One of the most difficult steps when buying a van can be knowing exactly what you need. In this article, we tell you Matts story and how he found using his van for a few years helped him decide what he really needed to complete his van conversion.
When Matt first bought his T5 kombi it had 'carpeted' factory lining panels, a TV on the ceiling and a night heater. Matt needed more in the van to be able to holiday with his family so he proceeded to add a swivel seat base, fitted curtains, a drive away awning, a kombi bed and two extra sleeping areas for his children.
After 3 years of going on many amazing holidays in the van, Matt decided to invest in the van DIY style and pick up his tools again after being office based for the last 20 years!
At the end of spring last year Matt followed our advice and commissioned electrics from Rayne Automotive.
When the October lockdown was announced he had yet to purchase the rest of the required products to start the van. Nonetheless, after a request from his 6-year-old to make the van cosier, he purchased some 4-way stretch carpet, followed our video and carpeted the wheel arches.
He had already bought the carpet, but a mad panic commenced to get ply panels from custom shop design and trim clips from Harrison trip supplies. Getting Dodo sound deadening and insulation was the hardest due to demand, but eventually, he had everything he needed and went back to our videos for refresher training and he also became a Patron!
Next on the list was fitting the sound deadening and thermal insulation to the rear of the van and after a few sliced fingers later, stage 1 was done!
His next venture was to build a battery box big enough to hold everything in, (including the battery) under the rear double seats in the Kombi. It took him far longer than expected but he got there in end.
Now onto the control panel. This was to be located on the nearside rear wall, just behind the sliding door. Unfortunately, the control panel didn’t fit where he would have liked but he overcame the problem and found a new solution. (See the solution later in the article)
Matt plans to get a pop-top, so he has re-trimmed the old roof panels, for now. He took out the rear courtesy light and installed LED’s. He also fitted a 3mm ply VW sign to the roof panel before trimming. Matt also purchased 2 roof board supports as we use in our videos. He found these to be a lifesaver, especially since the front roof panel had the TV installed on it.
"I am slightly nervous that the hidden trim clips won’t be man enough to hold the TV up, but after installing the trimmed roof rails with the extra-long clips, I think I will be OK. Those rails aren’t ever coming down!. Children are wondering why I make them wear bike helmets on bumpy journeys though!"
His most recent job was to connect up the 12V system, this includes LED lights on a dimmer switch, USB ports for his kids on the B pillars, and a 12V powerpoint for their electric cool box. He also connected the TV to the leisure battery instead of having it run off the ignition live. Everything is working correctly which is great news!
When we last spoke with Matt he had plans within the next few weeks to complete the 240v wiring and test. If that went well he would be trimming the last of his panels and finishing off the last of the sound deadening and wiring.
This coming year Matt would like to figure out the Pop top. He would love to do it himself, being an ex-Airframe & Engine fitter he spent years modifying Military helicopters so the task doesn’t faze him. It's just beyond him and his garage set up. He even mentioned becoming a Combe Valley Campers apprentice for the week so we could show him how to fit one as we have not done a 'how to install a Pop-Top video yet!
What do you think of his story? Is it similar to yours? Let us know in the comment section.