Finally Finished

After a year of trying to find a way of getting the doors I wanted on the cheap I decided to bite the bullet. I measured them up and ordered them from a custom kitchen company in Leeds.

They’re fitted now and finish off the van with the look I was after.

Doors 1

Doors 2

Doors 3

A mate with an upholstery business made me the foam pads for the bed/seat. Had six weeks of sleeping on them so far and not had an uncomfatable night yet.

We’ve been very pleased with the van so far and theres only a few small adjustments need to make it our ideal holiday transport.

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Summer In Europe Trip 2010

Daily trip reports now posted. Click on links at top of this page.

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Getting There

Another two days on the van, lots of work with not much to show for it.

I remade three of the doors that I’d cut the wrong size the first time. All hung now.

Doors

More doors

Did a lot of small jobs, tidying up the insides of the cupboards and got some more carpet trimming done as well. I glued the laminated map onto the table. The wife and her mate gave it the thumbs up.

Table and wife

I made a couple of speaker boxes that fit under the driver and passenger seat.

Speakers

Took a few photos of the outside just before the sun set.

Outside view

Outside view again

A couple more weekends will see it all done.

Some photos of the interior lights took tonight.

Lights 1

Lights 2

Lights 3

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I’ve Got The Power

Electrics and plumbing were on the cards this weekend.

I got the leisure battery fitted and connected. Then 2nd fixed the 240v power and the 12v lighting.

I need to alter the labeling on the 12v fuse and switch panel, although I quite like the idea of having an anchor light and a bilge pump.

12v panel

The door side got a decent reading light and some blingy blue led spots. The battery monitor got stuck on this cupboard too.

Door side

Theres plenty of info on the little battery meter’s read-out.

Battery Meter

The kitchen unit got a nice bright led strip light above it and I added some more blue led spots at floor level. If you look real close you can see a 12v outlet under the drivers seat I added to plug in the cool box fridge.

Kitchen unit

So it seems to be coming together, the hob got plumbed to the gas cupboard in some small bore copper pipe and the sink waste is now installed as well.

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It Started With A List

Wrote up what was needed to complete the build on a white board in the garage. Quite a few bits left to get on with.

White Board

On Saturday I started on the temporary kitchen worktop. I had some Formica covered marine ply which I cut and laminated to make a nice thick worktop. Then came the job of marking up and cutting out the sink/hob hole. This will later be replaced with something a bit more “bling”

Worktop

My idea was to stick the same rubber tiles I used on the floor on the worktop. And it didn’t work out too bad and may stay for a while.

In Van

I then made an end panel near the sink which got the rubber treatment too. This will have a double socket and a four gang light switch wired into it.

End Panel

Then it was onto the doors. Cut and edges rounded and all now ready for going away to be painted in a high gloss finish.

Doors

I also made a start on a shallow shelf unit above the cooker that will have some small spots fitted in it. I got the boards cut ready to fit to the bed frame and cut, carpeted and fitted a front panel on the bed base.

Quite a productive weekend.

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Cupboard Love

Today I had a bash at the cupboards again.

First I needed to add a few more bits of framing for where doors would go.

Pic1

Then lay the frame on the sheeting and mark out the cuts.

Pic2

I used a large hole saw to get a nice radius on the door openings.

Then the big nasty router came out, the thing scares the hell out of me.

Pic3

Pic4

When I’d got all the door openings cut it was back to carpeting.

Pic5

Pic6

It now needs fixing in the van so I can scribe the two ends of the tall cupboard to match the curve of the van sides.

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Hiding The Battery

I wanted my leisure battery hid away under the drivers seat. The problem was that it didn’t quite fit.

I decided to raise the seat, the passenger seat has a swivel on it so it was already higher that the drivers seat. Raising it would also make them the same height again.

Too low

I had some heavy duty channel which I cut to length and drilled to match the existing fixing holes.

On the bench

I bolted it to the existing fixings.

Bolted in

I also mounted an isolating switch on the side of the seat base.

Now with added height

Isolating Switch

I’ve left the final connections until I’m ready to liven it up. I also got the cable routed from the engine battery to the leisure battery and the charging relay fitted in the engine bay.

Job Done

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Pop Top Roof

Had the Pop Top Roof fitted a couple of weeks ago by a company in Sheffield called Vamoose.

I had it sprayed the same colour as the van as I’m not too keen on the plain white ones that you see driving around.

I’ve also got the basic frame for the cabinets fitted and the bed in place.

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Biscuits And Glue

Started the day mucking out the garage.

Then onto the bit I’d been looking forward to.  Building the cabinets.

I’ve not used any screws or nails.  Just biscuits and glue.  Nice and easy to use and makes strong joints.

First the plan.  I’m not a real draftsman by the way.

The chosen tool of the day

The progress made today……

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And So It Continues.

Had a good weekend working on the van.

Saturday:  Got the last of the wiring installed and then fitted the lined ply sheets to the walls.

Then made a start on the floor.

Sunday:  Spent all day getting the Nora floor tiles laid.  Next job will be giving them a coat of wax then bolting the Rock & Roll bed down.

And a gratuitous arty farty shot

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Split Charge Wiring Diagram

I’ve spent a while deciding on how I want the electrical install to work in the van.  I’ll plan the layout of the lights, sockets and pump later.

This is the preliminary plan.  The intelligent split charge relay will be mounted next to the starter battery in the engine compartment.  The leisure battery will fit under the drivers seat.  The 12v fuse panel, 240v MCB/RCD board, 12v/240v lighting transformer and spot light relay will be mounted in the rear cupboard by the back door.

It will enable me to have the following:

  • The leisure battery will charge while the engines running
  • The intelligent split charge relay will disconnect the starter battery from the leisure battery when the engines not running, this will stop it being flattened when parked up and using the lights, 12v outlets and water pump in the van
  • The biggest load on the leisure battery will be the 12v spotlights so I’ve added a relay and a 24v/240v transformer that will power them when connected to camp site 240v supplies

Additions at a later date:

  • I have a 600w 240v inverter that I’d like to add so I can charge/run my laptop.
  • I’d like to add a 240v battery charger to charge the leisure battery when connected to camp site 240v supplies
  • I have an amplifier and pair of large Alpine speakers which I’d like to power off the leisure battery

 

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Change Of Plan.

I was going to carpet all of the back of the van, covering up all the the blue. Tried a test piece and it was a nightmare to do and would have looked like a bodge.

So spent the weekend covering all the ply panels with carpet. The remaining blue paintwork around the windows and doors is going to be rubbed down and sprayed silk black.

Far easier and will look a lot better than the effect my crap carpeting skills would have produced.

So next job, rubbing down and painting, then rubber floor tiles, then re-fit the carpet covered ply panels.

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Fitting “Fasp” Seat Swivel

Fitted a swivel for the front seat today. Easy ten minute job, and the thing does what it’s supposed to do, it swivels the seat to face backwards.

To fit it, the seat was removed from the base by undoing the four Allen bolts that hold the seat rails to the base.

The swivel plate then bolts to the base using the four countersunk bolts supplied with the seat, leave them all loose until you’ve got them started into the threaded holes in the base. Then tighten them up.

The orange handle on the swivel needs to be facing the handbrake, pointing upwards.

Then drop the seat onto the swivel plate and use the Allen bolts you removed previously and four 13mm nuts to bolt the rails to the swivel, again fit loosely until all are located.

When fitted the seat can be swiveled 180 degrees to face into the back of the van.

I like it when things do what they’re supposed to do without any fecking about.

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Leisure batteries?

Who’d have thought it would be so hard to choose a leisure battery?

After a lot of trawling around I’ve gone for an Elecsol 110-12V 110Ah Carbon Fibre Deep Cycle Battery. It gets endorsements from The Caravan Club, Auto Trail mobile homes and Caravan Life.

Three reasons copied from their website why I chose this one:

More Power – Less Weight.
These batteries offer higher power and performance through the use of unique patented carbon
Fibre technology. Independent tests prove they give 20% more power output for no increase in the overall weight of the battery

5 Year Guarantee.
A full 5 year guarantee is offered world-wide for all our products for Deep Cycling Application and Engine Start.

3 x the Cycling Life.
The carbon fibre technology employed in the whole battery range significantly increases the cycling performance and life of the battery when compared to equivalent semi traction batteries. These batteries will complete over 1000 deep discharge cycles -3 times as many cycles as the nearest equivalent.

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Cooker and Sink Acquired

Found a cooker and sink combination that will fit in the narrow worktop and has two separate glass lids. It’s a Smev MO922L.

It came with all the pipe and conections required, even the gas bottle regulator. Bought from here for £290.

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Floor Panel And A 1st Attempt At Carpeting

On Sunday I had a go at re-covering the side panels. The old grey carpet was a pain to get off but the new carpet went on easily.

Lining

Lining

The Kingspan insulation got fitted and gaps filled with expanding foam. Then we ripped the old floor out.

Under the floor the van fllor was in good shape but full of sand and sawdust which Liz dealt with.

Hoover

Scrubber

I used the old fllor as a template and cut new floor sheetas out of exterior ply. The old floor sheets were put back in and then the old carpet then the new sheets placed on top and screwed down. The idea of sandwiching the carpet was to give some extra insulation.

New floor

The new floor in……

New floor

Other side

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Stripping Continues

Early Saturday start on stripping it out. The grey carpeting was good quality but not the colour I wanted so it needed ripping out. The ply panels came off easily.

Panels stripped out

Dumped in the garage for re-covering.

Saved for later

Theres no insulation behind the plywood panels. The first layer of insulation was glued on using high temperature spray on vehicle finishing glue. It’s a foil backed rubber thats usually used underneath wooden floors in houses. It will insulate and give some sound proofing.

1st layer

Door side

The next layer will be Kingspan sheets. All the blue metalwork needs covering in black lining carpet before the plywood panels are refitted with the same black carpet covering.

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Ripping Out

The first job was to take the second row of seats out as these weren’t needed for the conversion. I stuck them on ebay for £100 and they sold within a day which was unexpected.

Unwanted seats

With the seats out I dropped the Rock & Roll bed frame in to see how much room I’d have left for cabinets along the right hand side. The frame was £315 and came with two seat belts. Well made and a slightly different style to the normal ones leaving more room at the back of the van. It was bought from JDS Metaltech in Sheffield

R&R Bed Frame in

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1st Things 1st

The van was bought in Devon with 46k miles on it. It’s a T4 2.5 SWB. The previous owner had put two side windows in it and carpeted it in grey. There was also a second row of three seats fitted.

At dealers

They’d also fitted some VW Caravelle alloy wheels.

At home

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