Well, that's done it then

AM Flooring

Newbie
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#1
Hi all,

Largely thanks to the brilliant knowledge gathered from this site we took the plunge yesterday and an E51 Highway Star will soon be ours.:grinning:

Rupert at Free Spirit is going to just fit a pop-up roof for now to keep costs down and also so we can drive it about and see what we actually want from our eventual conversion.

Thank you for all the help you have already given and we look forward to meeting up with some of you next year.

Andy and Della
 

MrRob_in

Part of the furniture (please de-cat your e51/2)
Premium Member
E51 Expert
E51 Owner
#4
Thanks for the welcome,

It was nearly dark when we left and it's not been prepped as it's a new import, so no pictures.
It's a white pre-facelift E51 Highway Star with grey interior so at the moment nothing special to report.
Good choice!
Testing the water is definitely the only way to decide on best conversion options / compromises.
Welcome to the club! :D
 

Alan Morgan

Here for life
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#6
Welcome folks. My own conversion is based on what I saw at Free Spirit Autos as we both liked the layout but the cost was out of budget.

Should you opt for the diy route, I know where the r and r beds are made as I have one.

Rupert uses Drive Lodge pop tops which are the best looking ones for the Elgrand IMHO :)
 

AM Flooring

Newbie
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#7
Hi folks, long time no speak.

Looks like our little Star will be ready on Saturday/ We asked to have a rail fitted and underseal too before we got it.
Picked up an ex demo Vango awning from DW Camping, what lovely people, I would thoroughly recommend them. http://www.dwcamping.co.uk/

Insurance has been harder than expected, either £700 or won't insure while it's converted, or 90 day deadline to do the conversion. Finally settled on Admiral for £400 but will have to change once it's converted as they don't cover campers.

Nothing is managing to dampen our enthusiasm though, not even the horrible weather!

IMG_20180127_142549092.jpg IMG_20180127_134333624_BURST000_COVER_TOP.jpg
 

Madfish

Administrator
Staff member
E50 Owner
Premium Member
E50 Expert
#8
Looks a nice tidy bus :)

Try greenlight insurance, they are club approved and cover converted vans...

Gave me the best price by a long shot for my day van and all mods are covered.
 

ALAN RODGERS

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#9
Hi folks, long time no speak.

Looks like our little Star will be ready on Saturday/ We asked to have a rail fitted and underseal too before we got it.
Picked up an ex demo Vango awning from DW Camping, what lovely people, I would thoroughly recommend them. http://www.dwcamping.co.uk/

Insurance has been harder than expected, either £700 or won't insure while it's converted, or 90 day deadline to do the conversion. Finally settled on Admiral for £400 but will have to change once it's converted as they don't cover campers.

Nothing is managing to dampen our enthusiasm though, not even the horrible weather!

View attachment 2781 View attachment 2782
I love those two tone leather seats and the poptop is very smart and not too bulky. A nice Ellie.
 

Alan Morgan

Here for life
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#10
Hi @AM Flooring - good job done - I hope you'll be very satisfied with the Elgrand from Rupert

Insurance has been harder than expected, either £700 or won't insure while it's converted, or 90 day deadline to do the conversion. Finally settled on Admiral for £400 but will have to change once it's converted as they don't cover campers.
. I used Adrian Flux (£300 ish) for my Elgrand and they gave me 12 months to do my conversion - 90 days is bit mean, especially if it were a self build. Still, if you get the conversion done in 90 days, you'll be up and running by late spring and 'out there' enjoying the camping.


.......... and the poptop is very smart and not too bulky. A nice Ellie.
Yes, that's a Drive Lodge poptop - easily spotted by the dimple in the side of the roof moulding.
 

AM Flooring

Newbie
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#11
Update time...
We spent a weekend away in the unconverted vehicle, now dubbed "Norman" and decided what we wanted to do:
Side conversion but with L shaped bed/seating as there will only be 2 of us travelling and we wanted a cozy lounge area.

I have a pretty good idea how it's going to look but we are going to just start with the bed/seating and 12v systems, then go to a couple of shows and fine tune what we want in the final design.

I have not seen anyone else use the offside step area for anything useful and it seemed a shame to waste the space, so I mounted a 110Ah battery and split charge relay there. Easy access for maintenance via the sliding door.
IMG_20180428_170050353.jpg IMG_20180428_164718603.jpg

I have also fitted a floating floor system called Jumpax which I use occasionally for my work as a vinyl design flooring specialist. I will eventually be fitting a bespoke Karndean floor but for now it will just be sheet vinyl until the furniture is all installed. I intend to use spacers to secure the interior fittings through the floating floor directly to the original seat mounting points for strength. I'm also planning to leave the rear seatbelts in case I can make the back seat a travel seat later on.

Lots of other ideas running around in my head, most of which probably won't work but it will be fun trying!
 

Alan Morgan

Here for life
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#12
I and others I'm sure, will look forward to seeing how your project progresses.

It is always a case of trying to fit a quart into a pint pot. The art is making the best use of all available space. I have a home made roll-up sunshade which along with its pegs and poles sits snuggly in the o/s mid door step. The leisure battery sites adjacent to the o/s rear wheel arch (which is below the small cupboard adjacent to the wardrobe as seen in the layout by Free Spirit Autos) - this very much a dead space for storage in normal use so ideal for the battery.

I also managed to squeeze my ELCB/RCD into the rear o/s cubby hole - a tight fit which will be a work of art to get out should I ever need to effect repairs!
 

AM Flooring

Newbie
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#14
Thanks Alan,

Yours has been a big inspiration for me. I keep looking at the front seat swivel problem and end up not being able to improve on your idea! Not a priority though since I didn't promise my wife we would have one...

It's interesting when someone with a different set of skills attempts a project like this. I don't want to reinvent the wheel but I would like to make it interesting for people, even if it's for them to say "Well I wouldn't have done it like that!"

It is beginning to take over my brain a bit though, similar to when I built my first Kit Car. Thankfully most of my ideas on that worked eventually, with a bit of tweaking here and there;)

John, the pop top was done by Free Spirit Autos when we bought the vehicle and was £3k I think. That was one job I didn't fancy doing myself:worried:
 

Alan Morgan

Here for life
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#15
Well @AM Flooring, I know exactly how you're feeling with the endless thinking. I think I was a pain to live with for a few weeks:nobody could get any sense out of me for a while.

Stick with the swivel seat adaptation - it will make a huge difference to the living space.

As for the rest of the internal layout, get the RnR bed sorted first (dimensions wise) then you'll know what space is left. I bought some cheap sheet material and batten and made a mockup first to determine the cupboard layout etc.