Will I regret a Ducato (etc) camper conversion?


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Hi Wildebus,
I hope you are well. a new member to the forum and I am sorry if Iam hijacking this thread.
I come accross your detailed electric water heater. hat off mate. you did an amazing job as I was craving for the data you published. I very much like the details and your approach about finding alternative to the overpriced fridges, hearers...
I am about to instal an Ariston Andirx Lux ( apprantly an upgrade from the one used as it is A rated).
I am eager to find out how did you find out the heater overall? I am interested to look at the heat loss data. let say if the heater reach the desired temperture how long can it hold for?
Post a new thread asking this and I'd be happy to reply (y)
Keeps the threads on topic :)


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As I have written before on this thread all the Master/Movano/Nissan?? had fully galvanised bodies from the 2004 model year onwards.

One of the most important jobs for us converters to do when we cut holes in the sides or the roofs of our galvanised vans is to throughy smooth down the cut edges and then treat the metal to a few liberal coats of a suitable paint.

Patently, the vast majority of we self builders will take care when doing these important jobs whereas a penny pinching professional converter of panel vans to ambulance etc. is very unlikely to do so!
By exactly the same token, having looked very closely at the way some of the most expensive of the UK built panel conversions are put together, i.e. terrible levels of insulation, patchy use of fabrics, terrible joints in hidden timber areas, I have often wondered if the likes of Swift Group (who have a terrible quality and aftermarket customer care record), Bayley etc. etc., I wonder if their panel cut lines have been fully treated?

Oh that's good to know. I assumed the minibus type ones had the window put in from the factory, explains the rust then.


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I think Murky started life as a coach, before being used it was converted to an ambulance. The workmanship of raising the floor was appalling. The original parts had a thick coating of something that held back corrosion. I found when repairing it at least four layers of patches! I ended up replacing the entire sub floor :(


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Might the popularity of UK conversion of vans to minibuses may also be something to do with Type Approval?
Thirty-some years ago I did a student placement at Land Rover - Solihull, working on the first batch of extra-LWB "130inch" crewcab vehicles. The first years production went down the line as normal 110's, then, as a running vehicle, the chassis was cut in half and the extra section added... in the factory! This avoided having to re-certify a vehicle they didn't know would sell. Unusual RHD variants of euro vans may be similar?
And of course LR were used to wacky specials for the worlds military, utility companies, etc.


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to resurrect my own thread: this spring's lockdown prevented us test driving any s/h vans until after the window to "get it finished before the season" closed, so I'm looking again. I keep being drawn back to my original spec of a low roof Ducato (were both shortish so height is less of a problem). (Masters, Transits don't do low roofs beyond the shortest version, and the inside space of the 5.5m Sprinter is not worth changing for.

We went to test drive a nice Ducato base van today (2016 2.3 Euro6 non-Adblue MWB ), and I came away thinking a) what a good example and b) what a noisy, crashing experience.
I realise I don't have the muscle memory of where the controls are, or the feel of when to (try to) change gear optimally [the the gear linkage probably needed oiling], but it seemed really retrograde step even from a 240k 2.5 T5; and reminded me of days out in basic Land Rovers or Iveco 7.5 tonners.

However this was an empty PV.

Can I ask the assembled experts whether I should just go for it?
By the time I've added sound deadening, foam insulation, and some weight in the back it will become a different beast to travel in?
I just can't believe half of Europes motorhomes are based on this, unless my experience is not typical.

Your views please, gentlemen!


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I've got an xlwb Ducato 130 that I've had from new 2014, when I first bought it and test drove, as you noticed it sounded very road noisy but drove just like a car. However once built with all the internals and externals complete it then became very quiet and at 3325kg bridge weight ready to travel 😀 it does an easy 85mph cruising if I wanted to, though I now a days stick to about 65mph and regularly achieve 33mpg the uphill qualities are also good provided you change down early and keep the turbo spinning. I personally recommend the Ducato as possibly the best of the potential self build panel vans. Phil


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Quite a few years ago I was looking at vans and tested a new Citroen Relay panel van. It was the noisiest vehicle I have ever driven, but it was empty. I ended up testing and then getting a Renault Master which was MUCH nicer in every respect even when empty. But one difference between the test vans .... the Relay was open and the Master had a bulkhead so there would have been some sound-deadening.

Once all fitted out, a lot of the noise is eliminated as squiffyphil says. It is a shame they don't make the Master in the same width as the Sevels, as that would be ideal, but for width the Relay/Boxer/Ducato cannot be bettered as a van conversion (The Master is still the nicest van I have driven compared to the two Sevels and 3 VWs I have had).


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Thanks Dave and Phil: We've bitten the bullet and agreed to buy the thing.
It's a surprisingly rare option in low roof, with AC. (I think most as bought as ladder carriers for roofers etc, so don't get the AC box ticked).
We're being optimistic about be able to go to Europe and relieve the pressure on Scotland etc, and get the chance to use it....

as far as a Master was concerned, we're planning a N-S bed, folding, so the reduced width actually would be attractive, but I struggle to get over the aggressively bulbous styling and silly headlights... Also they don't come as low roof at the 5.5m length.

Millie Master

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As a passionate Master owner, I honestly do believe that of the larger PV's they are by far and away the nicest ti drive, however when it comes to converting them, I am afraid to say that the Sevel vans win by an enormous country mile as they are so very square.

I have lived with my 08 Master now for a long time and in all honesty I far prefer driving it to any of the other rather nice cars in my garage!

As for any variety of the VW 'T' vans, well I agree they are nice, but it is honestly like comparing chalk with sublime cheese!

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