Working on the van

Read about some of the DIY tasks that I have worked on. Sometimes it can be great to get stuck in and do something yourself rather than paying someone else.

Repainting Rusty Arches

With a random warm day I decided it was best to start on clearing up the rust on the van. I had last repainted all the way around the bottom of the van 3 years ago so this by far was the worst of the rust where a chip of paint was missing.

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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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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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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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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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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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