Dad kindly gave this van to me for Christmas in 2010 after I’d mentioned considering buying a Volkswagen camper to use for surfing.
He'd tried to sell it before but was offered very little for it. To me, this van was going to effectively save me about £5k!
I bought a set of windows (two side and one rear) along with a head liner from a minibus for £180. I started by cleaning the van up and cutting holes for the windows.
After taking up the floor, it was obvious that in addition to requiring a bit of repair work to the rear brake compensator valve, it would need the floor welding to prevent rust from spreading.
Dad helped me by doing most of the welding, whilst I set about repairing the wheel arches and other areas that had rust breakouts.
After weeks of work, the welding was done, doors repaired and windows fitted. I bought several rolls double sided thermal foil covered bubble-wrap insulation and also recycled plastic loft insulation from B&Q and set about lining the interior.
I fitted handles to the roof after the head lining was fitted, in order to hold a surfboard when I sleep in the van.
I also wanted the option of being able to use solar panels to charge a leisure battery in future, in addition to a caravan hookup – so bought a cable-gland.
Unfortunately, once stuck to the side of the van there would be no easy way of feeding cables through the tiny openings and into the body cavity.
I decided to run hosepipes from the apertures through the bodywork and panelling, so that it would be easy to feed cabling in after it had all been assembled.
Wheel arches boxed out – the passenger side one is under what will be the kitchen worktop. A waste pipe runs to a connector mounted in the wheel arch. Insulation packs out the boxing. The same applies to the driver's side, but I angled the boxing to give more space inside the wardrobe and under seating space.
Kitchen unit has two drawers, sink and two gas rings on the hob, plus space underneath for gas canister and water supply.
Wardrobe will have side access for easy maintenance of the leisure battery and wiring. Hopefully will be big enough to put wetsuits in. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it as wide as I’d hoped, due to the way that the back of the van is not perpendicular to the floor – it not only curves where the walls hit the roof, but inwards from the back so the floor effectively projects out further than the roof.
(3 April 2011) I replaced the locks on the van with a new set that Dad had bought for it years ago, unfortunately I’d completely forgotten about the fact that the new key's transponders wouldn’t match those in the PAS (alarm/immobilizer) registry. After it wouldn’t start, I had to leave it overnight and then attempt to pair the new keys with the system by taking the ignition apart again. You need at least two new keys to authenticate in order to pair the new third key.
Given that the new one had a totally different barrel, I had to separate the induction coil from the ignition barrel and hold it away from it with the new key in the barrel and the old key near the induction coil. Turning the ignition to position II and then off (with the new key in, but old one near the coil), putting the second original key in and repeating, then putting one of the new keys near the coil and doing it again. The alarm light stays solid when a key is recognized otherwise you get error codes flashing. I switched the new keys in the ignition and repeated to pair the second new key. I had a bit of difficulty the first few times, and then realized you have to switch the keys around within a few seconds. First order of business will be to get a new spare key cut and paired.
If you lose one key (leaving you with one) it makes it impossible to use another new key.
Fitted the hob and gas pipework, and was also given a set of cushions from an old caravan – they’ll need some trimming down to make them fit properly as they’re a bit wide and too thick, but it’s all getting there rather quickly now!
No easy way of getting cable in post-installation, so used hosepipes. This way, cables will feed up and through inner panelling.