We have an electrician lined up to check our work but we want to actually do the work ourselves and its a few years since we have done any electrical stuff.

We have purchased a PMS 3H

the wooden box is simply something we have made as a temporary surround to protect it. What I am planning to do is to take the inlet hookup cable to a fused spur and then to the white mains cable of the PMS 3H. There are three AC outputs, one 10A and two 5A ones. I am having a socket ring and I also have a truma water heater with electric facility, I guess it would make sense to use one connector for the sockets and one for the heater. Would you use 5amp for both or the 10amp for one, or would you use all three?

I remember that to wire the sockets you simply take the cable into the relavant holes and then take a new cable out of those holes to the next socket. When you get to the furthest socket you then stop, no need to take the cable back to the PMS 3H?

Then there are the DC outlet sockets. On the back I have a DC output for the pump so the positive cable for the pump will go there. There are also 4 DC -VE connectors so I will then put the pump neg cable there. On the front there is a 10a fuse holder marked pump so I am assuming this will protect the pump and so no further fuses are needed.

Next socket is for DC+ lights so I am assuming that my positive cable for my lighting ring is going there. Light the sockets I assume I simply take the cable to the first light, then out and to the second light. At some point prior to the lights I will put a switch unless the lights I buy all have individual switches. I will then put the neg cable to another of the DC-VE connections.

Then there is two aux sockets and one of these or maybe both will be used for 12volt sockets. I am going to use mainly car cigar lighter style sockets but also put in one of the two pin ones in case its needed. Same system for wiring as the lighting.

Not bothering with a fridge, just a cooler box

Then I have two DC Inputs, car+ and van+. I am assuming I put the positive from my leisure battery to the van one and then the neg to another DC-VE connector. I am not going to use the car battery as I do not want to flatten it.

vents and kitchens

Whilst Norm worked away in the furniture dept making the kitchen I fitted the vents. If there is ever a gas leak its important the gas leaves the motorhome rather than kills its occupants. Gas is heavier than air and so sinks to the floor. In the three locations we have gas fittings we also now have a vent in the floor for it to fall out of. This entailed drilling 40mm holes. I then lined these with plastic drain pipe, sealing them in against damp and then putting a grill on the top. The pic shows th ebit at the bottom. You can just see its cut at a slant to enable gas to escape but to try to stop water getting in

Look at all that lovely sealent squeezing out

Water inlet and first furniture

After a morning of making final decisions on layout and equipment we got stuck after lunch. I cut a hole for the water inlet and fitted the part and Norm got on with making the first bit of furniture. ALthough it was only a frame to go around the wheel arches it was really exciting to see wood going together. Norm has spent all weekend rearranging his workshop ready for the furniture building and it looks great.

Second window fitted

We are getting very confident with this window fitting. One of the things I decided early on with this van converting is that I wanted us to do everything and not put certain things out to companies. When we fit the gas and electricity items I will get a professionally qualified person to check it out afterwards but I want to fit it. Its so I really understand the process behind everything.

Back to the windows and this is how we bought them

You cans see where I have pulled part of the aluminum sheeting back. We then went to Norms excellent workshop and set up a pressure system with wood and clamps.

Turning the pressure up on the clamps pushed the window frame out. You have to be really careful as the sealent really does not want to give in. Once out we then dismantled the rest of the caravan wall to reveal once again the wooden frame which we then used in our van to set the window into. After careful marking we used masking tape to protect the van and then cut the aperture out for the the window to fit into.

Once in we then used more clamps to pull the window in. It was a really cold day and eventually we found we could not get the mastic to compress anymore. When summer comes I will possible have another go to get the bottom really flush, at the moment there it is a fraction out. I am talking about a fraction and its not open to leaking but perfection we want, if we can get it.

I then had to shoot off to do some photo shoots and I forgot to take a photo of the finished item. A week ago we were kind of delaying fitting windows due partly to uncertainty. We fitted this knowing we only had a four hour time slot to do it. We had the window fitted within two and then spent another hour fiddling. Learning how to do things – there is nothing like it

First window fitted

Yesterday we fitted our first window, it was a fantastic feeling to see it in place. When we did the insulation we left the spaces we knew we wanted the windows to go free. We bought the windows second hand. Even so they were still quite expensive, cost after some fierce negotiations £425. One of the advantages of being second hand was that the breaker we got them from simply cut them out of the doner van leaving part of the wall intact. This meant that we had a template for cutting the hole in our van.

Removing the window from the old framework

At first we thought this might be quite tricky but the aluminum sheet of the old doner van simply peeled off. As I disgarded it I pondered how at some, or many points in history that piece of now disgarded material had been part of someones bride and joy. We then pulled away all of the of the insulation, not high density foam like we have used but flimsy stuff from a time when caravans were for summer only. We now had just the wooden frame, ideal. Before we did this we had taken the actual window frame out of this wooden frame. It had been held on by 10 metal angle metals and screws. The actual plastic of this window had been sold to us out of the frame and later on in the day, after we had bonded the frame to the van I remarked to Norm how we had failed to make sure it fitted. Would this prove a mistake? You will find out later.

So this is what we started with

And this is what we finished with at the end of the day, complete also with the 240 volt inlet

Fitting the window

We carefully worked out where we wanted to fit the window. Its inportant to visualise the job the whole way through. You need to ensure that everything is going to work and fit. We offered the wooden frame to the inside of the van and then drilled some small holes through the metal. Then on th eoutside we positioned the frame to these holes, making sure we liked the position, which we did. We want the windows high, this is so they correspond to the seating on the inside. Then Norm drew around the inside of the frame which was our cut lines. I then drilled four holes in the corner and Norm started with the jigsaw. I noticed the saw was marking the van so we replaced the tape on the bottom of its plate. I held the metal from the other side to stop it bouncing as it was cut.

Once out we made sure everything fitted. We had a “moment” when we thought we had cut the hole too big but it was simply due to the window frame having different levels and it actually fitted like a glove..phew.

I then gave the wooden frame a good bead of sikaflex and offered it back up to the van wall. Norm screwed it into place from the other side. I then used the bedding mastic placing it to the van side on the outside. I discovered that if I carefully took it off the white backing paper before positioning it contoured to the aperture a lot easier. We had first cleaned the van and heated it. You could use any heat device I guess but we used a heat gun, the type for removing paint, so be careful with it.

The window frame frame was then put in and clamped allowing us to then use the metal angle and screws to hold it. We spent quite a while adding pressure and then more pressure to these clamps until the window frame was as tight to the van as we felt it would go. This then left us with bedding mastic squirting out and so needed to be tidied. We tried different ways but the best was scribing carefully with a stanley knife and then peeling away.


If the weather is good today we are going to have a go at fitting the windows. Its not quite light yet so its hard to tell. So we are impatiently waiting for sunrise. Although the insulation part is vital and I looked forward to each day I could make available to do the conversion it was a bit chorish. Fitting skylights and windows though is something else, its really exciting.

We are also going to make a trip to buy a hob/sink unit so we can push on with making some furniture

We have light

The roof skylight is in. Bravely this afternoon I drilled four holes, one in each corner of the aperture we prepared last week for the skylight. If you look at this photo you can see light coming through each corner

Norman then used his metal set square to join the drill holes up with a black marker so he knew where to cut

I then used a bigger drill piece to widen the holes so the jigsaw blade would fit

Then it was the turn of the jigsaw

Its thumbs up to a perfect 40cm sq hole

We then put three layers of bedding tape, the first to level the roof runners and then two more. In then went the skylight and at the moment it its screwed into place with blocks. When we have put the final maple finish to the ceiling we will put the lower part on.

And here she is, the skylight in place

Was this the explorer’s last load

Three years ago when we went fulltiming we hired a garage to store “our stuff” in. We have finally got around to emptying it and the explorer was used to lug it all back up here. It now sits in our studio so we now have no studio. We are going to do what we should have done three years ago and that is – if it has not got a use to us sell it or dump it. Lesson learnt!