My Citroen C 15 "Nano-Camper" Conversion Progress WITH PICTURES!

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  • Morning, dear friends!


    As many of you know, I'm going to be converting a Citroen C 15 van into a "nano-camper"! I've always really appreciated the pictures and stories people have put up about their conversions so I am hoping that you will enjoy seeing my pictures and hearing my stories too (let's hope they're not horror stories!)


    I'm going to be updating my progress on this thread, so please do keep coming back to see how I'm getting along and to post what I am sure will be very helpful comments! This is my first camper conversion and so I may make mistakes along the way but I'm happy to learn from them and excited to find out what I will learn. I'm researching and fitting everything myself... and I'm not exactly an expert! I know there are some beginners on this thread so some of my posts will be written with those people in mind (I know this because I am one of them and I love having a little simple guidance sometimes!). Apologies if some posts are a little 'amateur' for some readers! I appreciate your support all the same.


    So... this is my blank canvas. He (I'm pretty sure it is a he) is a 2002 Citroen C 15 Champ D600 that I bought from one of my dad's friends. He's a 1.9 litre diesel and I should get between 40-50mpg (so far I've done 97 miles on a quarter of a tank, about a tenner's worth, so looking good!). Apart from some rust around the bottom corners of the doors he is in pretty good condition. I'm going to grind the rust out and fill it and respray to make him look a bit smarter.


    At the moment, the previous owner's number plate is still on the van. That should go on retention soon so he will be back to is xx02 xxx plate.


    Meet "Raffi's Van" as I bought him! (Any name suggestions?!)



    My project idea is pretty simple. I just want a van that I can sleep in and store my essentials in. I'm going to fit a bed into one side of the van (it'll be smaller than a single bed!) and then see what I can figure out for storage. All I really need are my clothes (don't have many of those!) and a selection of my books (I have far too many of those!). My deadline? October 1st. Two weeks to convert it and start living!

  • TASK #1 - BASIC CLEAN


    When I bought this van it was full of dust, stones, wood chippings, old work rags and spiders' webs! The previous owner used the van on the odd occasion to transport logs for his wood burner and move garden equipment around between his houses. So the first task was to make it cleaner to drive and work on!


    I started with the cab so that I could actually drive it without getting covered in dust. Half an hour spent sweeping the stones out and hoovering up most of the dust has just about sufficed for now. I took a damp cloth out with me and some general household cleaning spray to rub over the plastic and rubber.





  • Hi , hope you have loads of success .
    As you have already seen my Van Pics in your other thread ,try not to be too ambitious when thinking what you need to survive in just a small space .
    I myself tend to get a bit carried away , but we learn as we go ..


    :thumbup:

  • TASK #2 - REMOVING THE BULKHEAD


    I've had a couple of days to think about what I want to do with the van, collect materials and throw together some simple designs. I soon decided that it would be a good idea to take the bulkhead out. After all, I'm not going to be carrying anything heavy that can fly forward if I have to brake sharply so the extra few inches I will get from removing it will be more than welcome!


    The process was pretty simple. In C15s, half/low bulkheads like this are attached with three 10mm bolts on the bottom of the bulkhead and two 13mm bolts either side, making seven bolts in total. I got to work unscrewing these (snapping a 13mm socket in the process!) and soon found out that the bolts at the bottom have to be unscrewed from the cab side. As you look at it from the back of the van in seems like you can unscrew them there but you can't as they are welded in as part of the bulkhead itself.


    You will need:


    • 1 x 10mm socket wrench or ratchet spanner
    • 1 x 13mm socket wrench or ratchet spanner
    • A sealable envelope


    Tips:


    • Move the seats forward and secure the seat belts around the headrests to minimise the number of things in your way as you unscrew the bolts.
    • Ratchet spanners are easier to work with in the confined space.
    • Start by taking the side bolts out, then you can easily lift it from the back of the van once the final three bottom bolts are out.
    • Be careful when you get to the last couple of bolts - the bulkhead is heavy and will fall to one side and bend where the bolts are if it is not held in position whilst unscrewing the bolts.


    The website won't let me post any more pictures... says I have exceeded my quota! So PICTURES ARE AVAILABLE ON MY BLOG - http://raffisvan.blogspot.co.uk/

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  • TASK #3 - INSULATION


    The next job on my list was an important one - insulation!



    I chose to use 4mm foil bubble wrap as my base layer. I got two rolls of it from Aldi at £9.99 a roll (€14.99 in Ireland). The rolls were 60cm x 750cm and gave me a 4.5m² area coverage.



    The first thing I did was give the walls and ceiling a wash down with warm water and washing up liquid to get rid of any dust and other particles. This is really important as most adhesives won't stick to things that are dusty. It's also really important to make sure the walls and ceiling are bone dry before anything gets stuck to them (wringing out the cloth really well helps here). I washed these down yesterday and applied the insulation today to give them a good few hours to dry out.



    Before I stuck anything down I cut all of the foil segments to size. There was no particular method or science to this for me... I just started at the back at the left and cut it to the sections that were already existent in the van.



    Once it was all cut to shape, I stuck it down section by section using carpet adhesive. I used EvoStick Caret Adhesive that I got from B&Q for just under £6 a can. I bought two and got through about one and a half to do the ceilings and walls. Before I bought the adhesive, I read the label to make sure that cross bonding plastic/foil to bare metal was possible.



    You will need:


    • 2 x rolls of foil bubble wrap insulation at 60cm x 750 cm each
    • 2 x cans of carpet adhesive
    • medium-large pair of scissors
    • ruler
    • permanent marker
    • tape


    Once the walls were about dry yesterday, I started to cut the foil into sections to fit onto the side of the van. Like I said, there was no exact science to this - I just held what I could up to the side of the van, making sure to push it right into the corners and joints, and marked off where I needed to cut with my permanent marker. Then I got snipping! I used little bits of sticky tape to hold the sections up against the metal so I knew how big to make the other sections.



    Tips:


    • Ensure your working surface is clean and bone dry to help the adhesive stick as well as possible.
    • Push the foil right into corners and creases to ensure there are no gaps.
    • For odd shapes, curves and corners where you have to estimate, give yourself an inch extra to be on the safe side.
    • Don't wear anything that you would mind getting covered in super sticky and tacky adhesive!
    • Save all the small pieces and off cuts as you go along as they are useful for filling in little spaces afterwards!
    • Leave the adhesive for a minute or two to go tacky before you apply the material otherwise your material won't stick straight away.
    • Identify where your electrical access points will be so that you can easily cut into them if you need to get to electrics. I marked mine with permanent marker for now but will cut little doors in through the insulation when the next layers get added.



    Stage 2 will be the floor!


    PICTURES AVAILABLE HERE: http://raffisvan.blogspot.co.u…3-insulation-stage-1.html

  • That's looking awsome fair play, i didn't know you can get stuff like that in Aldi, is it sold all year round or just on the off chance you managed to pick it up there?

  • That's looking awsome fair play, i didn't know you can get stuff like that in Aldi, is it sold all year round or just on the off chance you managed to pick it up there?


    Aldi did a special buy thingie where they had a load of building stuff. It's pretty cheap online too - probably cheaper! If you're thinking of kitting out a van of a similar size, just look for something online roughly the same size as the foil I bought (60cm x 750cm) and get two or three of them and you should be good to go :)


    - - - Updated - - -


    I LOVE THIS THREAD! The very best of luck with this project.


    Thanks, stupot! :)

  • Just a thought but let's say I wanted to use a Fiesta van as is nano camper for weekends/festivals etc. I had thought of removing the passenger seat (I have no need for one) in order to extend the length of the sleeping area & then utilising the foot well as a storage area. The arrangement would be a permanent one (but reversible if the vehicle was sold). Blackout material around the windows possibly backed up by a heavy curtain hung behind the seat which went across the width of the interior & long enough to go to the floor if a little extra insulation was required. Your thoughts please.

    Yesterdays gone, tomorrows a mystery, today's a gift, that's why its called the present.

  • Just a thought but let's say I wanted to use a Fiesta van as is nano camper for weekends/festivals etc. I had thought of removing the passenger seat (I have no need for one) in order to extend the length of the sleeping area & then utilising the foot well as a storage area. The arrangement would be a permanent one (but reversible if the vehicle was sold). Blackout material around the windows possibly backed up by a heavy curtain hung behind the seat which went across the width of the interior & long enough to go to the floor if a little extra insulation was required. Your thoughts please.


    Sounds good, but you should probably start your own thread.

  • TASK #4 - REPLACEMENT REAR DOOR CARDS


    When I was doing Stage 1 of the insulation, I left the back doors as they were. If I faffed about and lined what I could with foil I don't really think it would have had much impact so I was trying to think of a better plan before I moved onto them. One thing I definitely needed to do, in my mind, was make some door/panel cards for the rear doors because otherwise there was a gaping hole going straight through the metal that would be exposed to the elements. So, off I set with my stencils and my foam board!


    I started off by holding up some old recycled packaging paper to the hole that needed to be covered by the door card. I didn't know how to get the correct shape any other way than by carefully drawing around where the grooves were in the door. It was tough keeping the paper on tight, (on reflection, I should have stuck it down first) but in the end I got quite an accurate fit. I drew onto the paper then cut out the stencil leaving an extra few mm 'mistake' room (and a good job I did!) Once it was cut out, I held it up to the hole I needed to cover just to make sure it was right before I started cutting into the foam board.


    Once I had that, I simply drew around the paper stencil onto my foam board and cut it with a craft knife. Make sure you have something like a cutting mat or a newspaper underneath to protect your surfaces! A quick check to make sure it fit against the hole on one door told me it was OK to go ahead and draw around that one to make an identical one for the other door. Simple!


    So, two door cards later I went back out to the van to see about fitting them. There is a curve in the van door so I just made a little mark where the curve was at its most curvy (scientific term!) and scored the backs of the cards a few times along those lines. The foam boards are only strong because of the layers of plastic on the outside so when they are scored it enables you to bend them much easier (otherwise they would snap).


    Once I've decided on fabrics and colour schemes etc I will cover them and fit them to the doors!


    You will need:


    • 1 x fairly large piece of paper (around 50cm x 50cm)
    • 2 x sheets of foam board (mine were 5mm thick and about 60cm x 45cm and gave me a lot of off cut - unfortunately not big enough to make two out of)
    • marker pen
    • craft knife
    • cutting mat/thick layer of newspaper


    THE 'NEARLY FINISHED' PRODUCTS:



    Tips:


    • Give yourself extra room on your stencil - you can always cut smaller but you can't cut bigger!
    • Take the craft knife outside with you so you can adjust tiny bits against the door without redrawing the lines.
    • Score the foam board along the back to help it bend.
    • Don't let your dogs near you with the craft knife!


    PICTURES OF THE WHOLE PROCESS AVAILABLE HERE: http://raffisvan.blogspot.co.u…ment-rear-door-cards.html

  • Just a thought but let's say I wanted to use a Fiesta van as is nano camper for weekends/festivals etc. I had thought of removing the passenger seat (I have no need for one) in order to extend the length of the sleeping area & then utilising the foot well as a storage area. The arrangement would be a permanent one (but reversible if the vehicle was sold). Blackout material around the windows possibly backed up by a heavy curtain hung behind the seat which went across the width of the interior & long enough to go to the floor if a little extra insulation was required. Your thoughts please.


    I don't think you'll have any worries with this if you're creative with your available space! The only thing I'd say is that if you are planning to stealth camp then curtains around the front windows etc would give you away straight away! Putting heavy blackout style curtain behind the seats tends to be OK because it just looks like a dark bulkhead. If you're not worried about stealthing then I reckon you're good to go!

  • TASK #5 - FLOORING


    So, onto something else important... the flooring!


    Simple one here... I added another layer of insulating foil bubble wrap to the floor and then put the carpet down. I was give some off cuts of carpet and so I put the nicest biggest piece on the left hand side and the other piece where the bed will go (so it covers up the fact that there are two carpet colours!)


    You will need:


    • Approx. 12ft of foil bubble wrap for the floor insulation (see previous post on insulation)
    • Carpet (the whole area is about 5'5" x 5'6")
    • Scissors
    • Stanley knife
    • Carpet adhesive


    I stuck the insulation to the bare metal with carpet adhesive and then just laid the carpet over the top. It fits nice and snug so I didn't glue it down. I found it easier to butt the insulation and carpet together rather than overlapping anywhere.


    Here's the finished carpeting with my dad!




    Tips:



    • Remember to leave some gaps for where the door catch is and the spare wheel bolt. Don't glue over them!
    • Keep the small off cuts of carpet to fill in the little spaces that will inevitably occur...


    More images here! http://raffisvan.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/task-5-flooring.html

  • TASK #6 - BED


    Another important task - making myself a bed!!


    My dad bought me a piece of floorboard to make my bed out of and I used some scrap wood ('reclaimed' sounds nicer...) to make the legs. Some of the support for the bed came from the wheel arch and the rest of the bed is held up by the wooden legs - two at the head, one in the middle and one at the foot.


    It took some trial and error to make the size fit but a bit of shaving off here and cutting out sections there and it worked in the end. Having two people and an old tin of Quality Street to help balance the wood on helped a lot!


    You will need:


    • Appropriate boarding, approx. 2'6" x 5'6"
    • Legs/frame from whatever 'reclaimed' wood you find!
    • Screws
    • Drill/screwdriver
    • Carpet if you want to cover it with that.
    • Staple gun or extra screws to fit the carpet on.


    The finished product!



    Tips:


    • Don't be afraid to cut into the bed to make it fit right. Your feet won't miss an inch or two cut from the corners!
    • If you still need to use the van for van purposes, you should be OK to leave it in the van without fixing it down. It's pretty heavy and isn't going anywhere!
    • Put a layer of carpet over the top to smooth off corners and provide some extra padding.


    MORE PICTURES HERE: http://raffisvan.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/task-6-bed.html

  • TASK #7 - SMALL TABLE


    I had some wood left over from the bed so I decided to make myself a small fold down table. This is another really simply job - just some floorboard with the side slats jigawed off and some hinges whacked on to the side of the van. Pop a couple of fold out legs on and a little catch to hold it up and job's a good'n!


    You will need:



    • Left over wood from your floorboard bed, or some other wood similar size
    • Appropriate thickness wood for the legs - mine was about an inch by an inch
    • Four hinges, two large and two small.
    • Screws
    • Drill/screwdriver
    • Small piece of wood for the catch



    Tips:



    • Make sure you measure the screws properly so they don't come through the top of your table.
    • Leave yourself a little gap behind the table when you're screwing everything in otherwise it won't fold down neatly.
  • Raffi, I would consider placing a thin strip of wood around the frame to make a lip. I've found (probably because I'm a shufflebum) that during the night the mattress will start to slip off the bed making for uncomfortable kipping. Turning it into a 'bunk' as opposed to a straight bed will eliminate this problem.


    I have A Citroen Berlingo, which I use to tow my 'van. It is converted for wheelchair use - I'm not a wheelchair user - but it has a lowered floor & ramp, thus allowing me to take my motorbike on my travels. It has only one single seat in the back which could be turned on its axis by 90 degrees to give a nice comfortable 'easy' chair. I would get round the window issue by placing sticky back plastic of corresponding colour to the body over the side windows, thus in effect creating a van (the rear windows of the Berlingo pop out as opposed to wind down, ideal for this job as the widows themselves only need to be opened to form templates) I'm not saying I'm going to convert but this thread has certainly set me thinking of the change from 'mobile garage' to camper.

    Yesterdays gone, tomorrows a mystery, today's a gift, that's why its called the present.