Beyond the Whizz-Bang!
By Allan Whiting of Outback Travel Australia
DIY RV Solutions is a Queensland company best known for its kits that convert popular vans from dreaded sliding-door ‘whizz-bangs’ to civilised RVs with a real entry door. The company says it understands that not everyone can afford a fully-built campervan or motorhome, but that plenty of handy people want to build or convert their own. However, some components are tricky to make and/or install, and so back in 2005 this family business set out to manufacture a range of fibreglass (FRP) items, plus offer a factory fitting service for those not DIY inclined.
Today, the company’s main products are van-specific FRP shower modules and the afore-mentioned side-door conversion kits. Also available are FRP pop-tops; bathroom vanity units with inbuilt sinks, and boxes to house portable cassette toilets, gas bottles and batteries.
The most recent development is a FRP high-roof extension for the very latest Toyota HiAce SLWB model, which increases interior headroom by 300 mm. The new overall height of the HiAce is 2.61-metres, while internal headroom is 1.95-metres, making a pop-top unnecessary. There is also shelf space front and rear inside the new roof shell. The roof extension is a factory-fitted job costing around $8000, while the fitted door kit is around $4000. DIY RV Solutions works closely with Bus4x4 in Brisbane, which produces 4WD kits for Toyota Coasters and HiAces, so off-road versions of these vehicles are possible.
Campervans and van-conversion motorhomes come with one or two sliding doors and while this arrangement works fine for handling freight it’s not ideal for a recreational vehicle.
Whizz-bang noise aside, sliding doors are invariably heavy and difficult to fit with secure, bug-proof screening. Proper motorhome-style hinged doors that come with a lockable, security-mesh inner door are the gold standard, not only for ease of use but also for improving ventilation without compromising occupant safety.
DIY RV Solutions’ door kits are model-specific and replace the kerb-side sliding door with a fixed FRP panel that houses an RV door. Fitment is simple according to some customers I spoke to and the only downside is that the standard white FRP gelcoat might not be an exact colour match to the different shades of white that vehicle manufacturers use. Hinged door kits are available for a continually growing range of van models that includes Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, VW Crafter and Toyota HiAce and Coaster.