DIY - RV, Caravan, Camper Van, Motorhome

rajpalrao

Active Member
I live away from India now, but planning a comeback soon and wish to go on tours on a regular interval. Was thinking of a Thar,
but after understanding the freedom a campervan offers, I inquired about it with one company, and guess what, its costing :r:15-20 lacs :confused: :shock:excluding the vehicle cost, i.e. with vehicle it would go above :r:25L :shock:. Bearing the fact in mind that I would travel max 50,000kms length and breadth of the country over a period of 1-2 yrs, I think is doesn't make sense to invest Rs. 25L + fuel + maintenance costs. Additionally, if I go to sell it in the market later, I have to compromise on price or I have to keep it myself, which would then serve no purpose for me anyway.
It is also toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo big budget for my requirement.
For :r:25L, I can buy a 2BHK flat in Hyderabad :)

So, I am contemplating on a DIY Camper van project when back home and trying to understand issues involved, so I am equipped and ready to go with the project.

My requirement of a van is as below:

1) Sit and sleep, carry requirements of a family of 4-5 ppl.
Don't need high end, but basic requirements of water tank, solar power, beds, storage, kichenette, shower, washroom, etc. etc.
2) Should be able to cruise through high altitudes and normal rural terrains,
3) Don't need a 4x4 but should be a reliable machine and powerful enough to ride highs and lows.

I checked on the specs of Force Tempo, Mahindra Maxximo Plus, Tata ACE and Ashok Leyland DOST and find DOST to be a fit for my requirement.

The idea is to buy a used DOST
or
a new DOST with chassis and engine only, w/o body and convert it into a motorhome.

I would like to know if there is anyone on this forum who had done any DIY campervan project before,
if so, what are the issues / problems that I can expect, what would be the cost?

My estimation is, used DOST should not be more than :r:3L + :r:3-4L for conversion, which would be around :r:6-7L in total.
3-4L for conversion is less or more?

1) should check with RTA for personal usage approval and stuff...if ok, I think these vehicle are for commercial use and come with yellow plate by default.
2) need to identify travel gear supplier, take measurements of my required gear,
3) supply measurements to a CAD designer to design basic layout
4) need a fabricator to build the vehicle body based on the layout.
5) need a solar engineer for wiring, etc.

On the contrary, DOST also has RUV's and I found that the shells of a Steel Container, Ambulance and Service-At-Site Van are suitable, but need to do further research.
 

adsatinder

explorer
Mostly Body Fabricators make commercial body. They make few all purpose vehicle but some challenges can be tackled with experienced people.

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You have to engage different types of experts and item procurement with all type of shops as per your need.

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Sewerage, Sanitary needs may give more challenges.
Electricals can be managed anyhow.

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There are costly options available with Camping vans in india.
You can get used force or tata 407 Van with most facilities. Add on your few items.
 

oriole12

Nature Lover
There are many enthusiasts at least in Chandigarh that I know of who have done DIY conversion of chassis to RVs. Most of them have been modified on Force Traveller. Force Traveller is only good for a family of husband and wife and small kids. Here also you have to choose between having a toilet or a kitchen as both cannot be accommodated. If you want 3/4 adults and want a kitchen as well as a toilet, the choice of chassis boils down to either a Swaraj Mazda or an Eicher. There is a person in Chandigarh who is building his own Eicher based RV to accommodate 6/7 persons. If you are interested, please PM me, I'll send you his contacts.
JCBL near Dera Bassi also custom makes RVs our of Mazda and even larger chassis, but they are on the luxury sector and very costly. Politicians and film actors are his clients and the fitment can rival what the luxury RV makers in USA use.
 

anupmathur

Super Moderator
Staff member
There are many enthusiasts at least in Chandigarh that I know of who have done DIY conversion of chassis to RVs. ....
There are a few RV outfitters and equipment resellers, but the main question is whether anything can be obtained within the stipulated budget.
I am of the opinion that 15 to 20 lakhs is what any barely acceptable RV will cost.
 

rajpalrao

Active Member
Dear adsatinder,

My main concern is, is it doable a person w/o knowledge and in a market where there is less penetration or understanding of RV.
Its going to be full time job until I finish the project, if I start. So want to be sure, before taking up the job.
 

adsatinder

explorer
Meet local mechanic. Try 2nd hand vehicle cost then ask for your requirements.
Or try to ask for 2nd hand vehicle already made.
Experienced Mechanics will be able to do the job as per your needs.
Main criteria is cost involved as pointed by Anup ji.
Other things are possible if you increase the budget.
2nd hand items can be get from other cities also.
 

rajpalrao

Active Member
Dear oriole12,

You rightly pointed out the space requirement for toilet and kichenette as I was also thinking if it is possible to have both in such a small space.
I have a vision of how my design should be, but need a computerised design to see if it really works or not.

For kitchen I was thinking something on the lines of QUQUQ Campingbox (minus bed), such that the box can be pulled out under the awning or outside tent.
I am not sure if I can post links here, but I am putting one. mods, pls. remove if it doesn't fall in the forum guidelines.
QUQUQ Campingbox | Cologne Camper - Einfach unterwegs

A toilet is major issue. It can be either fixed inside the van or a closed tent in which a chemical toilet can be placed instead.

I am researching lot of sites to come to an economical but reliable design that can work.
The problem is we don't have a knowledge network on DIY projects in India, like in west.

I have come across few companies which are doing the job, but understand that none are reasonably cheap.

I dont know how to PM you in this forum, would appreciate if you share the details you mentioned.

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dear anup sir,

15-20 lacs is what is quoted by most of the commercial RV makers, but a DIY camper should any day cost less, right?
its just finding the right people for the right job.
i am trying to list out my requirements and the cost involved, which will give me an idea of the budget.
the one that i quoted was on a rough scale though.
 

Prasham

Armchair Traveller :(
If you are trying to accommodate 4-5 people, Dost isn't suitable. You'll have to opt for Force Traveller. Also don't buy an old vehicle since it'll keep troubling you and that's the last thing you want with family or in a remote location.

If you are looking for a basic (bedding, little kitchen & electricals) setup I guess you can do it in around 5-7L. Yes the finishing might not be as good as the ready Camper Vans but then DIY is more about functionality and not luxury. Approach different professionals for different work and I am sure you'll have better idea.

One problem I see is fitting a Toilet but then you can always use a loo at a nearby restaurant. Also doing it in open gives a different thrill ;)
 
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