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Old 23 April 2021, 04:27   #1
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Mercedes Viano or Vito conversion as a day van.

Four years ago I posted a thread Sibbing from a Motorhome to explore if this would suit us. We had great fun researching and looking but in the end decided to stay with the holiday cottage rental option.

Now as time has moved on... and importantly Mrs Fenlander retires for good within a year... we are considering when we have more freedom to get out sibbing/visiting/walking etc when we want with out new dog hopefully of the next 14yrs or so.

This time the investigation is pondering swapping my Mondeo for a "day van" type thing. We are very drawn to the Mercedes Viano being fully trimmed and seated where the small amount of conversion I want to do to give a worksurface/table, portable gas ring and portapoti compartment would be easy. A Vito with already fitted central seating might be another option.

So thinking leaving second row seats in giving a bit of floor area and legroom to stretch out a bit with a fold up table. Removing rearmost seats if fitted. Fitting a new bulkhead behind the second row seats seats with the SIB and outboard plus portapoti storage area behind this with possibly a fold down small sink.

All thoughts appreciated.
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Old 23 April 2021, 06:50   #2
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there's a build by Paul Messner on you tube David i think his is a movarno but a van is a van. he's a complete novice but its interesting ill find a link.
here you go


lots of others too
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Old 23 April 2021, 14:27   #3
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Be careful David, the lure of the great outdoors will grow and grow! and ultimately so will the day van/camper van/Motorhome

I have a few friends who started off with "we'll never sleep in it" day vans who now have full blown extra long wheel base vans or massive motorhomes who have never again stepped inside a rental cottage/hotel.

I'd rent a Motorhome for a long weekend, if you like you, skip the day van and take the plunge
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Old 23 April 2021, 15:50   #4
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Your gonna need a bigger driveway David! I cant see the neighbours looking too kindly when you park the Winnebago up.
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Old 23 April 2021, 16:15   #5
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Mercedes Viano or Vito conversion as a day van.

Or 🤷

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/124690645860
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Old 23 April 2021, 17:17   #6
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The Vito is deceptively small, take a look at Transit Customs or the T6 or 6.1.
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Old 23 April 2021, 19:06   #7
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Appreciate the.... err.... varied.... thoughts.

Honestly we've thought this through on and off for a few years now and we'll not go full motorhome... day out van is our target. Compact is good as I want it to be broadly within the length of my current Mondeo estate and fit under my 2.1m garage opening. In the shorter wheelbase versions we'd be looking at 3" is all there is in the difference between lomgest and shortest of the MB, VW and Ford.

That's an interesting link to the DIY fit out video Jeff but it gives an idea of exactly what I don't want to do. As we don't want elecs and plumbing, heat insulation or kitchen/wardrobe units, a bed etc we can save all the hassle of making a "builders van" seem comfy by buying an 8-seater that is already finished inside then I reckon it will be easier to adapt that interior type a little to our needs than starting from scratch. Well that's the theory.
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Old 24 April 2021, 01:28   #8
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My thoughts in no particular order.

Make the front seats swivel - you can sit 'round' a table then.

You can buy portable, stand alone kitchen units that incorporate a sink and a hob. Alternatively you could make one.

If you are cooking or making a brew, don't forget ventilation.

Portapotti's are good - they make you significantly more independent. You can sit on the toilet to operate the cooker / sink.

Due to havng more space in way of the second row of seats, the boot space on SWB Vito's and Viano's is pretty limited.

We survived with a 'tin tent' for some time utilising our camping stuff in the back of a van before going to a full conversion.

An awning makes for a good outside space.
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Old 24 April 2021, 02:00   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenlander View Post
Appreciate the.... err.... varied.... thoughts.

Honestly we've thought this through on and off for a few years now and we'll not go full motorhome... day out van is our target. Compact is good as I want it to be broadly within the length of my current Mondeo estate and fit under my 2.1m garage opening. In the shorter wheelbase versions we'd be looking at 3" is all there is in the difference between lomgest and shortest of the MB, VW and Ford.

That's an interesting link to the DIY fit out video Jeff but it gives an idea of exactly what I don't want to do. As we don't want elecs and plumbing, heat insulation or kitchen/wardrobe units, a bed etc we can save all the hassle of making a "builders van" seem comfy by buying an 8-seater that is already finished inside then I reckon it will be easier to adapt that interior type a little to our needs than starting from scratch. Well that's the theory.
Sounds like you need to have a look at a Caravelle with the sleep pack then.
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Old 24 April 2021, 04:05   #10
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David, We pondered for long too: took the advice of my young windsurfing friend - acquired a two year old VWT6 long wheel base and had the basic day bed conversion done - electrics and insulated lined and added battery and plug in. (exploria vans in Brighouse) Its my work vehicle and bee keeping /moving van with two bar. The dingy went in the back under the day bed one plastic sheet - kept the van dry. now it great for stopping on pier side and back doors open and rods, stuff etc easy out and away. My two mechanic pals warned against Mercs as they rust badly. Fords ain't so adaptable and not as many specialists and forums. The VW T6 will just get under barrier WITHOUT ROOF RACK OR SIDE AWNING RAIL. - we dropped our 40mm - better ride stiffer drive. The T6 drives like a golf, all very identical but better view - Mrs Fenlander will love it. Best wishes iain
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Old 24 April 2021, 04:13   #11
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This was us on Thursday/Friday this week. Full T6 camper conversion by Dirty Weekender in Worcester. A fantastic first, post lockdown day on the water in good company. Launch at Whitby, run down to Robin Hoods Bay, an hours fishing (blanked) & then lunch in the Cod & Lobster in Staithes.
The T6 is 4WD & will tow 2500kg
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Old 24 April 2021, 04:23   #12
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Hi Fenlander,
A van over an estate car works for me, I've got both a Transporter and a Disco 4 but drive the van 90% of the time as it's so practical. I started with a panel van then adapted to suit my needs. I've gone half way between a day van and full camper, which for me is the beauty of vans, you can make them what you want them to be.

Lots of options to look at, van wise, personally for me, it would be Transit or Transporter, just prefer the look. In terms of power, I'd go for somewhere around the 150bhp minimum, you'll want some grunt when loaded (SIB etc). I've got friends with Transits and they're very happy with them, slightly bigger inside too. But the resale on a Transit/Vito will never match a Transporter, they've still got a cult following and demand high prices, but I'm sure you've looked at this.

From what you're saying, I'd be tempted by a panel van or Combi. If you went panel van route you're buying a cheaper van but then have to spend on making it what you want, but the advantage is it is you get what you want without compromise. So may options. My friends made his day van so the rear seat slides forward and back, so, if you want a seating area slide the seat back, room for a table etc. traveling, slide forward and you've got a big space to load your SIB etc.

I'd talk to some conversion companies, lots around but don't let them talk you into stuff you don't want or need.

Priorities for me were comfort and quiet, I've just invested in a set of B14 Komfort suspension that I'll be getting fitted soon as I'm back in the uk from my current offshore trip. My van is fully lined/insulated/soundproofed to give a more car like environment, I've also got a fridge and diesel heater which I use more than I though I would and the invaluable portaloo! The other must for me was captain seats for both driver and passenger. A double bench passenger seat can be practical but again I wanted comfort for the passenger (me or my wife).

Not sure what the manufacturers rules are on test drives at the moment but maybe you can get a demo for a few hours?
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Old 24 April 2021, 04:36   #13
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Thanks for the added ideas. Great pics of your post lockdown outing PD.

If the idea comes off it will be a DIY job of the limited conversion work I'd plan... and on an older vehicle. Mrs F has run a Mercedes coupe for some years and I'm aware of the potential that the brand sometimes rust more than you'd hope in middle age.... but this seems somewhat at random and there are many rust free examples so would be looking at this aspect carefully.

Last night found something you probably all know about the speed limit reductions for anything registered as an N-type van which most that started as a van seem to be... unlike the M1-type multi seat vehicles which can legally run to car speeds.
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Old 24 April 2021, 05:45   #14
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Mercedes Viano or Vito conversion as a day van.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenlander View Post
Thanks for the added ideas. Great pics of your post lockdown outing PD.

If the idea comes off it will be a DIY job of the limited conversion work I'd plan... and on an older vehicle. Mrs F has run a Mercedes coupe for some years and I'm aware of the potential that the brand sometimes rust more than you'd hope in middle age.... but this seems somewhat at random and there are many rust free examples so would be looking at this aspect carefully.

Last night found something you probably all know about the speed limit reductions for anything registered as an N-type van which most that started as a van seem to be... unlike the M1-type multi seat vehicles which can legally run to car speeds.


Ahh there’s a lot of confusion around speed limits & vans. But in a nutshell:-
Ignore what it says on the V5, it’s irrelevant.
What matters, is that your vehicle is a “motor caravan” within the definitions laid out in the Type Approval regs 1979. If it meets the requirements of the definition of Motor Caravan, it’s then subject to car speed limits set out in the 1984 Road Traffic regulations schedule 6.
There has been much discussion about this since the DVLA stopped reclassifying van conversions as Motor Caravans, and changing them to “Van with windows”
There has recently been a test in Somerset iirc where a bloke was clocked doing over 60mph on a dual carriageway & sent an NIP. The police dropped the case after the owner sent photos of the conversion. I think the DVLA will backtrack eventually when there are more similar cases.

If you look on the DVLA website they have more or less confirmed what I’ve said above.

https://www.gov.uk/government/public...-motor-caravan

More here from VOSA

https://www.ukmotorhomes.net/motorho...s/speed-limits

Test case

https://www.jerbacampervans.co.uk/ca...limits-update/
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Old 24 April 2021, 06:15   #15
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Originally Posted by Pikey Dave View Post
Ahh there’s a lot of confusion around speed limits & vans. But in a nutshell:-
Ignore what it says on the V5, it’s irrelevant.
What matters, is that your vehicle is a “motor caravan” within the definitions laid out in the Type Approval regs 1979. If it meets the requirements of the definition of Motor Caravan, it’s then subject to car speed limits set out in the 1984 Road Traffic regulations schedule 6.
There has been much discussion about this since the DVLA stopped reclassifying van conversions as Motor Caravans, and changing them to “Van with windows”
There has recently been a test in Somerset iirc where a bloke was clocked doing over 60mph on a dual carriageway & sent an NIP. The police dropped the case after the owner sent photos of the conversion. I think the DVLA will backtrack eventually when there are more similar cases.

If you look on the DVLA website they have more or less confirmed what I’ve said above.

https://www.gov.uk/government/public...-motor-caravan

More here from VOSA

https://www.ukmotorhomes.net/motorho...s/speed-limits

Test case

https://www.jerbacampervans.co.uk/ca...limits-update/
Looks a pretty comprehensive anylysis of the current dvla position !
There was also an angle if your vat registered you can get your VAT back on a conversion but not on a manufacturers build i think ??? may be out of date ?
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Old 24 April 2021, 11:09   #16
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Interesting info thanks. I think the problem with starting off with anything van-like registered as an N-type is what we wish to do would not meet the test Gov/DVLA apply to allow the higher speed limit... namely sleeping, cooking, storage facilities etc rigidly fitted.

So an 8-seater is probably still the best base vehicle for us because knowing my luck...

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Old 24 April 2021, 13:59   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenlander View Post
Appreciate the.... err.... varied.... thoughts.

Honestly we've thought this through on and off for a few years now and we'll not go full motorhome... day out van is our target. Compact is good as I want it to be broadly within the length of my current Mondeo estate and fit under my 2.1m garage opening. In the shorter wheelbase versions we'd be looking at 3" is all there is in the difference between lomgest and shortest of the MB, VW and Ford.

That's an interesting link to the DIY fit out video Jeff but it gives an idea of exactly what I don't want to do. As we don't want elecs and plumbing, heat insulation or kitchen/wardrobe units, a bed etc we can save all the hassle of making a "builders van" seem comfy by buying an 8-seater that is already finished inside then I reckon it will be easier to adapt that interior type a little to our needs than starting from scratch. Well that's the theory.
I understand the minimalist approach from experience with caravans and vans on that spec myself. heat, ventilation and insulation are very important, condensation will be your biggest problem once it’s wet inside and the weather is crap it’s a misery inside the van, bedding, clothes etc are damp and mrs F won’t be happy big obstacle for future trips. Also on hot days your in a greenhouse without the insulation.
The last thing is if you do get a good trip you’ll want more in terms of van spec not a problem but you know what boats do suck you in and sped your money.
Having said all that go for it but do have a roof vent like the one Paul messier has worth their weight in gold.
Looking forward to the build
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Old 24 April 2021, 14:04   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pikey Dave View Post
This was us on Thursday/Friday this week. Full T6 camper conversion by Dirty Weekender in Worcester. A fantastic first, post lockdown day on the water in good company. Launch at Whitby, run down to Robin Hoods Bay, an hours fishing (blanked) & then lunch in the Cod & Lobster in Staithes.
The T6 is 4WD & will tow 2500kg
Attachment 137092Attachment 137093Attachment 137094
Whitby harbour launch open ok Dave no probs?
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Old 24 April 2021, 15:43   #19
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Whitby harbour launch open ok Dave no probs?


Yup Jeff, all open. Temporary Marina guy called Billy. He’s sound. £23/day launch & parking.
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Old 24 April 2021, 15:50   #20
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Nice one cheers
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