Starting to plan my new van/truck

Discussion in 'Self-Build Motorhomes' started by Gromett, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    I have been unhappy with my van for a while now because of the constant stream of problems. However these have all been resolved with some help from @Wildbill so I was actually quite content to keep it for a few year longer.

    However, I saw a nice Luton conversion a few weeks ago that whetted my appetite again for another build. As I have thought it through and sketched rough layouts I have realised I will be doing all this for an extra 2 feet of length and a few features I quite like the look of.

    I spent an hour last night trawling various sites looking at other plans, and it took me back to my very original plan before going fulltiming of converting a 20' box truck. I ended up converting a bus and didn't get on with it due to it's width, sloppy steering, too many windows causing condensation and limited height. So I moved back to a van and converted it myself. Hard to believe that was almost 8 years ago..

    Anyway, my plans for fulltiming have changed now. Originally I was going to be touring europe for a few years then coming back off the road. I now don't plan on touring quite so much and don't plan to come off the road. Thinking about this it actually makes more sense to add to my comfort levels by building bigger and if necessary tow a small trailer with a tiny car on it for shopping etc.

    So I just looked at some trucks last night on autotrader and it appears that 7.5T trucks are cheaper than 3.5T vans and come in a range of sizes (the box) from 15' to 30'..

    So here is my initial thoughts. I will look at a 20' box (6 metres) or maybe a 24' box.
    The 24' box I am thinking would be good if I carry a quad bike inside for shopping. Otherwise just a 20' box.

    Because I have the payload in a 7.5T truck I can add LOADS of solar panels and carry a big battery bank. I could also install an electric start LPG generator (eventually). Very large water tanks and a washer/drier means I won't need to keep driving to the laundrette. I will also have a separate shower from the toilet so no more having to wipe down the toilet etc after each shower and drying the floor of the shower. I will also be able to move my chest freezer from the trailer into the van.

    Because of the payload I can add a separate red diesel tank and install an eberspacher for winter use. This will free me from having to find LPG in the winter if the weather gets bad... (Long story but it involved driving 50 miles)

    Because of the height off the ground I could add underbody storage and underbody services such as bulk waste tanks with pump etc etc.

    I have thought of all this stuff before, but having a small van has limited what I can do.

    This project will be a long term one. I will do what I did with the van, which is to get it very quickly habitable with the absolute basics, then over the next 2-3 years slowly add to it and update stuff as finances and time allow.

    This is one truck that I quite like but the mileage is a touch on the high side.
    https://trucks.autotrader.co.uk/search/advert/iveco/eurocargo/160165186503846

    Quite like this one with the 24' body on it. No mileages listed though.
    https://trucks.autotrader.co.uk/search/advert/daf/lf-series/164017713299798

    The reason I am looking at the bottom end of the price range is I am not 100% sure this will suite me. So I will roughly convert a cheap one. If it works out I can redo the conversion much nicer or upgrade to a much newer truck to do a proper conversion. This first truck conversion will be done on the cheap without skimping on durability. It will also allow me to tune the layout.. My current van has been through 3 different rebuild jobs.

    Oh, well. while I am saving up for it I can dream and plan :) Aiming for a budget of £7,000 for the initial truck and conversion.
     
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  2. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    I posted this link yesterday about my own conversion , and seeing that you are involved with the maintenance of fun I suppose you know about this sister forum where there are lots of likeminded people doing conversions.

    https://www.diymotorhome.co.uk/community/threads/new-year-new-project.1234/
     
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  3. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    Thanks, I used to look in regularly on this and SBMCC. But as I wasn't doing a self build I slacked off. I will start visiting again when the project gets nearer again (y)

    Off to look at your thread now :D
     
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  4. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    A great idea which I thoroughly recommend.

    My last self-build (the Black Beauty, aka the Wagon) was built while I was living in it.

    Every piece of wood, set of drawers or batten was planned whilst lying in bed in the morning.

    It had no status what so ever. The quality of workmanship was rock bottom but everything worked perfectly... always.

    I have a notebook full of ideas and sketches for the next Super Duper, Self Build. However when I became affluent enough to finance it, ninety percent of my energy had disappeared.

    Now it takes me a week just to half clean one window in my beautiful old, ready built, classic Hymer.

    JJ :cool:
     
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  5. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    Yup, I built this one while living in it. It had a bed, porta potty and camping stove when I moved into it.. All it had was insulation and 1 window... 2-3 weeks after buying it I was living in it while continuing to work at my company. Tough few weeks but worth it.
     
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  6. Ivory55

    Ivory55 Funster

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    I agree, I have often thought a 7.5 ton box motor offers really good value compared to a 3.5 ton van. Think the front corners would want checking for damage from branches etc as they tend to be used for parcel delivery etc so squeezing through places. All that chassis to hang tanks and batteries on.
     
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  7. Ivory55

    Ivory55 Funster

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    If you see an ex bread delivery motor they sometimes have an entry door in to the box on the kerb side already. Might be useful.
     
  8. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    Been looking at a few of those. The problem is with the door being so low it reduces security. I prefer to have the door high and a lockable fold out step. Every little bit of security is helpful when fulltiming (y).
     
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  9. Ivory55

    Ivory55 Funster

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    If you’re after security you want that prison van I pointed out before, haha.
     
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  10. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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    All I know about self build is insulation, insulation, insulation.
     
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  11. tacr2man

    tacr2man Funster

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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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  12. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    Yup I learned that lesson on my 1st two builds. I will be sticking to two part polyurethane spray insulation again.
     
  13. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    I looked at a few last time. The roof was not high enough suprisingly. Also a lot of work blanking windows as they are never in the right place. Basically I don't like them :p
    Thanks for the suggestion though. They are popular conversion vehicles for a reason, just not for me.

    PS: the one you linked is a 10T I don't have the license for that.
     
  14. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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  15. Langtoftlad

    Langtoftlad Funster Life Member

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    My only "issue" with this idea is that, to me, having the cab completely separate from the habitation area is wasting space like simply bolting a caravan onto a flatbed... but I suppose if total vehicle length etc isn't a factor, there could be some advantages in having the two side separate - insulation comes to mind.
    And stealth - won't look out of place parked up on an industrial estate, although might give some CMC site wardens a fit of the vapours :whistle:
    Look forward to seeing how the project progresses (y)
     
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  16. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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  17. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    No idea ...
     
  18. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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    I think its a security thing but some so have doors connecting the cab to the hab area.
     
  19. Ivory55

    Ivory55 Funster

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    It’s classed as a mobile workshop, like what Electric companies have. It has to have certain things like welfare facilities fitted, but do not know full rules. It’s not for carrying loads is the main one.
     
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  20. tacr2man

    tacr2man Funster

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    It would be by usage only , depending on what it was subsequently used for it would quite possibly lose exempt status. I don't know why they mention that , as the fact it hasn't been motd for years is hardly a selling point in my book
     
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