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Yeti101

Campervan conversion ideas?

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I was thinking of buying a campervan, or just a van and doing the conversion myself. Figured we’d get a bit of use out of it and then rent it out to help cover costs through camplify, camptoo or similar. 


Any ideas on what I should look for - best models etc., or where to get info on conversions? Has anyone had any experience renting out their van through any of these companies? I’ve got my eye out for something not too old, and with not too many kms on it, but thanks as far as I’ve gotten in terms of narrowing it down. 

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Hey Yeti, not sure ill be of much help but ive had a few vw campers over the past 30 years and the dream of just hopping in and going.  This is my current take on such matters.

Id ask is the van going to be used strictly for camping?  If youre like me the majority of the time id drive around needlessly carting, fridge stove, cupboards full of stuff.  Pop top roofs are great fun but seals go and the roof can and does rust out unseen underneath the apron.  Check that seal before buying a poptop.

My current bus was a ten seater tin top.  I pulled the rear seats and put in a rock and roll bed then decided nothing else needed.  (Maybe roof rack)  I can use the extra space when i need and its proven awesome to have that room. These days (as opposed to when the bus was made) portable fridges and stoves are great and quickly tossed in for camping.  Boxes crates of gear are easy to do the same.  Sling up a tarp when you get there and relax.

Ps kombis are fun, you can easily do most repairs and maintenance yourself and have a super helpful little community although sounds like your after something more modern....   they sold alot of toyota vans for a reason.

 

Edited by Humbolt
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Hey @Humbolt, thanks for that. I’m not looking for anything too modern - old enough so I can do most of the work on it myself, but not so old that reliability goes down and running/repair costs go up. Definitely no pop-tops either. Mostly want to use it for camping, rent it out as a camper when we’re not using it, not much else. Would get a kombi for the right price, but I’ve not seen many for sale. 
I’m tempted by something like a Mitsubishi Delica, but also know that if I rent it out to ppl, they will inevitably get it bogged because it’s 4wd. 

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Hey Yeti,

If you are considering buying a van to convert, don't skimp on height -- it will be sooo important for your day-to-day activities, storage, and plays a big part in not feeling claustrophobic once you've settled in.

 

Some tall(ish) vans good for conversion:

  • Mercedes Sprinter
  • Ford Transit
  • Toyota Hiace

Although, if you're willing/able, I guess you could always extend the height yourself.

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Don't buy a Merc Sprinter. I know a Mercedes mechanic and he changes gearboxes on those pieces of shit almost daily. The gearbox overheats and they become almost undriveable, then when you try to make a warranty claim the standard line from the boys in the office is you must have overloaded it" and they use every trick in the book to get out of paying for the repairs. They know the gearboxes are faulty but the standard ploy is to blame the customer and fuck them around until the they go to fair trading or just give up. The front end bushes are made of sub standard shit and after a while they become dangerous to drive.

 

I wouldn't buy a tarp either, spend a few pennies and get a Kings roll out awning. They're only about 100 Aussie pesos ( or you can spend a bit more and turn them into a tent) but they're one of the best value additions you make to any camper or 4wd, they set up in no time and won't work loose or blow down unless you get strong winds.  A tarp can be just just as good or better but the convenience of a roll out awning is worth every cent, especially for someone who's not proficient with tying knots and rigging.

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Mitsu delicas are notorious, if anything goes wrong in the engine bay they are so difficult to access the labour cost is huge. 

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