It's about time I started my own post... I bought this minibus as my very first van (even though I have driven several of them in the past, never had my own
) and decided that I am going to test my abilities and convert this into nice campervan. Originally I planned to test the van properly and go on Euro tour this week, but situation has changed, trip got cancelled so here I am. Started with this:
Pictures are taken with my mobile phone, so they are not very good, but the floor at the back has proper steel railings for seats and it had old smelly lino stuck in between
Got rid of the seats from the back, send dear Lola (oh - that's her final name
) down to garage to get all the motor parts sorted, speedo, new cambelt, seals, filters, oil, suspention on the passengers side (because the tyre there was down to bare mesh only on the outer side
), ignition barrel, speedo again, and bits and bobs that were needed for me to be sure it's safe for me to drive her.
It might sound stupid, but I am absolutely unable to even change the wheel on my own...
Lola arrived after complete check up and since I am not taking her to Europe, I can spend the time converting. I have started with locks. All of the locks needed different key, so carrying my key bunch to work felt like I own four transits, not just one...
After checking flee bay and others, I decided it will be best just to drive down to Ford dealer and get advice on what I need from there. Well it wasn't such a wise idea at the end, as you could read in technical questions, but I did manage to exchange all of the locks thanks to you guys and it's now all on one key
(except for ignition - I will do that later as it will need reprogramming the immobiliser for new key).
I also bought central locking kit (Maplins, for about £24), for all four doors which I fitted onto doors already but I didn't get myself to connect them yet
. I am scared of electrics
, so I figured I will deal with electricity questions once I start fitting electrics into the back too and I can do all of the wiring at the same time.
If it's the electricity that should kill me, let's leave it for the end
I will make some pictures of the central locking for you when I'll do the wires.
Then I removed existing flooring... well I intended to remove it all, but... After removing layer of thick lino, I found a layer of thin plyood. Removing that revealed another very thin layer of plywood (if you can call it that! It was the thinnest ply you have as a back side of your Ikea wardrobe... horrible stuff
) which was not only screwed, but also glued to proper layer of plywood at the very bottom. All these layers were just in between the seat rails and rough count of screwes taken out during demolition was about 170.
I didn't expect that! it turned out that the iron railings are screwed and plated to the base of the van THROUGH the last and proper ply layer, so by removing them I would create loads of holes in my floor
. Therefore I have decided to leave the rails there and sacrifise 2cm of head room for the plywood that needs to stay underneath the seat railings.
I filled the gaps between the rails with Depron insulation for laminated floors, and then used another layer of Depron to cover the whole floor space even over the rails so there is no iron-laminate contact. AND layed my laminate flooring
You can see the rails on ply on the bottom right. You also see that I didn't cover whole floor space with laminate, and I will explain why in just a moment
. During demolition works I also found out (thanks to you guys!
) that my back heater is connected directly onto the cooling system and proved impossible to remove
I had to drain the system to get it shortened because there was no way of stopping it from leaking and you can imagine that being showered by cooling liquid whilst lying down underneath the van is not something you would enjoy...
Originally I wanted just a simple cupboard at that end of the bus, for portable toilet and basic storage. But since I discovered that back heater (Matrix?) and two holes for it's pipes to run them down underneath the floor, I decided I will dig in my wildest dreams and build a wetroom in my bus
I know, I know... I read and heard all of the cons of water in trannies and rust issues, but still - being a wild child, it would be nice to have emergency shower I can use if the wind blows me far away from civilisation and campsites...
Do you remember that weird cut in the laminate floor? Well here is the reason:
I decided, I am going to create a fully waterproofed shower cubicle with proper showertray and drain which can be used in emergencies and sealable from the bottom so rain water doesn't get in while driving. I am going to do this using waterproofing insulation boards and paint-on tanking system, because they are giving me double waterproofing for that cubicle, insulation value and yet remaining under 5kg of weight in total. After adding tiles on that piece of the floor, total added weight should be still less than 10kg. That radiator hole in the floor will be enlarged slightly to fit low profile drain through which will have screw-on cup. After removing this cup, I can screw on flexible extension pipe to external waste tank should the need to use the shower arise.
Water from the inside will never even get to the metal bits of Lola and the drain pipe end will be sealed all around from the underneath too so no water gets through the hole to the inside. It is more difficult to describe it than actually do it...
I know it sounds like totall bonkers, but that's the plan and challenge...
I have ordered paint too, as there is quite few rust spots coming to the surface, so I thought I'd better get it cleared and sanded off before it bites too deep and paint Lola custom very light olive green. At least I hope that it will be as light as I imagine it from seeing it on the screen
I can see you all laughing at me at the next meet when I turn up with some colour rainbow on my bus...
I also want to have all fixtures removable, because of the age of Lola, there might be more and more rust, welding required and it would just be easier to be able to remove the interior fairly quickly. I am also going to have 12V underfloor heating under the laminated floor, which will be fitted after I test-fit the bed and kitchen cupboards, so I don't drill through the heating by accident during fitting...
And - of course - this will be wired at the later stage with the rest of the electricity.
I apologize in advance for grammar, spelling and technical-terminus mistakes I might make, I am a girl and until three weeks ago the only difference I saw between vans was that some are white, some are blue and the rest is coloured...
Well, here we go...
BTW: Andy, I am advancing already! I can add pictures now, see?