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On this page, I’ve assembled a guide to all the parts I used for my self-build van conversion, including accessories and replacement parts I’ve bought since I finished the original conversion.
I’ve also included a link to eBay for each item to enable you to price check each item. Although there are some excellent independent companies who sell this equipment, eBay(eBay⇒) is usually a good place to check on current new prices and see if any cheaper second-hand options are available.
|Panelling, Insulation & Carpet Lining
|Planed softwood/timber (approx. 25mm x 50mm)
|This was used to raise the van’s wooden floor by an inch or so to allow insulation to be placed underneath the floor. This has proved highly effective.
|This was used to panel the roof of the van (the sides were already panelled). If you need to secure anything with any weight to the ceiling, I’d suggest using 6mm plywood instead.
Obviously side and floor panelling requires thicker wood – 15mm or 18mm for the floor and perhaps 9mm or 12mm for the sides.
|Natural wool loft insulation
|I used this to insulate the floor, roof and walls of the van and it seems to work well.
|Ball F60 Contact Adhesive
|I used this to glue the carpet and the vinyl flooring down and also to lightly glue the insulation to the van bodywork behind the panelling.
Recommended, but needs to be applied carefully and thoroughly.
|Van lining carpet (grey)
|I lined the roof and walls with carpet. So far it’s not showing any signs of wear and looks smart.
|Vinyl (lino) flooring
|I chose vinyl flooring rather than carpet as it’s waterproof and easily washable. Check out your local carpet store for cheap off cuts.
|Windows, Ventilation & Silver Screens
|Dometic / Seitz S4 windows
|These units are double glazed and have integral fly screens and heat-reflective blinds. Top quality and highly recommended – infinitely superior to single-glazed glass vehicle windows.
|Dometic GY20 roof vent
|This is a passive vent that’s weatherproof and (almost) insect proof. It works, but with hindsight I should have chosen the GY11 model, which has a fan.
|Internal silver screens for the cab windows
|We bought a set of 9 Layer Internal Thermal Screens from CAK Tanks at a NEC show. They make a big difference in hot and cold weather and really help stabilise the temperature inside the van. They also reduce (but not eliminate) condensation on the cab windows.
|Zig Marque 1 Control Panel
|At the heart of my simple 12V electrical system. Includes three switched, fused 12V circuits plus battery voltage meter and master on/off switch. Nice and simple to use and install – ideal for a simple setup.
|Sterling Battery-to-Battery Charter (12V 50A)
|A powerful multi-stage charger that charges your leisure battery directly from the van’s starter battery. Possibly a bit overkill in some cases – I’ve replaced mine with a Victron Cyrix battery combiner (see below) that doesn’t charge as fast but reduces the load on the van’s battery and alternator.
|Victron Cyrix-i 12/24V 100A Intelligent Battery Combiner
|I used this to replace my Sterling B2B charger and so far I’m very pleased with it. It connects directly between my van and leisure batteries and doesn’t need an alternator/ignition feed. It contains circuitry that automatically senses when either battery is being charged and connects both batteries together to share the charge. It’s basically an intelligent voltage-sensing relay.
|12V Electrics – lots of cable, connectors, fuses and associated tools.
|Make sure you use suitably-rated multi-strand cable that is designed for automotive use. You’ll also need a range of connectors and fuses and some battery cable and earthing braid for your battery and charging installation. Remember that all circuits should be fused to protect the cable and that inverters should be wired directly to batteries (with a suitable fuse to protect the cable). If you don’t understand any of this, learn about it before attempting to wire up your van. I bought almost everything from Vehicle Wiring Products, who are excellent.
|12V LED strip lights
|These provide our main lighting in the van and only use 2W each! They weren’t cheap but are good quality and provide a relatively warm light – not the cold blue light you seem to get with cheap LED lights.
|Sterling ProPower Q 600W 230V inverter
|This is a quasi-sine wave unit but works fine for almost everything. It is switched off when not in use, as like all inverters it uses power even when idle (approx. 0.4A in this case).
|110Ah leisure battery
|A standard lead-acid leisure battery, bought discounted from a caravan place. This type of battery needs topping up with battery water every so often and should be vented outside the van.
|Windscreen washer pipe and elbow joints
|Used to vent the leisure battery through the floor of the van.
|Coolzone 240V tabletop fridge
|A small domestic fridge. We started out by running this from the leisure battery via the inverter but gave up as it used too much power. We now only use the fridge when we have mains hookup. A good unit for what it is.
|25m mains hookup lead & continental mains hookup adapter
|The continental adapter is useful because some continental aires/campsites use domestic-type sockets for mains hookup, not normal 16A caravan plugs.
|Water, Plumbing & Toilet
|12V submersible pump
|This is the kind of pump used by caravanners.
|Reich mono 12V tap
|Good design but ours wasn’t reliable – the microswitch stopped working reliably after less than a year. Sometimes it would switch the pump on, sometimes it wouldn’t. These now seem hard to find but we have managed to get a replacement tap from Wellhouse Leisure. Alternatives made by Comet are more easily available, but be aware that not all have the same cutout size if you are replacing an existing tap.
|Dometic / Cramer rectangular sink with glass lid
|Very smart, easy to fit and with tough glass lid that serves as extra worktop space
|25l water containers & 10l water containers
|1 each for fresh water and waste water, plus 2x10l containers we use to fill the main tank and to carry additional fresh water with us.
|Thetford Porta Potti 365
|The largest of the Porta Potti range with a 21l waste tank and 15l fresh water tank. This one is a manual flush model for simplicity. A good quality piece of equipment.
|Campervan side conversion
|We bought ours from Sheffield-based Convert Your Van in 2008 (link is to eBay store)
|Rock n Roll bed
|Ours was fairly cheap but not great quality and awkward to use. I would spend a little more on something better if I did it again.
|Ikea Hol box to house toilet
|Needs strengthening to take the weight of the toilet and a person, but works really well.
Next: Insurance & The DVLA
Disclaimer: All material is provided for information purposes and is my opinion only. I can take no responsibility for the accuracy, suitability, reliability or safety of the information in this guide.