Might Re-Selfbuild our van. Thoughts on this design?

Discussion in 'Self-Build Motorhomes' started by Wissel, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. Wissel

    Wissel Funster

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    We are planning on going full-time next year and the plan was to buy a 7.5m coachbuilt for this.

    After planning this for months, we've had a re-think and are now thinking about re-building our selfbuild to suit full-time living.

    The downside (as I see it) is losing the extra space of a bigger van. But the upsides are we can park our 6m van in most towns with ease (it's been our everyday vehicle for 5 years), it can get places bigger vans can't (width), security is probably better, oh and it would save about £60k :)

    So I started on a re-design a few days ago and would love opinions on it.

    This is our van now:
    Motorhome_Design_TRUMA.jpg
    It has a nice big u-shaped lounge that makes into a huge bed. It has a bulkhead with a sliding door, great bathroom, underslung gas with crash sensor, underslung water tanks, Triflo cooker and a great electrical system (4 x LB, solar and great chargers).

    Thing is, we are lazy so leave the bed out all the time. With the bulkhead, the cab seats are segregated from the living part, so there's nowhere really to sit. This is fine for a weekend away - but no good to full-time.

    So this is what I'm thinking of building:
    Motorhome_Design_6.4_2018_2.jpg

    The bulkhead would be gone to include the cab area into the living area, the u-shaped lounge would instead be a permanent 3 single/double bed - higher up to give a bigger boot and lay flat wardrobes under each bed (40cm deep) and the area under the right bed would have a hatch from the steps into a space for the dogs bed.

    As well as a table that can be erected between the front seats, there is worksurface befind the drivers seat and a flip-up table in the kitchen, these give surface area to each front seat for lounging with a coffee and a laptop.

    Gas and water would stay the same, so would the bathroom (but re-built). The electrics with change to 300Ah of lithium and more solar. The lithium batteries will be connected to a wired in inverter, so we will have 240v all the time.

    Would appreciate any thoughts on this design?

    Cheers, David
     
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  2. Mikeco

    Mikeco Funster

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    My initial thoughts are that it's the wrong layout mainly because of your daytime seating area. Our front seats turn all the way so we are facing the middle section of the van which includes the kitchen area ad well as a double seat where we can stick our feet on. Also our fixed bed is transverse which gives more room in the van. We use the van in Winter for 6 months so a comfortable seating area is important but so is a fixed bed.
    If your seats only turn and face each other as they appear to do then I believe that you will struggle
     
  3. MJL

    MJL Funster

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    Hello Wissel, I finished my self build earlier this year and have completed a 2000 mile tour of Spain. This sounds a bit conceited but I can honestly say that I wouldn't do anything differently. I have put another locker over the microwave though.
    Anyway if you would like to see it, put "Calida 6000" into utube.
    Hope this helps.
     
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  4. Wissel

    Wissel Funster

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    Sorry Mikeco - this is just me not making things clear :)

    The seats will rotate all the way around. We will have the choice of rotating them 90 degrees and using a table in the middle - so a diner type layout, or rotating them 180 degrees and having a surface in front of each table. Surfaces are important to us as we both work online.

    I downloaded Sketchup this morning and watched a quick guide on how to get to grips with it's basics. These drawings are simplified, but hopefully give a better idea than my terrible flat plan in original post :)

    MH2018_1.jpg MH2018_1_rear.jpg MH2018_1_side.jpg MH2018_1_top.jpg
    Thanks - I'll take a look (you can see my original van from my signature if interested) :)
     
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  5. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    As you'll be in it all the time make sure that you can comfortably sit up in bed as the chances are you'll spend a lot of time slobbing out on it.

    These are some photos I took of converters' vans when I was thinking of doing my own conversion which may be useful/give you more ideas:
    DSC00002.JPG DSC00003.JPG DSC00004.JPG DSC00005.JPG DSC00007.JPG DSC00008.JPG DSC00009.JPG DSC00010.JPG IMG140.jpg IMG141.jpg
     
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  6. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    ours was very similar to what you plan we originally use a table on a tripod to fit diagonally between us but then went to a boom table for passenger and driver could eat of the end of the kitchen
    one of the reasons we upgraded to a coach built was no lounging space ,seats are comfy enough to sit on but you cant loungei dont think in a 6m pvc with a fixed bed you can get a proper lounge
    remember when you remove the bulkhead your left with a 4 inch step between can and rear wildax fit fooot rests to the rea of the seat box otherwise you will suffer from dangly legs we just used two caravan step that stacked
    there isnt room to sit facing each other with the seats turned 90 degrees this may have been due to the seats we had
     
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  7. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    The layout looks liveable. As you are going to be using it all year if your external tanks aren't already winterised I'd be looking at enclosing them in insulated enclousers and having a heating feed from the blow air system, also worth putting a blow air feed into the loo cassette area.
     
  8. Wissel

    Wissel Funster

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    Thanks for that - I wasn't sure if a table would fit with the seats facing in other. In that case a little adjusting and this layout (for table should work:
    vantage sol front.JPG

    Our's would differ in that above the fridge would be a surface instead of a wardrobe - giving a permanent table of sorts (well - somewhere for me to have my laptop if Missus is still in bed lol). Maybe a similarly placed table to the above pic, but elongated to eat from might be the answer.

    Lounging wise - I think we are sorted. At home we never "sit" on a sofa, both of us always have our feet up. It's the same in our currently laid out van with u-shape lounge. So what I thought I'd do is build both sides of the new bed design so they can incline.

    Even working from home I work crashed out on the sofa far more than from my office. I have a cracking little laptop table that adjusts all over the place - I use this in the van as well.
    Like this for anyone interested:


    I like the idea of encasing our tanks and feeding hot-air into them. They are next to each other under the van, so it would be an easy job to box them in insulated aluminium or something and feed a vent into the box.

    Our existing air-vents already feed into the front, rear, cab and bathroom. I'd probably do pretty much the same this time around. Last time I also fed the ducting through the boot as I figured it would give a little background heating.
     
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  9. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    ours was much like that but our kitchen worktop was behind the driver so like you say you can use that, for the other seat we wound up with a boom table that folded flat against the back of the passenger seat when not in use its realy difficult to get a table big enough for you to both eat off comfit ably
    the other problem was with the step standard pole mounts are not high enough which was why we had the fiamma tripod as it raised it a bit
     
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  10. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Older Hymers had a ply box lined with PU foam and lastest ones it's a GRP enclousure lined with PU foam.

    If your system is Truma they do branch connectors that take 22mm ducting that is what is normally used to feed the hot air to the tank enclosures, obviously the enclosures need an air gap around the tank.
     
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  11. CazPaul

    CazPaul Funster

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    Great thread Wissell

    As you know I have been designing our PVC on a 6.36m van but have kept changing the layout.

    The best layout is the rear u shaped lounge that is great for lounging during the day and makes either 2 singles or a big double. The problem with this layout is storage space, there is not much at all, you get good storage with your idea but you can never have a double and the wife says we sleep together at home so why not in the van.

    I cannot think of a solution at the minute, was thinking of getting the H3 van and raising the rear lounge and consequently the rear windows in the lounge so you have more storage, but then you have a higher van.
     
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  12. CazPaul

    CazPaul Funster

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    Will it take a lot of afterthought to get the outer double skin around without taking the tanks off etc.

    You can buy double skinned water tanks as well.
     
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  13. Wissel

    Wissel Funster

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    I'm fairly sure my tanks are double skinned anyway - at the time (5 years ago) I spared no expense on the build and put the best bits I could find in it (for me). My tanks are Barrett Tanks.

    Because of the way they fit, adding an outer casing should be fairly easy:
    tanks.JPG

    I can make something that attaches to the existing bolts and the holding bars will give a nice gap for air to circulate. Then just a case of plumbing a vent into the area, and an air escape vent into the boot area.

    At the moment I'm giving it a really thorough clean as before I decide for sure to re-convert it I want to make sure everything that can be is as close to perfect as possible. This will include sealing the underside.

    Think once it's clean I'll get it up on ramps at my local garage (they are so obliging :) ) and get some images and measurements for a casing. Looks a fun job anyway :)
     
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  14. CazPaul

    CazPaul Funster

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    Barrett tanks do the skinned but you have to specially order them. It looks a nice job for you to do, don't know why they all don't build them like that, it wouldn't take much more to do as its being built. That's the problem with manufacturers of PVCs, they don't pay enough attention to insulation and winterisation.

    Its not just the tanks though its any exposed water pipes underneath too, even short runs will freeze.
     
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  15. Riverbankannie

    Riverbankannie Funster

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    We have a 6.3 m IH rear lounge conversion. Your solution of raising the rear seats to make a garage space is a bit "robbing Peter to pay Paul" as the saying goes, we have upper lockers that wrap all around the rear half of the van and they give a lot of storage, you would not be able to have these and sit up in bed. We are currently in France and it's quite warm!!. Do think about how you would be able to get a good airflow with the restricted headroom in the rear. We have side, back and roof windows but still hot in bed.
     
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  16. CazPaul

    CazPaul Funster

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    Yes but he has a white van and quality insulation, cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
     
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  17. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    I'd drop the idea of a central table for you both to use as you'd probably find you end up getting fed up of moving it out of the way all the time, or 'tap' it and knock your drinks etc over! Instead I'd put a boom arm one next to the passenger seat which can be folded out of the way and/or have a removable top for when you don't need it, then behind the driver's seat have an extension flap to lift up/drop down. My personal preference though if I was building it would be for one that slides out from between the fridge and work surface, a bit like the below - this would mean you could still have a shallow cupboard* at the back of the work surface, leaving some in front for your cuppa etc when you don't need anything else, it would also mean that you didn't have to clear everything off the surface to be able to use it for your laptop (which would be a bit of a stretch to use comfortably anyway with no-where to put your legs) and the pull-out extension could be slid in/out much or as little as required (just make some stops for it so it doesn't move when you use it) and would store completely out of the way when not needed.

    [​IMG]

    * If you did as I've suggested and put a shallow cupboard at the back of the worktop, don't have the door opening the full height and instead make it at least 6 inches shorter and block off the front at the bottom of the cupboard, that way if you need to get in it with stuff on the work surface you won't have to move the items to get at the contents of the cupboard.
     
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  18. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    Doing something like the below would get over the problem of the 'gap and dangling legs as well as create a bit of extra storage:

    DSC00004.JPG
     
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  19. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    you will be suprised how you can have a raised bed and lockers our lockers in our old self build were huge compared to most and as you can see in the picture quite close to the bed but they were never a problem we could still sit up
     

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  20. Wissel

    Wissel Funster

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    @Minxy Girl - You're a genius :)

    A slide out table above the fridge would work perfectly for what I need it for (bit of desk area to work from) and as it stands, the surface above the fridge is 6cm lower than the kitchen surface.

    Adding this table brings it nicely to the same height without wasting any space. Thanks :)
     
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