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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Sadly my father-in-law passed away earlier this year leaving us his pride and joy – a 26ft Vanmaster caravan. My wife is adamant we’re keeping it, but we had nothing to tow it with. The only option was to upgrade my 1.9D SWB T4 to a 2.5TDi 102 I:

It was a bit a of a panic buy as I needed to find something ASAP - the caravan needed moving off the site my father-in-law had it on by the end of September. Luckily we found a nice 02 LWB T4 twin slider with air con which should be an ideal base van for a new project:









First thing was to get a tow bar fitted:



Then a day trip to Vanfest for some extra goodies incl. wind deflectors, clear indicators and new wheels (although I’m not fitting these yet)





I also wanted to upgrade the VW stereo and after a few beers one night had a bit of an impulse buy on ebay. Only £150 and seems to work OK



Anyway, I bought the van for a reason – yesterday I towed the caravan from Hastings to just west of Swindon – it’s a big sucker, nearly 1700KG empty, 2000KG fully loaded which I believe is the max towing weight for a T4. The van performed really well considering the extra weight

I don’t intend to tow the caravan very often; it’s on a new site now and will probably just be used for the occasional weekend trip



I’ve also just moved house so this will be a slow build thread, but hopefully it’ll be a full camper by spring 2010.

Next it’s off to see Darren in Maidenhead for a cambelt service to ensure it’s mechanically sound before I start any serious conversion work.

Nick
 

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nice looking van mate, you didn't have to tow that bloody thing around the roundabout nightmare of the world that is Swindon did you ? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
OK, it’s been a long time since I’ve updated this thread and as I said originally this will be a slow build thread. So here we go, progress so far:

Lowered the van 40mm



And fitted the wheels I picked up at Vanfest:



Then the van went to Luxe Conversion to have a side windows and Variotech seat fitted:





Built support under the drivers side rear slider door step and intend to store the jack and spanner here. Longer term I’ll build a door to hide it all away. The other rear slider has a standard VW step.



Lined the cab floor with flashing tape and routed the wire for the VSR kit from TidyT’s



Took the rotating captains seats out of my old van (which is still for sale by the way, although not advertised at the moment)



Just purchased the Ikea cabinets which I thought were supposed to be the cheap option for furniture? I nearly fell over when they told me how much, but then again my wife does have expensive tastes when it comes to cabinet doors.

On holiday next week, but plan to insulate and line the van shortly after.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Managed to get some time to work on the van again:

Insulated the back with Kingspan





Then started to map out the interia. I want to keep use of both sliding doors so worked out a cupboard configuration allowing a walkway in front of a forward facing fridge. This has worked out well IMO as it allows the driver’s seat to completely rotate and it just so happens the fridge is within easy reach for beer refills whilst camping. It also means the fridge can be opened easily with the bed down.



I have 18mm Ply secured to the side of the van to hold the fridge in place + built a cupboard with loads of supporting brackets around the fridge making it secure. This cupboard will also be secured to the floor.

Also, the variotech seat is normally locked in the furthest forward position whilst travelling so there’s no chance of the fridge moving as the cupboard butts up against the seat.



I then moved on to the other cupboards including building a storage area for a wheeled water container at the back. Again, this worked out quite well IMO – the water container slides in perfectly + it gives a ledge for the variotech rear bolster cushions to rest. The variotech seat also slides past if positioned at the rear.







I also stole an idea of Mattyd to hold the other side of the bolster cushion rather than box in the other wheel arch – thanks for the pics Matt. The bolster cushions wedge against the cupboard door when in place making it nice and rigid.



So now I’ve decided on the basic layout it’s time to route some wires before finishing the insulation and tackling the lining. I’m not looking forward to the carpet lining to be honest.
 

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nice van and starting ti look good, omg how long is the trailer looks like one of the longest one's, my mate towed one of these all the way to spain to put on a site down there,
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I've managed to get quite a bit done over the past few weekends:

Bought some 4mm Ply to replace the old shot roof panels, but managed to use the old ones as templates. Bought an extra interior light and fitted this in the rear roof panel.

Complete job done for £20 – bargain :)



Bought and fitted a door threshold to make carpeting a bit easier



Wired and fitted speakers in the rear doors, including lifting the panels out slightly. Quite happy with the finish once carpeted. I decided to put the speakers quite central in the van so they weren’t hidden behind the cabinets when fitted + to make a great party area behind the van when the doors are thrown open







Bought the lining carpet and couldn’t resist buying a van mat at the same time



I’m all up for taking short cuts so decided to use a shop bought camping hookup. I’ve had this one for years so no extra cost.

Routed the wire before carpeting



I finished the insulation to the walls, doors and roof then onto the job I’d been dreading – carpeting. I commandeered our dining room and started with the panels



Then onto the metalwork. I covered the holes with aluminium tape, roughed up the surfaces and sprayed high temp glue onto the metalwork and carpet. I was surprised how flexible the carpet was – not as bad a job as feared.





I secured a wooden batten to the van to help fix the cupboards



Also fixed lighting to the wires I’d already routed, a cigar socket in the side panel + mounted some securing points to hold my precious bikes in place whilst travelling. I’m not sure if others have this, but there was a threaded brazed point on the wheel arch which provided a nice 3rd securing eye.






Replaced one of the side panel securing screws with a loop to hold the over cupboard seat belt out of the way while cooking or travelling



Then it was time to get the cupboards back in. I’m using a cupboard side panel as the work top rather than a heavy kitchen worktop and hope it will stand the test of time.

Spent ages cutting the holes for the sink and hob



As I have a twin slider a combo sink/hob unit wouldn’t fit due to the pilar being in the way so I went for separate appliances with the sink at one end of the worktop and hob at the other.



Refitted the fridge



Really chuffed how the hob worked out. We’ll be able to cook with the van door open + the van door clears the cooker lid so no risk of accidents.



Nervously drilled a couple of holes through the cupboards and van floor for the water waste and a gas drop out vent. Again, this wasn’t as bad as I’d feared.



And I’m now fitting the rest of the cupboards



It’s all going to plan so far and I’m chuffed to bits how it’s looking. The cupboards still have the protective film on in the pictures above and we’re looking forward to the grand reveal day.

Unfortunately we have some busy weekends ahead so I may struggle to work on the van again for a while. We’re booked for the Plymouth Volksfest so it has to be finished by then
 

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You've been a busy boy.. looking good.. seems to be coming on really fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I apologise I've been so rubbish at updating the build thread, but I've managed to get quite a bit more completed and actually managed to use the van for the first time at Vanwest.

They say a picture paints a thousand words so I'll try to keep the text to a minimum:

Finished off the gas vent and plumbed in the sink and hob



Finished the mains hookup + the water tank (cap is from Reimo). Still need to cover the end panel and boxing around the water tank.



Ran a satellite cable from the false fog light to a small 12v receiver on a shelf in the battery cupboard. This keeps the kids occupied on longer trips.





Boxed in the battery and installed a Numax charger



Tucked the TidyT fuse box at the bottom of the cupboard



Hid most of the switches away in the cupboard. My lights have switch so no need to access the cupboard to turn them on/off



And that's the inside just about done



And enough room for me and my wife when the bed's down



Both front seats swivel so we can all sit around the detachable table



And the table fits under the rear seat so it's hidden away when not in use



Installed the mains sockets and 12v socket at the end of the cupboard run above the forward facing fridge. I also installed a 12v socket on the other side behind the slider so the kids have 1 each to stop arguments whilst driving. I also installed a 12v socket in the front wired to the leisure battery and while I was there ran a supply from the leisure battery to power the radio.



Then moved to the outside to install the awning rail in the gutter. £15 and job done - 2.4M of rail to keep us nice and dry inside.



This works really well with the awning



Put a VW badge in the side panel to vent the fridge + Ikea LED lights along the boxed in side step. The idea being the awning attaches to this side of the van and these act as awning lights. I still need to decide how to cover this panel and I'm thinking leatherette, but suggestions are welcome



So there we have it. With the rear seat locked in it's furthest forward position there's still plenty of leg room for kids or adults, we can use both side doors, + gain easy access to the fridge for that cold drink or snack whilst driving.





My family are into Triathlon and Cycling hence why I went for the Variotech seat again.. This is where the added bonus of a LWB came in. With the rear seats locked in their forward position I can now carry the bikes with their front wheels on.



Or if I need extra storage I take the front wheels off and lock the bikes to a Thule carrier, secured to the Variotech rails



I also replaced the CMC springs with the much more expensive Eibach's and I think the whole van is looking pretty good now (excuse the dots on the photo, can't get rid of them for some reason)





We went to Vanwest and the good news is everything worked, although my wife soon made a mess of my lovely new interior



I like to keep my family busy - my wife cooking on the hob and son in the background on our new Cobb



The idea of the units being on the awning side also works really well as you can get to the fridge and hob easily without going into the van. It also helps in poor weather (as with Vanwest) as you can cook with the awning side slider open to let those nasty smells escape. Excuse the mess and please ignore my family's blatant disrespect for the environment by having a fan heater in the awning.



It's also nice having the Khyam awning on this side as it opens to the front:





Still some finishing off to go, but you will see us out and about at the shows this year - Plymouth next. I still don't know that many people from the forum so please come over and say hello if you recognise the van. I'll normally have a tea or beer on the go so don't be shy to ask.





Cheers
Nick
 

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A: A: A:

Really nice conversion you've done there - well done that man A:

Looks to be really well thought out and appears ideal for people carrying, camping and toys. Good to see both sliders usable as well (mine are not I:)


I do have one question though.......


early in the build thread your jack was going to live in the false floor, in the step area under the fridge.....



hope you didn't leave it in there when you panelled it in :D



Good work buddy and nice build thread T:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Thanks and well spotted :)

No, I decided against leaving the jack there, it's now in the cupboard behind the gas bottle.

Later I may convert the step space to a cupboard, but want to decide on the covering for that panel first.

I also thought of putting a small fold out table into the awning on the same panel, similar to those found on some bays, but that's another job for later.
 
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