm thinking of putting bull bars all around now LOL:


425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Some updates on the conversion being carried over on my van by Jon at Ansett Automotive.

Campervan electrics done by Upspex (batt+split charge, solar panel, alarm, LED lights)

Austops LWB poptop

And these are the tyres (like new, off fleabay from a ford econoline van) that will go onto a new set of satin black banded steelies (courtesy of mr Colese) :D

255 60 15 front
275 60 15 back

yeh.. a tad wide LOL:

Shame those slot mags won't fit :(


425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·

After months of planning, designing, searching, phoning, emailing and most important WAITING, Jigen the kitesurfers van is finally (almost) ready!!!

I'll let the pics speak, but let me mention those people who were involved in the project and carried out amazing jobs!

I used different people to do the jobs mainly because I did lots of planning and designing myself while the van was being built in stages (everything is custom made to my needs) so I needed to find someone who could do the job for me like I wanted to (for instance the 75l fridge from Vitrifirgo and the kitchen layout built around it).

In the end I am very very happy of the result, all is perfectly functional and every little bit of space gets utilized.

Here's who made what:

- Campervan electrics, solar panel, alarm: Martyn from Upspex (on the forum), don't know much about electrics but result is amazing
- Altro floor, carpeting, austops poptop roof, smartbed rnr bedframe: Jon from Ansett Automotive (www.ansettautomotive.co.uk), quality work
- Kitchen units, side bench, MV Airo heater - Mike from Mi-Van (www.mi-van.co.uk), stunning job from Mike
- RnR Bed Upholstery - Darren Rogers, based in Southend on Sea (pm me for his details), amazing craftsmanship
- Wheels - Simon Coles (on the forum) - without Si I would have never made my idea real!
- myself - a lot of work you can't see but it's there, believe me!!!

So van is almost ready, next steps are wheel arch extensions at the back (scroll down and you'll see why...) and a black powder coated bull bar at the front.

then i'm done pouring money LOL:

right, here we go:

the joys of having a twin slider Rasp: = access from behind the units (and space to store dining table as well)

additional little table for extra space when cooking (hooks to the kitchen drawer)

i didn't need a poptop bed but i went for a wooden plank for additional space when roof is up

finally a van with a spacious fridge! 75 liters. can contains many beers I:

MVAiro night heater vent visible under then bench

Still need to have the side cushion made by my friend Darren so that i can sleep on a full size bed...

plenty of room under the bench

...and under then rnr bed.

a cheeky t4 teddy bear enjoying the new conversion (courtesy of other t4 fan and friend VRodPete)

never without her...

wildcamp on the south coast...

passenger seat swivel in... for even more space.

and a sneaky peek of the new wheels (and custom 60mm wedges... still raw and not painted in the pic)
banded steelies plus some very fat BFGs that came off a Ford Econoline van....
no rubbing luckily on standard suspensions but will need wheel arch extensions at the back...
and that's why van's at the bodyshop in this exact moment ;)
big thanks to colese for making this happen!! :D


425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I did this today.. bot a rail kit off ebay and fitted it in an unusual position... for the extra bit of space when cooking really :*

Side bench cushions coming in soon though, so will have to shorten the aluminium leg anyway


425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
All the best mate,

I hope she found a good home and someone who looks after her well. She has done some good travelling with me in Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland. I think she will need more in the future to keep her happy A:

Not sure if you're still on here Radiance, I've bought your van!

I love it and it's gone to a good home. Hope you're doing well.
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