Hello and advice needed (Buying a van)

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  • Hello all,

    My name is Sam, 25 and I live in London.

    Myself and my fiance work at festivals on bars over the Summer and are looking for a van to do a very simple (and very cheap..!) conversion on. We don't need anything fancy and have been leaning towards an LDV Convoy, partly due to their simple, reliable Transit engine, their wide load width (so we can sleep sideways), and their looks!

    At the moment I'm really stuck between a hi-top (as we're both quite tall and would like to be able to stand up inside it) or a normal roofed one. Does anyone have any experience with this, does it make a huge difference to comfort? I'd like it to be nice enough to go on holiday in, not just somewhere to sleep.

    I'm also having the same dilema over SWB and LWB.

    I've also been considering a minibus instead of a van due to them having more windows, I don't want to end up with a dark and dingy van but privacy is also important! Again, does anyone have any experience or thoughts regarding this?

    Unfortunately, due to the LEZ (London Emission Zone), we are restricted from buying anything older than 2002, and due to budget, we are limited to ~£1500.

    I would appreciate any advice or input from you!


  • Hi, I would say buy high roof. Although you cant stand where there's a bed or furniture. Its is good to stand to get dressed, cook etc. Long wheel base will give you room for a double bed sideways at the back, without the bed sticking out into the side door way. Regards a mini bus, it will have windows, always good to have natural light. If you buy a van that is under ten years old the new law will prevent you installing windows. If you ever wanted to fit windows it would not pass the new campervan conversion as it is a van and not a camper and must be considered as it was from manufacture (as a van) at MOT at class 7 and not class 4 . So insurance will not become any cheaper. A minibus is easier to convert to look like a camper for the new EU law. Regarding the LEZ consider a petrol engine, lots of them still about & not effected by the LEZ. A old Ford Transit (petrol) minibus could be bought for around £1500

  • Thanks for the quick reply!

    You've confirmed my thoughts regarding high tops and LWB, I think it's the way to go.

    Regarding insurance, I've been getting quotes for vans (as it will probably be one when I buy it), should I be looking at camper insurance now or wait until I've done the conversion. I also read somewhere that to be classified as a camper, it must have cooking facilities, housing for water storage and a few other things I'd not be fitting (at first anyway…)

    Thank you for your tips regarding LEZ and petrol vans, I'll definitely look into this!

  • That's true about the requirements to have a van classed as a camper. I think Adrian Flux will insure as a camper in conversion, so your insured while you do the work. there's a few threads on here about insurance companies and conversions. You need to beaware of the new EU regs regarding conversions and the outside appearance must look like a camper. Again a thread on here about it. Good luck

  • I can't thank you enough for recommending Adrian Flux. Quotes are coming in £100-£200 cheaper than elsewhere!

    I've decided what vehicle I want now so just have to play the waiting game until one comes up on eBay, Autotrader or Gumtree. Are there other websites you'd recommend too?

    LDV Convoy,
    2002+, Crew Cab, High Top, LWB. :)

  • In addition, from
    29 April 2012
    new motor caravans
    have been required to be
    . This means that a government agency
    will need to sanction the design of new
    motor caravans before sales can begin.
    Existing motor caravans, already register
    ed with the DVLA, are not affected by
    Likewise, conversions of regi
    stered panel vans into motor caravans are not affected by
    . However it remains the responsibility of
    the manufacturer/converter to produce a
    safe vehicle.