Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

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J.REEVES
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:15 am

STAGE 7 INSULATION/CLADDING & EXTERIOR FITTINGS CONT.

Side Access Doors
Two 700x305mm Dometic doors for the cross over boot near the front.
Two 375x305mm Dometic doors for battery access and suspension level control station access.
Also I used a special door from a marine supplier for storage for the sullage drain hose and toilet chemicals.
WC an Marine hatch.jpg
The Dometic doors have proven to be much better than I first thought as they did look a bit flimsy. I have found they are 100% dust and water proof.

The 700x305 Dometic access doors can accommodate the Colman Chairs and have clearance to spare.
Hatch & chair.jpg
JR
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:23 am

STAGE 7 INSULATION/CLADDING & EXTERIOR FITTINGS CONT.

Jayco Mudguard Flairs
Jayco has a good range of mudguard flairs to finish off the mudguard. Unfortunately they are very thin and very weak.
The first trip away on a gravel road virtually smashed them with puncher holes from rocks. So I decided to get a second set but this time when fitting them I filled them with foam. This has proved to work well. Four years down the track no more holes but now they have turned yellow and cracks are developing so I have filled the cracks sprayed them with spray putty and then sprayed them with white enamel paint.
Mud guard.jpg
Let’s see if this works as you do need guard flairs to give the van a finished look!
New guard.jpg
JR
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nsgnomad
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by nsgnomad » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:33 am

JR, what a fantastic account of your build including the techniques used and tips to make things easier. As you said, the posts have probably taken as much time as the actual work but we appreciate your efforts.
J.REEVES wrote:STAGE 7 INSULATION/CLADDING & EXTERIOR FITTINGS CONT.

Jayco Mudguard Flairs
Jayco has a good range of mudguard flairs to finish off the mudguard. Unfortunately they are very thin and very weak.
The first trip away on a gravel road virtually smashed them with puncher holes from rocks. So I decided to get a second set but this time when fitting them I filled them with foam. This has proved to work well. Four years down the track no more holes but now they have turned yellow and cracks are developing so I have filled the cracks sprayed them with spray putty and then sprayed them with white enamel paint.
Mud guard.jpg
Let’s see if this works as you do need guard flairs to give the van a finished look!
New guard.jpg
JR
:razz:
Do the mudguard flares cover up much of the inside of the wheel well. I have noticed on my van that the was no protection inside the wheel well and the ply wall cladding has swelled and separated. Any protection afforded by the guard flares on the inside would be a good idea.
Keep up the good work.Cheers :razz:

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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:52 pm

Hi Nsgnomad,
You should be able to see in the second photo how far they go back under near the front of the flare would be about 50mm but probably 40mm usable as the flare steps out about 10mm before going in.
Only thing these are just covers not really any function except looks, they would not be that suitable for sealing under the arch.

I used annealed aluminium angle, two pieces, one inner and one outer and they overlapped along the centre of the arch. The softer aluminium angle can be bent without too much trouble and that was the way I sealed the timber, also lots of silastic. The Jayco wheel flares were used to finish the arch off as the aluminium angle did not look to bad but not a finished look.

JR
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:11 pm

STAGE 7 INSULATION/CLADDING & EXTERIOR FITTINGS CONT

Exterior Lights
Tried these exterior lights very common on many vans but the 12watt glob just produced no light. Removed the glob and fitted LEDS still no good not enough light.
First outside light.jpg
Last chance so I tried a 15watt LED flood light
As I now had four holes in the van outer wall I needed to make a special stainless bracket to utilise the four holes and mount the flood light.
15watt led.jpg
That fixed the problem
LEDS on.jpg
The lights were so good I fitted two switches one for each light as you really only need one most of the time and they are running at just over an amp.

JR
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:37 pm

STAGE 7 INSULATION/CLADDING & EXTERIOR FITTINGS CONT

Clearance and Taillights
Side, back and front clearance lights are LEDS and the rear tail lights a just the standard Narva lights. At the time fitting LED tail lights were a bit pricey.

One little issue fitting these Narva LED lights is wire size, as the LEDs need very little current the wire from the light is a very small size so I needed to solder the wire I was using to the LED light wire as it was really too small to clamp with a terminal block.

I ran separate earth wires to every light, the entrance light was earthed to its body so I needed to removed its earth and make up a separate earth. This was needed so not to confuse the solar cell regulator current display. The solar cell regulator displays the current to the load and it is measured via the earth wire through the regulator.
Exterior lights.jpg
JR
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:42 pm

STAGE 7 INSULATION/CLADDING & EXTERIOR FITTINGS CONT

Almost finished only need to add the stencils/stripes and transfers.
I think it is important to add transfers as it gives the van a finished professional look. I was quoted up to $1000 for the transfers but fortunately a company at Maitland did the job for $500. They actually came to my garage and fitted the stencils, took about 2hours.
Leaf stripe.jpg
It’s interesting they have all the caravan manufacture stencils on their computer and just print and cut them out as required. I gave them some design ideas and they just loaded them into Coral Draw and made some suggestions. As I had the van fully drawn in CAD they could load the van profile into Coral draw to get the right dimensions for the stripes.
B&J R.jpg
For approximately $15 I was able to down load our family crest from a heritage site in Canada. The file was a Jpeg file and quite large, so the quality was good. The Maitland printing company printed two copies and treated them with a special clear to reduce colour fade. Also there are different quality vinyl materials available to make the stencils and the cost for the best quality was not much more so we used the good stuff.
Front crest.jpg
JR
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:53 pm

STAGE 8 REGO, VALUATION & INSURANCE (NSW's)

To insure the van you need to have it registered and to register the van you need proof of ownership costing of the build, gas certificate and van weight (TARE MASS).
As the van is over 2 tonne it needs to be inspected for registration at an authorised Heavy Vehicle Inspection Station.

It was interesting to see what was checked for a first time registration. The inspector warned me that when I bring the van in for inspection he wanted to see indication in the vehicle that the breakaway brakes battery was OK. Usually he inspects new caravans from van yards and he does not request to see a warning device for the breakaway brake battery as the vehicle that is bring the van in for inspection is not the normal towing vehicle.
VIN & Gas.jpg
He asked me what the van ATM will be as I am the builder and he said I should know. I quoted 2.7tonne as the limiting factor was the brakes.
Measured the van and checked the lights and that was it not interested in gas certificates or any 240V electrical stuff.

The inspector issued me a VIN number and gave me a lend of an engraver and I filled the VIN plate in and attached it to the chassis with the special pins that are none reversible, cannot be removed unless you grind them off.

I also stamped the VIN number on ther chassis as it is not hard to remove the VIN plate.

JR
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:14 pm

STAGE 9 COSTING, BUILD TIME & SPECIFICATIONS

Costing
The entire build was about 40% cheaper than buying a van with similar fittings, naturally not including labour. The cost for parts could have been less if I had not chosen the best available and also spent more time looking for the best price. Barns Caravans offered me about 10 to 15% of the marked price so I purchased many of the bits from them.
There was no van on the market that could fit my criteria like a single axle, air suspension and dust proofing plus many smaller items and overall length 7.1mtrs.
A couple of examples where large savings could be made if I had used a cheaper option:
Bed mattress: $1650
Suspension Withers Sugar Glider: $2400
Two Air bags: $850
Four Koni Shocks: $1000
Grey water tank: $500
Three GF Goodrich A/T tyres: $795
LG Hi-Macs Bench Tops: $1590

Build Time

Time from start to finish was about 14months (about 3 to 4 days/week) and about two years on and off lead up time to design and research.

Over that 14months about 60% of the time was building the van and 40% looking for parts.

Things I would have done different next time
As the van is at the max weight with one set of wheels to add any other features the van would need to have two axle sets. Possibly fit a washing machine, lengthen draw bar 6” increase overall length by about a one foot.
As the van stands we are very satisfied, the suspension is exceptional and at this stage (touch wood) have not had any issues and no dust problems. With one axle the wheels are set back some and the van tracks perfectly.

Specifications
Internal Length: 5.4m
External Length: 5.68m
Total Length : 7.04m (coupling to rear bumper)
Internal Width: 2.285m
External Width: 2.33m
Height: 2.755m
Tare Weight: 2120Kgs
ATM: 2700Kgs
Tow Ball loaded: 270Kgs

Chassie: Duragal, Laminated 100x50x3mm plus 50x50x3mm (section 150mm).
Drawbar – 100x50x3mm plus 20mm Dia solid rod re-enforcement under drawbar and pre tensioned.
Suspension mounting cross beam – 100x50x6mm.
Chassis strengthened 1m either side of suspension mount with four plates 2mx150mmx6mm, each side of chassis main rail inner and outer LH & RH.
Frame:Meranti frame 41x19mm, no holes drilled in frame all wiring in ceiling. Frame glued and screwed.
Fully insulated sides and ceiling.
Suspension:Withers Sugar glider heavy duty independent air suspension with 3.3Tonne axle rating and two Adjustable Koni shocks per wheel.
Range of suspension height adjustment 125mm.
Air system 4ltr receiver ARB compressor auto start as required.
12 inch electric brakes with off road electro magnets
Wheels mag rims (rated 1400Kgs) 16 inch with Landcruiser five stud pattern, tyres 285 BF Goodrich AT (1500Kgs each).
Kitchen:Dometic stove three gas and one electric element and grill.
Fridge 150ltr three way fully auto start up. (‘T’ rated)
Full access to rear of fridge via exterior door (fridge can be removed though this door if required).
Dometic range hood
Sharp microwave
Fantastic vent fan
Table supported with two legs and legs support under floor to chassis.
Bench tops: LG HI-MACS volcanics
Kitchen table also LG HI-MACS
Bathroom: Shower 900x900mm
Thetford toilet
Two Fiamma turbo vent fans
Bedroom: Queen size length and Double bed width, mattress material Latex/wool.
Skylight Dometic 960x655mm
Electronics: 19 inch LED, LCD TV, Winegard Antenna, radio DVD player fed to four speakers.
Rear video camera outputting to vehicle monitor.
Water tanks: Two 82ltr fresh water tanks.
One 84ltr grey water (Atlas), kitchen and bathroom sink fitted with S-bend in drain line and water seal under shower to stop odour returning to van interior from tank. Grey water tank vents to roof.
Tanks fully shielded.
No exposed pluming, fully integrated in chassis and inside van.
Two Jabsco 11ltr/min water pumps one on each fresh water tank, tank selectable via switch in van. One Jabsco accumulator.
Three tank level gauges. (two water, one grey water)
Hot Water: Suburban 23ltr gas/elec
AC: Heron Q split system
Heating: Dometic Airtronic D2 two outlets 15Ltrs steel diesel tank
Electrics: Lights 12V, Fluorescent & LED’s
Exterior marker lights LED
Four interior 12V sockets and one exterior
240V two pole Earth leakage protection and two pole 20Amp overload circuit breaker.
Five 240V power points plus one exterior
7amp C-tek battery charger
One 125Watt Solar Panel
One 160 watt Solar Panel
Solar Regulator MPPT 30A Epsolar Tracer with remote data screen.
One 110AH AGM battery
All 12V circuits protected via separate fuses.
150Amp selector switch to select van battery or vehicle battery or both.
Coupling plug 12 pin plus 175Amp Anderson plug.
Dust control: 12V high volume fan fed via 4inch outlet Donalson air filter to maintain van interior under positive pressure. Can be switched on in towing vehicle.
Gas Bottles: Two galvanised 9Kgs bottles.

Many thanks:
Barnes Caravans of Lansvale for the professional advise on caravan building techniques. Barnes Caravans were the main supplier of components.
Neville Whither of Precision Suspension Engineering (Sugar Glider suspension).
Newcastle Caravans & Homes of Hexham. Supplier of interior ply and cupboard framing timber.

JR
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:20 pm

STAGE 10 ENJOY

Time to enjoy the end result
The van is now five years old and we have clocked up about 55,000K’s

Ningaloo Reef Warroora Station
On the beach.jpg
Darling River run Wilcannia Bourke road
Blue sky.jpg
Back of Boulia
Straight road.jpg
27th April 2011 I started this thread so it has taken me longer to write about it than build it!

THE END

JR
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