Camper van conversions

This page is your index to a large number of DIY conversions of vans like the Ford Transit, Chrylser ProMaster, Mercedes Sprinter, and Nissian  into camper vans to use for camping, wind surfing, cycling, and many other uses.

The emphasis is on conversion stories that have a lot of design and construction detail, and that cover a variety of types of conversions — campers, toy haulers, wind surfer vans, dog show haulers, …

The first conversion listed is our own conversion of a RAM ProMaster, and is very detailed with many pages.

Most of these build summaries are based on a detailed description in one of the forums (Transit, ProMaster, Sprinter) with just enough of a summary here to see if its of interest to look at for your conversion.

If you’ve done or know of a good conversion, please let me know so we can include material on it or provide a link to it —- Contact Gary.

RAM ProMaster, Ford Transit, and Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversions


Details on Our RAM ProMaster Van Conversion

Function: camping/traveling van for two.  Self sufficient and good for back roads.

This conversion includes lots of detail on:

  •  Layout               Yes
  • Insulating          Spray polyurethane
  • Flooring             Vinyl + plywood + Polyiso insulation
  • Paneling             Hardboard and trim
  • Electrical            Full elec: 2 battery, solar & shore charge, inverter, …
  • Windows            3 sliding windows
  • Beds                    Fore-aft bed/seating area
  • Galley                  Full galley with sink, stove, fridge
  • Plumbing           Fresh and grey tanks and plumbing
  • Toilet                   DIY composting toilet
  • Ventilation         MaxxFan in ceiling
  • Heating               Atwood propane furnance
  • Fuel                     Propane system
  • Cost, Weight, Labor   Yes


MsNomer’s ProMaster Conversion 

MsNomer (who is a regular on the ProMaster Forum) provides much detail on her conversion.
Some beautiful and well thought out details.

This conversion includes lots of detail on:

  •  Layout               Yes
  • Insulating          Thinsulate
  • Flooring             Marmoleum
  • Paneling             Plywood with detailing
  • Windows            Nice Motion Windows
  • Beds                    Aft crosswise bed
  • Galley                 Full galley details
  • Plumbing           Shower details
  • Toilet                  Unique simple toilet design
  • Heating              Webasto furnace install

Paul’s excellent van conversion

This is Paul’s conversion of a 159 inch wheel base ProMaster van.  This van has a unique rear entry floor layout, which I think is a very functional and easy to live with layout that is underutilized.  Paul also managed to include a very nice shower.  Very nice workmanship and very through documentation.

  •  Layout               Unique rear entry with left and right side beds
  • Insulating          Polyiso rigid sheet
  • Flooring             Yes
  • Paneling             Wood planking
  • Electrical            Full elec: 2 battery, solar & shore charge, inverter, …
  • Windows            Very nice Tern Overland windows
  • Beds                    Fore-aft bed/seating area
  • Galley                  Full galley with sink, stove, fridge
  • Plumbing           Fresh and unique DIY tubular grey water tank
  • Toilet                   DIY composting toilet
  • Ventilation         MaxxFan in ceiling
  • Heating               Atwood propane furnace
  • Fuel                     Propane system
  • Cost, Weight, Labor   Yes

Very complete documentation.


Steve’s Backroader Build

Function: A camper van for two.COVASteveAK

This is a van that Steve had converted by Morehead Design per his exact instructions.  The conversion is relatively simple and has just what he wants in it — an example of how well this approach can work.

Steve gives a pretty detailed description of the conversion in the post linked to above — and, you can ask him questions!  There are also some pictures taken during the conversion.

For the details on Steve’s very long trip to Alaska…

Very nice and inexpensive Conversion Video

Function: A camper van for two.

Very nicely done conversion of a Sprinter van into a cozy camper for two.

Lots of innovative ideas: $2 salad bowl sink, marine hatch for roof skylight/access, simple water system, much of interior from Ikea, nice T&G walls and ceiling, …

This is the first “stealth” van conversion I’ve seen that feels like it would be nice to spend a lot of time in — very cozy.

Combine a used $12K van with this $3K conversion, and you are on the road in style for $15K!

Eric’s Never Ending Story

Function: A 136 inch wheel base conversion for two with a full bathroom.  Eric spent a great deal of effort getting the design and construction details just right — the most polished DIY van conversion I have seen.

This conversion includes detail on:

  •  Layout               Yes – 136WB with full galley, full bed, dinette, full bath!
  • Insulating          Yes – unique multi layer
  • Flooring              Yes
  • Paneling             Yes
  • Electrical            Full electrical system with very nice details
  • Windows            In Motion custom windows
  • Beds                    A unique dinette convertible to bed setup.
  • Galley                  Full galley very nicely done with custom cabinets – large fridge
  • Plumbing           Fresh and grey water tanks mounted under van — good sizes.
  • Toilet                   Full bathroom with shower and cassette toilet — all DIY with good details.
  • Ventilation         Fantastic Fan in ceiling
  • Heating              Espar diesel heater
  • Fuel                     Propane system – underfloor tank

Other things covered: noise treatment, retractable step, water heater, and some really nice details.

ProMaster Conversion With Many Interesting Features – Including a Slideout!

This is a video on a very interesting ProMaster conversion.  Among the interesting features:

  •  Slideout — The optional siding door on the drivers side is converted into slideout.
  • Shower  — The van has a roomy shower that does not take up space when not in use.
  • Air Conditioner — He uses a DC powered air conditioner and goes over the advantages (which seem worthwhile)
  • Hydronic Heating — The van uses a hot water heating system with floor tubing.
  • Li Battery — The electrical system uses a large Li battery pack and large solar panels.

Lots of other interesting features.


Keep On Vanning — My Promaster Conversion

Function: Self sufficient camping/traveling van for two.  COVAKOV2

This conversion includes detail on:

  •  Layout               Yes
  • Insulating
  • Flooring
  • Paneling             Oak paneling, carpet ceiling with wood battens.
  • Electrical            Full electrical system including solar.
  • Windows
  • Beds                    Crosswise bunks in back with aisle part removable.
  • Galley                  Full galley with custom oak cabinets (good detail)
  • Plumbing           5 gal stainless fresh tank. Grey water to bucket outside.
  • Toilet                   RV Porta potty.
  • Ventilation         MaxxFan in ceiling
  • Heating
  • Fuel                     Propane system

Removable bucket seats just aft of cab.

Total cost of this very nice conversion estimated to be about $5K.


Windsurfing Mobile

Function: Wind surfing with camping.COVAGuySurfer2

This conversion includes detail on:

  •  Layout         yes
  • Insulating    See story (Roxul had to be changed out)
  • Flooring
  • Paneling       Nice  wood paneling job (shows good way to install using templates) (nice wall to ceiling transition)
  • Electrical      Full electrical with solar – some nice panels.
  • Windows
  • Beds               Bed over storage in back
  • Galley
  • Plumbing
  • Toilet
  • Ventilation
  • Heating
  • Fuel

Some detail on noise treatment.


Surf Board Hauler…

Function: A dedicated hauler for surfboarding equipment

An interesting custom layout for surfboarding with some detail on the cabinets, racks, etc.


RD’s ProMaster Conversion

Function: Self sufficient camping/traveling van for two.

This conversion includes detail on:

  •  Layout               Yes – discussion and sketches
  • Insulating           Good details on polyiso sheet insulation
  • Flooring
  • Paneling
  • Electrical            Yes – with solar
  • Windows            Yes – awning type
  • Beds                    Yes with dinette
  • Galley                  Yes
  • Plumbing
  • Toilet                  PortPotty
  • Ventilation        Yes
  • Heating              Espar diesel fueled furnace
  • Fuel                     Diesel heater with butane stove

Other: seat swivels,  full cost summary


ProMaster Van Conversion to Use as Hiker Base…

A simple and nicely done ProMaster conversion for use as a hiking base.

Some exceptional workmanship (really workHERship) and great ideas in this conversion.

This conversion includes detail on:

  •  Layout               Yes
  • Insulating
  • Flooring             Marmoleum over plywood
  • Paneling             Yes – nice wall/ceiling transition
  • Electrical
  • Windows
  • Beds                    Across back with storage under
  • Galley
  • Plumbing
  • Toilet
  • Ventilation         MaxxFan in ceiling
  • Heating
  • Fuel
  • Other                  Very nice hand crafted wood cup holder shelf.

Transit van conversion - floor

Dave’s Transit Van Conversion

Function: A stealthy and comfortable conversion for camping/traveling for two.

Dave is doing a really nice job of documenting his Ford Transit van conversion in detail as he goes along.  Bookmark it and come back from time to time as he adds more.  Dave also has a number of posts on the Ford Transit Van Forum.

Currently there is material on the objectives, the floor,, a unique floor vent, and the Maxxair roof fan.

Also material on building with 80/20 extrusions, and notes on heating an cooling.





Vancave — A very complete ProMaster Conversions

Function: A very complete conversion of a ProMaster 3500.  Lots of good detail on a site dedicated to this conversion.  This is about as close to a full up, all the features, commercial style RV conversion as I have seen.  Accomodates two adults and two teenagers.

This conversion includes detail on:Vancave conversion

  •  Layout               Yes
  • Insulating           Polyiso plus Reflectex and more
  • Flooring              Plywood over insulation
  • Paneling             Wood paneling
  • Electrical            Full and large electrical system including solar.  400 AH battery system.
  • Windows
  • Beds
  • Galley                  Full galley with custom  cabinets (good detail)
  • Plumbing           Full plumbing system with fresh, grey and black water tanks under floor.
  • Toilet                   Conventional RV toilet with black water tank
  • Ventilation         Roof AC + MaxxFan in ceiling
  • Heating
  • Fuel                     All electric

Nice custom Kayak holder on back.



ProMaster Weekender Build — A Pop-Top

Nicely done ProMaster camper/traveler conversion with a Pop-Top roof.

This conversion includes detail on:

  •  Layout               Yes
  • Insulating
  • Flooring             Plywood over rubber mat, then carpet.
  • Paneling             Fabric covered board.
  • Electrical            House battery under seat – alum box
  • Windows            Factory look windows with venting.
  • Beds                    Across back with storage under
  • Galley
  • Plumbing
  • Toilet
  • Ventilation
  • Heating
  • Fuel

Extensive sound deadening installation.  Seats mounted in back in mounts (removable).  Poptop allows full standup height while still allowing the van to make it in some garages and reducing drag.



Poptop conversion of a 2007 Ford Van…

Function: A simple camper van conversion that fits in a garage

This conversion includes detail on:

  •  Layout                 Yes
  • Insulating             Yes
  • Flooring                Yes – nice templating scheme
  • Paneling                Yes – good details on fitting
  • Electrical               Yes – lots of detail
  • Windows
  • Beds                       Yes
  • Galley                    Dinette
  • Plumbing
  • Toilet
  • Ventilation
  • Heating
  • Fuel

Quite a bit of detail on the poptop, electrical, paneling, cabinets,


Details On Mobile Office ProMaster Conversion

Function: A mobile office and presentation room.

Very nicely done with good detail on some of the construction.

This conversion includes info on:

  •  Layout               Yes
  • Insulating          Polyiso sheet glued in place (nice)
  • Flooring             Viny over Plywood
  • Paneling             Fabric covered board.
  • Electrical            Full electrical system with presentation capability
  • Windows            None
  • Beds                    None
  • Galley                  None
  • Plumbing
  • Toilet
  • Ventilation
  • Heating
  • Fuel
  • Cost, Weight, Labor


Custom plumbing van…

Function: Beautiful job on a van set up for a plumbing business

This is a really nice job on a ProMaster van set up for a plumbing business.




My ProMaster Conversion – Doing it right this time

Function: Self sufficient camping/traveling van for two.

Bob is just stating this conversion, but it promises to be well thought out and well documented — a good one to keep an eye on as it progresses.

Bob had a bad experience with fiberglass insulation and a moist/cool climate resulting in a short life for his earlier conversion van, so he is putting a lot of effort into the insulation and moisture control scheme on this one.


Camper Van Re-Fit Complete Set

This is David doing a very nice job on full re-fit of a camper van.

There are 24(!) videos in this series and they cover the whole process in great detail.  David is a skilled conversion van craftsman and there is much to be learned just watching his techniques.

No verbal or written descriptions of what’s going on, but for the most part the videos are detailed enough to get it.


Orton’s Transit Build

Function: A camper van for two.

A very good website describing Orton’s conversion of a Ford Transit van into a camper van.

Very good descriptions.

Lots of interesting design features.

Nice example for using 80/20 framing.

This is Orton’s 2nd camper van build — some good info lessons learned.

This conversion includes info on:

  •  Layout               Yes
  • Insulating          Mix of materials including Polyiso
  • Flooring             Plywood over Polyiso
  • Paneling             Yes
  • Electrical            Full and unique electrical system including solar.
  • Windows            Minimal
  • Beds                    Crosswise – 80/20 framing
  • Galley                  80/20 framed — some nice design innovations
  • Plumbing            Yes — some detail
  • Toilet
  • Ventilation        Roof fan with unique floor vent
  • Heating
  • Fuel                    Propane
  • Cost, Weight, Labor    Some details —




Comments, Questions, Suggestions, Ideas?

13 Responses

  1. Checking out Orton’s Transit Van Build… Aerocel insulation and use of 80/20 aluminum was very interesting, and would your main comment be the high expense factor? As well as the technical expertise he seems to display? I did wonder about that 4″ air flow hole on the floor, the screen would stop the critters, but not the insects when opened, right?… otherwise, another interesting idea.. which is the best part of all these builds, seeing what interesting idea shows up…. thanks for yours.

    1. Hi Greg,
      I was not familiar with the Aerocel insulation, but looking at the specs, its seems like it might be workable. Seems to have descent R value, is somewhat resistant to water vapor penetration, and has a high service temperature. But, not obvious to me what the advantages would be over Polyiso?

      I’ve never worked with 80/20, but some of the projects done with it are impressive.


  2. Where can I purchase a DIY retro-fit pop-top roof for a cargo van…I see they’re popular in Europe…but haven’t found a USA manuf.
    Something like the old VW buses had.

    1. Hi,
      I’d suggest you do a search of “pop-top” on the ProMaster, Sprinter, and Transit forums. There are several examples of van conversions using pop-tops on these forums.
      Also a couple on this page: https://www.buildagreenrv.com/diy-rv-conversions/diy-van-conversions/

      I’m not sure about doing the pop-top as a DIY — I think most of the people had that part done commercially even if they did the rest of the conversions themselves.

      Most people have opted for the high roof vans that have standing room, but the pop-top can be nice for some situations.


  3. Your link to “Very nice and inexpensive Conversion Video” erroneously links back to “the Backroader” thread on the PM forum. It looks like it should be linking to youtube instead.

  4. Hi,

    This is a great website you have here! I have found tons of useful information. There is one thing I cant seem to find good info on anywhere so far, perhaps you have some insight. I need to add belted seating for 4-5 passengers total and cant figure out the best way to do this, (hopefully with a 136 wheelbase Pro Master).

    I’m Thinking of either 2 captains chairs with built in 3 point seat belts behind the first 2 seats, or a double bench of some sort, or a sofa bed arrangement forward facing in the rear. Do you know the best way to Get 4-5 quality belted riding positions?

    1. Hi
      I don’t know much about safely mounting extra seats.

      I think best source would be the sprint, PM, and Transit forums. I’ve seen several discussions on the forums.

      Would like to hear how you work it out.


  5. Hi,

    I’d like to inquire if we can convert a van into a photo studio?

    Half will be photo studio and the other half will be a Photo Booth

    Let me know.

    1. Hi,
      Probably — vans have been converted into quite a variety of uses.

      Maybe start by laying out the space that a van would give you on the floor, and see if you can fit in what you want.
      The 159 inch wheel base gives you a space that is 12 ft long by 6+ ft wide.

      The doors for the photo booth might be a problem in that the van doors are not full standing height.


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