Camper Van Conversions

It’s never been easier to build your own camper van. With the reduced cost and increased availability of parts, tools and used vehicles you too can make your own dream camper van, at a fraction of the cost of buying a professional conversion. Our comprehensive guide helps you through every stage, from planning, buying an empty van, sourcing parts, choosing layouts , fitting furniture and the legal paperwork required.

More and more people are converting their own camper vans. With the reduced costs of second hand vehicles, especially panel vans, and the increased availability of the parts required, it has never been easier.

Building your own camper van can be a hugely rewarding project. It can also be a lot cheaper than buying a camper van. If you build your own camper van you can also have a vehicle that exactly meets your needs, especially useful if you are using your vehicles for sports, such as motorcross or surfing.

If you are a competent DIY enthusiast, then you should have few problems building you own camper van. You can expect to build a good looking vehicle. See the list of self built camper vans.

You can even aim for a professional looking conversion. If you have limited DIY skills, then you should not be put off. Very little is required to make a liveable vehicle. Building a basic camper van just takes a little money and time. See the list of self built camper vans for ideas and inspiration.

Articles

Planning a Camper Van Conversion

Planning a Camper Van Conversion

Planning any camper van conversion is essential.  If you don’t you could find yourself undoing work you have already done, wasting time and materials.  You’ll also save yourself more than a few headaches.
Choosing a base vehicle for a camper van conversion

Choosing a base vehicle for a camper van conversion

Choosing the right type of vehicle for your campervan conversion is critical.  You need a vehicle that matches your camping requirements, budget and vehicle maintenance skill level. Choosing the right vehicle from the start means …
Buying a Base Van

Buying a Base Van

Choosing a used panel van The best and most popular base vehicle for a camper van or motorcaravan conversion is an empty panel van. There are a few options to consider when choosing the make and model of van, what the van has previously been used for, and from where to buy it.
Camper van conversion example layouts

Camper van conversion example layouts

Below you will find many example and ideas from other camper van and motor homes. Hopefully these will give you some good ideas also. Example camper van interiors A VW T4 with a stylish black …
Preparation – tools & parts

Preparation – tools & parts

Sealants Sikaflex – Perhaps the best adhesive/sealant available.  It has a wide range of uses such as fixing windows and roof lights.  It is also great for securing solar panel brackets to van roofs without needing to use screws or bolts, which could lead to leaks.  Sikaflex 221 or 252 are very good.  252 is quicker setting with a harder consistency.

Campervan Conversion Electrics

Split-charge relay – More than 50amps can flow between the engine battery and your leisure battery, so always get a relay that is rated at 50amps or more.   Preferably 75 or 100 amps.  Many …

Insulation and Lining

Insulating and lining your campervan is one of the most important steps to making it a comfortable environment to live and sleep.
Fitting Windows In A Camper Van Conversion

Fitting Windows In A Camper Van Conversion

Fitting windows to your camper van conversion is one of the best finishing touches to change it from a van into a campervan. This guide lays out the different options of window type, and how to fit those windows to your van.
Conversion furniture and fittings

Conversion furniture and fittings

Deciding what to put in your camper van conversion is something you should decide from the start. Planning your layout is essential before your start buying or making any interior parts. What you fit to your camper van will be mainly determined by your intended use of the vehicle, the size of the vehicle and your budget.
Professional camper van conversions

Professional camper van conversions

There are a number of companies offering professional camper van conversions. These companies are specialists and deliver excellent work. Most will convert any vehicle you provide them, and most will source a new or used base vehicle for you. A lot of these companies also provide parts, and complete kits for your own camper van conversion.
Legal Information, Requirements and Rules for Camper Vans by the DVLA

Legal Information, Requirements and Rules for Camper Vans by the DVLA

Update: July 2012 – The DVLA have reverted to their original policy regarding re-registering of campervans.  The vehicle does not need to have graphics on to be re-registered.  A well converted vehicle with windows is likely …
Example Campervan Conversions

Example Campervan Conversions

When converting your own campervan pictures of other peoples conversions are invaluable.  Our members conversions should provide ideas and inspiration to help you with your own conversion. You can add your own campervan here by ...

Budget campervan conversions

Want to do a camper van conversion but don’t have a big budget? Campervan conversions don’t have to cost big money.  We’ve probably all seen conversions that have cost thousands of pounds or dollars, but we don’t all want that. It’s quite possible to make a functioning camper van with little, and sometimes, zero money.
  1. such a helpful resource
    we referenced this site somuch when converting our Dodge Ram Van into our little honeymoon-mobile. We documented our process and listed out all the materials and gear we used on our new blog – Check us out! Thanks again, campervanlife, and keep on rollin’!

    Reply

  2. Fiat ducato 2002
    Hi there I’m looking to get a nice camper conversion to the above vehicle I’ve got a fixed bed and a l shaped corner sofa fitted along the the back of the seats and running down the o/s side I’m looking for a bit of cupboard space and sink cooker unit to accompany this have you any images of products you do to fit this request please I’ve not got any panelling on the bed or around the base of the seating area as of yet as I’m looking to get the units first so I can match the rest to this thanks in advance Jason scriven

    Reply

    1. Hi there
      Hi there

      We don’t sell materials, just give info on how to the conversion yourself.

      Reply

  3. iveco16c conversion
    Hi,
    just purchased an Iveco 6.5t Snapon vehicle, v5 says special mobile unit, now i am going to fit it out as a motorized caravan. when this is done and I have sent the photos of and the government is happy. My question is will it be able to go through the standard MOT or will it still need the VOSA to look at it?
    Regards Nige.

    Reply

    1. Hi Nige
      Hi Nige

      I’m afraid I don’t know. I’d recommend contacting VOSA

      Reply

  4. Looking for a conversion buisness
    Hi,I’m trying to find a man called Paul who converted my van into a camper 3 years ago .he had a work unit in a place on Charles street nr hempshaw ln offer ton Stockport.when I went to find him again,the place has been demolished and houses are being built.does anyone know Paul and where he has gone to,as I have another van I want doing. Thanks hope someone can help jon

    Reply

  5. 2013 camry
    Hi, I want to convert my 2013 Camry into a 1-2 person sleeper. Is it possible? Has anyone heard of anyone doing this? Please let me know. Thanks!

    [email protected]

    Reply

  6. Hi all
    Hi all
    I am at the start of a big life change, my plan is to move into a camper permanently in the UK when I am no longer needed in the family home with my children. I have spent periods of upto ten weeks in a small caravan when the children were younger and spent 6 yrs living in a mobile with no mains drainage or electric when the kids were from 5-14yrs. I hope that gives me a fair idea of what may be in store for me.
    I am still pondering on wether to go for a van and convert it with help where needed or to go for one already up and running. My plan is to continue to work and be based mainly in one area for the next few years.
    Any hints tips ideas or alerts to potential pitfalls would be great to receive.

    Reply

  7. my camper
    The easiest and cheapest way to get a camper is to buy an ex ambulance,i brought a mercedes 310 d 1995 ex st johns ambulance with 48,000 miles not even run in for one these,sold the streacher and 2 chairs that were in it,brought 2 single beds a cooker electric cool box and job done,been all over also lived in it for 10 months in spain.

    Reply

  8. Hi All.
    Hi All.
    I’ve been keen to acquire my own camper for some time, but am unsure as to the best – i.e., most economically sensible – way to go about it. I’m competent enough at DIY, so kitting-out a van myself is a realistic option. My thinking at the moment is to buy the best, least-travelled van I can for my money and proceed with the conversion at leisure. You may, however, feel that it’s relatively easy and just as cost-effective to pick up a quality conversion for a not-too-stupid price, (i.e., £10,000/13,000).
    Please advise!
    Thanks

    Reply

    1. Hi Andrew
      Hi Andrew

      The reality is that doing your own conversion takes a huge amount of time. It is very rewarding, and you can end up with a great conversion at a cheaper price. A DIY conversion will hold its value as well as a professional conversion though.

      I have done several DIY conversions, and have loved them. However, given that I was going on a big trip I would also consider buying a professional conversion to save time. Perhaps one that needed some updating or fixing if you have the skills, ad this can save money.

      Reply

  9. Hi All.
    Hi All.
    I’ve been keen to acquire my own camper for some time, but am unsure as to the best – i.e., most economically sensible – way to go about it. I’m competent enough at DIY, so kitting-out a van myself is a realistic option. My thinking at the moment is to buy the best, least-travelled van I can for my money and proceed with the conversion at leisure. You may, however, feel that it’s relatively easy and just as cost-effective to pick up a quality conversion for a not-too-stupid price, (i.e., £10,000/13,000).
    Please advise!
    Thanks

    Reply

  10. Newbie. doing a conversion.
    Hi everyone, just to say hi and that I hope to engage fully on here. I am converting my ford transit to a camper. Hi and I am Stephen.

    Reply

  11. Hi all, we’ve just bought a
    Hi all, we’ve just bought a Vivaro SWB campervan part converted. Does anyone know of a company near Scarbough North Yorkshire that does part conversions?

    Reply

  12. newbie
    Hello folks, ive just purchased a 51 plate swb low top transit, my plans are to have a bike storage area in back with room for upto 2 mtbs with tools and spares.
    The help i need most with is insulation..ive seen some firms selling aluminium faces wrap that acts as a water/moiture barrier, my question is would i need to have anything else like rookwool or celotex insulation between the metal of the van and the alu wrap? also whats the best wayn to insulate the floor and roof of the van as im planning trips to scotland etc etc. Many thanks for tha now john

    Reply

    1. Hi John
      Hi John

      The aluminium faced wrap is a good insulator, but not as good as cellotex on large flat areas such as walls and ceilings.
      In fact a mixture of the two would be best, with the celotex next to the wood lining, then the wrap between the celotex and the van walls.
      This is obviously more expensive though. Either on their own is fine. Celotex is better, both is best.
      You can get bulk lots of celotex on ebay, and from companies selling second to save on the cost.
      Floor and roof is best done with celotex. For the floor make a wooden frame that will support the floor plywood, leave gaps for the celotex.

      Reply

  13. Hello
    Hi all,
    Have owned a few campers before ranging from bay window vw’s to the big ole motorhome. Currently converting an old transit swb low roof on a tight budget and loving it.

    Reply

  14. Arthur Kennedy June 19, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Peugeot Boxer converion
    Am looking for advice on what I need to do in relation to fitting battons on the floor sides and roof prior to putting in insulation and sheeting. Just not sure where to start. Anyone with experience to advise please.

    Reply

  15. leisure battery
    Hi, I’m currently in the process of doing a fairly simple conversation to a Vauxhall combo and I rather wanted to put a leisure battery in the void under the loading bed behind the passenger seat just to power a little led lighting and hopefully a couple of cigarette lighter sockets in the back for charging phones and powering other such appliances. I was basically wondering if anybody could advise me as to whether I will need to add some ventilation within the void to vent the gases I’ve heard that are created when charging the battery, I’m absolutely clueless about it. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Si

    Reply

    1. Hi Si
      Yes you should ideally

      Hi Si

      Yes you should ideally vent the gases that will build up when charging the battery. Will the battery be in the sleeping area?

      Reply

      1. leisure battery
        Hi, thanks for the response, no, it would basically be underneath it in a void behind the passenger seat, although the void is far from air tight and basically directly beneath the head of the bed, I was wondering if perhaps I might be best off to more or less seal the battery in a box and vent that to the outside to ensure the gases go the right way rather than risking them leaking into the rest of the van. Or would that be a bad idea?

        Cheers,
        Si

        Reply

        1. You’ve got the right idea. I
          You’ve got the right idea. I would seal the battery in a box and vent that box to the outside.

          Reply

          1. excellent
            Ahh good, I shall do that then, thankyou for your advice, it’s much appreciated!! I’m looking forward to getting it done so i can upload some photos and show it off a bit!!

            Cheers
            Si

  16. Building double bed above two singles – help??
    Hello all

    My first post on this fantastically useful website 🙂

    We have just purchased a converted Ford Transit 1997 LWB (high roof). Two kiwis – soon to be headed off from London on our European summer travels, very excited!

    It has two single beds fixed to the floor of the van. At times, we are going to have up to four people living in it, and thus need to build a double bed above the two singles (there is plenty of height for it).

    We are not sure on the logistics of this and really want to ensure that whatever is built is very safe and steady. Unsure on attaching frames to the side of the van – and where support would be needed to ensure safety.

    Ideally we are looking for someone to help us build this.

    Does anyone have any useful thoughts or recommendations?

    Your help would be very much appreciated!!

    Thanks
    Sarah

    Reply

  17. Insulation
    Hi guys, new to the scene.
    We are refurbishing a 1971 T2. We are about to fit the new head lining. I’m looking to use Triiso 10. Does anyone have any experience of this product?

    Reply

    1. are you
      Hi Paul and Kim
      I dont have a great deal of experience with conversions but on both my conversions I used some cheap stuff on ebay. I went for it again because it seems to do quite a good job for the price, but my van isnt going to be used in peak winter. Brilliant stuff to handle.
      sorry I couldnt give you the answer you were after lol.
      should upload some pics of your conversion if you get a chance.
      All the best

      Kris

      Reply

  18. gas piping
    can anyone tell me if it is ok to feed gas pipes underneath my campervan fastened to the chassis and would it be part of mot thanks

    Reply

  19. edward stewart April 2, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Mercedes Sprinter conversion
    Hi I recently moved from London to reside in Australia and just found your great site. At present am in the process of purchasing a Mercedes Sprinter LWB HTop with low K’s.and am appealing for some specific info…..does anyone know if there is a workshop manual as I would find it invaluble especially regarding the electrics and plumbing.Thankyou

    Reply

    1. Hi Edward
      Are you after a

      Hi Edward

      Are you after a workshop manual for the Sprinter? Are you looking how to tap into the Sprinters electrics?
      I found it quite easy without any sort of manual. The wiring was quite obvious.
      There are a few workshop manuals options, but none great. There is a official Mercedes manual which I can help you get hold of. What year is your vehicle?

      Reply

  20. Buy camper in Ireland or Espana
    Hi, I am moving to spain. I would like to buy a camper. Should I buy one here, with Irish motor tax and Camper insurance, and take it to spain, (Is this legal on a long term basis, or at what point do I need to change / reregister it?,)
    Or should / can I buy one in spain. Is it possible / easy to buy one there, and insure / tax it there, whilst not being a spanish resident?
    Do you know of any website where I can get a handle on the practicalities of what I should do.
    Thanks so mucho!

    Reply

    1. I suspect that you can take a
      I suspect that you can take a vehicle to Spain for 1 year. Longer than that and you need to export it to Spain.
      Spain doesn’t have a very good used vehicle market. So, vehicles are expensive.
      Insuring one would probably be difficult whilst in Spain, especially if you don’t speak Spanish.

      If you intend to stay for longer than 1 year definitely keep your vehicle registered in Ireland.

      Reply

  21. ronnieplumber54 August 30, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    anybody help me
    Does anybody no if anybody would do a part conversion to my campervan around the edinburgh area thanks

    Reply

  22. low/high top makers/suppliers/manufacturers
    I seek to find a UK supplier of roof tops for conversion – side/ front or rear lifting.

    Reply

  23. low/high top makers/suppliers/manufacturers
    I seek to find a supplier of roof tops for conversion – side/ front or rear lifting.

    Reply

    1. we have roof tops for conversion
      GOOD DAY SIR/MADAM ,,we have roof tops for conversion for sale we are based in the UK this is our official email address if you still to buy roof tops for conversion..
      thanks ..

      Reply

    2. we have roof tops for conversion
      GOOD DAY SIR/MADAM ,,we have roof tops for conversion for sale we are based in the UK this is our official email address [email protected] if you still to buy roof tops for conversion..
      thanks ..

      Reply

  24. cab light and cd plauer not
    cab light and cd plauer not working after short circuit in dodge sprinter 2005. how to solve the problem”

    Reply

    1. You need to check the fuses.
      You need to check the fuses. They are underneath the steering column inside the cab. The back of the cover will show you which fuses to check. Replace any that are burnt out.

      Reply

  25. Starting a conversion in Denver, Colorado, USA
    Need help ! Books, photos and especially way to find Bongo kitchens in USA.
    Also, a great Convertible (to bed) chair for cerebral palsy adult. The while works here: massage–comfort to the max. Needs to fit Class 1 ambulance.

    Reply

  26. Basic Electrics
    Can anyone help us with the idiots guide to wiring our vw transporter. We are converting it ourselves and can’t seem to get much detailed guidance on how to install the electrics (as at the minute it is just a normal van).
    We wanna have a couple of sockets for kettle etc… and run a few led lights with switch.
    We have some information on the leisure battery but not much.
    Please help,

    Reply

  27. insuring a uk ford transit converted campervan in france
    Any ideas on who on how to obtain insurance for a UK converted ford transit campervan for expats living in france?

    Reply

    1. Try http://www.campton.co.uk
      They

      Try http://www.campton.co.uk
      They are a broker with lots of different policies.
      Hopefully they can help you.

      Reply

  28. campervan conversion ideas
    Your site is fantastic. I have done two conversions.In process of finishing second conversion. I am so pleased I found your site. At present am looking for second hand good condition 3 way fridge. Price range 200-300 pounds. Incidentally have top loading fridge. Anyone interested for a awap or want to sell fridge/freezer. Size H- 617 W- 401 D- 460 (approx or near dimensions). Please respond. Thank you

    Reply

  29. campervan conversion ideas
    Your site is fantastic. I have done two conversions.In process of finishing second conversion. I am so pleased I found your site. At present am looking for second hand good condition 3 way fridge. Price range 200-300 pounds. Incidentally have top loading fridge. Anyone interested for a awap or want to sell fridge/freezer. Size H- 617 W- 401 D- 460 (approx or near dimensions). Please respond. Thank you

    Reply

  30. 3way electrolux fridge
    hi folks,
    I went to france last year and it went fine but when using the fridge on lecky was ok nice and cold but when using the gas when we were wild camping it did,nt go cold and its a pest .My van is a vw t4 and the fridge is electrolux 3 way, can anyone help me or point me in the right direction to getting it fixed yours Marshall Mackenzie

    Reply

    1. I have heard that you need to
      I have heard that you need to have your fridge on the complete level for it to work properly on gas.

      Reply

      1. mauro franceschelli August 29, 2013 at 6:44 am

        not only with GAS
        the kind of cooling circuit doesn’t matter how you are heating the fridge.
        is because of the coolant system you want to precise levelling the unit.

        Reply

  31. in the crew cab tranit i just bought
    can you please tell me wot this is

    Reply

    1. wot this is
      looks like some one fitted an RS Components two pin socket to power up something neat and flush the on line catalog would be my first starting point for the plug you will need.Then a test to determine voltage and if is powered with the ignition on or off fuse rating and where that is located if it needs replacing sorry i cant do it for you good luck.

      Reply

  32. T4 conversion
    Hi i have an ex AA t4 swb and i would like to convert it to a camper myself im pretty good at diy wood and metal but would like to get some plans i.e for rock and roll bed and the furniture anyone got any ideas many thanks…
    Graham

    Reply

  33. How much will it cost?
    How much will it cost – roughly – to kit out an old panel van, from scratch to a reasonable standard? There are kids involved! Looking for cost for basic van, electrics, joinery, plumbing and materials. Will self build interiors and get someone to do the electrics?

    Thanks

    Reply

    1. Doing it all yourself, to a
      Doing it all yourself, to a reasonable standard I would guess £1,000 – £2,000, not including the vehicle.
      If you take a long time and spend lots of time sourcing cheap or used parts you can do it for £1,000.
      Obviously everyones taste and needs are different.

      Reply

  34. T4 roof
    Has anyone info on fitting a T4 side elevating roof with an electrically powered raising mechanism (manual lift at the moment)

    Reply

    1. Bilbos are the only company I
      Bilbos are the only company I know of that fit side elevating roofs.
      http://www.bilbos.com/home/
      I expect they are £2,000+

      Reply

  35. Minimum headroom for passenger seats
    Yesterday I took delivery of a professionally converted campervan from a well known firm of converters. When I got it home I found the passenger seat several inches higher than the example I was shown when I placed my order when I made a point of sitting in all the seats to check comfort, visibility, etc. My head now touches the roof of the vehicle and I am a very short person.
    Is there a minimum health and safety rule about headroom in vehicles?

    I am very disappointed and the firm concerned is not prepared to talk to me about it.

    What would you advise me to do?

    Reply

    1. Hi Fran
      Sorry to hear of your

      Hi Fran

      Sorry to hear of your problem. The company won’t speak to you about it? This is very bad. What have they said?

      Reply

      1. Ermm…I’d guess that they
        Ermm…I’d guess that they haven’t said anything

        Reply

        1. well that wasn’t helpfull
          well that wasn’t helpfull bruv

          Reply

          1. ….sorry bruv, fair point
            ….sorry bruv, fair point bruv

        2. Chances are that they said at
          Chances are that they said at least said something

          Reply

  36. help…
    I bought a 1990 Ford F-150 caravan that came with a solar conversion. In fact, the entire top of the van is this solar add-on. Inside is a large panel with a lighted list.
    However, the van came without any instructions or paperwork or even a name of a company that made the solar add-on. Does anyone have any suggestions on where I can go for info?

    Reply

  37. Venitlation
    Hey,

    I am part way through converting a Mercedes 814, it is seperated into two halves. The back half has back opening doors but no windows.
    Do you think the dvla will have a problem with the beds being in the back half with no windows?

    Reply

    1. I dont think there will be a
      I dont think there will be a problem. Lots of people have done this and had their vehicle re-registered as a camper.
      The DVLA are generally looking for at least 1 side window, but they don’t stipulate where the side window should be, or what type.

      Reply

    2. fridge
      Thanks for help, I’m also looking at fitting a 3 way fridge running on gas when stationary and 12v when moving. Would you think it safe to put it a kitchen cupboard if ventilation holes were made?

      What alternatives can you think of?

      Reply

      1. You need to be careful when
        You need to be careful when fitting a gas fridge. You need to allow cool air to the bottom, and hot air to escape from the top. Hence the 2 vents (upper and lower) you see on the side of campervans. More importantly you need to allow the burnt gas to escape, as it’s toxic. Most campervans have the exhaust built into the upper vent. See this guide
        http://www.obrienscamping.co.uk/articles/FridgeInstall.htm

        A 12v compressor fridge doesn’t require exhaust vents, but runs only on 12 volts (or mains at a campsite). They are more expensive (£400+ new) but cool to a lower temperature.

        The cheap 12v cool boxes use lots of power and are really unsuitable for long term camping.

        Reply

  38. ford transit LWB high roof conversion
    Hello to you all
    i am a new member looking for help and Ideas
    to convert a resenly bought 1998 transit
    [email protected]
    any one with basic ideas r out line plan it only needs to sleep two and i would like a toilet cooker and shower
    so please could any one help me

    thank you

    terry

    Reply

    1. Hello and welcome. What size
      Hello and welcome. What size is your vehicle. Short, Medium or Long wheelbase. Also what height is it. Regular or high-top?

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *