Campervan Door Cards

Campervan Door Cards

This is my effort at replacing the door cards in my VW T3 - T25 Transporter that I am converting into a campervan. This video will offer you an alternative approach to the fitting of new door and wall cards or interior panels in your van.

Instead of installing vehicle carpet covered cards or vinyl covered cards, I've gone for oak ply. I felt the carpet covered cards would make the van look a bit like a Ford Escort and the vinyl covered cards would be expensive and easily damaged. These 4mm ply boards will be very easy to clean and also easy to spruce up if need be. A quick sand down and re-varnish should remove most scratches or marks. You cannot repair ripped vinyl. Encasing yourself in vinyl, which is just a type of plastic, will also expose you to lots of smelly and harmful chemicals.

I also decided against using the black or grey plastic door card tabs as I think they look ugly, you need to lever the card to pop them off (potentially damaging the card) and they don't seem to last very long. I, instead, went for self tapping screws. I'd never used them before so was a bit nervous but found them incredibly easy to install. I had to drill the screws into the metal, missing the large holes that would have housed the tabs. This just takes a bit of time to mark out the locations. I used the minimum number of screws needed to secure the cards tightly to the metal. No need going overboard. The video playlist above will show you how to use the self tapping screws and give you a good view of where I put my screws.

If you make sure to cut your ply so that all the panels have the grain running in the same direction, you will get a smarter finish. This, of course, means you will need more sheets of ply but also have more leftovers to use on other things. I seem to remember buying four sheets of 3m ply. That was a shock! Now I have lots of leftovers to use perhaps to face a cupboard that will run the full length of the van, attached to the ceiling.

I used water based varnish on the door cards as I wanted totally colourless varnish. I didn't want the cards to end up too dark. The video makes the cards look patchy but that's because they are reflecting the colours on the floor. They are, in fact, very smooth looking. I used four coats of varnish, sanding lightly between each coat. If you have enough space to lay all the cards out at once, you could easily varnish all the cards in one day: the varnish dries very quickly. You will also not be exposed to lots of dangerous chemicals with water based varnish and your van will be free of chemical smells.

Make sure to install insulation material before fitting the cards. I bought a large roll of fiberglass wool, cut it up into measured blocks and wrapped them double thickness like presents in clear plastic. I sealed them with duck tape and glued them into each pocket using an adhesive gun. Not only will the fiberglass improve heat insulation (both in and out) but also sound insulation. Just with these panels finished, I have noticed a huge difference.

It was a bit daunting but I couldn't be happier with the result.

Time will tell if it was the right decision. I hope so!

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Please let me know what you think to my ideas and pass on your ideas and advice.


 Fab Fings....the online vintage shop!

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