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Old 30th August 2010, 23:26   #1
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Default Build Log: Converting the Gypsy into a mini-RV

The primary reason i bought a gypsy was to use it on my frequent trips to the wild outdoors. but now it has become more of a long distance tourer: often standing in as a replacement for my trusted bullet when wanderlust takes over. On some long tours I have actually started sleeping inside the gypsy, parking beside a waterhole deep inside the forest and curling up inside a sleeping bag and saving a lot of money in the process!

Since I am not growing any younger and some creature comforts are shifting into the "necessary" box from the "optional" box, a modification build has been long overdue. And now, when I am between product cycles and have the permission of my gora-kutta partners to take a month off, is certainly a good time to implement this long delayed build!

The build seeks to add some essential features that would turn this otherwise spartan "light 4WD" into a truck camper- a long haul tourer with some creature comforts that can double up as an overnight camper when required with a full size bed suitable for 2 adults. It should also have reasonable ICE for those long trips: both in the day during the drive and at night during/after the night-cap and before the zzzzz and the rrrrr.....! I would want to avoid anything "stand-outish" - because I intend to use this car as atleast my gym-car if not my city car and wouldnt want anything to stand out to say: this is a frilly boy, look at me! So it should look as regular as any other gypsy from the outside.

Planned Checkpoints in Build
1) Improved Front Seat comfort: The existing front seats are a beeatch on a long drive with pathetic comfort on a longer haul. Those Innova seats are a wonderful option, however that would preclude the option of access to the rear seats from the front doors. Hence an upgrade of the current seats seems like the only option. Budget: ~2k.

2) Electrical Mods: The biggest complaint i have had so far with the Gypsy is its precocious electricals. Pisses me off! But then the spaghetti of wires around the battery terminal is a reminder that I have been a little too careless during my accessory installs. Time for a cleanup! 2 new sealed/watertight fuseboxes, sourced from a Indica/Sumo: one inside the cabin mounted above the b-pillar for all the in-cabin accessories, and another beside the air-filter under the bonnet for all the "down-south" accesories like HL, Hella's, horns etc. Budget: ~3k.

3) Air-conditioner : Earlier I was one of those who believed that AC was something for sissies. but 3 hour drives to Baramati every weekend for 3 months has chastened me quite a bit! Enough for moving an AC to the "must have" list! Budget: ~30k.

4) FW Hubs: with AC i am going to take a hit on the FE. But I am hoping fitting in the FWH would help balance things out. Plus it would perhaps get rid of that irritating hum that has been getting on my nerves! No matter WHAT the dealer says at delivery: you cannot get used to it!Budget: ~2.5k.

5) Rear "bed" seats: Front facing seats that fold down into a bed for 2 at night when camping out.Budget: ~4k.

6) vent Fans: The one negative about camping out in the Gypsy, is that it gets somewhat claustrophobic after some time: especially with 2 adults sleeping. Some amount of active as opposed to passive exhaust venting is required. Budget: ~1k.

7) Sound and thermal insulation: Effective damping for sound and thermal insulation both while driving and in camper mode.Budget: ~2k.

8) Tyres:. Replace the standard F78's even if they have just 24k kms on them. Budget: ~22k.

9)Rear CFLs: Should improve ride comfort. Budget: ~10k.

10) Carputer: An advanced carputer has potential in use within a camper especially with custom developed plugins for Centrafuse. However after some thought, this has slipped to last spot as far as build essentials go. Maybe this might come in as part of Phase II.Budget: ~35k.

Over the next 5 weeks, i hope to finish off atleast 8 of the 10 items while I shuttle between Bangalore and Pune on work!

I will be posting updates on this thread as well as more informal updates on my personal blog Here

Your suggestions/criticisms would be most helpful.

P.S: I would like to thank all those t-bhpians who have been helping me out with planning my build. Thankz you buddies!
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Last edited by bblost : 31st August 2010 at 09:56. Reason: Extra Smiley deleted. Thanks.
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Old 30th August 2010, 23:44   #2
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I will be glued to this thread.
I have a similar plan for my gypsy some time down the line.
May i suggest you to add a inverter / ups along with the other plans ad maybe a sunroof for enhanced wildlife viewing from the rear. i'll be standy to pick up your used tires when the change gets done.

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh

Last edited by abheekg : 30th August 2010 at 23:47.
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Old 31st August 2010, 00:18   #3
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Hi,
I guess you could use Innova seats - to maintain access to the 'bedroom' via the front door, wouldn't an increase in the seat 'rail' help?
As in - if the passenger seat could be pushed forward all the way to the dashboard.. ?
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Old 31st August 2010, 09:33   #4
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The stock front seats of the Gypsy offer very little comfort for long hauling, though they are perfectly suited for off-roading. So an upgrade here has been long pending.

Checked out seats of various cars from the Swift to the Innova and while these offer fantastic comfort, due to their size they prevent access to the rear cabin from the front doors which is important if you have front facing seats in the rear. With the innova seats, you cant "flip over" completely without hitting the windshield and the space is barely enough for a child to crawl through.

So i decided to do a simple upgrade of the existing seats which were falling apart at the seams anyway. Caught hold of a local pappu and explained what I wanted. And because I had very low expectations from him in the first place, i think he did a reasonable job overall.

We cut and shaped extra Foam and stuck it over the existing seat: 1.5" at the base and 1" at the back. On top of this basic structure, an outer seat cover was cut and sewn over: simple 4 hour job in all!

Damages: Rs.2150.

Still not the most comfortable seat out there, but much , much better than before. And this one allows me unhindered access to the rear cabin.
Attached Thumbnails
Build Log: Converting the Gypsy into a mini-RV-yossarian_seats1.jpg  


Last edited by COUGAR : 31st August 2010 at 09:37.
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Old 31st August 2010, 09:48   #5
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i think gypsy is too small for RV standards. (a trailer can be added)
but nothing is impossible.

check out this link & attached images.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...away-home.html (Building a truck camper : Home away from home)
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Old 31st August 2010, 10:33   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepster View Post
i think gypsy is too small for RV standards. (a trailer can be added)
Space is limited yes, but there is just about enough space for 2 adults to sleep in. Even now, with a bare rear cabin, we push the front seats to the most forward position, put a duffel bag in the seat well to use as a pillow and 2 adults can comfortably curl up in their sleeping bags on the floor. The only problem is the wheel wells intrude in the usable leg space.

What I am considering is putting in a fold-down seat on top of the wheel well that will be more bed like. There is also space for 3 small cabinets: 2 under-seat slide out lockable mini-cabinets (8"x22"x24") which should be useful to keep my camera and lens kits safe and secure or to keep a toolkit. There is also space for another much larger removable cabinet behind it useful for carrying stores on longer trips.
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Old 31st August 2010, 12:14   #7
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I had read your blog a long time back. So now you are upto to get the gypsy spruced up.

I did the same stuff for my front seats and its much better now.
I too have front facing seats at the rear so the only way in is by sliding the front passenger seat.

The seats that i have fitted do not double up as a bed. I am not sure whether the bed seats would be readily available, maybe you will have to get that custom made or modify an existing one.

Regarding vent fans, where do you plan on installing them, on the body or on the hardtop?

CFL - have heard everything positive about it. Even heard the Bilstein B6 are good. Have not installed them myself yet.

Tyres - Go for Yoko Geo 215/75. Very nice on all terrains.

Good Luck for your project and keep posting WIP Pics.
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Old 31st August 2010, 15:56   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desmosedici View Post
I am not sure whether the bed seats would be readily available, maybe you will have to get that custom made or modify an existing one.
You are correct, these will be custom made. Anything that involves cutting up an existing seat will be a compromise so starting from the ground up.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Desmosedici View Post
Regarding vent fans, where do you plan on installing them, on the body or on the hardtop?
On the HT body at the rear. More on this later.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Desmosedici View Post
CFL - have heard everything positive about it. Even heard the Bilstein B6 are good. Have not installed them myself yet.
Yeah. But instead of jumping in and getting everything done in one shot, i plan to do this in stages. First replacing the tyres with the Yoko 215's. After checking the ride quality, changing the stock shocks to gas based ones (not sure about the brands and options, please advise) but retaining the existing leaf springs. If the ride quality is much improved at this point, then will take a final call on whether the CFL is actually needed.
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Old 31st August 2010, 16:28   #9
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regd Gas Shocks, i have received different options.

Best ones being Koni, Peddars. a set of 4 should cost you around 15 - 20k.
Bilstein B6 - Cost not Known.
Monroe gas Shocks - Costs around 4 - 5k for a set of 4.

CFL cost for rear - 10K

The change to Yokos will not have a major change in the ride quality. It will be a minuscle percentage of improvement however grip is superb and no road noise. I also had the estates before i went for the Yokos.

If you install the vent fans on the hardtop, chances are that your hardtop might crack. dont you think on the body will be better (assuming you meant installing it sort of mini exhaust fans)
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Old 31st August 2010, 17:01   #10
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There is a plate fixed to the seat. if that is removed then then it can be reclined as a bed.
See the arrow mark

Name:  seat.JPG
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Old 31st August 2010, 23:16   #11
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100% my design!!
Build Log: Converting the Gypsy into a mini-RV-dsc01690.jpg
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/1458768-post30.html


Last edited by jeepster : 31st August 2010 at 23:17.
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Old 1st September 2010, 04:38   #12
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yeah jeepster, seen ur build as well. I am not going to be stretching the body in any way as shown in that line diag.

this build aims to be different in 2 ways. one: the vehicle will still be a regular gypsy for all intents and purposes from the outside and inside but with the ability to be used as a camper when required.
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Old 1st September 2010, 07:47   #13
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Default Air Intake Question

Been mulling this last night and would like to bounce off some ideas off this forum. Would appreciate inputs from other Gypsy-er's.

I have bought a Safari snorkel head and was planning on doing something like what ibrahim has done for his gypsy. However, apart from the looks factor (and that is so subjective), is a snorkel really effective?

I am not as technical as some of the others here, so pardon my making assumptions: but from a water-fording perspective ( and i have only done this once in my life so my experience here is limited), considering that the air-box is above the level of the alternator, wouldnt the alternator be slam-dunked before the water even reaches the air-box level? And, maybe not an issue with the carb gypsies, but our MPFI gypsies have a lot of electronic sensors placed all around, and many of them are way below the level of the airbox itself. So before the the water reaches the airbox, it is gonna take out a lot of other stuff first is it not? If this is true, is a snorkel really effective for a gypsy for water-fording?

As someone was pointing yesterday, a snorkel would be effective in delivering cold-air which would improve performance (though I seriously doubt the 10% figures being trotted out). Is there a more effective and direct way to achieve the same without going for a snorkel?

Could we fabricate some sort of simple scoop, resting ahead/abreast of the radiator (Dont want any cutting/shutting of bonnet) that would pipe air directly to the OE Filter box?

There is a small gap in the front of the Gypsy bonnet just above the radiator? Could we use this to place some kind of scoop? I have a 8" wide scoop attachment from my old vacuum cleaner with a 1" pipe behind which is a perfect fit! Something like this could be effective in scooping up cold-air from the front of the bonnet, and delivering it in the shortest possible way direct to the filter!

Would this work?

Attaching photoshopped pics to demonstrate idea.
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Old 1st September 2010, 08:54   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COUGAR View Post
yeah jeepster, seen ur build as well.
the line digram is mine.
the Tata 207 4X4 crew cab is not mine , i just showed one example.
attached a air scoop design of jeep j8.
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Old 1st September 2010, 09:12   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepster View Post
attached a air scoop design of jeep j8.
this will involve cutting into the bonnet. I want to minimize any overt cutting or conspicious mods. Dont want anything flashy.

i saw an air intake on the Emberra last weekend and was pleasantly surprised to see such useful things disguised away under the hood. Trying for something similar here.
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