I need help to choose a vehicle to convert

Georgi

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Feb 14, 2019
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Hi all,

I've been wanting to start my own conversion for quite a while now and finally I have the time to actually start. My plan is to get it ready for the next winter and travel around the Alps. From what I understand what people do is a van conversion so they can park more freely. However I don't quite understand how this is much more different from a full size motorhome? Surely a van with windows and curtains is just as un-stealthy as a motorhome and therefore why do people tend to stick to small van conversions? Wouldn't a Luton van be more suitable or even a small buss or truck (apart from weight restrictions)?
 
Oct 2, 2008
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Bucher Duro 6x6 motorhome
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since 1968
Welcome , A lot of people do convert bigger vehicles than vans , its just that they dont tend to go to motorhome forums , as it is a different focus type group . Stealth campers are another different group , so are large overland style trucks , they are all out there . It is what you intend that governs what you build . HTSH :)
 
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Georgi

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Feb 14, 2019
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So what is considered stealthy then? Windowless van maybe? I've been watching and reading a lot recently and most of the builders do install windows and even go as far as double glazed units. If that's the case I don't see the point of converting a small van. A luton IMO is a good size but want to install windows.
 
Feb 25, 2018
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Or you could buy an older motorhome and reconvert it or just modernise it to what you want.
 

Minxy Girl

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Aug 22, 2007
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A van has benefits, such as being narrower, so easier to drive, you can take narrow roads without as much worry as you would with a fatter coachbuilt (luton) one, depending on what you buy/do/make will define how 'stealth' like it is. There are vans without windows but I certainly wouldn't be wanting to spend any time in them and there's usually a giveaway that they aren't just vans as they have roof lights in them.
 
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Georgi

Free Member
Feb 14, 2019
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Or you could buy an older motorhome and reconvert it or just modernise it to what you want.
That's also an option but the whole idea is to not having to rely on camp sites. I've lived in a caravan before and know how much space I need as minimum but never been motorhome camping so I don't understand the whole idea behind 'stealthiness'. I don't want to disturb any people in villages eetc. but I don't want to get asked to leave several times a day per say. I just don't know how serious the cituation around wild camping is. If I'll have to deal with police and locals constantly then I'll just rather stick to camp sites.
 
Nov 5, 2014
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Borders
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Van Conversion
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If you want to re-register the van as a motorhome then you will need to fit windows, it is a DVLA requirement that the vehicle looks like a motorhome.
 

vwalan

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Sep 23, 2008
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have a look at ex prison trucks . they have real good insulation . roof hatches to use as vents . double glazed tinted windows . side door , rear door ideally cut in half to make double doors for locker under a bed.
done sensibly can look like a working truck or show vehicle .
yes smaller vans can be handy but carry a small m,bike in the rear and you have a good means of transport for local looking and finding good places .
rear wheel drive is best i say , others might think differently.
or you could get a mini artic and be different. hee hee.
 

Lenny HB

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I don't want to disturb any people in villages eetc. but I don't want to get asked to leave several times a day per say. I just don't know how serious the cituation around wild camping is.
If you plan to use the van mainly in Europe you won't have that problem. Most countries are far more tolerant of Motorhomes than the UK. They won't mind if you stop in the village carpark overnight. Plenty of Aires and Stellaplatz that are free in Germany, France, Spain & Portugal.
 

vwalan

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Sep 23, 2008
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uk is a very easy country to free park in . just dont look like a m,home .
nothing outside and sensible parking works great.
trouble these days is most seem to want tpo stop . get out chairs ,tables ,bbq,s awnings etc even in carparks that are busy.
cant always park where you might want or like to have parked , but you park where you can and enjoy being there. after all dont want to be in a campsite.
 

TheBig1

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Nov 27, 2011
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A converted luton van or bigger would be over the 3500kg limit for a car driving licence. Otherwise it would be private hgv and require a c1 licence.
Wild camping in much of the uk is fraught with problems. Very few places actually allow it these days. Scotland being the exception to the rule.

Back to home conversions, there is a wealth of knowledge on this forum with members happy to offer advice. If you plan to live in your conversion, then insulation and heating are major considerations.
 
Feb 25, 2018
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So the question is where do you want to use it? England has issues BUT still plenty of free parking on pubs etc. if you use their pub or restaurant. One night in the wild before moving on shouldnt be an issue if you select where carefully
 
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Georgi

Free Member
Feb 14, 2019
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The idea is to spend a season in the Alps or Andorra. If used in UK it'll be Scotland or Ireland but can always use my car to get there and sleep in tent. A luton van loaded is under 3.5 ton. But even if it's more I don't mind doing the C category
 
Feb 25, 2018
767
437
Essex
Funster No
52,564
MH
Swift Bolero 680
Exp
Very Little
So you dont need a stealth camper then. Get an older van, insulate it really well underneath and the sides inside ( if youre ripping it all out) add all outlets for all your electric toys etc. Put in as much furniture as you need as large a fridge as you can afford to prevent continually shopping heating of some sort. There are plenty of caravan interiors you could utilise
 

two

Aug 4, 2011
3,195
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17,624
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A-Class Fiat
Have you thought about converting an old Ambulance?
I've not done this kind of thing, so cannot advise.
You may need to repaint and remove some lights if you want "inconspicuous". :giggle:
 
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Georgi

Free Member
Feb 14, 2019
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I think I need to do some more research on this matter before I start searching for a vehicle. I don't want to buid something half way and decide it's not what I want
 

GPW

Feb 23, 2019
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Choice of van?

Renault Trafic for a small van.
Peugeot Boxer for larger vans.

If you want a cheap van that's already been professionally insulated with heating and kitchen: buy and ex mobile-library van.
 

jaller79

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Mar 4, 2019
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Van Conversion Mecedes
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2010
Key for me was what I could stand up in - and the length of - the bed also Aircon and cruise control - do you want these often overlooked - then mechanics - whats a good engine - I went for a Mercedes myself - any other questions not a problem ask me.
 
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