FASTEST VANCONVERSION IN 30 DAYS
HUGE CHOICE ON THE VEHICLE MARKET AND WE HAVE TO DECIDE
A vanconversion is always a risky and exciting opportunity to push your limits. Especially when you do it as a team.
The first step is to find the right vehicle and then to avoid the most serious mistakes possible during van conversion, or at least to learn quickly from one’s mistakes. Looking back, I can say that we really managed it pretty well and our first own expansion really turned out well.
For someone who has absolutely no idea about the subject of cars, the search for the right vehicle is a very special challenge. You have to rely on your gut feeling and will probably fall flat on your face. Pretending to know what to look for when buying a vehicle will be debunked pretty quickly. In addition, one buys a commercial vehicle which usually has a moved Verfügt and the dealers in this area do not take into account the needs of private buyers. Quite the opposite. A couple, which is just on cloud 7 looking for a van is probably the greatest gift for any used car dealer.
So we looked at numerous offers and always listened to our gut feeling. Sometimes even common sense. Whether it was serendipity or simply the fact that we didn’t feel like looking anymore, we finally found a vehicle that we were convinced was the best fit for us.
We drove a round through an industrial area (the tank was practically empty for the test drive -> I would leave from today’s perspective directly and look for something else) and decided after the test drive that it should be this vehicle. A Mercedes Sprinter, former construction site vehicle, as good as no rust and judging by the appearance a bargain.
In contrast to what we had seen so far, the car was quite well maintained and also the seller with his young son, was immediately sympathetic. So it happened that we took our chance, excluding any claims for compensation, warranty or other possibilities to return the vehicle in case of doubt, without a second key and service booklet and purchased this gem. We are professionals, there are no regrets.
The price was moderate and within budget, and we calculated two to three thousand euros in repairs. What really mattered to us was the good condition of the bodywork and the general impression when we bought it.
DIEOLLI IS UPGRADED TO A VAN
Our car urgently needed a name. Since the experience with the dealer in retrospect was both positive and negative formative, he also got its name in female. The gender was due to the occasional bitching that came with the van at this age. Even though, from today’s perspective, I have to smile a bit about our purchase decision and the subsequent repairs to the engine cost far more money than planned, I didn’t want to miss this experience. That’s the only way to learn and to approach things differently in the future.
Regardless of the fact that our new home was already losing some oil and definitely needed a checkup in a workshop, we began with the removal. Since we were simultaneously dissolving our apartments, everything had to go quite quickly.
We had to start with a complete cleaning of the interior and lo and behold, we were not wrong in one respect. I had expected that removing the floor panel in the cargo area or the plastic panels in the cab would reveal vast amounts of rust. In fact, only isolated minor rust spots showed up, which were very quickly removed and preserved. This gave us one less thing to worry about and we were able to start insulating the interior completely with Armaflex.
Of course, we still had our jobs, so we had to use the weekends in particular for the self-construction. So we spent two whole weeks preparing and insulating the surfaces. After living in the van for over a year now, we know that the work with Armaflex was definitely worth it. In the winter it keeps the heat in quite well and in the summer it keeps the heat out very well especially on the large side surfaces.
CUT A HOLE IN THE VEHICLE FOR THE WINDOWS IN THE HOME IMPROVEMENT
The most critical point in the self-construction are the windows. A total of two skylights and one side window had to be installed. After the first hole is drilled in the body, there is no turning back. Nevertheless, the whole thing works quite well with a metal drill and a jigsaw with suitable saw blades. It took a total of three days until all windows were firmly installed and we were lucky that we always finished quite close to the onset of rain.
In general, however, our expansion went quite quickly. We invested every free minute. We were in wind and weather at, in and on the van. We ate there, lay and sat around in the area, drilled, sanded, worked and gave everything to reach our self-imposed time goal.
As we found out afterwards, all windows were well installed and tight, with the exception of the rear skylight. Here we were surprised in one of the first nights in the forest by the onset of heavy rain. It dripped incessantly on our bed. But since we had no more suitable solution in the middle of the night, we pulled the blankets over our heads and let it drip. The next day, I went up to the roof again and, lo and behold, an air pocket had formed in the sealing compound for the window, which was responsible for the water being able to collect cheerfully in the inner frame of the window.
While our self-assembly was finished after 30 days with about 196 working hours and we were spared any significant breakdowns, it was a different story with the repairs on the vehicle. The workshop was not our friend and a drama started, putting the whole project on the back burner. But more about that in another part.
If you’d like to know how we got on in the meantime, feel free to check us out on Instagram.