Making a start

Make the dream a reality

I originally had the thought of buying and converting a van back in 2012, taking it on the road to be free and not a care in the world but I never really went through with it.

After some things happened in my life (read my about me page, I explain why I chose to live a simpler life) I went with my gut and said ‘sod it, I want to do this!

So, what van do I need? I do have quite some good experience when it comes to vans as my previous trade was a floor layer at my father’s small company. Growing up with numerous vans gave me a good insight into the more reliable vans and what to keep away from.

When it comes to deciding what are the main factors you need when looking for a van to convert, I think first and foremost the main requirement when buying a van is going to be reliability, getting a make and model that has a proven track record of being reliable hence why I chose the van I have now.

Some people reading this may say I am wrong but I am going with what I have experienced, I must have owned around 6 vans and growing up with another 10 throughout my life so far.

Other considerations?

One of the most important considerations is size. I want a van I can fully stand up in (I’m 5’11) that also must have enough room in the van to install all the units as well as providing enough room for all the storage I will need so that it would not be too obstructive and still have enough room to freely walk around.


Well, this falls to the make and model. If it is an older van, but it has low miles, and has a proven track record for reliability, then I don’t see a problem

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Shes an old German lady, but she still has plenty of miles in her!

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So after taking in all deliberations on the criteria, there was only one type of van that stood out from the crowd. I had chosen the reliable, practical and easily maintainable(sort of);

2001 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 311 CDI – MWB Pannel Van

I won her on eBay at a steal, did not cost as much as I was expecting to pay, so that was a bonus. Now, even tho the van is actually quiet old, the engine had only done 117,000 miles! How much?? Remember, we are buying a van here, not a car, and for one of these vans, this is a good millage.

You often see these vans hitting 500,000+ miles and still running very good. They are made for globe trotting all over the world, and obviously these vans have that solid reputation of German engineering and reliability.

In fact, in 2008-2010, I owned a Sprinter (the LWB model), with the same engine yet this had done 340,000 miles. I must of put 60,000 miles on it myself in the 2 years I owned it and in all that time the van only let me down once with a water pump, which was a cheap fix.



Don't be to quick to buy the van. Make sure what you are buying will suit you but at the same time don't buy anything that will need to much work.

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