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Thread: Clarence the Safari Camperbus

  1. #1

    Member Number
    60568
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    Jun 2016
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    VW LT 2.8TDi Self-Build Camperbus

    Clarence the Safari Camperbus



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    After a VW T4 SWB and a VW T5 LWB, I decided I needed to go bigger as fed up not being able to standard up, so I bought this little fella ....

    A VW LT46 158 LWB
    His & Hers by David, on Flickr
    This is on the way home after picking it up

    It is an ex-County Council School 16 Seater Minibus. 2003 Registered but with a pretty low 125k kms on the clock and the sought-after 2.8L 4-pot engine.


    My main focus has been to work out the Habitation Electrics and the general Exterior before the weather turns against me.
    At least that way I will be able to carry on working inside over the winter in relative comfort

    Step One - Fit a Fan
    Both my T4 and T5 had limited ventilation - no roof vents, small sliding sliding door windows on the T5, but had to close in the rain, so not ideal, and in the summer used to get very hot. So for the LT, a fan was a mandatory requirement.
    After looking at the options, I chose the MaxxAir 7000k Electric Fan. Excellent product, albeit very pricey, and has settable temperature target control, so you can set the temp you want, and hit the "auto" button on the remote control, and it will set the fan speed appropriately to get to that target (obviously if it is lower then outside, it will never achieve that but it's not an AC unit) and when there, the fan stops. If the temp rises, the fan starts up again. Also, the motorised vent lid can be left open when driving, and also in rain from any direction.
    It really is the Cats Whiskers, and worth every expensive penny.
    This is just after I installed it with the vent up ...
    Finished outside by David, on Flickr

    Inside it is pretty low profile as well and sits within the ceiling panels so is not obtrusive at all.


    Step Two - Electrics
    This conversion will be gas-free. I decided I don't want gas-powered devices plumbed inside the vehicle. I know most people have no issues with gas, but I am a lot more comfortable sticking to the 'leccy
    And as I still want to be able to cook food, etc, I will need significant 'leccy, so time for BIG 'LECCY

    PV Array
    Firstly I fitted a tracking system to the roof so I could easily maintain everything fitted to the roof. Once the tracking was mounted, I fitted the first Solar Panel
    Single Panel by David, on Flickr

    Looking good, so carried on some more ....
    PV Panels by David, on Flickr

    This is a 400W array, comprising 4 100W panels which I set up in a combination Series/Parallel configuration - This allows the MPPT controller to optimize the harvesting and also provides resiliance againstg shading.

    Battery Bank
    To compliment the 400W PV Array, I installed a 440Ah Battery Bank, comprising 4 110Ah AGM heavy duty batteries. These live in a ply battery box I made, and sit over the rear axle.
    Batteries and Box by David, on Flickr

    The way the interior will be laid out, these will be in the garage area under the rear fixed bed, and I fitted the various electical systems in front of the battery box
    Electrical Device Source by David, on Flickr
    230V Consumer Unit and 12V Fusebox, plus battery shutoff switch

    And over the wheel arch
    Electrics by David, on Flickr
    Battery Charger, MPPT Solar Controller, 1000W PSW Inverter and 300W PSW Inverter.

    I know a lot of people on this forum are very prejudiced against inverters, and that is fine. To me, you get the right products to do the job you want.
    Rather then paying around 800 for a 12V Compressor Fridge, I have got a 230V Compressor Fridge, rated A++ at 80kWh/Annum - that relates to around 220Wh/Day, which is under 1A/Hr current draw. The Inverter being used for the fridge is the Victron 12/375 which has a constant on overhead of 3.5W (lets call that 0.3Ah/Hr worth of 'wasted power') - and that 3.5W is MY figure monitoring my power meter - Victron actually quote around 5W I think.
    I'm more than happy to waste 3.5W on an inverter (which will also be used for Laptops, Electric Blanket and the infamous Electric Toothbrush charger) in order to use a more efficient 230V Fridge costing less then 25% of the equivalent Weaco 12V models.

    The 1000W inverter is just a cheap model and that will be used only for the Kitchen Appliances - Induction Hob (500W), Slow Cooker (180W), Low-Fat Grill (750W). Obviously I need to bear in mind not to use the grill the same time as the Hob, but that is not a problem
    The 1000W Inverter feeds to a 230V Contactor which is wired so if I am hookup, the kitchen sockets are automatically switched to incoming mains supply, in which case I can fill my boots with all the gadgets (upto 2300W worth anyway )

    BTW, The holes in the battery box lid are for ventilation, as opposed to venting (these being AGM batteries)

    That is pretty well it for the inside really at this stage, except maybe the cab?
    I removed the cab seats (1+2 setup) and installed a pair of Ford Galaxy seats instead
    Cab Seating Sorted by David, on Flickr
    Lovely seats with inner armrests and built-in swivels. I will be maximising the interior space use with these swivel seats and a little front lounge/dinette area, keeping one of the original minibus seats at the front to have a face-to face seat and also as an extra travel seat.

    I did make a slight tweak to the exterior look as well a couple of weeks ago ....
    I am sure there will be a few of you who remember the TV Program "Daktari", about an Animal Hospital in Tanzania (Daktari is the swahili for Doctor).
    DAKTARI DVDs by David, on Flickr

    I loved that program and have always wanted a Daktari style vehicle since seeing it in the 60's

    Well, I don't have to want any more!
    Side by David, on Flickr

    Tinted Windows with blacked out surrounds, a black stonechip treatment at the bottom and around the front arch, and professional designed, cut and fitted stripes all around

    As well as the front light bar, I also commissioned a Rear Spare Wheel Carrier and fitted a Rhino Racks Ladder at the back
    Rear by David, on Flickr


    I'll update this thread once I have done some interior fitout, but thought somne may be interested in this (and maybe saw it at a meet and wondered "***" - a bit of an explanation )
    Camperbus Blog and Website - www.wildebus.com
    Electrical Bits - stores.ebay.co.uk/Camper-Van-Kit

  2. #2

    Member Number
    11469
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    UK and Thailand
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    Lunar Premier H622

    Mmm No gas and all Leccy

    Given your setup I can envisage this being OK and in some ways simpler and yes better

    If you are low on Leccy you can always visit a campsite should you need to

    I see power for cooking as the only drawback but good luck
    I will be interested in further posts
    Likes wildebus liked this post

  3. #3
    shawbags Guest
    Your doing a cracking job of that hope to see the rest when you have finished .
    Thanks wildebus thanked for this post

  4. #4
    shawbags Guest
    Was it born free that had a cross eyed lion called Clarence ? Lol

  5. #5

    Member Number
    60568
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    VW LT 2.8TDi Self-Build Camperbus
    Quote Originally Posted by shawbags View Post
    Was it born free that had a cross eyed lion called Clarence ? Lol
    No, Daktari! Duh! Along with Judy the Chimp

    I'll forgive you as most people will either be too young to remember the series, or too old and senile to remember the series
    Camperbus Blog and Website - www.wildebus.com
    Electrical Bits - stores.ebay.co.uk/Camper-Van-Kit
    Likes N/A, Caz liked this post
    Thanks peter palance thanked for this post

  6. #6

    Member Number
    31705
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    Near Oulton Park Race Circuit
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    Awesome paint job, you won't be needing a W sticker
    Dave
    Thanks wildebus thanked for this post

  7. #7

    Member Number
    60568
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    VW LT 2.8TDi Self-Build Camperbus
    Quote Originally Posted by jagmanx View Post
    Given your setup I can envisage this being OK and in some ways simpler and yes better

    If you are low on Leccy you can always visit a campsite should you need to

    I see power for cooking as the only drawback but good luck
    I will be interested in further posts
    cooking power could be a challenge potentially if the weather is not kind for a few days and I do get your point for sure
    What I am envising is the use of the slow cooker a fair bit which will be running during the day, so peak solar time (very often Solar is wasted as the batteries are already near enough full) or while driving - and when weather is nice, outdoor cooking via gas (Safari Cadac or little portable stove) or Frontier Stove. I'll be keeping a CG 907 cylinder and reg for the Cadac (I guess I might need a drop-vent for that even though just carrying it in van?)
    Camperbus Blog and Website - www.wildebus.com
    Electrical Bits - stores.ebay.co.uk/Camper-Van-Kit

  8. #8
    shawbags Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by wildebus View Post
    No, Daktari! Duh! Along with Judy the Chimp

    I'll forgive you as most people will either be too young to remember the series, or too old and senile to remember the series
    lol I remember now you mentioned it

  9. #9

    Member Number
    8791
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    Oct 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by shawbags View Post
    Was it born free that had a cross eyed lion called Clarence ? Lol
    It's reckoned that zebras are striped because it confuses predators.
    That's possibly how old Clarence became cross eyed.
    All I can say is there's gonna be a lot of predatory cross eyed traffic wardens when they spot that paint jobbie

  10. #10

    Member Number
    13572
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    Sep 2010
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    Peugeot Autocruse Rear Door Jobby
    Nice!


    Boots

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