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dobryan Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:28 am

I am now embarking on a journey to put together a reliable camper to travel throughout Europe over the next many years. (The bus will be stored outside Amsterdam for me to pick up for travel.)

This will be my build thread.

I just bought a nice 1991 tin top in Denver with the help of the good samba folks. It has some hail damage, is a little scruffy, and the roof is in bad shape paint wise but I think that a NAHT will cover that nicely. :D And almost rust free.








dobryan Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:29 am

My goal is to take this tin top and turn it into a camper with a full size bed in the rear, no westy cabinets, and add the kitchen unit behind the drivers seat. I like the NAHT for the copious storage and ability to sleep up top without attracting attention.

I will build out the bus this fall/winter with the aim of taking our annual Key West trip next spring as the break in cruise and then shipping it overseas in May/June 2019. I want to try to address any usual maintenance here before I ship it over so that I can minimize my wrenching time in Europe. We'll see how that actually plays out as the years go by....

I will actually be keeping a running total of expenses for this build! :shock:
This is something I have never done as I prefer to remain ignorant as to how much I spend on my '87 westy. My guesstimate is that I will have $15-$20k total into this before I am done.

So far a preliminary list of what I plan to do is:

EXTERIOR/BODY
Tires, replace, new spare too, use stock steel wheels not alloys
Awning, add one, include clips for poles to mount to body
Degrease and power wash underside, let dry a few weeks
Waxoyl underside as work is done.
Remove body cladding and brackets and inspect for rust on body, rehab as needed, reinstall cladding.
Window gaskets, inspect and pull up and apply waxoyl under all lips
Solar panels, add thin flexible panels to top of the NAHT, as many Watts as will reasonably fit.
Gary Lee rack on rear hatch and add bike rack/clips for three bikes.
Jalousie windows drivers middle and passenger rear
Replace rear hatch (existing one is in bad shape)
Etc.


INTERIOR/CAMPER
Remove entire rear interior including panels and insulation, inspect seams.
Treat seams with wire brush and ospho (or equal) to neutralize any rust even if unseen. Douse seams in Waxoyl.
Add sound deadening to body and install insulation encapsulated in sealed bags.
Passenger seat, install swivel base
Add Westy kitchen unit behind drivers seat. Replace stock fridge with Truckfridge, add water supply and waste water bottles under sink area, add gas bottle under sink area for stove and add vent in floor.
House batteries under rear bench on passenger side with combiner and Bluetooth MPPT controller for solar.
Add several 12V outlet plugs through interior.
Install power supply for 220V to 12V (similar to an Iota 30, but for 220V)
Install NAHT with windows and ceiling vent/fan, use locking tambour door for front storage area
Add storage cubbies everywhere.
Etc….

MECHANICAL
Radiator, replace, inspect fan and resistor
Radiator fan sender, replace
Plastic underbody coolant hoses, replace with SS
Coolant hoses, replace all
Shifter, inspect and likely rehab front ears, etc, and lube bushings all the way to trans
Front brakes, inspect and replace discs, pads, bearings, rubber lines, calipers (rebuild with new seals, or replace)
Front suspension, inspect all bushings, tie rod ends, ball joints, etc replace or rehab as needed. Replace front shocks and maybe springs.
Power steering rack, inspect for leaks, replace bushings.
Headlight relays, add
Ignition switch, replace
Inspect clutch pedal clevis area and rehab as needed
Brake and clutch masters, replace?
Gas tank, drop it and replace all grommets, inspect interior, check overflow tanks in wheel wells too.
Transmission, pull it and send for rebuild with MR GAS, add a Peloquin TBD
Engine, pull it and replace with Rocky Jennings 2.1l long block
Replace engine wiring harness with Kyle Automotive
Replace any suspect engine components/accessories.
Remove A/C?
Etc……

dobryan Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:29 am

I have a one way ticket from BWI to DEN on April 14, 2018. I plan to fly out, replace the fuel lines, fuel filter, oil change?, and drive it home to Maryland by Tuesday April 17.

Thanks to sambanite raoul mitgong for keeping the bus warm and cozy at his house until I can arrive. :D

Total cost to date:
Purchased the bus $2900

markswagen Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:06 am

Nice, I wouldn't go to stock steel 14" wheels, find some 15" or 16" they will afford you a better tire choice, if you have a tire shred it's self.
Also with regard to 240v power, I wouldn't bother with any type of inverter, laptops and camera batteries can be charged from 12v, you batteries will thank you, it takes a lot of 12v DC, to make 240v actually.
The front end, replace it all, go powerflex and not think about it again.
Abel has a modification he did, on his Texas vanagon site, a lock box bolted under the back seat.

dobryan Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:19 am

markswagen wrote: Nice, I wouldn't go to stock steel 14" wheels, find some 15" or 16" they will afford you a better tire choice, if you have a tire shred it's self.
Also with regard to 240v power, I wouldn't bother with any type of inverter, laptops and camera batteries can be charged from 12v, you batteries will thank you, it takes a lot of 12v DC, to make 240v actually.

Agreed on the rims, I'll need to find some.

FWIW I am not installing an inverter but a power supply. The power supply goes from 220V to 12V for when I am camped in a place with power and should run the truckfridge and keep the house batteries charged, see Iota 30amp for a 110V version. . :D

Paulbeard Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:23 am

Bookmarked.

ZsZ Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:24 am

markswagen wrote:
Also with regard to 240v power, I wouldn't bother with any type of inverter, laptops and camera batteries can be charged from 12v, you batteries will thank you, it takes a lot of 12v DC, to make 240v actually.


+1 on that
Just buy some extension cords, socket adapters and a battery charger in europe on your first trip.
there are a lot of connector standards across europe
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schuko

CEE 7 is the most common in household applications and CEE 17 is present usually at campsites

joetiger Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:28 am

:popcorn:

What a perfect empty palate for a build. Looking forward to watching this one come together.

Have you ever watched Jed's tour of Europe series on Campervan Culture? (I'd post a link but their site is down for maintenance.)

ZsZ Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:32 am

joetiger wrote:
Have you ever watched Jed's tour of Europe series on Campervan Culture? (I'd post a link but their site is down for maintenance.)

Their vids are available on vimeo and youtube
https://vimeo.com/campervanculture
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq4g9QUsCrCgPgG_fKEiHrQ

termuehlen Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:24 am

dobryan wrote: markswagen wrote: Nice, I wouldn't go to stock steel 14" wheels, find some 15" or 16" they will afford you a better tire choice, if you have a tire shred it's self.
Also with regard to 240v power, I wouldn't bother with any type of inverter, laptops and camera batteries can be charged from 12v, you batteries will thank you, it takes a lot of 12v DC, to make 240v actually.

Agreed on the rims, I'll need to find some.

FWIW I am not installing an inverter but a power supply. The power supply goes from 220V to 12V for when I am camped in a place with power and should run the truckfridge and keep the house batteries charged, see Iota 30amp for a 110V version. . :D

15" Mercedes Steel wheels are pretty easy to find on ebay.de and relatively cheap. It is hard to find a set, as you are usually buying the spare steel wheel on a vehicle that was equipped with alloys. But I just picked up my last one for EUR 22.50 (MERCEDES BENZ W210 Original Felge Stahlfelge 6,5Jx15 ET37 LK 112 Lemmerz). Shipping costs are the unpleasant part of the equation.

fxr Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:42 am

Do full research on getting it registered and insured in the EU. Although the rules vary slightly from country to country (and I note you're expecting to be based in Amsterdam), the following generally apply:

To get it registered it has to have a CoC (Certificate of Conformity) - this may be hard to obtain - OR have a one-off inspection (not cheap). Also, the person registering it must provide an address in the same country.

Insurance - not impossible, but normally the person named as the insured person has to have a driving licence issued in that country. Not cheap, and very time consuming.

Tax. Normally you'll have to have a very tough annual road-worthiness inspection before you can get it taxed - plus it has to be registered and insured before the tax can be applied.

I hope you find ways around all that! Giving ownership to a friend in that country (or letting them be the 'Keeper' on the registration) can help enormously. However, the insurance hurdle will then still remain tricky to get you as a nominated driver. Just getting 'permission' as in the US doesn't cut it.

I'll add - you can run it on US plates for 6 months to a year (depends on location) - but after that it *has* to be registered locally to remain legal. The EU is very hot on ANPR, and illegal (registration, insurance or tax) vehicles can be seized and scrapped.

Alaskaberrys Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:58 am

Bookmarked :popcorn:

Looking forward to the progress. My hats off to you on keeping track of the financials - be a really good resource for all. I did that for our westy, but I can’t get myself to add it up on the doka to date.... :roll:

Congrats, and happy planning!

dobryan Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:20 am

I'll be running it on US plates while it is over there and will have the proper insurance coverage. I'll not be on the road for any length of time that will trigger any notice vs six months. It will be in storage for at least 9 months a year. There are a ton of US vehicles in storage over there. I can keep the US registration/plates up to date since my state does not require an inspection or emissions for a historic vehicle.

fxr Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:17 pm

dobryan wrote: I'll be running it on US plates while it is over there and will have the proper insurance coverage. I'll not be on the road for any length of time that will trigger any notice vs six months. It will be in storage for at least 9 months a year. There are a ton of US vehicles in storage over there. I can keep the US registration/plates up to date since my state does not require an inspection or emissions for a historic vehicle.
Fingers crossed for you then!

bokonon42 Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:20 pm

Sounds like a great project. I'll be following closely, especially to see what you end up with kitchen-wise.
-terry

dobryan Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:29 pm

fxr wrote: dobryan wrote: I'll be running it on US plates while it is over there and will have the proper insurance coverage. I'll not be on the road for any length of time that will trigger any notice vs six months. It will be in storage for at least 9 months a year. There are a ton of US vehicles in storage over there. I can keep the US registration/plates up to date since my state does not require an inspection or emissions for a historic vehicle.
Fingers crossed for you then!

Yep, they are crossed....

tristessa Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:01 pm

If you could please keep us all posted publicly on the legal and shipping end of things, that would be awesome. My wife and I are considering shipping our '75 to Europe in a couple of years for a travelling vacation, and while we're looking at shipping the Bus back home at the end of the trip, we'll be facing some of the same issues as shipping-and-leaving brings.

We're tentatively looking at 2.5 months in Schengen, a month or so outside of Schengen (UK most likely) and using the remaining 0.5 Schengen month to "Banzai" to the shipping port and get on the plane.

I know it can be done, I hear about it being done, but the details of shipping, temporary importation and etc. seem to be glossed over much of the time. Same goes for insurance.

dobryan Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:11 pm

Went to the local tag and title
place to avoid lines at MVA.

Titled and tagged. Plates on their way to Denver.

$395
Total $3295 to date.

djkeev Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:33 pm

I'm happy for you Dave.

Now you are wishing you kept that RMW aluminum tank! :lol:


Dave

dobryan Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:41 pm

djkeev wrote: I'm happy for you Dave.

Now you are wishing you kept that RMW aluminum tank! :lol:


Dave

Oh snap! 😜



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