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  • DIY Campervan Conversions

    DIY campervan conversions are big business at the moment it is mainly due to the covid which has been restricting peoples movement.

    So what is a campervan conversion?

    A campervan conversion is a conversion of mainly large vans into the likes of a mobile home come caravan.

    The most popular vans used for conversions are Vauxhall Vivaro and the Volkswagen transporters.

    Some campervan conversions will have a full working shower with hot and cold water supplies, as well as an onboard toilet.

    Cooking facilities could be a small two-burner hob or even a cooker with a built-in oven.

    Dometic is a well know make that is popular with campervan builders.

    They have a two-burner hob and sink unit which, help with space-saving.

    Before you decide to carry out your van conversion, you should plan it out first. There are a few things you should consider, like the gas supply and the electrics.

    You should contact an auto-electrician to discuss the electrics needed for your campervan conversion.

    DIY campervan conversions use an invertor for the electrics it, can convert the van 12volts battery up to 240volts.

    With gas DIY campervan conversions, you should always engage the services of a professional to guide you through the van conversion.

    The same applies to the electrical side for both the gas and the electrics safety is a priority.

    As we are a Gas company, let’s discuss what’s important in your campervan conversion.

    Firstly, the gas cylinder or cylinders must be stored and secured in a purpose-built gas locker.

    The gas locker should have cylinder straps builtin to secure the cylinders while driving.

    Depending on how many gas cylinders you will be using, you will need a gas regulator.

    For single cylinder installations, you can use a straightforward single LPG gas regulator.

    When using two gas cylinders, you will need an LPG changeover valve that connects to both gas cylinders together.

    Changeover valves come in manual and auto changeover.

    When you are using two cylinders, you will need a regulator with a built-in OPSO.

    No more than two gas cylinders must be stored onboard any at one time.

    You have two options of gas to use, propane or butane. Propane, in my opinion, is the better of the two but the choice is yours.

    All LPG gas appliances will work with both gases, propane and butane.

    When deciding where to place the gas locker, it’s advisable to locate it at the back end of the van where possible on the opposite side to the van exhaust.

    You don’t want any gas dispersing on the same side of the exhaust as it could ignite if hot.

    Gas lockers must have a drain hole to remove any gas that may disperse when changing the gas cylinders.

    You should ensure the drain hole is kept clear and not blocked up.

    Never store anything else in the gas locker other than the gas cylinders.

    Once you have decided on the gas locker location, you need to establish where the gas supply lines will run.

    It will all depend on the gas appliances you may be installing.

    Many DIY campervan conversions will have a gas hob and some form of a gas water heater.

    Some even have a gas fridge fitted that works on both gas and electricity.

    Each gas appliance must have an isolation valve installed directly below the gas appliance, or you can have a gas manifold with built-in isolation valves.

    You can purchase gas manifolds in many sizes, say you have three gas appliances, buy a manifold with three isolation valves.

    You run the gas supply from the gas cylinder/cylinders over to the manifold. Then from the manifold, you run the gas supply pipe to each gas appliance.

    All gas pipework must be run in copper and secured with clips. No rubber gas pipe is allowed only on the regulator connection.

    To determine the gas pipe size, you need to work out the heat output of each gas appliance and add them together.

    Most pipework can be run in 8mm or 10mm when connecting to a manifold.

    It is why it is best to speak to an LPG gas engineer first.

    You will also need a test point installed somewhere on the pipework.
    The best place is within the gas locker or close to the manifold.

    With the test point installed, a gas tightness test will check for any form of a gas leak.

    You don’t want any leaking gas within your new campervan conversion.

    With any gas appliance, you must take into account the required ventilation needed to work safely, as well as clearances that may be specified.

    Always read the installation manuals supplied with the gas appliance.

    You should contact a gas safe registered company, who works with LPG to carry out a gas safety inspection.

    The inspection consists of inspecting that the appliances are safe to use and installed to the maker’s instructions.

    Once the gas safety inspection is complete, you will receive a gas safety certificate.

    You may need this certificate for your insurance company or holiday park you may visit.

    Like I said at the beginning of this article, DIY campervan conversions are big business at the moment, so if you are going to carry out your conversion, take your time and do it right.

    Remember, your safety is the number one priory when it comes to gas appliances.

    Always seek professional advice for both the gas and the electrics.

    One other bit of advice is don’t forget to inform the DVLA and your insurance company that you have converted your van into a campervan.

    You could find your insurance becomes void if you don’t inform them, as you have now changed the use of the van.

    I hope you have found this article helpful in your search for DIY campervan conversions.