Converting an Ambulance into a Campervan

Two and a half weeks and we start our travels and this blog will transform into an adventure story with instagram worthy photos so do keep following if that’s of interest to you! For now though, we need to talk a bit more about the build…

gerald and van

When you are starting a campervan conversion with no previous experience in design, electronics, carpentry, insulation, gas and many many other things, it’s can be pretty daunting! Over the space of around 8 months we have gone from owning a disabled transport vehicle to a home. Looking back, we have learnt so much and would do a lot differently, but we are also really proud of what we have achieved with our only knowledge coming from online forums and YouTube videos! The reason we want to share our knowledge is to show that a well trained monkey can do what we did.

My advice to anyone about to start converting is to plan, plan and plan before doing anything. Once you know the vehicle and preferably have bought it, get inside and learn everything you can about it. Measure it, draw pictures, write notes and if you want start designing on Tinkercad (more details on that in a previous post).

We knew electrics really should be one of the first things you do, so that you can neatly hide all the wires behind the walls. Unfortunately at the time I couldn’t wrap my head around something to do with the electrics, which scared me off doing it first.. I needed to learn more. Along the way I have had several people claim they also can’t clear this ‘speed-bump’, but once you understand it, it becomes quite simple; and ever since I got it, I have been addicting to adding more electrical bits (Including an extractor fan made from a PC fan which I’d like to share with you if I do it some day). I will write a separate post about electrics soon.

We have utilised lots of clever ‘multi-storage’ areas. Like the sink and hob which when not being used, is covered with a thick blanket to protect the glass cover. This provides ample space to put things which are just laying around for later. The dining table has the ability to come off it’s wall attachment and lay flat of the chairs which it borders, providing loads of dumping space for clothes and bigger items; including your bums if you wanted to make a semi-comfortable sofa. 

We started off pulling the walls down and insulating behind them. We did this by using foil backed bubble wrap which we found on Ebay, and then filling in between with recycled plastic insulation from B&Q. We were also blocking in 4 windows as they ran down the whole side of the vehicle and limited us on our storage options. We started doing this with blackout/tinting film but it was a disaster! I’m not surprised people pay to get this done because we were doing a terrible job. So we thought we would try using black fabric instead. We taped it down and pushed the insulation over it, then screwed down some plywood on top before folding the walls back up. Luckily this worked and to this day we have no condensation in those windows which was our worry.

miyuki on seat

Next we applied the fake grey wood lino walls which you can see above. We bought something similar to this but it was much cheaper, so shop around. Ebay is your friend! We bought something similar for the floor but in blue and grey. We tried to stick the walls on but they didn’t hold well so we ended up having to screw it in at the top. We also managed to tuck it up under the ceiling which was really useful as it was pretty heavy and hard to do even with 2 of us.

So we had our insulation and walls done! Although it was still an empty vehicle. So we took out the masking tape and started marking off areas where the bed or kitchen could be, and moving the 2 passenger seats around in the runners to find the best place for them and the table. It was also useful using some cardboard boxes in those areas to get an idea of how much space you will have.

Now I did document all of this in photos, but sadly lost them all which I am gutted about. The furthest I can go back is when we started putting in the floor in February, but everything before that, you will just have to believe me!

I won’t go on any longer and will share the rest in the next post, where you will start to see some photos! I will explain how we built the bed frame and how the rest of the conversion started to take shape. For now, thanks for reading and feel free to ask any questions if you would like any more detail. Counting down the days until we leave for France! Thanks so much for reading, I promise it will get more interesting!



One thought on “Converting an Ambulance into a Campervan

  1. It’s interesting already to hear how you’re solving problems as you encounter them. And, that hindsight is a wonderful thing!! Looking forward to hearing the next installment…


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