Van Conversion (recommendations?)

Having always been very fascinated by 'functional' investments I'm considering to purchase a van (in relevant good condition) and start a camper van conversion to mobile home.

The benefits of owning a house on wheels are multiple:

  • Flexibility to select dates and manage 'in between' rentals

  • Ability to Bring your books

  • Cook on the road and save pennies eating out or cold

  • If you cant afford rental you have a good back up :)

  • Freedom to move and change

  • Even if you have a (normal) roof over your head, you can always retreat in your second home...

I would choose for a VW, Mercedes or possible Renault to start the project.

Anyone in here has done or owns a camper-van and converted it?

The seats are decent seats they came out of another van, i wasn't sure what details are on the conformity certificate as ive never seen one. i didn't know if it included the seats/seating arrangement.

If those swivel seats are not up to snuff you’ll be knackered in an insurance claim. Accidents do happen.

Not if you don’t tell them.

what about if i fitted such things as a night heater and water inlet/outlet would that be classed as altering it structurally do you think. ive already taken the double bench seat out and fitted two swivel seats and that was something else i was concerned about.

No, I recon that it's none of their bees knees what's in the back of a van.

I bet it was looks good though, i had been thinking of doing a blind one but wasn't sure if you had to strip everything out when it goes for an MOT,

Hi Dave. The simple answer is no: my projects were done in the UK and brought over here in the case of the 2 fire engines. The Dodge is still in use and belongs to a friend who lives not far from me. (22) The Dennis was given to a friend who had let me park it on his farm in Calvados for several years. It's moved on since. Fun whilst it lasted.

I understand what you mean regarding having any vehicle that is "non-conformist" in France; you could find yourself jumping through several annoying bureaucratic hoops. This is one of the reasons for simply converting the interior of a standard 3.5 tonne blind van.

It's often the case where it's best to keep information sharing with the bureaucrats to a minimum.

All the same, it's a pity that you rarely see any custom vehicles over here; I've built a few in my time and it was lots of fun. It's just too much hassle here.

This buggy was a fun one.

Indeed! Great vehicles. I was recently discussing Unimogs with my son who has a hankering for one. (Cat/Mog = same beastie.) I like the idea myself but I've already got twenty million things to do.

Here's a Youtube clip of a Unimog conversion that may titillate. Love 'em!

Be sure to keep us all posted if you start an interesting conversion project, Ivan, as it seems there are plenty of SFNers who share that "gypsy in the soul" wanderlust/conversion bug.

Hi Kent

have you converted vans in France if so i was wondering how you got around the problems that seem to exist in France when converting a vehicle.

Hi Ivan,

Take a look at this site, i've bought a sprinter with the intention of converting it, the guy whose site it is is really helpful if you contact him.


3 people can be belted and 4 can sleep :)
That's mathematics according to VW I came across this link browsing the internet and this made me think of you Brian - vintage 1960's :)

Thanks folks.

I can get a converted one vs converting it myself ?

A traditional camper would not be my choice , hard to drive (slow and fragile) for off-road adventuring.

It has to be solid enough to go trough dirt roads, snow, ice and and the wheels must be solid.

feel free to post me a message if its for sale Liz

feel free to post me a message if that is for sale

wow Kent really amazing picture.

i have been dreaming of owning a unicat for years but that Boxer would be more realistic budget-wise, + ergonomic as you point not too long.

If you are a Vee Dub fan, here's a nice Youtube clip:

Motorhome Doubleback VW Camper

I’d so look forward to sleeping in a Shamrock!

I’ve been involved in a few “camper” conversions over the years, the biggest being my 6 ton Dennis fire engine which I lived in for 2 years in Normandie. I also did a 4 ton 4 x 4 Dodge fire engine which included a hidden tail-lift “garage” for a motorbike in the back and still looked as though it was a fire engine.

On that point, one thing worth considering is the restrictions on parking a “camper” just anywhere, to which end it may be worth considering a “blind” van: a camper that just looks like a regular van from the outside; nobody bothers where you park a van but there are often restrictions/local regulations against overnight parking of campers.

My current vehicle is a 3.5 tonne Peugeot Boxer L2, H2, which gives you 3.25m long in the back with full standing headroom and sufficient width to put a bed across the width but not too ridiculously long for parking. I’m thinking that I may get away with a smoked glass window on the sliding door that can be completely blacked out with a dark curtain but, as I said, if you make it too obvious that you’re kipping in it and you could get moved on from certain spots.

Another recommendation would be that you make/instal things in easily removable units so they clip/strap/bolt in place; it will give you more versatility. Also, if it’s just for camping holidays, you shouldn’t need anything too serious for cooking and washing up, etc as you’ll probably find yourselves dining out for most serious meals.

Well, I would; I’m not a big fan of cooking.

Another thorny problem is the “thunderbox” - apart from a curtain around a Porta potti, I have no great solutions to that other than keep a box of matches handy.

Have fun!