The Plan

Our grand plan. Convert a van into a full-time liveable, self sufficient off-the-grid campervan. It’s requirements are simple, it should be comfortable for 2 adults plus 2 dogs and contain all the usual house luxuries. We’re leaving in 6 months for Europe.

The Van

Our journey has begun. We purchased a Ford Transit Cub Hightop. Over the next 6 months we’re going to convert this into a elegant home on 4 wheels.


The first shot.

Why a Ford Transit?

The main reason we choose this van is for the extra space compared to a standard Transit. Vinnie was the tallest roofed van we could locate that was suitable and within our budget. The extra panel attached to the body hence Cub makes a real difference and adds about 3 foot in length to the overall size.


Condition

It seems to be in a great condition too. Vinnie the van was given a MOT a day before we purchased it. The previous owner has also just recently added a large window on the sliding door, something we planned to do ourselves so we have saved a good few hundred quid from our budget for the full van conversion.



Step one. Rip everything out so we have a clean, empty shell so building can commence.

Come back soon to our blog. We’ll be posting regular updates to document the conversion process ūüôā

Framing & Insulation One

Our conversion is coming along nicely with the first layer of insulation applied and the initial framing screwed in.

Overview

Over the weekend we began lining the inside with double faced reflective foil insulation. Available from B&Q for £7 for 7.5 meters. We stuck the insulation directly to the inner shell of the van. We applied a multi-purpose contact adhesive spray to make sure it stays put. Wood is also being attached to the side panels to support the cladding.

Materials used. Polystyrene board, Adhesive spray glue and thermal reflective. insulation.
Materials used. Polystyrene board, Adhesive spray glue and thermal reflective. insulation.

Insulation

Our plan is to have 3 layers of insulation. Reflective Wrap – Polystyrene Sheets –¬† Reflective Wrap. The thin reflective insulation combats dam and moisture, so we’ve killed two birds with one stone there. In between the 3 layers, expanding insulation foam will be used to fill any gaps to guarantee a fully insulated interior for the cold English winters we’re going to¬†endure.

Thermal insulation is done, working on polystyrene boards.
View of thermal insultation applied inside Vinnie.

We spent half the day gluing the silver insulation on any white space we could find. We then started cutting the polystyrene boards to fill any interior gaps in between the outer metal shell and where our wooden cladding will sit recessed between 2-3 inches off the metal, making sure we have a straight flush line.

Working with polystyrene insulation compared to thicker loft insulation has a lot of pros. Mainly how easy it to is cut/snap small pieces to fit awkward gaps. It took the two of us about 20 minutes to cover the van into polystyrene compared to about 4 hours for the silver insulation.


1 x 2cm Timber
1 x 2cm Timber

We then started attaching wood drilled with screws directly into the inner shell of the van, our cladding will be attached directly on top of the 1 by 2 planks of timber. At first, I thought we’d have to bolt all framing wood to the van to provide the strength required for holding so much cladding. Upon further inspection I realised 2 screws directly into the metal seems to do the job. Just in case, the strength has been doubled with No nails glue slap bang in between the wood and metal. Once dried I tested using my whole body weight in an attempt to rip the wood off the shell. I failed so we judged this is strong enough.

Next step – Finish insulation, including floor, wheel arches, and fully foam in. After that, we’ll screw the last remaining¬†beams of wood onto the side and top panels ready for cladding.

Materials List:

Vinnie! The Build

Our grand plan. Convert a van into a full-time liveable, self sufficient off-the-grid campervan. It’s requirements are simple, it should be comfortable for 2 adults plus 2 dogs and contain all the usual house luxuries. We’re leaving in 6 months for Europe.

The Van

Our journey has begun. We purchased a Ford Transit Cub Hightop. Over the next 6 months we’re going to convert this into a elegant home on 4 wheels.

The first shot.

Why a Ford Transit?

The main reason we choose this van is for the extra space compared to a standard Transit. Vinnie was the tallest roofed van we could locate that was suitable and within our budget. The extra panel attached to the body hence Cub makes a real difference and adds about 3 foot in length to the overall size.


Condition

It seems to be in a great condition too. Vinnie the van was given a MOT a day before we purchased it. The previous owner has also just recently added a large window on the sliding door, something we planned to do ourselves so we have saved a good few hundred quid from our budget for the full van conversion.

Step one. Rip everything out so we have a clean, empty shell so building can commence.

Come back soon to our blog. We’ll be posting regular updates to document the conversion process ūüôā