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Hello - Winter Wonderings - Fiat Scudo Combi conversion - Tyneside

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    #16
    Having blown air heating retrofitted is Very Expensive. Eberspacher and similar units work by using a little of your diesel fuel to run a heat exchanger that heats a stream of air into the living space. Propex units use Butane or propane gas to do the same.

    If you are on a site with Electric Hook Up ( 240 volts) you can run a small oil filled radiator,these are inexpensive and effective and silent.They make cold weather camping easy.


    Ian
    Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.

    Comment


      #17
      Thank you for the advice Ian! Noted! :-)

      Best wishes,

      Liz

      Comment


        #18
        Hi Liz: I have fitted out a Scudo camper complete and also live on Tyneside so I suggest you come round, when I can at least address a lot of your queries. My camper is the later base model (my own fit-out) but I know two owners of professional conversions based on your model. Before that I fitted out a Doblo and encountered others of your queries with that.

        I will PM you.

        Paul.
        Seek to make a virtue of necessity.

        Comment


          #19
          Originally posted by Doblo7 View Post
          Hi Liz: I have fitted out a Scudo camper complete and also live on Tyneside so I suggest you come round, when I can at least address a lot of your queries. My camper is the later base model (my own fit-out) but I know two owners of professional conversions based on your model. Before that I fitted out a Doblo and encountered others of your queries with that.

          I will PM you.

          Paul.
          Hi Paul,

          Thank you! I will check my Messages :-)

          Funnily enough, it is exactly 6 years since I bought my 2007 Scudo campervan and, thankfully, it is still going strong :-)

          I discovered that it never was registered with the DVLA as a Campervan. I suspect this might be because it was converted in the UK from new for someone who needed it for work in Italy and he took it there straight away.

          DVLA REGISTRATION - ONLY ONE HOB IS REQUIRED

          Before taking out the two-ring hob I sent an FOI Request to the DVLA about the requirement for a "two ring hob or microwave" in order to qualify for registration as a campervan or motorhome. I was puzzled by the requirement for a "two ring hob" as there is no reference to the number of hobs in the primary EU legislation.

          The DVLA confirmed that they do NOT require a hob with two rings and this is simply advisory, ie. one ring is fine in order to register a campervan or motorhome:

          https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...utgoing-759463

          NON-PRESSURISED SPIRIT STOVE

          I took out the two-ring gas hob and grill and have replaced it with an Origo Spirit Stove, which is perfect for my needs. I was attracted to it for the small size and the fact that it is so safe - they are mostly used on boats. When not in use, I keep it in the external cupboard where the gas cylinder used to be.

          The DVLA Guidance previously mentioned only the safety aspects of gas and electric installations but it now specifies that gas or electric must be used for cooking. The requirement for a fixed cooking installation remains the same.

          I am going to send another FOI request to the DVLA, querying the requirement for gas or electric when non-pressurised, enclosed spirit stoves are considered to be safer than gas for use on boats, also the requirement for the cooking facilities to be fixed.

          I think the first argument is more winnable than the second one but I won't know until I ask.

          2016-05-28 GNUF Elland Hall Scudo campervan 08.09.07 500x667.jpg


          WATER HEATER

          The "heater" turned out to be a water heater. It has failed and I am not sure if I can be bothered to replace it as I can just as easily boil a kettle for washing. The Origo is very powerful!

          ROMAN BLIND FOR BACK DOOR - SILVER-BACKED BUBBLEWRAP

          I made a "Roman Blind" out of silver-backed bubble wrap for the back door. There was already a curtain rail above the back door so I just pushed curtain hooks through the silvered bubble wrap.

          The "blind" folds up above the door when not in use and is held in place by bungee cords.

          It is very long and when dropped it extends along the floor all the way to the bed. I put mats on top of it and it provides extra insulation.

          2018-04-30 Scudo Roman Blind 01 400x300.jpeg


          LEISURE BATTERY

          In April this year the "leisure battery" failed and I took the van to VanPunkt in Ogle. They discovered that it was not only the smallest battery they had ever seen installed in a campervan but also that it was not hooked up to be recharged! There was not even any wiring in place for recharging. Goodness knows how it lasted so long!

          VanPunkt installed a bigger leisure battery plus wiring so that it is recharged in the normal way.

          They also added an extra "cigarette lighter" point on the right side of the wooden "pelmet" you can see in the photo above. I use this to charge a very small fridge that sits on a ledge next to the back door. The leisure battery only powers this outlet when the engine is running, to avoid accidentally running down the leisure battery by leaving the fridge plugged in when the engine is not running.

          INSURANCE

          Someone broke into the van in April by smashing the passenger side, sliding door window. PSV and Auto Windscreens were wonderful but I had the most dreadful time dealing with ERS Insurance. Reading online Reviews, my experience seems to be fairly typical.

          My insurance was due for renewal a couple of days ago and I did a lot of shopping around, getting quotes.

          The Rep I spoke to from Onesure was so rude, patronising and bullying that I made a complaint to Onesure - they have not bothered to reply to me.

          I have gone with Adrian Flux - Trinity Lane. This was the cheapest, the best cover and whoever I spoke to was extremely helpful and better informed than any of the Reps for other brokers.

          --------

          I hope those updates are helpful to anyone reading this and will check my messages now!

          Best wishes,

          Liz

          Comment


            #20
            Beware, Liz, your remark "I don't suppose that I would be in danger of suffocation if I have not been burning anything?"

            You breath. So does the Dog. That activity not only depletes the oxygen but produces gases which are not healthy in concentrated form. I think that ample permanent ventilation (which should be put in by the van builder and NOT stopped up) together with efficient heating (heat exchanger venting outboard, or dreaded hookup and oil filled mains heater) plus warm bedding and thick lined curtains are the answers. They will stop the condensation too.

            Paul.
            Seek to make a virtue of necessity.

            Comment


              #21
              Originally posted by Doblo7 View Post
              Beware, Liz, your remark "I don't suppose that I would be in danger of suffocation if I have not been burning anything?"

              You breath. So does the Dog. That activity not only depletes the oxygen but produces gases which are not healthy in concentrated form. I think that ample permanent ventilation (which should be put in by the van builder and NOT stopped up) together with efficient heating (heat exchanger venting outboard, or dreaded hookup and oil filled mains heater) plus warm bedding and thick lined curtains are the answers. They will stop the condensation too.

              Paul.
              Hello again Paul :-)

              VENTILATION:

              What do you mean by "permanent ventilation (which should be put in by the van builder)"? Do you mean ventilation installed by Fiat when building the Scudo or some extra ventilation installed as part of the conversion?

              HEATING:

              ". . . efficient heating (heat exchanger venting outboard, or dreaded hookup and oil filled mains heater)" - I haven't got any heating. What is a "heat exchanger"?

              BEDDING:

              "warm bedding and thick lined curtains" - warm bedding I have got :-) I was advised by friends who retired some time ago, to spend almost all their time travelling in a large, well-equipped, purpose-built motorhome, to forget about sleeping bags and invest in a good duvet and that made a huge difference. I also use a thick, fleecy "mattress topper" - like a sheep fleece, not a clothing fleece.

              CONDENSATION AND ROOF VENTILATOR:

              "They will stop the condensation too" - I should have posted an update about that "wondering" that but I forgot. Oops!

              It was reasonable for me to imagine that the cause of the wetness was either rain blowing in through the open ventilation hatch in the roof or condensation but I discovered that the problem was different.

              The sealant around the outside of the ventilation hatch had perished and the ventilation unit had also not been installed correctly.

              That unit is supposed to be installed by first fitting a "plastic sleeve" and then the rest of the unit sits in the "sleeve". The "sleeve" would prevent any moisture tracking into the roof lining or between the lining and the roof. However, there was no "sleeve" so, when the sealant perished, the rain soaked into the roof upholstery and, because the van was parked on a slight slope, ran down the inside of the roof and exited down by the side of the sliding door and onto my pillow!

              The hole in the roof would have to be cut wider to accommodate fitting a new unit with the sleeve properly installed. Rather than do that, a friend made and fitted a water-tight "block" to stop any moisture tracking into the roof upholstery or between the upholstery and the roof and also re-sealed the outside of the ventilation unit.

              That solved the problem until I took the van to a car wash and they used a high-pressure hose on the roof and knocked out all the sealant again!

              It has been re-sealed and now I make sure that when I take the van to a car wash I tell them not to clean the roof. It is an awkward job to do but I clean the roof by hand myself now.

              So . . . apologies! My initial comment about condensation was a red herring! I guess that condensation might be a problem if I was away for longer in cold weather?

              So far, the longest time I have been away in the van is three weeks but that was during the Spring Heat Wave this year and I left the roof ventilator open all night. In the winter, I have only been away for one night at a time. I tend to leave the bed in place most of the time in the winter, in case I need to stop for a sleep if I am travelling for any distance. However, I also take the bedding out regularly to air the duvet and "mattress" (seat cushions) and wash the bed linen. If left longer, maybe they would get damp from condensation? I don't know.

              CAMPERVAN FITTINGS MATERIALS AND CONDENSATION:

              Another "wondering" . . . I wonder if condensation is not (or does not seem to be) a problem because all the campervan fittings are made of wood, mostly marine ply, which might be absorbing moisture which would otherwise condense on cold surfaces? I have not had any problems with mould apart from a few spots on the roof upholstery after it got a soaking in 2014. They were expunged quickly with a good rub of some "Oxy" type upholstery cleaner.

              And another "wondering" . . . Professional customisations these days seem to use materials with mainly Melamine or Formica-type surfaces that are non-absorbent. I wonder if this might contribute to problems with condensation?

              So many factors at play! :-)

              Liz

              Comment


                #22
                To Liz, post 21: you being a neighbour, if you can call I can explain all these things more easily. In case they are of interest to others however, here are some comments.

                Ventilation: yes vehicle builders always provide permanent ventilation or people would suffocate. Never close this off as it is the veriest minimum. You can add to it as much as you like and of course also open windows but you will not want to do that in dodgy places, and also, windows produce drafts. Decent built-in vents don't. I use the various settings provided by a skylight I have added (as I did also on the Doblo).

                You must have drop down vents straight through the floor if you have any gas appliance and they work well anyway in conjunction with a skylight producing a through flow of air. I hide these vents under furniture units which I always raise off the floor by 5cm or so, with kickboards (as under kitchen units) which have vents cut into them, providing a continuous indirect flow of air without drafts. Mesh of some sort is necessary to keep out insects (even mice could get through drop down vents).

                Heating: A heat exchanger type heater draws air from outside (usually underneath) the van and directs the flue gases likewise outside the van. Examples are Propex (gas) which I use in the present van and Eberspacher and Webasto which both use Diesel fuel which incurs road tax, so is not economical. But diesel heating is very convenient especially if you don't have room for a large gas bottle as I didn't in the Doblo. Some people have a separate tank for untaxed diesel as used in agriculture, but this is fiddley and perhaps prone to abuse.

                Materials and condensation: I have used marine ply for fitting out boats and the Doblo. For the present Scudo I used lightweight furniture board which is Melamine coated both sides. I always coat marine ply with Danish Oil, and I use Formica type materials only for worktops. I have had very little condensation because I insist on through ventilation and not producing more moisture than can be helped. One must breathe! The condensation that does arise from time to time is on windows and unprotected steelwork adjacent to windows. This is minimised by thick curtains and micrfibre curtain linings (two layers in the present vehicle making three layers of curtains in all). With these precautions I simply haven't found condensation to be a problem. This includes one Easter in France with a snowdrift just outside Calais and towards zero temperatures all day, below at night. We used the Webasto heater morning and evening (never at night), and the car heater when travelling. We had thick bedding and it all worked fine.

                Paul.
                Seek to make a virtue of necessity.

                Comment


                  #23
                  Further to my message no.22 above, I should add for those not familiar with them that all heat-exchanger heaters require electricity to run a fan. This makes installation very easy since you can run a short trunk to a convenient warm air outlet and mine is low down in a seat box. In this location it is ideal for warming my toes, fist thing when turned on in the morning and before the cabin warms up.

                  An alternative which needs standing space but has many advantages is too large for a campervan but might suit motorhomes and caravans, is the Refleks marine diesel heater. You can see at http://myboatsgear.com/2016/12/30/re...diesel-heater/. Versions are available which provide hot water and have a hotplate for cooking. They were developed for the wheelhouses of fishing boats and they require no electricity. They require a high-level gravity feed fuel tank.

                  I used a Refleks heater on a narrow boat and I ran it on paraffin which is cheaper than road diesel. It ran very hot but it (and I) survived. I imagine that the makers would not have approved had they known what I was doing.

                  Paul.
                  Seek to make a virtue of necessity.

                  Comment


                    #24
                    I have added comment on condensation in post 30 of "Undersirable draughts".

                    Paul.
                    Seek to make a virtue of necessity.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      As a designer I have never been in the position of having to adapt someone else's ideas. The design of ships starts with the purpose of the vessel, and if that is carrying cargo, how much, how to get it in and out, and the environment the cargo needs. Likewise passengers. I entered the profession to design liners but they went out of fashion before I could become involved, so I had to make do with other types of ships and then yachts.

                      I make the comparison because issues raised on this thread and the "Undesirable Draughts" thread concern problems that perhaps should never have arisen in the first place.

                      When you are designing a small yacht the solid fuel stove if there is one comes just about first - because everything else has to be arranged around it. The flue must come out at a feasible place on deck and ventilation must be assigned from the start. Likewise seating and weight. Campervan people have it made with drop down vents, since these are both exits for gas and inlets for fresh air which always rises (some yacht designers claim that air always flows from aft forwards, but I am not convinced of this). Question: Why can't vessels have drop down vents? Answers on an old envelope please, and put it in the WPB.

                      That vessels can't have drop down vents makes life much more difficult for the designer because the air has to be got down before it can flow up again. Not so with campervans however which, as I have said, have it easy. But through ventilation must be planned and coordinated and NEVER blocked up. My two previous posts (22 to 24 above) refer to ways and means.

                      Paul.
                      Seek to make a virtue of necessity.

                      Comment

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