It’s with the uttermost sadness that we’ve made the hard decision to leave the beautiful country of New Zealand and put our amazing tiny home on wheels aka “PHILLIPA” up for sale. Bottom line is.. we don’t want to part with her, we unfortunately just can’t live here forever. It was a struggle to find this “diamond in the rough” vehicle and turn it into the all-season adventure wagon we we’re dreaming for.
1989 FORDECONOVAN MAXI (pop-top)
New Zealand has a very detailed database of all the vehicles registered in the country. The database we checked vehicles before buying was called VIR (Vehicle Information Report) accessed through motorweb.co.nz. This website gives a full breakdown of previous owners, checks the mileage to ensure it is correct (and hasn’t been dialed back), previous accidents the vehicle has been in, and a breakdown of the specs of the vehicle. This van had no previous accidents, the mileage checked out, and the specs of the van can be seen below. It checks vehicles based on their number plate so if you are curious to look ours up you will need to search: XZ7852
Mechanically speaking the van is in very good working order. New Zealand has pretty stringent laws with getting unsuitable vehicles off the road. All vehicles must go through WOF (Warrant of Fitness) tests by a registered dealer every 6 months to ensure it’s safe to drive around. Our most recent WOF was passed and is valid till September 2017.
We’ve had a few hiccups along the way over our ~30,000 km’s driving around the country, but nothing too serious.
- We have done regular oil changes every 5,000 km’s;
- Replaced both the clutch and slave cylinders June 2016;
- Replaced the clutch in January 2017.
The only thing that may need replacing in the foreseeable future is the radiator. Some of the fins have fallen out, but we have had no issues with overheating.
The van is wired to either run off a house battery (EATON 330W Deep Cycle Battery – NEW in March 2016) or off an external power source. We used the external power during the winter season while plugged in at motor home park and with a small electric heater (included with the van), which was more than enough to keep us warm through the evenings.
There is an electrical warrant of fitness for this vehicle and it expires January 2018.
For the remaining 11 months it was plenty warm without the heater and we ran off the deep cycle battery. Electrical components include:
- 300 watt converter with power bar plugged into it (this was used to charge phones, camera batteries and laptops);
- The refrigerator also runs off the battery;
- To charge the deep cycle battery back up all one has to do is drive the vehicle and the starter battery charges it. Included is a battery checker so you can test the batteries level if you are unsure.
The front of the vehicle.
The water system that we installed is a ~20L fresh water jug and ~12L grey water jug that can be easily removed to empty or fill.
The sink above the jugs is complimented with a pump style faucet.
The van has a 2-burner stove that runs off a ~3 kg propane stored underneath the burners in the cupboard. The propane typically lasts us approximately 5-6 weeks at a time and costed ~$10 NZ to fill each time.
The van has very suitable storage for 1-2 persons belongings (16 cupboards of various sizes to stores all personal needs), in addition to a book shelf we added above the side couch.
The cupboards on the left housed all of our food, clothes, pots/pans, toiletries & shoes.
Underneath the couches has all of our large suitcases, extra backpacks, laptops and a 4 person tent that comes with the van. The cupboard to the left of the couch was a great place for miscellaneous goods like cameras, water bottles, etc.
The couch then easily transforms into a bed within 30 seconds of flipping the plywood over and rearranging the cushions.
The box on the front that held all of our snowboard stuff in the winter and all of our bike stuff in the summer.
Storage accessible from the side door that holds all of our spare tools and spare fluids.
- car jack
- cordless drill
- container of drill bits
- spark plug wrench
- a few wrenches
- battery tester
- various nuts and bolts
- Dot 4 brake fluid
- engine coolant
- booster cable set
- bungee cords
- ratchet strap
- metal & rubber hammer
- 2 pillows
- 2 collapsible chairs
- pots, pans, cutting board
- tea pot
- plates, bowls, cutlery, new knife set, strainer
- solar shower
- bike rack suitable for 2 bikes incl. lock
- bungee system on the roof suitable to hold snowboards or skis
- 4 person tent
- 2 bath towels
- extra baskets & cubbies to store personal goods, food & kitchenware
- extra power-bar
- 2 goggle-snorkel set
- 2 hot water bottles
- first aid kit
- fire extinguisher
- garbage bin
- snow chains (2)
- 1989 Fordeconovan manual
The van market is very competitive in New Zealand and we spent the first 3 weeks searching for this one that we customized to fit our needs (Check out: Vanlife Pt.3). We have found the pop-top is quite a rare feature that allows persons to stand-up in the vehicle, and while collapsed keeps the van more aerodynamic, reduces fuel consumption and makes it easier to control in windy conditions. With the top down it also blends in, in neighbourhoods, for those sneaky camping missions. We hope there is a friend out there interested in experiencing this great country via #Vanlife. We are planning to depart early May so that would be the ideal time to exchange it to a new owner. Share this post to your friends whom you think may be interested if you like!
Posted by Mitch & Marisa