Preparing the Van for Conversion

The interior of the van stripped out

Getting ready for the first stages of the camper van build

The van I bought for my camper van project was last used as a plumbers work van and, while it was fully ply lined and in generally good condition, it stank of kerosene and needed a thorough cleaning. So, the first task was to remove the plywood panels and floor to make way for insulation and some fresh new ply lining and flooring. Since my van was a work van, it also came with the factory bulkhead installed which also had to go to open up the interior space and provide access to the cab from inside the van.

The plywood was fitted with self tapping screws and were out in minutes. Once everything had been removed, the van just needed a good clean and vaccum.

The bulkhead was also very easy to remove by undoing a dozen or so torx bolts and drilling out a couple of rivets. The whole unit then lifts out through the side door. Once removed, the van seems so much bigger inside and you can start to get a feel for the space you have to work with. Don’t panic at this stage if the interior seems small, the curious thing is that it always appears far smaller than it is at this stage but as you start to get everything in place, you will seet hat you have ample space for a comfortable two berth campervan.

No other preparation is needed to begin your camper conversion other than to give the interior a thorough inspection for any signs of rust or holes in the bodywork thorough damage etc. It’s unlikely, but if you do find any potential rust spots, give them a rust treatment before you cover them up as you won’t be able to access any of these areas again once your van is converted.

Another area worth looking at before you move on is the bottom of the side panels, particularly where the body moulding clips penetrate the outer skin. On this particular model, these clips are known to allow a small amount of water through. This isn’t usually a problem until you convert it to a camper van as the insulation and carpet lining means any water entering here will have no way of drying out and instead, sits inside the panel, eventually turning to rust. Applying some silicone or sikaflex to the inside of the panel clips will make them watertight, and it’s also a good idea to give the area a good spray of waxoil or similar before you close it up.

So, with the preperation and cleaning complete, and with the bulkhead removed, it’s on to the next stage; insulating the interior for a nice cosy camper van.

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