So I'm thinking of buying a car and converting it into a weekend camper van, something like the Doblo, Kangoo or berlingo.
I was wondering if taking the seats out and installing a bed in the back similar to this, http://tinyurl.com/ojctbcp, would change the classification of it being a car and affect the insurance and MOT test.
I've had a quick look online but came up trumps, so any advice would be grateful.
In reply to BStar:
I think you will find you need more than a bed.
I got a good deal on insurance provided i could reclassify it to a campervan with Dvla.
I had to send them photos of the van including my sink and cooker so i get the feeling this could be the bare minimum for reclassification.
I appreciate what you say, but the question I want to know is; will a half conversion (one that doesn't fulfil all the motor home requirements) still be acceptable as a car, come under car insurance and pass an MOT when required.
I saw a pretty nifty thing which may help you. It was a frame which you could buy, although it looked pretty easy to build tbh, that sat in the boot, then you could fold the seats down in the back and the bed thingy m'bob could fold out and creat a platform you put a matress on for sleeping.
Cant remember where I saw it but hopefully I've described it well enough that you can figure out what I mean :P
In reply to BStar: Haven't had any experience with DVLA reclassification, but to be on the safe side I did decide to insure a ford transit van as a custom converted camper given we'd wired it up with a 240v inverter and a gas cooker etc. Adrian Flux we're pretty good about it, wasn't too much more than a normal premium.
You can do what you like to the inside, it won't affect your MOT. (I converted a van myself and had it re-registered as a camper) Insurance is a different matter. You'll need to go specialist...Adrian FLux, HIC etc...they are they only ones who can tell you if what you plan to do is insurable.
> I appreciate what you say, but the question I want to know is; will a half conversion (one that doesn't fulfil all the motor home requirements) still be acceptable as a car, come under car insurance and pass an MOT when required.
If you're just fitting a bed deck it's just a car with junk in the back for MOT and insurance purposes. I'd think about the structure of your bed though, think what would happen if hit from behind and make sure it will crumple rather than skewering you, there's not a lot of room in those little van-cars.
In reply to BStar: I think if the seats are taken out then they are not part of the MOT test but you might need to reclassify as a 2 seater. Though don't quote me on it. Why not just buy a van? they are probably cheaper and can be insured quite cheap through a specialist insurer.
In reply to BStar:
I used to have problems getting insurance (especially for european trips) for my converted van. Look at Adrian Flux. They specialise in modified vehicles etc and in my opinion were cheap with very good customer service.
I know they are small, but that is kind of why I want one. I want to replace my non-economical car with an economical one, then I saw that you can get the belrlingo/doblo/kangoo car that do about 50mpg. Being vertically challenged at 5'6" the length doesn't really bother me, but thanks for the good advise on making sure I don't get skewered.
I thought that the back seats would get checked on an MOT, so if they were removed it may change the MOT somehow. Knowing when a car with junk in it (with removed seats) becomes un-insurable or becomes a camper van is another thing I am unsure on.
I looked at getting the van version of each of these vehicles, having pre-cut windows and an inside trim rather than bare metal swung it the way of getting the car version. I guess it might make insuring and modifying it easier though.
In reply to BStar: As I understand the situation with insurance and I have had a couple of vans over the years is as follows:
The main issue you will have is that any bed you replace with a bed unless a fully TUV tested model will not be able to have any passengers on it. Mainly as they will not have seat belts fitted.
Secondly if you change the number of seats it is a change to the vehicle and that is normally notifiable to DVLA - which would in turn possibly require a Single Type Approval test. Bottom line more hassel and expense.
Either buy a camper or as suggested there are a number of half-way houses. Swiss Room Box (www.swissroombox.com)have created an great albeit fairly expensive 'drop in' s olution for a camper set up in a normal family hatch back.
I'm not wanting to take more than 2 people in the car so not having a TUV tested model wouldn't be a problem for me (unless it was a problem for insurance / DVLA).
I was after a 'simple' permanent DIY solution, similar to the Armdo box but permanent, or like the link I put in the initial post. I think the best thing to do is to discuss this with the insurance company to see if modifying the interior changes the insurance requirements.
In reply to BStar:
Why not just get a car based van that doesn't have a seats in already? A Connect or a Caddy...throw a mattress in the back on a (removable) raised platform for storage, no need to worry about MOT or insurance then....it's definitely a lot simpler than others are making out.
For me it comes down to price, everyday useability and MPG. Originally I was going for the car based van, but then I realised that it would cost a fair bit to put windows in and it probably wouldn't be as good of a seal as factory fitted ones in a car. Also, the vans usually have a lot more mileage on the clock than I want aswell as having to pay VAT on them if you buy from certain places (even 2nd hand). I've seen quite a few nice looking solutions for berlingos and the high roof version of the Doblo, which at the moment is my preference.
I see what you are saying about the van, a blank canvas is certainly easier to work with initially.
In reply to BStar:
Fair enough. I converted a VW T5 from scratch including putting all the windows in myself. If you paid someone it's only about £150 per window and the finish will look factory + you can have them with a limo tint. Bonded on the same way as they do in the factory too, so no problems there. I didn't pay VAT on my van....I was just very patient and got a bargain in the end!