Blanco

Disco 2, migration Headache, Camper Conversion?

52 posts in this topic

Well some things in life just don't work out the way you expect!  The back story......had my 2000 Td5 Disco for 14.5yrs now and wasn't planning to change. Bought in France back in the day, an ex-lease vehicle, basic 5 seat with springs, but with air con (and cruise added by me). And it remains remarkably rust free, which makes it rare enough.

Well,..  we moved to Ireland last year and as we had house hunting, and some health concerns which appeared unexpectedly,  I didn't concern myself  too much with registering the Land Rover and it remained on it's current French roadworthiness test, and French insurance (which includes 'road tax'). Especially as over here they want €1080 annually for the car tax!

Well the bubble was burst a fortnight ago when I was pulled over by Customs officers and quizzed about my situation, I was given 30 days to get sorted; fair enough.

The sting in the tale/tail is that something called VRT apparently has to be paid which is nearly €800 to get started! together with the road tax I am thinking it is just too much.

I am looking for a temporary replacement Irish vehicle to do a couple of forthcoming long trips in (and  which solves the problem in the short term but I really want to find a way to keep 'Thor' in the family at a sensible cost.

There are two avenues I am looking at which benefit from special rates of road tax, one loophole is to 'rebuild' the vehicle onto a vintage (ie 30 yrs old) Range Rover chassis, and benefit from Vintage tax at €56. Apparently quite legitimate over here, but the only one I have seen close to looked suspiciously like a D2 chassis wearing a non original number and I don't like that, still it is possible if done properly but full of potential for difficulty.

The second possibility that has more appeal is to convert to a camper van, annual tax is a much reduced €102 and the VRT is reduced as well. Plus the vehicle would get used as such by me in that format.

Now I have never seen a D2 as a camper, so I was wondering has anybody done it? As a project it will have to wait until the shed gets finished (see attached) but it would be a solution.

 

 

Roof-On!.jpg

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If I was going to ring a vehicle for tax fiddling purposes I might not post about it on the internet... don't think the D2 body lends itself to a chassis-swap with a RRC/D1 chassis, aren't the wheelbases different?

I guess you need to work out what constitutes a camper conversion in the eyes of the tax man?

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As Fridge says it depends on what the powers that be reckon what a camper should be. I doubt slapping a rooftent on a rack and carrying a can of water and a little stove would satisfy them?

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A friend of mine living in RoI has recently bought a 110 hardtop and was going to be hit for the roadtax as well. He re-registered it as a commercial, declared himself as a sole trader then insured it as a company vehicle, his road tax halved. Clearly the legalities of this would need to be looked at carefully but he said his method was totally above board. The downside is it needs DOT every 6 months but overall it is still a significant saving.

IIRC it's permissible to register 4x4s as commercial by blanking the back windows with vinyl and removing the rear seats. No reason why you couldn't do that with your D2 although although once again, you would need to check the legalities.

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If you go onto the mire that is Facebook, there's a page called (oddly enough) Land Rover Campers. It's actually quite good (mainly because the admin are hard as hell). There's a lot of knowledge on there as to what to do as well as a few guys who've done it

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In the UK there are specific requirements for a vehicle to be reclassified as a camper van. I guess there will be something similar in Ireland.

FWIW in the UK you need a bed (minimum dimensions are required), a seat and dining area (with a fixed table that may be detachable for storage), a sink, a stove or microwave for cooking and some form of wardrobe/storage fixed to the vehicle and some form of water storage.

Full details of what is required for a UK vehicle is here...
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/522756/converting-a-vehicle-into-a-motorhome.pdf

Just about to submit an application to DVLA for my conversion as it happens. As I say, I would guess that there's something similar in Ireland to meet their requirements.

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8 hours ago, Mo Murphy said:

Nice garden shed ! 😊 

Mo

Thanks, its growing slowly (SWMBO would say painfully so!) and isn't big enough but its a start.

8 hours ago, FridgeFreezer said:

If I was going to ring a vehicle for tax fiddling purposes I might not post about it on the internet... don't think the D2 body lends itself to a chassis-swap with a RRC/D1 chassis, aren't the wheelbases different?

I guess you need to work out what constitutes a camper conversion in the eyes of the tax man?

I'm not and wouldn't but I'm fairly convinced I have seen it done, the wheel base I think is OK but all the suspension and engine mounts etc would have to be reconfigured, it's a lot of work! A camper consists of all the elements Dave W has listed really so wouldn't be easy in a D2, hence the post, and hopefully less work!

7 hours ago, Boris113 said:

A friend of mine living in RoI has recently bought a 110 hardtop and was going to be hit for the roadtax as well. He re-registered it as a commercial, declared himself as a sole trader then insured it as a company vehicle, his road tax halved. Clearly the legalities of this would need to be looked at carefully but he said his method was totally above board. The downside is it needs DOT every 6 months but overall it is still a significant saving.

IIRC it's permissible to register 4x4s as commercial by blanking the back windows with vinyl and removing the rear seats. No reason why you couldn't do that with your D2 although although once again, you would need to check the legalities.

The commercial avenue is an option, I still have my sawmill and could declare that as a business, but my 130 chassis cab/flatbed is the favourite there and I was just fishing for options I guess.

4 hours ago, honitonhobbit said:

If you go onto the mire that is Facebook, there's a page called (oddly enough) Land Rover Campers. It's actually quite good (mainly because the admin are hard as hell). There's a lot of knowledge on there as to what to do as well as a few guys who've done it

Mire and Facebook about sums it up for me, but thanks HH I'll brave the mire and see what I can find..... getting too crusty for FB but things like that might change my POV!

 

4 hours ago, Dave W said:

Just about to submit an application to DVLA for my conversion as it happens. As I say, I would guess that there's something similar in Ireland to meet their requirements.

Dave, is there a benefit in the UK, surely road tax isn't an issue?

Thanks all for your thoughts,  Rob

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Hey, chuffed with that, I got the multi-quote thingy to work..... that is a first!

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Surely the internal rear dimensions aren't much different to a vw. Perhaps some of there off the shelf options whilst costly could be modified to fit.

Mike

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 You would have a few other options in Ireland.

Why are you being pushed for VRT when you have proof of owning the vehicle so long outside Ireland? Usually this is only applied if it is a recent purchase.

I see you mentioned a business. SOme people were taxing discos as crew cabs, but if you are going down the camper route, id just take the rear seats out. Theres no reason why you couldnt have 2 commercials.

Pm me if you want more details. Other Irish members might be able to help too.

 

Hugh.

Edited by HPLP

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8 hours ago, Dave W said:

Just about to submit an application to DVLA for my conversion as it happens. As I say, I would guess that there's something similar in Ireland to meet their requirements.

Before you send it off....

Last year I built a Camper which ticked all the requirements so far as a camper conversion is concerned - but it was refused!

The bit they don't tell you is it has to be obvious to someone looking at it (following) that it is a camper.  Mine looks mostly like a white van on the outside.

Their suggestions included graphics, bike rack, ladder, top box, rear windows etc to make it look camper-ish.

I wanted it to look like a white van - so i could stay in any old car park or by the side of the road without being woken up by the police at 3am and moved on (as per my previous van).  I've since ordered magnetic graphics to stick on when it needs to be a camper - and remove the rest of the time.

Si

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Mate you're in a bit of a bind with regards converting to a camper, they revised the requirements, have a read here. 

There are loads of D2's on the roads here on ZV plates (by being built onto classic RR chassis) and I can point you to a chap in Tipperary who's outfit I've personally seen. There is however a third option that most people here have availed of. You can have your D2 converted to crew cab status. There are requirements for eligibility but look it up and you can hit me up if you want more info.

Congrats on being here btw.

George

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3 hours ago, Blanco said:

Dave, is there a benefit in the UK, surely road tax isn't an issue?

Speed limits and insurance are the main reasons. As a van it's restricted to 60MPH on dual carriageways and 50MPH on single carriageways. As a camper van it has the same speed limits as a car. For insurance, insurance as a camper van is much cheaper through specialist insurers that will only insure camper vans and not commercial vans. The insurer I am with at the moment gave me a really good deal but one of the conditions of the insurance is that I have 6 months to convert it and get it changed to a camper van with DVLA at the end of the conversion process.

19 minutes ago, simonr said:

Last year I built a Camper which ticked all the requirements so far as a camper conversion is concerned - but it was refused!

The bit they don't tell you is it has to be obvious to someone looking at it (following) that it is a camper.  Mine looks mostly like a white van on the outside.

Yep, seen a few people report that previously although I believe there has been a change of mind from DVLA on that in recent months. Not a problem for mine as it has windows all round and a pop top.

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3 hours ago, simonr said:

Before you send it off....

Last year I built a Camper which ticked all the requirements so far as a camper conversion is concerned - but it was refused!

The bit they don't tell you is it has to be obvious to someone looking at it (following) that it is a camper.  Mine looks mostly like a white van on the outside.

Their suggestions included graphics, bike rack, ladder, top box, rear windows etc to make it look camper-ish.

I wanted it to look like a white van - so i could stay in any old car park or by the side of the road without being woken up by the police at 3am and moved on (as per my previous van).  I've since ordered magnetic graphics to stick on when it needs to be a camper - and remove the rest of the time.

Si

Bloody hell! 

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10 hours ago, HPLP said:

Why are you being pushed for VRT when you have proof of owning the vehicle so long outside Ireland?

Apparently I only had a 30 day window, so the Thurles Tax office tell me! Who would have known?

I have looked at the whole business of converting to commercial but I was hoping to avoid it if poss,.......  the crew cab solution in particular seems to have an extra layer of employee requirements but simply going 2 seat would do me for everyday. I just wanted to avoid the complication of declaring any business activity for the present, I'm not actually doing anything with the sawmill (or anything else, ...one of my to do list priorities is to prepare the mill for sale and recover some cash) and it just seems a complication I could live without.

17 hours ago, honitonhobbit said:

If you go onto the mire that is Facebook, there's a page called (oddly enough) Land Rover Campers

I went in last night and asked to join up, still waiting as of just now.

 

8 hours ago, Shackleton said:

There are loads of D2's on the roads here on ZV plates (by being built onto classic RR chassis) and I can point you to a chap in Tipperary who's outfit I've personally seen.

That is something I would like to know more about in the long term, I couldn't afford to have someone else do the work but just to see how it is achieved would be great. PM on its way shortly, thanks.

 

9 hours ago, Shackleton said:

Congrats on being here btw.

been a fan since I first came here sailing 37 years ago, now living 10mins from lough Derg, life would be idyllic if it wasn't for some of these hassles!

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Surely when you show them pics of this...

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they would have to concede that your van follows the same principles as a camper sold in the UK and across the rest of Europe  by a mass manufacturer. 

Go figure. 

Cheers, Steve 

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For what its worth my experience tells me that it is always a mistake to expect a civil servant to concede anything, apply logic and or common sense. It just isn't in their culture!

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You have to learn to talk like a politician avoiding the question when dealing with the DVLA or they will screw you over, either through incompetence, accidental misunderstanding or malicious disinterest! You have to choose your words and descriptions very carefully (helps if you use the words they use in their documents, even if your interpretation may be slightly in your favour) so as to lead them as accurately as possible to the outcome you need with no wiggle room for them to veer off into the weeds and put you up a creek without a paddle.

Interesting our ambulance camper wouldn't quality as a camper as the cooker isn't fixed, and we're not about to ruin the originality by re-painting it to look more campery!

Also can I be the 1st to demand SimonR does a write-up of his camper build?

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Wish someone would pass this on to Eurotunnel, twice now they've made me go back to the booking desk with my Range Rover ambulance and pay for a camper ticket, because it has a sink.  

They weren't bothered about the bed or cooker, just got very excited when they saw a sink..

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Eightpot - we tend to go as a camper purely due to size, is there any advantage to going as a car or ambulance rather than a small camper?

Mind you, our V5 says Ambulance and (unlike some conversions) we haven't repainted it or blanked the sign out so it has a big red cross on each side and says "AMBULANCE" on the front.

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2 hours ago, FridgeFreezer said:

You have to learn to talk like a politician avoiding the question when dealing with the DVLA or they will screw you over, either through incompetence, accidental misunderstanding or malicious disinterest! You have to choose your words and descriptions very carefully (helps if you use the words they use in their documents, even if your interpretation may be slightly in your favour) so as to lead them as accurately as possible to the outcome you need with no wiggle room for them to veer off into the weeds and put you up a creek without a paddle.

Interesting our ambulance camper wouldn't quality as a camper as the cooker isn't fixed, and we're not about to ruin the originality by re-painting it to look more campery!

Also can I be the 1st to demand SimonR does a write-up of his camper build?

Dead right. I don't really understand it, but if you try and be helpful with civil servants you'll find yourself suddenly doing the paperwork equivalent of cleaning their staff toilets with your toothbrush. I have dealt with some great government types, too, but that's like finding a parking spot right next to the shops on the day before Christmas. You can't expect it! 

As for the sink mentioned above, could you just hide it to avoid these hassles? 

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Just price really - FF , its cheaper to go as a tall car than a camper.  It doesn't really look like a camper and isn't as big as most campers though. Looks more like an off road ice cream van : )

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On the VW T5 forum there is an FAQ and sample covering letters that outline what you should and should not include in your application to the DVLA and the vast majority go through first time without an issue.

The "looks like a camper" thing is not something that comes up as an issue very often. I suspect in Simon's case that it's the lack of windows that has triggered the issue if, externally, it looks like a panel van. My van build is also being kept as unobtrusive as I can but it has all round windows just like the Cali that is pictured above and that is normally enough to be "not a van". I can't see from the pics if the sliding door has a window or not ?

One of the odd things about the UK system is the speed limit issue and DVLA have said in the past that it needs to look like a camper rather than a panel van so that the police can tell what speed it's supposed to be travelling at. It's generally accepted that a van with all round windows is assumed by the police to have car speed limits whereas a van without rear windows or only one or two rear windows is assumed to be a van and subject to lower speed limits. The irony is that if you have a van with all around windows that isn't M1 classified and is not classified as a motor caravan, you never really know what speed you can travel at without getting pulled. Even if you are M1 classified or have the model as a motor caravan you may still get pulled for doing 70 on a dual carriageway if the police think you're driving a van... Hence the DVLA insisting that it not look like a panel van to reclassify it.

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