With the van pulled out of its winter storage, we’ve got quite a few jobs to do to bring it back to life.
Our first job was to ditch the van’s single passenger seat – we’d sourced a replacement double seat from a local scrapyard who had the equivalent Vauxhall, and after undoing four bolts, the van’s seating was upped to three, allowing more passengers to join the driver up front. Adding a rear seat was a little more involved, but the issue was sorted thanks to the purchase of a fold-up minibus chair, again with seatbelt included. Total price? £15. A quick trip to a good friend, Dan, saw the seat welded in place and at long last there were sufficient seats for a family of four!
Once back at base, we attacked the van in earnest and within a day we’d built the frames for the children’s bunks. It seemed that everything was going perfectly until we came to renew the floor. We’d laid a fresh layer of MDF onto the floor to give us a good clean base to work with and, ever keen to keep costs low, use some spare floor tiles we had kicking about. Annoyingly, the four packets of tiles covered less than half of the floor, so another £70 had to be liberated from the Camper fund in order to buy a new piece of vinyl for the floor. In fairness, it is £70 well spent, since it looks great. The new bunk and reshaped rear seats looked a little odd with their bare MDF finish so we opted to trim them using some black carpet we’d been given for another project. It looks smart and was an easy, cheap solution.
The next step was to finish sorting the van’s leisure electrics. We wanted a selection of new plugs plumbed in so that we had places to charge phones and plug-in things like heaters, should we go away in chillier weather. We called on the services of Lufkin Electrical and Martin, the owner, was keen to tackle the job. For just over £90, including parts, he checked over the van’s wiring to ensure it was all safe, before plugging into the mains while on site. We’ve now got three double plugs, two at the back and one at the front, as well as light switches by the cooking area and the bed. The switches are set so we can have light above the bed, in the main van or both. Once Martin’s work was done, we installed three 12-volt lights, one at the front, one at the back and one above the bunk, which are controlled by the switches that Martin had freshly installed.
With the floor and electrics sorted, it was time to decorate. Three rolls of Budget Value wallpaper and some left over magnolia had the interior looking respectable, while we expertly applied some adhesive vinyl to the kitchen worktop, giving it a new look. The final touch was a large map of the UK in the back. We will mark the map on our travels for each place that we stay – should be fun!
That left us with the bedding to sort. A foam shop had the solution – after a chat on the phone, they knew exactly what we needed and for £140 we had new foam for the kid’s bunks and the bed in the back – it just needs trimming now, but that’s something that will have to wait a while as the budget has taken a bit of a hammering this month.
Next we’re going to be looking for someone to install the oven, and we’re concerned the back of the van is a little dark – it might be time to think about another window.
|Camper costs so far|
|Service and cambelt||£576.49|
|Fridge and oven||£85|