How to Convert a Van Into an RV

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If you want an RV and have an old van, you can convert it into a simple travel vehicle for your needs. A smaller van like the Grand Caravan might be too small; you should try something the size of a Chevy Express or Ford Econoline. Also, it requires carpentry and craftsman skills. You must attach, bolt and secure several objects to the interior, so make sure you don't damage any essential parts when doing so.

Remove all rear seats from the inside. You can keep one and convert it to a bed, but unless it's completely backed up to a wall, it causes unusable open space near the front or back. Patch up any holes in the floor where the seats are inserted to avoid tripping.

Choose a place in the van for a bed. The best place may be up against the front seats or one of the side walls. The bed can be as simple as a sleeping bag with covers and pillows, and you can stack them on top of comforters and foam cushions for more comfort.

Install the kitchen into the van. Attach a table into one corner, bolting or fastening it to a wall or the floor. Keep a propane tank under the table and connect it to a camping stove on the table. You can also place a microwave under the table. Make sure everything is secure and won't jostle while driving.

Add a sink to the kitchen. Cut a hole in a smaller table and place a stainless steel bowl into it. This can be as simple as pouring in water from a jug and removing the bowl to dispose of the water. If you have plumbing knowledge, install a pump and drain system stored under the table. If not, hire a professional.

Design an entertainment and media center for the van. A TV and music console can be installed into a sturdy box or panel and then installed along a side window. Use the flattest or most compact devices you can get and make sure the panel is securely fastened.

Decide on power sources in the RV van. Some items can connect to the vehicle battery but you can't risk draining it. Try stocking two or three deep cycle batteries connected to inverters with plug-in sockets. Install boxes in the van to store them in. You can also try a small generator, but only use it outside with extension cords.

Separate the driver's cab from the living area with curtains. Install them right behind the front seats, attaching them to the upholstery.


  • The kitchen is best installed near the rear door or hatchback, which should be open when cooking. You need as much open air as possible when using the stove because a propane stove should not be used in a closed space.
  • Attaching side panels to the table legs is one of the best ways to secure the objects underneath like the propane can and water jug or pump.

About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.

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