Getting the Van ready for winter!

The Australian winter is upon us.

 

Here are two videos where I show where the van is up to:

I have added 1.7r value foil backed earth wool insulation

About 1/2 of a roll - full roll cost $90AUD at Bunnings

When the heater controls died I have not replaced them, opting for the manual control change over using a pair of pliers, I show you how in this video.

Check out my other Van posts here

December Van Update

December has seen some big changes as every month seems to.

I have added an additional 100ah 12v AGM with some new fusing options.

There is now a fuse between the 2 batteries 50amp resettable, along with another 50amp resettable between the batteries and the load distribution fuse panel.

I also managed to snap up a 1000w pure sine inverter during the christmas sales - I haven’t managed to install it yet however I am thinking of just putting an anderson plug and use it occasionally.

Christmas to New Year - Mystery Bay

This time we trooped off to Mystery Bay on the NSW South Coast, just south of Narooma

 

 

The Mystery Bay Camp site is a bush campsite in a eucalyptus forest surrounding the bay. 

The site consists of long drop bush toilets and cold showers dotted around.

However being the self sufficient little chaps we are we had our 12v shower, a kettle and a bucket = warm shower  

We set up a tent to use as storage and to save our space as the camp site was so busy and we didn't want to come back and find others in our site.

As there is no Optus connection available, we used a prepaid $2 Telstra sim card in a wifi pod so we could we could still contact my family who were travelling for the christmas holidays.

Our days were filled with exploring the surrounding coast line, eating local seafood and sunning ourselves on the beach.

I could have guessed that it was all going too well! Coming back from coast, top of Clyde mountain we burst a coolant pipe.

 


Pulled over before motor seized without coolant, no Optus service. Used Wifi pocket again to Facebook message friend in Canberra, he coordinated with NRMA who attended, towed to Braidwood, NMRA replaced coolant hose and we were able to continue on our way home

November update: The Van's maiden voyage

As I sit here looking back over the progress on the van since we purchased her (it?) since August I am astonished with the changes. Full electric fit out, mattresses, storage, mechanical. All have been completed in this short time.

image.jpg

Never being one that believes in starting slow, her maiden voyage was a 2 night, three day, 800km long weekend. Canberra to Bombala via Cooma was the first leg, camping just outside the town at a river known for its frequent platypus sightings. Sadly the river was up and not fury friends were sighted. 

image.jpg

Being our first night we wanted to stay away from other people and chose to free camp, having a fully self sufficient.

The main learning we had from the first night was - sleep with your head to the back - while the fridge is quiet it does start for 2-3 min every 30 minutes. With your head at the rear you do not hear it at all.

We were up early and left our little river side spot, stopping at a local rest area to clean up and make breakfast. Nothing done by halves with Frankie on board. Toasted croissants with ham and cheese.

image.jpg

By lunch time we had already arrived at our next overnight spot - Mallacoota, the northern most town on the coast in Victoria.

 

Opting for a powerless site a the local van park that dominates the towns estuary foreshore allowed us to have near uninterrupted water frontage. Why pay for a powered site when we make our own!

image.jpg
image.jpg

All in all it was an 800km 2 night 3 day shake down. We worked out what worked well and what needed improving.

But more on that, next time.

Don't forget to checkout our social media channels for other updates:

 

October 2015 #vanlife update

 

So this this month saw the conclusion of a number of projects I had been wanting to bowl over.

I rewired every circuit in the house battery (second battery for the muggles). Adding a fuse block and a master 50A fuse.

I also added a voltage sensing relay between the van's alternator and the second battery to charge while driving.

I installed an Anderson plug on the exterior of the van to allow hookups to external solar panels when the van is in the shade.

 External panels (40w) allow the van to be parked in the shade

External panels (40w) allow the van to be parked in the shade

 External Anderson plug direct to battery allows external batteries or a mains DC battery charger to be connected with the doors closed

External Anderson plug direct to battery allows external batteries or a mains DC battery charger to be connected with the doors closed

The final project was the adding of two digital meters for solar input and one for output to keep an eye on usage. 

 Digital read outs allow me to keep an eye on the system without lifting the hatch

Digital read outs allow me to keep an eye on the system without lifting the hatch

With the rewiring of the system I now have 3 12v cig sockets in the front and one in the rear all running off the house battery. I needed more other wise I would need to keep unplugging the 12 fridge to charge my phone or run a 12v fan.

My parents have a 1 year old 31lt Waeco 12v CDF-35 fridge they are giving to us so we theoretically can go off grid for weeks (food and relationship pending :D ) 

Videos to come 

#vanlife #vw

Update 2. Sept 2015 Van update

I recently uploaded a new video to show you the progress since the last video.  

Some highlights include:

  • Finishing the interior upholstery, moving from gray vinyl to a dark blue interior that is really nice and gives a warmer feeling. 
 New interior and mattress covers

New interior and mattress covers

  • Additionally we have received the mattress covers for the folding mattress that forms the bed of the van as well as curtains to block out the light. 
  • The large Fiamma wind out awning was installed that doubles the living space as well as allows outdoor cooking.

 Van featuring its new F45 FIAMMA awning  

Van featuring its new F45 FIAMMA awning  

Quick update on the Van

It has been a busy few months working on the van.  The interior is almost up to scratch with the covers for the mattress being the only roadblock before its first test.  

 

The front windscreen that was cracked from left to right because of a rust bubble has been removed and repaired.  

 

 Brand new windscreen! 

Brand new windscreen! 

The last piece that I am looking for to make it perfect is a side awning that does not require roof racks. This is proving to be more ellisive than I had imagined.   Any ideas?

 

 Side awning needed  

Side awning needed  

Introducing our new project - a 1998 VW Transporter T4 - I guess we are joining #VANLIFE

A while ago I wrote about #projectsailboat. This was a desire to learn more about the “systems” of a boat prior to purchase. Such as a means of producing power (solar), storage options in limited space etc. Greater discussions with my partner led us to move away from the idea of a boat - we simply would not get the use of it, being some 150km from the ocean. The next option was a camper - we enjoy camping and exploring but due to weather this limits our options. A camper would extend the 'season' as well as offer a support vehicle for scuba diving. After much searching we settled on a relatively old 1998 VW camper van. It had been roughly converted - allowing us to add many of our own touches. The video below gives you a look at the van after we have had it for only 2 weeks.


Check out the video and don't forget to like, comment or subscribe.