My Third Conversion
In April 2016 I bought a MAN TGL 7.150, it had been a Night Freight lorry but didn't have very high mileage and was in good condition. The box was 6 metres long, 2.5 metres wide and 2.5 metres high. It took 7 months to get it pretty much finished although there was a few things that I did after moving into it like tiling the kitchen and getting the shower door on. The actual shower didn't get finished until I moved out!
When the build was complete I took it to a weigh bridge and it weighed exactly 7500kg with no passenger and so I used the company SV Tech to uplate it to 8400kg so as there would be no issue with being over weight. Obviously you do need a different class of licence for over 7500kg which my partner had. I had the lorry changed to motor caravan on the V5 and changed to private HGV for the tax class.
I used top quality products as much as possible with this build as I was working full-time in a well paid job at the time. I used insulation board (Celotex) throughout, the ceiling and floor was insulated with 50mm board and the walls with 25mm board. I put 25x50mm battening where I needed to attach any furniture and where I needed to attach the plywood walls.
I used 9mm plywood for the walls and 3mm plywood for the ceiling. I then put 7mm tongue and groove over the top of the plywood on the ceiling. On the floor I used 16mm floor boards. I used 25x50mm battening to make frames for most of the furniture and used 7mm tongue and groove for cupboard doors and the front of the seat boxes. The lids of the seat boxes were 12mm plywood. I used 50x75mm battens for the false floor and bed frame.
I bought 4 Seitz double glazed windows and 2 Seitz skylights and made the door myself from the GRP box body. I fitted a 12v and 240v system run by 2 x 260w solar panels fitted to a custom built roof rack and stored in 2 x 115amph batteries. I put in a shower tray, 70ltr water tank and a pump to feed the shower and tap at the sink. I installed recessed lights throughout the truck with the bedroom and living room ones being on dimmer switches.
I took off the roller shutter door from the back and had custom made back doors put on the back on the lower half to gain access to the garage space under the bed. At the top I had a fixed piece put on with a small porthole window in. I had a wood burner made to specific measurements and installed that on to tiles which I also used in the kitchen area.
I haven't got an exact breakdown of what I spent but the over all cost of the build materials was around £12,000 with the lorry costing £5,000 initially. The breakdown here is approximate and does not include everything:
£1000 = Battens and plywood
£400 = Insulation
£350 = Floorboards
£1500 = Seitz windows and skylights
£1200 = Solar set up
£250 = Metal for roof rack (and fitting)
£750 = Metal for back doors (and fitting)
£350 = Wood burner and flue
£350 = Tiles
See the photos below of the lorry conversion taking shape:
The lorry waiting to be transformed!
The empty box.
Trying to work out what needs doing and when.
Buy some insulation and wood.
The box was divided into thirds, kitchen living room and bedroom.
The living room area had a false floor, it meant I could have more storage and with the height of the box it was still easily high enough.
The floor is fully insulated with 40mm Celotex.
I put lino down on the storage space under the false floor and then floorboards went down in the kitchen and living room.
I put in two skylights, I didn't want one over the bed because one day they will leak! Also left a spot for the chimney.
Getting on with the floor.
I needed metal for the roof rack and new back doors and found online companies much cheaper than my local metal yard.
The tongue and groove boards finally in place.
Protecting the new boards from damage with cardboard.
A bit of a tidy up before the floor is varnished.
All the boards washed down ready for varnishing.
A darker stain added and the boards are finished.
Next the ceiling is insulated with 50mm Celotex and lined with 3mm plywood.
The lights are fitted at the same time.
The old door is taken off and a fixed metal panel is put in the top half.
New barn doors have been made by a friend and attached to gain access to what will be the garage area.
With the new doors in place and the bar lock fitted everything is ready.
The back is complete and our metal working friend can go home!
The back gets a coat of undercoat and two coats of matt black.
I fit a porthole window in the fixed panel, it doesn't open but good for looking out the back.
Time to start the walls, battening put everywhere that furniture needs to be fixed to.
I use 25mm Celotex on the walls.
I use 50x25mm battens for the walls.
The walls are covered in pen marks from planning the furniture, the wiring and windows.
Cables and electric boxes get put in as I go.
This part of the wall is ready for the ply lining.
The 9mm plywood in in place with the wiring ready for fittings.
One side of the wall being finished off.
Hole cut ready for the window and battens making a frame to fix the window frame to.
Window fitted and open.
Same window shown from the inside.
Two windows on the other side fitted and in place.
The roof rack is ready to fix the solar panels to.
The side door will be made by cutting the piece out of the box.
The door is in two parts. U shaped aluminium is used around the edges.
The door frame is wood on the inside and L shaped aluminium on the outside.
Half a Door
The bottom half of the door is made and fixed in place. It took about 4 days!
The bottom of the door is covered in checker plate to stop the dogs scratching at the wood.
The top half of the door is made in the same way but will have a porthole window in it.
The door gets fixed in place, this part of the door took 3 days!
Above the door is a 12v outside light.
View from the Outside
To the left of the side door is another porthole window for some daylight while in the shower. The vent above it is for steam to escape and below is the water filler cap.
I bought a normal Yale style lock but had to get a reversed one as the door opens outwards rather than inwards like in a house.
The inside of the door is varnished.
The door is finished and working.
The bed base goes in along with bedroom cupboards. The ceiling gets tongue and groove cladding. A Dremel is used to cut patterns in the wood.
The tongue and groove wasn't very neat around the skylight so I made a wood border to cover it.
Framework for the kitchen units.
Units with frame varnished and shelves fitted.
The framework of the cupboards that will be fixed to the wall.
Units varnished and shelves in place.
The kitchen starts to take shape
To the left of the kitchen is the shower cubicle.
I make doors for the kitchen units out of the same tongue and groove I used on the ceiling.
I start filling the cupboards!
The full sized house cooker slots in nicely.
I bought a nice oak worktop, expensive but beautiful!
The sink is also a full sized house sink. The tap is operated by a 12v pump from the water tank.
The living room has an L shape of seat boxes. The boards on the top are 12mm plywood.
Again I use tongue and groove for the sides of the seat boxes and stain them a darker colour than the kitchen units.
Also in the living room is a desk.
The desk is positioned under a window for working in good daylight.
I put down a square of tiles where the wood burner is going to sit.
A friend made the wood burner to my specifications.
The wood burner is screwed through the tiles into the wood below.
The flue is attached with brackets on the wall.
Once finished I added some metal strips to hang things from.
There is bends in the flue because originally I was going too have the wood burner in the living room area.
The first fire in the wood burner is always something a bit special and also good to check for any leaks in the flue.
The shower unit has a front put on ready for the door.
The door has carvings on using the Dremel and is fitted.
The garage space is ready to be filled with garage stuff.
All the tools are ready to be put in the garage space.
All packed in and ready for the next job!
The seat boxes finished and cushions in place.
With a left over piece of oak from the kitchen I made a table for the living room. I doubt I'll use it much but nice to have.
Living Room and Kitchen
The living room and kitchen mostly finished.
The finished bedroom.
The solar is up and running and everything is now powered.
False Floor Space
From the living room area I can access part of underneath the false floor.
Starting to put in the finishing touches.
I decorated the front of the shelves with driftwood and shells I had collected.
I used driftwood and shells to decorate some more shelves.
The kitchen was finished except for the tiling.
I used the same tiles as I had under the wood burner for above the cooker and sink.
Tiles in place, I used Sikaflex rather than tile grout for extra adhesive properties while driving bumpy roads!
The completed lorry on its first outing to Stonehenge.
I moved out of the lorry in October 2017 after a relationship breakdown. My ex still has the lorry and now has a family so they are making good use of the space! For me having a lorry was nice in some ways but I felt that having more space meant I just had more stuff as I had more space to fill! Also it cost more to run and maintain and was limited as to where it could go and park.
If you have any questions about my conversions, materials or suppliers used please feel free to email me using the button below and I will do my best to help.