Ralph n Bevs...... Panel Van Conversion

Nov 30, 2009
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Hi Funsters,

As the title says i am going to build a panel van conversion.
I am just in the early stages of choosing the right van to convert and fancy one of the new Ducato, Boxer type vans on the new facelift.

My question is... can anyone recommend the best engine for an extra long wheelbase high roof model ?

The van is 3.5 tonne max and 6.4m in length. Although these type of vans are having a facelift i believe
the engine is staying the same so many of you are already driving them.

Any advice on engine size and BHP please, and for the more mechanically minded any info on cam belt types eg......Belt or Chain

Many Thanks.....Ralph
 
Sep 26, 2013
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I bought and converted a new Boxer in 2012 and that came with the lowest powered 2.2 which is the 100. Plenty of power for me and I usually set of in 2nd gear. No doubt the more powerful ones would mean less gear changes on the hills but that's all. I also get 37/38 mpg.

Mike
 
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Ralph-n-Bev
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Good return on the fuel there Mike. Is that 100 bhp you are talking about ?
I am basing my dealer quotes on the 2.2 13o bhp.

Any reason why you went with the Boxer ?
Currently the Boxer quotes i received are up to 4.5k cheaper than the Ducato (y)

Thanks.....Ralph

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Sep 26, 2013
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I have had Fiat based motorhomes and had trouble so I wanted a Peugeot.
Peugeot do a 100 and 120BHP while Fiat do the 130. I believe that the engine used by Peugeot is a Ford. I am very pleased with the Boxer as it's very quite and has a fairly smooth gear change.
I would have thought that they would all be a similar price but in 2012 I paid £18000 for it.

Mike
 
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Ralph-n-Bev
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Glad you like the Boxer....
I am definitely swaying that way as the price difference against the Ducato will be just under half the estimated build cost.
The Boxer price excluding Vat is around 19k pushed up with a big list of toys /gadgets and posey bits ;)

Ralph
 
Sep 26, 2013
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If you are doing your own conversion then have a look at SBMCC if you have not done already, plenty of advice available if you join.

Mike

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Jan 28, 2008
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extra long high roof vans are heavier than the normal lomg semi highs so if your licence will let you you may need to up late it if you dont build a light conversion do you realy need the high top?
if yes then get the biggest engine model
i will also recomend the sbmcc a mine of info
my build blog here might give you some ideas http://building-renee2.blogspot.co.uk/
 
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Ralph-n-Bev
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Thanks Mike,
I have a shortcuts folder full of websites and forums based on self build projects although i haven't seen this one (y)
I have wanted to do this for a long time and have done lots of research on self build.
How much did you do yourself ?

I am very practically minded but i also know my limits. Being in the building trade i know the best trades to pull in for the bits i can't do.

Must say i'm not looking forward to cutting out my first window or rooflight :unsure:

Ralph
 
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Ralph-n-Bev
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Hi Mitzimad,
The van base we have in mind is the ELWB but i think the internal height as around 2.1m
The payload on the 6m version is 1525 kg and the 6.4 is 1440 kg not to worried about the loss but the space gained is precious when you are downsizing from a 7m Coachbuilt van.

Ralph

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D

DM14742

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Hi Ralph,
I'm hoping to do the same at the back end of the year but am looking towards Terry (Funster) to do it. I currently have a LWB high roof Ducato and was thinking about the same again although a Boxer or Relay would be fine. I am however considering an extra high roof as at 6 Ft I can't actually stand up straight in our current Van and am always banging my swede on cupboards etc. Its a consideration after having a coachbuilt with much more headroom and I'm surprised that hardly any PVC's are done on an extra high roof.
Cheers, Jez
 
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I did everything apart from the upholstery . As it happens I was in the building trade so I tackled everything although when finished I had the electrics and gas certified mainly for insurance purposes.
You would find the SBMCC website very useful as you would learn about things like gasdrops and insulation.
I would also recommend a visit to Magnums at Grimsby which is not too far from you, their warehouse contains everything that you will need.

Mike
 
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Ralph-n-Bev
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Hi There Jez,
Your just over the field from me ::bigsmile: were in Wrenthorpe Wakefield.
All this talk on roof heights has got me thinking about floor and ceiling materials used and overall finished heights.
As Bev`s around 5`11 i will have to check it out before we order the van.

We did have a nosey round IH van conversions the other day and their high roof conversions were just about ok for her but there will be no stilettos (shame that :D ) never mind at least i can still wear mine :LOL:

Ralph

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Ralph-n-Bev
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Joined SBMCC tonight Mike just waiting for the administrator to check me out :rolleyes:
Magnums sound good, can you get furniture board there ?

Ralph
 
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you can get everything at magnums also up your way is olearies
magnums do a discount for sbmcc members
i did every thing in my van except the upholstory and i bought the doors ready made from magnums
when working out hight remember you need insulation both under foot and over head
i would like to do a extra long extra high and raise the floor right through get propex and water tanks within the floor void but i think the amount of timber needed would make it heavy and probably need to uprate
if your thinking of uprating go for a maxi chassis its just a paper exercise up to 3.8 or as your buying new you maybe able to order it plated at 3,8 from the start
 

Minxy Girl

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There are a lot of pre-registered (new shape) vans out there with delivery only mileage for anywhere up to £6k less than buying new, some with lots of extra toys included ... it could save you quite a bit more dosh!

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Ralph-n-Bev
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you can get everything at magnums also up your way is olearies
magnums do a discount for sbmcc members
i did every thing in my van except the upholstory and i bought the doors ready made from magnums
when working out hight remember you need insulation both under foot and over head
i would like to do a extra long extra high and raise the floor right through get propex and water tanks within the floor void but i think the amount of timber needed would make it heavy and probably need to uprate
if you're thinking of uprating go for a maxi chassis its just a paper exercise up to 3.8 or as your buying new you maybe able to order it plated at 3,8 from the start

Sounds like i am in the right place for conversion part suppliers. I will have a ride out one day to see what they do...Thanks.
For the roof insulation i will be using Kingspan or Celotex type materials. The floor i am not sure yet as i don't want to build it up too much. The layout is going to be a u shaped lounge and i intend to raise the floor in this area for extra depth on the bed boxes and also give me a better route for services from one side to the other without having to duct out the ply flooring. I can maybe send a small amount of heat into this void to help in the winter. Just looking now for a 90 litre fully insulated underslung fresh water tank which i also intend to drop a 12v heating element inn.

In the sidewalls i will once again use 30mm Kingspan. Did you fit any type of vapour barrier on your conversion ?
The uprate sound like a good idea, what is the difference with a Maxi chassis ?

Ralph
 
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Ralph-n-Bev
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There are a lot of pre-registered (new shape) vans out there with delivery only mileage for anywhere up to £6k less than buying new, some with lots of extra toys included ... it could save you quite a bit more dosh!

Hi Minx

Had a look but they all seem to be white. Dont really fancy going down the respray route.
We would like a Metallic paint finish if you see anything on the extra long wheelbase as new as poss... please let me know (y)

Thanks.....Ralph
 
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Ralph-n-Bev
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Just checking out the different vehicle heights. I was going to go for 2.52m overall but if i go for the highest at 2,76
i can go for kingspan in the floor as well as the roof. I will try and get to see one to get a feel of it height wise.
If i go down this route i will probably need to uprate to 3.8 tonne.

This is why i asked the question on which base vehicle as i would like to get it right first time.
Thanks for all the input so far (y)

Ralph

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the biggest difference is the maxi comes with 16 inch wheels as standard and i belive some of the suspension is heavier duty
for tanks theres a company in hull with a fantastic reputation will build any thing you want just send them a drawing of what you want gf plastic fabrications theres a recent thread on smbcc one guy had his done and delivered in 3 days
i had mine made with hatches and no baffles so i could use normal tank connectors this meant i didnt have to specify where pipes would enter just drilled my own once i had them and pipework in place
 

Geo

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Hope im not teaching folks to suck eggs, but a major problem I come across when fitting out windows sky lights ect to DIY vans for customers, is that due to the enthusiasm given to insulation, it is often over looked that windows, sky lights, sat systems have a maximum wall or roof thickness that they can cope with.
You will run into all sorts of problems if you go too thick on insulation's.
Beware also of creating cavities that add to total wall thickness in areas that fittings will want to go through ie boiler vents, toilet casets and fridge vent/ flues for example have maximums/ minimums too, these are all manf to fall in line with industry norms, exeed any of these and they wont fit without extra work
G
 

DBK

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The 3.0 and 2.5 Fiat engines have chain driven cams, which saves money later. Not sure about Pug engines. Whatever you buy I would get cab A/C fitted as it would be expensive to fit later. The insulation in our van is of the glass wool variety, easier to fit in awkward spaces I guess.

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Ralph-n-Bev
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Hope im not teaching folks to suck eggs, but a major problem I come across when fitting out windows sky lights ect to DIY vans for customers, is that due to the enthusiasm given to insulation, it is often over looked that windows, sky lights, sat systems have a maximum wall or roof thickness that they can cope with.
You will run into all sorts of problems if you go too thick on insulation's.
Beware also of creating cavities that add to total wall thickness in areas that fittings will want to go through ie boiler vents, toilet casets and fridge vent/ flues for example have maximums/ minimums too, these are all manf to fall in line with industry norms, exeed any of these and they wont fit without extra work
G[/QUOTE

Hi Geo,

Thanks for the tips on the build. The things i have planned have been done before so hopefully should work for me.
I intend to take my time with this and ask plenty questions along the way. I am a builder by trade so pretty clued up on constructing things. I do have an overall plan but will take my time with each stage and when in doubt :unsure: Ask.

I am looking forward to getting going on the project but must admit i am also quite nervous.

Thanks Ralph (y)


Thanks for the tips on the build. The things i have planned have been done before so hopefully should work for me.
I intend to take my time with this and ask plenty questions along the way. I am a builder by trade so pretty clued up on constructing things. I do have an overall plan but will take my time with each stage and when in doubt :unsure: Ask.

I am looking forward to getting going on the project but must admit i am also quite nervous.

Thanks Ralph
 
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Ralph-n-Bev
Nov 30, 2009
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The 3.0 and 2.5 Fiat engines have chain driven cams, which saves money later. Not sure about Pug engines. Whatever you buy I would get cab A/C fitted as it would be expensive to fit later. The insulation in our van is of the glass wool variety, easier to fit in awkward spaces I guess.

Hi Devon,
Like the sound of the Chain driven cam. Talking to Peugeot on Monday again so will add to my expanding list of questions.

Thanks.....Ralph
 

DBK

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Just a general point really, but when you come to design the interior I think you would do well to stick to the tried and trusted. There is usually a reason why certain designs and layouts are still being used.

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Minxy Girl

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The 3.0 and 2.5 Fiat engines have chain driven cams, which saves money later. Not sure about Pug engines. Whatever you buy I would get cab A/C fitted as it would be expensive to fit later. The insulation in our van is of the glass wool variety, easier to fit in awkward spaces I guess.
AFAIK the Peugeot 2.2 is chain but the Fiat 2.3 is belt (which we have).
 

Minxy Girl

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Since 1996 we've had Elddis, Swift, Rapido, Rimor, Chausson MHs and Autocruise & Globecar PVCs
We have an Autocruise Accent which has a half dinette up front and a rear lounge/fixed bed configuration so is different from the norm which usually only have the option of a fixed bed at the rear. However, due to its being meant to be used in lounge form too, in order to accommodate comfortable seating - no dangling legs due to the height of the seat/bed base - the whole of this area has a raised floor which runs completely from side to side and back to front which gives lots of storage underneath in the middle walkway and a double height lot of storage under the seat bases:

Centre: This large underfloor area has a flap on the front end and a slide up 'cover' at the rear (we leave this out anyway) and accommodates two large inflatable canoes as well as paddles, life jackets, barrel, pump etc.

Offside: our 2 leisure batteries are located in the lower section which has a removable access cover, and the upper section has the electric unit at the front end within it (daft place!) and provides a large storage area; at the end nearest the door is a full height gas locker with access door on the rear which can accommodate a single 13kg bottle or two 7kg ones (if it had been just a touch bigger it would have accommodated two 13kgs!).

Nearside: the lower section goes the full length of the seat base with a drop down flap on the end (back to front) so is ideal for our folding chairs (the 'tube' type, not flat), awning, walking poles etc which just slot into it; above this is a large storage area which takes loads of kit with the boiler being in a sectioned off part nearest the rear door (the boiler would have been better at the front end of the seat base instead with the large storage area at the rear to allow easier access via a door ... I may move this once it's out of warranty ;) ) .

Our fresh water tank is only 66L and is external, however the mainland EU rear bed versions have an inboard fresh water tank which is located either under the half dinette seat (not applicable for you I know) or more commonly in the rear at one side - if you have the chance have a good shuftie round some of them (Globecar/Possle/Adria) and you'll see what I mean - this would solve your water tank insulation dilemma and leave the underneath clear for a larger waste tank and/or gas tank. I'm considering adding an extra water tank (either inboard or external) and/or replacing what we have as whilst we manage with 66L a bit of 'extra capacity' would be useful.
 
Jan 28, 2008
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Hope im not teaching folks to suck eggs, but a major problem I come across when fitting out windows sky lights ect to DIY vans for customers, is that due to the enthusiasm given to insulation, it is often over looked that windows, sky lights, sat systems have a maximum wall or roof thickness that they can cope with.
You will run into all sorts of problems if you go too thick on insulation's.
Beware also of creating cavities that add to total wall thickness in areas that fittings will want to go through ie boiler vents, toilet casets and fridge vent/ flues for example have maximums/ minimums too, these are all manf to fall in line with industry norms, exeed any of these and they wont fit without extra work
G
i can understand this is a problem when retro fitting but building from scratch theres ways around it.Windows can be recessed and the over lap on rooflights can be extended with a white plastic sleeve i will point out that on a ducato if you fit the blind cassette on the face of the sliding door it will not clear the rear of the opening when the door is slid back dont ask how i know just belive me

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