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We were asked to carry out a full restoration on the living accommodation of an Airstream Land Yacht Sovereign.  When the van arrived with us it had already been stripped and had been converted to British running gear.

The intended use for the finished van was to be used as guest accommodation on a farm in the Cotswolds, the customer also wanted it to be towable so it could be taken to festivals.

This meant it not only had to be beautiful, but the fully laden weight needed to be under 3500kg.

The main issue with Airstream caravans is they leak, this is mainly due to the amount of flex in the caravans.  To overcome this we started by removing the original floor and bonding a 50mm fibreglass composite floor to the chassis, this product is very structurally stiff but very light.  This stopped almost all the twist and flex in the chassis.

On the main body of the van we replaced any missing or damaged buck rivets, we then sealed every joint on the inside with a polyurethane sealer.

We lined the van with an insulating moisture barrier and insulated it with recycled plastic insulation.

We needed to try to make weight savings wherever we could, the inner aluminium skin is made from 0.5mm aluminium sheet, this on its own weighted 100kg less than the 1mm aluminium that is normally used.

First fix

We choose an Alde wet central heating system, we placed radiators throughout the van to ensure it was cosy on the long winter nights.  The Alde system only has 10 litres of hot water, this was deemed insufficient for a long shower, so we added a 20-litre additional calorifier water heater, this could run from the heating loop of a mains element

For the water system we chose a pressure pump system, the water tank can either be filled using a hose pipe, or a direct mains supply can be attached allowing the tank to remain full.

A cassette chemical toilet was jot deemed appropriate for this type of accommodation, the customer wanted it to be a domestic system, we installed a macerator toilet, connected to a black water tank, this tank had a separate pump out system that can be used to empty the tank when required.

A macerator toilet needs a 240v mains supply to work, this meant that in the event of a power cut the toilet could not be used or be used without knowing there is a disruption in the mains supply.  To overcome this, we installed a small Victron power management system, this system automatically inverted the power required to run the toilet and the main lighting string in the event of a power cut.  With the addition of a Victron Cerbo and GX touch supply the customer can use the remote functionality of this system to keep an eye on tank levels etc without visiting the caravan.

A mains induction hob was installed in the kitchen along with a microwave above the Dometic absorption fridge

A Dometic FJ3000 air conditioning system was install to keep the van cool in the summer


The furniture was built in house by our carpenter Tom Brown.  The majority of the furniture was made from 40mm foam core plywood, this again is very rigid and very light

The final weight of the caravan was 2800kg, so it can be easily towed from place to place. 

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