This is the story of our DIY campervan conversion. In January of 2017 we bought our van, Guus. Back then, it was a dark blue commercial vehicle with storage racks in the back, no insulation and quite some body damage. The conversion took us three months. I tend to forget to make pictures while I work so there are some missing elements to this story. My most sincere apologies and I’ll try my utmost to be a better man in the future. Enjoy!
After the stripping the whole van we started insulating the floor. We used aluminium bubble wrap and rockwool (packed in plastic bags, hopefully minimizing moisture build up).
Our basic layout design was already done by this point, so we could put in tubes for electric wires.
After finishing the floor insulation we finished it with altro safety flooring as the top surface.
Then we insulated the walls. We used three layers of insulation.
- Tempex (in between the ribs of our van)
- Aluminium bubble wrap
- Rockwool (in plastic bags)
Before finishing the walls we added tubes for electric wires. We finished the walls with 3,6mm plywood panels. We painted them high gloss white. Why?
- We love the light that gets reflected of the walls
- Easy to clean
Next we put in our roof window (it’s a car window a friend of ours found in a container.)
And the same insulation process again for the roof. Tempex, aluminium bubble wrap and rockwool.
We layed our basic layout out on the floor to see if we liked the dimension in real life. (We did this with painters tape before as well.) Right back: our couch-bed combination. Left back: big storage. Right front: big kitchen with lpg-tanks.
Of course we needed a night to testsleep and watch a movie.
Our bed is basically two slatted frames connected with heavy duty hinges. This way we can move the bed up against the wall so it can be used as a couch.
Anne made new covers for our seats.
Our kitchen building process. Anne made a stuffed animal called Willy who was so kind as to test the bathability of our kitchen sink for us.
Our big storage cabinet with fold out tables.
My first attempts at repairing body work. I used fibreglass mats and epoxy resin.
I wired up the electrical system. I did a terrible job of documenting this part. These are pictures of our utility cabinet and some led-spots in the kitchen. We get our electricity from a 265 W solar panel on the roof. We have 4 225Ah 6v lead acid batteries that amount to a total of 450Ah in our 12v system. They are in a special compartment with an airvent in the kitchen.
During all but the greyest winterweeks our system supplies more than enough energy for our lights, compressor fridge and charging our laptop and phones. In the winter we sometimes switch of our fridge and put a box with cold-loving items outside underneath the van.
These are the bowels of our kitchen. Top left: from where we can fill our watertank. Top right: our LPG tank. Notice the airvent in the floor. LPG is heavier than air so in case of a leak the gas will escape through the floor instead of into our living area. Bottom: our grey watertank on the left. Pump and pressure vat in the middle and clean watertank on the right.
Magic! As a finishing touch we added these wooden slats to some of the white surfaces.
We also cut up some toy animals for our infamous butt-knobs.
And here it is: the finished conversion!
The final job was to paint the whole van white. We did this with very cheap Action paint. We used paint rollers to apply it. We needed 8 layers but the result is a very white van (still going strong after 2 years) for about 60 euros. Instead of a 4000 euro professional paint job.
- Van: 2700 euros
- Maintenance (new tyres, some wlding, new filter etc.): about a 1000 euros
- Conversion: about 2500 euros
- Grand total: 6200 euros
If you need advice/help with your own campervan conversion don’t hesitate to message me!