Home conversions - any good?

Jan 31, 2009
420
227
Shropshire
MH
Van Conversion
Exp
10 years +
Looking for some advice from those in the know. Thinking of going back to a small motorhome sometime and looking around at prices.

I see that home made van conversions go for a fraction of the price of the likes of Autosleepers etc.

Are there any difficulties with owning them? I'm thinking of insurance, is that a problem, and are there any other pitfalls?
 

dazzer

Free Member
Jul 30, 2007
1,698
99
In my house
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Virtual RV!!
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10 Years
The main problem with home conversions is the vast majority are simply crap :Eeek:

Most ive seen are thrown together and held up with tubes of silicone and marmalade :ROFLMAO:

There are a few exceptions but they are very very few and far between.

Buyer beware!!
 

Terry

LIFE MEMBER
Dec 27, 2007
11,307
6,784
South yorks
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C class
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Since 2001
:ROFLMAO: Must agree with Dazzer :thumb::Eeek: but there are some exceptions ie mine

http://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/self-builds/3046-terrys-self-build-project.html

:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::winky: you can buy her for around 14k :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: but do not tell the wife :ROFLMAO:
Seriously look around at some self builds if you are handy, to finish off jobs and things there are some good savings to be made and insurance etc, is not a problem :thumb:look at the finished thing in total to see if they suit what you want.Lots of self builds are on sale for not much more than the cost of the van but any done properly ask proper money for them
terry
 
Oct 1, 2007
6,906
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Kirby cross further from londin
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Between Motor homes
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since 08
Looking for some advice from those in the know. Thinking of going back to a small motorhome sometime and looking around at prices.

I see that home made van conversions go for a fraction of the price of the likes of Autosleepers etc.

Are there any difficulties with owning them? I'm thinking of insurance, is that a problem, and are there any other pitfalls?
have a look at SBMCC ~ Self Build Motor Caravanners Club gives you some idea on whats possible
( not sure if a links allowed if not please remove)
(find members vans on the home page and register free and look at members web sites)

like anything self built/destroyed check throughly for workmanship
bear in mind a self built is never finished

insurance on my own self build was £200 5000miles use annually fully comp
20 miles from
London 07-08on a Renault traffic high top lwb (1996)
yes there is a difference in price

some are better than ready made but each is built to the owners needs&skills
a lot of builders use a damaged caravan as a source of the materials and parts required

if you think of buying a self built as a minimum go and see it
ask how everything works
insist it is demonstrated too you
if you are not comfortable with what you are looking at
or the skill levels used turn and walk away
a lot are built on ex commercial hard worked vans
some post office ldvs have only covered 30.000 miles
other vans have been hammered with 200.000 miles(think couriers)
some were bought new to convert
there is all kinds for all pockets
 

takeaflight

Free Member
Sep 4, 2007
255
1
Stratford-upon-Avon
MH
Hymer
Exp
4
I have considered having a go at a self build, I think it must be quite satisfying and at least you would know how everything worked.

If I did do one the quality would probably be quite crap, but at least it would be my crap.

Roy
 

scotjimland

Free Member
Jul 25, 2007
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Some years ago I converted a Renault Traffic LWB high roof van, it was done to a good standard, I spent an absolute fortune and hundreds of hours, but no matter how much money or how well it was done it always looked like a home conversion.

After a couple of years I decided to sell it and buy a coach built but couldn't recover a fraction what I had spent.. it final sold for the value of the base vehicle..

As already advised, only buy if it is top notch and don't pay over the odds.. People are strange, if it doesn't have the right pedigree ... it's a dog and you will never recover your money if you decide to sell :Sad:
 
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Bulletguy

Free Member
Feb 7, 2008
2,051
6
Cheshire/Staffs
The main problem with home conversions is the vast majority are simply crap :Eeek:

Most ive seen are thrown together and held up with tubes of silicone and marmalade :ROFLMAO:

There are a few exceptions but they are very very few and far between.
You are right about the majority of home conversions being crap, but i'm glad you mentioned the exceptions.

I saw one of these myself only a couple of weeks ago. A 1997 hi-top lwb Transit which would have put any expensive factory built camper to shame. All the woodwork was solid, not mdf, and so well cut and fitted the guy must have had not only the right tools, but a good knowledge of joinery. The carpet was certainly professional as all the edging was bound....not simply pieces cut off a roll and then laid down. Upholstery was also professionally done. The van had been professionally resprayed. To say it was exceptional would be an understatement!

As for price?

It had been put on eBay with no reserve and sold for just £3 grand!
 

Bulletguy

Free Member
Feb 7, 2008
2,051
6
Cheshire/Staffs
I see that home made van conversions go for a fraction of the price of the likes of Autosleepers etc.

Are there any difficulties with owning them? I'm thinking of insurance, is that a problem, and are there any other pitfalls?
Ask the owner what the vehicle is described as on the V5 under 'body type'. It should state 'motor caravan'. If it does then you won't have problems insuring. If it doesn't, you might struggle to get insurance unless you get the V5 altered by the DVLA.

If the owner tells you he's insured with so 'n so and never had a problem.....the reason is because he is insuring it as a commercial van and not told his insurance that it's been converted. Thats fine....until he has an accident, and then finds his policy declared void.
 
OP
Caztur
Jan 31, 2009
420
227
Shropshire
MH
Van Conversion
Exp
10 years +
Thanks for the advice. I'd certainly give it a good going over before I committed myself.

I used to have an Autosleeper which said "Panel Van" on the V5, I told DVLA twice but they ignored me. It didn't seem to bother the dealer when I traded it in.
 

Terry

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Dec 27, 2007
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Ask the owner what the vehicle is described as on the V5 under 'body type'. It should state 'motor caravan'. If it does then you won't have problems insuring. If it doesn't, you might struggle to get insurance unless you get the V5 altered by the DVLA.

If the owner tells you he's insured with so 'n so and never had a problem.....the reason is because he is insuring it as a commercial van and not told his insurance that it's been converted. Thats fine....until he has an accident, and then finds his policy declared void.
Not true :Smile: some manufacturers do not always register vans as motor caravan :Eeek: and lots of insurers will only insure there recognised manufacturers vans.It is only a paper exercise to reg as M/C with at worst a DVLA inspection :Smile:
terry
 
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Bulletguy

Free Member
Feb 7, 2008
2,051
6
Cheshire/Staffs
Not true :Smile: some manufacturers do not always register vans as motor caravan.....lots of insurers will only insure there recognised manufacturers vans. It is only a pater exercise to reg as M/C with at worst a DVLA inspection
Hence the reason i pointed out to Caztur to ask the owner what is stated on the V5 as body type.....it could save him a lot of mither. As Caztur is considering looking at home conversions this is a valid point for him to look out for. Lots of people who buy a home conversion struggle to get insurance simply because of this fact.

If not registered on the V5 as 'motor caravan' then it would show the body type manufacturer. Yes of course a conversion can be registered with the DVLA as 'motor caravan'......but if it's not been done by the seller, then Caztur has got the balls ache of sorting it himself.

The V5 of my campervan showed the taxation class as 'disabled' as the previous owner was a disabled driver.
Easy to change over to PLG? Like heck it was.
It involved a 100 mile round trip to my nearest DVLA office to change it over to PLG as they will not do it by post.
 

Terry

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Dec 27, 2007
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Hi Bulletguy,You are right in pointing it out but as said in my previous post it is a paper exercise unlike the Disabled one.::bigsmile: The insurance co's (some)will only insure recognised converters ie, swift,autotrail, hymer etc etc while others welcome Diy converters :Smile:
I would however point out to anyone getting a motor home / M caravan self build or manufactured ( RVs inc ) that most are added to from original spec,and as such to get an agreed price valuation on the van,so that if the worst happens they have to pay the amount you have agreed on and not what they think it is worth.:Eeek::thumb: This may involve sending in photos etc but invaluable if needed :ROFLMAO:
terry
 
OP
Caztur
Jan 31, 2009
420
227
Shropshire
MH
Van Conversion
Exp
10 years +
Hence the reason i pointed out to Caztur to ask the owner what is stated on the V5 as body type.....it could save him a lot of mither. As Caztur is considering looking at home conversions this is a valid point for him to look out for. Lots of people who buy a home conversion struggle to get insurance simply because of this fact.

If not registered on the V5 as 'motor caravan' then it would show the body type manufacturer. Yes of course a conversion can be registered with the DVLA as 'motor caravan'......but if it's not been done by the seller, then Caztur has got the balls ache of sorting it himself.

The V5 of my campervan showed the taxation class as 'disabled' as the previous owner was a disabled driver.
Easy to change over to PLG? Like heck it was.
It involved a 100 mile round trip to my nearest DVLA office to change it over to PLG as they will not do it by post.

One of my cars was previously classed as disabled and it was easily sorted when I taxed it, as I said before my Autosleeper V5 showed it as a panel van and I wrote twice to DVLA but they ignored me - if I'd realised it was just a question of going to the local DVLA office I would have done so - but the dealer I part ex'd it with didn't seem bothered by it.

Luckily, I don't have any balls to ache as I'm one of the other sort! :ROFLMAO:

As well as the fact that I can't afford a lot, one of the reasons why I've been looking at self builds is that the layouts look to be more what I want on some of those than on the "proper" ones. I realise that I'm probably wanting the impossible, but I would ideally like a van conversion under 20 feet with a single sofa bed on one side that can be pulled out to make a double if needed, and a kitchen and cupboards at the back. Most proper ones are either the ubiquitous rock 'n roll bed or the Autosleeper type involving the drivers seat and lots of messing about - which I found very uncomfortable on the Autosleeper I had. I don't want the fuss of bedmaking everynight when it's not needed - i.e. when neither of the kids wants to come with me.

Can anyone suggest any proper ones along those lines?
 

Terry

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Dec 27, 2007
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Hi Chris, very nice it is too ::bigsmile: Now you would not mind paying good money for that,:thumb: as opposed to almost giving it away :thumb: Clearly one of the better ones like mine and Kells -( Kell if you see this hows the new project coming along ?):ROFLMAO:
Where/ when are the self builders rally you mention ?
terry
 

ChrisG46

Free Member
Feb 28, 2009
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Since Summer 2013
I appreciate you checking that - yes, that's it.

With a bit of luck we'll come up to overnight there as well (towning!) . . .
 
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