Everything We Love & Hate About Our DIY Ford Transit Van Conversion

Salty Vanventures
by Salty Vanventures

I've got myself into a bit of a situation. Here I am stuck in the mud and I can't get out. The weight of this van is causing a problem, especially since it's a two-wheel drive. Along those lines, I’m going to talk about all the things we love and hate about our Ford Transit van conversion.

Van stuck in the mud

Open differential

So I found someone who had a tractor, and he pulled me out. It was just a tiny little patch of grass that I couldn't get out of. It's not that the van is too heavy that makes me angry. It's actually that the rear differential is open diff. It doesn't have a diff locker and it's not four-wheel drive, so we can get stuck in situations. 

I'm going to start looking into the possibility of getting an air locker for the rear diff to give that rear diff much more traction. In an open differential like ours, if one wheel loses traction, all the power will go to that one wheel.

An air locker uses compressed air to mechanically lock the axles so that both wheels will spin at the same speed regardless of whether traction is lost. This would help immensely in this situation as it would give me twice as much traction as I'm getting right now and I'm sure it would be able to get me out. 

Pop-out windows

Pop-out windows 

One of my favorite features that I love in this van is the windows. We put in the pop-out windows. They solve four problems in one that you will have with a van. First of all, ventilation is so important. You need great ventilation when you're in a van.

The other problem they solve is they have a built-in fly screen, especially in summer in Australia. You want to be having your windows open at night so all the bugs can't come in. 

The other thing windows excel in is blackout blinds and it is one built-in feature. They also radiate the heat away. The window is double-glazed as well for that extra insulation and they close super simple. I can't recommend these enough. 

Pull out deck in a van


The deck, do I love it, or do I hate it? It is cool, but it does take up quite a little bit of space behind us. It does take up space, which could be used for other things like bigger boxes. We wanted to install a second freezer in the back, but I just can't find one that fits nicely and neatly that I'd be able to install a pullout drawer with this deck in place.

If I was to build this van again, I would probably skip this thing. Does add a little bit of extra weight to the rear and we don't utilize it as much as we would like to. 

Size of a Ford Transit van for parking

The size

The next thing I love about this van is its physical size. It is big enough for me to stand up in. I'm six foot three and as you can see, I've still got quite a little bit of head space. The length of the van is perfect because it can be driven around town and parked in normal car spots.

It's not super long and it's also long enough that we can live very comfortably. So the Ford Transit conversion van is also super wide, which is what drew us to this van.

We can have a fixed bed and have so much more cabin space, which is really what we wanted because we can have a fixed kitchen, a fixed dining area, and a fixed bed all within a van that is still drivable through the city. 

Storage in a camper van

Storage drawer

Something that annoys me quite a lot on this build is this drawer and the way everything is stacked and stored here. It just irks me. This is our big drawer. We've got our pots and pans, but everything is kind of just thrown in here. Pots are underneath the frying pans, so to get to anything, you kind of have to take everything out. 

Oven and stove in a camper van

Oven and stove

So right above, one of the things that pisses me off the most is one of the things I love the most, and that is our oven and our stove. The oven in a van is a massive game-changer. It just opens up a whole new world of things you can cook. 

You're not limited to just stove cooking in a pot or a frying pan. You can bake things. The cleanup is always just way easier because you only have one thing to clean up instead of having to scrub pots and pans.

Electronic storage in a camper van

Electronics storage placement

Under one of our dining room seats is where all the electronics are stored, like the battery, the chargers, the fuse box, and all the cutoff switches. My original thinking was I'll put it in an easy-to-access location in case I needed to shut off anything for maintenance or if there was an emergency. 

Instead of putting it here, I would next time put it in the garage on the wall next to where the inverter is and save a heap of space. Then I would have some usable space in the living room.

DIY Ford Transit van conversion loves and hates

Instant gas water heater

The last thing I love about this van is our instant gas hot water system and our hot water shower. Our shower setup just hangs on the back of the door and it is instant hot water. It only takes around about 20 seconds for hot water to start coming out of here, and it is super efficient. We've had no problems with it, and it just works flawlessly. 

DIY Ford Transit van conversion loves and hates

That is everything we love and hate about this Ford Transit conversion van. As you can probably tell, the loves outweigh the hates. So we do love this van. You will never get a perfect van, but for us, this thing is pretty close.

What are your favorite and least favorite things about the Ford Transit conversion van? Share with us in the comments below!

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 1 comment
  • Marylyn Marylyn on Dec 06, 2022

    Would love to try building one ... but also, I take it a true frigid winter would be awful in it?? What range temps & road conditions have you faced? (huh, am a 'Heidi,' not a Marilyn. Odd.)