This is an on-going record of how we've taken a brand-new Fiat panel van and cut big holes in it to convert what remains into a motorhome. We hope anyone contemplating building a motorhome will find encouragement here. With careful planning, modest diy skills, a few basic tools, and a little determination it can be done.
Whilst the van is fully converted, some pages may be incomplete as there is still some work to be done. It is surprising how, over time (and as one grows older!), things that were fine when one started no longer work so well. Also if we believe we could have done something better, we'll change it!
With winter fast approaching we are taking a break from working on Deep Red and trying to catch up on emails and updates. One aspect of motor caravanning that doesn't often get a mention, and is guaranteed to keep us on our toes when stopping at unfamiliar campsites, is the location and/or method of using the dreaded chemical toilet disposal point.
Having roamed the site with a heavily-laiden toilet cassette for what seems like hours in a fruitless search for the Chimique, one returns to the van a gibbering wreck in a state of near-exhaustion. It's then one spies a carefree neighbour jauntily swinging an empty cassette to and fro like a schoolgirl with a Louis Vuitton handbag who, when asked, points somewhat incredulously at a drain cover at the rear of the toilet block that one has trampled over at least half a dozen times.
On the more up-market sites, the Chimique is often a tiled cubicle with glass door and equipped with a purpose-made ceramic flushing loo. Thoughtfully provided for flushing the cassette is a length of innocent-looking hose with tap that, once operated, sprays a ferocious jet of stone-cold water over everything within ten feet.
Sometimes these cubicles are hidden away in an outbuilding, and although clearly marked on your site map, don't actually exist because they've built a row of wooden camping huts where the Chimique used to be.
But, at the spacious municipal site at Villefranche-sur-Saone, just north of Lyon, there was no such difficulty. For here, right by the motorhome service point, was a 'Kleen-a-Pottee' machine!