Having never being totally at ease with a trailer, we decided it might be a good idea to convert a van to carry our Alpacas.
My first step was to scan the internet looking for both inspiration, and ideas, though apart from a few examples of DIY conversions for carrying horses there was not a lot of information available. I did however learn that Movanos / Renault Masters appeared to be the vehicle of choice for many due to their low floor height.
This was perhaps fortunate as Jude had sourced an ex police surveillance van, which just happened to be a Movano.
Having now acquired the van, the next step was to undertake the conversion, which on the face of it did not seem too daunting, though it would have been good to have read up on other peoples experiences – particularly the dos and the don’ts.
So for anyone out there who might be thinking of doing the same, here’s my experience.
So early one Morning set off for Mole valley and bought a sheet of marine ply, a sheet of galvanised wire, some timber, and an assortment of steel, along with some miscellaneous bolts and fittings.
So far so good.
Next came the tricky part, what goes where…
I decided to start with the ramp, though this was not as easy as first thought as the ramp had to fit inside of the rear doors, plus there had to be room for the gates.
So my choice of hinges at this point could prove to be crucial, I decided upon using gate hinges as I wanted to achieve several inches of clearance so that the ramp would clear the rear of the van.
I inset the hinges into the ply floor and assembled the ply ramp into position.
To ensure I had enough room for the side gates I constructed and attached the L/H gate assembly to make sure there was enough clearance to it all to fold away neatly.
To help achieve the desired clearance I fashioned up a set of basic hinges as can be seen in the photo above.
The above photo shows the ramp (gate hinge) detail with the ramp in the closed position.
Now all the main ‘moving’ parts were in position I could make the final adjustments also, due to the constraint on width, I will also look at adding a folding section to the gates so they fully encase the ramp.
For info the ply ramp is encased in 25mm L steel section with 2 x 50mm steel sections on the underside for support. the rubber mat came as a 6 x 4 ft sheet so fitted snugly into place.
Next I built an internal door, using 25mm L section steel and wood.
Note, the door is in the fully open position, and can be moved as desired just like the divider in our Ifor Williams stock trailer.
I then fitted an acrylic mirror, so that the Alpacas would think there were other Alpacas already on board. I also put a window in the bulkhead so that we could see the alpacas whilst we were traveling.
Unfortunately, the photos were not taken in sequence, as you can see the floor mats have already been fitted.
The next set of photos show in more detail some of the fittings in situ.
The above photo details the new location of the spare wheel, and the exposed wheel arches – these were left as they are nicely ’rounded’ and so should not cause any injuries to the Alpacas.
And lastly, our surprise at finding out that the van featured air conditioning to the rear load area.
The pipes had been removed along with the fuse, and the rear switch had been disconnected.
Once this had been rectified – we found we had a very powerful AC.
The internal lights were also in need of a little attention (a new fuse) and hey presto, lights.
The project is almost finished, I just have to make another internal divider, so we can carry our show equipment.
Like all projects, if I was to start again from scratch there are many changes I would make.
But hopefully these photos will be of some assistance should you be thinking of undertaking your own van conversion.