All Posts


A Different VW T4 Layout

Initially we needed the extra seat belts so went with a rock n roll bed but now hardly needing the seat belts it was time to build a layout that made using the van much more pleasant and has given me more storage and access to it.

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An awning rail makes things easy

So this is something I have just not bothered with for no real reason just because it wasn’t a priority, when we had the first awning I used a magnetic strip which worked well but I sold it with the awning and not sure it would have been strong enough for the current solution I have.Read More »


DIY Reclaimed Wood Worktop

So here it is time for a worktop the one that has been in the van was only ever meant to be temporary but it functioned fine so there was no urgency to replace it.

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Suspension refresh

Another task on the back burner, which had been noted twice on the MOT’s as an advisory that the front shocks would need replacing. And it just made sense to do a full suspension refresh if I was going to do it.

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Rear exhaust replacement

Certainly not glamorous or a hard task but thought may be good for some people dipping there toes into saving some money and keeping their van on the road.

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My Mobile Office With a View

Probably best to explain a bit about myself and why I can use the camper van as a mobile office. I am a self employed web developer and nearly all of my work just requires my laptop, internet connection and phone signal.

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VW T4 Hightop Interior

With the hightop fitted it was on to the interior, this as stated in the previous article is where I have learnt that next time I would insulate and carpet the roof out of the van before bonding as it certainly made life a bit more complicated working above your head. The reason for this was that I would be unsure where to stick any interior pieces of wood for the cupboard or light fittings.

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VW T4 Hightop Roof Fitting

As with many of my ideas this started elsewhere. We were planning a couple of trips and would want the bikes on the bike rack so would not be able to use our external box so I started looking for roofboxes this was pretty hard as there didn’t seem to be anything cropping up second hand.

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Green Woodworking course Purbeck

So a chance arose to attend a Green Woodworking Course in Purbeck. So I invited my Dad along and patiently awaited the date to roll around. Due to the long drive down from Scotland I drove down 2 days earlier and stopped in a Britstop on the first night near Gloucester then in the morning jumped back onto the M5 and stopped at the new Gloucester services for a shower and freshen up before heading down to Exeter to pick my Dad up for the train station.

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A weeks visit to Islay

With my Mum and Dad coming to visit we decided to take a week’s holiday on Islay. Unsure of exact plans and weather we left things pretty late before booking, this meant that the Ferries were all booked and we just had to go for what was available so bear this in mind if you are planning a trip and book early.

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5th Gear upgrade and more MPG’s

So now being a motor caravan and legally being able to travel at 70mph I often find myself sat between 55mph to 65mph on the motorway as doing long distance with the engine screaming can get a bit tedious.

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Updating the Dash Speakers

So the whole time of owning the van the sound that has come out of the speakers has been OK, I knew they were the original dash speakers and I knew if you turned up the volume too much they would get distorted. But in terms of my list of things to do they were are about as low as possible.

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A Sink or Drainer DIY

So Building up a greater picture of how the van is being used we often find ourselves cutting a bottle in half and using it for waste water for brushing teeth or having to open up the door to throw water out from a cup you have just rinsed.

For me this still does not warrant having a full sink with fresh and waste water bottles taking up room. So inventive time comes a knocking with minimal space available and a brief of wanting to dispose of waste water here is the solution I have come up with.

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Sliding Door Central Locking

One of the first tasks I have always completed with my vans is fitting remote central locking it just makes life a lot easier and lessens the risk of overusing a key and snapping it.

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Turning the heat up with a Propex Heater

So an offer came up on ebay and I quickly snagged myself a Propex heater. This is not something I had been planning but was at the back of my mind the whole time. I had ruled out an eberspacher a long while ago due to the service costs when something goes wrong and a little more effort to fit.

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Some Extra Storage

So we always need extra storage and in this cold weather I have hardly been using the Fiamma Bike Rack for bikes. Obviously Snowboarding comes with this weather so having all the kit in the van when sleeping is also a bit of a nightmare so I picked up a Storage Box.

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Thermal Cover for the Sunroof

Next thing on the never ending list was to create a thermal cover for the sunroof as its the last piece of glass not covered when we are camping and you can often feel when its cold it radiating more coldness into the van.

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Change of Wheels to 16″ Steels

With the wheels that came on the van being 18″ and numerous bad luck I was having to change a tyre every 3 months and the worst thing that happened a couple of times was having to change a tyre that had plenty of tread but a rip in the side wall.

So I have been looking around for a while for a set of 16″ steels I have gone for this size as I just feel the 15″ wheels look a little small. My easiest option was to find some used wheels off a Mercedes Vito, this as usual was a nightmare the prices were very high and were pretty hard to even find any for sale. I would guess people are picking up the cheap sets straight away for banding etc.

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Re-register VW T4 as a Motor Caravan

So It comes to the point where the van is pretty much finished in regards to being a Motor Caravan and that time of the year again with an insurance renewal. I had to send of my log book to the DVLA to re-register as a Motor Caravan.

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Just Kampers thermal windscreen cover fix

I have been meaning to get to this little fix for a while. A few times while away camping if the wind has come from a certain angle it can lift the Thermal windscreen cover in the corners as there is nothing holding it, this then can lead to the Velcro undoing if it is windy. As is always the way this coincided with rain so getting out of the van in the pouring rain to re attach the cover was a bit tedious.

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Fitting a FASP Swivel and Leisure Battery

So as ever with the van wanting me to spend all my money on it and another trip coming up I changed my double seat to a single which had a swivel base with it. This meant I was now needing to get the drivers seat to swivel for the extra seating space and a handy dandy place to sit while cooking.

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Cooking on Gas and some other bits

So it was always part of the plan and the plan just came around. Looking online the price of camper cookers seem to be all over the place I have always loved the look and compactness of the Smev cookers so decided that was the route I was taking and liking how the Smev 8862-VS would look and fit that was my decision made.

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Camping trip to Weston-Super-Mare

So very unlike me this trip had been planned for a while we were to be looking after the twin nephews while their parents would be enjoying a wedding in Bristol.

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Getting an Awning

So with a few trips in the planning, wanting a bit more space and to be able to have somewhere to store everything from the van once you are set up the search began for an Awning.

My criteria was firstly price and a budget of around £150 secondly I wanted it to either have a bedroom or be big enough to fit a tent inner to allow for trips with a few more people.

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Visiting Cornwall

I’ve lived in Cornwall most of my life and even when I’m not in Cornwall I can still check out the webcams, surf reports and read the local news which feels like I am still there. Being a local tho I have made my way to visit most of the beaches that Cornwall has to offer but there are so many more beaches that I have either heard about or know roughly where they are.

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Interior Units

So again no in progress photos but these were made in a short space of time so no time for camera clicking anyway It never looks as good half built so I get to hide all the bad bits / mistakes I wouldn’t want seen.

So I decided on a full run of units and being able to take measurements from the bed in its final position and in seated position allowed me to work out how many openings I could fit in which ended up being three cupboards and two drawers on full length sliders.

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Double Swivel Seat

Fitting a double swivel is a must for my setup but not so enjoyable is paying for the solutions already out there. So after much research I decided that I was going to fabricate my own swivel having mocked up a rough design of how it would work I needed to source the parts, this was harder than I imagined with not knowing exactly what I was looking for.

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The little tasks that add up

Next was to get some tint on the rear window, this is something I would usually do myself but I was never normally 100% happy with the result so decided that paying someone to get it perfect would be a nice change. So I found a local company Alexandria-Autotint and got it booked in. I had gone for a limo black and was more than happy with the results.

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A Rock n Roll Bed

So the time came to go pick up my bed and hand over the rest of the cash to Auto trim Solutions. I was super happy with the bed, upholstery all top quality. They loaded it into the back for me and handed over all the spreader plates and fixings I would need to fit and as a bonus a nice new HSS drill bit.

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Let the work begin

With it home nearly without any problems, the dash was occasionally not giving any readings ( I will get to this later ) and the loud drumming noise of a panel van, I was happy.

So first thought’s were I was going to put a pop top on to gain a double bed up top and give me a bit more freedom in the van as I required seatbelts in the back, which meant I would probably have gone for some combi fold down rear seats and built them into some extra seating to make another bed.

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Finding a Van

After 2 years plus without a van, my fingers started twitching and I was weekly keeping an eye out on eBay, Gumtree and any local papers to see if there were any vans.

The only thing I had noticed was they were getting more expensive, including the vans that were not far from heading to the scrap yard. Nothing had really sparked my attention until a holiday, and happened upon a van less than a mile from where we were staying on gumtree that looked very good although pricey. So called up instantly for a viewing.

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My van history Part 2

After a summer riding my bike to work, and wondering why my money was not all disappearing having no van to spend it on the nights started drawing in and the search began again for a van, another interesting find online, high mileage but sounded to be in otherwise good condition. Took my dad with a recovery truck to have a look a quick haggle and brought it back home.Read More »


My van history Part 1

After previously owning three T4’s, the first was bought off eBay unseen as a shell without an engine not a recommended way but they were so far out of my price range budget dictated it, I had sourced a caddy 1.9 engine and fitted it with my dad within a week and got myself on the road.Read More »


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