For our latest conversion we didn’t want to compromise on the interior and having looked at Amdro Alternative Camper Conversions in the past and opted for cheaper or more bling solutions we were sold this time on the layout that Iwan had designed with his Angel Conversion Kit. The big selling points for us were: the large boot storage area allowing sufficient separate storage for wet kitesurf/mountain bike kit; the passenger side kitchen layout allowing the bed to remain in place while you cook; and the lack of a gas stove. Iwan was super helpful and accommodating whilst we were deciding exactly what bits we wanted. As the van was already lined and we have no intention of carrying passengers we were able to drop those packages. We asked for an extra strip of wood to hold some boxes in but wanted the parcel shelf without the cushion and all was possible. When I decided that I wanted to do my own electrics Iwan was thoughtful enough to make recommendations and send photos of how they fitted parts around the furniture. We paid and arranged delivery for the first day of my half-term and waited.
The storms tried to disrupt the dispatch and delivery of our kit but Iwan made sure that everything left their North Wales factory on time. It arrived with us in Bristol as arranged early on Monday morning but its transit had not been without event and the sight that awaited us in the lorry was not what we had hoped for.
The pallet had fallen over during its overnight trip and now sat precariously half on its side. At this point we didn’t know the extent of the damage or losses but the driver was very helpful as we unloaded the pallet and checked all the items. Apart from a few scuffs and some damage to the cardboard packaging everything was intact. We thought for a moment we might have been missing some items so texted Iwan and yet again his diligence as a supplier shone through with him calling us back immediately to chat though what had happened and to check we had everything.
Iwan has thought very carefully about the Angel DIY kit and provides very good instructions to help you along your way. However that doesn’t stop one from making small first timer mistakes as you go. The first step is to seal and clean the floor before fixing the floor packers. I used some rust barrier paint to protect some holes and rusty patches before plugging the holes with some metal epoxy putty. The Angel floor kit comes with a set of 15mm floor packers that are glued to the floor with a no-more-nails type glue. The positions of some are obvious but others are not. Wisely, we did this job last thing in the evening so the glue had 12 hours to harden but this did give us a problem the next morning when we realised that a couple of our packers were not in the right position.
First Timer Tip – The photos provided by Amdro are not as clear as a technical drawing so I would put the floor panels in before you start glue packers down and mark where your joins and screws will be before gluing the packers in as per the instructions. This is easier and less painful than finding you are a few millimetres out once the insulation is laid and the floor panels are being fitted.
Before the floor panels can be fitted they must be T-Nutted and it’s also worth brushing the edges with your chosen oil/wax. T-Nutting is something I have done before at the Bristol Climbing Centre although I will say its a lot easier in day light when you aren’t balanced on scaffold bars working by head touch.
First Timer Tip – just make sure that you don’t create an overlap when putting them in as shown in the image below.
With the packers glued and floor panels T-Nutted we laid the insulation using some spray glue we had available to hold it in place. Splitting wool insulation use to be easy but a new manufacturing method has changed this but happily for us Iwan had sent us some insulation pre-split!
Finally the floor can be laid down and screwed into place. After a couple of experiments I opted to leave the plastic boot edge off at this point but left the polystyrene packing in. I’m going to need to run some modifications on the boot edge before it can be refitted but I think it will be worthwhile.
As we have a little space I have been able to start building the cabinets inside during the dark evenings. If you are building the cabinets allow plenty of time especially for the Fridge unit. Iwan recommends that you finely sand all the edges and then treat them with a wax or oil. We’ve got a couple of tins at home from treating our kitchen worktops. The Ronseal Worktop Oil is not very hardwearing but I have settled for using it on the hidden edges, however, the Ikea Behandla has worked really well in our kitchen so I would recommend it for external edges.
The cooker cabinet build was very simple and it all went together perfectly. For a moment we were left with a strip of wood before noticing on the drawing the subtle spacer inserted behind the cooker stopping it from going too far back. The catches all went on without a hitch but I found the slider/support more tricky to position – its a shame there are not screw locations marked for this.
The fridge unit was a little tricky to build from the drawing because the back panels are not clear. A step by step guide would help here but if you are undertaking this kind of DIY job you should be able to figure it out. Also without the fridge screwed in the outer fridge end is a bit flexible and can allow the lid to fall out if you are not careful. A little strip support here would be proper neat during the build but completely unnecessary once fitted. Again the catches went on nicely but it took a bit of fiddling to get the door support in the correct position.
Since the last time I updated this post we have built the seat. This build was super easy with two pairs of hands to support the back whilst lining it up.
Been a couple of weeks since I’ve worked on the van and updated this post. All the units are now fitted into the van and its really starting to take shape. The quality of the Amdro Angel kit is without doubt and Iwan has really thought about everything. If you were looking for a practical camper conversion I would strongly recommend you consider one.
Could it be better? As a DIY kit my only very slight disappointments are with the bench and the table. The bench doesn’t quite line up parallel with the cooker (probably my fault as I can see the offside side panel and back panel are about a millimetre out). The inside side panel also flexes a little more than I anticipated but this could easily be fixed with the addition toggle and plate catches to pull the front panel tight, locking everything together. The table, like everything else, is an amazing piece of design and it is just cunning genius how it converts from a two size table into a bed. However, I made a couple of mistakes putting it together leaving me with a couple of holes/marks to fill. It would probably help if the screws were clearly labelled on the diagram so you know with certainty which ones to use. Lastly, the screws designed to hold the leg onto the table didn’t feel up to the job so I upgraded them to something more manly. I am, however, going to reiterate what a fantastic piece of design the table is – just amazing.
The last piece of furniture we have fitted is the rear parcel shelf. It went it easily enough and really does finish everything off and for active/practical campers gives a good sized boot area to store stuff. I guess for us with wet, sandy, muddy stuff going into the boot it would be nice to seal that whole area completely off but I also understand that Iwan has designed it so long items fit all the way through the length of the van. Likewise maybe the shelf could have lined up with the very top of the seat back giving an extra two inches of boot space – currently I think my saddle will have to move to get the bikes into the boot!
Are we happy? HELL YES! The Amdro Angel is a brilliant piece of design and engineering. The layout is super practical and Iwan is super supportive throughout the process.