Mercedes 814

Fredzefisher

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Good morning all - what a great forum for swapping info and ideas!

We as a family of 4 have just taken the plunge and bought an old Meceds 814 horsebox for conversion into a camper. It all looks straightforward until you start getting into the detail so I have a few questions and if anyone has the knowledge that would be a great help. We are looking at composite GRP insulated panels on the sides and roof but they are expensive, although will cut out and chance of condensation rot and give a decent structure in which to build.. but are there any alternatives? Also do I need a cut-through to the cab for the change of use to motorhome from horsebox - this might prove difficult as it is a tilt cab version. If VOSA (or whoever they are now) will not accept a conversion without a cut-through, what will they register it as and will this make any difference?

Many thanks for any advice

Fred
 

david.c.hall

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Location
Irnham, South Lincolnshire
With the current DVLA view on changing the V5 to Motorcaravan your chances of success are nil.:closedtongue:
However there is not a lot to be gained from it, and specialist Motorcaravan insurers are used to the DVLA's take on things.
A walk through with a tilting cab would be complicated.
Your main problem with a horse box is likely to be the floor as horse wee is likely to have caused problems.
Insulating is usually done by covering the walls and ceiling with Celotex.
David
 

Fredzefisher

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Many thanks for your reply David - that clears my mind from the DVLA thing. Floor will be coming up anyway and relaying/insulating ... Celotex - I have read about problems with moisture getting behind and starting the rot if the boards are not completely moisture proof.. should this be a concern or am I overthinking! - i take it your idea is a fibreglass skin, bond celotex sheet to this and then ply or fibreglass inner lining bonded to the celotex...

Fred
 

david.c.hall

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Location
Irnham, South Lincolnshire
Hi Fred
I guess it depends on how the box is constructed. Or are you building a new box?
Some are all wood, some are all metal and some half and half
Perhaps some photos might help?
David
 

Fredzefisher

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Hi David
We are completely strippping the old wooden cladding off the box and going to re-panel it inside the metal bar frame. I was looking at composite panels glued to the frame but it is s*dding expensive (c£3k) so perhaps a 14mm GRP outer panel riveted to the frame and then celotex as above. Weight is obviously a consideration with around 4t to play with ..
 

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david.c.hall

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Location
Irnham, South Lincolnshire
Something like this bonded (contact adhesive) to Celotex would perhaps be worth considering?
If the celotex was similar thickness to the metal frame you could then overlay with more celotex to stop cols spots where the frame is and it shouldn't be to heavy.
David
 

Fredzefisher

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Ha! Im watching those! My only concern is water ingress from the outside with so many joins. We are looking at leaving the metal uprights of the body exposed and everything going on the inside so there would be no cold spots.. I have found a GRP panel company who seem reasonably priced and supply to size, so one full panel would be the preferred option, with a 25mm sandwich layer of celotex and then another panel for the interior surface, probably drilled through to the exterior metal for structural strength. Does that sound reasonable or can you see any design flaws that have passed me by!?

Thanks

Fred
 

Fredzefisher

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Brilliant - thank you very much for your advice - I will try to post as I go along - so people can tell me when I am going wrong!
 

Fredzefisher

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Just thinking about the DVLA, tax and reclassification as a motorhome, if I can't put a cut though to the cab, DVLA wont reclassify it as a motorhome. Does this mean it will still be considered a horsebox and taxed as such? What hoops will I need to go through once it is converted? (I could probably fit a shetland pony in next to the fridge so long as it is not Thelwell shaped!)
 

tacr2man

Active Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Location
Near J10 M40
It will not be a horsebox , if you change it , it is difficult to say what they will list it as , because with light vehicles they put van with windows. This is not available as a hgv descriptor AFAIK. It will be PHGV for tax (£165) , and if it is being used as a motorcaravan , and converted to comply with that side of things, then it will be a class 4 (car) MOT . even if they don't put "motorcarvan" on your V5 , as you will declare it as such for mot purposes . If you tried to keep it listed as horse box . you would need plating and HGV testing ( as it is currently) . HTSH

Re rear body , it might work out cheaper to find a fridge body and transfer to your chassis . Composite grp panels are not cheap , as you say , and ali composite are even dearer . :(
 

Fredzefisher

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Many thanks tacr2man for your reply -it throws up all sorts of questions on insurance as well - horsebox is about £220 TPFT, horsebox conversion quote is £490 FC. As it will be off the road for the conversion period I might just not bother with the insurance until it is finished - it is safe where it is being worked on. I will have a look at fridge bodies but have moved away from the idea of compsite panels on expense...nice thought but no budget!

Fred
 

Fredzefisher

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Many thanks.... trouble is the OH doesn't like the look! The horsebox has nice metal uprghts on the sides... and looks... horsey! However, the panels would suit on their own.....
 

tacr2man

Active Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Location
Near J10 M40
Those metal frames are notorious for rusting thru from inside , and a real PITA to replace as needing to weld requires stripping all body away from work area !
 

Fredzefisher

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
OK - will bear that in mind. Hosrebox now at home and insides gutted. Need to take off the wooden side panels and inspect before lifting the floor.
Thanks
 

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Fredzefisher

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Not a great deal of corrosion to the box frame luckily - nothing a lick of red oxide wont cure anyway. We are now looking at the fitting of the chassis kit - water tanks, generator, batteries etc. When it comes to gas tanks, we are debating the lpg system and whether we fit a standard 60l auto tank or use refillable bottles. It is all a jigsaw of fitting the right bits into the right sized space...

A question... can refillable gas bottles be stored and used on their side or do they have to be upright and in secure container boxes? I would ideally like to have an 11kg bottle on its side strapped to the mainframe but can't find out if this is allowed or not. If anyone has any view on this we would be very grateful!

Many thanks

Fred
 

david.c.hall

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Location
Irnham, South Lincolnshire
No The refillable gas bottles have a valve to stop them being filled to more than 80%, which wouldn't work properly.
Also if the outlet pipe is not at the top of the tank you can get liquid instead of gas out of it into the appliances with drastic consequences
David
 
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