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Discussion Starter #1
Had about 3 weeks converting my Van so far. Wish i'd found this site before hand as i've made plenty of mistakes already. Pictures to follow shortly.
 

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First Pic of our new pride and joy. The missus finally gave in after years of nagging.


Went for a high top as everything revolved around being able to sleep with 4 bikes in the van (i have a plan). I've had a bit of a look around the forums and it seems like us "high toppers" are the proverbial black sheep around here. Life revolves around mountain biking for me and i wasn't willing to have 4 expensive bikes hanging off the back. It's our first conversion and we invested a fair chunk of our savings in the base vehicle. I didn't want to invest a lot of time and money into converting, for not many years use. Problem with this, is that it makes all the major jobs particularly scary. I've already cut a hole in the roof to fit a skylight so i'm getting used to it.

As i said above, i've already made a few basic errors, which i could have avoided had i found these forums first. Grateful for any expertise you kind folk are willing to share.

Wish me luck.
 

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This is where i was starting from inside. Already regretting not changing out the ply, as it's a) a bit grotty and b) too thin. Too late now as i've insulated and capreted the ply you see here.
 

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I mentioned i had a plan. Here are my high professional scale drawings. Think everything should fit, with a bit of wiggling here and there. Only drew 2 bikes but the other 2 will be roadies so much narrower.





 

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First Days work;

- Remove ply lining & floor
- Remove roof rack
- Remove Bulk head
- Clean van inside














 

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The chippy who had the van before us had made a right mess of the floor bolting through it. Not too worried as i planned to Hammerite and silkaflex everything.

Removing the roof rack on my own took an age. Had to duct tape a universal spanner to the bolt on the top of the roof, go inside and uncrew the nut, go back outside and move/retape the spanner, rinse and repeat for every bolt.
 

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Day 2 (& many more, even roped the Mrs' into it)- Insulation

I'd never heard of the sound deadening stuff until i came on here. Not to bothered about this to be honest, as after i insulated, it's pretty silent inside & i haven't even carpeted yet. One thing i had wish i'd known about, using bloody carpet spray on glue. I was sticking my insulation on with no more nails type mastic. The biggest draw back to this technique is that it takes an absolute age. I know there's a worry about high temperatures causing the glue to melt and the lining to peel off but i don't think this is an issue with no more nails type adhesives.















Mid way through the day's work, the carpet lining turned up. Couldn't resist doing one panel to check out the colour. Then for a quick bike check to get an idea of scale.
 

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Haha, thanks. She has lent a hand at a few vital moments but it's a lot less stressful when she's not involved. I'm a bit further along than this now but it's taking forever to upload pics as i'm away from home and i've got a painfully slow internet connection.
 

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Day 3:

- Remove roof rack frame (took longer than expected, i broke 3 drill bits drilling rivets and had to go and buy more).

- Hammerite rust spots and Silkaflex holes in floor.

- Insulation continued, with my ill advised plan of using mastic to stick down the foil insulation.

Rough plan, cover all metal with foil insulation, cover back of ply with foil insulation. Fill all spaces between with recycled plastic bottle insulation. To any newbies out there more naive than me; DO NOT USE FIBREGLASS! The vibrations of the Van eventually turn it into fine dust, which you inevitably end up breathing in.










 

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Day 4:

My skylight turned up so the bit i hadn't been looking forward to. Highest stress day working on the Van so far. Cutting a big hole in the top of the most expensive vehicle i've ever owned. My Dad is the king cowboy when it comes to work around the house. I rang him for a pep talk just before doing it and he said "i'd take it to a pro". Cheers for the vote of confidence Dad.

Ladder was too short so i had to use some highly inadvisable HSE practices. I was pretty chuffed with the end result though, think i did a neat (not the horrible Americanism) job.















With hindsight, wish i'd fitted a fan skylight in the front. After seeing sjwk's conversion on here, i'd like to fit a big solar panel and that means i can't fit another skylight in the back. Probable best to have the fan driven vent above where we plan to cook too.
 

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Day 5;

All i achieved was putting a base down for the floor. Probably my largest up so far. I did't use wood thin enough to stay flush with the top of the metal floor grooves so now our floor flexes a bit as you walk around. More in some areas than others. May see what i can do to address this before i lay my lino.

 

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Day 6:

Insulating the floor (2coats) with help from the Mrs'. She started taking more interest in it at this point as we decided we were going to use it to camp for Greenman festival a few days later. Our first outing and a good test.







The insulation is really starting to drag now. I want to get it right though. Some of you may think i'm going overboard with it but we want to use the Van for ski trips and winter camping.
 

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Day 7;

Carpeting the ply panels. Satisfying and rapid progress. Got them all done in a few hours after work #Teamwork.







 

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Day 8:

Insulating the roof





Except for a bit of mastic in the hair, easy. Planning to do two layers but i was a bit worried about sticking the second layer to the first until it was properly dry. I had originally planned to carpet straight over this so it could have been an issue had it all started peeling. Plans have somewhat changed now and i'm going to ply line the roof.
 

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Ran out of time so off to Greenman for the first test of the van.

All packed up





Blow up bed, electric cool box and picnic table. Still a massive step up from sleeping in a tent
 

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First outing. Loads of drama on the drive down. Got about 3/4 of the way there when darkness fell. Turned the lights on and nothing, turned the lights back off and they came on. Thought that was all okay until we started getting flashed by everyone, pulled in to find that the lights are either on at the front or the rear but not both at the same time. Have since contacted the vendor and he's assured me he'll fix it when i get back from work. To pile misery onto frustration, my wallet fell out of the door (we think) when we stopped in the lay by and i lost our cash for the whole weekend.

The Van was definitely more comfortable than a tent, even though the blow up bed was too wide, so we both ended up sliding into the middle of the V. Bought some cheap thermal screen covers before we left and you get what you pay for.

We learned;

- That no matter how well insulated, it's going to be too cold in winter without a heater.
- We need more ventilation. Even in summer with the skylight open it was pretty damp in the morning.





That's as far as we got converting. I've been away with work ever since. To be honest, it's the best thing that could have happened. It's forced me to slow down and take time to plan a little better and I FOUND THIS SITE. I've even worked out where there is space for my surfboards inside.

To do list for the next time i'm home in order;

- Finish insulation and carpet pillars
- Build & Install 4 bike rack
- Fit vinyl floor
- Build bed skeleton, bench seat skeleton and electrical housing cupboard
- Install swivel seat
- Install Leisure battery and electrics
- Fit window in sliding door

That's probably massively over ambitious with the amount of time i'll have but aiming high.
 

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Send you Mrs round here cause 1, she stunning beautiful and 2 seems to be doing most of the work on the van lol I:I:
 
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