Updated: Aug 18
Cutting a hole in the side of your van can be terrifying - it's one of the first things you need to do for your van conversion and one of the most important! However fret not, while it might be scary, it is actually very easy. In this guide I will show you the simple, no-nonsense approach to installing a Gaslow filling point gas inlet in your campervan. By the end you're van will be ready for a stove, heater, and hot shower! I'm Shane, I've been teaching people to convert campervans for many years, I'm the van conversion instructor at Udemy, author of The Van Conversion Newsletter, and the proud owner of a beautiful self-build campervan called Beans. So let's jump in and have a look at what to do!
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8 steps to installing a Gaslow filling point in your van
A gas inlet would be needed if you're planning on using a refillable gas cylinder such as Gaslow. The reason you want gas in your van is so that you can power your stove, your heater and optionally your shower.
I personally have an 11kg Gaslow refillable cylinder with a gaslow refill point that goes into the side of the van. I love how easy refilling with LPG is with a refillable cylinder!
Here are the steps to installing a Gaslow filling point in your van:
1. Attach a bi-metal holesaw to your drill (bi-metal means that it can cut metal)
2. Cut a 70mm circular hole in the side of the van (if you are using the Gaslow filler kit)
3. Using a metal file, cut a small lug in the top and bottom for the to prevent the filler from rotating when installed
4. Apply metal paint to any exposed bare metal (prevents rusting)
5. Install the Brass Filler head into the plastic bracket using the 4 screws and bracket provided
NOTE: Before fixing the housing to your campervan, it is better to fit the connection hose onto the outlet of the brass filler using a spanner and a set of grips which avoids putting too much rotational pressure onto the housing when tightening up the connection.
6. Slot the plastic bracket into the hole you cut from the outside (brass filler head not shown in photo below)
7. Hop inside your van and screw the interior plastic bracket into the one you just put on the outside. Screw it down nice and tight.
8. Apply sealant on the inside and outside of the gaslow filling point to prevent any leaks (Sikaflex is usually used).
And that's it! There are a few steps, but it's really quite easy.
Beware of the following when using a hole saw (N.B!!):
Use LOTS of oil on the metal you are cutting (WD40 will do) - you will destroy the hole saw if you don't
Use the drill on a low RPM (rotations per minute) - you will destroy the hole saw if you don't. This means that you shouldn't press your finger all the way down on the trigger of the drill
Pulsate the drill while you are cutting - you will destroy the hole saw if you don't. Use a stop and start motion while drilling, this gives the holes saw a chance to cool down (it gets very hot)
Learn from my mistakes; I bought a very expensive bi-metal holesaw and destroyed it within 5 minutes because I didn't follow the advice above.
Careful of the swarf:
When using mechanical tools on metal, a lot of metal shavings are produced ( known as 'swarf'). It is vital that you remove all these shavings from the van when you are finished, if you don't they will very quickly rust and damage your vehicle. They are quite sharp, so be careful when handling them.
Always wear goggle while using mechanical tools on metal; if swarf gets into your eye, it could have very serious consequences. You should also wear earmuffs - these tools are VERY loud!
Gaslow also have a fantastic manual on the installation of their filling kit which you can find here.
I hope you found this guide to installing a Gaslow refill point useful! You are well on your way to a beautiful self-build campervan! Don't forget to subscribe to The Van Conversion Newsletter for everything you need to get started with your own van conversion.
If you're converting a van but unsure of how to do it, you could also check out the Van Conversion Course on Udemy. In the course, you'll learn directly from me how to convert a van into your dream home - no prior experience needed!
Until next time,