Volvo 940 GLE Caravan Project - Underway!
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Author:  Fred [ Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Volvo 940 GLE Caravan Project - Underway!

Stuff we learned during the trip:

1) Some gentle night lighting outside would be helpful
2) Some gentle interior lighting on demand would be helpful
3) Hooks and shelves and luggage storage are essential with 2 inside, no room to put things on mattress and move around etc, especially dirty/wet shoes, keys, wallet, phone
4) Quality dry shelter outside the caravan for exit/entry comfort - breakfast, dinner, resting during day, toilet stops at night, etc.
5) More heating than the electric setup is required, either more electricity and more drain load, or some other method such as wet-back fire + water pump through radiator with slow/silent fan
6) In summer the problem will be reversed, too hot in the morning without some sort of forced fresh air flow in and out, heating should draw air in through radiator, and expell from down low so airflow is through/around mattress for airing, and cool/lower air goes out first
7) Better window insulation/darkening - rear has nothing, sides could do with some opaque stuffing behind the pull over covers, ditto front., though it's not bad.
8) Some 5v USB and mains 230v sockets for phones and laptops respectively would be helpful - note 230v DIY = illegal, but... that depends how you do it...
9) Cup holder/bottle holder for water for the night, mostly for wife, but good idea
10) With mattress in place, glove box comes down too far and prevents tall person sleeping - non issue, my wife is not tall. But: Reduce glovebox size downward, extend forward all the way

In particular the wife was annoyed that when she got up for multiple nighttime pees, as girls apparently often do, she had to get cold, get awake re shoe fitment, and get wet without shelter, and tripped on something in the dark. SO, a shelter with a bucket and a seat and a red carpet for the princess to walk to the bucket on without getting wet or cold or wearing shoes = win. ;-)

Re 3:

pockets in holes in dashboard
roof-mounted cubby between sunvisors (required for holding dash protector/front windscreen light cover/insulation)
box in the designated luggage area so it's easier to use for luggage
put high shelf in above luggage for stowing more smaller things, or something like that - removable so visibility through caravan while driving is intact

From a driving perspective, same old stuff applies:

1) Too heavy - difficult braking, increased fuel consumption, slower on hills, difficult reversing up steep driveway, hard on jockey wheel and bracket, difficult to move/control by hand
2) Too much draw bar/tongue weight = excess rear tyre load in already-loaded tow vehicle

Same old solutions apply:

0) Add a braked coupling and connect to hydraulic circuit
1) Redo suspension and diff
2) Redo the floor, firewall, and a-frame mounts - warmth gain here, too, and space gain
3) Remove side impact beams from doors
4) Swap some glass for polycarb/lexan/similar - warmth gain here, too
5) Replace door skins/frames with composite versions to retain looks and lose weight
6) Gut some double-layer interior parts with grinder, no roll-over protection required

Time frames for these:

0) After 1, and before 2/3/4/5, requires some funds and a bit of time
1) Soon, but possibly not before late October or November
2) After 0/1 and after some cash flow to the cause
3) After 0/1 and whenever I find the time/effort to strip and mod them
4) After 0/1/2/3, and after some more cash flow to the cause
5) Possibly never, definitely after 0/1/2/3/4, and with a lot more time/money, unlikely.
6) Same as 3.

Minor items:

1) Seal seatbelt holes in B/C pillars
2) Wire electricity to electric windows/switches so they can be used as desired in summer
3) Ditto to main interior cabin light but retrofitted with LED bulbs, keep/reinstate door switch integration

Other changes still needed:

Total redesign of spare tyre/rear sill/cargo area for integrated batteries, water, LPG, sink, tap, gas burners, utensils, crockery, oil/salt/spices/pepper/etc, etc.
Try to retain across back panel below tailgate and across between wheel arches where shocks/springs/etc mount.
Mod in front to continue light/stiff/warm floor rearward to where diff nose would usually be.
Mod in rear to expand storage downward, possibly including an externally mounted spare wheel, and definitely pushing ballast into interior of rear bumper in minimum quantity (last job)
Floor should be alloy-(foam/wood)-ply sandwich with lower alloy riveted to existing sills, and light wood (cedar perhaps) used for side-to-side beams every say 300mm or so
Wood beams bonded to alloy, foam bonded to alloy, ply bonded to both above, sill-gap filled with foam and/or light wood like cedar along length.
Floor extension/firewall replacement should leave ample room for double mattress AND a foam rubber extension to house my feet! :-p
Firewall replacement should have similar construction to floor, but layer of soft padding for feet added on the inside
Floor replacement should have similar construction to firewall, but layer of easily breathable lightweight material over ply for mattress to not rot

Strong parts minimum in weight:

* Pillar supplements from bottom of windscreen down to sills
* Cross beam from one pillar to the other level with sills
* Cross beam for A-frame hinge point
* Ties from A-frame hinge point cross beam to rear suspension structure

Still, considering all of that, it was highly successful and a LOT better than pitching a tent and sleeping with that noise and moisture:

* The Volvo interior is quiet and naturally warm for the most part.
* The doors and windows all seal properly.
* The interior panelling provides some insulation value.
* The roof lining mostly muffles the water droplets landing on it.

Off to pick up my wife!

Author:  Fred [ Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Volvo 940 GLE Caravan Project - Underway!

Brought this thing in late last night and it spent today with the back open airing and having the batteries charged. One has been pulled for recycling, two were unused and fine, two more from the stash pulled out and on charge, too. Should have 8 x 55 AH = 440 AH capacity or there abouts with that lot all tucked in :-D Ample for lighting, music, etc. Not ample for heating, need a different solution for that. Speaking of which:

LPG water heater > automotive radiator in caravan > small insulated tank > LPG water heater.
Air drawn into caravan interior through automotive radiator and expelled below mattress to draw air through it.
Pump runs constantly, gas water heater can be cycled in/out based on a temperature input.
Possibly with water control solenoids, or possibly just kill the gas flow to it.

Another option is to just buy a diesel heater that burns internally and you pump air through/around drawing the heat away for your space.

Both are going to have some noise. Not sure which would be more acceptable. Water heating can be fairly remote, though.

Author:  Fred [ Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Volvo 940 GLE Caravan Project - Underway!

Now with 8 batteries as ballast, back on the street, like it didn't miss a beat, and the rear floor ALMOST flush. ... 6049152000


Chucked 3 empty/dry/clean ~50l drums in there and the smaller parts of the brake setup from the new diff that's in the works.

Thinking about the kitchen setup, some details:

1) bench height will likely be just shy of the window line, such that not much sticks up above it obscuring visibility.
2) Where the sink is will be a cupboard from door sill level to bench level.
3) On either side of that will be drawers for storing stuff out of sight safe and sound.
4) Below the drawers/cupboard will be: 20-60l of water, batteries, pump, control circuits, inverter, solar controller, 9kg LPG bottle, etc.
5) Forward of the bench/cooker/sink/drawers/cupboard will be the luggage rack area probably a low lower than the existing deck after floor extension/flattening/lightening.
6) The only area that needs to stay high is directly above the axle and arms thereof, the rest can be ground-clearance/sill height.
7) It'd be nice to carry a spare tyre beneath, too, somehow. even if it's difficult to access. Maybe this could go on the outside out the back? It'd spoil the look, though. Perhaps later FWD space savers are available that would work?

And some related books of mine: ... 2527127553 ... 3513320448



Author:  Fred [ Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Volvo 940 GLE Caravan Project - Underway!

I was laying in the caravan on the front lawn relaxing earlier today and before nearly falling asleep I noticed these removable panels and for the first time pulled one off: ... 9972770817


Turns out they're covers over the 7-seater upper seatbelt mounts. Ideal for the above-luggage storage shelf that's needed, and a good thing to hang a curtain from, too :-)

And from Friday evening, flat tyre: ... 7688461312


Author:  Fred [ Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Volvo 940 GLE Caravan Project - Underway!

No tyre pressure loss this time, I wonder if it was sabotaged, or just bad luck that got undone by driving it flat for a few hundred metres.

Gave it a wash down and sponge over today, looking about as sharp as it could be without a respray and a few small fixes :-)

Now stored off-street for a few weeks to free me up so I don't have to worry about checking on it every weekend: ... 8709675008


Author:  Fred [ Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Volvo 940 GLE Caravan Project - Underway!

WOF expired on this a few weeks back, and I need a new one on it before the end of the week after next. Then it's hopefully going north and not coming back until early next year for improvements :-D

Author:  Fred [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Volvo 940 GLE Caravan Project - Underway!

Covered in cobwebs! But she's back out and about and going for her WOF tonight. Last night on the lawn behind the 240 wagon: ... 9907744768


Author:  Fred [ Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Volvo 940 GLE Caravan Project - Underway!

Fresh WOF on the caravan today!

Loaded table, chairs, tarp into it.

Found that hinge bolts could hang curtain, too.

Tweets: TODO

Author:  Fred [ Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Volvo 940 GLE Caravan Project - Underway!

As of Saturday arvo, the caravan is on private property owned by myself and my wife and awaiting my return to sleep in it over summer on my holiday/future life.

Tweets to come.

Author:  Fred [ Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Volvo 940 GLE Caravan Project - Underway!

Diff progress the other night: viewtopic.php?p=44095#p44095

More diff progress over the coming days, will link as I post there. Mostly easy/fun stuff now until install time.

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