Bigger vehicles for conversions

#1
It is very rare to see people post up any conversions of bigger than sprinter-size vans as a base for camper conversions.
In the US, there are a few Youtubers with the Yellow School Bus ("Skoolies") RVs and a diary of their conversion, and the occasional 'step van' (which is probably similar to the MB Varios in size?), but they are still massively outnumbered by PVC conversions.
And I don't think seen anyone in the UK with a proper big build thread or video log?

I quite fancy doing a big conversion, using something like a small truck like a ex-library vehicle, or some of the smaller hard sided lorries you see used in franchises like Mac Tools or Autosmart. Or maybe one of the mid-size coaches (around the 30 seater mark) with the raised floor (underfloor luggage space perfect for batteries, water and fuel tanks, plus general bits and pieces).
 


#2
I think Trev has a converted library bus and did put some photos up a couple of years ago on WC. Don't know if he comes on here, may be worth a pm.

Just noticed he's put a couple of pics on the merc vario thread, but nothing about the internals.
 


#3
Yeh Trev's done a good job on his library bus, including the axels & underside.

Phill
 


#5
It is very rare to see people post up any conversions of bigger than sprinter-size vans as a base for camper conversions.
In the US, there are a few Youtubers with the Yellow School Bus ("Skoolies") RVs and a diary of their conversion, and the occasional 'step van' (which is probably similar to the MB Varios in size?), but they are still massively outnumbered by PVC conversions.
And I don't think seen anyone in the UK with a proper big build thread or video log?

I quite fancy doing a big conversion, using something like a small truck like a ex-library vehicle, or some of the smaller hard sided lorries you see used in franchises like Mac Tools or Autosmart. Or maybe one of the mid-size coaches (around the 30 seater mark) with the raised floor (underfloor luggage space perfect for batteries, water and fuel tanks, plus general bits and pieces).
Big vehicles are great and if you’re full timing,or going on an extended tour, then really it’s almost the only way to go. You hear some saying that you can’t get to the more remote places, which usually isn’t the case, most remote and out of the way places have a bus service, and if a bus can get through so can your truck.


I expect that by far the most people doing a van conversion are going to use it for holiday and weekend trips, and as a second vehicle, this makes a big truck/coach unpractical.
Although the running cost (apart from fuel) aren’t much different. Ie insurance is much the same, a private hgv tax is only £165 per year. Mot if a motor caravan is still class 4, but of course you have to have the license to drive them.
 


#6
the Ex-Military Trucks are a good base if fuel economy is not too much of a concern I think. And great for overlanding as well. I love the idea of doing one of them but in reality I won't be overlanding across continents so a bit of a pipe dream. (be fun making one to sell on though).
the HGV tax is a real anomoly - tax rate on a 7 tonne truck £100 less than a 1.1L Ford Fiesta van. Makes no sense, but I'm taking advantage of it anyway with my Camperbus :)
 


#7
I picked up a copy of "Truck Locator" (think that is the name? free auotrader like publication) and flicking through that, but a nice Army 6x6 would be cool. There is a company quite near me that I think does things like Horse box conversions which is also a good option I believe?
 


#8
me here with these.
Trev; it was really good to see your photographs and the work you have put into making your library a mobile home....... There is one matter I feel I ought to bring to your attention, it concerns the spare wheel being hung out in the open in the fresh air.

I am amazed that such an important matter isn't widely known, but with regards to a static/inert spare wheel/tyre left exposed in the outside air and sun like yours, I am sorry to say that the speed of polymer compound degradation is vastly accelerated. In some climatic conditions, all be it not in the UK, a tyre can degrade from brand new to scrap in only a single year!!

At the barest minimum and of course if possible, you should have a fully enclosing cover over the tyre/wheel to protect it from the suns rays (stretch fitting covers aren't really all that good), but best of all, it would be far better to hang your spare underneath the van in the shade.

I make this comment paying regard to the technical information I was supplied when I wrote and produced literature for SP Tyres UK Ltd (Dunlop) some years ago.

Phil
 
#9
I wish we got the sun here that it would a major worry! I see that in the US Deserts, RVers tend to used wheel covers placed over the fitted wheels that face the sun when parked up to stop the effect of the degredation.
I also have my spare on the boot as I really hate underslung tyres. What makes stretch covers inferior to hard covers? and is there some of barrier that would be put between tyre and soft cover to improve it (bearing in mind the tyre will not be making its way underneath or inside so that option is not available)
 
#10
I wish we got the sun here that it would a major worry!
Believe me, tyre compound degradation is every bit as much of a concern in the dear old UK, most especially on static tyres, such as for instance caravans or even motorhomes that are parked up for long periods of time without moving.
Their tyres will not only flat spot, but because the rotational forces of the wheels and the associated squishing of the tyre when in contact with the road surface which all go to keep the compound flexible. This is, I am sorry to advise you, absolute fact and most certainly not pie in the sky!!

The National Tyre Distributors Association isn't an organisation I have had much favour in as they tend to be too inwardly looking and protective of their own members, however this quite weakly written article will give you a bit of an insight.
https://www.ntda.co.uk/useful-links/tyre-ageing/

Phil
 
#11
Phil that wasn't written by the National tyre council was it by any chance 🤣. In the passed I've had tyres that are ten years old and not shown or had any derogatory situations, though I do agree that after ten years its time to change the van and let others worry about degradation of the tyres 😏.Phil
 
#12
Phil that wasn't written by the National tyre council was it by any chance 🤣. In the passed I've had tyres that are ten years old and not shown or had any derogatory situations, though I do agree that after ten years its time to change the van and let others worry about degradation of the tyres 😏.Phil
Phil; I haven't the foggiest idea who wrote the copy detailed in my attached NTDA link, however I do know for a fact that in former years the NTDA used to take advice from all the major UK based tyre marketers and manufacturers including SP Tyres UK Ltd. (Dunlop), Pirelli, Michelin, Avon, Goodyear, Firestone etc., believe me, I know this for an absolute categorical fact based on knowledge gained in my professional past.

Phil
 


#13
Trev; it was really good to see your photographs and the work you have put into making your library a mobile home....... There is one matter I feel I ought to bring to your attention, it concerns the spare wheel being hung out in the open in the fresh air.

I am amazed that such an important matter isn't widely known, but with regards to a static/inert spare wheel/tyre left exposed in the outside air and sun like yours, I am sorry to say that the speed of polymer compound degradation is vastly accelerated. In some climatic conditions, all be it not in the UK, a tyre can degrade from brand new to scrap in only a single year!!

At the barest minimum and of course if possible, you should have a fully enclosing cover over the tyre/wheel to protect it from the suns rays (stretch fitting covers aren't really all that good), but best of all, it would be far better to hang your spare underneath the van in the shade.

I make this comment paying regard to the technical information I was supplied when I wrote and produced literature for SP Tyres UK Ltd (Dunlop) some years ago.

Phil
There are 4 outside tyre expossed to the sun,but the one on the back is almost down to limit and i have 2 more in w/shop,yes i do also have the space underneath for a extra one but dont fancy crawling under in the dead of night on irish roads,yes a fancy cover may be the way to go and i could get my marine biz printed on it.
 


#14
I know what I am about to write is totally off topic, but I thought I would put some fat on the bone with regards to my past experiences with the tyre and rubber industry.
Way back in 1954 at the age of 5 I went to Dunlop Tyres (as they were then known) at Fort Dunlop with my beloved Grand Dad who used to trade with them, supplying specialist display/advertising material. I apparently sat on the then sales directors desk whilst they carried out their business meeting.

Many years later at the age of 18, I first started trading with the likes of Dunlop, Pirelli, Michelin, Avon and Firestone when I was a rep for my families printing and display business known as T. Mathews & Co. Ltd. of Leicester, by this time I was also a qualified structural cardboard engineer, weeee heeeee!!

Some years later, after resigning from my family business I became general manager of the promotional marketing side of a large printing group where I gained membership of the Institute of Marketing mainly because of my experience and continued involvement in the industry. Throughout this time I continued dealing with numerous tyre industry clients on forever more technical issues.

In 1989 I opened the promotional marketing company APM Associates (my initials but also standing for Applied Promotional Marketing) during which time my working relationship with Dunlop (SP Tyres UK Ltd.) and Pirelli became ever more technically involving.
One of the campaigns I wrote and produced for Dunlop being in 1991 shortly before the new 1.6mm minimum tyre tread depth law changes.
This campaign resulted in me commissioning Eddie McCloughlin the internationally renowned cartoonist to produce a series of light hearted sketches to highlight the dire importance of this vital issue. The campaign also resulted the Dunlop brand becoming the number one recall response tyre brand in the UK, we won several industrial awards for it.

Throughout all this time I was getting ever more closely involved with the tyre technical and motor sport division of my largest client, writing and producing technical literature, including producing the truly gargantuan, industry bench mark, "tyre fitment and pressure charts" on an annual basis, this resulted in me developing close links with many of the Worlds car and van manufacturers technical departments.

By the year 2000, I was basically mentally burnt out and as such we decided to close our business, sell our property and move to France so that we could basically unwind and start rescuing horses and by way of distraction, building and running 2 very special caravan sites.

Hopefully the above, might give some indication that the most abused and generally overlooked item on most vehicles, i.e. their tyres, is a subject I hold close to my heart.

Phil
 


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