Ultimate Guide to
Van Conversions

A simple step by step process of a low cost DIY build for everyone with sources, videos and recommendations

Ford Transit 250

Many of us intend to do their own conversion, but in reality often have no clue about what is involved and to finish it successfully. Not about the cost, not about the effort and not about what is next.

This guide is not specifically about how to build your new home on the road, although I go in great detail to put its components together, but I try to establish a build sequence, a series of popular options within each project and where you can buy them including an estimate of the cost.

The key objectives throughout this guide, are low cost, ease of assembly and best options (relative to price); making a quality conversion accessible to everybody that has few skills or knowledge, but has a lot of conviction. You can use or fabricate any style of cabinet, but to adhere to the ‘ease of assembly’ requirement, many projects in this conversion build will use a ‘base cabinet unit‘, that is low cost and easy to put together with few tools. Its principal dimensions are recommended, but any measurement can be changed to fit as needed.

Alternatively, the 80/20 aluminum extrusion system can be used instead. It is easier to install and looks professional, but brings its own complications and it adds several thousand dollars to the cost of the build1.


Many videos are included and reflect the current build of my own van conversion, which is very similar as described in this guide. These videos deal with the nitty gritty of each project and should provide enough information to finish each project, but if you have additional questions, send me some feedback below.

As you will notice, this guide is currently very limited; creating it, is a big effort and will take many months to complete. Just keep watching as I add new projects continuously. Meanwhile, let me know what you think and make suggestions to improve it!

To Build or Not To Build?

Apart from the van conversion build itself, you will have to make another huge decision regarding the selection of the van (or other type of vehicle). In the US there are basically three vehicle brands available: The Ram ProMaster, Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter/Freightliner. Click on the link below to get you on your way to become a van builder!

If you haven’t given up yet, now it is a good time to explore some of the conversion resources above. Spend some time, watching other build videos, go to the appropriate forum for your vehicle and pose some questions that you will have by this time. Look at the tool list, to find out how many trades you have to master.

By now, you will likely have spend a few weeks researching, to have a better understanding of what’s around the corner. It’s time now to buy or order your ideal vehicle.

Getting your conversion done is a fairly straightforward process, but some projects can be executed independent of the actual build. Instead of waiting for a future time to install, doing hem early in the build has some advantages. For example a security/dashcam system installation has no effect on the regular build, but will keep your vehicle protected from day one. Following are some that you may be interested in. While waiting on your ordered van, you can already order the parts and prepare for a quick install, when the van arrives.

Pre-Build Projects

Main Workflow

Meanwhile start thinking about your first real conversion project and the tools you will need. Click a link below and continue until all projects are completed. Projects are sorted in a logical order, but they often overlap and you can always select your own choice. You are in the driver’s seat now!

Part 1



Part 2

Water Tank


& Rescue

In the upcoming months, I will add more projects until completed; during that period the workflow order is non-existent.


The missing parts of the complete van conversion process are being added regularly to this Build Guide. If you want to suggest a specific build option for this guide, submit a content correction or have a general inquiry, send me an email.

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Disclaimer: Throughout this guide, all guidance, building techniques and other information are based on my own experiences of converting a cargo van into a Tiny House on wheels. This guide is only for informational purposes; always build according to local and national standards. Be aware that such a project is expensive, requires a substantial amount of broad knowledge of building techniques and involves more work hours than you can imagine. Besides of hitting a finger with a hammer, much more serious harm can be done when you work with 12V/120V electrical systems, propane installations, power tools, etc. Tapping into the vehicle’s own systems can also damage its functionality. Get professional help where needed; never take any risk!

1image from Ourkaravan Van Build