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Winter Travelling with a Van

van conversion

Travelling with your converted van is an incredible experience. We all imagine travelling in a van in a very romantic way: a couple at the beach with the van doors opened and the wind sweeping through their hair. While travelling in a van can be a very carefree and amazing summer experience, it can also be a great way to travel in the winter. Whether you are preparing for a ski-holiday in your van or a winter drive through Scandinavia, there are certain things you should be mindful of when preparing your van for winter. Have a look at the list below to find out how you can prepare your van effectively for the coldest months: Continue reading

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Van-Formers specialise in the design, construction and installation of luxury Campervan Interiors, Seat Conversions and Window Conversions – we also offer everything from a simple phone-kit to pop top roofs and everything in-between, fitting any bolt on vehicle accessory on the market.

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New MOT Rules – HID Lights

Now that the new M.O.T rules are in force have you had any problems with having HID’s fitted and failing the MOT because of them? Here’s why:

In the Department for Transport’s (DfT) view it is not legal to sell or use after market HID lighting kits, for converting conventional Halogen headlamps to HID Xenon. If a customer wants to convert his vehicle to Xenon HID he must purchase completely new Xenon HID headlamps. The reason for this is that the existing lens and reflector are designed around a Halogen filament bulb, working to very precise tolerances. If one places a HID “burner” (bulb) in the headlamp, the beam pattern will not be correct, there will be glare in some places and not enough light in other places within the beam pattern.

The following is the legal rationale: The Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations 1989 regulate the situation in the UK. Under these Regulations, HID/Gas Discharge/Xenon headlamps are not mentioned and therefore they are not permitted according to the strict letter of the law. However new vehicles have HID headlamps. This is because they comply with European type approval regulations. The UK cannot refuse to register a vehicle with a European type approval. These approvals relate to ECE Regulation 98 (for the HID headlamps which are tested on a rig in a laboratory) and ECE Regulation 48 (lighting installation on the vehicle). For the aftermarket, a used vehicle cannot obtain type approval because this only applies to new vehicles.

Therefore a HID headlamp unit sold in the aftermarket should:

  1. be type approved to ECE Regulation 98 as a component;
  2. when fitted to the vehicle should enable ECE Regulation 48 to be complied with (although no government inspection will take place); and
  3. Comply with RVLR as far as “use” is concerned.

In practice this means:

  1. The headlamp unit (outer lens, reflector, bulb) shall be type approved to ECE 98 and be “e-marked” to demonstrate this. That can only be done by the headlamp supplier – Hella, Valeo etc. – who must test the headlamp in an independent laboratory.
  2. Once fitted to the vehicle it must have headlamp cleaning and self levelling (which can be for the headlamp or can be in the vehicle suspension – some expensive estate cars have “self-levelling suspension” and that is adequate). Also the dipped beam must stay on with the main beam.
  3. The headlamp must be maintained in good working order, kept clean and aligned/adjusted correctly in the same way as any other headlamp.

In summary: it is not permitted to convert an existing halogen headlamp unit for use with HID bulbs. The entire headlamp unit must be replaced with one designed and approved for use with HID bulbs and it must be installed in accordance with the rules stated above.

How safe is your Camper Conversion?

More and more we are seeing Campervans especially Transporters, where the DIY conversions have not been built to a satisfactory standard. Generally it’s the Gas installation and the Electrics that have been fitted by someone who lacks the knowledge for a safe installation.

If you are buying a Campervan that has already been converted by a DIY Convertor at home who as no insurance or liability insurance my concern would be HOW SAFE IS IT? For peace of mind, I personally would recommend having it checked by a reputable conversion company, for the sake of an hour or so it could save your life and your friends and family who also travel in your vehicle.

Very recently a customer with a VW Transporter came to us after purchasing a readymade campervan – the whole thing needed to be re-fitted for Gas and 12v electrics to make it safe, the conversion looked great aesthetically and to the untrained eye everything may look fine but when you take a closer look you can see the lack of knowledge when installing gas and electrics, not good and not safe!

Check our examples of good and safe Campervan Conversions.

Which Night Heater?

Even if you only intend to go away in your van to warm countries and in the summer, fitting a good heater is still highly recommended in campervans and motor homes. It’s amazing how cold it can get in a van at 3am, and amazingly satisfying to be able to flick a heater on without even getting out of bed!

So which heater should you chose for your camper, Diesel, Gas or Electric?

As night heaters go we recommend a diesel unit. This is because it obviously shares the same fuel supply and tank as your vehicle, removing the necessity for gas bottles etc in this department. If you are investing a lot of money into your vehicle, by upping your spend by a few percent you then add capabilities to use your van between October and early March in the UK or in the mountains etc.

Rock and Roll Beds – M1 Rated

Safety comes as standard at Van-Formers meaning we only fit seat belts to the highest quality rock and roll beds which have been pull tested at the UK’s leading test centre.

If you are looking for a rock and roll bed for your camper then you have come to the right place.

The Bed has been designed with quality and ease of use in mind. After extensive research we found that restoring existing beds to the seated position is not a simple task, combine that with the general consensus, that better quality of construction and an overall more durable finish were seen to be an important factor with prospective customers, the Smart Bed range was born.

The Beds are compact, they have an aesthetically pleasing design, are produced with the highest quality in mind and most importantly they are a synch to use.

PRODUCT FEATURES

  • FULL M1 Pull Test Certification to 76/115/EEC/2005
  • Innovative reclining mechanism
  • Dimensions of bed in the seating position are 1120mm x 1170mm and 1120mm x 1900mm when flat
  • 1 hand operation for ease of use
  • Full commercial grade powder coating