The Van

Sunday, 23 December 2012

More Fuses!

Hello! I've just completed fitting of a second fusebox today.This was needed as the first box ,which has 12 circuits is full up.I like to use a single circuit for each appliance,so I bought another box the same as there's still a few more electrical items to be added.Theres some mood lighting + an led strip in the cab and maybe another 12 volt socket.This will probably be the last job this side of Christmas.
Now I have a biscuit jointer I can start making the overhead lockers and nearly sourced all the materials to make & hang the cab curtain.

Happy Christmas Campers & Van builders !

The fusebox is made by Ripca and I bought it from here:

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Dinette Table and Sliding Rail.

I havn't done much on the van lately as we have been using it to camp in.We now have a table in the dinette.
The table top is cut from 12mm ply and is going to be laminated with the same material as the worktop.The leg is a Reimo adjustable one and there's a sliding rail that connects the whole thing to the side of the van .Until the table has been laminated it has a table cloth covering it.This is cut from a piece of oil cloth material .


Saturday, 15 December 2012

Potential New Camper.

No1 Grandson Sebastian Henry,arrived yesterday on the end of some forceps .I'll have him helping with the van soon !

Monday, 19 November 2012

One Year On.

It's been a year now since our trip to Cornwall to collect a large white van.I remember cruising back to Bournemouth in it and enjoying the speed and comfort .Once home opening the back doors and staring at the massive empty space.
Well one year on and it's up and running,but not finished yet.We're using the van regularly now as and it has most of the services fitted and working.I'm quite pleased with how things have progressed,some things quicker than others.
If there's something that I've not been sure about then there's the brilliant SBMCC forum,a mine of information and encouragement and also google and YouTube .
The build has started to slow a little now due to the shorter days,but Im aiming for completion by Easter!

Happy building


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Scuttle Panel.

I've read a few articles lately about water laying on top of the engine on X250 series vans.After a heavy shower I popped the bonnet to take a look at mine.Puddle of water on top! On closer inspection ,the scuttle panel is not sealing to the windscreen properly,allowing water to run down the windscreen,behind the scuttle and lay on top of the engine.Normally when it was used as a van it would be in use every day,but now in its pampered life as a camper it only gets used at weekends .
After reading stories of injectors rusting out I need to do something about it.I'll post again with my solution.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Hot Water!

We had a power cut this morning,it lasted for a few hours.Vonnie didn't manage to shower before hand. Result! After pumping gas into the van and getting the hob working , I needed a guinea pig to test the shower.
Well after filling the boiler and turning on the gas,Click and it fired into life! It's very quiet and not a lot of heat is emitted from the flue.After 35 minutes it was ready.Vonnie's very impressed,the water was hot and there is a good flow of water from the Bristan shower.Happy days.
I tried to take a picture of the steam coming out of the flue,but its rubbish! So overall the Truma looks quite impressive,it's a gas only model but we wildcamp all the time so the 240 element won't really be needed.
My table leg and rail have arrived ,so more to do.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Smev Hob & New Worktop.

After finally acquiring a three burner hob last week, eBay bargain and £60 cheaper than in the shops, it meant that the temporary worktop had to be removed.This was 18mm thick and cut as a template to get the sink working.

The new worktop is cut out of 12mm ply and will be laminated with some 3mm Formica , which can then be edged with 15mm knock in strip.

Once the sink and tap had been re plumbed in the hob was fitted and the 12 volt ignition wired in.I just need to buy a fitting then the gas can be connected.


Monday, 29 October 2012

Gas Tank Filling.

Well I finally plucked up courage to go to the garage and fill the gas tank with LPG.The nearest garage with gas pump is only a few miles from home.
It's really very simple and instructions are in the pump. There's an 80% cut off valve, so the pump automatically stops when the valve shuts.The price was good too! And works out much cheaper than getting bottles exchanged.
Now ready to fit the hob and test everything.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Memory foam mattress.

I've finally been able to get rid of the blow up mattress that we've been using in the van.To be honest, it was horrible! it creaked and was also quite cold at night as the air inside the bed didn't get warm.
Now in its place is a memory foam one.This started out as a standard double size.The bed in the van is 1820mm x 1200mm, so the mattress needed to be trimmed.
After a bit of research the general advice seems to be the electric carving knife.So after buying one I set to work.
First job was to remove the cover on the mattress, mine had a zip at one end. Then mark up the size required and its ready to cut.I used the finest blade and started from one end.The blade doesn't go all the way through in one go, so you need to hold the cut bit of foam in one hand while cutting the bottom.
It's quite a quick job and doesn't make much mess, just as well as I did the whole operation on the dinning room table while Vonnie was out!
When I put the foam back inside the outer cover it wasn't as baggy as I thought it would be, so there didn't seem any need to alter it.
It's a very good fit in the van and a rally good nights sleep was had on our trip to Beechy Head.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Beachy Head

We had to go to Brighton on Saturday and decided to drive on to Beachy Head for a wildcamp.We arrived at sunset to a near empty carpark.
The sunrise was amazing! The solar panel started working quite early on and had soon charged the battery back up.
There's an RAF memorial across the road from the carpark and has been built on the cliff edge over looking Eastbourne.We bought a ticket and stayed till 10am soaking up the sun, not bad for October!
Managed to get 40 mpg on the drive home as well.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Solar panel fitting. Part 2.

Once glued to the Roof it's time to drill another hole! 25mm this time.this is to allow the two cables from the panel to enter inside the van.The hole has been drilled so that it is in the dinette area. Painted with anti rust paint then a rubber grommet fitted.The +ve and -ve cables are the threaded through the gland of the roof entry box and inside the van. The box was then glued to the roof with Sika . At this stage you can then move inside the van.

The next job is to site the controller. I'm using a 20 amp Juta model with an lcd screen.It is screwed to the wall above the window and rear two cables are fitted from the controller to the + & - terminals of the leisure battery.Ive added an inline fuse to the + ve cable , next to the battery. 4mm cable has been used.These two cables are connected first so that the controller can read the battery voltage.then the cables from the panel can be connected to the controller. That's alm there is too it! You should then start to receive free electricity!!

The controller is fitted temporary at the moment as there will be an overhead locker added at a later date, so the cables will be hidden.
I'll post again when I've been able to gauge the results.

Monday, 24 September 2012

New Tap.

Hello! In a previous post I mentioned the useless plastic tap that came with the smev sink. Well it is no more! After leaking from day one, it has now been replaced with a metal one.

The new tap is fitted into the work surface and swivels round into the bowl.Pressure is good and best of all it doesn't leak !! Happy days.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Solar Panel Fitting. Part 1.

Hello ! I've finally got round to fitting the solar panel mentioned in a previous post.My Brother-in-law has recently fitted a 100 watt panel to his caravan and it's working very well at the moment, due to the late summer sunshine.

Firstly I bought a length of ally corner from B&Q. It's 30mm x 30mm and I bought a 1m length. This is enough to make 4 brackets as I plan to get another panel at a later date.

Then cut two 500mm lengths and drill 4 holes at equal spacings. The holes are marked so that when fitted to the panel there is a 20mm air gap between the underside of panel and top of roof.

Next the brackets are offered up to the ends short ends of the panel and the four holes are drilled into the panel.then all holes enlarged with a 7mm drill.The brackets are then bolted to the panel with some M 5.5 bolts washers/nuts.

The panel is then ready to offer up on the roof.It was at this moment that the wind decided to pick up! No I didn't drop it 😏.

I've fitted it between the front and back roof light and it spans 4 ribs. That leaves 4 sunken ribs. I cut 8 @ 30 mm squares from a length of upvc d section. These were then glued with Sika to the roof.Glueing them in the middle of the corrugations allows for ang water to pass to the central gutter and leave the roof.

Next the panel was stuck to the roof with Sika Ebt , this is cheaper than 512 Sika and is sold in Screwfix. Your able to buy some on a Saturday afternoon as they are open alm day! .The excess Sika is then smoothed off leaving a 5mm joint.The Sika remains flexible after curing, so allowing for movement and flexing of the van roof.

That's it for part one.Part 2 will show connecting of cables and fitting of the regulator.


Sunday, 2 September 2012

Bournemouth Airshow

We've been at the air show this weekend.The weather has been loverly this year. Lots of planes and helicopters flying , one of the highlights was the Vulcan bomber, it's huge and very noisy!
Decided to stay put on Friday night as we wanted to be sure of a parking space for Saturday.Wildcamped along the Boscombe Overcliff with a few other vans.
Havn't done anything to the van but put a towel under the sink as the leaky tap has got worse! Going to buy a domestic type one that fits into the work surface.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Odds n' ends

Hello! Havn't done much lately as we've been out and about in the van enjoying the sunshine.

I've insulated the back doors with Kingspan and gun foam, cut and fixed the ply boards.This has stiffened up the panels and when the doors are closed they don't sound as tinney.I've left the middle of the door bare so that another window can be added at a later date.

Also framed the front o/s dinette window and fixed the ply ready for light oak boards.The shower tray is now stuck down and all the joints have been sealed ready for water!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Heater Fitting.

I know it's summer, but I needed to think about fitting the heater, to use when this loverly weather finally disappears.I had an Eberspacher D2 airtronic waiting in the garage.This was bought secondhand on eBay.
It wasn't a complete kit, and I won't know wether it works untill it's fired up!
It is a blown air heater that draws diesel from the main tank and needs 12 volt power to fire it up.These heaters are used by lorry drivers and in boats,and use very little fuel.
I needed to buy a few bits before fitting. These were new fuel pipe,fuel pipe clips.Stand pipe for the fuel tank, some ducting and a fuse assembly.Next task was to decide where to fit it.Space in the middle of the van has disappeared due to relocation of batteries.I'll cover this later.So final resting place is under the bed.
After a lot of measuring inside and underneath, I marked up the holes and cut. The ebber came with a fitting kit which was used to mark up the exhaust and air intake holes.Also managed to download a PDF fitting/user manual from the interweb,it's made the whole job a lot easier!
Once fitted in position 6mm red and black cables where run under the shower room to the battery and the cables for the controller had to be extended, as I wanted to mount it on the other side of the shower room.
Next was probably the most daunting job, cutting a hole in the fuel tank!this was a 25mm diam hole for the standpipe.The fuel tank is plastic and actually thicker than I was expecting.I did use a brand new hole saw though.
Then it was just a matter of running the fuel pipe from the diesel tank, under the van, through the fuel pump to the ebber.There is also two cables from the pump to ebber to extend.

As its fitted under the bed I've buit a ply box around it.This is to protect it and if it's noisy then I can insulate the box.So that's were we are at the moment, next job is to add the ducting and see if it works!

Monday, 16 July 2012

More woodwork

Hello! I've been busy in the van this week.the framework for the dinette seat has been made. In the base it houses the Truma boiler and the other side is going for the twin batteries.I'm moving the batteries here as I'm concerned about the weight under the drivers seat.

Also the floor has been raised behind the drivers seat, to make it the same level as in the cab.This is so that when the front seats are swivelled you don't get dangly leg syndrome!.I intend to utilise some of the space for storage and the invertor.

The seat needs a little finishing and some foam for the cushion and back rest.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Shower room

Hello there! The shower is now in situ and plumbed in.I've used JG speed fit fittings all the way up to the valve.A pair of copper/push fit wall plate elbows are used in the wall cavity to connect to the back of the valve.Still waiting to fit the gas filler pipe, but there seems to be a fitting missing, so can't fire up the boiler yet.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


It's been raining here for two days now 😓,so as I can't work outside, I've been working in the van 😃.
The shower is now fitted and all pipework connected, but only cold water running at present.The cold supply has been tested to pressure and there's no leaks.
Cut out another gas drop out hole in the bottom of the kitchen unit.This is under the hob & grill and where the gas manifold is.
Also built the framework above the sliding door to host the switch panels and hide cable runs.This joins onto the wall cupboard above the sink, which is where all the crockery will go.I'll post some pictures tomorrow .


Monday, 25 June 2012

Hot Water! (well nearly).

I've been busy this weekend. It was time to fit the hot water boiler. It's a Truma ultrastore 10 litre,gas only model.Its possible to add a 240v element to speed up the heating of the water.I probably won't bother as mostly we like to wild camp, so no hook up and the gas tank is 38 litres, should be enough.

Fitting was quite straight forward , once a few things are taken into consideration . Firstly the flue outlet should be more than 300mm from an opening window and 500mm from a gas filling point.The only place that I could fit the boiler is under the travel seat.Its under the window, but more than the 300mm needed, and that part of the window is fixed and more than 500mm from the gas filler point, which is the black circle to the right of the flue in pictures 1&2.
The next problem was to make sure that the flue exited above the plastic trim line.This is done by making a ply plinth for the boiler to sit on. Mine needed the hot water pipe running under the plinth.There is a gas drop out hole to the right of the boiler, and I also needed to drill a hole and fit the shower waste.
On the outside the flue is sealed with some butol mastic ( the type used for sealing gutter joints etc ).It only comes in black and is quite runny.Top tip is to buy some cheap baby wipes from lidl or similar.I find them very useful for wiping away the excess.
So that's where we are at the moment, need to connect the gas and water pipes up and then we're ready to test 😄.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Ceiling boards & lights.

Nice and sunny this weekend, so I managed to fit the last ceiling board and wire in the four lights.I would defiantly recommend boarding the ceiling first before building any framework etc! I'm pleased with the finished article though, and the four downlights light the van well.

Also had to change the wet room ceiling.This was because I used UPVC T&G boarding, but when I came to screw up the inside of the roof vent, I found that the ceiling was too thick! So I've used an offcut of the hardglaze board which is lining the walls.There are two led lights in the ceiling.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Plumbing & Ceiling.

Plumbed the sink waste in today using 28 mm rigid push fit pipe. It's very easy to assemble and I've added a small smell trap. The rigid pipe exits through the van floor then goes into 25mm super flex pipe to the waste tank. It's a good system and the water runs from the sink quite quickly . 

Also fitted two ceiling boards and three down lights. It's quite tricky cutting around the wardrobe and shower room, and in hindsight I probably would board the ceiling before building any framework. Very happy with the finished article though and hopefully cut
and fit the last board tomorrow.