No turning back

Getting Road trip ready

This is very much going to be a no-frills, ‘back to basics’ road trip. The back of the T4 was empty when I bought it. The rear area was just carpeted out and the wheel arches boxed in. My minimalist camping interior space. So this is where my idea of interchangeable interiors comes into play.

back to basics – T4 interior camping space
back to basics – T4 interior camping space

Back to basics

I can add the camping components from my split-screen camper, and just put a camping mattress on the floor for a bed. Job done. I’m not about chintzy curtains – keep things simple! I had full limo tint added to the two side windows. Saves worrying about what sort of window blinds to fit. My bus buddy Ollie had a nearly new set of tyres I could fit. It’s like a plan was coming together!

my new mile-munching, load-lugging T4 2.5 TDi Transporter
my new mile-munching, load-lugging T4 2.5 TDi Transporter

Clever Electrickery

Whilst the bus was at Resto Classics, I had them fit a Ctek D250SE 5-stage DC-DC (battery-to-battery) charger (that also featured an MPPT solar charge controller built-in) along with a heavy-duty split charge wiring kit.

Heavy duty split charge cable kit
Heavy-duty split charge cable kit

It’s a very clever bit of kit, that can fully charge, maintain and condition your leisure battery when you are on the move. Then whenever you arrive, your leisure battery is fully charged ready for use. Being able to add my solar panel to the mix at a future point is also a real bonus. Essential if you like a bit of off-grid camping and adventure.

CTEK 250DSE dual Input DC-DC Charger & MPPT Solar Controller
CTEK 250DSE dual Input DC-DC Charger & MPPT Solar Controller

Solar support

In the future, I will also be able to swap my solar panel between the split and T4 as well, so I can connect that up to it for off-grid solar charging. Interchangeable interiors and components, it’s the way to go! 🙂

the flexible solar panels topping the leisure battery
the flexible solar panels topping the leisure battery

Batteries not included

This was part of my summer learning curve. Getting to grips with technology advances in batteries and battery charging systems! The DC-DC (battery-to-battery) charger system is way better than a cheaper, traditional split charge relay! I’ll be upgrading my split with one of these next. This was all then hooked up to a Yuasa Class A 95Ah AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) Active Leisure Battery

  • AGM technology for maximum endurance, more cycles, and faster charging
  • Recommended campers with high off-grid usage
  • NCC Class A verified
  • Optimised for repeated charging and discharging
  • Spill-proof internal construction for ultimate peace of mind
  • Fully maintenance-free
  • Deep cycle battery that provides up to 1140 watt-hours and 400 charging cycles

This is something else I will probably upgrade to on my split bus. This road trip will be a great way to put the set-up through real-world usage to see how everything performs…

12v lifestyle

For safety and clarities sake, a headlight bulb upgrade was also worth doing. Always good to be able to see where you are going at night! I had read lots of good reports about people using Osram H4 12v/60/55w Night Breaker bulbs in their T4, so this was the upgrade I went for.

Osram H4 night breaker headlight bulbs
Osram H4 night breaker headlight bulbs

Then there are the various 12v accessories that we’ve come to depend on in life. The whole point of having a leisure battery is to be able to provide a 12v power source for powering or charging accessories without draining the main starter battery of the bus. For me, the most important item is a fridge/coolbox for storing food, drink. milk etc. Trying to understand the correct/safe way to wire in accessories was part of my summer learning curve. Trying to get my head around voltage drop, correct gauge/size wires etc.

12v panel for 2x USB ports, 20A cigar lighter socket and volt meter
12v panel for 2x USB ports, 20A cigar lighter socket and voltmeter

Helpful strangers

Fortunately, I came across some very helpful threads and people on a T4 Forum that really helped get my head around some of the specifics I was after. Now it may not seem a lot to most, but it really helped me out, giving me sufficient knowledge (and confidence) to wire in the fridge/coolbox plus some additional charging points in the rear. That for me at least was a massive win!

12v socket panel safely fitted and working
12v socket panel safely fitted and working

My new mile-munching, load-lugging T4 2.5 TDi Transporter has transformed into a makeshift camper of sorts. Well sufficient to get me to places new and allow me to camp out in the back. What more do you need to have a fun adventure?

getting some last minute road trip tips
getting some last-minute road trip tips

Adventure awaits

So with the bus sorted it’s time to pack some bits, try and get some sleep as tomorrow the road trip starts early!

It’s 06:00. What’s the O stand for? Oh, my God, it’s early
– Robin Williams (Good Morning, Vietnam)

an early road trip start
an early road trip start

It’s coming up to 05:00, time to throw my gear in the back of my makeshift T4 camper and hit the road. Scotland and the Outer Hebrides, here we come…

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2 thoughts on “No turning back”

    • Yeah, I have stand-alone a Ctek battery charger and was really impressed with it. The fact that you can also connect a solar panel up to this CTEK D250SE Dual DC-DC Battery to Battery Charger as well, clinched it for me.

      With the split bus, I’ll do a similar upgrade later, but because I already have a Victron MPPT controller installed for the solar panel, I will end up swapping out the voltage-sensitive relay and fit a Victron Smart DC-DC charger. The thing that Victron include (which I love) is a free Bluetooth app so you can monitor everything. If only Ctek di that as standard as opposed to a pretty expensive add on option!

      Reply

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