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Thread: First steps with my van

  1. #1

    First steps with my van

    Hello lovely hippies!

    The night before Xmas, my car went pop. I had wanted to get a van to convert and, needing transport immediately, bought a van in a panic with what little money I had...

    It's a Vauxhall Combo 1.7DI from 2002. It should be okay for my needs - I've got a few ideas about how to make the small space workable. I've been using for my daily drive for the last couple of months and it seems sound to me but frankly, I don't have a clue when it comes to vehicles.

    The last owner was in the business of sanding floors and the van had been given a wooden bulkhead with attached shelving and was utterly filthy. I pulled the bulkhead, shelving, carpet and moulded plastic bits out and discovered a small tear on the inside around the wheel arches. I would like to add an image but it seems impossible with my mobile. Can anyone tell me what I would need to do to fix the hole?


  2. #2
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    Have fun!
    There's a thread below somewhere about 'holes in van floor' that may be useful.
    Grind back any rust and get a bit of plate welded over?

  3. #3
    Comfortably Numb Rick69's Avatar
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    Is it the 1.7 engine or the 1.3 fiat? Confusingly vauxhall badge both as a 1700, iirc because of the load area. Also its the same van mechanically as the corsa c so parts for the front are relatively easy to find. Corsa leathers seats, wheel, gearshift, front bumper all fit if you are after an upgrade. Tigra b headrests are a straight swap for the combo ones - pics if required.

    Upload your image to imgsafe or similar. Copy the url and paste it between image tags like [img]yourimageurl[/img]

    Where abouts are you, ive got some bars i made up for my combo you can have if you want them, either that or i can post you some pics.

    What are your plans for the van?
    Last edited by Rick69; 17-03--2017 at 11:14 PM.
    The following users think this post is groovy: Dullard

  4. #4
    Alf M, I was afraid the answer would involve welding. It's something I'd have to pay to have done :-( I'm loathe to pay out much before I have it properly looked over by someone who knows something about vans!

    Rick69, leather seats would be great. Thanks for the tip! It's definitely the 1.7 litre engine - though you made me go and make sure.

    I welcome all gifts but what do you mean by bars? I live near Reading but drive all over.

  5. #5
    Comfortably Numb Rick69's Avatar
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    Good engine the 1.7 isuzu. The bars fit across the rear interior and half way down behind the sliding door and allow you to fit a big shelf for storing stuff, whilst still leaving enough room to stretch out under to sleep - i made them up when i used my combo as a small camper. Fitted the ooker at the back of the she!f so you open the rear door to use it.

    Also look out in the scrapyard for a crew cab, they have a headlining fitted in the rear that the van doesnt have. It means you can stuff the roof with insulation then just stick the headlining over it for a decent finish.

    If you grind out a bit of the plate behind one of the seats there is enough room to mount a leisure battery or a gas bottle there.

    If you want windows just cut the metal plate out of the side or rear door, the glass is the same size and a window place will bond you a standard window in.

  6. #6
    That sounds like a clever layout but I need to keep the space so I can occasionally take a bass guitar rig to gigs

    My plan is to have an open space with hooks to hang bags of stuff that can be secured with straps. I want to make reinforcements in the panneling to handle some hammock attachment points - it should *just* fit in the diagonal going over a folded front seat into the corner. I have plenty more daft ideas but I'll try them out first and report if successful or just daft.

    I'm not sure what I will need for ventilation yet. I want to remain stealth - the back door might be draughty enough as it is.

    It'll be slow progress as money isn't plentiful and plans will change as things get clearer with use. I would like to save and get an eberspacher. The wood burners are gorgeous but for another vehicle another day.

  7. #7
    Comfortably Numb Rick69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dullard View Post
    That sounds like a clever layout but I need to keep the space so I can occasionally take a bass guitar rig to gigs
    It's designed so that you can take it out in five minutes or so in order that it is still useable as a van.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dullard View Post
    I'm not sure what I will need for ventilation yet. I want to remain stealth - the back door might be draughty enough as it is.
    Make a hole in the floor somewhere and fit a computer fan to pull air out, there will be enough draughts to ensure a reasonable amount of airflow.
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  8. #8
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    I personally don't know many who have successfully slugs hammock in a LWB vehicle. The dynamics of the hammock need a few more foot to work correctly. Many have put up with something resembling a hammock but that's down to what the individual can tolerate. I've got a queen size memory foam bed on a box metal frame. Hardwood head and footboard. It winches up into the highroof when stowed. Lowering it either to the hight of the wheel arches or to 6 x folding microwave wall brackets 29" high (just below van window level) and drop pins to keep it locked in place when travelling with it assembled. Two simple rope pulleys winches at both ends of the bed, clipped into two stainless steel D plates bolted to the vehicle roof structure. The bed can be stowed ready made, the pillows just squash up to the roof lining (depending how hard it's winched up). I'm toying with the idea of attaching 12 volt winch and pulley system to the next bed conversion.

    I like the idea of hooks and roof/ceiling nets for storing tat. Carabiners attracted to webbing work really well for hanging thing on and can be bought in bulk from eBay.

    Good luck with the build. The longer you keep it the more ways you will think of to convert it. What works for others may not work for you.
    even a gypsy caravan is too much settling down.
    The following users think this post is groovy: Dullard, itinerant child

  9. #9
    Heavenly Creature Shroom's Avatar
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    I did have a hammock in my bus for emergency/spare bed (20 quid or less from go outdors), it was on clips front luggage rack fastening one side and other end on other side at rear , did ok for years occasional use but I stetched the parameters one night with an oversized peep , rear luggage rack support same away from the ceiling , its now in service slung between a cherry and horse chestnut for my grand daughters use.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by alices wonderland View Post
    I personally don't know many who have successfully slugs hammock in a LWB vehicle. The dynamics of the hammock need a few more foot to work correctly. Many have put up with something resembling a hammock but that's down to what the individual can tolerate. I've got a queen size memory foam bed on a box metal frame. Hardwood head and footboard. It winches up into the highroof when stowed. Lowering it either to the hight of the wheel arches or to 6 x folding microwave wall brackets 29" high (just below van window level) and drop pins to keep it locked in place when travelling with it assembled. Two simple rope pulleys winches at both ends of the bed, clipped into two stainless steel D plates bolted to the vehicle roof structure. The bed can be stowed ready made, the pillows just squash up to the roof lining (depending how hard it's winched up). I'm toying with the idea of attaching 12 volt winch and pulley system to the next bed conversion.

    I like the idea of hooks and roof/ceiling nets for storing tat. Carabiners attracted to webbing work really well for hanging thing on and can be bought in bulk from eBay.

    Good luck with the build. The longer you keep it the more ways you will think of to convert it. What works for others may not work for you.
    You're right about the hammock. I'd already come to that conclusion but had forgotten - it's been a while since I've thought about what to do with the van! It's only 8 feet and so with no extra suspension, the hammock would have to be about 9.5 foot long which is apparently a bit on the short side for most. I had considered extending a stand out to an awning at the back but decided against it. Your bed sounds amazing!

  11. #11
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    I've seen a frame made from UPVC waste water pipe (white) using bends/elbows glued to the pipe to make the frame. This is then hung by chains to the roof with S hooks for chain height adjustment. Then a canvas is stretched between the plastic tube frame to form a bad base and makes for a strong, light weight bed/ type hammock. Again raised on the hooks for stowage. Check out a Pinterest for ore ideas.

    I made a double size winchable bed before using lorry ratchet straps one on each corner of the bed at the sides. The ratcheted end of the strap bolted to the van wall supports (holes already in vehicles) I would physically lift a corner/end of the bed in increments and pull the slack strap through the ratchet. Clicking to hold it as I went round the bed lifting. When nearly at full hight. Just ratchet up the last few inches. Worked really well. Even the smaller ratchet straps hold enough weight x 4
    Last edited by alices wonderland; 18-03--2017 at 10:34 PM.

  12. #12
    I learned a couple of new terms today: pipe cot and portaledge (not for vertigo sufferers.) I also found out about canvas bunks that some motorhomes have to put the kids into.

    My thinking now is to have a canvas bed that can be rolled up half way up the wall. One side would be attached to the wall and the other side would have suspension that hooks into the ceiling. The poles across the width would have to be removable to be able to roll it or maybe I can figure out a way to have some rigid arm holding the other side but it may sag nastily without the width poles. I reckon it would need a duvet on the underside as well for a duvet sandwich underquilt thingy. Something for me to mull over. My main worry would be if it turned out to be uncomfortable - I don't have great memories of sleeping on camp beds as a kid but mainly as they were too thin and short. Apparently the American portable Army beds are comfy.

  13. #13
    Rick69, thanks a lot for the offer of the bars but I'm going to try a different layout. I would love to see some pics of what you did though; there aren't many combo conversions on the net

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