Friday 12 July 2013

Camper and Windsurf van conversion part 2

In the past week I felt more like a project manager than a self builder. First of the trades I used was a window fitter in Poole. AAW Van Window Conversions was the company I used. After trying the local place that is well known in Weymouth and finding they wanted almost double the price I paid I took the plunge and dropped it off in Poole and caught a train home. I was amazed at how much the trains had improved since 199x when I last caught one.

Andy who runs the business did an excellent job, he needed a half day to do both windows and a short time after for them to set.  He showed me pictures of his work as well, this added confidence in the job he did as it looks like he does all the correct preparation.

I am very happy with the finish. The slider is great and perfect to go over the kitchen area. The fixed is on the sliding door on the other side of the van, so when parked which ever side the wind is coming from we can have fresh air through the van. They are not a full limo tint, but the same as the tinting I put on RSB mk1 which was about 80%.

The next job was preparing for the leisure battery, installing the alarm and wiring speakers into the back. At the moment I am just using some old Pioneers which give good sound and have been in my last 3 vehicles, one blows a touch on high volume but at the moment with an empty van they work a bit like a bass box! The alarm I chose was a top end Cobra cat 2 to 1 rated alarm, meaning cheaper insurance next time round. I dont need the immobiliser as all VW's come with them fitted anyway. The engineer, Gordon from GC Car Audio and Security in Dorchester spent a long time chatting about options with me on the phone over the past week or so, both about the leisure battery and the alarms. We decided the best was to upgrade to a microwave sensor which is ideal as the whole van is covered rather than the limited field you would get with a transducer transmitter and receiver set up.

Next week he will check my handywork with the leisure battery, I have prepared all the wiring for it, and have a hardly used starter battery (I know its not ideal, but arguably there is only a 5-10% difference in life between a so called deep cycle leisure battery unless used for high drain appliances). This will be ample to run a few LED's, a water pump and occasionally a 12v cool box. I am no longer a fruit based phone user so can happily last a good few days between charges so that won't be a battery drain.

Finally on Friday I dropped the van off at Remarkable Carpets in Weymouth to have Altro flooring fitted. This is sealed all the way round the van. The fitter had a nightmare with all the silicone the previous owner had put round the edges, along with the spray glue he had used for vinyl. First he had to get rid of the stickyness before he could position the floor. He has done a great job, there are a few finishing touches I want to add which may be difficult as this flooring isnt designed for old vans with lots of knobbly bits in the footwell. 

 My lounge floor is starting to look like a workshop, these are the bits for the kitchen, including a Smev combination sink and stove with separate lids in one unit. It is long and not very wide so means the kitchen shouldn't take up too much space into the van.

I opted for an Aquaroll as they are pretty tough and will fit perfectly under the Smev, a cheap pump and pipes for the water and waste.

Still to arrive are my roofbars, lights and sockets, and foam for the bed. Carpet for the walls is on order and leatherette for the seating. Once I have built the frame I need to borrow a sewing machine to sort out the mattress, seats and curtains, this is the bit I am really not looking forward to!

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