August 20, 2014

DIY Motorhomes – How To Build A Campervan on a Budget

Although nothing beats a professionally-converted motorhome for comfort or ease of use, there is no escaping the fact they are expensive beasts.


I started off with (and still use) a home-converted van, and I came across this story (sorry, link no longer available) on the Cheap RV Living website the other day, which provides a well-illustrated guide to a slightly unconventional conversion.

It’s based on an American van, but could just as easily work for most European panel vans. They layout Jason’s gone for is very similar to one I’ve used myself and I can testify that it’s an excellent, easy design to build. You can go as far (or not) as you want with the facilties – from building in a full kitchen/wash unit to just having a wooden countertop, a camping stove and a plastic bowl!

Take a look here (sorry, link no longer available) – there are plenty of pictures and it really shows how (relatively) easy and cheap it can be to build something comfortable enough to spend serious time in.

If you’d like a more in-depth look at the process of converting a van, click here to take a look at my new DIY Campervan Conversion Guide, complete with lots of pictures?

Comments

  1. Not everyone has the budget to keep a dedicated vehicle for use as a motorhome/camper van, so having a multi use vehicle is better all round. So what can be better than a vehicle that can be used as a van for transporting materials and easily, but quickly converted for use as a camper? Well the answer can be seen at http://soh.me.uk where a LWB Peugeot Boxer (same as a Fiat Ducato) has gone through such a conversion.

    Enjoy :)

  2. john scott says:

    hi
    i am after a set of plans on how to convert a van into a camper van, does anybody have know where i could find some.

    thank you
    john

    • Motorhome News says:

      If you search around the internet you’ll find lots of information on this subject – from my own DIY conversion pages to the SBMCC forums. For a complete set of plans, I know of two books that offer this:

      The A Bus For Us Ebok – available by download from abusforus.blogspot.com/
      Travel Vans, by John Speed – available from http://www.travelvans.co.uk/

      Hope this helps, Roland

    • d mc dougall says:

      hello john,
      my name is dougie and like yourself I have been looking for detailed plans for a motorhome converdation, hoping you have had some luck and can advise me where to go. I am leaning towards a ford lwb panel van diesel) but can be persuaded in another direction.
      cheers,
      dougie

      • hi
        My work college has converted a VW van into a camper, he purchased the flat pack kit from a company on e-bay. The kit is compatible with 2 or 3 VW style vans and got it installed in Tyne & Wear. The Ford Transit LWB Semi or High Roofs I would think should be good for conversion as the roof are already extended.

        john

    • Hi there are about 6 designs on the web-site also check out on youtube the new building your own motorhome camper series, search jurassicnev67 the series is called “CHEAP AND FREE” all the best ,Nev

  3. hey there – great site, I’m currently building a LDV Sherpa 200 (tiny compared to some of your RV’s) into a camper – however, I need the space int he back to transport bikes. So it could be interesting – the bed is going to fold up against the wall for storage, and I’m looking at building my own counters etc, so I’ll keep checking back!

    • That could be interesting. In my first van, I had a similar requirement – I needed to use it as a van too – so I built a bed that stretched widthways across the back but folded in half and hinged up against the side of the van when not in use. However, depending on how tall you are, you may find this doesn’t give you enough length to sleep comfortably – mine was in an old Transit and was just long enough, but didn’t allow me to straighten my legs.

      For counters I used a folding table that clipped to the side panels of the van when in use and could be unclipped and folded up when not in use. It worked quite well.

      Good luck, anyway! If you’d like to share the finished result then I’d be happy to publish a blog post on it – just let me have a few words and pictures and I’ll do the rest.

  4. Hi
    I am looking to by a VW transport to convert into a campervan What is the best engine, I will be doing a lot of miles in it. Should I go for the long or short wheelbase.

    Regards

    Neil Hardy

    • Hi Neil,

      I’d choose a long wheelbase if the extra vehicle length wouldn’t cause any problems for me – e.g. harder to fit into car parking spaces, etc. You will definitely appreciate the extra length when you are inside the van.

      Engine wise, if you will be doing a lot of driving you may want to buy one of the more powerful 2.5TDi models – engine choices depend on how old the vans you are looking at are.

      Regards, Roland

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