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Minibus, occasional camper +van

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Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby Deb » Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:28 pm

Hi all,

First of all I want to say a big THANK YOU to all those who have posted the progress of their conversions, we have learned a lot, some great ideas from reading through the topics here.

We thought it would be a good idea to post the progress of our own conversion, not only to share what we are doing, but also as a diary for ourselves.

We are renovating a very old farmhouse so we have priorities ... must haves and nice to haves. The camper conversion for us is a nice to have but not priority on spending so it has to be done on the cheap using what we have left over from other projects, buying as little as possible.

Our Mk3 swb 11 passenger minibus is now a 9 seater large car, a long story, but it's easier on the regs in France. The vehicle has to be a people carrier when family visits, but most of the time it's a 'builder's van' transporting all the materials we need for our renovation. So we decided that the units must be take-outable. I'm sure there are some insurance and registration issues, but, emulating the French, we will just shrug our shoulders and look stupid if we are ever questioned about it :? Of course, we will make everything as safe as posiible.

We decided to have a 6' bench seat behind the driver that pulls out to make a 4' bed. Porta Potty behind that with a bulkhead for privacy. Hob and sink on the other side.

Anyway, after sketching out a few drawings, and scratching about in the barn for left over timber etc, we finally made a start today. We only did an hour or so but will post some photos as these will show where our bus lives and what we are trying to do.

Another camper conversion on a budget :roll:

Debbie...

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OK, this is where it lives.

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Our ex local council minibus, now registered in France as a 9 seater large car :)

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Side door view showing the chipboard floor that protects the passenger seat belts and fixings.

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As we've camped in the van before there's already a curtain that separates the cab.
The rail is one of those expandable spring loaded shower curtain rails you can get
from the DIY shops, we cut it down to fit width of the bus :?:

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Temporary bench set up in the garage for the project.

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And at last we started to make the bench seat front!
ImageOur budget occasional camper project - viewtopic.php?f=58&t=50286
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby Nadjenka » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:51 am

Keep us posted :) I wish I had a garage like that :roll: That's some proper house for your tranny :lol:
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1995 Mk5 150 LWB Minibus - camper-to-be - Lola's story :mrgreen:
1999 Mk5 190 LWB 2.5TDi, automatic, story has started :twisted:
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby Deb » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:50 pm

It is a bit roomy Nadjenka :wink: used to be an industrial unit, the man who lived here from the 50s until the 90s manufactured agricultural trailers and repaired tractors :) at that time our house was the village petrol station, hence we've got a huge gravelled forecourt ... perfect for petanque :lol:

We managed a couple of hours today... finished the pine on the front of the bench seat and rough cut the bulkhead, hoping to do final fit on the bulkhead tomorrow and make a start on the pull out bed.

Debbie

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ImageOur budget occasional camper project - viewtopic.php?f=58&t=50286
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby noobrider » Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:42 am

Good to see someone else making use of OSB. Cheap strong and plentiful. Well it is in my build lol.

Good work keep them pics coming
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby Deb » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:02 am

Thanks Noobrider, we use a lot of OSB in the house renovation, it's so versatile, waterproof too! Last week we built a potting shed with it! We get 10% off with our wrinklies card at B&Q (Folkestone) and another 10% off for bulk buying (more than 10 sheets) works out to us at about £7 a sheet, can't go wrong :lol: The tounge and groove pine is very cheap in France, under 5€ a square mtr, we use a lot of that too :idea:

Certainly will keep the photos coming, hopefully get some more done today.

Debbie
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby Breakdown Biker » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:08 pm

Thats coming on a treat already, looks like it gonna be agreat wee camper :)
keep the pics comin
Awrabest wi your project, or should that be bon fortune :D
Where would ya be without a can of W.D?

Mk5 hicube minibus camper conversion
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=43816
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby Deb » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:49 pm

Thanks Biker, here's some more pics...

We managed another couple of hours earlier this evening.
Very fiddly today because we want everything to come out in single pieces and easily re-assemble in place when we want to use the bus as a camper so it's not as straightforward as building permanent units.
Here's the bench seat top bearers in place and fixed to the bulkhead. We have used the old 'hole and turnbuckle' method as the photos show.

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Debbie
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby Deb » Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:31 pm

A little more done today

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Debbie
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby alexgrfc » Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:54 pm

thats looking good im getting ideas out of this :D
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby Deb » Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:56 pm

Thanks for the reply Alexgrfc, glad you got some ideas.

Did some more this afternoon.

We cut some OSB for the seat and bed tops and we made a front for the bit that pulls out; laminated 3 thin pieces of pine but left a hollow bit for the bed leg to swivel up into out of the way, and general tidying up making it all secure. We are using patio lounger cushions (sorry about the colour, we intend to buy some grey/blue ones), we've slept on these before and they are very comfy, 72" x 26" so two work out perfectly, in the daytime one is folded lengthwise, a couple of bungees hooked round makes a very comfortable back rest. Starting on the hob/sink next then find some floor covering, curtains, a modesty curtain across the toilet, then a lick of paint and varnish and we should be nearly finished :lol:

Debbie

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ImageOur budget occasional camper project - viewtopic.php?f=58&t=50286
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby rover » Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:42 pm

Looking good Deb :D

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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby noobrider » Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:27 pm

coming along nicely and quite quickly too
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby Deb » Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:14 pm

noobrider wrote:coming along nicely and quite quickly too


It's the magic of OSB :D

Debs
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby Breakdown Biker » Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:13 am

'hole and turnbuckle'
Luv it :)
What a simple but effective way to create flexible use of the space 8)
I've a feelin that idea will be copied :D
Your builds comin on a treat in a short space of time, you're obviously good with wood :mrgreen: My build took ages coz I had to re-cut loads of pieces, the only woodwork I'd done before that was a gang-hut when I was 12 :lol: :lol:
Where would ya be without a can of W.D?

Mk5 hicube minibus camper conversion
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=43816
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Re: Minibus, occasional camper +van

Postby Deb » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:13 am

Thanks for the reply Biker,

When I left skool (more years ago than I care to remember) I became a boat-builder (family connections) so don't be surprised if the interior of the van starts to look like a cabin cruiser :roll:

Over the weekend I've had a rethink about the pull out bed, so planning a slight change there.

Debs
ImageOur budget occasional camper project - viewtopic.php?f=58&t=50286
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