Upgrade the van or upgrade this van? (1 Viewer)

mjltigger

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Nov 12, 2014
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as suggested by @wizzer59

so we have had our van since I think about June. We started in April 2012 with a coach built that we kept for a few months, hardly ever used and then sold on for a small loss.

In April 2014 we decided to have another go and started hunting. We arranged finance and had the money in the bank but couldn't find the right spec, layout or condition.

In the end we bought our panel van conversion (hereafter known as the rusty old tranny or just 'the van'

It was a private conversion 2 owners ago. The last owners used it for commuting as well as weekends away, short distances (I think) from Cornwall.

AS soon as we bought it we started getting issues. It is still a panel van on the V5. The last owners (and I assume the owners before that) insured it as a panel van.

I hate insurance but if I am going to pay for insurance I want to be able to claim so I approached van insirers and declared modifications to convert to a campervan and I approached MH insurers and declared it was still registered as a panel van .

In the end I got insurance at a much higher price that I expected and I think for a fairly poor product but there it is I have the cover. It is insured as a motor caravan and I had to have an engineers report prepared to show that it internally met all the DVLA requirements fo such. I cannot make a claim until I have got DVLA to approve the change of body type but of course I have statutory cover in the meantime.

I now need to work on getting it sorted for DVLA change of classification. The problem is, the offside of the vehicle has had only 1 modification (water heater balanced flue) and the rear doors are windowless and unmodified. I am very concerned DVLA will reject my request to re-classify the van.

Additionally, the water heater only works on mains electric, there is significant missing trim round the cab area (as it is a home made job and so the old van trim hasn't been replaced when it was done) and the electrics are a maze which really I would like to re-do. I don't have a current gas safety certificate and the fridge goes out on gas whenever parked anywhere that isn't totally flat. There is no heating other than small portable gas fire.

All that being said, we love the van and have used it more than we even thought we would. We have had some fab experiences using it as a base and find the layout and size exactly perfect for us.

The van engine seems to be in better than good nick (pulled us nicely into Germany, luxembourge and France early December) but the bodywork is not the best. Plenty work to be done.

So April comes around pretty soon and I am starting to allocate funds for next year and wonder what your views are.

Option 1:Give this one up as a bad lot, sell it on to another couple as a great starter van and upgrade to a newer van with a similar layout with some of next years money
Option 2:Give this van the love and attention it needs to make it look as good outside as it feels inside, spend the weekend after weekend of crawling around tight spaces with screwdrivers in my mouth it will take to get the wiring sorted, fit a shower and some heating and then get a gas certificate
Option 3:Run this one as it is until it dies then get another one like it to keep up the FUN on a tiny budget.

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OP
mjltigger

mjltigger

Free Member
Nov 12, 2014
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As you love it, option 3, but you don't mention how much you paid so it may depend on that(y)

by the way, the base van is 1999 - the reg is private (was on it when I got it) and is a 2.5 non turbo. it's LWB Transit 100 (I think otherwise known as a 1 tonne tranny)
 

BwB

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Option 3 sounds good to me, given the age/circumstances/etc.

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mjltigger

mjltigger

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Nov 12, 2014
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if it works (sort of) and your happy with it..keep it. if you fancy a better van and have the funds ..why not :)
I don't want to take finance but I have probably got about the same amount again... so I could spend 2k doing this one up, or I could sell this one and add the 2k to whatever I get and go for a more expensive one or I could use the 2k for ferries and diesel. I think I can do all the hab stuff myself and make it perfect (for us) and I can see to the engine myself as well (it's pretty good as it is and I am more than capable of servicing and belt changes etc) but trying to sort out the (at the moment surface) rust is going to eat through 2k pretty quickly.
 

Terry

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Hi the old tranny Banana engines run forever (y)so mechanically you should have little or no problems - Body wise ???Internal no pics so don't really know what to advise only that DON'T use a portable gas fire :eek::eek:If the van is quite nice inside then you may double your money in the next couple of mths --Ask yourself what you can get for your 4k ?? not a lot around that don't need money spending on them -so is it a case of better the devil you know ?
terry
 
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mjltigger

mjltigger

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Hi the old tranny Banana engines run forever (y)so mechanically you should have little or no problems - Body wise ???Internal no pics so don't really know what to advise only that DON'T use a portable gas fire :eek::eek:If the van is quite nice inside then you may double your money in the next couple of mths --Ask yourself what you can get for your 4k ?? not a lot around that don't need money spending on them -so is it a case of better the devil you know ?
terry

I recently tried to do some tidying up of my photos and ave lost all the internal ones.
My feeling is better the devil I know. My doubt is the bodywork. I have a real concern that once pay someone to start digging around the brown bits the bill will just grow and grow and never stop..

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Fireman Sam

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If you don’t tackle the bodywork issues, how long before it starts to look shabby, reducing your selling-on options and the likely price you can expect?

If you invested the money in maintaining and improving it you would likely get a few more years of fun out of it and still have a saleable Motorhome if you decide to trade up.

Personally, if I felt able to tackle the jobs and had the time, I think I would stick with it.
 
Oct 7, 2013
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I don't want to take finance but I have probably got about the same amount again... so I could spend 2k doing this one up, or I could sell this one and add the 2k to whatever I get and go for a more expensive one or I could use the 2k for ferries and diesel. I think I can do all the hab stuff myself and make it perfect (for us) and I can see to the engine myself as well (it's pretty good as it is and I am more than capable of servicing and belt changes etc) but trying to sort out the (at the moment surface) rust is going to eat through 2k pretty quickly.
If you like it, and are capable of doing the work yourself, go for it.

At present you know what you have got. If you sell and buy another it will be an unknown quantity that may have more problems than are immediately apparent.

Either way, ENJOY!:)
 
Apr 18, 2009
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Not long enough!
by the way, the base van is 1999 - the reg is private (was on it when I got it) and is a 2.5 non turbo. it's LWB Transit 100 (I think otherwise known as a 1 tonne tranny)

Then I would still stay with option 3 and try sort out rust (hate rust with a passion) and tidy up with out spending too much, that way you may get your money back when it comes to upgrade time.(y)

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Badknee

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Option 2 for me. I ran older vans for years type2 bay window VW's, welded them, painted them, changed engines, cut a hole in the roof to fit pop up roof, that was scary.

Ok look what you have, a van that runs ok. A van that does everything you want it too, but needs a bit of TLC. A van that you love owning. That's the one to think about.

If the paintwork needs help then do most of it yourself, the cheapest bit is spraying it, the expensive bit is getting it ready for spraying. I welded up the sills, filled bottom of door, rubbed it down, sprayed undercoat, rubbed it down, did it again till it was right and got the bottom half sprayed.

As you say you need to spend time on it and that's the cheapest thing you have, time. :D
 
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mjltigger

mjltigger

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Option 2 for me. I ran older vans for years type2 bay window VW's, welded them, painted them, changed engines, cut a hole in the roof to fit pop up roof, that was scary.

Ok look what you have, a van that runs ok. A van that does everything you want it too, but needs a bit of TLC. A van that you love owning. That's the one to think about.

If the paintwork needs help then do most of it yourself, the cheapest bit is spraying it, the expensive bit is getting it ready for spraying. I welded up the sills, filled bottom of door, rubbed it down, sprayed undercoat, rubbed it down, did it again till it was right and got the bottom half sprayed.

As you say you need to spend time on it and that's the cheapest thing you have, time. :D

the bits you mention are the bits I'm scared of and would have to pay someone else to do. I am happy enough with a can of hammerite straight to rust but anything more and I'm in deep water.

Time is a struggle. It's the dearest thing I have. Cutting and welding will have to be outsourced.

I have a list of excuses for this but mainly it's because I'm scared of welding something to something and ending up having to replace more than I started out replacing.

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Terry

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OK so you love the van and most important you use it (y)lets establish then if it's worth keeping (i prob think it is:))
Depending on how long/short MOT is on the van -take it to a garage and ask what it will need for MOT ?that way you know you have a yr out of it .Depending on this outcome you can then decide to keep or get rid -how much welding it needs/where and cost -Brakes,bearings etc don't cost the earth if you find a nice friendly small/backstreet garage that you can trust (ask around where other take cars/vans for repair)
BODYWORK wise don't go near it with Hammerite :)Start with one panel at a time rubbing away at the rust filling rubbing filling and rubbing then using a spay can prime/undercoat this will show if it needs filling and rubbing down more -Once you get the hang of it you can simply buy spray cans doing a panel at a time -it is surprising how 4 or 5 thin coats build up and look quite good /really tiding up the van (y)This could even be done in stages while you are away in the van and sat bored outside with nothing to do -after practicing with the UCPrimer you may feel you are confident enough to try the top coat (y):DProb £100 worth of spay cans will tidy up your van no end(y) who knows you may spend 100 quid on a compressor and spray gun and smarten the van up proper :D
terry
 

Badknee

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the bits you mention are the bits I'm scared of and would have to pay someone else to do. I am happy enough with a can of hammerite straight to rust but anything more and I'm in deep water.

Time is a struggle. It's the dearest thing I have. Cutting and welding will have to be outsourced.

I have a list of excuses for this but mainly it's because I'm scared of welding something to something and ending up having to replace more than I started out replacing.
Ok, as Terry suggests get an MOT check on it and go from there. If it needs welding get two or three quotes. If you keep on top of the rust worm it could last for years.
 

Puddleduck

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Listen to Terry, he's forgotten more about base vehicles and conversions than 99.9% of the population will ever know.

I don't mean to be rude but with your budget you are in the zone for people dumping their money pits or for scammers. You know your present van, good and bad, and know what needs doing to it so I would stick with it.

The MOT advice is brilliant. If you have a local tech college that does motor maintenance you could contact them and see you and they could come to an agreement about using your van as a project / assessment vehicle - you'd get good work at a good price.

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Jan 28, 2008
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primer isnt waterproof so dont prime and leave it in the rain the rust will just pop through again
your vintage transits were quite bad for serious tin rot get under neath and check all the floors, steps and front and rear suspension mountings
to be honest 2k isnt a great sum of money nowdays think i would do the bare minimum to keep it moted and just accept that sooner or later you will have to give up on it with a 4k budget your not going to find much better than what you have so start saving
as youve already had quite a few adventures in it work out what those holidays would have cost without the van and it will seem like youve had a bargin
 

joncris

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Do you know you've got a none interference engine in that should the cam belt fail you'll just have some bent tappet push rods rather than damaged pistons conrods etc. I know this because I also have a 2.5 none turbo Trannie camper which I'm about to sell on ebay
 

JJ

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Even though I have never met Mr Terry, I find all his advice, recommendations and suggestions bang on when it comes to more mature, live in vans.

It is as if I dictated to him what I would say and he posted it.

You cannot lose with a £2000 van...

Any additional equipment you fix into it can always be transferred to another van further down the road.

The key point is you enjoy your current van.

I strongly recommend you continue to do do.

JJ :cool:

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gibbon

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Stick with it & go for option 2.
Years ago I bought an old Citroen 2cv, turned out the chassis was rotton!!!
With no experience of welding I managed to change the chassis to a new galvanised one & bought a small mig welder for the body panels.
I was honestly sh!!!ing bricks when I started my self taught techniques, and it didn't go well at first but in a couple of weeks I ended up with a car I used for the next year & a half.
Putting the work in the hands of a "professional " was financially impossible.
You love the van now, you'll love it even more when you've learned how to keep it on the road yourself (y)
 
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In the end, only you can make the final decision !! I can do anything mechanical, but rusty bodywork I hate, having spent years as a mech and getting spattered in hot weld.. If you are not confident with bodywork and you try it yourself you could end up with a "dogs dinner"..
And actually reduce the value of what you have.. Try selling it at a slightly higher price 3K plus and if it goes it goes..(( you are coming into the season when people are looking )) People tend to shop within a budget bracket.. There are always so many options in this life.. If you are confident, repair it if not, sell it..
Whichever way you go, be happy in the motorhomeing life.. It is brilliant !! (y)
Mitch.
 

JJ

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Don't tell anyone please but modern, mig welding is as easy to do as if you were using really quick drying glue to stick the metal together.

Just have to have one of those instant poloroid type masks so you can see what you are doing!

JJ :cool:

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OP
mjltigger

mjltigger

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Lots of good thoughts. Having talked it over with the OH and read your posts I think it would be silly to replace this one with another one that could be worse. I really dint want to get finance for a newer van and I don't (yet) have time to self build. I think I will pop it in for an early MOT as soon as I can and assuming a pass is within a small budget I will just go for it and spend the next few months doing it up

I have no inside space so paint will have to be done on days when it might not rain.. I think we usually get one or two of those in August..

Thanks again all:D
 

Terry

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Hi get a pre Mot inspection that way they don't put it onto computer or anything --it just gives you a idea how much work will be needed for when the time comes (y)and gives plenty of time to sort things without added pressure of getting it done with in a few weeks ;)
terry
 

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