Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:36 pm

Hi Bushwhacker , I have never applied for insurance for an LPG vehicle nor owned one , but I do know that converters issue certificates when they fit an LPG system and I am wondering why they would do that it it was not required. I wonder if its for you changing over to LPG to register and insure it . I have also seen a number of write ups on buying LPG converted vehicles that say you should ensure it has one . Just seems strange that companies issue them if they are not needed .

Cheers

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

Post by bushwhacker on Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:32 pm

I think what I said was plain enough. It is a trade association simply drumming up trade for itself; the magazines seem to listen to it and print without any critical thought. (What I said is my own personal experience and is fact).

From what I see they do their damndest to try to imply that they have legal state backing but that just doesn't seem to be the case.

Interestingly there are similar organisations in other countries and an overall international one. The certificates they produced seemed to be the same except for the language. I note from your link however, that this mob do not seem to think that foreign ones are acceptable. Unfortunately, under EU law we have to accept mobility of labour and must accept their qualifications and trade bodies. So it seems that their idea of the law is a bit selective.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:42 pm

Hi Bushwacker , I have added the link below to try and get a clear perspective to anyone who is contemplating conversion . Much of what you say is correct , however the author of the link seems to be impartial and presents some interesting information so I accept his findings .

http://www.diy-lpg.co.uk/articles/files/legalities_of_conversions.html

I dont know your status regarding qualification to agree with or dismiss what the author has to say , and I would not declare myself qualified to challenge the information , so I will leave it to members to decide for themselves .

Best regards

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

Post by elfin girl on Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:10 pm

just found this via dvla website,

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120606172804/http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/dft-information-sheets/lpg-vehicles-a-brief-guide.pdf

quite interesting.. also a little concerning that it says
"in the UK, there is no statutory regime for inspecting the safety of aftermarket LPG installations before use on the road or at the annual roadworthiness (MOT) test. However, vehicles must meet the requirements set out in the C&U regulations at all times that they are used on public roads. Whilst there is no statutory regime for inspecting the safety of aftermarket LPG installations, there is a voluntary code of practice published by UKLPG and some insurance companies may ask for some form of certification before granting cover.

section 4 has a very long list of some regulations, but as has been pointed out by eddie there seems to be no regulations to ensure these requirements are met, i for one wouldnt be happy with just some bod fidling with my lpg, id want to know they are properly qualified to do the job safely
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by HighlyJetted on Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:28 pm

It's all just a big grey area of undefined nonsense and people playing on fear.

In domestic installations, the wording is something like "must be fitted by a competent person"

You can prove incompetency pretty easy, but competency is pretty vague. A qualification doesn't really prove anything.

People are scared of gas, yet a leaking petrol pipe is just as dangerous.

At least the gas just blows away Laughing 

I've fitted all the boilers, gas hobs, fires and pipe work in all my homes and in other peoples homes for friends and family.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by waz on Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:39 pm

HighlyJetted wrote:
I've fitted all the boilers, gas hobs, fires and pipe work in all my homes and in other peoples homes for friends and family.
and me, a bit off boss white, fairy liquid and a large dollop of common sense
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by HIJET1300GT on Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:07 pm

Common sense is the best tool you can have . Unfortunately you can't buy it.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by elfin girl on Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:11 pm

by qualified i meat competent an able to do the job properly.. ie... not me! or anyone else i know!! one thing im not confident to do as never done anything with gas before, my common sense tells me to get someone else to do it Very Happy 
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:44 pm

As H.J says its another one of those areas that is left to interpretation , Gas and Household electrics come under regulation and should be fitted by a qualified person only to stay within the law , yet there are no regs or qualifications required to install LPG or electric in a caravan or motorhome unless they are being used for hire .

I also operate what used to be called a portable appliance testing service , and the rules for compliance with the regs are again down to interpretation but if you get them wrong some one dies or there is a fire risk , and the big finger points at the person responsible .

My own rules are 1. Am I allowed to do it ?

2. Do I have the knowledge to be capable of doing safely ?.

If yes to both then fine , if not get advise or help


Cheers

Eddie


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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by Brungle on Mon Sep 02, 2013 3:58 pm

In a van as small as a hijet I really wouldn't bother with a proper hob, sink and 230v electrics. A 12v leisure battery and a portable cooker will do you fine. We have just spent a week touring Scotland in our recently finished self build Nissan Serena camper and we didn't need a sink or a permanent cooker.

heres some pics of ours: http://db.tt/IdVH20YQ

The popup plug sockets in the work top run off an inverter connected to the  12v leisure battery. We watched some TV every night, charged phones, used lights, we even have a raspberry pi in there. We moved around every few days so the battery got recharged (via split relay charger of van main battery) and we never used up all the juice.

It was great fun being able to just drive around and stop wherever you wish Cool

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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by HighlyJetted on Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:01 pm

You've done a very nice job of that camper conversion in the Serena! Finish looks pretty damn good.
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by Brungle on Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:59 pm

Thanks HJ.
It's taken many hours, the cutouts were done using a router and took lots of practice/patience as I'd never used one before.

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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by Guest on Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:59 pm

Well Brungle for someone who has never used a Router before you have made a lovely job of 

  it all. Ive got a couple of Routers and they definitely aren't that easy to use freehand. 

I have done my share of Caravan building at Romahome and a lot at Lifestyle Vehicles where 

 we specialised in converting Mazda Bongo's. Still got some pictures of the units I used to

        
make for inside them.

 I hope you have many more weekend breaks and holidays in your very serene, Serena.

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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:01 pm

Hi Brungle, To echo what Woody and H.J said its a nice job indeed , and I agree that the size of the Hijet does limit the amount of extras you can install, I am not yet looking at doing a full conversion as I will be using it for work and leisure at the moment . The inverters are fine for low amp appliances but will soon drain your battery if used for fridges etc, so my own plan will be to install a consumer unit and supply appliances and battery charging through campsite hook ups .

Being a creature of comfort I like as many luxuries as possible and so the full conversion will have oil filled heater , microwave , 2 burner hob , coolbox , T.V , HiFi , and led lighting . and my over nighting will be restricted to camp sites only .

Well done on your build and hope you get plenty of use out of it .


Cheers

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

Post by Brungle on Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:13 pm

Thanks Eddie.
Ah a microwave yes that would blow my inverter up Smile and the oil filled radiator.

Good luck. I'll be keeping an eye on this thread sounds like it will have everything.

Any links to the oil filled radiator you are considering?
We do have a hookup cable with an inbuilt RCD but I've not used it yet. This along with the hookup and an oil radiator could allow us to camp in the cooler months. I do have a 12v 55w heated blanket for running off the battery but no idea how good it will be.

Cheers

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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:00 pm

Hi Brungle , I have done quite a few conversions and I use a 500w or 800w oil filled heater when on sites , many of the EHU supplies will take 1KW now but you need to leave a bit of power for the likes of T.V etc so I normally use a 500 w and find it just keeps the chill off on a cold night , but thats been in a long wheel base hi top van , in a small van it should be more than enough heat .

Cheers

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

Post by elfin girl on Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:09 pm

blimey, i must be a bit hard core, i have a portable stove and a solar light, only just got round to putting in a bed. ive camped outside peoples houses at christmas time in 4" of snow.. got a little chilly at 4am but then my sleeping bag is a good one and the dogs must generate a bit of heat!
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Re: Thinking of converting to camper ? , the pitfalls

Post by eddie0303 on Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:14 pm

Hi Daisydon , I think its a case of horses for courses , I have done camping under canvas in cold weather but many years ago , My old joints would not take it now Very Happy , Its really a case of what you want from your van . Some prefer to go wild camping and so you need to design it to work on 12 v and lpg heating etc or if your like me and like a warm toilet seat instead of a squat hole then you can go the extra mile and add some frills. Others might want to design a van for both types of use or just as a mobile garage / workshop for downhill racing etc , and thats the beauty of vans they can be all things to different people . A further option would be to tow a small trailer for the accommodation and use the van for the equipment or vise verse ,the options go on and on .

Cheers

Eddie
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