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Discussion Starter #1
She was an ambulance, Wife says amerlance so 'course was named Amber.
I'll update this as often as I can. I won't let it go stale here. Got step by step of how I did it on this PC somewhere.

Blurb facts first.
Weighs a smidge over 3 and a half ton. Mainly as I need a diet. But It's rated as a 4.6 so I didn't worry much about the weight.
About a year in the making on and off. She went from an old Glasgow ambulance to a reclassified Motor Caravan.
What's it got in there?
Oversized kitchen area, I like to cook. Toilet, a reasonable sized double bed. 2x 120w Solar panels. If I remember the watts right And the ramp at the back doubles as a bench so I don't cart a seat and table about. Plus its great for scenic views when its all open.
We were on a tight budget and built the whole lot for the princely sum of 1200 course not counting the price of the van.
We didn't want all overhead cupboards and stuff, I'm not a small guy I already bash my head in there so we kept it as open as we could.

So without further ado what's a post without piccies.

Here's the pics when we got it and the caravan we gutted to fill the van with.
After some ohh and arring taking out the fluro lights, overhead cupboards. Yep I did they weighed quite probably a ton and all the ambulancy roof bits. Forgot to do a very first picture.


The donor van well and truly gutted 150 quid well spent.


You get the idea with the open back here, this was In the beginning, 6 months later its changed, you'll see soon.


Next Step cut the bulkhead and lay the floor..
 

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2 weeks into the project.
I'm going to point out now. I'm skill less. I have tools but it's like chucklevision when I'm at it. I made plenty of mistakes I'll point them out as we go.
I wanted the kitchen running along the bulkhead wall. Course wasn't going to happen. Wife wanted the kitchen on the right it couldn't be on the left due to the sliding door and vents being blocked, Told you I make mistakes I would have vented the kitchen into the cab if it was my way.
OK so out came the bulkhead. In the ambulance there is a huge I mean huge bank of fuses behind the passenger seat. Wasn’t going to mess with those. Besides it was all wired up for me so I moved the switch panel on the right from where the kitchen now goes

and brokeout my jigsaw. Bulkhead is now a doorway.



Flooring time.

Missus wanted Lino due to this wee chappie.



So lino it was. First off though we tookout all the screws from the runners, grinded them flat. Put a layer of hardboard down, that foam insulation with the gold backing on top of that. A nice layer of 8 mill ply. Lino ontop good to go.

You’ll probably notice the wall covering. Van’s already insulated so wasn’t going to mess about stripping the walls. A clean up a good scoring and 1 good roll of lino and the boss put it on the walls with PVA glue no less. Yep it worked 2 years later its still there. Anyway Lino Is wipeable as well as insulating and well as I said don't care about the weight.

 


Next solar panels and planning. Ohh the fun begins.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Considering that this part is about planning and power it was time to look at what we wanted from the van.

Are we going to use campsites? Are we mostly wild camping? Deciding that campsites are a bit pointless for us up here in Scotland with its wild camping rules and all . We plumped for no mains hook up we couldn’t see the point, we needed a bed, cooking, toilet and power. That’s pretty much it. Of course we also needed the things to get it reclassified. I'll get to that in later posts. It was simple to do. But feel free to ask me questions if you are going through that part.


So the planning began. Hours of graph paper, cardboard cut outs, heated discussions. I wanted to lose the back doors for the shower, Mandy ( the wife) wanted the back doors to open right out always to let air in and give the views. Course she won and was right but compromises had to be made. No way would we be able to fit in a full shower now with this huge oversized kitchen we had. No, I don’t regret that at all. Makes cooking much easier and is actually the thing that gets the most comments about the van. I had the bathroom unit from the caravan (up in post 1) ready to go but in the shed it went. So a tape measure measuring the bare minimum toilet size. Yes I tried it by squatting moving about, simulating yeah only way to be sure.

Toilet by the side door. All this polava about graph plans became pointless. Once we decided where the kitchen went and the toilet, things just flowed. The back became a seating area right on Mandy's open door idea. These seats doubled as beds. We could get to the toilet and kitchen without disturbing one another in the night. So the front became the kitchen, the side was the toilet and the living area is fully defined at the rear. Simple but effective.



In this piccy was the finished plan. In build progress. The table isn't wonky now. You can see the toilet wall and the kitchen and the seating area. Van looked like these pictures for ages though.




Now my mistake. MDF would have been a better choice for the toilet walls. The lino covered it anyway but I still think MDF. Remember making frames and plywood is well beyond my skill set.


Solar Panels. Did plenty of reading with solar panels. Was very easy. Worked out that with what I use. Occasional lights, charge our phones and that’s pretty much it. NO TVs or heavy load items so 2x120watt panels is total overkill so 2 panels it was. Actually found a deal where it was buy one get one half price, so for that why not have 2?
No prizes for noticing the caravan stored in my neighbours garden. while it was being stripped. Now that's a Neighbour eh?

I used a cheap watertight block, bottom left of the roof in the picture cost me 2 quid from ebay to put the leads through, Seems if you put the prefix motor home on anything you buy, this unit with a slightly different shape became over a tenner. I learned this throughout the build. Use standard things and make them fit.
The fitting was easy even for me. A tube of that Sikaflex to put the panel mounts on, Man that white splodge. I mean open a tube be ¼ mile away and you'll still get it all over your T shirt, Some self tappers. Run the wires through that 2-pound box. seal it with splodge. Inside the van wall. Into the controller box. Then to the batteries so easy. And worked first time.


Next, gas, water and waste.
 

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Looking good, I was tempted by an ex-ambulance when I bought my LWB but I was worried it might not be long enough to accommodate all I wanted, and they were a bit out of budget anyway.

What's the space like underneath, I imagine there is room for a lot of stuff?
 

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Looking nice.
I suspect that if/when I do another build for myself it will be a box van or ambulance with nice flat sides to work with and that little bit of extra width.

What dimensions did you end up with for your toilet 'room'? Something I am just trying to decide on myself and don't want to dedicate and lock off too much space for no reason (not having shower inside either)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@Alexhoc Plenty of room underneath for everything you want. Its like a trailer under there a basic frame with a wooden floor shoved on. Exhaust comes out the side so doesn't run right to the back. Only the prop and axel back there, Bags of room. I didn't use it in my build yet. Getting to that next year. LPG most likely.
Mine I got quite cheap. Mileage was high 32Ok but was talking to an ambulance guy. He said I bought one we used to use. He said and I quote " You know they service these every 3 months, and replace parts even though they might not need changing yet. You pretty much get a rebuilt van after 150k." He added, "Bet it leaks". Started laughing. "Bet you can't find it either". Yep the nod and discussion started.


@Hoovie
Toilet is 96cm long x 70 cm wide in the interior. Add 10cm for the wood. Course remember I did it with boards. People with skills can do it thinner. I'm 6ft and weigh in at 17 stone. So if I can fit most could. Can fit a portable cube toilet in there. Got ours on a box over the wheel arch.
Might be able to get an idea from these. Work in progress shots.



Preview of the next post with water and gas. Been out there today I think I found that infamous leak. It's a bad sliding window design. Mastic all round see if that works.


Ahh windows. I haven't mentioned those yet, Didn't see the point in spending hundreds from the budget on windows. These ambulance ones work and are tinted. A nice tint, can't see inside at all but looking out is clear as errr Glass. Yeah they look old fashioned but they work. Anyhow in 20 years they will be back in style no doubt.


The oversized Kitchen from the open side door, which needed water and gas coming in next instalment
 

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Bit of a delay since the last post. Been getting the vanready for the MOT in a few weeks.
Side door fell off the lower runner. It rotted a hole on it. Mate of mine welded a plate on it. I say welded a plate. He pretty much rebuilt the runner. Great job he did.


Let’s continue, Before we get to the water and gas bit, I’llskip over the ceiling part. This was a massive chunk of the budget weighing inat 225 quid. I didn’t want to do this. I wanted cheap white PVC planks or evenboard. I lost. So expensive white ash effect PVC planks it was. We saw manysamples but these expensive ones actually do look like ash wood. The photoshere in no way do them justice.
Fitting was easy, although made me sweat while cutting aplank worth almost a fiver. Only 3 spare I had. Not much margin for my chucklebrothers skills error. Eagle eyes will see a spare one I used as a splash backon the kitchen wall in the previous post.



I put up some wooden strips across the van, screwed into theceiling, where the joins of the planks wentso I could screw the planks in solid with little tiny screws. Then as it was tongueand groove slip in the next bit and repeat till done. Ahha ambulance ceiling rememberit was double skinned. No screws through the roof. Now a tip. Run a PVC pipe ifyou can from back to front in case at a later date you want to run a wire tothe cab from the back. Lets say reversing camera. I'm having to go wirelesswith mine as I didn’t. Would have been so useful having a nice conduit upthere. I'm not taking all that down again. No way.

Next expensive part was the LED Light, came in at 35 quid.Touch sensitive on, off and has a choice bright white, easy enough to light thewhole van, or ambiance blue. I say bright, its great, really bright but defusesso you can actually look at it, Clever stuff.
Fitting easy. Drill a hole. Thread a wire through the holeinto an electrical block loads of electrical tape around it in case of a ceilingleak. Screw it up gently. Job done.





Water was a breeze. I didn’t want to mess about under thevan, It was too expensive for the tanks and I didn’t want to cut holes in thefloor. So it was an on-board jobbie. The kitchen actually weighed more than Iwanted on one side so The tank on the other side balanced it all out nicely. Fiama72 litre tank under the rear seat did the job, Connected that to a sure flowpump.
Almost 80 quid that pump was with the filter. Close to passing out there. My wallet really hurt by now. All the way to the kitchen tap with food grade hose. No hot water to mess about with, I don’t fancy boiling a tank of water with LPG when a kettle for a bowl of water for a shave and wash does just as well. It did when I was a kid caravaning with the parents in the 60's so good enough for me now. Ohh come on I was about 7. I didn’t shave my dad did.
I have the boiler unit from the caravan. It's still in the shed. One day possibly but its been 2 years without running hot water, you adapt. Just in case though I run the hot water pipes along with the cold. Remember to blank off a hot pipe if you don't use it. Water comes out of that when you turn on the cold tap you know. I:





Wasted space? Sure is. That space is also my boot. I have my full tool kit in there as well as emergency stuff.
We decided we will travel light, The more cupboards the more useless stuff you carry. More useless stuff is more weight, I don't care about the payload weight in mine I do care about the fuel though. Anyhow back to it.


Gas hook-up to the cooker simples. Even for me. Brass pipewas already on the cooker. Bought a regulator and valve and a rubber pipe.Connected it all together, put white tape in the threads screwed it all up.Covered the lot with soapy water and turned it on. Yep bubbles. It leaked. Soundone the leaky bit by the valve, more tape, tightened it up a tad tighterthen more soap. No leaks. Bonus. Job done. Mandy was watching from a distancefirst time I lit the cooker. Think she was waiting for a huge mushroom cloudand me coming back smouldering saying, "Nope. That didn’t work."


At the moment the water drain is a quick and dirty into atank I put under the van when we park. After I’ve finished getting it ready forthe MOT. In a few days from now I'm putting a waste tank underneath. I'm gettingmore confident and not so ham fisted now.

Next seats/bed, table and let's get it reclassified as a motorcaravan.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Apologies for some of the words joining in the last post, didn't look like that in the preview and as I can't edit it. It stays.
 

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Man after my own heart! I don't see anything wrong with your skills at all, looks well tidy T: I would just say one thing though, don't wrap your electrical junctions in lots of tape. If water gets near it it will find a way in but never come out. |It will just sit there and rot things away. Better left open for air circulation.
 

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Looking good and a good plan to run a "just in case" hot water hose. I didn't on mine and also fitted a cold water only tap. I don't have any direct plans to add hot water to the sink but I did think the other day "should I run a hot hose now just in case?" before everything gets tidied up and clipped out the way :confused:

I am very envious of your built-in overhead cupboards (on my to-do list). They look super-handy :)
 

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Thanks for the comments folks and also thanks for the tip with electrical tape upspex I'll remember that in future.


Well no update today was planning to but spent the day caulking around the window, still haven't got that leak yet, and made a new side door step where the runner damaged the plastic. Remember in my post when I mentioned I wanted plastic sheet for the ceiling? Well I already bought heavy duty PVC stiff caravan body. 8x4 of the stuff. Well it had a use after all. Also fitted a new top front profile light for the MOT. Had to make the hole bigger for the square led back where the old one was round. As if I'm paying 80 quid for a OEM when I got a lookalike for a fiver.


Ah the cupboards over the top Hoovie. Ohh yeah brilliant they are. the aircon takes up the left hand side but on the right tons of space, All the bedding is in there along with the insulating window inserts I made for keeping the chill out.
Whipped off the old ambulance doors. broke out a drill bit did some drilling into the steel, broke drillbits, bought carbide drill bits. Broke those. Apparently this steel is super hard would have to get a laser to make a hole in it so. Into the plastic some hinges went and a door covered the whole lot. Was a wardrobe door off the old caravan that got used up turned on its side. I'll have to take photos of that. But will do for the all done write up after a couple more.


A sneaky preview of the last line of the last post.
Cost of this project including the van. £3300 :cool: If we can do this. Anyone can.


Respray due next spring.



 

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Discussion Starter #13
This time was seats and bed. We were running out of the year that we were allowed to get this thing reclassified by the insurance so we decided to go all out and at last get it done.




Requirements I got directly from the DVLA. You can find them on google really easily. DVLA even give you a sample letter and full instructions

( direct copy from DVLA)
a door that provides access to the living accommodation


a bed, which has a minimum length of 1800mm or 6 feet - this canbe converted from seats used for other purposes during the day but must be permanently fixed within the body of the vehicle


a water storage tank or container on, or in, the vehicle


a seating and dining area, permanently attached to the vehicle - the table may be detachable but must have some permanent means of attachment to the vehicle. It is not good enough to have a loose table


a permanently fixed means of storage, a cupboard, locker or wardrobe


a permanently fixed cooking facility within the vehicle, powered by gas or electricity


at least one window on the side of the accommodation


If the vehicle has all of these features present, permanently fixed and installedproperly, then it is a legal requirement to have it reclassified as a motorcaravan on the V5C.


There are additions. They wanted 2 burners so I gave them 3 :) and recently they want the outside to look like a motor caravan.




In went the water and gas already so we needed a table. Regarding the gas. They didn’t state it had to be in a locker. They did say to put a vent in the floor if in a cupboard and secure it tightly to the body. It’s in there next to the sink in the kitchen unit. Did that all’s good.
Can't find the gas picture I sent in but here's a work in progress. I did put fireproof foam all around the cupboard's interior. Well safety first eh?











The table became the base of the bed, slotted between the chairs. Perfect. Drilled a hole in my nice solid floor and put a metal holder in there. Seems a very popular solution. Scared me a little when I saw my drive from inside the van I must say. 5 minutes later hole gone all happy again.


OK inside almost sorted there was a overhead store above the kitchen I put up, and one already above the cab. Took the ambulancey doors off and put a wardrobe door sideways from the old caravan along the whole width. Job done.










Now outside, I wasn’t ready yet. Hardest bit was getting the ambulance stickers off.

There was plenty of hot air. Hairdryer action, not me moaning. Well just a bit. That glue is strong and those stickers they use are a nightmare to get off but after some glue remover and 2 solid days of stripping, I gave it a quick once over with some T cut on a pad with my drill to get rid of "Scottish Ambulance Service" from the paint, yes it came back, but not before I took photos. Got a 20 quid sticker off ebay, Plonked it on yep, straight first time. Sorted.



In went the piccies. 2 weeks later log book came back. We now own a Motor Caravan.


Now it was done. It was basic, really not much to look at but done. Actually got offered a silly amount of cash for it "as is" Would have made a nice few grand profit but no way am I doing this again. I will help a mate but no way do one for myself again.
Some of the pictures I sent in are in this post, We didn't do fancy. No champagne bottles, candles and fine china plates. Most of it wasn't finished to a standard but acceptable for purpose.
I wanted the DVLA to see it as it is. Just in case I had to take it in to be "looked over"


Pressure was off. Time to start making this a welcoming and not sterile place to stay..... Next. It transforms in there.





 

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Discussion Starter #14
Was going to be about the transformation, but nipping in with some quick advice to fellow campers. hi de hi :D
Now MOT time. Don't have your camper due its MOT during traveling season. Even if you have 4 months on the thing. Get it's MOT done again to change the date either before so will be in my case march or after around late September. Mines sitting in the drive waiting for a garage to phone for a repair. Wasting all this seriously hot weather.
Well wasting not such a bad thing staying in past couple of days, what with midges and clegs about would have to batten down the hatches and roast to death in there.
 

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Warning picture heavy post.
And as promised here's the grand finally, Well finally doubt it. It's still having some revamps in there. The toilet may or may not have a sink in there. I haven't decided yet. But its going to be plastic cladded in the winter either way.

The cupboard at the front needs finishing and door needs painting, That was recent actually, this week, I was going to put a wood burner there but Mandy wasn't to impressed with the idea so I made a place for my sausage and beans.
I need to put a rod up for the curtain and do some more trim work.

Now the design. It's not how everyone would do it. First off we didn't want wall to wall cabinets. Why? I'm huge I didn't want to squeeze about and besides you only cart around more junk and feel hemmed in. Thats only my feeling, you do yours how you want. My clothes are all in the middle cupboard by the back door. Bedding over the cab. Mandy's in the drawers by the side door. Food in my new cupboard. Pots and pans by the fridge. Gas under the cooker. Water under the small seat at the back. Big one is pretty empty. Thats 6 foot of seat space with empty storage. Why would I need more?

The cupboard were in a bad state when we got the caravan. I was going to veneer them in a nice oak. Boss said. Do it different I want white. It's fresh. So white and grey was her choice. I do as I'm told. Secret of a long lasting marriage.

Dog had a mishap, he had a bad tooth that burst. Yeah it's been done hes better now. There went the upholstery. So Tesco throws to the rescue. I actually don't mind them.

Curtains are a temporary, well have been temporary for over a year now Tesco T towels. do the job at 2 quid a pair.

Anyhow all in all with the van included this cost us, did a proper work out for this. 3367 quid.
If we can do this anyone can. I'm skill less and this was a first go. Use you imagination. Make it yours. Have fun doing it, they are only a money pit if you let them be and happy camping.

More to do next year, Fix the ramp that got stuck. Respray and put a heater in there.
If got some work in progress still to add. Jobs I'm doing now. I'll add them as I do it..

From side door offside rear.


From the backdoor.


Tesco T towels


My Spot.


Looking forwards
It's like a Tardis in there.


From the cab


The first thing people see when I show them around. Gets more comments than anything in there.


Work in progress toilet room.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well as usual without my accent written word seemed harsh and arrogant. First off my comment about overhead cupboards. "you do you want" sais I. Well meaning it's your van if you want cupboards go for it. I've nothing against them aside I keep hitting my head on the things so they are not for me. Also keep hitting my head on the toilet doorframe and that side door runner holder. Not to mention the times I've hit my head coming through from the cab. Really pleased we do not have a van swear jar I tell ya.
Hence Mandy made me this. Soft no pain. simple pipe lagging foam covered with cloth and pushed on.
couple of rectifications. Mandy, actually made the new sausage and beans cupboard, did all the lino work and plenty of other things. This was a team effort didn't want it to sound like it was all me.





I did do this all on me lonesome though. First hole I made through the side of the van. Scared stiff I was but actually wasn't so bad. OK I had help "Before I screw this on does it look straight?"


There's midge netting on the inside of the outside skin (hollow wall) didn't want the blighters getting in and heading inside through the walls. Easy to replace if need be. Unscrew the inside vent hands through and restick fresh net.

 

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Van looking great there. For myself, I didn't read your words in anyway other then I think you meant them T:

I know what you mean in the head-banging. Been working on overcab storage and finding it hard to come up with a solution that doesn't involve knocking head on shelf. And same for the OH cupboards ... I intend to add some, but will make them very slimline I think.


I never noticed until your last post you had a sliding door! That seems unusual with a custom body? Is it steel body or GRP? (Whatever it is, it is very nicely integrated to the cab. Fancy an Ambulance myself now :) )
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Cheers Hoovie.
Loving this ambulance lark. For a first time build it sure made things easier and cheaper.
It's a plastic body double skinned and pre insulated with loads of fibreglass. Yep found that stuff when I did the vent. Had to make a box to put in the wall cavity so not to let fibreglass head inwards with the wind.


There's a lot of very hard and I mean very hard, burn out angle grinding disks quick hard, stainless steel running at 3 points lengthways. That makes things a pain if you want to drill the wall. Have to work around them. The overhead Kitchen cabinet was actually drilled and screwed in the pre made holes that were there when the other overhead cupboards were there and held in by long solid metal straps down the wall to a place where I could actually screw it in.
There's 2 long metal strips along either side of the roof about 6 inches in from the edge where the overheads were. I bought a 12 quid carbide drill bit and cooling paste on slow RPM. Didn't even touch it. Only bad side of It I found.


Ex ambulances are great. Self levelling Air suspension. Great when you park up walk in the back and hear the pump level things out. Air seats in the front, Air con. Tinted windows. Well serviced. Mine was cheap as it was a mates abandoned project and it didn't have a diesel heater in there but if you get that too. What a bonus.


Have you decided on fitting a toilet room in yours?
 

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Still undecided just what to do there. I have an open floor area around 6 foot long from drivers seat to bed and while in one way it is wasted unused space, I like the openess it provides and stops the cramped enclosed tunnel-like feeling you can get with some campers.

This week's thoughts are to have a tall cupboard around 400x400 and with a low pull out drawer for the portapotti storage...
Next week ... Who knows :* :D
 

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Well seeing that this van is all about doing it on the cheap. I've been waiting for my handbrake shoes to turn up but did some stuff inside. I wanted an exhaust vent in there. The Van had a hole in the roof that went to this bit.







Aha I sais. If I put some old PC fans in there. (That I had under the bed) I have an extractor.
So armed with some hot glue. Some rubber for the sound and some wire I cut off of my old broken tyre inflator. Went to work





Yes it works. I turned it on, had a lungful of vape and puffed. Out it went. Draws 0.03 of an amp per fan. Had it running overnight, not too noisy to keep you awake. It's like your PC running and didn't touch the battery, Of course we know it wouldn't.


So instead of plugging it in here



It's retractable, this wire, by the way. Goes right inside the white bit.







I'll wire it up to one of the unused ambulance switches by the cooker. Later.
Total cost 4 quid.


Might turn them around and have a air in blower. Dont know if in or out is better. Either way. It works.
 
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