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Author: Subject: Camper conversions and minibus speed limiters?
baz-R

posted on 6/12/20 at 10:41 AM Reply With Quote
Camper conversions and minibus speed limiters?

Unfortunately my personal circumstances have changed somewhat and I'm faced with my son living the other end of the country (6-7 hour's drive) due to his mum playing games :'(

My daily driver is getting a bit tired and needs to be be replaced shortly so I was planning to buy something that will do the distance and I/we can sleep in. As I don't do meny miles generally (4-5k year) was going to go something a bit bigger
Now I know campers tend to be silly money and so is the whole VW thing.

So I'm planning and looking at vans and minibuses no more than 3.5t for a project to do a nice job of converting, seems to be a case of finding a van and fitting windows and all of the kit or alternatively a minibus and removing the seats and or wheelchair lift.
In this part of the UK it seems like low mileage clean vans are few and far between but there are more minibuses that are cheaper than the equivalent van models and that is before adding windows.
Now both will need me to tell the DVLA to get the V5 ammend so no worries there I get that.

One thing I'm finding is that all minibuses from about 04 are speed limited to 62mph or 100kmh and often have a tacho thingy that is about the same size as a radio? lots of the ex fleet vans I'm finding are also limited.
Now I I'm not looking to be going everywhere at 100mph but it would be better to get upto 70 on the motorway that motor homes are allowed to do and I also plan to use it to go on holiday into Europe.

I'm also aware that minibuses get a different mot class but as far as I can tell when they get the registration form amended it can get a standard car/van test?

So my question is does anyone have any experience with removing speed limiters and tachometers or experience issues with minibus conversions before I take the plunge?

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cliftyhanger

posted on 6/12/20 at 10:58 AM Reply With Quote
Sorry, not answering your question. But a curveball....
A few years ag a woman I worked with wanted a "small" camper van as opposed to a motorhome. In the end they bought a Ford Galaxy, and had it cob=verted with a pop top etc. Used it for a couple of years, then emigrated. But she made a profit on it when sold.
Just an idea, as a galaxy will likely be nicer to drive on long, fast runs. And more fuel efficient too. Obviously not as large, but I reckon they would be a good compromise.

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perksy

posted on 6/12/20 at 11:05 AM Reply With Quote
Would a Converted VW Caddy be too small ?
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steve m

posted on 6/12/20 at 11:30 AM Reply With Quote
As ive said before, up to March of this year, i delivered brand new vehicles all over the south of England, and the only vehicles that ive ever driven that were limited were a two car car transporter, and a long wheel based flat bed truck,

All the rest, and that includes long wheelbased Crafter vans and the like were never restricted, although some of them should be!

steve





Thats was probably spelt wrong, or had some grammer, that the "grammer police have to have a moan at




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baz-R

posted on 6/12/20 at 12:05 PM Reply With Quote
Thanks for the replies so far.

In reference to size I don't think a galaxy or caddy will be big enough for what I want and be nice to have something that I can keep for 5 years and both me and my son 8 could camp in.
To be honest my daily driver that is an estate spends pritty much all year round with the back seats down. I put my mountain bike in the back and sometimes a kayak on the roof so was considering buying a conventional van or crew van (transit, transporter size) but all seem to hold their value far too well as always in demand as a workhorse and when my ex disappeared with my son to try and make access difficult and screw me for more maintenance :'( so hence camper came to mind so I can drive 6-7 hours get some kip and see him or bring him back with the added bonus of holiday trips together
I could pick up a medium or long wheelbase low mileage minibus or wheelchair access for less than a reasonable condition van and to be honest it's looking like less cost and work to convert one? So seems more logical.
I'm also not looking to buy something with lightyears on the clock and have to be replaced and repairing stuff all the time.

As far as I seen it is the fleet van's for major companies that are limited and I know that network rail stuff gets limited

Other than one or two extra windows the only snagging point is the tachometer and speed limiter.
A normal van conversion is going to about the same paperwork

I would love a proper camper/motor home but I have no idea how the price can be justified and I don't have 30-50k to spare, if I did it would be needed for a house deposit so I can get back on the ladder after loosing my house :-(

[Edited on 6/12/20 by baz-R]

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Mike Wood

posted on 6/12/20 at 07:25 PM Reply With Quote
Guess you have seen the following: https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/campervan-conversion-van-or-minibus/

https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/minibus-to-campervan-conversion/

https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/at-my-wits-end-vancamperconversion-who-knows-insurance-please-help/


10 years ago a Mazda Bongo would have been worth a look as well as UK built SWB Transit van. Any pop up top Citroen Berlingos or similar?

Good luck, keep us updated

Cheers
Mike

[Edited on 6/12/20 by Mike Wood]

[Edited on 6/12/20 by Mike Wood]

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Mr Whippy

posted on 6/12/20 at 11:39 PM Reply With Quote
Personally I think all the German stuff is way overpriced and not even that well made. It's just the looney VW fans that keep the prices high with nostalgia for the old aircooled campers that were really pretty awful. If I was to get a van it would be a transit and I drove them for years. As for speed limiters really it's the cost of fuel that you'll probably find limits your speed anyway even if you removed it.

7 hour drive to see your son, what a bummer that is and then to have to sleep in a van for feck sake.

Have you considered a trailer tent?? I have one, it's just fantastic, weighs bugger all even behind the Fiesta it makes no difference. Really easy to store as it's only waist high, some you can flip on their side to store. You get ones that just pop up in just a few minutes. Mines a 6 bed one and it's got a full kitchen and is bigger inside that our previous caravan that cost 5 times as much to buy. I would really recommend looking at them before plunging in to buy an expensive to run van that you only need to sleep in now and again but is most of the time a total money pit PITA.

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baz-R

posted on 7/12/20 at 10:10 AM Reply With Quote
Thanks for the links Mike no I hadn't looked there as its a mtb forum.

In response to the comments I think that I was leaning towards bigger size vehicles like sprinters, masters, boxers etc.

I think the issue is that reasonable condition/milage van's are few and far between where as you can find minibuses from schools, care homes and other areas that are low enough milage and have had a service history

Checked insurance and most of the specialist motor insurance companies we use will offer cover.
Called Adrian Flux and they do a policy that allows you 12m to a convertion from a minibus

[Edited on 7/12/20 by baz-R]

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HowardB

posted on 7/12/20 at 10:23 AM Reply With Quote
Ford Galaxy/ VW Sharan, or SEAT Alhambra are all 7 seat sized people carriers, the Alhambra that I borrowed did 60mpg and cruised at 70 all day without issue.
It was plenty big enough to sleep 2 and provide space to cook and eat. Only the more essential tasks would be challenging,. certainly no space for a shower.





Howard

Fisher Fury was 2000 Zetec - now a 1600 (it Lives again and goes zoom)

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nick205

posted on 7/12/20 at 10:27 AM Reply With Quote
Whilst I like VW cars I'm with Mr Whippy on the VW camper van thing - way over priced IMHO.

I'd look for something at the Transit end of the market. Loads of them around and they're roomy enough to convert as well. MTB and motorcorss people often use them to lug their kit and sleep in, even on at race weekends. Guy over the road from uses an Iveco panel van for eactly this for his motorcross weekends and presses it into service for his new motorcycle business as well (did the conversion inside himself).

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JeffHs

posted on 7/12/20 at 10:52 AM Reply With Quote
A long way from you I know but have a look at Base Van http://basevan.com/shop/

My son and I are converting a LWB Master Minibus/Ambulance. Great project but on hold now due to Covid restrictions. He lives 3/4 hour away but we're both in Tier 3.
So far we've cut all the holes for skylights, fans and toilet (and filled them without leaks!). Insulated everything and lined the inside walls and roof. Built slide out double bed. My wife did a brilliant job of the cushions that make the seating and convert to the bed. Built and plumbed toilet compartment. Done most of the electrics. Prior to lockdown we were just about to start on fitting out the kitchen.
Can't wait to get it back on my drive so I can carry on tinkering.

Good luck with your project.

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Bluemoon

posted on 7/12/20 at 02:39 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Whippy
Personally I think all the German stuff is way overpriced and not even that well made. It's just the looney VW fans that keep the prices high with nostalgia for the old aircooled campers that were really pretty awful. If I was to get a van it would be a transit and I drove them for years. As for speed limiters really it's the cost of fuel that you'll probably find limits your speed anyway even if you removed it.

7 hour drive to see your son, what a bummer that is and then to have to sleep in a van for feck sake.

Have you considered a trailer tent?? I have one, it's just fantastic, weighs bugger all even behind the Fiesta it makes no difference. Really easy to store as it's only waist high, some you can flip on their side to store. You get ones that just pop up in just a few minutes. Mines a 6 bed one and it's got a full kitchen and is bigger inside that our previous caravan that cost 5 times as much to buy. I would really recommend looking at them before plunging in to buy an expensive to run van that you only need to sleep in now and again but is most of the time a total money pit PITA.


If go this route worth looking at: combi-camp friend has one very impressed how easy it is to pitch - some trailer tents take way too long...

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02GF74

posted on 7/12/20 at 06:45 PM Reply With Quote
Have you looked at ambulances, civilian and ex military?

Or ex mod vehicles, unfortunately these are quite pricey, 17k for a 6x6 pinzgauer? Drool.....

Or lwb land rover/discovery? (no idea if they are long enough) but have the advantage you can drive off the road to avoid being moved on by the police for sleeping at the roadside.

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steve m

posted on 7/12/20 at 07:34 PM Reply With Quote
Just some of my thoughts on all the above, and in now ay dissing anyone's comments,

I a few years ago, had similar thoughts on a camper van, as we were for many years a "caravan owner" brings horror to a lot of people i know!

However a motor home, or van makes complete sense, as i no longer have the need to tow anything at a max of 60 mph, and your not allowed in the outside lane either on a motorway, while towing, something a lot of people did not know

I would buy a Ford Transit Custom, as they are really nice to drive, and not disimilar to my Mondeo
I would leave it as a Van, for tax purposes, ie no windows, Carpet the walls and sides in the back, over , put a nice headlining up, (easy)
And as long as you have somewhere to sleep airbeds? and a small fridge and a bbq / grill that pops outside, some storage for provisions, and clothing/bedding

What else do you actually need ? i suppose a TV and saterlite system. and a pop up gazeebo for when its wet outside,

When you look at what is needed, to allow two people to function for a few days, you do not actually need a great deal, as 99% of camp sites have showers and decent toilets, and an awful lot have more

As long as its clean, and tidy in the van, its only function in reality is for you to sleep in ?

Keeping the van in its original state means you can use it for what vans are meant for as well

steve





Thats was probably spelt wrong, or had some grammer, that the "grammer police have to have a moan at




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steve m

posted on 7/12/20 at 07:34 PM Reply With Quote
Just some of my thoughts on all the above, and in now ay dissing anyone's comments,

I a few years ago, had similar thoughts on a camper van, as we were for many years a "caravan owner" brings horror to a lot of people i know!

However a motor home, or van makes complete sense, as i no longer have the need to tow anything at a max of 60 mph, and your not allowed in the outside lane either on a motorway, while towing, something a lot of people did not know

I would buy a Ford Transit Custom, as they are really nice to drive, and not disimilar to my Mondeo
I would leave it as a Van, for tax purposes, ie no windows, Carpet the walls and sides in the back, over , put a nice headlining up, (easy)
And as long as you have somewhere to sleep airbeds? and a small fridge and a bbq / grill that pops outside, some storage for provisions, and clothing/bedding

What else do you actually need ? i suppose a TV and saterlite system. and a pop up gazeebo for when its wet outside,

When you look at what is needed, to allow two people to function for a few days, you do not actually need a great deal, as 99% of camp sites have showers and decent toilets, and an awful lot have more

As long as its clean, and tidy in the van, its only function in reality is for you to sleep in ?

Keeping the van in its original state means you can use it for what vans are meant for as well

steve





Thats was probably spelt wrong, or had some grammer, that the "grammer police have to have a moan at




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cliftyhanger

posted on 8/12/20 at 06:56 AM Reply With Quote
On that note, an old mate took early retirement, but as often happens kept getting contracted back to work. All over the place, as it was a water company and he did telemetrics. He also moved to France.
He bought a van, fitted a half decent "rock and roll" bed and added a few simple fittings. Cooker was a camping stove, think he had a plug-in little coolbox, though often the largest coolbox I have see filled with ice, beer and sausages (Le Mans!)

A simple solution and saved him a fortune on hotel bills.

I would add a roll out awning to the side, they are brilliant and not stupid money.

But I still like the idea of a galaxy as car-like to drive, park and so on.

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baz-R

posted on 8/12/20 at 02:08 PM Reply With Quote
I get what people are saying about "what do you really need?" and yes transits customs are a pretty nice to drive but there is still the added challenge of finding a clean good example at reasonable money

amblances can make a good base but often milages can be 200k plus and some are over the 3.5t my licence allows

down here in the south west there are plenty of examples of surf/day vans both complete or half done the where once a high milage builder van for sale
but you guessed it its the usual case of cant pass an mot, rampent rust or mechanical issues and "cant afford to fix it and i need to get my money back"
on the bright side there usually a good supply of conversion parts new or not very used up for grabs. yes some people make money but the world and his wife think that its easy but fall into the trap - top tip fix the rust before you fit the interior!

i guess at the end of the day small vans are practical but realy need a rock and roll bed that you have to have seat belts on (m1 tested) where as bigger suff can handle self made interior im not talking XLWB either thats a bit too big to be practical and again some can creep over 3.5t

i guss i see that i was looking at a good quality base van that's not too cramped to do a good finish conversion on to last me for years to come. if life throws a curve ball as it has done alot recently something i can get out off once finished without loosing my ass on.

daliy driver will go but as i said i do 4k normal miles rarely take more than 2 passengers so I would go a bit bigger than the usual med van

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adithorp

posted on 8/12/20 at 02:37 PM Reply With Quote
I've been looking at doing a can conversion and though I haven't gone into it fully there's a few things I've come across that might be relevant here...

Speed limiting on vans is usually set through the ECU and can be disabled easy enough with the right kit. Can't comment on the tacho on minibuses.

Panel vans are however subject to lower NSL. Getting a can relisted as a camper lifts this limit.

However to do that you have to meet certain criteria and they've tightened up on that apparently. From what I've been told it must appear to be a camper; Variously been told you need min' 2x windows in van, 2 ring cooker and bed but also heard of some having to fit graffics to the exterior to make it more camper like. In short "stealth camper" won't do. I've also heard of insurance issues if not reclassified. Also stealth vans can have issues at camp sites as some don't allow vans.

There's loads of van build/tour stuff on YouTube for ideas.

If I do get around to doing one it'll be full winterised, off grid capable. Possibly MWB, high top, 4x4 Transit, Crafter or Sprinter.





"A witty saying proves nothing" Voltaire

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baz-R

posted on 8/12/20 at 09:06 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by adithorp
I've been looking at doing a can conversion and though I haven't gone into it fully there's a few things I've come across that might be relevant here...

Speed limiting on vans is usually set through the ECU and can be disabled easy enough with the right kit. Can't comment on the tacho on minibuses.

Panel vans are however subject to lower NSL. Getting a can relisted as a camper lifts this limit.

However to do that you have to meet certain criteria and they've tightened up on that apparently. From what I've been told it must appear to be a camper; Variously been told you need min' 2x windows in van, 2 ring cooker and bed but also heard of some having to fit graffics to the exterior to make it more camper like. In short "stealth camper" won't do. I've also heard of insurance issues if not reclassified. Also stealth vans can have issues at camp sites as some don't allow vans.

There's loads of van build/tour stuff on YouTube for ideas.

If I do get around to doing one it'll be full winterised, off grid capable. Possibly MWB, high top, 4x4 Transit, Crafter or Sprinter.


Well I spoke to a main dealer for one of the common models that get converted that was recommended by someone in the know, yes often the speed limit is applied via the ecu setting and can be lifted if a van was presented in the correct state but ie was stated that sometimes there is aftermarket equipment that is fitted so to be mindful, tacho would also be fitted aftermarket usually depending upon application?

Insurance said that regardless of its classification just tell them the details on the vehicle accurately.

As far as dvla goes well we all know as kitcar builders how different experiences can be? Think the key is reading up, filling out the paperwork, being honest and provide the proof and usually it can be done without too many problems

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