Way Past 40.

Way Past 40.

What's it about?

Just a load of old rambling about me and the different things I end up doing...normally projects and builds of some description!

I have also published a book called "The Project Has Landed..." about the Land Rover Series 3 rebuild I did and it can be bought from any amazon website so please feel free to go and get yourself a copy!

If you feel the need or just want to talk feel free to contact me via Nick@nickysmith.me and I will get back to you asap :)

Thanks for reading.

Table Tops & Beds

Campervan ProjectPosted by Nicky Smith Sun, January 07, 2018 08:18:13
Well I have been slowly pottering away in the background over the last few weeks on the campervan.
In fact I have been doing so much pottering I have met all of the requirements for the change of vehicle type on the V5.
Don't get me wrong there will be personal touches added to it and the odd practical change once we start to use it and find problems Im sure but as it stands it is a nice basic campervan.

So since we last caught up I added another seat just inside the door to the right that incorporates the toilet inside of it. The top removes off of this and the front opens out so there is much needed relief based facilities for our nights away.

The table has been made and is removable. This is one of the requirements for it to be classed as a motorhome by DVLA. It was not on the top of our list of requirements but needs must and all that. Partitions have been added below the bed to separate the rear "garage" and the clean front storage sections.
All of the lights have now been wired up and in so the next expensive items on the list will be new leisure batteries!

All in all it's there for now. I will have to see what if the logbook comes back to me changed or whether the DVLA would like a closer look at it or not.

*** Folks I appreciate that the updates on this project have been few and far between and that's because it has been a hell of a year personally. Normal service is about to be resumed :) and I did not want not to finish up the updates on the old campervan, poor as they have been. New things are on the horizon and thanks for sticking around!***

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Delays & Doors.

Campervan ProjectPosted by Nicky Smith Sat, December 16, 2017 15:21:49
You have just got to love the snow. It looks really nice for the first 24 hours then you are sick to the back teeth of the stuff! It really was too damned cold to be playing outside on an evening so last night was really the first chance I got to do much of anything. Today though saw me putting in a full six hours because I had worked out the date of when the camper had to be officially converted for the insurance...January 22nd 2018.

Best pull my finger out eh!

Using old pallet wood I built up the kitchen storage area after securing in the microwave so it doesn't come flying out at me if i have to harsh brake.

The kitchen cupboards were then boarded in and I set to fitting tongue & groove paneling long the front of the work surface. The waste and fresh water tubs are secured side by side under the sink and the doors have been made with a thin plywood back which I then T&G'd up afterwards to give them some strength.

My good lady Wife and youngest daughter returned home at this point and checked out my handy work.
The youngest then came out with "That looks really nice!" with the sound of surprise in her voice.
I then replied "What did you think it was going to look like then?"
"Well you know Dad, seeing as you were "building" it yourself...not nice like it does"

Don't you just love your kids. They think you are as thick as two short planks and rubbish at being able to do anything by yourself because, to them, you are just plain old!

The plan is to hit the van as much as possible this week getting the worst of the building all finished. I would like to be able to send the V5 back to DVLA for the change of vehicle by the new year...

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Where to start?

Campervan ProjectPosted by Nicky Smith Sun, December 10, 2017 13:25:28
I genuinely do not know where to begin. A few things have happened in life so I have just pottered on with the most evenings trying to do at least one thing a day to push the whole build on even though it is bloomin' freezing most nights now.
A chest infection has sapped my strength and my faithful old dog reached the end of her days so as I look back at all of the pictures I am about to put up I am genuinely surprised at what progress has been made.

When we last left off the floors and walls were mostly in place. It was time to start getting the framework in place. The bed was the beginning soon followed by the seats and cupboards.

With that done it was time to look at the 12v lighting. I had already predrilled the holes out so it didnt take long to wire them together and dig out the old car battery I have kicking around to tes these sort of things.

The keen eyed among you will also notice that I have boarded out the headboard area across the rear doors. This will give us something to lean on in bed and the back of it will be a place our coats can be hung after opening the rear doors.

I measured up to fit a microwave so that covers the "cooking" element for the conversion on the V5 and will be a bonus when we are on 240v hook up.

A pallet wood kitchen sideboard with new taps and sink fitted will add a little variation and colour in the sea of brown.

Add a couple of shelves, along with the microwave, an old door to give a little depth and a front to the big cupboard and it really is starting to look like a campervan :)

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Walls & Floors.

Campervan ProjectPosted by Nicky Smith Mon, November 27, 2017 16:28:11
Still feeling as rough as a badgers behind if I am honest. This though wasn't going to stop me doing a couple of hours work on the camper though.
Firstly I had to choose a colour for the walls.

Seriously where the hell do you start with that?? I was not going to ask WIfey about colour choices so I decided all by myself, like a grown up, on a darkish oak and I don't think it looks too bad all in all...

The floor was bought from Wickes a couple of weeks ago and by a stroke of luck it actually matches! The eagle eyed among you will notice it does not run all the way to the back and that's actually planned believe it or not. All in that dept will become apparent as we go along.

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Log Cabins.

Campervan ProjectPosted by Nicky Smith Sun, November 26, 2017 17:45:12
I have been a busy boy. Quietly in the background these last couple of weeks I have been plodding along in the evenings doing the odd bit here and the odd bit there.

Throw in a chest infection, putting my back out picking up my nephew and being generally bloody busy across the board I think I have done pretty well so far. Whenever I look at the van though the 90 day limit alarm bell rings at the back of my mind. I should really figure out when that date is so I have something to aim for.

So what's been happening then? I set to fitting the vapour barrier over the insulation. This was a nice steady easy job that used about a hundred meters of tape...

The electrics were first fixed, the battens refitted and then I had the pleasure of battening the whole of the inside. I needed framework in place to attach the tongue and groove wood. Seeing as I didn't really want "boxy" corners it did take a bit of time to to create the curved framing on the roof.

The sides were easy enough...they just go straight up. The roof though...
It took some fiddling, a little cursing and more than a couple of walk aways from the whole damned thing but it hasn't turned out too bad.

Then it was just the final meeting up of the boards on the ceiling. Of course they were not a perfect match but when working with wood nothings perfect. A quick strip of wood later and the finished article is not too bad even if it looks like a log cabin :)

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More Holes.

Campervan ProjectPosted by Nicky Smith Sun, November 12, 2017 16:53:51
The second window is in! There was slightly less poo this time which my backside thanked me for no end.
It was a slightly smaller window so I only managed to destroy two jigsaw blades in the process.

Once the window was bonded into place I set my sights on the van floor. The timber had arrived so I cracked on fitting it into place.

The last two cuts were for the 240v input and a cheeky little outdoor 240v mains three pin plug so I can use outside cookers etc when on campsites.

The start of the internal wiring will come next along with proper markings out for the furniture. Sorry for the bland post but quite frankly I am shattered!

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First Cut.

Campervan ProjectPosted by Nicky Smith Sun, November 05, 2017 07:25:57
I love a good steak. When Wifey suggested steak and chips for dinner, me to cook it of course, I jumped at the idea! Why oh why though does your house have to stink of steak for two days after cooking it? It was a strange experience eating my cornflakes this morning at the kitchen table whilst smelling last night's meaty dinner!

I had planned for Saturday to be the day to fit at least one of the potential three windows into the van and of course woke up nice and warm in my cosy bed to the sound of rain pounding on the roof. With a mental shrug to myself I thought "It's got to rain sometime" and pottered on with a few bits on on Wifeys car instead.
She seems to have a habit of getting a puncture at least once a week at the moment so I shot off out on my new Saturday morning habit of getting that repaired. Let's see if she can make the whole week this time keeping all of the tyres a round shape.
The book is open folks, place your bets.

Thankfully the rain passed soon enough and I got around to actually measuring up all of the windows I have bought. Yep there will only be two fitted I think. I thought there were two large, one medium and two small but I was mistaken. There is one large, two medium and two small. After a bit of thought I have decided a big one at the front and a medium at the rear.
What to start with though? Bugger it, go big or go home!

I measured the window again and checked it against the panel it was going into behind the drivers seat so as to be the kitchen window.

Yep, definitely the right one so I made a template and offered that up. Then I checked the measurements again...yep seems about right, maybe, but I marked up the panel in pencil just incase I was wrong.
I needed a nervous poo now so there was a short delay at this point.

I cleaned the window on both sides so I didn't have to make the first cut quite just yet. This killed another five minutes which turns out to be just about enough time to make yourself need another nervous poo.

"Right then. Enough of this" I thought to myself as I was doing my trousers up for the second time in twenty minutes. "Time to take the plunge!"
I drilled in some pilot holes around the corners and set to with the jigsaw on what turns out to be paper thin metal. I popped some tape behind me as I cut to stop teh vibrations getting any worse than they were.

Within minutes there was rather a large hole in the side of my nice little van. I know it's not an expensive van but it's mine and as I looked through the side of this colossal hole out through the sliding door on the other side of it I needed another poo.

Once the spasmodic bowl had calmed enough for me to walk around again (after a suitable length of lying down recovery time of course) I went back out and primed the edges ready for bonding.

With the edging strip fitted I then stuck the bonding on, top tip here do not get any of that stuff on your skin as it does not come off at all!, and the moment of truth had arrived.
With the help of my daughter I popped the window into place, bedded it in as best I could and secured/propped it place.

Honestly I think it could have been a little tidier but overall I am very happy with the result :)
Hopefully it wont fall off as I drive along and I need to try and get around to fitting the second one now but I fear that will be a job for next weekend. I need a proper day off from work and hobbies and that's exactly what I plan to do today. A hole lot of wandering around looking at the colours of Autumn somewhere nice is on the cards.

I need to box clever now on the rest of the build price wise. There are a few bits to sell on already so I may get around to that later to top up the pot. Turns out wood is pretty damned expensive when you buy it new!

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Windy Windows.

Campervan ProjectPosted by Nicky Smith Sun, October 29, 2017 15:04:37
Summertime is over. So with that extra hour in the day it seemed like a good idea to drive to Cleethorpes to collect some side windows for the van that I had managed to source online. The sun was out and Wifey wanted to go to the seaside, this particular seaside in fact. You see a couple of years ago or maybe last year, well at some point recently she said that she wanted to go to Mablethorpe.
Once there she then insisted that I was a stupid pillock and that she wanted to go to Cleethorpes! Now us gentleman do not make such drastic errors when driving so she was of course lying through her teeth.
Still at the time we had a pleasant, if very cold and wet, twenty minutes there because absolutely nothing was open, not even a cafe. So we soon left.

But today only a mere year or maybe two later I managed to get her to sunny Cleethorpes where not only did I make Wifey happy but got the next big bits for my van for a very very reasonable price.

The journey down was not without incident though. You see before we left I had consumed two large mugs of tea. Then on route I had a rather large cup of coffee. This of course led to rather an uncomfortable issue. Half way in I needed to pee but not to worry I was sure that I could hold it. Two thirds of the way in I was not quite so confident and by the time we were three quarters of the way in knew I would not be able to make it without causing a rather large, if warm mess.

There was nothing else for it but to pull into a suitably wooded layby. As if by magic one appeared within the mile and I gladly jumped out of the car making sure to look at what I was walking over to get reasonably hidden to have a much needed piddle.

Such was the relief that I was not quite so careful walking back out of the woods. As I stood back onto the tarmac path it seemed remarkably spongy. I had of course stood in some dog poo. Yes I know that it was probably not dog poo but the fact I had to clean the sole of my boot off with baby wipes for several minutes before I could get back into the car I had to convince myself that it was indeed some dog poo left behind by a lazy owner who did not want to pick it up.

Wifey of course thought this all highly amusing and happily snapped away with her camera so I could "Share the experience" with you all...

I didn't find it funny but in all fairness I would have done exactly the same thing if the tables were turned!

But despite the poo and the storm force winds trying to take us off of our feet at the sea front we managed to get in a cheeky Fish & Chip lunch and I have got the next big bits to move this camper project onwards.

90 days for the build? Yea, we should be ok with that!

Price List

Movano £1600
Windows £125
Other stuff £loads and loads but will price up individually in a bit :)

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Getting your insides out.

Campervan ProjectPosted by Nicky Smith Sun, October 29, 2017 07:38:00
I don't think I can properly explain how different this project is going to be for me. The majority of the work is being done inside in the warm and dry. If as winter arrives and the temperature drops I will have the horror of running an extension lead lead out then plugging in a heater. Then as part of a cunning, keeping myself warm plan, I will close the doors and continue the conversion in earnest.

The is insured now and I managed to find a way to save the best part of £200. This came with a rather important condition. I have to do the whole conversion in 90 days. That's not as bad as it sounds though. All of the work is in the interior so thankfully not mechanical which makes life so much more straight forwards.

So in order to begin putting the stuff inside that I we want I had to take what was in there out. I opened the doors and was presented with a sea of plywood and solid bulkhead.

All of this came out very easily much to my surprise. No nonsense with the screws apart from a couple that had to be ground down after the wood was removed. The bulkhead also practically jumped out of the van upon request.
I was then left with a filthy dust ridden panel van which when was swept clean is in exceptional condition for it's age! I have definitely got the base vehicle right with no welding needed anywhere at all, anywhere. Not a bit, or a patch. No hidden just under surface rust wanting to surprise me later on. This in itself is a breath of fresh air for me as it feels like all I have done for the last few years is weld stuff up before doing the simplest of repairs.

At this point I have had to have a good think on the position of electrics, the general layout of the interior and how many windows I will fit into it. Hopefully today I will collect five windows of which three will be fitted to the camper.
Once I Had figured out what I wanted where I started to fit the insulation. Having bought two cans of high temperature adhesive I thought that this would be enough to do the whole thing. I was wrong. I needed to double the amount and then add some more so that'll be another trip to Screwfix on the way home from work tomorrow.

The insulation looks well though and really makes you feel like you are getting somewhere already with it all :)

Now at one point I had our porta loo inside of the van so I could visualise the size and placement of such important things as this major thinking spot. In fact I got so engrossed in this that when my neighbour stuck his head around the corner he found myself sat upon the throne, pants up I would like to point out here, asking "Would you like me to come back?"
With a grin I replied "If you can put up with the smell you can stay"

My bank card has also been in meltdown over the last 48 hours buying all manner of necessities for this build. A full price breakdown will follow shortly when I can bear to look at what I have spent.

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We Begin Again.

Campervan ProjectPosted by Nicky Smith Sun, October 22, 2017 21:17:53
Well they say you cannot keep a good man down. In my case that is not quite true, the good man bit I mean, but Wifey has had enough of me wandering around "her" house aimlessly getting involved in all manner of things that I should not be touching because I "make a mess" or "leave stuff lying around".
It quickly got to the stage where she was sick of seeing me indoors so I was given the go ahead to go and buy something interesting that would be at least of some use to the both of us when it was finished.

With that sort of broad spectrum handed over, along with a very small budget of course, I set to working the internet hard (not that way you dirty sods) trying to figure out exactly what I could next get my teeth stuck into.

After a few days of thought the answer really was quite obvious... I would build a campervan! What else would be of use to the both of us and an ideal get away for the weekend kind of toy!

All in all that was around a month ago and I have been hunting for a base van in earnest ever since. I have hit all of the usual sites and looked at over a dozen vans in total, that's another story in itself, until I found the little beaut that is now currently sitting on my driveway blocking all of the light from getting into the living room. It is a Vauxhall Movano 2.5 Diesel Long Wheel Base Extra high Top Van. This I am told is a small price to pay to get me out of the house on a regular basis.

With the motor found it is now onto the planning stage of exactly what we want to fit into this build to make it completely bespoke to us. Even Wifey is showing an interest in this stage but I expect will be hiding away in her Christmas cupboard once the heavy lifting comes around.
So here we go again folks, it's time to get stuck into the next big project because the nights are drawing in and it is far too dark to do much else other than sit indoors looking at the TV. Those of you that know me know that this was just not going to happen!

Project Price List:

Base Van £1600

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