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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I've just bought a 2008 Primastar but decided you guys have the best forum so joined here :)


The starting point is a minibus that a previous owner did some work on, carpet lining and fitting Espace seats in place of the benches.
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The plan is to have a multipurpose vehicle than can retain a big boot, be converted back to a relatively vanlike space within 30 minutes and can sleep four people.

Two of those people are small enough to fit crosswise on the floor thankfully. Doing this on a budget to test the waters as to whether we get use out of it as a camper or not, if we do we will sell it on and build something on a newer, nicer base, or if we don't we will sell it on and chalk it down to experience. If we do a good job it should be hard to lose much money.

We have already ripped out the seats and reinstalled the runners for two of them, plus built a frame for a simple bed.
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Discussion Starter #2
The front seats are in a bit of a state though, the drivers seat has been replaced with one from an espace too, which is worn, sitting too tall and angled up too much and badly installed and the passenger seat has had some surgery on the centre seatbelt where access was by stanley knife!!

I'm looking at my options for replacment and given I need to do something on both seats I got to looking and the vivaro/traffic/etc mk2 seats are much nicer looking and some have under seat storage.

Looking at this video here:
would suggest that they are compatible as he is using a mk1 swivel in a mk2. it's not 100% plain sailing but doesnt look like a big deal either.

Does anyone know if the mk2 drivers seat would fit too? or does anyone have a mk2 that could measure the hole centres for the drivers seat?
 

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2003 Vauxhall Astra G 1.6 8v Active.
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Welcome to VxON :)(y)

Looking forward to following your build.

I did convert a Transit HiCube to a basic camper many years ago, but it was big enough to have a proper double divan bed in. Conversion was much easier.
 

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Astra 1.3 cdti Estate 2014.
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Done my sons ex gpo Peugeot van with roller doors on back a 2014 cost £2220 work wise only to strip out the roller doors guides then a full interior with strapping and insulation and 6mm ply then formed a double bed fold up and built a bunk bed on top and carpet all round on the ceiling and walls vinyl flooring all lights and electrical work . Then onto a camperavan fitter for the final fit out of the full kitchen at a cost of £990. Van is valued at £10-to £12,000 now after 8 weeks work , total cost was around £4500 but it won't be sold as we used it last year b4 covid lockdown going to loch lomond and beyond will still be using in years to come.
 

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Done my sons ex gpo Peugeot van with roller doors on back a 2014 cost £2220 work wise only to strip out the roller doors guides then a full interior with strapping and insulation and 6mm ply then formed a double bed fold up and built a bunk bed on top and carpet all round on the ceiling and walls vinyl flooring all lights and electrical work . Then onto a camperavan fitter for the final fit out of the full kitchen at a cost of £990. Van is valued at £10-to £12,000 now after 8 weeks work , total cost was around £4500 but it won't be sold as we used it last year b4 covid lockdown going to loch lomond and beyond will still be using in years to come.
Did you have any problems getting on camp sites? and did you try to re register it as a camper? My mate is having a nightmare with his, the uk regulations have changed radically, he paid 9000 for his van (vw t5) and 12000 for full professional conversion, dvla wont register it as a camper van as it doesn't have windows running the full length of both sides, and most camp sites (down south Cornwall Devon) wont let you onsite without proper registration, its got to the point he is now trying to sell it but everyone interested the first question they ask is "is it registered as a camper?" I was going to convert a long wheel base vivaro but its put me off.
 

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Astra 1.3 cdti Estate 2014.
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We have no problems here in Scotland the van is insured as a campervan so no problem going onto sites but being Scotland you can virtually go where you want within reason.
 

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Even professionally converted vans are rarely being registered as motor caravans due to DVLA regulations that they seem to apply at a whim. You need a high top too, not a pop top and decals to make it "look like a camper". The most you can hope for is a "van with windows" which it is debatable whether you get the increased speed limits. I can't get an answer from DVLA.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Over here in Ireland the situation is similar, but different, and also grey in places. We like a bit of grey over here.

Technically I'm converting a car, not a van. this matters because we have this lovely thing called Vehicle Registration Tax, which is a nasty double VAT essentially on new vehicles, and also applies to used imports, or when vehicles are moving up a category of "niceness" essentially.

So a panel van is €200 flat rate. A crew cab van, or a camper is 13% of whatever the revenue decide the vehicle is worth and a passenger car is anywhere from 14% to 36% depending on engine size up to 2008 or emissions after 2008, plus another NOX amount that can be up to €5,000.

So changing from a van to a camper is a serious operation involving the taxman, and the taxman is very picky.

I've bought a car which therefore had the highest rate of VRT paid day one, so I dont need to deal with the taxman to change to a camper.

Motor tax here is under the pervue of the dept of the environment.

The requirements are roughly:
  • sleeping accomodation, can be converted from seating
  • two ring cooking facility and sink with running water, which must be usable from within the vehicle, no boot boxes
  • Signed off by a Suitably Qualified Individual, ie an engineer.
That's pretty much it. The SQI should require gas and 220v certificates if appropriate before they do their signoff.


Thing is, after that you have to get insurance.

There's only 3 players in the market really. one will only do factory motorhomes, one will do conversions but require a pop top and the third is the motor caravan club who will do conversions and will insure a low roof, but have some more detailed qualifications around windows, ventilation and essentially the standard of the conversion. they're trying to weed out people who might use their club policy for vans with a matress and camping stove thrown in the back just to get cheaper tax and insurance.


So the most important regs for me are the motor caravan club, I've been dealing with them over the last week to make sure what I'm doing will tick their boxes.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My biggest issue is around the kitchen unit. My plan is to have something that is installed and fixed in the van, but on heavy duty slides so that it can move out of the way for night time when I want to sleep two kids on the floor..

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it's not possible to do this and be compliant with gas regs. so I'm trying to see if they will accept an alcohol gel stove instead but until that's agreed I'm a bit limited in what I can do because I don't want to put materials into something that might have to change.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
They sure will, we're just not supposed to have nice things here :(

Doing some insulating tonight. Previous owner had kindly put some dynamat type product on the inside of the panels already which should help with noise. I put a layer of 8mm closed cell foam over that and then a layer of foil bubble wrap across the openings. I put some flashband on the wheelarches but the factory arch covers have a really nice foam layer in them so didnt bother with anything else there.

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It'll be nice and cosy, closed cell foam is easy and works.
I've got my roof to do and thinking of expanding foam in the cross members as I put ply up temporarily and in the cold they soaked the ply and found them so wet inside I need something inside them to insulate. Need them really dry before I do that.
 
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