Finally! Bought a minibus to convert, now the fun begins :)

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  • Hi all, finally got ourselves a vehicle to make into our own little camper.
    Its a LDV 2001 Convoy minibus, half the seats had already been taken out and the back half was partitioned and ply boarded for storage.
    I have spent today wrestling with the remaining seats and the very screwed down ply and wooden shelving that was in the back. Some things that definitely need doing includes replacing the windscreen seal, its pretty gappy in places and the front seats are damp, the back corners are quite damp too, I don't think the back doors fit together correctly, so will be having a fiddle with those.
    Once its all back to bare bones my partner and I will be having fun sorting out any rust and coating the underneath in under sealer, great fun in this weather!
    There is a alot to do but I am really excited to be finally starting.
    I don't post much but I do read through this forum often and search the posts for information and its been such a help so thanks everybody! :D

  • You probably already know but if you get stuck then SBMCC (Self Build Motor Caravanners Club) are a useful place for additional questions. But, of course, we are all you really need for help in your endeavors :D. I especially look forward to seeing your progress because it is the vehicle I had intended to get before we ended up with the Acid Yellow Mercedes 709D Arriva Commercial Bus thing.

  • Please note that we are all very nosey, and love to see what others are up to, what peeps have bought, and how they modify, so if you could post pictures we'd be really pleased.

    OK, it's me, I'm nosey!

    I've driven convoys a fair amount for work, in a former job, and found them to be good, but I've never converted one - always seemed to end up with transits until I got the truck.

    I hope it goes well and you have heaps of fun, and not too many scream moments!


  • I'm nosey too! ;)

  • Haha you lot are very curious! busshrunk.jpg
    I can't stand far enough away to get it all in!backbusshrunk.jpg
    That was the back, the stuff was the sellers, today I have managed to take down the partition and the plywood that was blocking the back windows. And take up the super heavy and thick slab of wood that he put down on top of the carpet in the back. My arms ache now. Also nearly undone the remaining seats in the middle, the bolts seem to go on forever, a good thing I suppose!
    I did swear very loudly in my head whilst taking the partition down as I managed to crack the fiberglass roof a little bit. Annoyed at myself for being clumsy but I suppose another little leak on the list of leaks to fix isn't the end of the world.
    Vanman84, its the 2.5 Di, was really happy with how it went on the journey home. I like slow and steady!
    I will take some more pictures tomorrow to show the whole space, my partner will be off work in two days time so will hopefully get a bit more done those days. Thanks for all the support

  • Looks like a good canvas

    Taking and posting photos as you go not only keeps us nosey so and so s happy, it also provides a good record for you as to what you have achieved, and there are a lot of us on here who may be able to make suggestions when you get stumped.

    Good luck - ENJOY!

  • If u have a fresh crack get sum Captain Tulleys Creeping Crack Cure an treet it b4 it gets dirt in it. I had a leek on mine wen I got it. Had a big wad of filler an wire mesh ova it that looked like a cross between a terminal growth an a wasps nest! Yet still it leeked!! I picked a lot of it off an put fresh smooth filler on it inside but ther wos still a bit of a drip. Used the crack cure stuff and its all gud now. Must put sum paint on that filler...

  • Creeping crack care, sounds painful :D Thanks Vanman, will have a look at getting some.
    Only had a few hours spare today, but did get the last of the seat bolts out.
    I have also started to pull the plastic moulding stuff off, one side popped off easy peasy, the other side, well the little poppers aint popping!
    Going to save that fun for tomorrow!
    Got a little vegetation growing.

  • That vegetation ain't nothing compared to the forest I had growing out the side of my old C15. I wouldn't let anyone open the passenger side window.. didn't want to disturb it ;)

  • Feeling a bit poo today so doing research and the like.
    I realise now why we should have tried to get a panel van instead of a minibus. Not only would there have been no seats/carpet or windows to deal with, a van would have been 3.5t. The bus is 3.8t. My partner has a post '97 driving license.
    I did a little bit of reading before we bought it and thought it would be relatively simple to get it downplated so he could legally drive it. I should have read abit more really, seems like neither the DVLA nor the DVSA like to make anything easy or simple to do or find out.
    I called SvTech and all they need is the empty weight from a weighbridge, the details page from the V5, a picture of the current weight plate and a picture of the (empty) inside. And £120 + VAT. How can they deal with it with those things and why can't I find the information I need to do it myself? Frustrating. I have sent a couple of emails to both government departments, will see what they say.
    Did buy some wire brushes and sandpaper though to start prepping the little bit of rust found so far. That made me happy. Simple things!

  • rust4.JPGrust3.JPGrust.JPG

    Took the cab floor covering up today, it was dripping wet and found some holes :/ to be expected I know but still annoying. A friend of the family welds apparently and looking around at other local mobile welders. It will be nice when all the prep work is down and dusted and we can get on with the fun bit of doing the interior.

  • Better to find and get it fixed now, that way you can treat, coat and forget the problems.

    On finding that I'd be tempted to get all the mats or linings up; no point in having the welder visit twice


  • Just spotted in pics, the roof mounted blower, they leak and water runs along roof bracing spars, underneath roof lining and down onto side windows and seals. That's an important anti damp thing !

  • I don't want to rain on your parade Woolballs, but you might find some more nasty surprises if you remove the plastic footwell liners.

    Yeah, thanks, did that yesterday *sigh* rusty rusty rusty! Add it to the list.

    Had a quote of £250 from a mobile welder, will probably go up now with the step-wells. Waiting to hear back from my welder friend.

    The roof blower things is a little rusty around the brackets, I am half tempted to keep it as ventilation but do lots more sealing around it.

    The bus did have a new shiny new window screen rubber and the screen didn't crack which was a massive relief. Looks much smarter and hopefully a bit more water tight!

  • Haha, yep, same here. Tried to follow the trail of water, it seems to come from over the wheel arch. Have spent some time sealing the gully thing that is under the black cover trim bit that is under the window-screen on the outside (did that make any sense?) And have ordered some extra door seals, see if that helps with the mini flood by the sliding door. I reckon on just keeping on sealing everything until there can be no way in!

  • Yes I had a look under the black trim bit, it's perfect but diverts water down the edges of each side of the bonnet and tips it into the battery tray and it's equivalent bit on the other side, which then goes rusty. I'm told that water gets in past the wiper spindles, but I can't see how when the wipers cover them fairly well and I've stuffed lots of grease around the spindle shafts.

    I think leaking LDV's are a mystery forever shrouded from mankind. We must await the arrival of a higher intelligence for enlightenment.

  • Right, been busy!
    Got the welding sorted, kinda, there are no longer air holes where there shouldn't be but the quality of workmanship is a bit shite. Will need a bit of fudging underneath to be completely right.
    The floor of the cab has been sound proofed a bit and put back together virtually and work has started on the floor of the living space.

    The disjointed frame is to accommodate the raised seat mounts from the seats that used to be in the bus. The plywood floor goes down on Friday! Very excited.
    Spent a lot of time trying to waterproof the van, the window screen has been sealed around the rubber and the metal body of the van and the gutters have been cleaned out and resealed. Also sealed the join on the inside between the fibreglass roof and the metal of the van. We only have one leak left in the side sliding door.

    Have given up on that for now, there is a bucket to catch the drips but a plan is formulating to deal with it.
    Feels like we have been going round in circles for a little while with the indoor water features but now that the floor is on its way it feels like a big step forwards.SAM_1866.JPG

  • The floor took a little while longer than expected, turns out we have a jigsaw that no blades seem to fit. So the plywood was cut out using a handsaw, took a lot of huffing and puffing. But its down now as it the vinyl and I am very pleased with it. It great to see some progress.
    Have tinted the middle side windows that will be blocked up and bubble wrapping the walls of the van. Have got us some Kingspan insulation and some recycled bottle stuff for the awkward gaps. I wanted to clad the walls but am worried about the weight, would thin ply be lighter?
    Also looking at replacing the ceiling fan with a skylight, ideally a clear one so we can look up :D
    And where the lights will be going, so I can get some wire and start putting that in before we completely board over everywhere. Lots of things to think about and the going is a bit slow. I like pondering before doing!SAM_1898.JPG

  • I stuffed those gaps over the windows with the mineral wool insulation I got from the caravan I broke for parts, then covered the sides over with 4-5mm thick ply. It's light and bends enough to fit the body sides, but remember to mark where the vertical struts are before you start screwing it all together, so you know where to drill screw holes. Looking good so far!