Phoebe On The Road Begins......... Now!
Planning EVERYTHING down to the position of the piping for the electrics, water, USB sockets and bed placement is tiring. I have measured out (mentally) the plan for inside the van, everything manages to fit. The bed takes up just under half of the van.
The main things that were important to me to have in the van;
A seating area that converted into a bed
the bed to be at the back of the van with no obstruction for getting out the back of the van
Being able to get into the cab of the van without actually getting out
A storage area to be able to hang clothes
Storage on the sides of the van at headheight
DVLA must haves to be able to convert it on V5;
A door that provides access to living area
a bed that has a minimum length of 1800mm and must be permanently fixed to the body of the vehicle
A water storage container
a seating or dining area that is permanently attached to the vehicle, table can be removed but must not be loose
a permanently fixed means of storage
a permanently fixed cooking facility powered by gas or electricity
at least one window on the side of the accommodation
Having looked into various other vans, what other people have used to convert their van and the space in the 'loading' area, I decided on these;
There are various issues with each one, I took into consideration the MPG, rust, cost of parts to replace, if the parts are available in Europe, how often the main parts of the engine would need changing. I decided on a Citroen Relay L3 H2 2.0.
I looked into buying a second hand van for months and months, checking various selling sites, looking at what was in auction sites etc. I found that they all had 170k+ miles on them, were not running, rusty all over, corroded underneath. Although all of these things could be fixed I did not want to spend my time and in a garage having repairs done or constantly breaking down ( I know that even brand new vans break down too). After looking at 100's and 100's of vans online and keeping up to date with it all nothing ticked all of my boxes; little to no rust, chassis in great condition, less than 150k miles. I didn't even mind having to travel for the van if it was the right one.
I looked at a few vans but again there were always issues that I didn't want to waste time or money on repairing!
I was going into town on a Friday after I had finished work to go and get a party outfit, but I couldn't fin anything I liked. I just gave up and started driving back to my mums. On the way back I drove past a garage (bristol street motors) I thought I may as well go in and ask what they have, if they had anything I could look at on the forecourt. There were no vans to view, but I inquired. Roll on the 20th May (my birthday) and at 11am I was driving away with my Citroen Relay L3H2!?
I had spoken to family about this and a friend just to make sure I was doing the right thing, but I knew I was. I was so excited about driving my beautiful new van; Susan, home from the dealership.
My mum and I had already measured the van on the drive just to make sure it would fit! It does, so Worcester now have a van to look at for the next few months while I pick it to shreads and make it my home.
On the Monday, I drove Susan to a few hardware stores so i could get some supplies to start fitting her out.
After I had dropped my van off where I would be converting her for the foreseeable future. I decided to go and grab some materials so I could get started on the flooring. Windows and electrics to be fitted in June.
On the flooring of the van there were areas that the floor was raised, I didn't want to fit batons onto the flooring to try and get as much space as possible for the storage areas later on.
I cut strips of celotax on to the flooring, used spray adhesive to stick it down (double layers). This was super easy to do, although you do get covered in glue and it's crazy difficult to get off. I lay the kinspan flooring down, measured and cut to get a good tight fit, or so I thought... I just used spray foam to fill in any gaps later on.
Bought the Kingspan and Plywood (9mm) from Wickes, celotax and spray adhesive from Homebase, spray foam and various other things from B&Q.
The English weather held out for two days for me to get all of this done! Next mission is to lay the flooring, fit the edging to give it a nice finish, fit the windows and have the electrics done!
After being quoted ridiculous prices to have the windows fitted, I decided against going with a company to fit the windows. So instead, I bought the windows from Leisure Vehicle Windows (100% recommend), and roped my step dad and friend into helping me fit them!
Having primed etc the back two windows and glued them on, I needed to make sure that they were as secure they were going to be, DUCT TAPE!! I could have easily gotten away with not using the tape as the windows stuck like crazy! Instructions were easy to follow and although I read them 20 million times I could have gotten it with the first instruction. I had already laid everything out, so definitely overkill!
To drill the shape of the window space, I drilled from the inside of the van out following the shape of the metal work. Playing dot to dot using the jigsaw to cut out the shape was easy! On the first window I didn't use masking tape to protect the edge of the van, on the next two windows I put masking tape all the way around as to not scratch the van, it looks super neat!
Primed and used the primary adhesive to prepare the van and the windows, the black glue that came with the windows was super thick and a little difficult to get out of the tube (definitely rope in a strong individual to help).
Being mindful of the weight limit in my van I wanted to save this by using vinyl! It was easy to cut, easy to lay and it looks great! I bought the flooring from CarpetRight. I knew the exact flooring I was looking for, it is easy to wipe clean, it wont go funny if any water gets onto the flooring and its easy to change if I decide later on that I don't like it.
As the vinyl was quite stiff I laid it out in the sun for 10 minutes to soften up a little before it went into the van. I rolled it length ways in the van starting on the drivers side.
The flooring was so so so easy to fit! The lines are straight and it was easy to cut into shape around the curves and bends of the van. I used white silicone to give it a neat finish, clean and also hide any parts that I didn't cut very well (oops).
It looks lovely down, gives it a really nice finish.
To stick the vinyl down I used carpet adhesive from Homebase, half a can covered the floor more than enough! It stuck within a few minutes, pulled it tight so no ruffling anywhere when the rest of the build continues.
Ceiling / Vent
Fitting the vent was the same as fitting the windows. Using a jigsaw to cut the pattern out, using paint to protect the exposed paint, fitted the trim to make the gap slightly tighter, put the vent into the gap and used 'sticks like sh*t'. Attached the bottom and used silicone to seal.
Hey presto! Working and waterproof vent!
Cladding the ceiling was super easy! Even on my own, along the support beams of the van, i pre-drilled holes and used self tappers with the batons, even though there is not that much weight on them, I reallllly did not want anything to fall down! I cut the batons into three to relieve some of the pressure on them before attaching the cladding.
I stained the cladding before putting it on the roof as I thought it would be easier (no!) after attaching them onto the roof I had to restain them because there were loads of little white gaps - annoying. I then had to do this again later on in the build.