My question is: Are there any known companys or resources for doing
a camper van conversion yourself? I plan to purchase a new sprinter van and do the work myself. Im pretty handy and would like to do the work myself first to save $$$ and the satisifaction. I presently have
an 02 Trail-Lite B+ 225 for sale, love it but i have three cars, including the Trail-Lite and want to get down to just two, using the sprinter as a daily driver.
Any info would be helpfull.
If you are a handyman, have right tools & lots of time.
You can build a decent camping van & save $$$.
When I bought my RT, the inside was really bad shape.
I removed almost everything & rebuilt.
One of jobs (Installing an inside aisle shower) dealer asked $2000 but, I did myself with less then $100.(It's better then the new models from factory)
Check all the Sprinter conversions.
Make a list what you need & contact your local van conversion company
to get all the major components.
The best thing of Sprinter is you don't need a fiber glass roof.
Maybe some big jobs you better let the dealer do.(Welding, Propane etc...)
Most small items & materials you can get from any hardware stores or, your garage.
Give the folks at Coast Distributing a call and spend $5.00 to get a copy of their catalog; almost 700 pages of RV stuff, from gensets to curtain hardware. Believe me, you don't want to start this project without this catalog, even if just for inspiration.
1-800-876-2627. They're primarily a wholesaler, so they may be a little slow getting to the phones, but service is otherwise top-notch. Nope, no interest in the business; just a happy customer.
Visit as many of the manufacturer's web sites as you can, and write 'em for brochures. Look at all the ideas, then play mix and match to get what best suits you.
I'd also suggest that you try to figure how much weight you're going to add in doing your conversion, and order your van accordingly. Allow for water, propane, etc. Most of the full-up campers use a 1-ton chassis. You'll probably want to do the same, if you're doing a full-house conversion with water system, genset, etc.
As a point of reference, a loaded Roadtrek 190 weights a little over four tons.
Good luck, and keep us updated!
Jim, "What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?"
'06 Tiger CX 'C Minus' on a Silverado 2500HD 4x4, 8.1 & Allison (aka 'Loafer's Glory') www.tigervehicles.com
I'll get started on the research for this project. I going with the sprinter 3500 cargo van, 140 inch WB with dual wheels for stability and the CCC. I drove one of these about a month ago, and liked it. Its a stable platform and handles well. I will most likely do without the propane system and keep it all electric, either with a built-in genset or portable unit. One item that i know i will be pickey about is insulation and sound proofing, i want it "cool-warm" and quiet. This is a big project but half the fun is doing it.
My dad, with the help of my older brother, a furniture maker and ship carpenter, did several conversions over the years. One tip I learned watching my brother was to make templates for the trim and cabinet fronts (all those compound curves and notches) with luan veneer and a hot glue gun. You cut up the veneer panels into asst strips and squares and rectangels and hold a piece up to the edge you are trying to replicate, then hit with the glue gun and slap another piece on top of it. Pretty soon you have a nearly perfect template. One thing we found out is at resale time, the unit is closer to the value of the bare van than the value of an equivalent coach. But you save so much over the cost of a manufactured coach minus depreciation that you are still ahead. Plus the satisfaction of doing it right. He did one on a 84 GMC diesel van platform with a high top that was truly a work of art. All oak cabinents over head, queen bed with a multitude of pull out drawers under the seats, fold out bed, a oak cabinent behind the drivers seat that hid the porta pot with three way fridge on top, which you could take out and put the factory bench back in for around town. I bought that one and drove it for years, putting 150K miles on it. Wish I still had it.
I say go for it and good luck!! Good excuse to buy more tools, too.