Zero budget just get out there adventure van

Love it, simple functional van. Really want to check out the NC500, was suppose to head that way Easter 2020 but we know how that went
It was glorious, definitely check it out if you get the chance!

We will definitely be going back at some point, hopefully at a 50 mile a day pace not 100 a day though.

Cheers
 
Couple of simple changes to hopefully increase usability in readiness of my 2 weeks off soon and looking forward to putting some miles on it.

Gave the van a good wash, checked all the fluids and tyre pressures. Then created a simple mount for the shovel and first aid kit, just so they are easier to grab than being under the seat. Waiting on a length of hose to arrive for the water tank, not sure how I feel about its location but we'll see how it goes. Once again nothing too permanent so i cant use it just as a van.20220907_111729.jpg20220907_205705.jpg20220906_101336.jpg
 
It's official, the van has taken us to and allowed us to do all the big things we wanted. Sunrise, sunset, numerous walks, bike rides, the seaside and another country.

Thanks van 🍻

The plan now is to continue making it a better place to be whilst still letting us use it how we enjoy.

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For a while now I've been after a tow bar, with the intention of using it to tow a small utility trailer in the near future and a caravan in the distant future. One popped up locally on ebay for a good price.

So I grabbed it, repainted it and fitted it. Just waiting on somebody or a good tutorial and some bravery to tackle the wiring.

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I will be replacing the standard ball with a ball and pin hitch soon (because I think they look better, I do already have an alko tow ball I can use for towing a caravan when required)

I do have a couple of questions I'm hoping somebody can help me with -

I'm looking to purchase some recovery gear, realistic worst case scenario would be getting stuck on a field in mud/wet grass or snow. Most liable vehicle around here to get pulled out by would be a landrover or similar.

Currently I have a kinetic strap that can go around the tow bar or through the front recovery eye, it has hooks on both ends as can be seen below (if I'm using the wrong terms)

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I would like to purchase what would be required to help a kind passer by pull me out.

I'm thinking a couple of soft shackles, some D rings and a strap, what's the consensus on this? Any recommendations?

Researching recovery seems to take me down the route of being very stuck, needing winches etc. (BTW I do carry a military folding shovel and a form of home made recovery boards)
 
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Following on from above, a quick search to show the type of products I'm looking for. Please chime in with any advice!

A strap to replace my current one, although unused I am of the opinion a 'normal' strap is better than kinetic for recovery
Screenshot_20221105-150433_eBay.jpg

A D ring, I'm pretty sure a soft shackle won't fit through the front recovery Eye, (or not the ones with a protective sheath anyway, should I consider more basic ones given my use?) if it does I won't bother with a D ring.

Screenshot_20221105-150347_eBay.jpg

Then 2x soft shackles, for either around the tow bar 'bar' (I'm of the understanding you should not use the 'ball' or the pin of a ball and pin hitch for recovery!?) or front recovery Eye if it fits. And of course on the recovering vehicle. Screenshot_20221105-162529_eBay.jpg
 
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Johnboyy

Member
A 2wd van on m&s tyres is unlikely to get particularly stuck, you're not going to get far enough in to get yourself badly stuck. A strap and a shackle or two will be grand. Don't need anything too fancy.

A 12v compressor is a very useful self recovery tool. Airing down can be handy if you get yourself into trouble.
 

NatersXJ6

Explorer
For a while now I've been after a tow bar, with the intention of using it to tow a small utility trailer in the near future and a caravan in the distant future. One popped up locally on ebay for a good price.

So I grabbed it, repainted it and fitted it. Just waiting on somebody or a good tutorial and some bravery to tackle the wiring.

View attachment 750669View attachment 750670View attachment 750671

I will be replacing the standard ball with a ball and pin hitch soon (because I think they look better, I do already have an alko tow ball I can use for towing a caravan when required)

I do have a couple of questions I'm hoping somebody can help me with -

I'm looking to purchase some recovery gear, realistic worst case scenario would be getting stuck on a field in mud/wet grass or snow. Most liable vehicle around here to get pulled out by would be a landrover or similar.

Currently I have a kinetic strap that can go around the tow bar or through the front recovery eye, it has hooks on both ends as can be seen below (if I'm using the wrong terms)

View attachment 750673

I would like to purchase what would be required to help a kind passer by pull me out.

I'm thinking a couple of soft shackles, some D rings and a strap, what's the consensus on this? Any recommendations?

Researching recovery seems to take me down the route of being very stuck, needing winches etc. (BTW I do carry a military folding shovel and a form of home made recovery boards)
In the US, you can purchase pre-made vehicle specific tow wiring harnesses that plug into your brake light harness and provide the tow wiring. I would imagine the same are available in the UK, and are generally cheap enough to qualify for your “zero budget” without running the risk you take to your wiring with a DIY job. I’m guessing the commercial harness route is about 20% more cost and 90% time and risk of mistake savings.
 
A 2wd van on m&s tyres is unlikely to get particularly stuck, you're not going to get far enough in to get yourself badly stuck. A strap and a shackle or two will be grand. Don't need anything too fancy.

A 12v compressor is a very useful self recovery tool. Airing down can be handy if you get yourself into trouble.
I do carry a tyre inflator, so that is an easy option to use.

I think your absolutely right, I wont in that deep, just something to help when it's too slippery. Also most places I go there will be others there willing/able to help, hence I'd like to be prepared.

Thanks for the advice!

Other advice has been a set of snow chains to aid in the self recovery.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
I think you have a fabulous vehicle. Some say minimalistic. I think it isa almost over sized but pretty much right on.... I love the picture looking out from the cave. The human looks soo small. Fabulous van. Great to see it out and about. Enjoy.
 
I think you have a fabulous vehicle. Some say minimalistic. I think it isa almost over sized but pretty much right on.... I love the picture looking out from the cave. The human looks soo small. Fabulous van. Great to see it out and about. Enjoy.
Thanks for your kind words. It has done us very well so far hopefully with much more to come. I could probably get away with smaller for most of the time. However there have been a few occasions the extra size really comes in (with the bikes or the bed in especially so the toilet/cooker is usable in the van for British weather haha). Having said that at 5m long and sub 2m high I've never had to turn back due to its size and it just about fits into UK standard parking places.
 
Today I started on doing the towbar wiring.

This is my first time doing anything with wiring, so its been quite the journey. I'm hoping all the research I've done means I can do the best job my skills allow.

I could not find a guide anywhere so here is how I did my mercedes vito w639 2005 towbar electrics wiring should this help anyone in the future.

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Drilled a hole underneath the drivers side (right hand side sat in the van I'm in the uk) rear lights, then deburred the hole, painted the bare metal and fitted a grommet. The wire from the 7pin plug goes along the bottom of the bumper with a hole drilled in the plastic bumper support to feed the wire up to the above hole.

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Fuse holder and the wire fed from the battery, this exits at the side of the battery under the van flooring to join the main vehicle harness. I used harness tape to secure this at all possible locations.

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Power wire fed along the main harness to the rear drivers side light to meet up with the 7 pin wiring.

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This will be continued once I get some more time. I got distracted doing other jobs like spraying stone chip behind the rear bumper, cleaning up all bolts before refitting and because I'm new to wiring it took me a few tries to be happy with each joint, like selecting the correct terminal size and then checking continuity of each part.

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Any progress is good progress.

A couple of surface rusty bits were spotted behind the rear bumper, these have been ground back, treated with krust, painted over with hammerite then stonechip. (These are hidden behind the bumper so looks are secondary to the best protection I can do)

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Continuing with the towbar installation, I found a suitable spot to ground the box and 7 pin electrics, made an earth cable and again tested for continuity.20221114_100737.jpg
 
Drivers side behind the rear bumper has had its first coat of silver brush on hammerite after the krust did its magic

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Back to the towing electrics -

Used scotch connections to trigger the bypass relay, watched YouTube to learn how to appropriately use my multi meter, ensuring each wire was correct and properly connected.

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Connected up the 7pin wiring to the relay and we have life! Buzzer works as it should and all lights power correctly!

Screenshot_20221116_113218.jpg

I still have a couple of tests to do - check the fog light as my lighting board doesn't use one, and ensure the earth is correct. But the weather beat me unfortunately. I'll follow up with a few photos once the weather is nicer.
 
Towbar update -

It is finally complete! All the wiring works as it should, and it is all hidden away.

Last thing will be to adjust where to towbar sits, there is adjustment to move the tube you see at the rear up and in which I will try and see how it looks. I just want to ensure there is plenty of room between the tow ball and bumper.

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Attachments

Just a few small tweaks, making the van better for its current purpose.

My cans of stonechip arrived at last to spray behind the rear bumper to give an added layer of protection after treating the rust. Hopefully, this is the last time I have to remove the rear bumper for a while!

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And I got a small fire extinguisher permanently mounted in the van.

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