The DIY Self Build Camper Van Conversion Blog

The thought of taking to the road to explore in a Motor Home or RV can be a very appealing one but the high costs of many factory built camper vans can stop a lot of us from experiencing this unique way of travelling.

But there is another way! with some basic DIY skills and some creative thinking, it's possible to build a campervan for just a few hundred pounds. That's exactly what I did with my van conversion.

If you want to know how to build a Motorhome / CamperVan very cheaply, without compromising on quality, then you've come to the right place. I'll show you how I converted a tired old Ford Transit Minibus, into a very stylish and comfortable Motor Home, for under £500!

Moving up a gear!

self build motorhome DIY conversion
After driving the bus home, I set about parking it up in the garden after making a space for it, but it was too long! by about 18". I had to remove the back step which was rotten anyway and give a tree a bit of a trim to get it in , even then I had to remove the gates and re attach them after the bus was in, but at least it was in.

The first job to do was try and fix the gearbox. I know very little about automatic gearboxes so I needed a bit of help. I know from past experience just how valuable forums can be, so my first thought was to search the net for a Transit Van forum. It only took a few minutes to find one, so I posted my problem and waited for a reply. Within an hour someone had answered me and gave some suggestions of things to check and as luck would have it someone on the forum lived near by and offered to pop round and help me out, excellent!

After trying a few things the diagnosis didn't look good and the bus would still only go from 1st to 2nd, no 3rd or overdrive.
The options were to find a replacement automatic gearbox or replace it with a manual one, which seemed the sensible option.The chap I brought the bus from had attempted to fix the gearbox and assured me that he had tried all the simple and cheap options like changing the oil and filter etc and the only real choice left was to replace the gearbox, which was something I was prepared to do.

Anyway, someone on the forum had suggested checking the vacuum pipe to make sure they were not split, so the next day that's what I did. When I was checking the pipes I noticed that there wasn't any vacuum getting to the gearbox and found that one of the non return valves had been fitted the wrong way round. So I turned it around which then restored the vacuum. I took the bus for a spin and to my amazement another gear appeared, yippee! After a bit more tweaking and replacing all the vacuum pipes the gearbox is now working with all gears present, it just needs some fine tuning to get it working 100% but at least now I don't have to replace the gearbox and can spend the time and money on the conversion.

Build cost so far £320.00