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Sorry if this is in the wrong place, I wasn't sure whether to stick it here on in the Bazaar.
I'm selling my lovely van. First things first, I bought this van in early 2015 so that I could turn it in to a campervan to live in over winter. I work at sea for around 6 months of the year and was back in the UK to do a course between September and April so I built the van to live in, which I did. I purchased it from a couple in Hebden Bridge for £2000 (It already had a fairly basic camper setup inside) and set about making it somewhere I'd want to spend 6 months. The result - 8 weeks of hard work, much more money than I expected to spend and a nice little camper for me to live in.
The plan was to make it just about self sufficient. It has solar power, a 70L water tank, a bathroom with chemical toilet, an inverter for mains 240V, a woodburning stove (so toasty in winter) and ultra thick foil and rockwool insulation. I also tinted the windows to keep it nice and private and panelled the walls in timber for sound insulation and a really cosy chalet style look (see pics) Now I've decided to sell for 2 reasons. Firstly, I've got a new job at sea that means I'll be out of the country even longer than before. Secondly, I've applied for residency in Canada and all being well I'll be moving there next summer. As such it's time to start getting rid of bits and pieces in the UK. The Sherpa is the first thing to go. In the interest of total honesty I'm going to write a pretty exhaustive list of the vans features, it's faults and any work that I would do to it if I was going to keep it. Just so you can get an idea of what it would cost to install these bits yourself I've put my approx spend on each item in brackets. Gulp.
250W Solar Panel (£300)
Pure Sine Inverter/Charge Controller (£120)
1200W 240V Inverter with plug socket (£100)
330 Amp Hour battery Bank (£200) - these last between 4-6 day if the sun doesn't come out at all
Fused distribution board for electrics (£16)
LED lighting throughout (£60)
UK domestic light switches with redundancy for adding appliances (£20)
Oversized cabling (£100)
Wood burning stove & flue (£290) - Custom made in Leicester
Stone hearth for stove (£65)
Oven (came with van)
Foil insulation thorughout whole van (£170)
Rockwool insulation (freebie from a pal)
Plumbing Thetford C200 Chemical Toilet (£190)
Bathroom install (£100)
Water pump (£70)
70L Fiamma Tank (£90)
Halfords insulated Fridge (£80) - better than most due to very low power consumption
10L ceramic water heater - runs off solar power (£140)
Full timber wall lining (£200)
Bed (Single that extends to double)
Kitchen area and wood store
Very large storage shelf above cab
Extras (I'll chuck these in for free)
Lockable tow bar bike rack
All furnishings, pillows, throws, blankets
Cutlery, pans, pots etc
So that's the meat of what I installed in the van. It's powered purely by solar, is incredibly well insulated (see pics) and was very toasty with the wood burner on over winter, usually around 25C in there with the stove lit. All in all it is a very comfortable place to be. The double bed has tons of space underneath it for storage and also houses the battery bank. Additionally there is storage above the cab for rucksacks, sleeping bags and any other big and bulky items. Here I also have coat hooks so that you can hang them next to the door and the stove to dry out. I also hang my walking boots here to dry off.
The bed is usually set up as a single and in this position forms a lovely sofa that easily seats 3. Add the two swivel seats in the cab and I've had 5 people in there in winter having a beer with the stove lit. When you have your other half over the bed slides out to a comfortable double. If I'm correct, it is exactly 185cm long as I wanted it a little taller than me. The cushions are refurbished caravan items that I bought and then built the bed to measure around them.
You have a wood burning stove in there which surprises most people. I had it made by a man in Leicester who does custom builds. It has a single wall flue that runs through a flashing kit and out of the roof. As the flue was a concern due to heat dispertion and fire risk I bought an extra large flue flash kit and vermiculite board to insulate the surrounding roof material from the heat. As such it is a lovely and safe installation. I run the stove at between 180-200C and the van is bloody lovely, around 25C with the windows open! It's also great for everyone to sit around when having a beer and sits upon a lovely indian stone hearth that I cut to size and bonded to the ply flooring. (You can also reach it from bed if you sleep at the right end, good for chucking an extra bit of wood on in the night.)
The bathroom area consists of a shower tray designed for the Thetford Toilet, all bonded to the flooring. Around this I built the toilet room, using fascia boarding to build a PVC wall system to keep everything nice and dry throughout the van. The roof light opens to allow condensation to escape and there is an LED light so that you can shower in the dark without having the door open! The Thetford C200 is a standard chemical toilet with waste disposal bin accessed from the rear of the van. The electronic flush is plumbed in to the van water system.
The kitchen area has a tiny wee sink for drinks and dish washing as well as a Halfords insulated cool box which I use as a refrigerator. The benefit of one of these over a gas fridge is the very low power draw and the fact that you don't have to have gas turned on all of the time. It's hardly been used and it good as new. Wired in to the mains and operated on a switch on the kitchen plinth along with the water pump, so both can be isolated if you want to save power.
As you can see, I can talk for hours about the van because I spent 12 hours a day for 8 weeks building the thing. I'm sure more will come to mind over the coming days and as such I'll probably add to the description as and when things come in to my head. So let's talk about the van. It's a 1986 Freight Rover (LDV) Sherpa. The clock shows 28,000 miles which in my opinion is far fetched. I wouldn't be surprised if it has many more but I have no service history to reference this against. The previous owners told me that it was last owned for 20 years by a man who converted it for his disabled wife. This much is true because she supplied me with a wee album of pictures showing the van through the years. I have these with the V5 and old MOTs. The MOTs go back to around 2008 and do confirm the mileage but I think you have to take these things with a pinch of salt, especially with a van that is 30 years old.
1986 Freight Rover Sherpa
2.0 Petrol Engine
5 Speed Manual
28k miles (not verified)
Twin rear axle
No service history, some receipts
Last had oil change in 2015
New alternator in Sept 2015 (I had this done as the old one failed)
6 new tyres in Jan 2016 (someone slashed the old ones, can you believe it!) (£305!!)
MOT booked for 24/08/2016 @ 0800.
I've done around 3000 miles in her this year, a mixture of town driving and long distance stuff. We've been around Scotland, SW England and South Coast. The only problem I've has was with the alternator which failed one day. I had her towed to the garage and a new one fitted. (£180 plus VAT I think). She sits quite happily at 60mph on the motorway but I tend to stick some music on and cruise at 50, taking regular breaks to chill out in the back and have some food.
So, you've got this far and you think this could make the perfect off grid van for your adventure to Europe. Well, she could! First, there are a few jobs that I think you should do to get 100%
1. The MOT expired whilst I was at sea in July. This may need to be done. There were no advisories in summer 2015 so all being well she'll do okay. If she fails tomorrow I'll update the description with a list of work required.
2. The shower head needs to be fitted. I never did this because I just showered down at the university gym where I was studying. Once this is done you can pressurise the water system and enjoy hot showers
3. Currently the waste water just runs to atmosphere. I would fit a grey tank to the underside of the van. All the pipes are there and ready for this installation.
4. Varnish the walls? This is down to personal taste.
5. Fit carpets in the cab. I fitted astroturf so that it felt like my front garden! Not a very neat job though, I'd replace this.
6. Touch up the paint here and there. I did the paint job over a weekend with a roller and orbital sander. What a mission. I got super hard wearing paint. I'm not particularly bothered about how she looks, I just wanted to prevent rust.
7. She needs a new gas bottle
Off the top of my head, that's it. I also have a Fiamma Awning for the side of the van but I never fitted it. I'll throw this in along with all the electrical spares and other assorted bits that I have from when I built her in the summer. That's about it. Personally, I'd advise that anyone who is serious about buying her comes to see me so that I can show you the systems and have a look around. She's a 30 year old van that I did as a bit of a project at the end of the day, I had two months off and wanted to learn some new skills. Nothing on the van is perfect, some of it is average but all of it works.
If you're after a battle bus that'll take you to the Scottish highlands and keep you warm, this is the van for you. If you want to go and sit on campsites with the other 600 people, maybe not. She's a bit scruffy for that. I'm more than happy to answer anyone's calls about the van and will be open and honest about all aspects. I can tell you where every screw is screwed, every cable is hidden and how it all goes together.
I must stress that this is an old van and a self build project and I'm aware that eBay pictures can be very flattering. Please come and have a look before you bid, the van is sold as seen. To that end, I must point out that a 10% deposit will be required at the end of the auction.
I'd love to have a quick, trouble free sale and to see the new owner drive away happy. I'm not sure what it's worth but if you stripped it for parts for another camper build and used it purely as a donor van, she must have at least £1500 of parts in there plus the all of the timber, insulation and other bits that can be re-used for another van build. Either way, I'll listen to sensible offers.
Now on eBay (I hope to get close to £2000)
Auction starts at 9pm tonight and ends on Bank Holiday Sunday.
10% deposit by Paypal, the rest by cash on collection.