Author Topic: Motorhomes & Campervans  (Read 12350 times)

mmmmartin

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Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #50 on: 19 June, 2021, 01:38:47 pm »
Interesting thread. Any comments on who to use for a conversion, and what sort of cost to convert say a Vivaro type van?
Also, any idea of mpg on one of these Alphards, such as @Flatus has?
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #51 on: 24 June, 2021, 09:27:11 pm »
Interesting thread. Any comments on who to use for a conversion, and what sort of cost to convert say a Vivaro type van?
Also, any idea of mpg on one of these Alphards, such as @Flatus has?

If you buy a Toyota Alphard its its about 30 mpg , probably a little less loaded up for camping.
 We have a 55 plate Vito Dualiner with a factory fitted load area with all the plastic trim and roof linning.
Its been reliable to date with 136000 miles on the clock, as its 15 +years old now no one wants to insure it for Europe . Bought a new Vito before Covid and its been a nightmare trying to source parts like revolving bases (European vendors want £55 postage and perhaps 2 vat bills etc ) UK stuff is mostly out of stock .
As we have all the camping gear its rear seats out , thermarests and sleeping bags do us if the weather turns bad or we can't be bothered to pitch a tent .
Make sure its well insulated, never bothered about rock & roll bed or kitchen as 5 or 6 K buys a lot of meals and nights in a hotel if you want a treat.
Only extras are leisure battery with dual charging for a compresser fridge ,solar panel , Waeco inverter if we need 240 when not hooked up, electrics for the bike rack and revolving seat bases as they free up more space when parked up.  If you buy a Vivaro make sure it has one of the bigger engines ,fitting out a van adds a lot of weight . One downside to vans is the cost of bike racks.     

mmmmartin

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Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #52 on: 24 June, 2021, 11:01:48 pm »
Thanks very much that's very helpful. Especially about the extra weight. A kitchen isn't really needed when you have gas stoves, but the rock n roll bed adds two seats for passengers. All these things are a compromise i guess. Hadn't thought about the import problems from the EU. Another brexit bonus i suppose.
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

P.P.

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Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #53 on: 26 June, 2021, 04:59:57 pm »
I can't comment on the cost to get someone else to do the work for you, but having converted a Vivaro myself I'd guess that I spent about £5500 (including buying the van) doing mine.

However that was a couple of years ago and the price of vans seems to have skyrocketed recently (along with materials etc). That coupled with the import issues and lack of bits, as everyone's got the same idea, means it might not be the best time to be doing one?

If your going to do one make sure you get a long wheel base version, it's only about 2 feet longer but makes a massive difference and get it looked at by a competent mechanic before buying as there's a number of common faults.

The Vivaro, Traffic and Nissan are all exactly the same van just badged differently, all the parts are interchangeable and made by Renault.

I've got some more spiel on converting mine, including loads of pictures on my blog if your interested.  (https://pperratt.weebly.com/the-van-plan.html)


mmmmartin

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Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #54 on: 27 June, 2021, 08:55:29 pm »
That's the best account of a DIY conversion I've ever read.
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #55 on: 27 June, 2021, 11:06:04 pm »
Enjoyed the build write up, well done. Doing the work yourself also means that if it needs a fix its easy to repair ;D
I liked the heater set up on  the test bench to check it out running , brilliant .
If they ever pack enough power ( 300 mile range ) into batteries for E-vans self builds will be a no-no due to the batteries under the floorpan.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #56 on: 27 June, 2021, 11:56:58 pm »
Self-tappers through the fuel tank are a standard feature of self-builds. And more than likely many professional builds too.

P.P.

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Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #57 on: 28 June, 2021, 05:52:26 am »
If they ever pack enough power ( 300 mile range ) into batteries for E-vans self builds will be a no-no due to the batteries under the floorpan.

Self-tappers through the fuel tank are a standard feature of self-builds. And more than likely many professional builds too.

Two very valid points there and its something I spent a lot of time thinking about both with reference to the floor and walls. "If this screws too long or too deep where's it going to come out".

For the floor I bonded laths to the van floor using adhesive and screwed my floor to those, working on the priciple that the less holes through the van floor the less places corrosion has to start from.

I would assume that in the case of EV vehicles the batteries would be fitted from below keeping the load area separate from the power source and keeping them accessible when the vans loaded, so would hope that you could use the same principle.

The new electric Vivaro has a claimed range of 150 miles so I would hope that by the time mines due for renewal they will be available at a sensible price and the improvements in battery tech will have seen that go up a bit.

I don't know what the recharge times like, but 150 mile range would probably just about suffice for my use. I'm guessing that the other issue will be getting power for your living needs, at the moment most charge from the alternator, but that won't be an option with EV. I'm not sure if you'd be able to draw power from the vehicle batteries for extra lights etc?

(Edited for spelling)

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #58 on: 28 June, 2021, 09:12:15 am »
Electric vehicles have a 12V battery and a DC-DC converter that does the same job as the alternator - charging the 12V system off the traction battery.

The bonus is that it’s silent and powered up whenever the key is the ignition, so if you wanted to charge the leisure battery you could do the equivalent of sitting with the engine running without disturbing anyone. The effect on range ought to be negligible.

Some EVs (eg the new Ford pickup) also have very large mains inverters connecting directly to the traction battery, so you’d be able to do things like running a 3 kW kettle or maybe even an electric shower.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #59 on: 28 June, 2021, 09:27:35 am »
I can't comment on the cost to get someone else to do the work for you, but having converted a Vivaro myself I'd guess that I spent about £5500 (including buying the van) doing mine...

 (https://pperratt.weebly.com/the-van-plan.html)

An excellent blog. Thanks

Kim

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Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #60 on: 28 June, 2021, 01:01:21 pm »
Also, EV's tend to be designed with battery replacement in mind.  It would likely be practical to drop the battery out in order to perform a camper conversion.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #61 on: 28 June, 2021, 02:02:05 pm »
Also, EV's tend to be designed with battery replacement in mind.  It would likely be practical to drop the battery out in order to perform a camper conversion.

It may be that DIY conversions of EV’s will be illegal - look at the issue with car workshops having to be modified / updated to deal with the HV risks.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Kim

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Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #62 on: 28 June, 2021, 02:26:21 pm »
Also, EV's tend to be designed with battery replacement in mind.  It would likely be practical to drop the battery out in order to perform a camper conversion.

It may be that DIY conversions of EV’s will be illegal - look at the issue with car workshops having to be modified / updated to deal with the HV risks.

I'm sure the manufacturers would love that.

(Seriously, is a large battery any more dangerous than a tank of petril?  Sure they require a few different skills and equipment to handle safely, but mechanics have been learning new skills since, well, cars.)

It might be that you need jacking equipment that's impractical for a DIYer to remove and refit the battery.  But I'm sure a company that replaces batteries in EVs would be happy to remove and store a battery for a while so a vehicle could be worked on.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #63 on: 28 June, 2021, 02:47:43 pm »
Self-build camper vans are normally done over a number of months and sometimes years on street or in the drive way. I doubt anyone want it immobile for that time.

You could maybe just get/need professionals to line the floor. Although there’ll still be countless holes to drill for tanks and plumbing and electrical gubbins.

Anyway, a long time before we get there. For now if it’s not spewing clouds of diesel shite it’s not a campervan.

Kim

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Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #64 on: 28 June, 2021, 03:12:12 pm »
I expect as a DIYer you'd just get all the floor-related stuff done at once, so you could refit the battery and do the rest at your leisure.  A bit like you might get everything relevant done before a respray.  May involve Forward Planning, but many things do.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #65 on: 28 June, 2021, 03:16:57 pm »

But I'm sure a company that replaces batteries in EVs would be happy to remove and store a battery for a while so a vehicle could be worked on.

If manufacturers will allow such activities to be carried out by third parties, that is. I can see in future both physical and software impediments being put in place, and the “your warranty is void” rider added.

Already some are locking down their systems - VAG has made certain parts of their systems inaccessible to the likes of VCDS on more recent cars. As the profitability of physical sales erodes the drive to keep aftercare is increasing.  Battery exchange is one obvious area for this.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Kim

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Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #66 on: 28 June, 2021, 03:26:48 pm »

But I'm sure a company that replaces batteries in EVs would be happy to remove and store a battery for a while so a vehicle could be worked on.

If manufacturers will allow such activities to be carried out by third parties, that is. I can see in future both physical and software impediments being put in place, and the “your warranty is void” rider added.

The recent Fully Charged episode about replacing the batteries in first generation Nissan Leafs showed that there was already an element of CANbus spoofing involved.

Shirley any warranty is voided anyway if you convert the vehicle to a camper van?

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #67 on: 28 June, 2021, 03:41:18 pm »
Most camper van setups don’t need to integrate in any way with vehicle systems or electronics, short of 12V for the split charge. I don’t think you can use software to lock down sticking plywood and LLL decals to the walls.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #68 on: 28 June, 2021, 06:36:23 pm »
I am not convinced that a home brew conversion of an electric van is inherently any more risky than a for a fossil van.  Vans are already made with an eye on ply lining, rack fitting secure toolbox fitting, seat fitting, etc. and the batteries themselves are mounted well clear of the floor in their own metal casing and each battery pack within the larger pack is also in a metal casing.   Campervan services tend to be routed along the sides of vehicles anyway and if a diy'er is such an imbecile as enabling them to damage the battery, more fool them in my view.

P.P.

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Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #69 on: 28 June, 2021, 07:00:15 pm »
Personally I think that @Polar Bear and @grams have hit the nail on the head there. Pretty much all vans are designed with the load space as a self contained space.

Camper van conversions not really any different to sticking some shelves in and using it as a builders van or for deliveries. The only real difference is cutting windows in but most vans are available in a crew cab form, so the windows go in the same places, or you source a crew cab version to start with.

I'd agree though that most manufactures don't like people working on their vehicles and try to limit that by using specialist fasteners etc. Likewise with software and canbus systems running most things, the options for fixing or changing them yourself are rapidly decreasing anyway and main dealer only fixes becoming more common.

Personally I'd be more than happy to have a crack at converting an EV Van if I could find one at the right price.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #70 on: 29 June, 2021, 10:32:42 am »
Another problem is ease of manufacture, old van has the grab handles with covers over the screws to secure the roof lining. Was an easy job to fit insulation . The new van has clips attached to the grab handles and they are a one shot fixing. To fit the lining its going to be a visit to Mercedes for 6 new grab handles at £35 +vat each, as the clips are not on the spares list.