Choosing a van to convert.....

Rebeccak

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May 7, 2018
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hi! I am not new to motorhoming as we did Europe a while ago, but I spent the whole time worried about damaging our roller team 746 so couldn’t relax. This time I’d like to convert something as I want it our way- but for 4 of us big people! I am looking at minibuses/ welfare buses as panel vans have 3 seats, so not suitable. My husband is 6’4” so worried about standing height. Has anyone got any idea of a van/bus which he could stand up in? And are there any considerations about the bus itself? What about insurance and miles per gallon- will it be different than last time? Never done this before and too far from a city to have many buses to look around.
 

scotjimland

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Jul 25, 2007
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Big job and not for the novice to tackle without good DIY skills.. I would think it would be easier and probably cheaper to look for one already converted..

Once converted to the DVLA requirements, a mini bus or whatever can be re-classified as a motor caravan so insurance will be very reasonable..

MPG will very much depend on the vehicle, engine and weight..but think low to mid 20s and you won't be in for a surprise

You didn't mention budget.. I suggest you need the cost of the base vehicle., say £3k + £6 - £8k to do a proper conversion.. so no change out of £10k

I converted an extra high roof Renault Traffic, and it was decent conversion, but it was a lot more work and money than I anticipated.. and when I came too sell it barely got back the value of the base vehicle.. I wouldn't do it again..

There is a very good self build forum .. SBMCC they will have lots of advice about choosing a van and how to go about the conversion..

I would also advise to joint this group for ongoing support and advice.. the subscription money will soon be recouped with invaluable advice.. that may save you many hundreds

good luck with your endeavour
 
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Rebeccak

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May 7, 2018
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Thank you! Yes the budget is what I was thinking. I know it is hard work, I’m not a total novice but I expect to learn a lot. We find when looking for ready vans that they rarely have 4 proper travelling seats and converted vans have 3 usually. Once you manage to find one with 4 seats it is then difficult to find the layout you like. I had a lovely van before but it always felt dark- so this time I want to try it all minimal.
 
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Rebeccak

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May 7, 2018
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Ok- so I didn’t really want all of those things- wasn’t going to bother with fixed table and chairs for example. If I don’t fill all the criteria then what happens? Do I stay a minibus, and if so is that more expensive?
 

TheBig1

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i have converted a few vans to our specification. if i were to do another it would be the extra long wheelbase iveco daily. plenty of height for me at 6ft 4 and space to build in 4 berths plus dedicated travel seats. you can pick up double minibus seats with seatbelts easily. bolt through the steel floor and reinforce with a steel plate underneath. use lightweight vohringer ply to build the interior and save weight to increase mpg
 

scotjimland

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Ok- so I didn’t really want all of those things- wasn’t going to bother with fixed table and chairs for example. If I don’t fill all the criteria then what happens? Do I stay a minibus, and if so is that more expensive?
yes, it will stay as whatever it was classified when first registered, minibus, or whatever .. and insurance will generally be more expensive.
 

pappajohn

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Ok- so I didn’t really want all of those things- wasn’t going to bother with fixed table and chairs for example. If I don’t fill all the criteria then what happens? Do I stay a minibus, and if so is that more expensive?
If it remains a minibus on the log book (V5c) it will be valued and insured as a minibus and in the event of total loss all the expense of converting to a motorhome is not covered..
 
Jun 15, 2009
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hi! I am not new to motorhoming as we did Europe a while ago, but I spent the whole time worried about damaging our roller team 746 so couldn’t relax. This time I’d like to convert something as I want it our way- but for 4 of us big people! I am looking at minibuses/ welfare buses as panel vans have 3 seats, so not suitable. My husband is 6’4” so worried about standing height. Has anyone got any idea of a van/bus which he could stand up in? And are there any considerations about the bus itself? What about insurance and miles per gallon- will it be different than last time? Never done this before and too far from a city to have many buses to look around.
This is a good forum and free. In my opinion better and more friendly than the other one mentioned. https://www.diymotorhome.co.uk/community/
 
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Rebeccak

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Ok cool thanks. I guess I have to think if the contents are worth it. Mostly things that you claim on insurance are due to a crash- body work etc. I want to keep the refurb proper cheap so we can just hang out and not worry about the van. I will check out that forum thank you
 

pappajohn

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Technically, anything carried could be construed as payload so you would need the correct licence....C1 catagory.
Anything not screwed down is classed as payload.
The minibus itself will need a D1 licence catagory
 
Oct 2, 2008
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Clarification on Minibus licence :
Minibus Driving Licence Information
  • What is a minibus?
A minibus is a passenger carrying vehicle with a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 16 passenger seats (plus the driver's seat).

So if your vehicle has less than 9 fitted seats its no longer a minibus
  • Driving licence held before 1 January 1997
If you check your licence you should find that it usually shows entitlement to drive Category D1 - this means you can drive a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats without needing an additional driving test. You should also find a code printed next to this on your licence (101) which means 'not for hire or reward'.

  • Driving licence held after 1 January 1997
If you check your licence you will notice that you do not have category D1 and therefore cannot drive a minibus without taking the additional driving test.
However, holders of a full category B (car) driving licence may drive a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats provided all the following conditions are met:
  • the vehicle is used for social purposes by a non-commercial body but not for hire or reward;
  • the driver is aged 21;
  • the driver has held a car (category B) licence for at least 2 years;
  • the driver is providing the service on a voluntary basis;
  • the minibus maximum weight is not more than 3.5 tonnes (or 4.25 tonnes including any specialist equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers);
  • if the driver is aged 70 or over, is able to meet the health standards for driving a D1 vehicle.
  • If it stays classed as a minibus it will be very expensive to insure , if it becomes classed as a van it will be still quite expensive .
  • The requirements to be classed as a motorcaravan are not that arduous if you take time to re read and see the flexibility that is there for you to use:)
  • HTSH


.
 

Terry

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Dec 27, 2007
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Hi I agree with an extra LWB iveco (love Iveco) just for the length for 4 beds .....The widest vans are Fiat,Pugeot, Citroen family of vans that are 6ft 2ins wide once boarded out so you would have to sleep slightly across a traverse bed.This would allow you to make two doubles or front and rear with central kitchen,loo area .... depending on what you want will govern your budget
 
Jan 28, 2008
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renault burstner delphin
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7 years campers before that
Ok- so I didn’t really want all of those things- wasn’t going to bother with fixed table and chairs for example. If I don’t fill all the criteria then what happens? Do I stay a minibus, and if so is that more expensive?
chairs will be your travelling seats and the table can be only fixed for travelling doesnt need to be a permenant fixture in the van
 

Ducto

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May 19, 2018
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Campervan since 2003
hi! I am not new to motorhoming as we did Europe a while ago, but I spent the whole time worried about damaging our roller team 746 so couldn’t relax. This time I’d like to convert something as I want it our way- but for 4 of us big people! I am looking at minibuses/ welfare buses as panel vans have 3 seats, so not suitable. My husband is 6’4” so worried about standing height. Has anyone got any idea of a van/bus which he could stand up in? And are there any considerations about the bus itself? What about insurance and miles per gallon- will it be different than last time? Never done this before and too far from a city to have many buses to look around.
Go to https://tinyurl.com/yd8wxn5z
for a vast amount of ideas. We have a MWB Fiat Ducato and have fitted a full size domestic mattress side to side on a raised platform with storage beneath. That's a bit over 6' 2" so not entirely suitable for your hubby.?

Good luck
 
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