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Journey to Vanlife stage 2 about to start

Discussion in 'Transport - 4x4 - Canoes etc' started by Paul_B, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. Van-Wild

    Van-Wild Nomad

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    Alas, the legislation is/has changed. Home converters are going mental on a range of forums.

    It appears the reasoning behind the change is two fold. Firstly, from a policing point of view, if for example your converted van were to be described to a police officer by a member of the public, how would they describe it? Unless it is so obviously clear that it is a motorhome, then it is likely that it will be described as a van/van with side windows in the first instance. (Just because I call my van a camper, doesn't mean it is one. Every time I've booked it into VW for a service I've been asked what model it is and I have to reply 'transporter van'. On the insurance my van is described as a commercial converted van (with all conversion items listed). Secondly, it's all about tax. The sole reason to change your V5 is to lower the cost of annual road tax and insurance isn't it?. DVLA now only recognise factory coach fitted habitation boxes as motorhomes. (The white whales you see getting stuck in between bollards and buildings all over the lake district in summer). Reason for that is they are designed and built specifically for that purpose and not converted.

    Do i agree with it? Hell no. My converted van meets all national and EU safety certification and the gas and electric is especially so, being VW approved parts and installation.

    Give DVLA a call. They will not amend your V5 to motorhome anymore.

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  2. Deekin

    Deekin Full Member

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    is there nothing left that bureaucracy wont spoil ? :(
     
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  3. Van-Wild

    Van-Wild Nomad

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    It appears not.....

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  4. oldtimer

    oldtimer Full Member

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    I promised to PM buckshot with details of my son's van conversion, but I have decided to include it in my post it in this thread as other people may be interested.

    Between us, my two sons and I have owned nine campervans. We do not agree on sizes of vans. My wife and I have had three VW transporter vans and like the flexibility of use as a camper and everyday transport. able to park anywhere a car can and have long since learned how to adapt to living in a small space. Years spent lightweight camping and living out of a rucksack for extended periods taught us that less is more. Back in the 1960s, before we had the boys, we spent four months living in a mini-van all over Europe.The boys prefer the space of larger vans but run smaller cars in addition to their vans. (SWMBO took note of this and bought herself her own car, so we now have our car and her car!)

    Elder son had his Renault Master converted by CC Campers of Kidderminster (not Oxford Buckshot, sorry) at a cost of £6,000 about two years ago. Takes son, daughter in law, grandson and granddaughter in comfort. They are very pleased with it and appreciated to personal service. I was impressed by the quality and ingenuity of the job.

    I currently drive a VW transporter conversion by FunkyDubz.com. This is an offshoot of Southbourne Cliff Motors, Bournemouth. I paid just over £20,000 for it This firm buys low mileage used vans and then converts them before selling them They do not convert a van you already own. I've had mine for about 5 years now and am pleased with it.

    Some years back I had a second-hand transporter which I had bought converted by Holdsworth Ltd of Reading. This was an excellent job and the conversion long outlasted the mechanical parts of the van!

    Younger son, who converts his vans uses them also for work and so is technically living in a van and not a camper. SWMBO pointed out that I should mention the distinction between vans and campers for tax and insurance purposes but Van-Wild and Deakin deal very well with this in earlier posts. The points they make are important. Few firms offer campervan insurance and the lack of competition means shopping around for a good deal is difficult. We joined the Camping Club and take advantage of their ClubCare insurance. I have also in the past found the Adrian Flux insurance is a helpful company

    No connection with any of the firms mentioned, just a satisfied customer.

    On balance, I think I'd always go for a ready converted van rather then convert it myself: it solves many problems and I doubt that it is any cheaper to convert your own.
     
  5. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    We've got no choice. We've got a limited budget so are getting it converted in stages. First buy the van, second cut windows, line out with insulation, flooring, heater, hopefully bed and beginnings of the electrical system. Third stage is pop top roof. Final stage kitchen units and kit if we want to. If not we'll just get awning and cook on stoves. It'll cost as much as a converted van bought from the converters but it's a bill in more manageable chunks and we've got the van to use from now.

    We're more tent campers in summer anyway so that won't change. We'll just extend camping season using the van. Plus it's swb, l1 for daily use.
     
  6. Van-Wild

    Van-Wild Nomad

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    I converted my van in stages similar to Paul_B, as funds were saved. The way I looked at it, although it took time (nearly two years IIRC) every time I added something I just made it better. The icing on the cake was the pop top.

    First ever trip we did was an 'all in or nothing' trip round Europe. Totally fresh from the factory, stock 5 seater combi. Only mod was an awning rail on the nearside, for a drive away awning. 4.5 week tour..... it was amazing. We haven't looked back!

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  7. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    When did you get the roof?

    We obviously wanted all the holes cut before three insulation and lining but simply can't afford the roof. So we accepted some extra cost overall by having a sacrificial roof lining.

    We figure lining it out, windows, heater, some electrics and double crash tested seats were higher priority. There would only be a roof and windows otherwise. Not as useable. The eventually cut out roof won't cost that much in the end. Plus all side panels will be removable should upgrading or other work needs access.

    The converter is very good at working these things out for us.

    Although seats are higher priority we probably can't afford them with this stage 2. We are looking at many years of use so don't want to be annoyed with poorly designed components as important as seats. For example the RIB seats have a better folding system. The base of the seat flips over to put the flat underneath face up the back of the seat then folds over to have the flat back of it face up. The same happens out back I believe. Basically the cheaper seats have you sleeping on the sitting surfaces. Either they're flat and not best for travelling or they're curved and not good for sleeping.

    The seats could be £1100 for cheap seats but rib are £2000.

    The same with the roof. I've looked at poptop roofs UK and they look poorly finished on their website. The frame metalwork looks unfinished on some of their website photographs.

    The SCA roofs are so much better. Not least because the spoiler at the front is actually part of the frame set into the cut hole of the roof. Others just use a rubber profile stuck on with adhesive. I've spoken to people with this style strip on VWs and they moaned about having to stick them back on.

    Basically cheap is a false economy for something you're looking at using for 10 years or more.
     
  8. Van-Wild

    Van-Wild Nomad

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    I have a skyline roof fitted professionally. It does indeed have the rubber strip along the front of the van. It has never come unstuck. The roof fits perfectly.

    Paul_B, it's your van matey. Choose as you see fit. It's true to say, that buying cheap may be buying twice. But cost and value is subjective, what you call expensive another may call cheap and vice versa.

    My roof was the last thing done on my van. It was done with the units fitted. It was done to a very high standard and it is perfect.

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  9. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    Looked at skyline website. Prices are similar to the sca roof I think we'll get. Similar quality I'd guess but impossible to see from their photographs.

    The poptop roofs UK company website shows the metal frame of the roof. It looks poor quality but is a bit cheaper.

    Having a vivaro not a VW or even a Ford custom means there's less choice than those van models it seems.
     

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