Plans for Kevan van Vandervanne.

After a year of researching, doodling pictures and mulling, I think I know what I want to do to Kevan.  Here is an overview of my plans (and like any good ‘To Do’ list, I have started with a few things that I can tick off as soon as I have written the list, because I have already done them).

  • Buy a van. Tick!
  • Research thoroughly. Tick! (Well, half tick.  I bet I will still need to find out more things as I go).
  • VAN PREPARATION (interior only, exterior is ok to be left for now):
    • Strip van, assess condition. Tick! (Condition: fairly scratched up inside.)
    • Rust prevention: sand back all scratches to metal with feathered edges, treat with rust converter (on the few spots bearing surface rust), sand smooth, prime. Lightly sand all intact paint and primered areas, repaint all of the inside, and use a rust inhibiting spray oil/wax in cavities/crevices where paint didn’t reach. (Materials: Power drill with sanding/grinding attachments, hand sanding with wet-dry sandpaper, White Knight RustGuard paint system for metal, gloss black for floor, gloss white walls & ceiling, high density foam rollers & foam brushes, rust inhibiting spray oil/wax, Supercheap Auto)
  • INSULATION/CONDENSATION PREVENTION/SOUND DEADENING (to help prevent the van getting too hot in summer, losing all its heat in winter, and generating waterfalls of condensation while we sleep):
    • Ceiling: 3mm closed cell EVA foam, Clark rubber (that’s the thickest that will fit);
    • Wall cavities/door cavities: recycled closed cell foam of various thicknesses (camping mat) cut to size (free)
    • Floor: strips of closed cell foam between corrugations, a layer of Lamilay under-floor insulation on top (Bunnings)
    • Exposed metalwork around windows: Tossing up whether just to leave it painted (for a more traditional Kombi look), or covering with foam-backed auto headlining felt or unbacked auto/marine carpet;
    • Metal shelf over rear of engine behind front seats, underneath from seats: Formshield (thick self adhesive closed cell foam with foil backing, Clark rubber, or other engine/firewall insulation from an auto parts supplier, to stop engine heat and noise)
    • Trial run of insulation (on a camping trip with insulation installed without adhesive, and panels in place, but no furniture), and once I am happy that it will work, glue EVA to the metalwork with contact adhesive. Still unsure whether to tape a vapour-impermeable plastic or foil sheet over each cavity to seal it from the hot moist air inside van, or whether to leave cavities unsealed to allow water vapour to leave/cavities to properly ventilate and dry out.
    • Also stick some dynamat/flashing tape to wheel arches/floor/doors (got a roll really cheap from The Green Shed, but will need to buy more, sold at Jayco Electronics or auto places). Also considering paint-on bitumen rubber paint from Bunnings, or spray-on sound deadener from Supercheap auto.  This might help prevent condensation forming behind the panels, as well as help sound deaden.
    • Cut  a wooden floor to fit with jigsaw (recycled 10mm MDF, free)- Tick!
    • Cut holes corresponding with existing threaded holes in floor, and a few existing unthreaded holes (add threaded rivnuts), bolt floor to van using bolts with flattish rounded wide heads that won’t be too obtrusive;
    • Cut sheet vinyl to fit (Faux parquetry vinyl flooring on a roll, 2m wide, Bunnings), glued to wood with contact adhesive, leave a lip of flooring all the way around, so water can’t seep down under the floor and rot the wood if I spill something.
    • Cut new  ceiling and wall panels- 3mm MDF- half tick! (ceiling panels done)
    • Cover panels in funky Ikea fabric (ceiling) or hessian from spotlight (walls), after a coating of waterproofing lacquer on the boards to stop them swelling.
  • DOG CRATE: Drill holes in floor of crate corresponding to holes in flooring, so that crate can be bolted in whilst travelling and removed while camping.
    • Build a bed platform which converts from a day layout with a seat facing backwards behind front seats, a removable table, a forward facing seat behind the sliding door opening, storage under the seats, and a rear kitchen with cupboards/drawers which open out at the rear of the van (under the open tailgate). timber frame, thin plywood panels, hinges, door handles/catches, L brackets, screws, glue, etc (Bunnings); Screw/bolt down to wooden floor.
  • CURTAINS: Plastic-coated curtain wire top and bottom, a screwed at each end screwed into the metal around window, make curtains from Ikea fabric same as ceiling, backed with recycled blockout fabric taken off curtains from op shops; Tiebacks from same material screwed to metal, eyelets or tabs for the wire to run through;
  • SEAT/BED CUSIONS: Recycled 100mm thick foam mattresses cut to size for each seat and seat back, which will fit together to make a bed when bed layout is down; Cover with brightly coloured vinyl (Spotlight) with piped edges, possibly some quilting/ stitching into the vinyl with wadding sandwiched between the wadding & a backing material, possibly make one side of covers out of the IKEA fabric;
  • REMOVEABLE TABLE:  Make out of the plywood used for bedframe in a size that will fit in between the front seat and rear seat in bed mode as part of the bed platform, and turn into the table by inserting removeable table leg (Just Kampers or other caravan shop) into a fitting under table which also has a fitting in the floor;
  • SIDE STEP COVER: Plastic step cover to cover the edge of the floor that runs along the side step, and make the step look neater, Just Kampers, check it will fit my van (designed for VW T3 or T4 vans);
  • ROOF RACKS: Make own retro-style roof rack baskets using decking timber and modular towel rails, bolted to existing roof racks. Roof racks can carry two outdoor camping tables, two folding chairs, RV shade (tent that attaches to side or back of Kevan), etc.
  • REAR KITCHEN: Fit out with gas bottle secured with gas bottle holder, gas cooker which slides out so I can cook standing under tailgate, water bottle connected up to a hand pump tap and basin, etc.
  • CAB AREA: sand and repaint, cut new cab mat and matching dash mat out of rubber-backed Jute rugs (bought already from Big W); Make a jute steering wheel cover; Make a gaitor for the gearstick out of the Ikea fabric; cover door panels in hessian;
  • SECOND BATTERY: Buy a deep cycle battery, hook up to a split-charge system that will charge it from the alternator when van is running, or from mains power when camped at a powered site; use to power a small fridge, lights (I will use battery-powered lanterns until this is installed) etc, & with inverter to charge phones and laptops; Not a priority yet, save up for it; Possibly use an ArkPak powered battery box system, which has a built-in invertor, charger and various sockets.
  • RANDOM STUFF: Make insulated window mats for each window to stick on in winter to prevent condensation on the windows, and in summer to prevent sun from overheating van; make magnetic flyscreens to fit over each window and door;
  • ENGINEERS CERTIFICATION/ RECOMPLIANCING: At some stage I will pay an engineer/go to the Motor Registry to assess whether what I am doing/have done will comply with the ACT Road Transport laws and National Codes of Practice (VSB14), and determine if I need to have Kevan recomplianced as a 3-seater (it is currently complianced as a 6-seater, even though there were no seats in the back when I bought him).  Relevant links appear to be:

If any readers have done this before and have more information about the requirements for campervan conversions in the ACT, I would be glad of any help or comments.