Van 2 Build

The day after  I returned from Africa, I got right to work building the new van into a camper.  I wanted to get on the road, out of Queenstown and into surf asap.  My friends Ed and Steph in Arrowtown (the ones I stayed with before the winter season started) allowed me to stay again and use there yard as a work shop.  Their landlord is a very nice guy and also allowed me to use his driveway and extension cord.  I rented a few tools, spent hours calculating, then recalculating, then going to the lumber yard, then back to recalculate, then finally back to buy the wood.

I had already designed the floor and bed on paper, so I now needed to put the plans into reality.


Cutting MDF with a rented circular saw, using the lawn as a shop, and chairs as saw horses.

It rained off and on.  What I had planned to take 3 days, ended up taking about a week and a half.  I can’t do anything fast.


The Van in its raw state


Van in it's raw state


Lawn workshop


I had to build a frame for the floor, as there are 2 welded in metal beams on the floor from a wheel chair lift that was previously installed. Here the floor is in, after I framed the bottom and cut the MDF to fit the wall contours. I used a jig saw I bought for $20 NZD / $16 USD. This took me 2 days.


Overcast rainy day on the lawn shop


It took me another 3 days to frame out and figure out the structure for the bed. I assembled it inside because of rain, then spent a day getting it to be almost perfectly square....why, because apparently I have come down with a case of building A.C.D.

Another view of the bed frame.  In the bottom right corner, I have made a hinged floor door to access the battery compartment

Another view of the bed frame. In the bottom right corner, I have made a hinged floor door to access the battery compartment


Ed and Steph enjoying Ed's English breakfast on when of the rare nice mornings. They sat and watched me in bewilderment as I fumbled around taking forever to build this thing.


Finally almost ready to attach and fit everything. At this point I had installed lino flooring tiles for easy cleaning....they where cheap, and self adhering. Cheap and self anything is an oxymoron.


Finally, bed is fitted and attached, floor is in with tiles peeling up in the sun. I used some pre-made shelving boxes and left over MDF for lids, and some random hinges to create storage compartments.


Another View


Pretty much done. I spent another day fixing all the little electrical things in the cock pit. I even got the 20 year old digital clock to work. I love this old van, there is hardly anything electrical to it, and everything is as easy as replacing a fuse, or a bulb.


All done building! I hooked up the electrical converter, figured out how to change the oil and off I went to load up my stuff.


3 responses to “Van 2 Build

  1. hot new ride phil!
    I have finally caught up on your adventures- fantastic tales and photos

    erin m.

  2. Phil, you are so rad!

  3. soooo cool!
    I like this better than my apartment right now!

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