Travels with our van

This blog details the conversion of an extra long wheel base Iveco Daily 35S 12 to a campervan, the conversion took place between November 2008 and February 2009 many thanks to the Self Build Motor home club members for their invaluable contributions of help via the website.

click on link to go to site
After a lot of planning and drawing, visiting dealers and measuring vans we decided on an extra long wheelbase high top Iveco Daily. We found that apart from the sprinter this gave the longest usable interior of any panel van with over 4 metres from rear of drivers seat to back doors, but was marginally wider inside than the sprinter allowing for a 1.8 metre bed across the van. We went for the latest model we could afford which was a 2005 35s12 . We already owned an Eldiss motorhome which as an MOT failure would be the donor for much of the equipment in the camper.

After much searching and haggling we had our base vehicle. First job was to strip out all the plywood lining and floors as this was in good condition it wasput aside to be reused later for various things. Next cut out the steel bulkhead between cab and van interior. Remove the steel lining from abve the cab and fit a plywood floor here to form the base for overcab storage. Then clean the floor and lay 25mm insulation over the steel floor then relay the plywood floor, over this with a duct across the centre for wiring and water and gas pipes.

We took a trip to Rainbow conversions to purchase windows and a few other things. We settled on Seitz top hung windows with integral cassette blinds and screens, these were expensive, but you get what you pay for, and these are possibly the best motorhome windows available, and are used by most of the major converters. Next step was to fit roof lights, and bathroom window from donor van (Elldis 400) cut out windows and fit. There is a lot of metal in the side walls of an Iveco daily, anti-drumming panels etc that has to be cut away. The upside is you tend to remove more weight than you are adding so payload unaffected at this stage. Unfortunately the camera was stolen off the front seat while I was working, and we dont have any photos up to this point.
Cut holes in roof to take 2 Hekki roof lights which were fitted for light and ventilation I had to modify the winders which raise and lower the vents to cope with extra thickness of roof with insulation.

We have been using motorhomes for 12 years, so we know exactly the layout that we want, a fixed double bed was an absolute must. We had to have a freezer as well as a fridge. All the usual equipment in van hot and cold running water, gas hob plus oven and a microwave.

because we were planning to spend a lot of time abroad most of our cooking and dining would be outside so a kitchen tent was purchased to house and store all the camp cooking equipment we have gathered over the years we also have a cadaq barbecue which will barbecue, fry, grill, roast,stir fry, and do almost anything else as well. We cook in the van when we are travelling and only stopping 1 night at a time, and cook outside whenwe are on site for more than a couple of nights.


Internal layout of van, bathroom at front behind driver seat, permanent bed at the rear. Kitchen amidships nearside with dinnette opposite. storage under bed, and seats and in wardrobe
Next job fitted wind out awning Omnistore 5000 3.5 metre. I purchased high top awning brackets then heavily modified them to clear Iveco sliding door, then fitted Fiamma drip stop over sliding door. Fitted roof box the main purpose for this is to carry satellite dish and tripod for English TV in France and Spain, rear ladders for access to box is from CAK tanks of Warwick highly recommended company. Fiamma cycle rack for cycles of course, but also handy for carrying a variety of things.

It is really important to insulate the van to keep it cool in summer, warm in winter and most important eliminate condensation We fitted xtratherm 25mm insulation to walls roof and floor, supplemented with expanding foam and rockwool to fill gaps voids and cavities. Difference in internal temperatures felt straight away, there is no insulation to rear doors as fitting plywood bulkhead at rear of bed with insulation attached, rear doors will only give access to under bed storage not interior of van plus a small amount of storage within the doors.

cassette toilet and access door

Fit cassette toilet and external door for cassette toilet. toilet compartment to be built around this. Next run first fix wiring and plumbing and gas pipes through channels in ceiling and duct under floor. Fit 75 litre water tank under bed space with shurflow electric pump, and gas fired water heater under seating area to deliver hot and cold running water to kitchen and bathroom,


external flue for water heater

start building kitchen, fit oven and three way fridge


install vents and gas flue CIMG0036for three way fridge

Cut out access panel and fit locker door for access to under bed storage from exterior of van, frame from CAK tanks of Warwick,door panel is from metal cut out to form opening in van.

start fitting overhead lockers and wardrobe


overhead cupboards above dinnette
Wardrobe fitted with oil filled radiator in base I find that a small oil filled radiator will keep a well insulated van quite warm, and can safely be left on all night in complete silence. We also use a wall mounted fan heater to give a quick blast of heat and an almost instant change of temperature in the van. We only wild camp in the warmer months and so far have found no need for gas heating. 


fit shower tray and wash hand basin and then plumb in, then form shower room around fittings, bathroom cabinet and storage will be in overcab area above wash hand basin. and over the driving seat shower head is on basin taps which pull out on an hose and attach to fitting on wall

electrics sorted and wired thanks to TELSHADORnote 1500w inverter for freezer on the move and microwave at lunch time

Electrics sorted and wired in, split charge layout courtesy of Telshador at the SBMCC ( self build motor caravanners club ) 2 X 110 amp leisure batteries charging from alternator through 100 amp relay wired through smartcom relay. This also powers 3 way fridge when on the move. 3000 watt maximum 1600 watt inverter for freezer and microwave when not connected to mains. All boxed in and ready to go Mains electrics and 12 volt distribution all wired up

overbed locker being fitted upholstery nearly done for benchseat/daybed



fitting worktops and plumbing for sink built in micro wave oven fitted above freezer
gas hob and sink top fitted and working there is a under cupboard strip light above. The small freezer fits under the microwave it is mains powered and runs off the inverter whilst travelling the leisure batteries will power it for a couple of days if no hook up available. We both read a lot and like plenty of light so the interior of the van has 2 x 12 volt dome lights 4 x 12 volt strip lights and 4 x 240 volt strip lights plus LED reading light above bed, and 2 x 240 volt exterior awning lights.


roof lining done with corded carpet from allied carpets £1.99 per sq metre
glued with high temperature resistant contact adhesive

custom made orthopaedic mattress
1800 x1200 ready to go on bed base
this was quite a beast and would not bend or give at all and I spent a considerable amount of time wrestling it into the van, I still have to fight it every time I change the fitted sheets, but it is well worth it for the most comfortable mattress we have ever slept on.

table and seating ready for use
CIMG0151fixed double bed across rear of van. Plywood rear bulkhead wall with access under bed from outside and inside. bathroom walls decorated and ceiling lined



Cab seats fitted complete with swivels, screen on dash is for reversing and rear view monitor for cameras
2 cameras mounted at rear one high level and one low level. Monitor is switchable between cameras and is invaluable when reversing or towing


seat swivelled for use on site

dinette upholstered there is a choice of 2 tables this is the smaller one


bedroom complete with custom made mattress, walls have now been wall papered

kitchen complete and ready for use

upholstery and bedding installed


under bed storage access from inside

no problems with completed van it drives a treat
Fiamma privacy room fitted to Omnistore awning with only
slight modification

March 2010 vinyl graphics added to van sides

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