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Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

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Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby dachre » Sun May 18, 2008 10:17 pm

Hi, just thought id post my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build on here, some pics of it have been on the forum before when ive been asking you guys questions but now I think ive put the photos in order so it shows how I took it apart and then put it back together with some explanations.

I guess the first place to start was why I chose a transit.

Well, I wanted to travel around the extremities of the British Isles so I can paint and photograph landscapes on the odd weekend but also take a trip or two into Europe. So I needed a van/camper which is small enough to get up the small lanes and passageways of the coast roads but yet big enough so I can actually live in it for a weekend or perhaps a week or two (that’s sleep, cook, eat, shower, live and toilet). Also I can’t justify having a dedicated camper around the place just sitting there most of the year doing nothing so I’d like to be able to transform it from a camper back to a normal van to carry things in etc.


My choices were:

An old VW camper ---- Too small, too crappy and way too expensive.

A newish VW camper high top, Transporter van ---- Too expensive.

An old Mercedes high top van ---- Ugh, not too keen on them.

New Mercedes high top van ---- Way too expensive.

Japanese vans ------ too small.

Land rover ----- Would have to put a safari fold out tent on roof, not keen.

Coach built camper ------- old ones are rubbish, new ones are too expensive.

TRANSIT SWB HIGH-TOP --------- A good one is hard to find.


I figured that a SWB Hi Top transit is the best vehicle out there for me but I couldn’t find a good one.


So that’s when I thought that if ford can stick a fibreglass roof on a transit on the production line and sell it..... I could stick an old fibreglass roof on a good Transit in my workshop. But I couldn’t find a SWB fibreglass roof, I could find plenty of LWB vans with the long fibreglass roofs (jumbos) in the scrap yards but they obviously won’t fit a SWB van.

Yep you guessed it. I bought a LWB fibreglass roof cut two foot out of it and stuck it back together again using fibreglass resin etc, and newly acquired boat (hull) building skills. Haha....

I was going to buy a good nik mk5 so I had a look at ones for £1000+ and they were rubbish and I know I’ll be welding it up in a few years as they are all going to be 8 years old by now. I even saw a couple for around £2000 and I didn’t think they were much cop and none of them had a high-top. So, I was actually given a semi-hi, which had failed its mot and had a knackered engine.... so, I thought that if I spend a couple of days welding it up, at least it’ll last for a good few years and I’ll save money..

...haha......yeah.. right...


So, this is my SWB Hi Top 2.5D Transit camper build.

This is what it looked like when I first got it. A mk5 96 pre-banana builders van with god knows how many miles on the clock, bashes all over it and all of the doors shot... Still, it was free.

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Then I started to look for the rust.... well, I didn’t have to look very far....So, I started to cut out the old steel ready for the new steel. It was hard to know when to stop.

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I put new sills on it all the way around, Inner and outer. I didn’t buy them I just bought a sheet of steel cut it up and folded it roughly into shape. So all the bottom of the transit has now lost its curves and now has straight edges. Haha......

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New wings and headlamp holders placed on it.

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I’ve just sliced off a section of the steel roof and am now trial fitting the back of the high top fibreglass roof.

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New driver’s rear arch, none of the outer driver’s sill exist now.

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There was a big dent on the passenger rear quarter of the van which I’ve just cut as well as the old passenger rear wheel arch.

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This is the fixed rear passenger quarter. The new steel section just in front of the rear light holder was a section taken from the driver’s side which was taken out to make a door for the gas bottle. It was just turned upside down and welded back in. Hoping the body lines kinda line up...haha..

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These are new door steps, again just folded out of flat sheet steel and hit into shape over a prehistoric anvil with a lump hammer.

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New sills and new steel around the filler entry hole.

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A new huge new sill going on the driver’s side.

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New rear driver’s wheel arch and holes cut out and new steel formed for the gas bottle door and for the side exit of the water heating chimney.

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This is a common problem I guess as I have seen pictures of the rear floor and chassis section welded up on this forum a few time. Is this familiar any one?

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Im just throwing filler at it now.

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Just ready for paint now.
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby lostpaul67 » Sun May 18, 2008 10:22 pm

Now thats what I call a thorough job mate, well done, gonna be well sweet when its done 8) 8) 8)
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby griffj » Sun May 18, 2008 10:25 pm

seriously good work, just how it should be done.



you watchin inty? :wink:
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby dachre » Sun May 18, 2008 10:27 pm

New fibreglass roof joined together and fitted. The internal steel section has been taken of the same high top donor vehicle but has been modified to take cupboards and a fold out bed from the front of the roof section.... a bit like a “class A” Mercedes/Hymer motor home.... So the SWB van with the rear seating also turned into beds can actually be a four berth camper. Well, hopefully.

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At this stage I’m not actually sure what I’m doing any more... I was originally just going to just build a cheap camper..

This is the camper with all its steel work/bodywork finished and painted in primer

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You can see all the cut outs quite clearly. These are for all the gas burning kit to breath and exhaust to the fresh air outside so I don’t die of carbon monoxide poisoning whilst sleeping.

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This is the van in clear over base 2 pack silver. The chassis is almost sat on the floor and I must say, a transit does look good when it is lowered....haha...

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Just fitted a new front windscreen... that was a hell of a job to do on my own... I got that black sticky sealant stuff every where..

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This is the engine bay finished. You may be able to see the bulkhead modification I did to allow a fourth pedal inside. Its right next to the large gearbox entrance section. This fourth pedal allows me to remove the large handbrake lever from the floor so the driver’s seat will now be able to rotate 180 degrees backwards to face the seating area of the van.

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This is the underneath of the floor at the back of the van. I inserted/sunk a shower tray in-between the chassis. It was only a few inches deep but it meant I also had to lower the chassis cross member as well. Not too sure where I’m going to put the spare wheel now!.... have to figure that one out later....haha.... the passenger side will carry the fuel tank as normal and opposite that on the driver’s side will be placed an insulated fresh water tank.

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New steel at the back spring hanger section.

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IT less of a van now and more of a camper
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby Ucof » Sun May 18, 2008 10:28 pm

Wow :shock:

I'll be keeping an eye on this one. I can't wait to see it finished! :D
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby dachre » Sun May 18, 2008 10:30 pm

Van pushed outside now. I’ve just fitted the camper plastic bits. These will be for the water heater, fridge, elec in and water in.

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This is just a view of the top.

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I’m trying to figure out how to fit a set of swivel seats from a Ford Galaxy/VW Sharon. The transit seat belts fit straight onto the Galaxy seat restraints..... that was something I didn’t expect... But a good help.

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This is a shot of the internal steelwork that will hold a fold out bed in the roof. The horizontal round bar just above the top of the front window going from one side to the other is actually a big hinge and will allow the bed to land onto the steel supports that travel along the length of the inside of the van, front to back also just above the side windows.

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This is a shot of the interior of the van being covered in material to make it a bit easier to live in and it will also act as insulation.

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This is was taken just as I was putting the tinted windows in. The back side windows were source from a MK3 transit minibus and have air vent and speaker pods in the inside. They weren’t carried over to the other vans I guess because they weren’t very good, I guess. But I like them and I’ll see how they go.

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This is the engine ready to go in. It’s an old transit engine. Old but good... hopefully...

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The engine now in and as it’s an old style engine with all the lucus kit on it doesn’t want to wire up.
But ive got some help from OxtonyxO and others so it should be running soon!!!

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Think i'll insure it at the end of the month so itll have to be done for the mot etc by then.

anyway... thanks for looking...
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby griffj » Sun May 18, 2008 10:31 pm

what a transformation!!

superb. 8) 8)
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby intransit89 » Sun May 18, 2008 10:32 pm

bloody hell now i throught i was doing mine but you gone mad nice one 8)

wish i had a garage :x :lol:

my back spring hangers gone to and the chassis bit on front going to the inner bottom sill iam gona make a new pice using 2m and make a new inner sill to as i maded my own spring hangers 8)

how do you make your own metal shaping :idea: 8)
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby rover » Sun May 18, 2008 10:33 pm

I cant believe how little of that van was left :lol:

You have some serious courage and dedication, hats off to you :D 8) :wink:

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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby Guy88 » Sun May 18, 2008 10:34 pm

il be watching this too

that is a proper restoration, i sugest you watch this too intransit
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby intransit89 » Sun May 18, 2008 10:37 pm

griffj wrote:seriously good work, just how it should be done.



you watchin inty? :wink:

yes 8) :lol: :wink:
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby AlanN » Sun May 18, 2008 10:39 pm

WOW :shock:
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby intransit89 » Sun May 18, 2008 10:44 pm

Guy88 wrote:il be watching this too

that is a proper restoration, i sugest you watch this too intransit

you think iam mad to do this lol

hmm i might get a mk3 one day if i can get one cheap :!:

do the same then do in electic blue with a cossy :lol:

in years to come :mrgreen:

one good think if you like me and dont be scared to cut big holes in your van and weld in new its solider then it was new like this bloke has done to his 8)

its just money and steel i cant aford and gas :lol:
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby dachre » Sun May 18, 2008 10:47 pm

intransit89 wrote:bloody hell now i throught i was doing mine but you gone mad nice one 8)

wish i had a garage :x :lol:

my back spring hangers gone to and the chassis bit on front going to the inner bottom sill iam gona make a new pice using 2m and make a new inner sill to as i maded my own spring hangers 8)

how do you make your own metal shaping :idea: 8)




Hi intransit89. I have an old 1960's small sheet metal hand folder. You can buy new ones from places like machine mart. but they are kinda expensive. So a cheaper way is to just get the steel, clamp it down and fold it around with another length of steel clamped by where you want the fold and use a bloddy big hammer. This is how people have been working steel for hundreds of years.

You do kinda get used to it.

Also, i dont think sills or door steps are that expensive these days.... keep a good look out on e-bay etc for people who buy them and then dont bother to fit them, just sell them on.

hope that helps.
..dachre..
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Re: Hi, just posting my MK5 2.5D SWB HI-TOP camper build.

Postby lostpaul67 » Sun May 18, 2008 10:48 pm

dachre wrote:
intransit89 wrote:bloody hell now i throught i was doing mine but you gone mad nice one 8)

wish i had a garage :x :lol:

my back spring hangers gone to and the chassis bit on front going to the inner bottom sill iam gona make a new pice using 2m and make a new inner sill to as i maded my own spring hangers 8)

how do you make your own metal shaping :idea: 8)




Hi intransit89. I have an old 1960's small sheet metal hand folder. You can buy new ones from places like machine mart. but they are kinda expensive. So a cheaper way is to just get the steel, clamp it down and fold it around with another length of steel clamped by where you want the fold and use a bloddy big hammer. This is how people have been working steel for hundreds of years.

You do kinda get used to it.

Also, i dont think sills or door steps are that expensive these days.... keep a good look out on e-bay etc for people who buy them and then dont bother to fit them, just sell them on.

hope that helps.
..dachre..


:lol: :lol: :lol: E-bay advice for Inty :shock: :shock:
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