In The Beginning - Thinking of self build

Discussion in 'Self-Build Motorhomes' started by manchestercamper, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. manchestercamper

    manchestercamper Read Only Funster

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    Hi
    background I have started to think of building my own camper van. I am now a solo camper.
    I want to build something which will be more than a day van just a simple camper
    Bast on something like the Fiat Doblo or similar . It would have all the necessary
    to be classed as a camper van by DVLA. I have seen builds on U Tube. Which i could easily do.

    My questions are this is it possible to use a base car such as Doblo or similar and by removing the back seats use the back as a camper as a ad hoc basis. The bed unit and kitchen can easily be made in such a way that they can be slide in and clipped into position.
    What are the implications regarding DVLA and insurance as the vercle would being used as both a car and a camper. does anyone know this?
     
  2. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi

    no reason why not.. such a conversion was undertaken by Steve of 'Marcle Leisure' .. (albeit was a larger van)

    Extract..

    The van has to earn its keep (as does anything we purchase), and therefore has to remain useful as a van. On that basis, everything has been made to be removable, the only exception has been the water boiler and pump on the inside, as we had to mount it through the wall of the van. The shower/toilet (the 'pod') has been built as one unit, as has the sink/cooker unit. They are lifted in and out of the van using a fork truck (well actually its a one ton dumper, with a fork truck mast mounted the opposite end to the load bucket - remember, everything has to earn its keep). The van is used as everyday transport, so an advantage of being able to remove the van contents is to reduce the van weight, thus save on fuel economy. The only thing that tends to remain in the vehicle is the bunk bed as its up on the wall and doesn't really encroach up on the load bay area. Under the vehicle are the water tanks and the reserve batteries.



    here is his blog
    http://www.soh.me.uk

    nice guy and I'm sure would help with any questions you have and parts required..
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2016
  3. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    I wonder how that is registered... It's unlikely to fill the dvla criteria for a motor caravan... but must probably just registered as is with modifications..
    Best of luck with your project...
    @Terry will I'm sure be able to advise if you become a full member..
    Andy..
     
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  4. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi and welcome (y)We have built on all-sorts of base vehicles -smallest yet a VW Caddy -deffo go for a elevating roof if I was you,we did'nt :LOL:- no matter what size it has to meet certain criteria to get registered as a motor caravan - cooker sink wardrobe (can be cupboard under sink;))seats that can be made into a bed and a table and now it must look like a camper ie windows etc all are supposed to be permanently fixed to floor/walls but you can get away with clipping these in position (y) just don't draw attention to it ;)(y)I get pics of front sides and rear doors open showing number plates as a van and then do same again after converting -Simply fill in change of use to MC sending pics and you should get V5 back within a couple of weeks --I have a Merc Vito (pics on here) ready to sell and next week we should have a Vauxhall Vivaro finished also for sale along with my own Relay and Paul's Boxer -Good luck with your build any questions just ask (y):D
    terry
    edit click on the link below to see what we have recently done ;)
     
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  5. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Better too big than too small.

    Think LIGHT. Someone on here did a conversion like a house build with massive timbers. Keep it all minimal.
     
  6. manchestercamper

    manchestercamper Read Only Funster

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    I have spent the weekend looking at options. I am most taken by Citroen Berlingo Multi space.
    I could keep it as a usable car and when i need it could put the back seats down or remove them.
    As they are built to come out i would be OK with insurance and then just put in 2 units.
    Cooker sink and storage unit on the passenger side and the bed unit with probably a porta potti under it on the other. simple
    I have seen some designs that have the cooker hidden in the storage compartment and pulled out beyond the rear door so you are using it outside the back of the car.
    I wonder using a gas ring in the back of the car ventilation it would get very hot and there is also the issue of carbon monoxide. Does anyone have any thoughts
     
  7. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    How long do you think you will be away at any one stretch and at what times of the year... what I'm reading sounds like it's a day van you will end up with but you said you wanted it to be more than that... There is only so much you can do with a small space and in my experience if things are difficult to do it becomes less of a pleasure ..
    If you want to be away for days. and throughout the year not just summer I think you should be looking at a larger build and more convenience in use.....
    Ta andy
     
  8. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    If it's any help I managed to fit a loo/shower wardrobe and 42 ins w x 5ft 9 ins L bed cooker fridge sink hot water boiler in the back of a SWB transit -8ft behind the front seats -you need a loo/shower if doing more than a couple of nights away
    -look at Vito/trafic size vans ;)
    terry
     
  9. manchestercamper

    manchestercamper Read Only Funster

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    OK I am not looking for a van to use for long times. I am looking for a day than plus.
    First it would be used to get to a place say south of France say 3 - 4 days. i would then either set up a tent or hire something. on the way i would only wild camp for the odd night prefer a site then i could
    connect to 240 volts then use micro wave kettle etc.
    Second use it for a weekend in conjunction with an awning in UK here it has to be in a camp site.

    Thirdly I want something which can be easily driven. I have been in too many french towns and seen too many big campers stuck, as the road in the town gets smaller and the houses roofs get closer to the road.

    As i have said I am used to tailor Tents so i am used to being outside. My wife and i were members of the C & C club for 25 years. One of my observations of people in large caravans and big campers is that they spend more time in them than outside. They may as well still be at home. Then you could watch corri and East Enders on a bigger screen. End of rant.
    I am looking for something that can expand my options rather than pulling a tailor tent, with the exception of a shower what I am suggesting would have everything that a larger camper has just smaller
    I would have a toe bar so I could still toe.

    I may come to something bigger in the future but to be honest camping for long periods on my own is not my cup of tea.
     
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  10. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    OK Point taken but vito/trafic SWB vans are no longer than a Berlingo/Doblo just slightly higher and wider (not by much) and very nice to drive giving about the same economy -I tend to use my Vito daily instead of my car -You need to consider them as options --Once you decide on a vehicle then we may be able to offer help/suggestions (y):)
    terry
     
  11. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    My converted VW rusty bay back in the early 70s had a wardrobe, as I was told it was essential, it was only a couple of inches wide and could take up to two shirts if the hangers weren't too thick. :D
     
  12. Buzzy-Beans

    Buzzy-Beans Read Only Funster

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    The only safe sure way of going about this conundrum is to get the interior dimensions of several vans and then sit down and plan your minimum layout into each and every one of them.
    I did all of this using my ancient copy of Adobe PageMaker where I drew up several box shaped items to scale all of which corresponded to a particular essential item such as a loo, shower, bed, (minimum) cooker/sink/kitchen area etc.

    One of the major no/no's in my mind when it comes to a useable and generally practical campervan conversion is not ending up with a layout that results in endless pushing, pulling and general mucking about to achieve something such as making a bed or going for a private visit to the loo.

    I have seen a basic layout that worked in a van as small as a Vauxhall Combi, but there again the owner of this was single and only about 5' tall and skinny as a lath, on the other hand if you are designing a layout for 2 overweight blobs who also happen to be 6' + tall, then even the biggest panel van would be a squeeze!

    It's all down to your planning and from there you might just discover the direction you are finally to be heading....... good luck.

    All the best

    Phil

    ps. why not pop over to the new www.diymotorhome.co.uk that Jim recently set up?
     
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