Sunday 14 July 2013

Camper and Windsurf van conversion - Leisure battery and other bits

This past couple of weeks have been very hard at work, with observations and assessments every other day I have had little time to get on with van jobs. Hopefully once we get past next Tuesday I can start emptying the living room into the van. Currently in front of me on the rug are; 2mx2m of 5cm hard foam, 2.5cm memory foam, 8mx2m of veltrim silver carpet, a 12v coolbox, a smev sink/stove, chocks, silver screens, tools etc. The shed is full of wood and the van is still empty.

Since the last post I made up a box to house the gas bottle. This is done by curving the plywood to get rid of the big nose crunching corner that the wheel arch box provides. Since the photo was taken I have modified it a bit, with catches and a rubber foam trim around the lid. It will get covered in 5mm dense foam and polythene sheet. It will be hard to access but does use up what would otherwise be wasted space.

Under the hose in the picture you can just see the gas dropout vent. This was the first time I have cut a hole in the bodywork of a car, I did not enjoy that job but it was easier than I expected.

To do the drop out vent was a bit of estimation in terms of location. I got it perfect. It could not go any closer to the van wall due to supports underneath. I will install another drop out vent under the actual hob which will be located about 1m to the left of the bottle.

The box was fiddly to complete and was an experiment as I want to curve the wood for some of the cupboards and seating. The hardest bit was the lid, it works but is not perfect due to my lack of skills with a jigsaw. There is space in the box for a footpump and 500ml of oil which is perfect.

Next up was fitting the leisure battery. This was easier than I anticipated as I had unwittingly bought a top end split leisure relay that only required connections to the starter battery and the second battery. It is designed to prioritise the charging of the starter and only switch over once charged. I also rewired the stereo to come directly from the fuse box of the leisure battery so listening to music with the engine off is possible. The set up was installed as follows;

  • Installed battery under passenger seat, secured and levelled with a wooden bracket, with metal stays, and webbing to prevent any movement.
  • Ran power lead through from engine into passenger footwell, then up through a convenient hole in the base.
  • Connected power lead to relay, then relay to battery. Installed fuses, in main power leads between starter and relay, then relay and second battery.
  • Installed fuse box onto rear of passenger seat, easily accessible and will be hidden under rear seats.
  • Connected earth to passenger seat base bolt.
  • Ran lead from fusebox to stereo, then spent a good half an hour trying to get a drop down lead from the stereo to bring the new power lead up.
  • Tested it all works. :-D

The few hours I had spare in the days following I wired up the van, with wires run for the water pump, 12v cooler socket, additional 12v sockets, and LED's down both sides of the van (5 units in total). This is now ready for final soldering of the actual components and carpeting over.

This last week was a killer at work, I managed to get jobs done on two evenings only. Last weekend I cut the end off my toe and after hours of bleeding was told by the hospital to stay off it as much as possible for a couple of days, so the weekend was out for working on the van as well.

Early in the week I managed to get the two rear doors covered in carpet. The lower black carpet is a hard wearing ribbed rubber backed carpet, while the grey is a more luxurious veltrim. I do need some rain to see if there are any leaks as I have gone right up to the rubber seal to try and get a good finish. I think it will be okay due to how the rubber sits on the doors.

Before carpeting I primed all the wood with diluted PVA. A couple of coats on a hot day and I was ready for a rest!

Finally on my days where I had to keep my foot up I had a faff with photoshop and came up with this. I think the redsurfbus lettering needs moving and changing but other than that it could look quite good.

Next jobs are to do the carpeting round the windows and sliding door. Then the ceiling. Then start putting the frame in for the bed. I will carpet over this for a better finish, then no screws will be showing.

Good speeds and winds
The Bus mk2

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