Panel vans are one of the best vehicle's for camper van conversions. They are large, come in many formats, are easy to drive, and in recent years have become more reliable and affordable.

Since Westfalia started converting VW Transporter vans in the 1950s many different types of panel van have been used for camper van conversions.  The VW Transport dominated the camper van market for decades.  Meanwhile for Ford Transit  van become very popular in the light goods transportation market.  The Transit was powerful

Comments (13)

  • Tommy's picture

    I have bought a year 2000 diesel with 37000 miles. It has a 2.5l engine. has anybody any experience of using and converting one as i am looking into converting mine into a camper and think that its low mileage has made it a good investment. They are larger than a ford transit and being 5.8ft tall i can stand in the back

    Jun 19, 2009
  • Darren's picture

    Hi Tommy

    What make and model of van have you bought? You didn't say.
    That's very low mileage.
    What sort of conversion are you thinking about?

    Jun 20, 2009
  • tommyjumbo's picture

    Hello Darren,

    Thanks for pointing that out. It's Vauxhall Movano panel van with ply lining and i have just spent the weekend Insulating the van. I have put batons and insulation in the roof and lined it with Hard board and left a little service hatch in the centre as i am going to put a rotary air vent in for air flow and a central light.

    I have just read your blog about your conversion on the sprinter and it seems i had something very similar in mind. (Fantastic bit of documentation by the way, I'm sure it has inspired a few DIY camper enthusiasts!) L shaped seating area, Unit for sink and old 2ring camping cooker and some shelved storage. I was going to go for tinted windows in side loading door and opposite but was concerned about the security aspect. I realise that light in the back is a bonus so i am going to put tinted rubber mounted glass in the back doors.

    After reading about your conversion i have decided to poach a few idea's. Bulkhead with speakers for the cab mounted in place and a gap in the bulkhead between driver and passenger seat to gain access into the back. I thought your waste going through the wheel arch a great idea and also the foot pump for getting water into the sink.

    I have been dismantling an old Bedford camper that someone at work has so i now have a full set of cushions for a bed and seating, long ceiling cupboards for storage, sink with taps, fire extinguisher and half decent speakers. there is a gas powered fridge, hot water boiler tank, pump and gas powered heater unit but to be honest i dont want any of that as it will end up like Steptoe's yard in the back, if i wanted to be that comfy i could stay at home or in a B&B. besides i need to save some space so i can load up the suzuki Vanvan. :-)

    So yeah, Its a Vauxhall Movano 2.8 tonne SWB diesel with 2.5l engine and only 37K on the clock. I do not know much about vans or diesel engines but i am a quick learner and have owned and maintained many different types of vehicle. This is my first camper though.

    Jun 22, 2009
  • Darren's picture

    Hi Tommy

    Sounds like you've got a great vehicle for a conversion. Many people buy an old van with high miles, and the death of the engine means the end of the camper. Yours should go on for a long time.

    Glad my conversion has inspired ideas.

    Sounds like you have some great ideas and a lot of enthusiasm, which is one of the main things.

    A gas powered fridge is something I would have fitted in retrospect. It's great pulling a cold beer from it, or storing extra food for long stays away from civilization.

    The gap in the bulkhead is good for getting to the cab, that was annoying on mine.

    Maybe do a bit of research about your engine before you head off. If glow plugs go regularly take some with you. But it's fairly new, so you should have no worries.

    Please let us know how your conversion goes.

    Jun 23, 2009
  • tommyjumbo's picture

    Off to Glasto on Wednesday night and will be taking a few days to retun home after the festival to get a feel for my lay out plans.

    I know what you mean about the fridge but i find all the electrical and gas plumbing a wee bit daunting. Maybe i should grab it anyway.

    Can you recomend any advice regarding getting one wired/plumbed in?

    I will keep you posted with how i get on with the van.



    Jun 23, 2009
  • Darren's picture

    Hope you have a great time at Glasto.

    Fridges are pretty easy to fit. Most models just need a 12v supply and the gas connection.
    Gas for the fridge is just like a cooker. You'll need a regulator, or you can run both from the same bottle.

    Have you installing 240v?

    Jun 24, 2009
  • john hot dog's picture

    got this ex post van and would like as much info as possible to try and convert it,contacted lakelandwindscreens to see how much the windows will cost.have to start to plan the insides.see how i get on.wondering if i should just buy couple of wall units for sink and fridge to be in and just try and make seats out of ply.

    Oct 04, 2009
  • Darren's picture

    Kitchen cupboard carcasses from the DIY shop are cheap and easy to fit into a camper. They save a lot of time, compared to making some, but they can be big. If you have a big van you should be fine. I converted a short wheel-base sprinter and made by cupboard from timber and ply to save weight and space.

    Oct 06, 2009
  • 800MER's picture

    This comment has been moved here.

    Nov 16, 2009


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