FYI to the DIY:
Van conversion lessons from the trenches.

by Puravida | August 25, 2019

You’ve nailed the perfect design layout and you’re ready to build – what’s next?

A little bit of construction planning will go a long way.  We’ve converted a lot of vans, fixed a lot of existing builds and conquered a lot of challenges in the process.   Creative problem-solving is part of the passion, right?  It sure is, until the problem results in a tear down or significant amount of rework.

Before starting your build, here are our top construction considerations for conversion success (the first time):

1. All required cuts into the van exterior—windows, vents, electrical or water connections— should be made first.  Consider how you will effectively seal them to protect the metal from rust down the line.

2. Before settling on the final heater placement, make sure there is nothing underneath the van that may cause an installation issue such as fuel tanks, brake lines or exhaust systems.

3.Do you need grey or black water storage? Determine early on where these tanks will be installed.  Before deciding on exterior tanks, consider how you will effectively insulate them against frost.  Exterior tanks can reduce road clearance, so plan for how they will be protected from road debris damage.

4. Think through future electrical needs so that you can easily scale or adapt your system:
-Use the correct size of wire for the amperage draw.  We’ve seen a number of existing builds with the wrong wire size.  This can lead to electrical issues and safety concerns down the road.
-Consider leaving extra wiring for future additions to your system.
-Before installing solar panels, determine how they will connect to your electrical hub.

5. Keeping key elements (like pumps, tanks and fuse panels) accessible will make future repairs easier.
Vans move and so do the materials inside, so wood finishes like tongue and groove planking can eventually start to squeak.  Consider how you can ‘insulate’ wood finishing from the metal.

6. Most of all, keep it simple! If it’s your first build, leave yourself the option to make changes.  Frequent road-testing during construction can help detect installation issues and layout tweaks so you can address them before the build is complete.

Check out our services to learn more about how we can help you through your build!