Introduction: Van Conversion
Mercedes Vito interior fit out for work and weekend trips.
- ply lined
- felt lined
- Leisure battery installed to power 12v and 230v inverter.
- water tank with pump
- led lighting
- 12v fridge
- chemical toilet
- 2 hob gas stove with grill.
- Folding double bed.
- maximum storage space
Step 1: Insulating
This is the most important step in any build, house or camper.
- Remove all panels and fill all spaces and voids with rockwool insulation.
- Because I was ply lining the van and the panels aren't perfectly flat there will be a void created between the panel and the ply. Make sure to fill all these voids with wool, I cut large layers and taped them to the panel to hold in place while I fitted the ply.
- I also used 25mm rubber camping mats that I bought very cheap to insulate between the struts on the ceiling and the panels on the sides of the van.
- On the back of the ply I glued foil back bubble wrap insulation. The whole interior is sealed in this layer, make sure not to forget the floor The foil back will reflect any heat back into the van.
Step 2: Ply Lining and Carpet Felt
I used 9mm ply on the floor and 6mm ply on the walls, doors and ceiling.
Take care when cutting the ply to get the exact fit. Measure twice cut once. or in this case cut it slightly bigger and then try fit to see.
Use self taping screws to fix the ply. make sure to screw into the struts and not through the panels
Once the ply is fitted you are ready to start felting.
Try and fit the felt in large pieces. lots of joints are not very aesthetically pleasing. Use spray contact adhesive. cut the roll as needed and dry fit it to check it is large enough, it can always be trimmed after.
Have a good sharp stanely knife and scissors for cutting.
spray the area to covered. then spray the back of the felt . Start at the top press and stretch the felt to fit tightly to the surface. The felt is flexible to a certain degree and if you work it carefully you can stretch it nicely over wheel arches and pillars.
The ceiling was difficult to do so I made a T shaped prop to hold it in place as I worked it.
Step 3: Building Carcass for Storage and Bed
I used 18mm Ply to build the storage shelving and bed, housing for fridge and toilet.
The layout was designed specifically to maximise storage space, sleep 2 people comfortably but also work as a van during the week and allow for 8ftx4ft sheets to be carried in the centre of the van.
I haven't seen any other vans with this setup but it was the only design that would work for my many needs.
Step 4: Appliances
Chemical toilet , holds 10 litres of flush water and 25 litres of waste.
Leisure Battery. this is a 12 volt battery which has a split charge system fitted. ie once the main battery in the van is charged when van is running it switches over and charges this up. Every appliance in the back is run off this battery, this way the main battery always has power to start the engine.
I have wired up LED lights to this battery that work off a remote control. Led lights are the most efficient for lighting off a battery.
I have also wired a 230v inverter, this allows me to plug in certain devices that only work off a 230v three pin plug, mostly used for charging my cordless power tool batteries on the go but also my hair dryer ;)
I have wired up 3 12v sockets to run other appliances such as the pump for my tap, phone charger, fridge, and also a heated car seat which doubles as a heated mattress for those extra cold nights.
Gas stove, I have a 5litre gas bottle which is perfect size to fit in neatly into the van doesn't take up much space and has more that enough gas to last me a year of trips. The stove itself has 2 rings and a grill underneath.
Step 5: The Final Product
The final touches were a new table with cabinet stays to support the weight of the cooker.
Also I finally glued a laminate floor, this will protect the plywood underneath from water damage and it is also much easier to sweep clean and mop than a carpet.
Hope this helps some of you with your own builds.
I would love to hear feedback and if you have advice or ideas for changes I could make I would be happy to hear.
Happy building ,