Friday 28 June 2013

Camper and Windsurf van conversion part 1

Redsurfbus mark 1 has been sold, to a good home. The buyer will repair the gearbox, and spruce up the fading paintwork panels. Redsurfbus mk2 has been bought by a good home. The engine is brilliant, low mileage and goes like a train on steroids now I have reconnected a loose boost valve. The bodywork is okay, a couple of chips and scratches but it polishes up well. If the engine is as good as I suspect then maybe in a couple of years I will get a full respray and all the imperfections smoothed over. The job at hand now is a big one though.

Last weekend I had to box in the wheel arches ready for a floor to be fitted this week. This was the living area when I bought it. Already ply lined but parts of it were in need of some work where insulation was missing. 

The bulkhead needed to come out, this was an easy job and the wood was recycled to make some of the wheel arch covers. Insulation needed to go in the wheel arch covers, along with the rear doors and sliding door. I also insulated the channels in the frame along the top of the walls where I will be running the power cables for lighting as well.

 Here is a completed wheel arch box, this is the neater of the two as this will be visible and covered in carpet. The other has been sealed with silicone all around as it will form part of the kit storage area. Both were insulated with aluminium bubble foil on the metal, sealed with aluminium tape. then recycled plastic padding, then more foil, and black polythene sheet over the top for  the wet kit area.

I spent ages thinking if I should do a trapezium section  for the kit area, to avoid a big pointy corner that could damage a board. Instead my gas bottle will run in a curved container in the void of space next the the wheel arch in the right side centre of the floor. That will be a mini new task to learn, bending ply to create a quarter circle, ensuring enough space for gas drop out vents.

The next task to complete was to make a lip where the bulkhead was for the Altro floor to curve up. This was not as simple as it should have been. The wooden floor in the back ended exactly to the most inconvenient place. 1cm to the rear and it would have made an easy connection, 3cm to the front an even easier connection. In the end I braced a 10cm wide length of timber in the metal frame that held the original steel bulkhead. This required trim to be cut. Then I needed to make sure that the brackets to secure it along its length were flush with the floor and the lip, otherwise this would cause a problem when the Altro floor went down.

I needed to prepare the drivers side for a new window to be fitted as well, this only involved cutting the ply down and removing the insulation which was recycled into the wheel arches.

So those jobs finished off the weekend, along with 3 great windsurfing sessions it had been a productive time.

After speaking with my mum on Sunday night I heard my step dad was quite ill with what sounded like a very upset stomach, he has been ill for a long time with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Monday morning it came as a shock to hear he has passed away in the night so the rest of this week I have been pretty much unable to concentrate on much van wise. He brought me up from the age of 11 after my real father died and I think he did a good job of it, thank you Gordon you meant a lot to me. 

I know he loved his cars, he could buy an old banger and after a couple of weeks polishing and work on the engine sell it like a new car. The first car he bought with me was a little red Mini (one of the original ones that were actually mini in size), strangely it got nicknamed 'The Bus' as the red had faded to an orangey colour very much like the buses in Manchester at the time. It was an automatic, he spent hours on that engine and even had to drive it back on a trailer from Hull after the gearbox went on it, I vowed I would never buy an automatic again!

The rest of this week the van has been in the hands of some tradesmen. More on that in the next article soon.

Thanks for reading.
Good speeds and winds,
The Bus mk2

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