My 1st Campervan Build:
Jan 2013: Well actually my Renault Master work van I am going to convert. I have now brought an ex Police mini bus, that I can also use for work at cycle events, use for visiting Cycle Tech UK Members across the UK and to tour Europe.
I have looked at buying some used campervans/motorhomes, but they are way too expensive and the layouts do not meet my needs, also the older ones can have damp problems that cannot be sorted without a lot of effort and money! To save money I am going to do it myself, using recycled materials, second hand items and scrounging from friends. I started collecting items for kitting out the van and doing a lot of research.
I like the Renault Master as is low to the ground, making it easy to get in and out safely, long wheel base and high top giving plenty of room and most important nice to drive long distance, good on fuel and this model has power if needed.
Start of home convert, see below..............................
I do NOT recommend buying x police or ambulance vehicles, it will give you a big headache, mini buses are fine, but will need to blackout the windows, add stripes to the van and fit an awning so it looks like a camper.
|"ex police van" Renault master ready for campervan conversion|
Rear storage for bicycles & tools
|Click image to enlarge floor plan|
Campervan Legal Information, Requirements & Rules DVLA
I need to have my van insured while I am converting, so I can drive on the road. The insurance company want to see photos regularly and must be registered as a Motor Caravan by 120 days. My van is over 3500kg, as it was a police van it had a heavy cage fitted and reinforced metal in the roof and sides, which I have removed plus the seats. So DVLA have now registered it as a Private HGV. For me to change it to PLG I would need to have the van weighed by VOSA. I have decided to leave it for now, as my licence covers me up to 7.5 tones and its £60 cheaper as DVLA are sending me a refund! Also I don't have time to resend of the V5 as I would like to get away soon.
- If you converted the vehicle a full breakdown of work carried out including original receipts, where available should be included.
Having your Body Type changed on V5 to a Motor Caravan will cut the cost of insurance & channel crossings also you can drive at the national speed limit.
Please check with DVLA as rules may change.
Self-Build Campervan Conversion Insurance:
Having a 12 volt leisure battery installed so that it can be charged and used independently from the starter battery. Having a 230 volt hook up, for plugging in to mains at campsites or wild camping with a generator.
The hook-up will run direct to a twin fuse box and then I will run a cable for lights and a cable for sockets. Making sure cables are secure and not able to short circuit to the van metal body and cause a fire! I will also carry a Martindale electrical tester, to plug in at campsites first before hooking up, as many foreign campsites are known for wiring up wrongly and this would cause a fire.
The generator is configured differently to the mains supply. The generator has a ‘floating earth’, whilst the mains has an earthed neutral. Whereas it is definitely recommended to use a personal power breaker (RCD) from the mains, for the majority of cases, it is not necessary to use one with a generator. The generators are safe as they are designed. Personal power breakers are designed to operate from the mains. If one is to be used with a generator, then it is necessary to modify the generator so that it is configured in the same way as the mains. This is a relatively simple modification for a qualified electrician involving adding a link wire from the neutral terminal to the earth terminal. However, once the generator has been modified, it is necessary to then always use a personal power breaker and to also always use an earth spike, which connects between the generator frame and the ground. Since this is difficult to ensure, it is generally recommended not to modify the generator.
- MIB Motor Insurance Bureau This section contains details about accidents abroad and accidents with foreign registered vehicles in the UK
- Service, cam-belt and check over of van, before setting off.
- Fitting of left hand drive light lens covers
- Tow rope. In case of a breakdown, someone helpful might just tow you to the next garage.
- Campervan Insurance. Originals and copies; Driving Licence, M.O.T Log Book (V5), Road Tax.
- Spare parts. Fan belt, light bulbs, Wipers, Air filter.
- Warning triangle, first Aid kit, fluorescent jacket and breath testers.
- Tool kit/socket set, Bottle jack, Jerry can, jump leads, foot pump, block of wood for choking the wheels and to stand jack on when ground is soft.
- Maps and List of camp sites.
- Mountain bikes.
Being a x motor technician for 20 years, I will carry a few extra tools
- Multimeter; to test and check battery charging and starting and all electrical faults.
- Coolant pressure tester
My Camper has a 2.5 engine with 120bhp and has a 6 speed gearbox.
- Check tyre's for even wear. Any sign of uneven wear will indicate that a ball joint, suspension bush is worn and/or wheel alignment needs adjusting.
- Check tyre pressures regularly. Running your campervan with the correct tyre pressure will save you fuel. Front 55 psi. Rear 65psi
- A regularly service campervan will run better and use less fuel
- Diving at the speed limits and no erratic acceleration and stopping
- Don't buy fuel on or near the motorway, it's much cheaper in small towns
- Take someone with you to share the cost of the fuel.
- Toll taxes in Spain are very high. It can work out to almost 1 Euro per 10 kms! Very expensive!
The AP stands for and that means that it is a toll road. The A stands for and these roads are free to use (and happen to be excellent as well!).
View Toll road details http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/overseas/european_tolls_select.jspAnd don't forget to carry enough cash to pay the tolls.
ROAD TRIP TIPS FOR SPAIN/Europe
View Touring Europe in a Campervan in a larger map.
looking for wild camping spots then check out CamperStar
Morocco travel facts http://www.motorhomefacts.com/blog-display-jid-672.html
Camping In France
In French, shows all Municipal campsites www.camping-municipal.org are run by local authorities.
Camping Spain www.camping-spain.net
My WWOOF stops
GPS: I have taken a Garmin which has been very helpful; Apart from not getting lost, has found campsites, noted me of speed cameras, dangers road segments, can set for non toll roads and good to see what is ahead like fuel stops. Keys: Spare set Safe: Don't have Health Insurance Saving money Save before you go Days out Pack a cooler with drinks sandwiches and fruit See recipes Cycle, take a bike
Watling Motorack - Motorbike Scooter Carrier
MyWay Roof Tents
Roof Tents UK
Hannibal Roof Tents Devon UK
Tents On Top and well made roof racks
Will need to be fitted on good roof bars or rack,