During the months leading to the temporary setup, paperwork and all stuff, I started to acquire the stuff I needed for the conversion. Searched for suitable (and nice looking) windows, and I wanted to replace the passenger double seat for a single seat.
In my van, I wasn’t going to install swivel seats. Instead, I’m building a wall seperating the cabin from the rear. For me, it has some huge advantages
- Less noise in the cabin, since the back is seperated
- No light coming in or out from the rear through the front windows
- Better AC/heating efficiency, during driving I don’t have all the space in the back to heat/cool.
- Less heat in the summer, since most of the (big) windows are in the cabin (only the cabin heats up fast, the back has better insulation and less windows)
- Similar in the winter/cold, less heat loss from the huge windows. (and I didn’t want to fiddle with isolation sheets for the windows)
- Cheaper: didn’t have to buy swivel bases.
Since I did want a door in the wall (for easy access between the rear and the cabin) I needed to get a seat, to replace the double passenger seat.
Unfortunately, the majority of the vans is sold with the double passenger seats, and there is a high demand for single passenger seats. This results in a very low availablity of passenger seats. Hard to get, unless you’re willing to pay extreme prices (I’ve received quotes of 500-750 euro for a USED seat!)
On scrap yards… nothing: Only drivers seats and double passenger seats..
So this lead me thinking: If drivers seats ARE available and much more affordable.. than this should apply to the UK as well. And I happen to know they are RHD over there…
Thus… a UK driver’s seat (Which can be acquired at a rather normal price, since they are not in huge demand unlike a passenger seat), can be perfectly used as a passenger seat on a LHD vehicle.
Long story short: I had a weekend trip to the UK, picked up a drivers seat for 50 GBP and ended up paying about 300 euro (Half the price of a seat here in the Netherlands) for a full trip through the Eurotunnel to the UK. At least 200 euro saving, AND a weekend trip to Norfolk (the seller was near Norwich)
Also, I started scouting Marktplaats for used stuff, and contacted some friends, some companies to get some of the lesser know equipment. I sourced my inverter used from Marktplaats, bought a Renogy DC-DC charger from Germany, hinges from Italy, a solar panel from a local installer (overstock) and so on.
Before acquiring the van, I had visited the CaravanSalon fair in Dusseldorf. I had created a list of vendors and a whole bunch of pictures and measurements of commercial available vans, so I had a pretty good idea of what my van should look like.
Also did view a huge amount of Youtube vanlifers / vanbuilds to see how others did their conversions (and which mistakes they made so I could not make those)