Despite the fact that the van is reasonably well powered ( 2 L twin-turbo diesel developing 132 kW) I do get little pleas from the computerised gear-shift brain begging me to change gears somewhat sooner than I do when it is empty. I have decided, then, that I want to meet two new criteria:
First – reduce weight and complexity. I’m sure the van is designed to carry at least six passengers, so the weight of the bed and storage is not too much. The real problem is the cost of fuel. Anything I can do to reduce running costs is a good thing.
Second – make it easy to install and remove the “camper” rig. It’s all fine to have a bed, shelves, lockers, water supply, cupboards, boxes, tie-downs, straps and guitar cases built in, but it rather spoils the usefulness of the van as a carrier of miscellanea. It is cumbersome to have to drive all that junk around when you don’t need it.
On my first trip away, I realised that I had no idea what to do with a lot of the storage spaces that I had created. I didn’t use them. So . . . out with the wrecking bar, saws and hammer to remove everything that wasn’t essential.
I simply tore out all the cupboards above the bed and the massive, heavy structure on the kerb side of the van.
I then bought some 16mm square steel tubing and began the construction of a much lighter steel frame for that side of the van. The design included a quick locking and latching system that would allow the frame to be removed easily and replaced securely.
This is just one of several tool racks in my workshop. I always think of Darth Vader when I see those helmets and shields on display. If you can’t find storage racks in the right size at your local hardware, just buy some steel tubing and make your own. (“You bought a welder??? Wot thebloodyell ya gonna do with it??”) Well, who jolly well knows, but three spools of welding wire down the track, and dozens of repairs and builds later, I can only say I don’t regret the purchase.
So, getting back to the topic, here’s what the new shelving system looks like:
Have I achieved my objectives? The new rack and box system weighs just under 20kg and is easy to handle. It can be installed and securely bolted in place in just under 4 minutes. Removal requires only 3 minutes. Mission accomplished.