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Romer retro - The challenges 01

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

Sooo.... if only we knew then what we know now! This build was an absolute beast to wrangle. The general state of the vehicle when it arrived with us for a full conversion wasn't that bad, but once we started to rip things out it became increasingly obvious that this was not going to be a small undertaking.

The base van was a 1999 Iveco Daily and a rather unusual one at that. We've seen a few of them on the road but never one with these rear doors.

Once we'd agreed with the client on the interior layout and discussed numerous ways to maximise the internal space we got cracking. As with most retrofitting jobs the first task it to identify any potential issues that the chosen layout may encounter. This can be pretty much anything, for example, wheel arches - how deep, tall, long are they and what problems could they cause, chassis structural support beams, where are they, how many are there, are there any located where we currently want to come through the van floor etc. It's also important to figure out what we may need to reinforce - windows, skylights etc. Of which there were many - see below.

Once we removed the original skylights, fans and the aerial we were left with an incredibly flimsy 2mm fibre glass roof, that was only secured by 3 crossbeams (not ideal) but we managed to make the most of it. Once fully cleared and de-greased we got to work patching the original holes.

We took our time with this for obvious reasons and we were actually pretty surprised by the result.

Once the roof was done we got to work ripping out the original interior, insulation, wiring and plumbing to get us back to brick (or steel in this instance). We were surprised by the sheer amount of tangled wiring, dodgy plumbing and excessive use of the dreaded fibre glass style insulation.

Once everything was out we discovered a genuinely solid bed with very little rust, which was a huge relief as the thought of getting new panels in and welded would have been a tough pill to swallow.

The next step was to tackle the body work. It was never our intention to fix every dent, scuff or scratch but we did know that we wanted to paint the body and as a result we took the time to sand, fill and sand again every panel until we were happy that we'd done enough. - the goal was progress not perfection. - We went for a beautiful two tone sand and white colour combo and we bloody love it.

Surprising to many but we decided to hand paint her with a military grade hardwearing paint. Two coats of white primer followed by two coats of the yellow with a light 240 hand sand between fully cured coats. To be totally honest we were really happy with how it came out. We new it would be a little rough around the edges but we gave it a good go and really made it work.

Next up we started to tackle the very big job of sound-deadening the interior panels and insulating the walls. This was particularly tricky due to how the structural pillars were built and secured, but we made our way through it, being sure to future proof our progress and leave space for all the plumbing and wiring that was coming in phase 2.

We also got the floor down at this stage, which was actually quite a nice job. The wheel arches came into the rear at bang on 50mm off the floor so we opted to use 50mm Kingspan and the same size batons. - That worked a treat. (please excuse the photo, strangely it's the only one i can find)

As you can see from the above image the initial panel work was quite intricate. The nuances of the internal structures meant there was a lot of scribing to be done. We tackled this at the same time as doing the electrical and plumbing first fix to ensure we kept the spaces unobstructed.

One of the really tricky jobs was creating the new door cards to fit perfectly around the old rough doors. We used a combo of templating techniques and managed to get some great results.

That's it for part 1 but be sure to check in for part 2 next week to see how we tackled the interior layout and the bespoke cabinetry.

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I absolutely love your work the end results are well worth all your efforts. I wish I had known of you when I got my van.

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