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?

10 thoughts on “DIY Motorhomes – How To Build A Campervan on a Budget

  • December 26, 2008 at 9:39 pm
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    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 🙂

    Reply
  • November 8, 2009 at 8:22 pm
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    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

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    • September 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm
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      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

      Reply
      • September 28, 2010 at 9:58 am
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        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

        Reply
    • January 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm
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      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

      Reply
  • November 26, 2009 at 1:48 pm
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    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!

    Reply
    • November 26, 2009 at 4:11 pm
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      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.

      Reply
  • October 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm
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    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

    Reply
    • October 25, 2011 at 10:58 am
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      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

      Reply

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