Tranny the transformer (yes, I know, naf, blame the kids...)

saxylady's Project
Status: Functional... still tweaking!

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We bought a 12 seater 04 reg MWB, mid-height Transit in Feb 2011, stripped out the rear 2 rows of seats and sold them on, along with most of the headlining sections, and others odds and sods we didn't need. We then set about lining where we wanted it lining with carpeted-ply over insulation which we had left over from another job. We also carpet lined any bare metal on the sides and rear doors (that is a nasty job to make it look good... we didn't entirely succeed there! Functional but not pretty shall we say!)

We have 3 children so our criteria for design was to retain the row of seats behind the cab so they can travel legally, we also wanted to be able to let them all sleep in the bus should they want to... so, with this as our base requirement we worked out various design ideas before settling on the one we ended up using. We have some power in the bus, provided by a very efficient solar panel on the roof which charges the leisure battery, we didn't bother with an electric hookup and have so far not had any problem with that at all.

We completed the bus enough to be usable over the Easter holidays 2011, and most importantly to be made road legal - though it took some battling with DVLA to get them to accept we had converted it ... not sure what they were fussing about, it's me that is out of pocket for the extra road tax I had to pay when they did finally get it in the right classification! lol! We finally got it on the road in June last year. So far we have used is more as a daily, work, family, band vehicle than a holiday vehicle... it is my main vehicle, while hubby has a fiesta!

My hubby did all the woodwork and wiring and I did a lot of the carpet lining (don't look too closely) and the soft furnishings.

The whole van conversion didn't cost much as we were on a very tight budget. We reclaimed a sink and hob from an old caravan, along with the grill casing, most of the timber was re-used from other projects and the biggest single outlay was probably the carpet!

We have kept the interior very basic, it's only a short step up from a tent really (warmer, comfier... no contest!). We can cook in it, eat in it, sleep in it - all 5 of us, plus dog and are trying to get a few more bits done before we think about going away over the summer!

We are going to add in a storage cupboard over the cab area, and I am re-designing the hammock-bunk which goes over the rear row of seats - this doubles up as a bed for one of the kids, the hammock-bunk sleeps two and then the seat unit in the back becomes another double bed!

Next mission is to figure out what type of side awning we need to get as that would really help with space being at a premium... I am also trying to figure out a way to create an awning of sorts that will work as the rear doors are opened, preventing rain soaking the ends of our seat/bed cushions every time! So while it is fully functional as is, the tweaks will definitely help make it more user-friendly in the long run.

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