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Vanbuild design and preparation

Updated: Mar 15, 2023


Initial van build design
Floor Plan completed in SketchUp

I was familiar with using Trimble Sketchup for personal use and, after a detailed measurement of the internals dimensions of the van, I used Sketchup for drawing a design which was altered as the build progressed.

I decided I wanted solar power, windows and fans, a full kitchen, shower room/toilet, Truma boiler, bench seat, full sized bed, storage and a large garage space under the bed. This was my final design which included everything I wanted in the van – previous designs were a bit optimistic with the amount of space I had . Apart from losing a cupboard between the shower and bed and a slight modification to the kitchen layout, the design essentially stayed the same. I'll maybe include other earlier designs in a later blog.


Having watched hours of YouTube videos, read extensive articles and reviews and made numerous notes I first made a schedule and parts list. The schedule and part list would expand throughout the project, but it was a start.

I had decided to use a Merc Sprinter LWB panel van as the basis of my build since there was so much information about them and they were a very reliable vehicle. I spent over three months looking for a suitable vehicle. Criteria for suitable vehicle was price, mileage and condition. It was difficult but I eventually found a VW Crafter LWB 2016 which, to all intents and purposes, is a Sprinter van.

The van was previously a "worky" panel van but was in reasonable condition and had a relatively low mileage. I got to work ripping out the internals, thoroughly cleaning it and dealing with any rust that was apparent by sanding it away and applying anti-rust Hammerite paint.

I took the opportunity to add sound dampening to most panels bearing in mind where the windows were going to be inserted. There was some hidden rust under the door seals and the protective panel at the foot of the rear doors. There were also spots of rust around the van and stone chips on the bonnet and roof at the front that were treated and resprayed.

It was now time to add the insulation, the rear parking camera, a new JVC radio and first fit electric cabling.


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