I am thinking of selling my motorhome and doing a self build!

Millie Master

Full Member
Whatever you end up deciding on Phil, make absolutely certain that the body is fully cured and protected from the ravages of the dreaded tin eating monsters that are known to devour Sprinters (up until the very latest version), all Fords and all IVECO's up until the last model change when they went fully galvanised.

And of course,never forget to tap into the vast amount of knowledge which is available over on your sister site....
 

Phil

Forum Admin
Whatever you end up deciding on Phil, make absolutely certain that the body is fully cured and protected from the ravages of the dreaded tin eating monsters that are known to devour Sprinters (up until the very latest version), all Fords and all IVECO's up until the last model change when they went fully galvanised.

And of course,never forget to tap into the vast amount of knowledge which is available over on your sister site....
Thanks, I will.
 

ActiveCampers

Full Member
Its one of the most challenging projects you can do....
Lots of good advice out there, but even more wrong/unsafe/stupid advice - so need to engage filters :)
No "best way" to do it - no two vans will be alike. Some will spend £50 some £15,000 on build plus van.... Its a minefield.

(I've started buying bits for Van2 already - and haven't bought a van yet (late 2020 planned) - but some bargains to be had new if you shop around - e.g. managed to buy Truma ultrastore 10GE water heater for £325, Midi Heki for £300, and currently awaiting delivery of gas-it system and sink/hob lol. Basically any deal I get where warrantee doesn't matter!)

Its a lot of fun though.... and an excuse for many new tools
 

daygoboy

Free Member
Using MDF was what was often used in the past & made a lot of vans
unnecessarily overweight or at least left with negligible payload. It's a
dense heavy material, OK in domestic situations or maybe in a HGV van
with payload to spare.
 

Beemer

Full Member
4x4 .... why?
I currently have a 6 wheeler and would just love 6x6.
Due to the weight of the van I really have to consider my parking on grassed areas with only front wheel drive.
In the 10 years I have been motorhoming I have only ever got stuck once, in a wooded area and it took quite a while to turn the van round, winch and be towed out onto hard ground, to have 4x4 or 6x6 would mean "bring it on" driving.
 

Millie Master

Full Member
Using MDF was what was often used in the past & made a lot of vans unnecessarily overweight or at least left with negligible payload. It's a
dense heavy material, OK in domestic situations or maybe in a HGV van with payload to spare.
Unless you use green MDF the normal stuff wicks moisture up like a sponge and YES, all MDF weighs a ton, so why the hell even think of using it?

I made my entire construction on a frame basis made out of very cheap to buy 25 x 50 roofing laths which I then faced with lightweight 4mm oak faced ply which proved to be both very light and exceptionally strong.
 

mr brown

Full Member
all my furniture is 6mm birch ply on a 15x15mm frame. then a 40x15mm pine frame on the front to hold the doors . very strong and light enough to pick up with my little finger. walls are 6mm ply and ceilings 9mm t and g
 

daygoboy

Free Member
Unless you use green MDF the normal stuff wicks moisture up like a sponge and YES, all MDF weighs a ton, so why the hell even think of using it?

I made my entire construction on a frame basis made out of very cheap to buy 25 x 50 roofing laths which I then faced with lightweight 4mm oak faced ply which proved to be both very light and exceptionally strong.
Yes there are Waterproof and ordinary standard grades of MDF. The WP grade has
resorcinol resins in it to make it WP so it's heavier than the standard more porous
less substantial grades.
Thin ply on framing is a good way to construct van furniture for the self convertor you
only provide strength where it's really needed ie for bracing or fixing, and can be very
economical if using a single face veneer ply. Manufacturers can't afford the extent of labour
involved in cutting, positioning and gluing framing to facing panels.
The solid alternative is to use something like 15mm Vohringer poplar (lightweight) ply 8' x 4'
boards with melamine plastic finish (or plain for self finishing) and use all the proprietary
plastic corner finishes knock in edges etc. can be very expensive and overkill on a well
worn/used van base if you want a decent amount of furniture.
 

mark61

Full Member
Birch ply has a very good strength/weight ratio. Some very funky plastic coated ones from flight case suppliers and similar.
 

daygoboy

Free Member
all my furniture is 6mm birch ply on a 15x15mm frame. then a 40x15mm pine frame on the front to hold the doors . very strong and light enough to pick up with my little finger. walls are 6mm ply and ceilings 9mm t and g
And judging from your pics with really good results too. Looks solid without the weight,
just what you need in a van especially if it's<3500kg.
Hate to think what the available payload is on some vans you come across with stuff knocked
up from 18mm ply, and a lot of it!!
I've even found 3.76mm! single faced ply to be adequate for frame and panel furniture, wall
and ceiling linings all knife cut. Lasted 25 years so far and haven't put an elbow through it
anywhere.......yet.
 
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mr brown

Full Member
i have used the vohringer boards etc , great if you want a van that looks just like all the other vans , but far thicker than needed in most situations . nice and easy to use mind,but stupidly expensive . i like 6mm birch because it's got enough plies that it'll hold a screw pretty well. the 60cm square boards i use to fill in between my seats to make the bed are 9mm birch ,which i was a bit unsure of ,but are easily strong enough for the job.
 

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