Tuesday 30 July 2013

VW LT 35 158 Camper conversion - Bed support and more finishing touches

Today started with rain, and a promise of wind from 11 to 2. I also had to wait in to sign for a cheeky pair of Rockford Fosgate speakers to replace my excellent but old top end Pioneers.
 I recently changed my stereo from a reasonably expensive Sony mp3/CD tuner job to a cheapo USB and Bluetooth Pioneer which was on offer at Halfrauds. The difference in sound was amazing, every song sounds more tuneful and has much more range, but I suspect I had overpowered my old speakers a bit with the Sony, and they were in the worst position possible for damage in the old camper as well. For several weeks I convinced myself that I could wait for new speakers but I am not good at waiting and clicked buy it now late on Sunday night on ebay with Radioworld. I am amazed at their delivery time and price, they beat Amazon by £30 for the pair of speakers and also sell just about everything you need for the electrics in a camper.

After reading many reviews I opted for these Rockford Fosgate Punch speakers. I would like to amp them but this would defeat the object of having low wattage kit in the van for wild camping for several days on a leisure battery. The sound is perfect for what I need and they are not even warmed up yet. Also they look great compared to the rusted cages of the old ones. For the audiophiles out there I do know the cages are upside down, I did not fancy having the pointy red logo part just above where my head will be on the bed!

Once installed I checked the anemometer on Portland Harbour wall and the wind had not come as forecast, in fact it had dropped so the afternoon was freed up for van work.

After a trip to the third post office for a passport application I started at about 2pm. The job for today was to build the mid support for the bed and then size out the location which in my head is about 40cm from the wheel arch on the passenger side. I built the support while my co-worker was busy masking off the carpet on the walls to prime the wood and put carpet on later. 

Let me introduce you to Sebastian, Kats son. He speaks a little English but was absolutely engrossed in the paper he was supposed to be taping to the walls so the evil spray glue did not damage the finish I have achieved with the main panels.

After re-taping most of his work and trying to stress the importance of preparation to a 16year old with limited English I put carpet on the visible sections of the wood work on the walls. This is the first time I am really happy with the finish, it is perfect, the carpet looks seamless and well finished.

The mid support you can see in the picture below will have an open section at the rear end of the van to allow access to the door handle, and allow seating at the back with the doors open. This will also allow some air flow out of the wet box to dry stuff out on hot days with the doors open.

The odd vertical you can see attached to the rear of the wheel arch box is part of a cupboard. I intended to build a simple 4 wall box here with an opening to stuff sleeping bags in. Then my creative side came out and I tried to do a curved finish but then could no anchor the wood well enough without it breaking so that wasted an hour of faffing. Back to the original plans then but by that time my co-worker had realised he had put in a good 200mins of work and needed feeding and watering so we packed up for the day*. I feel like I did not do as much as intended, but did different things while trying to find jobs for Sebastian. I was going to trim the wood at the end. In hindsight its probably better to do it all now while there are less things to ruin with spray glue.

The mid support is not yet fixed into place, the kit bag you can see has 3 sails in it so I am now thinking I can get 3-4 boards in there along with all my sails. Tomorrow I will find out.

Plans for tomorrow are to watch the wind forecast, build the front section of the kitchen area, load the van and see where on the floor it needs fixing......GO WINDSURFING......unload van, fix in midsupports and kitchen front, cut ply. Then I can continue into the darkness in the flat with my sewing machine and start fitting the foam and covers to the ply. By the end of the week I hope to be able to make a cup of tea, or at least show the trainee construction worker I have at my side how to make a brew, then his skillset will be complete ;-)

*I have to say a big thank you to Sebastian, he does not have a clue with most things I ask but he tried really hard. Also I can see that he is really willing to try which is the most important thing. He was so happy that he had the chance to help, from what I can see he is a very fast learner and I just hope I can teach him enough before he goes back home.......bear in mind I am learning myself as I am going as well.  Hopefully he will go home and train as a mechanic then my camper building empire can begin :-D

Good speeds and winds
The Bus mk2

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