There is a growing trend among adventurous individuals and families, the desire to transform regular cars into mobile homes, popularly known as campers. In this guide, we will take one of the most popular, easily customizable cars – the PT Cruiser – to demonstrate how the transformation can be achieved. From what materials to use, how to install appliances, to safety tips and regulations, we present a comprehensive guide on the steps needed to convert your PT Cruiser into a perfect camper.
Understanding the PT Cruiser
The PT Cruiser, manufactured by Chrysler, is a multi-purpose vehicle, built with a combination of retro styling and compact size. It’s small but versatile, making it a perfect candidate for camper conversion. With an impressive cargo volume of up to 63 cubic feet, it provides ample space for all the necessary equipment required for a camper conversion.
Preparation: What You Need to Know Before Conversion
Before rushing into the conversion process, understanding the PT Cruiser’s interior space limitations is crucial. When you consider aspects such as sleeping area, kitchen, storage, seating, and possibly a toilet, comprehend that optimizing space is paramount.
Step One: Planning the Layout
Creating an effective layout is the first step in the camper conversion process. The PT Cruiser’s measurements have to be taken accurately and a floor plan drawn for the interior setup. Plan for elements like bed positions, kitchen space, storage, and seating arrangements.
Step Two: Removing Interior Fittings
The next step starts with eliminating the unnecessary interior. This refers to the seats that won’t serve in the new layout, seatbelt holders, floor mats, and any other parts that will restrict the conversion process.
Step Three: Insulation and Lining
Insulation is a crucial aspect of camper conversion. Using the right insulation material can help maintain a balance of temperature within the minivan. For this, install a vapor barrier to keep out moisture, carefully cut the insulation material to fit into the car’s shell, and securely fix it before lining the interior with ply.
Step Four: Installing the Bed and Seating
Customizing a folding bed within the PT Cruiser maximizes space efficiency. Using lightweight but robust materials for the framework and slats, along with a foam mattress cut to size, the bed can be fixed with hinges allowing you to fold it during daytime.
Step Five: Setting Up a Compact Kitchen
A small kitchenette setup inside the Cruiser can be facilitated by constructing a folding table that also serves as a drawer front. Equipping the kitchenette with a portable propane stove, compact refrigerator and a DIY sink can make it functional.
Step Six: Storage Space
Every free space in the PT Cruiser, such as under the bed, can be optimized as storage space. Installing shelves, cabinets, and hidden compartments beneath seats and on walls enables efficient space usage.
Step Seven: Adding Electricity and Plumbing
By installing a small power inverter, LED lights, and electrical outlets, you can establish basic electricity within the PT Cruiser. A portable toilet and solar shower setup can complete the plumbing necessities.
Legal and Safety Considerations
Before hitting the road, understanding various legal requirements and safety considerations are crucial. From the maximum allowed weight to emergency exit rules, fire extinguisher placements to carbon monoxide alarms, ensuring your home on wheels is compliant and safe is of utmost priority.
Converting a PT Cruiser into a camper may seem like a challenging process, but with careful planning, the right tools and materials, and a spirit of adventure, it can be an extremely rewarding project. Remember that camper conversion is all about customization, personalization, and comfort. So, make sure that your PT Cruiser camper truly becomes a home away from home!