Bit of encouragement needed

MarkJ

Full Member
I’ve been thinking about a build for several months now, but I’m wondering how physically demanding it might be.

I’m 64 and pretty agile and mobile, with reasonable practical skills, but I have a condition that means I get tired quickly: any build is going to take a long time....

I have a chum who can help with heavy jobs and the unavoidably two-man jobs, but a large part of this for me is doing it myself; if I wanted someone else to build me a van, I’d go and buy another commercial one.

So I’d love to hear that someone of my age or older has battled away and ended up with a nice van?
 

wildebus

Full Member
Not as old (but not that far off either!) as you so can't comment on that side but I am sure as long as you have take it in bite-sized chunks, you will both get a good result and enjoy yourself (y)
What I would suggest is avoid doing a lot of the build in the winter unless you have a heated garage to work in.
 

Millie Master

Full Member
So I’d love to hear that someone of my age or older has battled away and ended up with a nice van?

Hello Mark, I am now 70 years young with a mind that still believes I am 19 but with a body that is currently making far too much use of our countries truly excellent NHS as I have various chronic lung and heart conditions.

I built my beloved 'Millie' 5 years ago when I was living in Wales when my physical conditions hadn't reared their very ugly heads!

Throughout the build I was fortunate enough to have a large open/covered barn where I could do all of the cutting and forming of the timber, however as there wasn’t quite enough headroom to park the van inside, the van was parked outside but only a few paces away.
It took me almost 5 months of fun filled and mostly grin inducing time to undertake the total conversion which finally saw us doing our very first wild camping night overlooking Lake Vyrnwy whilst we consumed far too much champagne, whisky, brandy, beer and wine! This first night revealed only one building fault, it being one of the pipes bringing water from the underslung tank sprang a monumental leak!

The entire building process was one which was filled with amazing highs along with only a very limited few lows which I put down to exceptionally thorough planning which I always encourage every person like you and me to do before even thinking of starting the conversion. Over the years I have been known to advise people to plan, plan, plan, tear it up and start again and then plan, plan and plan again. If that sounds somewhat stupid I can assure you that it isn't and as throughout my entire build I only had to check the drawings on 2 occasions!

I found the entire build to be utterly enthralling whilst at the same time somewhat tiring during which time there were a great many highs and very few lows.

Good luck and ask away, I can assure you that we are all here to help whenever we can.

Phil
 

n brown

Full Member
i've built a lot of vans . i've pretty much packed it in the last 2 years as my body is saying no. but, did a few in my sixties and find that the amount of time you spend stepping in and out of the van, and time spent on your knees is the killer. so i recommend having a second set of tools in the van, ,jigsaw ,drill, cordless driver etc , with one of those folding ally hop-ups as a bench . this saves a number of journeys.
also plan the day to make as much stuff as possible in the workshop/garage etc before you even set foot in the van
and try to learn as many shortcuts as possible. oh yes ,i'm 70
 

MarkJ

Full Member
Thanks for the encouragement all. Much appreciated.

And an excellent point about saving the knees!
 
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Greggbear67

Full Member
I'm only 52 but pretty knackered from a lifetime of self abuse! (Working out in all weathers, motorbikes in the winter etc) but I had a blast doing my conversion this year. Took from Jan to Aug & a buddy of mine was drafted in for a lot of the low level stuff as I don't bend like I used to!😣
Got it sorted in time for late Aug meet but it will probably never be finished as I keep changing bits & adding bits. Go for it mate, take it steady & don't over tax yourself as this will make for a negative experience. Enjoy the build then enjoy the adventures...😁👍
 
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Squiffy

Full Member
Evening Mark, it took me 6 months of full on labour to build mine and at the time I was 64. I have to say that I enjoyed the challenge rejoicing in my triumphs and enjoying the way that I got around my failures and won through in the end. I would suggest that it's best to take your time, think about what you want to do next and try to look ahead at things that might crop up where de constructing previous work is kept to a minimum, because it will inevitably happen. Keeping warm and well stocked in beer I found was imperative ( Not too much beer though) as de construction tomorrow become even more necessary. Most of my build was done over the winter months so I made sure that initially I had an greenhouse blow fan in the van then once gas was under slung I had the Truma heater operating. But I always found as I normally find that a positive attitude towards getting it done as Boris says usually wins through. 😄🤞Phil
 

GEOFF

Hi Mark, I am 76 years old and am building a boat as well as doing a couple of Maxus (3) conversions. Not too mobile as I had 2 hips replaced in 2008. Yesterday I had a hernia operation (my first opp ever with just local anesthetic) and then watched the election results all night long (well worth the wait!!!). As others have said, just take it steady and go for it. It is an enjoyable past time and really satisfying when you start using your own unique MH. Geoff.
 
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MarkJ

Full Member
Yes, it’s the challenge thing that motivates me. I think I can do it, but there’s only one way to find out...

Thanks for the war stories. Much appreciated!
 

Bouydog

Full Member
Plus one on the knees, three steps up into mine. Nine months into my build mostly weekends as I work full time just a kid at 62, as Nigel says it is a mental as well as a physical challenge.
Research and ask questions, things you may think you can’t do become doable.
Go for it and enjoy yourself.
 

LibertyHall

Full Member
Morning all
When I thought about building Muttley I wasn’t in a good place!! Also not the most physically fit person on the planet didn’t help!! However after making virtual friends here and elsewhere (actually met a few too) and two years in the build which was outside I really got the bug!! To the extent that the good lady and I fitted the water tanks under the van in snow!! mad now looking back though once your in the zone!

I would do another if it was needed even the challenge of the (Dark Art) though at the moment we’re currently renovating a car I owned back in the 80s. Which needs a total ground up rebuild as it’s been outside for the past 25years.

So not been around here to much sorry, what I will say doing a selfbuild is a challenge then every day life for some is a challenge, though with the help of forums like here is priceless.

While here I’ll take the opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy self build year ahead 😍

Take care all
Ken
 

Millie Master

Full Member
It is so true that a van build is never finished as you will always find something to improve, even if only ever so slightly as it keeps the mind motivated.

As for me my brain numbing exercise on 'Millie' at the moment is fitting the rear view camera, but I am gradually getting there as over the years when doing anything related to the dreaded "Black Art" spend absolutely ages checking and re-checking every single step before making it! Oh and as suggested by Nigel on another thread, I have decided to have a new windscreen fitted, if for no other reason than to get rid of the infernal rear view camera mount!!

Phil
 

wildebus

Full Member
It is so true that a van build is never finished as you will always find something to improve, even if only ever so slightly as it keeps the mind motivated.

As for me my brain numbing exercise on 'Millie' at the moment is fitting the rear view camera, but I am gradually getting there as over the years when doing anything related to the dreaded "Black Art" spend absolutely ages checking and re-checking every single step before making it! Oh and as suggested by Nigel on another thread, I have decided to have a new windscreen fitted, if for no other reason than to get rid of the infernal rear view camera mount!!

Phil
Should have bought an Austin Campervan :) I remember my Ambassador's Rear View Mirror dropped off by itself after a particularly damp night in a Lake District Campsite after spending the night in the car (too wet to use the tent!)
 

MarkJ

Full Member
No-one mentioned immersion in a water bath on that other thread about how to remove your rear view mirror...
 

Pugwash69

Full Member
If you've got somewhere off the road to work and aren't in a rush, take your time and enjoy the process of conversion. It's taken me a couple of years to get where I am today, as life and stuff just got in the way. The same result in the end though.
 

ScoTTyBEEE

Full Member
This is me currently. Not only do I need to do the build, I also need an engineering degree in electronics to figure out what's going on. It's amazing how many grand ideas you start out with and slowly whittle away as reality dawns.

1577033648769.png
 

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