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    MPV conversion and back again

    Hi All,

    Newbie here, so much so that I thought I'd already posted this, and now it seems to have gone so maybe I didn't after all!

    Basically I run a small business that involves taking students on some trips around West Yorkshire in the Summer months. Previously we have relied on public transport, but I've been thinking about also buying a 7 seater MPV too. Now, in the off season I have quite a bit of spare time, so I've also been thinking about buying a camper van to take on trips to Europe.

    My question is - how easy would it be to get an mpv that you could convert into a camper, and then back again? And also, what are the insurance implications? Is it even possible to do this? I'm not bothered about having lots of mod cons, just a basic camper would do me.

    Thanks.

    #2
    Looking at van/MPV conversions currently being advertised, I've seen a few that are advertised as coming with "spare" seats that can be quite easily re-fitted when needed. Not sure of the insurance implications - maybe you would have to notify them each time you changed?

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Stev and welcome to the forum.

      I can't advise on the insurance issues as I've never done anything like this but I'm sure others can point you in the right direction.

      As for the vehicle you have lots of options. You ideally want one of the larger MPVs that has fully removable seats rather than those which fold in to the floor so that you have a solid base to work with. You then have the choice of constructing a suspended platform to sleep on or else just using an airbed/campbed/mattress etc. If you look in the vehicles adapted for camping section of the forum you will find lots of examples of homemade arrangements.

      There are several obvious choices in the standard MPV stable - the Citroen C8/Peugeot 807, Ford Galaxy/VW Sharan, Kia Sedona or Chrysler Voyager.

      The downside with those vehicles is that with all 7 seats in place the luggage capacity is very small. So if you need to carry 7 people for your work plus luggage then you would likely need a trailer and/or roofbox. Your other option for greater space is a van based crew van or Small minibus. Lots of those about based on popular medium sized vans, transit, vivaro etc.

      Good luck with it
      Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

      Comment


        #4
        MPV and back again

        We bought a high roof doblo with 7 seats as Caz says very little luggage space if full. We converted it with a DIY conversion based on the idea of the Boot jump ontop of the 3 rear seats folded down for a while, basically could be a double bed table and camp cooker but still an MPV as far as insurance goes, but since we have put in a proper sink/ cooker galley unit permanently, in place of one seat. With difficulty we could get insurance as a camper like that but still 6 seats were legal. Now as a camper there is a propex heater a leisure battery, led lights a 3 seat settee with storage under and a cooks seat with an ice box under and a table with sliding leaf for 2 people and it all converts to a double bed. There are storage ceiling hammocks on the ceiling over the cab and the table, we can carry good food and water for 5 days, inflatable packrafts and paddles, bikes on a back bike rack and panniers and big rucksacks for real camping and go off for 3 weeks or more wild car camping, packrafting cycling camping trekking then still take all but the galley and electrics out and have 6 seats of MPV.

        Comment


          #5
          Have a look at Spaceships website, they hire campers based on 7 seater mpvs, we have seen a lot on campsites, a lot of campers contemplating the same as you use an Amdro kit, about £1200 delivered to your home on a pallet ready to lift in, many use the Amdro as inspiration for their own homebuilt version, your project souns like fun, keep us posted.
          derek b and Babs

          Comment


            #6
            Guys thanks for all your tips, i thought itd be impossible insurance wise but you've at least given me some hope. Love the look of the fiat doblo (i bet its not to everyones taste) do you have any pics i could see of urs derekoak, just for some ideas?

            Never stayed in a campervan before, with minor i sulation work done, how cold can you comfortably go?

            Comment


              #7
              how cold

              It depends on your clothing. We are used to wild camping, sometimes on mountains in conditions so cold that metal sticks to your fingers. With that sort of down clothing you are fine in a camper van. The problems then are your water freezing and everything getting wet from condensation. you cannot cook with butane.
              All our water is in 2 litre disposable bottles and we keep some in the warmest part of the camper and we have installed an LPG 2kw propex heater. With the heater you could even bare your skin for a wash at below freezing temperatures outside.
              I struggle with pictures of our camper but I must have a go sometime.
              I am sure a doblo for 2 would not suit everyone but it is very comfortable compared to a tiny lightweight tent on a mountain
              Last edited by Derekoak; 22-12-2014, 09:40.

              Comment


                #8
                Derekoak - I hope you will post some piccies because I'd love to see your adaptation.

                Stev: I adapted (not converted...) a Renault Kangoo panel van for simple camping and insulated the walls and roof with bubble-foil insulation and bagged rockwool in the lower panels. I camped at -14 locally and -18 on the oft-quoted 'Southern Frosties' camp at Stonehenge a few years ago. It was chilly but with good thermals, a hot water bottle and down sleeping bag, I was never cold. Here's a link to my van: http://vagavalley.co.uk/ikangoocamping/

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks for all the tips guys. Been looking at Mazda Bongos - would you agree that they'd make a good choice in my situation? I was thinking something high mileage and relatively cheap, a lá: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1996-N-MAZ...item234468e416

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Bongos are fairly heavy on fuel and they are getting on a bit now so maybe past their prime (bit like me), but Bongo owners seem to love them. There's an owners' forum called Bongofury which may answer all your queries about them. If it wasn't for the MPG I might have been very tempted, they are a handy size for one (although I've met a lot of couples who have them).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I love Bongos and would have one like a shot if it weren't for the fuel economy. I only have space for 2 vehicles so if I had a bongo it would have to replace my daily driver (a Kia Carens MPV) and the commute to work would cost a fortune in fuel. You can get a 2wd version of the bongo with a 2.0 petrol engine which can then be converted to LPG which makes for a more economical proposition BUT the petrol ones are hard to come by and more expensive than the diesels when they do come up.

                      The Toyota Granvia, Honda Stepwagon and Nissan Elgrand are similar to a Bongo so they might be worth a look. For a non-imported alternative consider the Nissan Serena. They are getting on a bit now and the 2.3 diesel makes for very slow progress but they are very reliable and cheap as chips to buy now.
                      Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thanks for all the help guys - never bought a car before (only had 1 pug 306 handmedown) so not really enjoying this.

                        I've narrowed it down to a more expensive option - Merc vito CDI http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mercedes-B...p2054897.l4275

                        And a cheaper option: Mazda Bongo http://www.gumtree.com/p/mazda/1997-...ter/1108226561

                        Given that I haven't got any experience buying second hand I'm inclined to go with the former, as it's trade and they will give it a full MOT. Grateful for any tips and advice you might have, or just your thoughts. I'll also be using the van for a business and the Mercedes looks a bit more presentable!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The main thing to watch with that generation of Vito is rust. The bodies are known to disintegrate with alarming speed so check it over very carefully. Its also got 164k on the clock. While that's not necessarily a problem for a big diesel engine it can mean problems if its not been properly looked after.

                          Good luck with your search
                          Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Rob B View Post
                            The main thing to watch with that generation of Vito is rust. The bodies are known to disintegrate with alarming speed so check it over very carefully. Its also got 164k on the clock. While that's not necessarily a problem for a big diesel engine it can mean problems if its not been properly looked after.

                            Good luck with your search
                            just to back up Rob's case. we were looking to buy a Vito a few years back. looked at umpteen. most were rust buckets made in Spain. i don't think we saw one that you would bother with. later models may be ok. but it put me right off Mercedes!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by doog View Post
                              just to back up Rob's case. we were looking to buy a Vito a few years back. looked at umpteen. most were rust buckets made in Spain. i don't think we saw one that you would bother with. later models may be ok. but it put me right off Mercedes!
                              Thanks for all the useful tips guys. Going to see it next week, so will let you know - but think I might go for it if I can put it under 2k and it's not a complete rust bucket!

                              Comment

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