8 Critical Elements Of A Modern Van Conversion

THERE ARE MANY REASONS TO HAVE A CONVERSION VAN. MOST FOLKS WILL USE IT FOR AFFORDABLE TRAVEL, AND SOME DOING THE MORE EXTREME BOONDOCKING AND EVEN LESS LIVING IN IT PERMANENTLY.

Some use it as their mobile office, while traveling around the country, others have made it part of the Tiny House Movement.

For me it is all about mobility and extended stays, while preserving functionality and comfort.

1. Independence:

Generators have been a source of irritation for many RV’rs for a long time, but their time has come, unless you have an air-conditioner to run. Solar panels have come a long way and even the smaller RVs can support multiple panels with ease. Especially the new high efficiency flexible solar panels that can be fit and hidden on top of the roofs of most cargo vans.

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Cargo Van Conversion: How much time to invest?

TIME IS MONEY. TIME IS ENJOYMENT. TIME IS FULFILLMENT. TIME IS A WAY TO SAVE ON YOUR INVESTMENT.

How long does it take and how much will it cost are the two questions most often asked. The answers are as unsatisfying as the questions.

Time

A full cargo van conversion can be done in a couple of months. That probably includes a 6-day work week with long hours each day. Add to that a long period of planning and ordering of materials.

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Heaters for the RV

How To Stay Warm In Winter

STAYING COMFY IN A RV DURING THE WINTER MONTHS IS ALWAYS A CHALLENGE. EVEN THE SNOWBIRDS THAT GO WAY SOUTH ARE SOMETIMES CONFRONTED WITH A COLD SPELL OF A FEW DAYS.

Staying warm during such a period can be difficult, yet good planning of your van conversion will keep your Cargo Van and you nice and cozy.

coldHeating issues are common in RV’s, where manufacturers seldom make an extra effort to upgrade the wall, floor and ceiling insulation, which leaves the occupant vulnerable when no electricity is available. With full hook-ups there is seldom a problem, yet many of us with smaller sized RV’s frequently like to boondock and are struggling to stay comfortable.

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Can You Afford A Van Conversion?

Financial Matters

THE IDEA OF BUILDING AN RV ON THE CHEAP, BY CONVERTING A CARGO VAN HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN ACHIEVABLE FANTASY. SPENDING LONG VACATIONS IN IT OR EVEN LIVING PERMANENTLY IN IT, COULD BE ECONOMICAL AND ADVENTUROUS.

To achieve that goal, you have to sit down and start facing the reality, that a substantial sum of money can be involved. The expenditure goes primarily towards the vehicle and the transformation of the interior.

The major expense involves the purchase of the van. Dependent on your choice of a second-hand or new van, the initial outlay can vary between a few thousand dollars up to $40,000 and more.

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Is Any Floor Material Good Enough?

Living in a confined space, with the outside dirt just next to your living room floor, results in constant dusty floors. Basing the selection of a flooring material on cleanliness, durability and weight, should be a priority.

A common choice in RV’s is regular carpet, which is affordable, easy to install and comfortable to walk on. Looks clean at first sight, but in reality is a collector of dirt, with a major disadvantage: the need of some type of vacuum. In a place with a limited electricity supply, this may pose a problem.

029A better solution is some type of ‘hard’ flooring. In my first conversion I used a product called TrafficMaster Allure Ultra which has stood up well to a fairly rough use. This was installed as a floating floor cover and needed no gluing.

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GVWR: The limit for Cargo Van Conversions

REGULATIONS ABOUT WHO HAS TO STOP AT WEIGH STATIONS DIFFER FROM STATE TO STATE, BUT IS IN GENERAL LIMITED TO COMMERCIAL VEHICLES OR VEHICLES WITH A GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR) OF 10,000 LBS. OR MORE.

weigh-stationIn addition, any police officer having reason to believe that a vehicle or combination of vehicles is exceeding its legal weight limit may require the driver to stop and submit to a weighing of the vehicle.

Outfitting a standard cargo van with additional windows, solar panels, multiple batteries, beds and furniture, will add a lot of weight to the vehicle.

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Cargo Van Recalls

Like passenger cars, your conversion van is always susceptible to factory recalls. A quick review of the type and number of recalls may also give an indication about the reliability of the cargo van and the safety concerns of car company.

Worrisome examples are the two 2015 Ford Transit recalls soon after its introduction and even more for the Ram ProMaster. Although these safety recalls are taken more seriously lately, they should be taken into account during the purchase process of a new cargo van.

An overview of recent recalls of the Transit, ProMaster, Express, NV and Sprinter can be found at Cargo Van Recalls.

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