Archive | October, 2013

Back online again at last.

30 Oct

battery panic

The battery packed in on my trusty laptop and left me without any means to get online. Bought a budget “Tablet” for the essentials as a temporary measure. We can use this in the NV as it takes up much less space than the laptop but it is much easier to write on the laptop when your fingers look like bananas. Large bananas !
We found time to properly spend a significant period in the Nevada at a beautiful Severn Trent visitor centre in the Peak District. There is no need to modify the seat/bed for night time access to the porta potti. It is so easy and quick to flick the bed up, it is just not worth the loss of any bed area. It is a credit to Drivelodge in their design.It also gives very significant under bed storage. Valuable in a small van.
We bought some cushions from IKEA which with pillow liners and cases, will double up as …… pillows ! Also bought matching lounging cushions so that we can get really comfy when lounging. IKEA also supplied four lap tables for picnics and these match the New York skyline upholstery.
The comfiest lounging for us is with the bed made up and the seats swivelled with feet up on the bed. When in dining mode, the plastic step we carefully selected, doubles up as a foot rest when sitting legs up across the van on the rear bench seat. I could probably nap on the short bench but then I can sleep standing up in the rain !
Done about 1,000 miles now and achieving about 44 mpg overall including lots of local driving with a cold engine. It will be interesting to see when the engine loosens up as I am still running it in, in traditional fashion. We did video putting the roof up but I need to improve my camera work and planning before I am happy to show a full tour of the Nevada.
The Gaslow tank is now full and the central heating is ……. divine !

Meet the Warings. The faces of Drivelodge

20 Oct


The pictures show David and Joanne Waring of Drivelodge. Please read Martin’s comments on the next post down.I fully endorse his compliments! We are now getting a feel for the Nevada. All the neighbours in our friendly street have viewed it and all have had only good things to say about it. Even those with no experience at all of campervans or camping.
I winterised the bodywork today. After washing off the road dirt from our trip to Dunham Massey, I applied some Armor All Paint Shield. It was easy to put on and really lifted the already shiny bodywork to a new level. I also did the glass with Rain-X , something I have done with all my motorhomes in the past. It all makes subsequent washing a much speedier and easier chore. The alloy wheels had been waxed and gloss finished with Autoglym ages ago before storing whilst the conversion took place. they came up like new today with water beading off.
Martin’s previous comments below about using a Porta Potti for a nightime leak encouraged me to have a mock up to see if there is an alternative to altering the bed slightly ( still a lot of work in this mod. Not belittling the offer from Drivelodge at all, which we will probably be taking up.) The loo will sit at the rear door on the bed (I know, I know ……..) with plenty of head room and clearance each side for the sleepheads in bed. It’s not as crazy as it sounds and with a plywood pad and towelling ( bathroom rug cut down?) cover it would actually function. Not the most elegant solution but it could be done. Just don’t knock the loo over…….

A short day out. First use as dayvan

19 Oct


Had a day out to Dunham Massey, National Trust property near to Altrincham. We just had a sandwich and a drink in the camper before walking around this lovely stately home.
I swivelled the driver’s seat by sliding the seat forward to just skim the central dashboard , releasing the handbrake for clearance (Make sure it’s in gear and on flat surface first, of course) then lift the excellent swivel release button on the outside of the seat base ( cannot miss it, it’s orange) and it rotates anticlockwise through almost 180 degrees.
I prefer this seat to the reversed passenger seat. You have access to your left to the worktop and glass cover on the washbasin. A moveable spot light to read, write or check your nails by. With my wife settled on the rear seat we are a significant distance apart. I would say as far apart as we used to be in our former Ducato Trigano Tribute which was just under 6 metres long. Very comfy indeed ! The fridge chilled our milk after less than an hour’s drive. The boot swallowed 3 bags from sight.
We took the motorway home and got an indicated 57 miles per gallon at a steady sixty miles and hour. Not yet run in this bodes really well for future economical travel. We also filled up the LPG at a Shell garage at 64 p per litre for the heating and cooking. My previous supplier should be about 4 to 5 p per litre cheaper than this.
This gas heating has GOT to be much cheaper than using the engine Diesel as we did previously. When not coupled to EHU on a long winter’s evening and night, you can actually get through a lot of diesel at £1.40p per litre. Sounds a bit tight ? Damned right, I am (LOL) . Look after the pennies etc etc ……………..

Selecting the bits and bobs to equip the Nevada

19 Oct

sunncamp collapsable utensilscoffee filter cone collapsableladies cycle

Finally got around to starting to piece together all the items needed to make life in the campervan pleasant. We found some very reasonably priced collapsible cooking utensils. There is a big choice and price range. We did stick with conventional stackable mug set in porcelain as we think it makes for a better “cuppa”.
We still have lots to sort out. Dug the Thule , towbar mountable bike rack out but still got to check that my wife’s new bike and my trusty lightweight mountain bike will comfortably fit outback.
Although we have a collection of caravanning miscellany, we want to buy and select dedicated “equipment” just for the NV200. Once safely stored away it can remain there ready for use.
Shortly deciding on a TV/DVD fold down (?) purchase and decide where to fix it. For lounging it seems best for the wife to rest feet up on the comfy rear seat bench with me in my historic place in a motorhome on the swivelled passenger seat. This is pointing to a TV suspended somewhere on the offside or possibly nearside at just above eye level. Then there’s bedding to sort, correctly sized stow boxes for clothes etc and convenient locations for most used items. It will take time to sort out and finalise. Then do we try our mini camping sat TV system or is there something better out there? It is great fun honing the experience but much much more “in van” time is needed!

Some possible Tuning info for the hardcore NV200 owners

13 Oct

renault 1.5 dci engine example
universal front mount intercooler

Just been browsing for tuning mods possible for the Renault 1.5 dci and came across this site where there are some great ideas. Apart from chipping , remapping and similar the main way forward seems to be a bigger intercooler. I have not done this and do not know if it is possible or has been done by anyone on an NV200 or Evalia. Any help anyone?
Who’s going to be the first with 130 bhp plus? Bigger brakes anyone.
I believe that a performance clutch is available for some versions of the 1.5 dci engine but again not actually been able to check if these will fit NV200. Again any keen DIY ers done one yet ???
Anyone know of an intake kit?

Stealth campervan?

13 Oct


Over the last several weeks we have had quite a number of craftsmen on site helping to refurbish a building. We also got lots of pop-in visits from locals , friends and neighbours from the past and even friendly “Potters” just interested in nosying at what was going on.
A big talking point was the imminent arrival of our new campervan. Now, even with this background , we have had most people NOT noticing that the Nevada IS actually a campervan. Almost without exception ! they thought it was just a works van or Combi (Evalia) and had to have a look inside to convince them that it is indeed a fully fitted out campervan. I was very surprised at this. The raising roof must not be obvious to most onlookers? I think we have a bit of a Stealth Camper?

Before we actually go away in our Nevada

11 Oct

NEC Birmingham

Next Wednesday, we complete our building refurbishment. To relax after such a big job, we are heading for the NEC to check out windout awnings and to see if there alternatives to the excellent but expensive Omnistor versions. We can also view all sorts of bits and pieces to fully equip ourselves with lightweight, space saving and modern kit. For us a good way to relax before we head off for a break on Anglesey , for that is where we have decided to visit first.
So many seaside villages, beaches and coast paths to enjoy ! Much more to come ! Then…… who knows?

Making the campervan usable 24/7

11 Oct

porta potti

I did a quick survey on another website ( a Campsite forum) and asked the question: ” Do you use your Porta Potti at night or make the trek to campsite toilets ?”
The majority response was to use a Porta Potti at night. Many disliked a trek in the dark and rain and cold. There were safety and security issues raised.
So how could we modify our campervan so that we can use the lovely, brand new “335” for a quick pee when the bed is made up and the winter gales are howling?
I have had a quick measure up. Our NV200 lacks the 400 mm or so of extra floorspace twixt front cab seat and bed/seat that VW LWB Transporters enjoy. Space for a small Porta Potti there for Vee Dubbers !
If we cut about 100 mm from the bed /seat back this would give sufficient space to place the “335” sideways on between the passenger cab seat and the front of the bed. This would also improve the rear view out of the lovely black glass in the rear French doors of the van. It would still provide for a safe backrest height. Definitely a solution.
We could consider a removable and strong hinged extension to replace the removed section to cater for taller future owners?
I am not rushing into this and will check with Drivelodge to see what internal metalwork is hidden within the backrest, but feel sure that it’ feasible. Certainly desirable for us. It will turn a Premium “Day Van Plus” into a viable 24 hour, 24/7 campervan.
Driven it to work today as I had to loan out my car. This Nevada is a right piece of kit. Highly recommended. Phone Drivelodge now…………. and book your NV200/Evalia/Combi in !

Some more Pics with Alloys fitted

8 Oct


Thanks for further comments below from Gary and David !

Managed to snatch enough time out this afternoon to re-fit the alloys for some more pictures.
We had an all time record day of views on this Blog yesterday from all over the world !


The actual black graphic matches well with the mock up I CGI’d on an earlier post. With the plastic bumpers etc “blacked up” with Astonish’s best, I think that we have achieved the simple white/black look?????

The “boot” behind the seat/bed is spacious enough for fold up seats, folding Bar B Q and much more. Will probably use plastic boxes for clothes which can sit on the rear facing foam cushion and then store above the cab roof when the roof is up and bed made.

The leisure battery is secured under the bed. The Propex gas blown air heater is hidden to the offside in it’s own secure “box”. Heat outlets direct to the front of the bed/seat. I don’t think that we will ever feel the cold in this camper ! The battery charges from the 240v EHU and from the alternator on it’s own separate, protected circuit. the main fuse is mounted on top of the engine battery, easy to access.

There is a small table which stows behind the driver’s cab seat on the front of the “sink unit”. It sits on a sturdy, standard chromed taper leg on a Flash Gordon tripod foot. We may try a larger table which could perhaps stow in the boot, but will see how we go on.

The view on the rear view mirror is marred by the height of the backrest on the seat/bed. It would be very easy to fit a rear view camera for use whilst driving. But we are investigating a cunning plan which could improve the rear view out of the rear glass door windows AND importantly, allow the use of the Porta Potti which is stowed under the front of the bed. More on this later.

All comments welcomed !

The rear wheel arches (along with most internal surfaces) are insulated with lovely , high quality “felt”. No wonder that road noise is way down on the standard van levels.

Grand Launch of our Drivelodge Nevada ! We have it.

7 Oct

fireworks celebration

We picked up our campervan from Drivelodge today!
First Impressions: A comprehensively equipped, top quality and well thought out conversion from experienced and creative people !
Was it worth the wait ? You Betcha !!!!
I can honestly say that there is not a single feature which I do not like and you cannot say much more than that in praise can you?

Even on the original steel wheels and O.E> tyres ( still to re-fit the alloys) , the extra weight of the conversion has made for a smoother ride. No rattles, squeaks or wind noise. A very comfortable driving experience. Pulls like a train from 60 mph on the motorway in 6th gear for overtaking trucks.

Here are a few photos to start with below.


Just a taster for now. More info to follow shortly. Hope you enjoy it !