Caravan Building ?

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 14:01
ThreadID: 55584 Views:6147 Replies:4 FollowUps:0
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G,day all

Can anybody tell me where there may be a site that shows anything about building your own van from scratch.maybe sombody has built theirs and documented it,and shared the pitfalls and benefits.


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Reply By: DIO - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 15:27

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 15:27
Over the past 12-18 months (or so) there has been numerous articles on the subject in Caravan & Motorhome magazine. If you don't already have access, perhaps check with your local library.
AnswerID: 292928

Reply By: Camoco - Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 18:46

Sunday, Mar 16, 2008 at 18:46
I have been building a 'van for about 18 months now. I should be finished by end of April. It started as a refurbish and has grown somewhat. We were just going to strip the interior and refresh it.

Further investigation has forced me to do a lot more. Especially after discovering the roof was defying gravity.
The only things I have not replaced or rebuilt are the floor sheeting, chassis rails (but the a-frame has been) spring hangers, alum wall frame and sheeting (mostly). I SHOULD have started from scratch.

I have upgraded many things along the way until now it bears little resemblance to it's original form. It still looks like a 1973 Millard Concorde but with a modern aspect.

I needed plenty of info myself not being a caravanner of any sort. I spent about 2 years planning and researching before undertaking the project and that was while still thinking refurbishment.

I have obtained a bit of info from here and magazines and also from the Collyn Rivers ?? books. Also checking out existing vans at shows and on the road.

I am planning on writing a historical documentation after it is completed (otherwise it never will be) but it is mainly for my own benefit. Others may choose to read it if I upload it somewhere but it will just be a record of the build mainly.

As far as pitfalls and benefits goes, that will be very dependent on your own abilities and budget. The single biggest benefit though, is custom made to suit your exacting requirements and knowledge of a job well done. If it is not well done, you have only yourself to blame. It may or may not be cheaper but that is based on your final design requirements and your ability to do it in-house or shop it out.

For myself, I am fairly handy and I have undertaken the entire project myself. I have had the 240v wired by a pro but the rest is all my own.

A brief summary of my van:
17'6" Millard Concorde 1973 twin axle aluminium frame.
New tinted window throughout. Front and rear with covers.
Twin all seasons roof vents
Custom shower cubicle including portable toilet.
Double bed with gas lift base.
Full height wardobe for dresses etc.
Full height pantry
Gas cooker and oven.
Full size sink and plenty of bench space.
Large dining table with gas rise/fall and can spin to allow more relaxed seating.
Plenty of cupboards and roll out drawers.
2 separate fresh water tanks with diverter.
1 waste water tank. All tanks with electronic level monitors.
12v Fridge/Freezer
12v o/head cooking extractor
12v lighting throughout. 1 240v light outside for distance.
12v TV/DVD/Radio.
12v water pressure pump.
240v hot water system for shower.
2x80w solar panels and charging/controlling system.
2x110amp/hr AGM batteries
240v 3.6kw air conditioner
2 kVa Honda generator
240v portable washing machine
Large roll out awning
electric brakes with alloy wheels
rear twin bar h/d bumper and 2x spares mounted
Large front storage box.
Fully insulated walls/roof.

All up though, it's still less than 20k and everything is new and a custom design. It has taken a chunk of my life but.

I am sure there is more I have left out. The single best part of the van would be the ease of use. As it is for my in-laws, (nice son-in-law hey!!) it is meant to be operated by without thought for how it works. All lights are 12v. Plug the 240v via land line or genny if you plan on parking for a few days. If not you can use anything you want as per normal except the Air-conditioner, microwave or hot water system.
We have chosen this method to reduce complication and cost to some extent. Gas is used only for cooking. Electricity is used mostly for comfort. Essentials are always available.

I hope this gives you a start for info. Let me know if you need any other help or more detailed description.

Cheers Cam
AnswerID: 292959

Reply By: Member - Glenn G (QLD) - Friday, Mar 21, 2008 at 21:42

Friday, Mar 21, 2008 at 21:42
Thanks for your replies.I have done a reno on a old Viscount but am thinking of doing the lot from chassis to a welder and handy in a few other fields I thought I would start with nothing but pen and paper.I still want to work out how cost effective this is compared to buying second hand with consideration to some compromises !

AnswerID: 294051

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Mar 21, 2008 at 22:06

Friday, Mar 21, 2008 at 22:06
There is site that may interest you, it is aimed at those building tear drop vans but has some good general information. Site Link

Another handy site is Site Link

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AnswerID: 294059

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