Building a motorhome is a lot cheaper than purchasing one which can be expensive and often filled with unnecessary extras. Turning a van into a motorhome requires a little thought, lots of work and far less money than buying a prebuilt motorhome. Custom designed by you and purpose built, building your own motorhome is a rewarding and money saving project.
Acquire a van designed for commercial use, such as a delivery van. The less there is in the back of the van the better. For larger needs consider a retired school bus and account for the potential space needs you require.
Make a list of required items such as multiple beds, a fridge or satellite TV. Draw a set of blueprints based on the size of items you want to add. Remember to include enough room to move freely about the motorhome. Consider beds that fold into couches and other space saving furniture.
Design your wiring schematic and layout based on the needs you have included in your list. Appliances need to run off 12 volt power and it's likely that you will need to add an additional battery and heavy duty alternator.
Select your water storage system and consider how you'll use it. If it's for simple cooking and cleaning needs, you may be able to use a 5 gallon water storage and skip running basic plumbing. Showers and running water require considerably more water; install the water tanks before the interior build takes place.
Consider your need for a toilet. If you will be using the motorhome for basic camping or park in a trailer court you can easily forego adding one. Plumb a toilet into the design or place a simple portable unit in the motorhome for emergency use.
Purchase appliances, counters, beds and cabinets made specifically for mobile use. The items can be found in smaller sizes and include the adaptors and mounting equipment specific to a motorhome.
Assemble your motorhome based on your careful design. Expect to make small modifications in order for everything to mount correctly. Hire an expert to assist in areas you're uncomfortable working and test everything carefully prior to hitting the road for the first time.