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Old 07.02.2019, 19:49
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Camper conversions

I've bought a people carrier, a Mercedes V220, which I want to convert to being a camper van.

From the point of view of the Expertise and other legal requirements, what do I need to do?

It was expertised with 6 seats. I want to build in a seat at the back that converts into a camp bed, it wouldn't be used while driving, but I'd like to fix it permanently in place. I'd also gut most of the interior, and put down a floor, add a leisure battery, and possibly gas heating (I'm a photographer and like to go away at weekends in the winter, so would want warmth at night)

Is there any set of regulations relating to vehicle conversions like this? (This is Switzerland, I'm sure there's something) that stated what I'm allowed to do)

Has anyone ever done this before that could give me some hints and lessons learned?

Thanks a lot.
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Old 07.02.2019, 20:28
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Re: Camper conversions

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I've bought a people carrier, a Mercedes V220, which I want to convert to being a camper van.

From the point of view of the Expertise and other legal requirements, what do I need to do?

It was expertised with 6 seats. I want to build in a seat at the back that converts into a camp bed, it wouldn't be used while driving, but I'd like to fix it permanently in place. I'd also gut most of the interior, and put down a floor, add a leisure battery, and possibly gas heating (I'm a photographer and like to go away at weekends in the winter, so would want warmth at night)

Is there any set of regulations relating to vehicle conversions like this? (This is Switzerland, I'm sure there's something) that stated what I'm allowed to do)

Has anyone ever done this before that could give me some hints and lessons learned?

Thanks a lot.

Suggest you go ask Service des Autos in Sion directly.....
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Old 07.02.2019, 20:35
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Re: Camper conversions

I'm trying to get myself informed ahead of visiting the SCN.
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Old 07.02.2019, 20:53
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Re: Camper conversions

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I'm trying to get myself informed ahead of visiting the SCN.

Whatever, but at the end of the day here will only be opinions and hearsay, the SAN n Son will be direct information, you can chat and discuss your project and learn exactly what you can and cannot do.


Erroneous information is worse than none at all
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Old 07.02.2019, 21:05
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Re: Camper conversions

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Whatever, but at the end of the day here will only be opinions and hearsay, the SAN n Son will be direct information, you can chat and discuss your project and learn exactly what you can and cannot do.

Erroneous information is worse than none at all
But to be fair to the OP, there may be people on this forum who have done these conversions and can give a bit of advice.

Quite often on this forum, you ask a question and get answers to those things you didn't know you didn't know.

To the OP:

I have no experience from this but having met Swiss travellers in their own, extremely modified vehicles around the world (with Swiss plates) it would appear that anything goes.

With that knowledge - I'd do what Today only has suggested!
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Old 07.02.2019, 21:07
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Re: Camper conversions

The SCN, like other official bodies across the globe (not a purely Swiis issue) are very good at telling you about keeping your vehicle stock, but not very helpful for people like me who like to customise. That's the function of bureaucracy

SCN is always available to ask, but a very expensive way to "do it yourself" unless you come prepared, hence I've asked for people who have attempted this before.

I've customised a lot of vehicles, and found things out the hard way. One of the things I found out the hard way is not to speak to anyone official until you've spoken to someone who's been there before you.
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Old 07.02.2019, 21:10
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Re: Camper conversions

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But to be fair to the OP, there may be people on this forum who have done these conversions and can give a bit of advice.

Quite often on this forum, you ask a question and get answers to those things you didn't know you didn't know.

To the OP:

I have no experience from this but having met Swiss travellers in their own, extremely modified vehicles around the world (with Swiss plates) it would appear that anything goes.

With that knowledge - I'd do what Today only has suggested!
Thank you. Yes, I've seen plenty of customisations, which is what gave me the idea. I will talk to the SCN, but not until I have spoken to others who made their own mistakes and have learned from them.
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Old 07.02.2019, 21:16
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Re: Camper conversions

Your biggest headache will be the gas heating.
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Old 07.02.2019, 21:26
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Re: Camper conversions

With the price of these things, staying in a Hotel & going by car would be cheaper.
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Old 07.02.2019, 21:34
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Re: Camper conversions

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With the price of these things, staying in a Hotel & going by car would be cheaper.

That really depends on how much you use it. Once converted (I think I can do this for about 2k) there's very little running costs. I can go anywhere I want. At an average cost of a hotel, I just need to spend 20 nights in it to make it a viable option, I spemt far more than that in it last year.
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Old 07.02.2019, 21:35
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Re: Camper conversions

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Your biggest headache will be the gas heating.
Yes. Thats something I will get fitted professionally by a caravan shop.
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Old 07.02.2019, 23:07
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Re: Camper conversions

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The SCN, like other official bodies across the globe (not a purely Swiis issue) are very good at telling you about keeping your vehicle stock, but not very helpful for people like me who like to customise. That's the function of bureaucracy

SCN is always available to ask, but a very expensive way to "do it yourself" unless you come prepared, hence I've asked for people who have attempted this before.

I've customised a lot of vehicles, and found things out the hard way. One of the things I found out the hard way is not to speak to anyone official until you've spoken to someone who's been there before you.

You can freely speak with them and also freely do want you want afterwards


You also need to remember this is a canntonal thing so what passes in Zurich may not pass in Valais.....


From what you say you wan to do, just install a bed, flooring and possibly gas heating, i don't think you need to worry too much.
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Old 07.02.2019, 23:24
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Re: Camper conversions

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You can freely speak with them and also freely do want you want afterwards


You also need to remember this is a canntonal thing so what passes in Zurich may not pass in Valais.....


From what you say you wan to do, just install a bed, flooring and possibly gas heating, i don't think you need to worry too much.
Yes. But until I've spoken to someone who has actually got experience, I want to avoid doing any work on the vehicle.

I know you're all trying to be helpful, which I appreciate, but I was really hoping to speak to someone who actually has some experience.
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Old 07.02.2019, 23:27
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Re: Camper conversions

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At an average cost of a hotel, I just need to spend 20 nights in it to make it a viable option, I spemt far more than that in it last year.
You do realize that campites here and in the surrounding countries cost almost as much as a hotel?

Tom
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Old 07.02.2019, 23:41
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Re: Camper conversions

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You do realize that campites here and in the surrounding countries cost almost as much as a hotel?

Tom
I rarely sleep in campsites. But no, they don't. I paid €20 a night for a spot 2m from Lake Como last summer, the hotels nearby were charging €150 and were further from the lake.

The nice thing about my bus is that it looks like a people carrier, and I can get into carparks with 1.8m height clearance, so in an emergency, I can sleep in a supermarket car park. Not very romantic I grant you, but I don'tdo it often, I usually find myself at the end of mountain roads where I can sit outside my bus and take photos.

The nice thing about doing this is the freedom. If the weather is poor, I just go somewhere else. Year before last, my wife and I went to Provence and also Tuscany and even further south.
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Old 07.02.2019, 23:46
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Re: Camper conversions

Here some helpful documents for your venture:
https://asa.ch/fr/bibliotheque-en-ligne/aide-memoires/
https://asa.ch/fr/bibliotheque-en-ligne/directives/
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Old 08.02.2019, 00:09
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Re: Camper conversions

Friend of mine did something similar but simpler. He just folded down the back row seats, put some kind of bed frame on the other end, and laid a mattress on top, storage boxes under. He was going down south so no special heating.
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Old 08.02.2019, 08:28
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Re: Camper conversions

Don't forget to paint it pink. Just to make a little camper.
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Old 08.02.2019, 10:18
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Yes. But until I've spoken to someone who has actually got experience, I want to avoid doing any work on the vehicle.

I know you're all trying to be helpful, which I appreciate, but I was really hoping to speak to someone who actually has some experience.

IT IS A CANNTONAL MATTER, so what is allowed in Vaud may or maynot be allowed in Valais.


Just to give you one very simple example of peculiarity that i know, wheel nuts in canotn of Bern need to have 7 full screw turns before they are legal, in other cantons it can be only 5......


Who checks : probably nobody..........until there is an accident.
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Old 08.02.2019, 10:30
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Re: Camper conversions

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That really depends on how much you use it. Once converted (I think I can do this for about 2k) there's very little running costs. I can go anywhere I want. At an average cost of a hotel, I just need to spend 20 nights in it to make it a viable option, I spemt far more than that in it last year.
In pretty much all parts of Europe except of Scandinavia is wild camping illegal. You can risk it for a night here and there, but you wont find some prime spot to camp for free in CH for a week or so without having the cops visiting you…
If you compare the price of hotels with the powered campsites and then the costs of the vehicle do hotels probably come out on top. But thats not the point of camping… I rented an RV over Christmas and New Year with some friends to travel through New Zealand. Bloody expensive during high season… but an experience hotels wont give you.
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