Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

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Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:14 pm

Well , I have been looking at future plans on converting the Hijet to a camper van , but one problem that has already cropped up is that when I applied for insurance ,they asked if there were any modifications to the van ( which at this point is a van with a lift up roof ) . I told them it had a lift up roof and the next question was ,Has it been professionally fitted ? . The van is a 1996 model and the roof look like its been fitted well some time ago , but how do I know who fitted it ? , so the answer was dont know . That then brought about a number of OOOOH we cant insure that then responses . so I tried a firm called Adrian Flux , who are quite relaxed about insuring the out of the ordinary type vehicle and yes they offered me a policy ,
( another but coming ) The cost would be in the region of £500 fully comp and that was with full no claims. Anyway I decided I had spent enough time on the phone and went for the 3rd party option of £350 as the van is classed as modified .

Now there is a way of avoiding this head ache and that is to insure it as a motor home / camper , but I wanted to use mine for work at the moment and convert later , so be prepared .

The next stage will be insuring as a camper / motorhome and this is less of a headache if you know who to get insurance from , and this mean insuring as a self built motorhome / camper , as most insurers wont touch self built . and even recovery companies are funny about covering them , but dont be put off , there are ways .

You then of course have the DVLA to contend with , who will want photos and want to know what has been fitted to qualify as a motor caravan as they call them / or a van with windows category ,the first option is what you need .

Another point is that if you are installing LPG in the van you will need it tested and it must have a gas box fitted to be safe , and again same with 230v electrics , they need to be passed by a qualified person . The 230v should have its own consumer unit / garage unit and the circuit must be of 3 core cable not household type installation wire . Another must is a carbon monoxide / gas alarm to be installed to be safety conscious . plus fire blanket and extinguisher , The following also needed if crossing in to Europe , first aid kit and warning triangle with hazard sign and safety vests if in some parts of Europe and also alcohol breath testers if in France . There are other points but my fingers are bleeding

Best to all

Eddie
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by HIJET1300GT on Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:48 pm

I think your over complicating things for yourself . Your van looks standard to me . Insurance is the biggest con going . Just say its a standard van .
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:23 pm

Thats fine until you get involved in an accident and then it opens a big can of worms , although I was tempted . I also agree that apart from the roof it is standard , but thats insurers for you , even adding alloy wheels can wipe out your claim if they are not declared and the van was stolen .so its a hard pill to swallow but best done , in my opinion .

All the best ,

Eddie
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by Logi on Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:31 pm

Erm, " the roof was professionally fitted" seems like what you should've said?
Can they prove it wasn't Wink
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by elfin girl on Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:41 pm

as far as the camper bit goes if you dont have a sink and cooker fitted its ok, ive gone for a portable cooker and who the hell needs a sink when your camping?! its all coffee and pot porridge for me or cornish pasties and ale Laughing 
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by HighlyJetted on Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:54 pm

Logi wrote:Erm, " the roof was professionally fitted" seems like what you should've said?
Can they prove it wasn't Wink
cheers Wink 
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:02 pm

Sadly Matt , they get you there as well , as its you who has to provide proof of competance fitting by bills or certificates , like LPG conversion .
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by bushwhacker on Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:14 pm

I don't think that is true about lpg conversions.

The trouble is Trade Associations will tell you anything in order to get more money for themselves and their members and do give the impression that ..'you must..'; however, if you read closely that doesn't actually apply.

All the DVLA want is something on headed notepaper from a garage or suchlike to say that the lpg system has been fitted. (You are assumed to be a liar even though you have nothing to gain). This can be a bill of sale, or a letter from a garage stating that there is a system on the vehicle. In my case I sent them the emissions output from the MOT test because it has LPG in big letters on it. After all, it can't be tested for lpg if it is not on the vehicle. (I got the change recorded on the V5).

As regards insurance they were not interested in who had fitted the system they just wanted to know how much it cost. As a result my insurance went up by a pound per week.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by HighlyJetted on Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:16 pm

Say it was factory fitted, by http://www.jcleisure.com/Daihatsu%20Hijetta.htm

As for LPG, has anyone got a fitting certificate or safety certificate for their Hijet?!
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by elfin girl on Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:28 pm

ive had no problem with my lpg conversion, was already done when i got the van, its on the log book, never been asked for paperwork
and i dont have paperwork!
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:50 pm

Maybe the fact that its on the log book but most insurers want a certificate if its been converted to LPG ,
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by bushwhacker on Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:54 pm

All I can say is that my insurance did not require any form of certification. They simply do things on a case by case basis without recourse to any trade association documentation. (Which I believe is the case for most insurers).
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:57 pm

See attached link, ref LPG .
http://www.drivelpg.co.uk/advice-and-information/faqs/ .

Cheers

Eddie
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:03 pm

Some useful reading here if your planning on meeting safe practice and regs .
http://www.sbmcc.co.uk/howto.php

Cheers

Eddie

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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by HighlyJetted on Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:10 pm

It would seem that the above lpg "organization" is a bit of a red herring.

They are not a government body, nor are they a ltd, nor do they even have a real address!

To get on their authorised installer list, you just need to be a dealer for one of the manufactures and agree to a certain level of service. They don't police anything or even inspect the installers.

They are simply a register, so I bet if you email them a copy of a v5, and fake the bit that says dual fuel, they will just put you on it. They have no DVLA access or anything.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by waz on Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:22 pm

Eddie, I have put on another post that the pop up roof is factory fitted, rare in the UK but, as you can proove , there are some out there.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:37 pm

Hi Waz , I have found plenty of firms that do the same type of roof , but none that do them for the Hijet. I am sure there must be one but its finding them . In fact if I was to go for another lift up roof it would be one that opens from the side instead of the end . as they then give head room along the full length of the van and a window can be installed in the GRP roof section .

Cheers

Eddie
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:54 pm

Hi Matt , they are a recognised body that approve companies for the conversion of vehicles and maintain a register of approved fitting for all converted vehicles , they are accepted by DVLA as a source of certification if your car is registered with them .

I totally agree that its all a scam , but its got the governments stamp of approval so its a recognised body . I am sure there are other areas that fall in to the old boy network like this one as well .
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by waz on Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:01 pm

Eddie, I was looking at it from the insurance angle, as it is factory fitted it is not a modification so should not affect the insurance.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:20 pm

The problem is Waz ,its a vicious circle the insurers want it shown on the V5 as a pro conversion or they want proof that the mod was carried out by a professional company before they will accept it , although the problem was made worse because I was insuring it as a van with the lify up roof. Had the van been fitted as a camper I could have it changed on the V5 by sending them photos of the interior .

Most insurers will also not touch self converted vans , but if you look at the information on the Self Build site , they list insurers that will provide cover .

I know it all seems over complicated but I have been converting vans to motor homes for some time and there is a set procedure to follow to meet the requirements of insurers and DVLA .

Cheers

Eddie
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by waz on Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:24 pm

OK Eddie, I bow to your knowledge on the subject.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by HighlyJetted on Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:25 pm

Laughing  I think it has already been through Devon or JC Leisure. The windows and roof say it all.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:40 pm

Are J.C leisure still trading Matt and do they do the roof conversion ,? I am sure some one must still be doing them . just a case of keep digging I suppose .
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by waz on Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:28 pm

JC leisure at Whinchelse, Rye are still trading. I know they sell motorhomes but don't know about converting vans.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by Logi on Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:51 am

Look on ebay, there's a van with a poptop same as yours, nearly new.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:19 am

Yes I was the one who posted it Logi , and if I can get that sort of money for mine I will be more than happy Very Happy 

Cheers

Eddie
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by Logi on Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:55 am

No, not the camper, the van, think it was an 09 plate? Don't see it now tho. Would've been a place to find out where it was done.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by HIJET1300GT on Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:00 am

I remember seeing them logi, the chap was selling a few , red and blue ones , just panel vans with pop tops .
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:38 pm

UMMM , thats interesting, Hijet 1300 GT, I will try and search Ebay and go from there , as I say ,there must be someone doing them .

Thanks for all the info guys

Eddie
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by bushwhacker on Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:53 pm

HighlyJetted wrote:It would seem that the above lpg "organization" is a bit of a red herring.

They are not a government body, nor are they a ltd, nor do they even have a real address!

To get on their authorised installer list, you just need to be a dealer for one of the manufactures and agree to a certain level of service. They don't police anything or even inspect the installers.

They are simply a register, so I bet if you email them a copy of a v5, and fake the bit that says dual fuel, they will just put you on it. They have no DVLA access or anything.
They are the trade association I was referring to. They love to give the impression they are supported by the government but in reality they just get installers to pay them a membership fee to be registered by them. The vehicle register is for their own purposes.

As for DVLA if you get the V5 modified for a conversion they DO NOT refer to this organisation at all. They merely ask for the information that I mentioned before. Same goes for insurers.

If you truly wish you can get your vehicle on their register by getting one of their members to examine it, 'cheap' according to one magazine. That turned out to be a fee of at least £125 for something that is not a legal necessity. You may call it a 'scam' if you wish but it is not illegal. You merely have to be wary of all adverts and claims as usual in life.
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