Some simple things you can do with an old empty van to
create a usable overnight or weekend get away vehicle.
First off, you need to find a used van that is in good condition with good mechanical and body components. Something preferably with only rear door & front door windows and windshield. Used delivery vans are good for this purpose. Those that didn't have signs painted on them may be best as the finish is original.
With just a basic layout and a few dollars of investment a simple old
van can afford loads of fun and a wide range of recreational enjoyment.
A good sound system with extra speakers and dome light placed in the
rear is one of the first steps. Next is to install some plywood flooring
over the van's metal floor. This is done by making a paper template
of the floor to lay out over 3 4x8 sheets of flooring so these forms can be cut with a hand held saber saw. These will be fit over the floor
and attached with some flush head stainless Phillips screws. Once done
carpet can be cut with the same paper template and installed over top.
The main components of the Van's conversion will be the cabinet and bed. The base of the bed will be supported by 2x4's at the end and a wooden
box under the center. The mat should be 6 in thick extra dense furniture foam in a sewn fabric suitable for an RV bed.
The Cabinet will be the centerpiece of the conversion and require the most effort to build. It will be framed with 2x2's and covered with 1/4
inch plywood including the doors. The top will be covered with sheet metal formed over the plywood top. It may even be white aluminum coil
stock for this purpose. Pieces of scrap from building sites are perfect.
A small 2 burner Propane stove should fit and be held in place with bolts
and spacers. A small bottle of propane can be connected by a piece of flexible tubing so it is out of the way. (on the end of the cabinet facing the drivers seat) The wet sink would be optional and isn't as necessary
as some would think. But some states require it if the vehicle is to be
licensed as an RV. The fold out table will be attached to one door.
The following items should be given consideration:
1) Rear door mounted Spare Tire with vinyl coated fabric cover
2) Rear door plastic louvers to cover rear windows for privacy
3) Rear door tilt out windows for ventilation. Junk yards will have these
4) A privacy curtain made from a 3/4" piece of electricians tubing and a
beach towel & shower curtain pins for sliding open & closed
5) A 12 volt to 115 400 watt power inverter. It can operate an electric
cooking element or griddle if you don't wish to use propane gas fuel
6) A 36 quart Ice Chest
7) A couple of SteriLite storage bins for clothing & bath towels etc
8) A pair of roof mounted ladder racks to build your side awning with,
which is an inexpensive worthwhile option you'll come to appreciate
The bed support box is framed of
sturdy 2x4 pieces. It will become
stronger when plywood is nailed to it.
One open end is left to face into the
Van so the box can serve as another
area to store goods inside.