It’s been a long time coming, but i’m finally going to show you around my Peugeot Boxer MTB van build.
So lets crack on and explain how I built the van, and why I have chosen certain features.
MTB Van Build Brief
So my ideas were:
- Maintain a “rustic” feel, but with a more modern, brighter interior
- Full slide out bike rack in the garage area of the van
- Carry 2 bikes minimum
- Space and racking to carry MTB tools, cleaning gear and spares
With this in mind, I set to work!
The initial build
So for this MTB van build, I decided from the start I would go with white painted walls, and a darker ceiling and highlights. It took extra work having to paint each piece of wood twice to build up the colour, before it could be installed in the van.
I have used 25mm Celotex insulation in the floor and the roof. The side walls are a combination of 50mm Celotex and recycled plastic loft insulation that I bought from B&Q.
The tongue and groove wood is the same as in my previous vans, and is sourced from Jewsons. Its thicker than the cladding you find at most normal DIY stores. This means it warps less, and allows for some strength when screwing into it.
To get the full width of the bed, as is common with these types of vans, I’ve managed to be able to cut into the wall to give some extra width. The actual width is 6ft 4in. So that’s the biggest bed I’ve had in any of my van builds! I’ve still managed to fit 50mm of Celotex into the walls even with the bed cut in. It just shows how wide these vans are.
The whole point of this MTB van build was to allow me to travel with my bike and lots of mountain bike equipment stored under the bed. This meant the length of the bed has been dictated by the size of my mountain bike! This makes the length of the bed just over 5ft.
The foam mattress I had cut to size by Efoam. I chose 10cm thickness in the firm foam. I am pleased to report it is very comfortable.
Leisure battery, electrics and solar
Powering all the electrics is a 180 amp hour Varta LFD battery. I have installed Victron Smartshunt so I can tell exactly what the state of the battery is. It has Bluetooth so it can connect to my phone and give me live readouts of the current draw on the battery. It will also work out how much power I have left, and how long it will last.
I also a Victron MPPT SmartSolar controller to handle the 270 watt solar panel. Its Bluetooth again so can be monitored from my phone. The last piece of the electrical set up is a Victron Orion TR Smart. This is my dc to dc charger for when im driving. It charges the leisure battery while the engine is running.
The lighting is exactly the same as my other two vans. They just work so well. The switch is included on the actual light itself, so it makes wiring super easy.
The Maaxfan lives above the bed. I’m still in two minds whether i like it there or not. When it’s really windy it does make a bit of noise with the wind passing over the cover on the outside. I thought i’d put it there to help with ventilation when i’m sleeping. This is because i didn’t want condensation build up, and with the fan on the slowest setting you can’t even hear it.
Gas hob, sink and tap
Here’s the gas hob, which cost £110 from Amazon. It comes supplied with LPG jets so I’ve taken out the house gas jets and put in the LPG jets It works perfectly, and looks great on the counter top.
To match the black hob, I thought i would have a black sink as well – another Amazon purchase. I’ve finished it off with black mixer tap. It has a pull out end which retracts back in, which makes things easier when washing up. You also get two styles of water jet. 1: shower type, or 2: the direct water flow.
The waste water drains to the waste tank which is underneath the van. On the side of the van i have a little tap that i can drain the waste whenever i need to
Dometic 12v Fridge
The fridge is a Dometic CRX 50 – not cheap, but a quality item that even has its own freezer compartment. It is a 12 volt compressor fridge, and acts in the same way as a household fridge.
Once down to temperature, the compressor switches off. So it is very efficient, and only draws from the leisure battery when the compressor is running. On the front of the fridge I have added a fridge sticker, so it isn’t just a bland piece of grey plastic.
Splash Back – stick on tiles!
For the splash-back behind the kitchen area I have put stick on tiles from Amazon. I’m really impressed with these. So impressed, I am considering removing some of the tongue and groove wood, and replacing it with ply, and sticking the tiles on top!
Underneath the seat is where the Shurflo water pump and the Fiamma accumulator is mounted. On the inlet for the water pump I have a small filter. The accumulator is to stop the water pulsing from the pump.
As well as feeding the tap, the water water pump also feeds a long hose that runs to the back of the van where I can use a shower attachment for cleaning myself and my mountain bikes. (see the garage section below)
All of the shelving that i have used is made with live edge wood. I’ve just stained it up to the same colour as the roof which is a dark walnut. The live edge wood is available on eBay, and is £50 for 10 sheets of 1.8 metre length. All you have to do is cut it to the size you want.
Just inside the side door is where the gas bottle lives. The gas bottle is contained within a metal gas locker, and a drop out vent inside so if any gas leaks it can disperse to the outside of the van.
I have added a single run of 8mm copper piping that feeds the gas hob. The copper pipe is secured with rubber lined P-clips.
Porta Potti Toilet
In the bottom cupboard I have storage for the Thetford Porta-Potti toilet. Just pull it out if you
need to use it, and slide it back in when you’re done. Simple and easy!
Inside the seat next to the door is the home of the diesel heater. It’s plumbed straight through the floor using a special turret mount.
The air intake is on one side of the seat box, and the hot air outlet is on the opposite side. I have also added a T-piece so hot air can be directed into the garage area. This is to keep underneath the bed warm and free from condensation.
I havent plumbed the diesel heater into the main vehicle tank. It draws fuel from its own tank inside the seat. This way I can use red diesel which is much cheaper, than normal road diesel.
The wood that I’ve used for the seats is actually floorboard so it all slots together and keeps everything nice and secure.
You may be wondering why i’ve decided to go for split seating. Most vans have 2 seats opposite each other with a table in the middle. I did this in my Renault Master build.
But what I didn’t like about that layout, was that I had no little sideboard next to the bed. I had this sideboard in my Vauxhall Movano, and I really missed it in the Renault Master.
It’s just so handy as you can put your phone down there for charging, put down drinks or food and its right next to you while in bed.
So I split the seating in this build so I can have a small sideboard next to the bed with the storage cupboards underneath.
Main Control Panel
Just next to the bed I’ve built a little control panel. It’s use is two fold:
1: It is home to all the USB charging ports in the van. They are USB 3 and have touch sensitive on/off buttons. I have also mounted the controller for the diesel heater here after extending the controller wires across the van.
2: The control panel also acts as a support for the shelf above!
LED strip lights
I have fitted USB powered LED lighting strips underneath the shelves – these were another Amazon purchase. The USB power is taken frominside the main control panel I built. This way it keeps all the wiring neat and out of sight.
The are literally just plug and play, and you stick them where you need them. They come complete with a remote which activates different colours. You can also have them flashing or pulsing, and change the brightness.
Black out curtains
The curtains I got from Kiravans. They are their universal blackout curtain kit.
They come with everything you need to install the kit. You the small runners are already attached to the curtains, so there isnt any fiddly work needed. You just slide the curtains onto the rails. The rails can be cut to length, and curved if need be. They are also stretchy so they they generally will fit most size windows.
The two big curtains that cover the back doors of the van was another Amazon purchase. They only cost about £20, and all i’ve done is used copper piping for the rail. Cheap and simple solution which completely closes off the back of the van at night.
I have four black out type windows. One in the sliding door, one in the opposite side and both rear doors.
I decided to pay a company to cut the van panels and install the windows. This is because I messed up the window install in my Renault Master, and had to pay a company to remove and refit the window. So this time Im letting somebody else do it!
So I paid Cornwall Van Windows to do it. They offer a mobile service through the south west, and will come to you at your home or place of work.
The garage is the area which really makes this an MTB van build.
In the garage is a slide out which will carry two mountain bikes. It slides 125cm out the back of the van and allows for easy access to the mountain bikes. The runners can take 200Kg in weight, so if somebody sits on the end of it, they wont bend! Check out GSF Promounts if you want to get some for yourself!
I sourced the axle mounts from Amazon. They will take various size through-axles, and can accomadate boost (110mm) and non-boost axles (100mm).
Either side of the mountain bike slide out is two storage boxes. These have been constructed around the wheel arches. The rest of the garage has various plastic storage boxes which carry MTB tools and spares, as well as tents and other camping items.
Another thing that is needed in an MTB van build, is the ability to wash the bikes.
So off to the side of the garage is a water pipe which is feed from the water pump. I can attach a normal garden hose sprayer to this, and use it to clean the bikes (or myself) at the back of the van.
MTB Van Build – Conclusion
So that is my Peugeot Boxer MTB van build.
This van actually took me the longest to build out of any of my vans I have built. In the middle of this build i completely lost motivation for a few months.
I had about four months where i didn’t do anything to the van, i just had enough of it. But during the lock down in January 2021 I figured I needed to get the van finished, so when lockdown ends I can go out and enjoy the va.
I’m ver pleased with the way it turned out. I wasn’t sure I was actually going to like the white walling, but offset with the dark wood i’m really pleased with the way that it turned out.