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Can anyone advise me what sets a good conversion apart from an average one. I will be looking at the quality of the main components eg the make of the rear seats, roof etc, but what are the more subtle things that I should look for. There are presumably shortcuts that a poor converter will take, but a quality converter won't. What are they.
 

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I'm just about to embark on the process but I've been doing the research for a year or more. I plan on doing the electrics, plumbing and lining myself as they're easy enough and leaving the poptop, windows and possibly seat to the pros.

From what I've gathered you need to look at converters who post pictures and descriptions of what they do, an explanation of what type of insulation and why they choose it, rustproofing bare edges etc, someone who can fit a poptop in half a day may sound attractive but they can't be taking the care of a converter who needs 2 days . Testimonials from this forum are a good indicator.
 

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Make sure you get the right windows... there is alot of dross on the market! i went to a few suppliers of glass and also a few converters... it seemed to me that the converters didnt want to pay to much for the windows but wanted to charge alot for the windows... i swindled a few companies to say i was in the trade to get a better price to mainly find out how much i was being charged for the windows...

i noticed there is alot of turkish and chinese windows(80% privacy) on the market where the shaping of the glass is terrible and it is very out of shape when you go fit in the corners some time they fit flush at the top and then at the bottom its way out...

where as the spanish glass(90% Privacy) is high quality but abit more expensive
 

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Get them to show you the insulation at least somewhere on the van. We had two vans from a very large converter in surrey who makes about 300 vans a year. When i went to fit my reversing camera and sliding door store the insulation was non-existent in the tailgate and in the sliding door consisted of a piece of felt 10"x6". Check the internal quality of the cabinetry including whether the screws all match, a small thing i know but if various types of screws have been used on the same type of fitting then it will be a good indicator of the standard throughout. Look at the electrical installation and see how neat and tidy it is, have cables been clipped in place, properly shrouded and crimped, etc. If your unsure go to someone like a caravan dealer first and look at the installation in the cupboards, etc for some pointers, I know its a caravan but at least they are built in accordance with a 'national standard'
 

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Get them to show you the insulation at least somewhere on the van. We had two vans from a very large converter in surrey who makes about 300 vans a year. When i went to fit my reversing camera and sliding door store the insulation was non-existent in the tailgate and in the sliding door consisted of a piece of felt 10"x6". Check the internal quality of the cabinetry including whether the screws all match, a small thing i know but if various types of screws have been used on the same type of fitting then it will be a good indicator of the standard throughout. Look at the electrical installation and see how neat and tidy it is, have cables been clipped in place, properly shrouded and crimped, etc. If your unsure go to someone like a caravan dealer first and look at the installation in the cupboards, etc for some pointers, I know its a caravan but at least they are built in accordance with a 'national standard'

I agree in many respects but would make the point that the tailgate is a door and as such is designed to have water enter it (particularly when open in the rain). The water will then drip out of the weep holes at the bottom. We put some strips of sound deadening and foil backed foam in the tailgate. However, if you stuff it with a traditional insulation material, then this will absorb the water that will naturally flow and have difficulty drying out.
The sliding door is a bit different in that it has a drip tray moulded around the handle area which should keep the door dry.

But you do need to probe a little deeper than the glitz that may be present on the surface of a conversion.

We put all our photos on facebook as we go along....more for the benefit of the actual customer, but it shows the process warts and all.:)
 

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I went to the caravan and motorhome show at the NEC last month hoping to buy an awning and few other bits, whilst there I had a good look around all the VW converters at the show and was shocked by some of the workmanship I saw, even more so as this must be one of the biggest shows for numbers of people viewing their vans. Having worked for one of the countries most prestigious car manufacturers I have seen exactly how they handle press and show cars, they go through the factory labelled as a 'Golden Standard' car and have to be absolutely flawless, unlike the a lot of the general production models they get meticulous inspections.

The very first van I went in I opened the under sink cupboard, all holes that had been drilled or cut for pipe runs still had the burr from the drill, no edging and no attempt to remove sharp edges. Then moved to next converter and looked at rear storage area, took a pic of what I saw as it was truly amatuer, not sure if I can upload them into this thread but basically at first site looked ok, look closer and the furniture board was fixed to 2x1 batons that again hadn't even had the ends sanded, edges of boards looked they had been cut with a hack saw, few with gaps of 2mm, some with protective cover still stuck around corners. If they were show vans I wouldn't want to see what they produce when they are busy. If I paid around 40k and found that out after I would be taking it back!
 

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devils in the detail,

Look beyond the glossy units and beyond the expensive beds and check the quality of the finishing, if thats right, it's most likely the rest will be just right too.
 

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Narrow down your chosen converters to a shortlist using reccomendations and reviews then arrange to visit their workshops for a consultation to discuss what they can offer you and how and why they carry out their conversions. By this time you will have a feel for the company and if they take pride in their work or just want to empty your wallet. Make sure you are 100% comfortable handing over your van to them.
For the record there is no such thing as to much attention to detail when it comes to screws. We only use spax torx and stainless spax torx screws as I cant stand it when phillips and slotted screw heads dont all align and it is less noticable with a 6 sided torx isnt perfectly aligned with the next one and spax because ......... well they are spax. :D
 
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