After two years in Africa on a 4×4 and a rooftop tent, we decided to change the way we travel and so we went for a camper van. In October 2014, we purchased a second hand Toyota HiAce 2.5 D4D LWB with 117 hp (model 2009) cargo van which we personally converted (it took us two months and countless hours) and we named her Χαρά (Kha-ra) which is translated to “Joy”.
This time, we wanted a reliable and dependable vehicle with proven record that would enable us to cook and sleep inside without people who pass by having any idea (also known as stealth camping). What is more, the TOYOTA brand, the technical support and the numerous service centers which are available worldwide made us more confident for our choice.
Thermal and sound insulation, flooring, ventilation furniture, storage and power supply were the areas that we put extra thought and tried to make sure they will work in the long run flawlessly. We did not mechanically modify the van except the scheduled service (oil change, oil, air, fuel filters, AC belt etc.) and a set of new YOKOHAMA Geolandar A/T-S All Terrain G012 205/70 R15 (instead of 195/70 R15).
As for the power supply, we made use of the same set (a 80W solar panel, a 85Ah deep-cycle EXIDE gel battery & a COTEK 700watt AC-DC inverter) we used in Africa plus two new solar panels (2×67 watt) we purchased in La Paz, Baja California Sur in Mexico and an upgraded PWM solar charger of 30A.
Below you can find a photo album with all the stages of the conversion along with a video.