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Thread: Peugeot Partner Basic Build Plans

  1. #1

    Peugeot Partner Basic Build Plans

    Hi guys,

    Some of you might remember my attempt to move into my van last year, which failed miserably due to a design that didn't utilise the tiny space effectively, so I'm hoping to be able to have another go this Spring with a better layout. Since the 2 weeks I spent in Scotland last Summer I've been scrimping and saving with a view to getting a bigger van, but unfortunately it hasn't worked out. No matter how much I save there is always another bill to pay or another mechanical doo-dah to fix on the van. Currently at my parents but don't want to outstay my welcome here so I'm hoping to get going as soon as the temperature rises.

    My current bed setup is a piece of MDF that runs from the back of the van to the folded down front seat, resting on top of some storage boxes. It's super basic but works really well space wise and I can sit up on it unlike my last bed. However, it's a right pain in the arse to move it out of the way in order to open up the space in the back. My first project is to find some way of hinging up the bed platform to the side of the van so that I can quickly and easily turn the back of my van into a wide open space again for cooking etc. I know nothing about DIY so this will be an interesting learning experience for me. My Dad helped me with the last bed but I'll be doing this one on my own.

    The problem I've found with screwing things to the plywood sides is that it's too thin to hold a screw in, so the screws come out quite easily over time. I'm wondering how to get around that? One idea I saw online (but no idea if it's a good idea) is to use super-strong adhesive to stick thicker wood to the plywood where I need to put the bed hinges, and then screw into both that and the plywood so that it has more grip. Some kind of "sticks like shit" adhesive perhaps? I've read on here that self-taping, self-driving screws are worth paying for so I'm going to get some of them. There's a million types of hinge so no idea which will be the best kind either.

    The van was insulated last year so I don't need to worry about that and I'm probably going to use my camping stove for cooking. Should be a very basic build but I don't want anything too complicated because I wouldn't know how to fix it if it broke!


  2. #2
    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    When I fix hinges to ply I use machine screws/nuts and penny washers.
    just a simple guy

  3. #3
    I'm about to rejig my van about. My current build out was based on tongue and groove and I made a permanent bed box for my sofa bed to sit on.

    My van is too cramped and I'm finding it cluttered. I have a short wheel base transit which I dont think is much bigger than yours. Sorry just realised your not talking about a Peugeot expert. My bad.

    I would and probably will use self drilling screws and drill a rail across my van to screw into. Drilling into the inside supports. Dont use too long screws like I did with my shelves and drill through the panel 😠

    Dont be too worried about how "complicated" something is. If you've built it your going to know how to fix it. Obviously dont make it so complicated that you cant build it in the first place. Plus build it well and you wont need to repair it 😊

    Have a google for peugeot partner builds that have already been done and other smaller vans.






  4. #4
    Also I have found pinterest quite useful for ideas. Throws up different results to google.


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Offgrid hero View Post
    When I fix hinges to ply I use machine screws/nuts and penny washers.
    Does that mean I'd need to remove the ply first to get the nuts on?


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by NickJ View Post
    I'm about to rejig my van about. My current build out was based on tongue and groove and I made a permanent bed box for my sofa bed to sit on.

    My van is too cramped and I'm finding it cluttered. I have a short wheel base transit which I dont think is much bigger than yours. Sorry just realised your not talking about a Peugeot expert. My bad.

    I would and probably will use self drilling screws and drill a rail across my van to screw into. Drilling into the inside supports. Dont use too long screws like I did with my shelves and drill through the panel 😠

    Dont be too worried about how "complicated" something is. If you've built it your going to know how to fix it. Obviously dont make it so complicated that you cant build it in the first place. Plus build it well and you wont need to repair it 😊

    Have a google for peugeot partner builds that have already been done and other smaller vans.
    Yea I wish I had a Peugeot expert, almost got one instead of this pile of crap and deeply regret not buying it just cos of a noisy belt. I'm not sure I could put up a rail as the ply takes up the whole panel with no metal to screw to except near the roof. Thanks for the Pinterest tip, I'd forgotten about that!


  7. #7
    Comfortably Numb Rick69's Avatar
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    Self drilling hex head screws similar to these http://www.screwfix.com/p/carbon-ste...100-pack/93904 would probably be your best bet.
    Use a socket or a caphead in a cordless drill and just drive them through the ply and into the metal behind.
    You could back them up with a bead of sikaflex along the length of your battens if you wanted to add a bit more strength.

    Where abouts are you, there could be somebody near you that could have a look for you and offer some advice.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick69 View Post
    Self drilling hex head screws similar to these http://www.screwfix.com/p/carbon-ste...100-pack/93904 would probably be your best bet.
    Use a socket or a caphead in a cordless drill and just drive them through the ply and into the metal behind.
    You could back them up with a bead of sikaflex along the length of your battens if you wanted to add a bit more strength.

    Where abouts are you, there could be somebody near you that could have a look for you and offer some advice.
    Based in west Yorkshire at the moment. I think I might sikaflex a baton to the ply at the height of the bed, and then screw in as well as you suggested. For some reason I was going to cut smaller pieces for each hinge but one baton makes much more sense.


  9. #9
    I bought some hinges from B&Q, but turned out they were swing hinges and only turned by 90 degrees. Plus they weren't flat on the part that should screw into the wood and I couldn't work out how to attach them. In the end I opted for a much simpler way of moving the bed platform - when I need to make more space I'm leaning it against the side wall and holding it up with my storage boxes. It doesn't seem to lose much space than hinging it would have so I've probably saved myself from faffing about with it. Would have got pics but it was too dark.

    Next step is the mattress. I have a futon which is pretty rubbish to be honest so thinking of replacing with the same kind of foam they use in campervans. These guys recommend using Reflex 40H: http://www.thefoamshop.co.uk/categor...MPERVAN-OWNERS which I think is the firm stuff. The only question is depth, of which I'm leaning towards 6 inches (or maybe 4?) and split into 4 sections that can be stacked together when not in use if needed.

    I also tried out my new lighting system (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00C1EB33Q) however it was more of a spotlight and didn't disperse very well, and on top of that the pure white light was really uncomfortable compared to my old warm white fairy lights so I'll have to buy some more those cos I broke the last set.

  10. #10
    I'm waiting for payday and shorter hours at work before I refurb my van. I'm considering 4" or even 2" inch foam for my bed. To be honest my click clack sofa bed has a pretty thin mattress and a big hard metal divide where it folds so it can be uncomfortable to lay on anyway.

    I guess it depends on what your used to. I spent 2 years sleeping in a hammock so any bed is better.

    Lighting can be real simple. I use LED strip lights. They come on a roll 5m+ and you just connect them up to a battery. They give off more than enough light.



  11. #11
    Yea I slept on my parents 4 inch camper cushions at Christmas and was fine but I'm really trying hard not to screw this up. Worried I'll get the wrong size and be stuck with it til I can afford something else. The idea of actually being houseless in less then 7 weeks is quite overwhelming. When I first started thinking about van living it was more fun, something to do as an adventure, whereas now it's one of very few options available to me. I can work a job I hate to pay for a house I'm never in, or I can do this. Maybe I'm crazy, my family sure think I am. It wouldn't be so bad if I had a career or the prospect of an enjoyable job but no such luck.


  12. #12
    You sound like a bit of a worrier.

    Theres very little in the van you can put right if you get it wrong if you ask me. If you need more foam you can always add some more. Just stable a cover over to a back board. No stitching and it's easily removed and redone.

    I've been living in my van for just over 3 months after 2 years living in an industrial unit. So I know all about family thinking your nuts.

    Moving into my van in no exaggeration has changed my life very quickly.


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  13. #13
    Me gone,bye bye.. NomadicRT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiveAlive View Post
    Yea I slept on my parents 4 inch camper cushions at Christmas and was fine but I'm really trying hard not to screw this up. Worried I'll get the wrong size and be stuck with it til I can afford something else. The idea of actually being houseless in less then 7 weeks is quite overwhelming. When I first started thinking about van living it was more fun, something to do as an adventure, whereas now it's one of very few options available to me. I can work a job I hate to pay for a house I'm never in, or I can do this. Maybe I'm crazy, my family sure think I am. It wouldn't be so bad if I had a career or the prospect of an enjoyable job but no such luck.

    If you want some decent cushions and dont want to spend a lot at the moment you could have a look round charity shops that sell settees.I was after some thick cushions to fill in the gap between my side bunks to make a decent double bed in my trailer and found what i was looking for in a charity shop.
    A settee with 6 inch deep firm foam block removeable base cushions and similar sized softer back cushions.It was actually a pair of identical settees in perfect condition but no one wanted and bought the two settees for 20 chucked the wooden bases down the council waste, used one set of cushions for the job in hand and put the others in my storage so i can rotate the cushions now and again so they dont squash and deform.Theyre perfect for what i wanted and a bargain.If id bought 2nd hand caravan cushions it would have cost me a lot more than 20 if they were decent and ive now got virtually a king size bed in the front of my trailer for virtually nothing.




    If youre really struggling to work out the interior and worried about wasting money unnecessarily you can always sleep on cushions on the floor and stow them away in a cargo net on the ceiling during the day until youve worked out your interior.Almost everyone changes the layout once theyve lived in a van because you realise while living in it that something isnt in the right place or you could have been designed better.Dont worry too much about it.Get your living basics sorted out.You can build it better how you want in the warmer months .Its more use having a warm secure insulated vehicle than a fancy fitted interior.Plenty of people live in vans with no fitted furniture at all and baskets for storage and build as they go along.




    As for van vs house youll find it very much cheaper living in a van than in a house and you wont be under so much stress to work crap jobs simply to keep paying the bills on a house youre "never in" .Think of it that way and also being mobile youll have the freedom to find work anywhere you like.Assuming you can use your parents for all post and registered address for banking, insurance license vehicle tax etc etc you should have little to worry about.
    Plenty of folk on here are in or have been in the same spot as you (including me ) plenty of advice and help if you need and some good DIY camper conversion books about if you need design ideas to help you.Chill out and keep it real, it will all work out fine.
    Hebridean at heart..everywhere else is just somewhere on the way back there...

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by NickJ View Post
    You sound like a bit of a worrier.

    Theres very little in the van you can put right if you get it wrong if you ask me. If you need more foam you can always add some more. Just stable a cover over to a back board. No stitching and it's easily removed and redone.

    I've been living in my van for just over 3 months after 2 years living in an industrial unit. So I know all about family thinking your nuts.

    Moving into my van in no exaggeration has changed my life very quickly.
    Yea I'll admit I do tend to worry a lot. I tried to move into my van last year and failed miserably so I guess I'm hoping that the same won't happen again. Since then been stuck at my parents so really need to get going.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by NomadicRT View Post
    If you want some decent cushions and dont want to spend a lot at the moment you could have a look round charity shops that sell settees.I was after some thick cushions to fill in the gap between my side bunks to make a decent double bed in my trailer and found what i was looking for in a charity shop.
    Thanks that sounds like a great idea. We have a big Oxfam that does a lot of household stuff so sounds like a plan.






    Quote Originally Posted by NomadicRT View Post
    If youre really struggling to work out the interior and worried about wasting money unnecessarily you can always sleep on cushions on the floor and stow them away in a cargo net on the ceiling during the day until youve worked out your interior.
    Unfortunately I can't sleep in the back of the van without stretching out into the cab area so I need to raise myself up off the floor a bit.




    I went out today with the bed platform resting on my storage boxes and it moved about a bit which was something I hadn't considered. I think it will be ok in the end but I need to not brake too hard.

  16. #16
    Me gone,bye bye.. NomadicRT's Avatar
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    Perhaps you need a folding platform that stows behind the front seat/s ? Bungees are your friend if you need to stop things moving cheaply.
    Hebridean at heart..everywhere else is just somewhere on the way back there...

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by NomadicRT View Post
    Perhaps you need a folding platform that stows behind the front seat/s ? Bungees are your friend if you need to stop things moving cheaply.
    I never considered folding it towards the front seats, ah well maybe in the next version. I've got my MDF board for the bed in the right position and just need to order the mattresses once I've measured the space another ten times or so.

    Finally got the knocking sound I've had for the past few months sorted. Been in the same garage 4 times and each time it was either "nothing" or something unrelated that needed doing but nothing near where the noise was coming from. Finally I takes it in and they find a very, very loose ball joint on the suspension - as in so loose my wheel would have not turned after a few hundred more miles. No idea why they didn't pick this up when they passed the MOT two months ago but at least it's sorted now.

    Then today another random noise starts occurring from the front. I wonder how many months I can ignore this one? I am flabbergasted as to how much money I have spent on this van in the past year. It's probably not worth more than 500 and I've spent close to 2000, mostly in lots of little 200 here and 100 there payments so that's how I justified it at the time but now I'm peeved with myself. Every time I think "better than van you know than the van you don't" and just pay to have it fixed, I'm not sure it was the right choice.

    Been having a think about bedding. I originally wanted proper bedding (duvets etc) and that's what I went with on my Scotland trip last year. However, due to the size of the van the bedding made the van feel even smaller and more cramped. Also it didn't pack down very well in order to move it out of the way and so made me feel cramped. I'm leaning towards going for a sleeping bag this time cos at least I can put it in a compression sack, and I can get more heat retention for less storage space.

    Only thing is I'm a big lad, and I find them restrictive at best. Leaning towards these "cacoon" wide sleeping bags that give you more room by your arms. SnugPak do one called Chrysalis but I'm not sure on the temp rating to get. The highest one might be too hot for Summer but I don't want to have to buy two sleeping bags.

  18. #18
    It sounds like your making some progress 😊

    I know what you mean about the money you have spent on the van though. I bought my transit for 300 knowing it would cost me. I spent more on the new clutch than the van. Not to mention the bodywork and welding I did. I know I have a sound van now. I nearly spent 3500 on a transit connect with more miles but I haven't spent more than 2500 so far including the conversion.

    I had a the same thing with deciding bedding. But I decided on proper bedding. Mainly because I had spent 2 years in sleeping bags in my hammock. If I was to get a sleeping bag I would get a double. More room for everday use. I would also recomend a second sleeping bag. But something really thin and parachute like.

    In the winter you can double up. Spring autumn use your main one and those hot summer nights which we can get use your thin one.


  19. #19
    Might as well post a little update... not been feeling too great recently and finding it hard to get the motivation to do much of anything. I have made a bit more progress, and I'm freaking out cos it's about two weeks til I "move in" so to speak.

    I'm currently working as a (supposedly) self-employed courier in my local area, and I can't wait to leave. I'm going to be giving up my round of regular, daily work but still be kept on the books for cover work - so at least if everything goes wrong I still have something to come back to. I really want to sack it in right now but best not to burn my bridges eh.

    As for the van... got another annoying noise on the front suspension area (again!!!). When I get two new tyres and the tracking done I'll ask my mechanic to have a looksie - hopefully it's just "old van noise".

    Priority number one is to get the bed comfortable. I currently have some Poundstretcher storage boxes with a piece of MDF to make a platform that spreads from the back doors to the front of the cab. I spent hours researching various foams and whatnot, in the end I went for something recommend by a guy on Youtube: 3 inches of firm campervan foam bonded with 2 inches of memory foam on top. I didn't dare go higher than 5 inches because I'm already pretty close to the roof when I sit up in the bed. The mattress will be 190cm x 70cm, cut into four equal pieces which can be stacked on top of one another out of the way if needed.

    For bedding I've opted for an extra wide 2/3 season Vango Cocoon sleeping bag for the best use of space in such a tiny van.

    The next most important thing is electricity. My needs are a little excessive due to starting up a couple of businesses online and needing to use the laptop many hours a day. I've gone for a Numax 95ah sealed leisure battery which fits perfectly under my passenger seat. I'll be charging that up with a 100w panel which folds away when not in use, and I have a 12v charger for my laptop. I've done the maths and this seems ok for Summer and maybe Spring/Autumn but I'll have to rethink things come Winter.

    My rough plan is to head down south mid-March to see old friends, perhaps staying with a relative the odd day while I get to grips with the van. Then make my way back up north via the Peak District. And then next stop bonny Scotland, specifically the Western part of the NC500 route hopefully before midge season starts.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by FiveAlive View Post
    Might as well post a little update... not been feeling too great recently and finding it hard to get the motivation to do much of anything. I have made a bit more progress, and I'm freaking out cos it's about two weeks til I "move in" so to speak.

    I'm currently working as a (supposedly) self-employed courier in my local area, and I can't wait to leave. I'm going to be giving up my round of regular, daily work but still be kept on the books for cover work - so at least if everything goes wrong I still have something to come back to. I really want to sack it in right now but best not to burn my bridges eh.

    As for the van... got another annoying noise on the front suspension area (again!!!). When I get two new tyres and the tracking done I'll ask my mechanic to have a looksie - hopefully it's just "old van noise".

    Priority number one is to get the bed comfortable. I currently have some Poundstretcher storage boxes with a piece of MDF to make a platform that spreads from the back doors to the front of the cab. I spent hours researching various foams and whatnot, in the end I went for something recommend by a guy on Youtube: 3 inches of firm campervan foam bonded with 2 inches of memory foam on top. I didn't dare go higher than 5 inches because I'm already pretty close to the roof when I sit up in the bed. The mattress will be 190cm x 70cm, cut into four equal pieces which can be stacked on top of one another out of the way if needed.

    For bedding I've opted for an extra wide 2/3 season Vango Cocoon sleeping bag for the best use of space in such a tiny van.

    The next most important thing is electricity. My needs are a little excessive due to starting up a couple of businesses online and needing to use the laptop many hours a day. I've gone for a Numax 95ah sealed leisure battery which fits perfectly under my passenger seat. I'll be charging that up with a 100w panel which folds away when not in use, and I have a 12v charger for my laptop. I've done the maths and this seems ok for Summer and maybe Spring/Autumn but I'll have to rethink things come Winter.

    My rough plan is to head down south mid-March to see old friends, perhaps staying with a relative the odd day while I get to grips with the van. Then make my way back up north via the Peak District. And then next stop bonny Scotland, specifically the Western part of the NC500 route hopefully before midge season starts.
    Hey. Glad to hear things are progressing.

    I'm about to do some more work on my van tomorrow. How do you feel about moving into it now?

    What made you decide on a foldaway solar set up? Just with space being a premium you could of got a pretty flat mounting one for the roof. You might find charging your battery becomes a chore rather than it just happening as it wood with a permanent set up on the roof.

    If I was you I would go for a split charge of some sort. I initially started off with some posh relay but I coulnt get it set up right. In the end I opted for using an old set of jump leads and connected both batteries (starter & leisure) up. Both I grounded the leisure battery to the van as the starter battery is and ran a live feed to my battey with a big 60amp fuse and a 100amp switch which has a removeable key. I have this clipped to my van keys with some paracord. My rule is if its switched on it needs connecting to my keys. That way I can get out of the van without disconnecting the split charge.

    For yourbed have you considered just trying 3inches of foam? See how you get on and then add more later on. You might find it might be enough and save some precious head room. I'm only saying this as I recently sold my sofa bed and for 2 weeks I've been sleeping on a piece of plywood topped with my memory foam mattress topper. I'm pretty sure its not even 2inches thick. I've actually slept pretty well.

    I am going to get some foam just to finish the job properly but only 2inches I think now.


  21. #21
    I'm feeling ok about moving in - I keep telling myself it's not different than a long holiday. I seriously considered getting a proper solar setup on the roof, but I decided against it partly due to the DIY involved but also I'm hoping to get another van when I can afford so I don't want anything too permanent in this one. I know that the panel will be more work but if I'm spending quite a while on the laptop anyway then it hopefully won't affect me too much.

    I like the idea of a basic split charge system, I'm thinking if I needed power urgently with no sun I could link up the starter and leisure battery manually and leave the engine running for a couple hours ha. The bed was a source of much deliberating and going back and forth. I've no idea if I've done it right but we shall see this week.

    In other news... leisure battery arrived today. Bloody hell it's heavy!

  22. #22
    Ha yeah the batteries arent light. I'd definitely go with a split charge. I was having problems keeping my battery charged through the winter I only have 40w of solar at the minute though. But even then I was only running lights (LEDs) extraction fan (computer fan) and occasional phone charge. Now I have my split charge sorted I dont care what I use if I'm working as I drive 20-30mins each way.

    I just made my new bed and because I did it smaller 2'6" width I doubled up my memory foam. My back aches today. I think I prefer the plywood and thin foam option 😊


  23. #23
    Ok so encountered my first technical problem... the solar panel has crocodile clips to hook on to the battery, but so does my adapter that gives me a 12v socket. I need to find some way of extending the terminals so I can attach both sets of battery clips.

    I've seen these and thought perhaps they would give me enough metal to get two clips on but I'm not sure as they look like they are designed to take in wires. Anyone got any ideas?

    terminal connector.jpg

  24. #24
    Heavenly Creature Shroom's Avatar
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    i assume neither battery has threaded posts ? , i generally switch croc clips between batterys using one and charging another,same with inverter , if the battery its on dies i switch to another but i only charge from engine via jump leads when driving or mains when available (as it is now ) , when i do get solar and confronted with same problem i would maybe lose the clips and hard wire the panels controller if poss ?

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