Wednesday, April 28, 2010


FINISHED ! ….. well almost. As far as insurance criteria being satisfied, gas safe certification and it working as a campervan all relevant things are now in place.

All that’s left now is a bit of fine tuning and trimming.... A local engineering co. is fabricating some stainless steel guards for the cooker/grill this week, a cutlery tray to be sourced and thats it.

First trip out was from Yorkshire up to The Borders for a night then down to Northumberland camp site for another stop over before returning home. We got a very satisfactory 32.5 mpg on a 450 mile round trip on motorways, A roads and country lanes. Everything worked perfectly.

Next time we sleep in it we will be in France ...... just cant wait :)

Waste bin

It may seem trivial but somewhere for rubbish and waste is essential, we used to hang a bag off the back of the drivers seat but this time we have gone up market....We found a slimline bin in Wilkinsons (Wilco) that fits between the Cannon Forge bed and the units... its even got a carbon filter smell absorber thingy in the lid. Velcro on the bottom and on the bed brackets holds it in place nicely but is easily accessible.

Cab curtains

Cab window privacy typically means …

  • stick on thermal screens … that fall off and are very bulky

  • external wrap around screen …. that means going outside to put it on or remove and having to store wet and drippy screens in the van

  • bulkhead curtain … cutting off rotating passenger seat from van body

    None of these are acceptable so ace seamstress (AKA Mrs MAB) called in to help and a bespoke curtain was made to clip onto the door pillar coat hooks using a key ring and the sun visor clips by means of a button hole in the curtain.

What about condensation at night I hear you cry .... well you are going to get some somewhere so I would rather it was on the windscreen where I can wipe it off in the morning rather than some other deep recesses of the conversion.

High top storage

Fitting the storage in the high top was achieved by more use of foam card templates to create ply frames.

Then I fitted a shelf in the rear for storage over the camping chairs.

Covering of the frames and door hanging was pretty straight forward ... carpet, glue, screws ... the usual stuff.

But ...trying to find door stays to hold the doors open that were sufficiently robust was a problem so in the end I made my own.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Furniture, fridge, gas and electrics !

Wow it’s a long time since I updated the blog and I’ve been very busy.

Needed to hit the insurance deadline so I took a couple of weeks off work and went hard at it.

Carpet (cut earlier) now laid but before so doing I ripped up the floor an put extra supports under there as it was a bit weak in places.

The furniture is now in - the pieces were CNC cut, vinyl wrapped, MDF from Jasmine at Horbury Bridge. They came wrapped in cling film and so during test builds I left it on to protect the finish so some of the photos may look weird. I should have taken more photos of the furniture build but my mind was on the job rather than the blog …..

Fridge went in and out soooo many times, needed to raise it 5mm to line up with the flue. Building the metal baffle on the underside of the fridge cover was a challenge and took far too much time. I should have bought some thinner aluminium sheet – it would have been so much easier to work with.

I needed to get the gas connected too. Fridge, grill/hob, heater to the manifold then through to the gas locker. Now plumbing is not my forte but I amazed myself – not a single leak and its all tested and certified by a local LPG Gas Safe chappie.

Then on to the water side – pump connected and wired in – I wish all the jobs were that easy !

Cabling up the electrics should be included in a yoga text book – I found myself contorting into positions and places that beggar belief ! Getting all that wire back to the wardrobe to wire everything together was interesting. Message to self …. Next time fit the electrical control unit first and build everything around it. Also well p@@@ed off with the install documentation that did not make it clear that the wiring diagram was for looking at the plugs from the rear not the front ! That added a day to the job rewiring the darned plugs after the event …. Not happy with that! But all’s well etc … all tested and working well now.

We also got the soft furnishings in last week. These are from Premier Furnishings in Ilkestone – loose (well bloody tight really) covers on the front seats and cushions covered and quilted in the rear.

I will do another blog entry just on T5 seat removal as this is so easy when you know which bolt to unscrew !

Just got the one cab seat covered for now – doing the second tomorrow …

Monday, March 8, 2010

Final push to hit insurance deadline ....

The final push begins !

No photos tonight - I'm too tired.

Picked up furniture yesterday morning from Jasmine and lined up all the bits to see that it all fitted. Wardrobe needed trimming now the carpet is in - its lifted the floor by 5mm or so. Sink looks to be a perfect fit and am pleased with it all.

Today was an early start (for me) 7.30AM

I started trimming the off side window frames that I didn't want to start till the furniture was here. Passed frames to my better half for covering while I got on with the fridge fitting .... this looks tricky .... The sequence of assembly of furniture, flue gas extract, and gas supply means it might be a complete rebuild if it needs repair or maintenance .... ooer ...

Then this eve fitted the window frames and blinds.

Tools away 9.00PM

Work tomorrow then more van stuff on Wednesday.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Carpet (on the floor) ... insulation and more holes.

Remember this …. “This weeks plan is: holes get cut for LPG gas inlet, 240v socket and fridge vents, carpet to be laid, improve brackets for leisure batterymake a bracket for the heater

Well we got the holes cut for fridge vents, 240v & gaslow and fittings installed.
Waste outlet appears to be right under the porta-potty DOH! So had to drill another hole in the floor no big deal just slowing things up.
Carpet … cut but not laid.
Leisure battery now properly safe and secure.
Heater bracket – components made ready for swift assembly once furniture arrives. I don’t want to install just yet – would rather just do it once!

Went through to see Michael from Jasmine on Saturday to discuss final tweaks and changes for the furniture. Fingers crossed should have it next weekend.

Also found that I had put too much insulation in the sliding door and it was bowing out and touching the van side so that had to come off and be replaced.

Off side insulation has been installed behind the furniture. Of note is the insulation behind the fridge. Some say don’t do it but ….. this is my reasoning:
Warm moist air condenses on cold surfaces.
The air behind the fridge will be warm …. and moist as its open to the elements and sucking in the cold night air, mist and dew.
An uninsulated van side will also be cold and condensate on the inside of van side is an obvious (to me) consequence.

So it’s well insulated with a double skin of recycled rigid 25mm kingspan - Thanks Steve - with a thin layer of recycled plastic insulation behind it. I used rigid stuff here because I don’t want it to block the air flow.

We also acquired some Fiamma drip stop for over the sliding door but that’s yet to be installed ….. it says do it between 18 and 35 degrees ! Some hope at this time of year !!!!

Plans for this week, just get the carpet down and build up strength for next week. I booked some time off work so it’s going to be fun …..

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gas vents, Carpet Panels, Window Frames & Blinds

What a busy weekend !

It started with drilling gas drop out vent holes and the waste water outlet. I spent more time diving in and under the van confirming hole location than actually drilling! Holes were drilled with a SCARY hole borer with vicious teeth. The teeth are so big I was really quite worried that they would snag and lock up the drill. However running the drill fast and with a high torque setting applied as if using the drill as screwdriver things went just fine. When it did snag no damage was done and I just eased off. Then clean up with metal file, apply red oxide paint and Waxoil – job done. Just need to fit the drop out vents in place and waste water pipe but that will come after the carpet.

Next job required assistance and was very much a partnership, carpeting the door and other panels, and the window frames made earlier. The frames needed trimming with about an extra 4mm being taken off all round as no where near enough lee way had been allowed for the carpet thickness. Thank heavens I have a band saw ! And of course - special mention to Mega Van Mats for the carpet, glue and magic trim clips that hold the panels in place.

Once again – working in the snow – 3” of snow fell in the early hours of Sunday morning – the BBC forecast said FOG. Well that’s the lumpiest fog I have ever seen!

Then the blinds went in – well three anyway. We still need the furniture to fine tune the off side windows.

Things are a bit tight now, insurance deadline looming and I really need the furniture – it was due last week but the guy that programmes the CNC cutting machine is in hospital after a motor bike accident.

This weeks plan is :
holes get cut for LPG gas inlet, 240v socket and fridge vents,
carpet to be laid,
improve brackets for leisure battery
make a bracket for the heater

Monday, February 15, 2010

Propex heater, battery, seat covers and holes in the floor

Wow ! What a weekend not much to show this week as its all been tape measures and calculators once again in sub-zero temperatures. Then updating the drawings and making sure the final build instructions actually work !

On the more positive side. The sink finally got ordered and the front seat covers and the leisure battery (100ah Elecsol) arrived..... geddit ? battery, positive .... Oh never mind.

And after much scrabbling about in and under the van all the positions for holes in the floor are marked out - thats 4 x gas drop outs, 1x waste water, 2x propex heater (air in and fumes out). Propex install could be tough given my preferred location in the cupboard - I am going to have to rig up a special mount as the pipes will need to be off set rather than straight through the van floor. More on this later.....

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Furniture - part 1

Furniture now, well part one anyway. After hours of measuring and thinking and drawing and measuring and …… eventually we agreed on a layout and design that suits us. Some key issues :

1) Rapid access to tables – solution stored between drivers seat and fridge
2) Camping chair storage – solution in high top over bed but 2 shelves to keep coats and chairs tangle free
3) Fridge, Porta potti and Heater needed
4) Pumped water stored in the van
5) Gas system – long debate on this but eventually chose Gaslow

All drawn up on Visio then PDF’ed off to Michael Goulden at

Jasmine Bathroom & Kitchens
Addingford Mills,
Addingford Lane,
West Yorkshire
Tel: 01924 266674

Michael suggested a test build …. Cost a few bob more but I am so glad we did it !

Everything fits in place but getting the cut outs for the wheel arch and the rock n roll bed frame needed quite a bit of hacking. Being able to confirm that all the gubbins fits in its designed place is wonderful and adding a few millimeters here and there will make the job so much more perfect.