No ‘van is completely perfect, and with my tendency to want to ‘tweak’ a few things, it was only a matter of time before I started to make some alterations:
There are four pieces of silver trim along the dash, one above each vent, and the two centre ones create distracting reflections in the windscreen. Look at the two dashcam pictures below. On the bottom one only the reflection of the left hand outer trim is visible as I have now painted the triangular parts of the centre trims matt black. Before painting I tried out the effect by covering them with black insulating tape.
Odds and Ends storage
By removing the rear door trims and reinforcing with a block of wood, hooks and pockets can be located on the inside of the doors creating useful storage for the hook up cable, and water and electric adaptors usually needed on a daily basis. I have 7.5 meters of flat hose for filling the water tank and this has been cut into two lengths, 2.5m and 5m, in order to prevent excess hose getting muddy in the usually wet areas around the borne.
The laptop tends to be used at the end of the day to download images from the camera card. I didn’t want to charge it using a 12v/19v adaptor so I fitted a 300W pure sine wave inverter under the passenger seat to charge the laptop whilst travelling. The inverter is powered from the main vehicle battery via an ignition controlled relay with sockets both under the seat – where the laptop usually lives, and also in the seat panel. This arrangement ensures the laptop is charged only when the engine is running.
Accessible internal space
We have this large ‘refuse’ bin just inside the under bed storage area – I can’t really call it a garage! and I have fitted an additional led bulkhead light to see the items stored there. At the front, under the table, there is shallow but extensive void that is useful for storing shoes. I purchased a couple of cat litter trays and joined them with a length of cord so that they can be retrieved.
The differing floor levels between cab and living space means the person sitting in the rotated driver’s seat needs some support for their feet. I constructed this footrest from a couple of lengths of aluminium tubing cantilevered out from the horizontal bar at the rear of the seat. A piece of 10mm ply covered in carpet finishes it off, and very comfortable it is too!
Leisure Battery Meter
With two 95AH batteries I don’t think that we will need a solar panel as we tend to stay at a different location each night, or occasionally, every other night. Moving on quickly replaces energy used during the previous stop. To check up on the state of charge a Victron Battery Monitor has been installed and so far, my feelings about not needing a solar panel seem to be borne out.
Internet on the move
For some years we have used a 3G Mifi together with a Three sim card to keep in touch with friends and family. This was stuck to the inside of the roof vent with Velcro – every other day it would be removed and charged up. A 12 month 12 Gb card is quite sufficient for a couple of trips to France and a bit pottering in the UK. Recently Three announced they would be supporting 4G and so I purchased this unlocked Huawei E5577, direct from China via Aliexpress and I am using it with a really neat antenna from Badland positioned just in front of the reverse camera mounting. The Huawei is stuck to the interior roof trim directly under the antenna – again using Velcro, but now it’s left permanently plugged into a close by USB socket. Reception has been very good.
The weakness of Ducato door locks is well documented and it’s pleasing to see that Fiat have introduced a plate on the inside of the door to resist forced screwdriver entry however, this internal modification does not tell the potential miscreant that the lock is now re-enforced and so I decided to fit ProPlates to make it obvious that the lock was now non-standard. As our ‘van had factory fitted deadlocks I only needed to fit two ProPlates – to the driver’s and rear doors.