December 7, 2015

Eberspacher Fitting

So one thing I loved about my old T25, was that I had an Eberspacher D2 fitted, which meant year round use, and lots of cosy evenings in the van.

It will come as no surprise, that I've planned on fitting the D2 in the new van  However, given the different layout it has taken a bit longer to figure out the best place to fit it.  I opted to fit it under the drivers seat, pulling cold air from the cab floor, and direct the rear vent directly into the rear space.

Fitting the unit was pretty straight forward as usual, being careful with the cutting, and ensuring all the new holes in the floor were rust proofed and painted.  There was a little bit of trimming the rubber flooring away to get a snug fit, but nothing too major.  The most complex part was dropping the tank to fit the fuel pick-up stand pipe.

The wiring is still loose in the back as the cabling for the controller and power etc need hiding away.

Heater tucked under the drivers seat.

 The tell-tale exhaust poking out from underneath.

If I can offer one piece of advice to anyone wishing to fit their own, don't do it on a very cold dark winters day!   Think ahead, buy it and fit it in the summer / autumn. You wont regret it!  If you use your van daily, they are a god send,  no more defrosting the windscreens in the morning, set the timer, and let the van warm up for you before you get in it.

If you look around on eBay you can pick up some bargains in Spring and Summer.  Especially ex BT van units, which come with a built in 1 hour timer, but there is an easy way to bypass this, or simply swap the controller out for a non BT software version one.

November 3, 2015

Furniture Progress

Just a very quick update for now,  the vast majority of the furniture construction is now done.

Just a worktop to shape and fit, a small rear shelf to add, and some holes to cut for sockets, and the Sargent controller etc.

I'd love to hear your comments on the work so far.

October 29, 2015

Furniture Update

So yet again it's been a while since my last post, but this time I've got something to show for the time.

The main cupboard / wardrobe, with the tambour door fitted.

The lower shelf isn't secure in yet, as I need to make a trapdoor in it to access the Leisure battery.

Central  cupboard finished which will house the water carrier and gas cylinder.  Also behind the door will be a small concealed cutlery drawer.

The 'ikkle drawer!

Next up will be fitting and securing the furniture in place, then starting to wire up the electrics.

October 10, 2015

Start of final construction

After finishing the mock furniture, it's time to start the proper units.  I have opted for a driftwood units, topped with a black granite effect worktop.  All constructed with 15mm lightweight ply.

I've started on the large unit at the back, and the unit to house the fridge and the gas/water.  I'll get some more photos as the build progresses.

Lots to be getting on with over the next few days, I'll try and keep this updated as much as possible.

New stoppers

In a break from the usual blog posts about converting the van, this one is about basic maintenance.

The discs were looking a bit crusty on the front and back, so its time to replace the lot.  Ok crusty might be an understatement, these things were knackered!!

Only one small snag, and that was the NSR calliper was seized, so that's been replaced,

New stoppers all finished!  Now to get back on with the conversion.

Mock Design Complete

I've finally finished mocking the interior for the van.  I've changed a few bits around and chnaged my mind countless times, but I've now finally settled on a configuration that works for me.  I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Now to work out a small cutlery draw

September 9, 2015

Mock Layout

Ok, so with the large gap between posts, I've been busy planning the layout.  I decided to mock the units out of basic 12mm ply.  This has allowed me to easily change the layout and positions of stuff.

Granted I had to buy 5 sheets of ply to do this, which cost around £100, but I think it was well worth it, and I can use the panels as templates when I make the furniture out of lightweight ply.

Either way, im a log way of being finished, but here is a quick look at my progress so far.

I've still got the rear contour cut to do, but the cardboard template is made for it.  

One issue I do yet still need to work out, is where I can have a drawer.

Im also debating where to situate the 907 gas cylinder, so if you've any thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them

July 20, 2015

Great News!

Apologies for the lack of updates, It's been a hectic few weeks.

I've found out I'm becoming a Dad for the first time, so lots of exciting times ahead.

Also after 6 years I finally got down on one knee, and asked my better half to marry me. Amazingly she said yes!

Now to get cracking with the van before the little'un arrives.

June 3, 2015

The right floor for the job

So as the weather is improving I've wanted to get on with the conversion.  So next on the list was the flooring.

I wanted something that would last, and suited the furniture I've planned to make.

So after much deliberation, I opted for the Polyflor Modena PUR, in Jetstone.

First up, was to bond in some 9mm inserts into the recesses in the floor.

Next up was to carefully cut out and screw in the 12mm ply flooring.  Before fitting the flooring, I lay the Polyflor over the top and trimmed it to an exact copy of the ply flooring, this way I new I'd only have minor trims to do once in the van.

Now because I dont want to see any screw heads or lump in the floor, I tightened them all down so they were flush, then gave the flooring a good covering of the F60 adhesive.

A little tip for you, keep all the doors and windows open, as after a few minutes in there you wont remember what you were meant to be doing!  

And after a bit of massaging the bubbles out with a heat gun and a roller, the end result looks like this.

Now to mock up the furniture and make the wiring loom for it all..

May 19, 2015

A VW Design Flaw - Resolved

So since I picked up the van almost a year ago, I've had a slight problem with has been getting slowly worse.

When starting the van and sat stationary, there was a smell of diesel fumes in the cab.  A quick look under the bonnet revealed the suspected culprit of a cracked exhaust manifold.

There was plenty of visible soot around cylinder number 5.

So after some online research, the VW parts bill was over £1000!

I was then suggested to look at Darkside Developments, as they do a cast iron kit which is a direct replacement for the stock VW part. (And wont crack after a few thousand miles - thanks VW)

I gave Darkside a call to just double check a few things and place the order, and a day later the kit arrived.  I have to say, I'm really impressed with it, the manifold is of excellent quality, and came with all the necessary gaskets, bolts, nuts and new studs.

So this weekend with assistance from my brother-in-law, we set about taking the old one off, and getting the new one installed.

So as for the parts, its out with the old and in with the new. Upon inspection after removing the old manifold, it was actually cracked around cylinders, 1,2,3 and 5.

It's made a huge difference, the boost seems to kick in sooner, the engine is quieter, and certainly more torquey.  It's also nice to not have to turn the blowers off each time I start up or stand still in the van.

So if you've got one of the 5 cylinder AXD/AXE engines in your van, I'd really recommend the Darkside Development kit.

April 23, 2015

Fitting 20s

So a little earlier this month I picked up a bargain set of 20" Calibre Exile wheels for the van. The tyres that were on them were pretty shot, and not load rated enough for my T30.  Although the wheels themselves are in excellent condition.

So I've ordered and fitted a set of 275/40/R20  106 rated Haida tyres.

Using these wheels I had to source some slighly longer bolts, but also tapered, not radius ones like the standard bolts.

Anyway, a picture speaks a thousand words, so here they are:

One this that is now painfully obvious, is how desperately it needs lowering.  How much by I'm not sure, but I'll hold off doing this until the interior is finished, then I can level it off nicely.

April 9, 2015

Carpet Lining

So as spring is now in full effect, and the arrival of the easter bank holiday meant I could get on with the carpet lining of the van.

I've never done this before, so a few hours of studying video's on youtube, and a little thinking about how to tackle it.

So here is the before...

During -  and I'll add this now, an extra pair of hands is invaluable in getting it done in a large single piece of material.

And the finished article.

I used the Van lining carpet from MegaVanMats, and they also supplied the high temperature glue, and I replaced all the standard VW panel clips with blind clips.  The material is very forgiving, and works really well, Just take your time, there is no rush, as if the glue dries, then you can just apply a bit more.

It takes a little bit of time to get used to how it stretches, and how to work out any little creases etc, but from start to finish, this took me two afternoons, and I'm really pleased with how it's worked out.

If you're considering doing this yourself, then I would really recommend the MVM carpet, and giving it a go yourself, it makes a huge difference to the feel of the van, and the back end is now much quieter too.

March 25, 2015

New gadgets

So when I got the van, it had a simple Sony headunit in, with Bluetooth.  However the sound quality never impressed me, and when using the phone it sounded awful.

My next order of business was to pop the old unit out, and find something better to fill the hole.  A few hours searching online, and I'd picked a winner.

The Kenwood DDX-4025BT.

Double DIN unit, with impressive spec, including DVD/CD/MP3/USB/iPod and bluetooth.  It also has a really clear screen on it, and a reversing camera input.

Moments later on eBay I found a basic reversing camera for around £10, including a 10m video lead.

The install was really painless, and took a matter of minutes, I spent another 3 hours taking the rear door apart to fit the camera and necessary wiring.

The bluetooh connectivity works really well, the reverse camera is fantastic, and the ability to play MP3's from a USB drive means no more discs rattling around the front.  I've got a 32gb drive tucked away in the glovebox.

For less than £235 for everything, and an afternoon in time, it's a fantastic upgrade and I wish I'd done it sooner.

March 13, 2015

Some self assembly required.

So after a week or two or what feels like relentless spending, there is a campervan in what used to be my dining room.  Well in self assembly parts anyway!

I've now got the power management system, water hose, waste water hose, gas hose, gas pipe, fittings, sink & hob, tap, pump, RIB Altair Bed, fitting kit, 12 cans of spray glue, and a huge roll of megavamats lining carpet. I've also picked up a new Kenwood Double DIN headunit and reversing camera.

So I'll be getting on fitting this lot while the credit card cools down a little from all the spending.

I've put the links to all the places I've sourced my parts from on the useful links section of the blog.

More updates to follow, and hopefully with some pictures too.

March 2, 2015

New roof day

First of all, my apologies in such a long gap between my updates on the blog.

February was a really busy month, and also expensive.  I decided to get the van in for the elevating roof before the rest of the conversion goes in.  So after many hours of research and a lot of thought, the van was left with James at Custom Campers, just outside Halifax.

I was a little apprehensive prior to leaving the van, as I wanted to do as much of this conversion myself as I could, but common sense kicked in, and this is definitely a job for the professionals.

I'm over the moon with the results, the new Austops slimline roof looks fantastic, and doesn't really stand out much at all.

The extra amount of room it provides is amazing.

The eagle eyed amongst you will also spot a new badges grill I fitted a few weeks ago.  Not too sure on this yet and it could well come off again....

Your thoughts?

January 17, 2015

Colour Conundrum

A white van is a blank canvas.  At least that the way I'm looking at it, but the more I look at it, the more I feel it's lacking some colour.

I find myself looking at other vans, and desperately trying to decide which colour I prefer the most. Typically I cannot seem to narrow it down to a single colour.  I keep circling back to a Gunmetal Grey, or Olympian Blue.

More looking meant more idea's and soon I ended up on Specialist Paints website. (See Links)  This now means there are even more contenders for the final colour.

Here are just a few I really like,  it would be great to hear your comments on them.

It's behind you

As the van started life as a panel van, it never had a rear view mirror fitted, clearly as there was no need to see the bulk head in the cab.

However as I've now got windows in the back doors, and sides, I thought it could well be a handy to see behind me.

A few minutes on eBay, and I've sourced a brand new one for under £20

Fitted in a matter of seconds, and it's starting to feel less like a builders van.

I've also now started converting the front end to a badgeless grill.  Photos to follow when it's done.

January 1, 2015

More little bits

My family know me so well, for Christmas, I was given a set of Heko wind deflectors, and a new gearknob and gaiter.

The wind deflectors were fitted in seconds, and look great!

Next was the knob, the original is looking a little worse for wear.

I've not grabbed a photo of the new one, but I'll put that on here as soon as I do.

It's starting to feel like I've put my own touch on the van now.  Next up is the roof conversion.