About

After looking at various MPV’s to base a camper conversion on, including the Mazda Bongo and Toyota Alphard, we decided it would have to be one of the eye-catching Nissan Elgrand E51 series produced between 2002 and 2010.

We then had to decide on the best model  and specification to suit our requirements for the camper. The Elgrand E51 comes in either rear wheel drive or switched 4 wheel drive, and can have a 2.5 litre or 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine.

When we  considered getting off a muddy campsite after heavy rain the 4 wheel drive was certainly the way to go, and further research told us that the 2.5 litre engine was a little underpowered for a fully loaded 2 tonne car climbing the lake district hills!

Our first Elgrand was a silver Highway Star which we converted and used for short breaks and as a day van for a while before we found we really had the Elgrand bug!

We bought our second Elgrand, a white 3.5 litre V6, 240 bhp, 4 wheel drive, X spec model,  after watching a youtube video of a walk around and test drive of the car in Japan.

Transport back to England was arranged and it arrived about 4 weeks later. We had to sell the silver Highway Star to make room, and then did a very similar rear conversion as can be seen below….

Details

Sunglasses Storage
Rear AirCon Control
Downlighters
Overhead Screen
Remote Controls
Control Panel
Drive Modes
Keyless Entry
Gas locker
Insulation
Head Unit/Smartphone mirror
Sunglasses Storage

Sunglasses Storage

There are very handy storage nets for sunglasses set into the roof behind both sun visors. Also shown in the picture below is information on the drive symbols which appear on the dash, Auto 4WD, 2WD, and 4WD Lock. Generally it would be left in 2WD for best economy.

Rear AirCon Control

Rear AirCon Control

This digital display screen, set above the rear view mirror, provides the infrared receiver for both remote controls.
When using a remote control point it at this screen, and if you are altering the air conditioning or heating in the back it will display the current status and required temperature. Also shown are the sunroof and power curtain control switches.

Downlighters

Downlighters

There are 6 touch control LED downlighters fitted into the headlining above the dining area. They can be switched on using the control panel but can then also be switched on and off individually by touching the metal surround.

Overhead Screen

Overhead Screen

The overhead screen can be lowered either from the front of the camper or by using the remote control which pops out from the back of the front seat. The remote control can also set the viewing angle. The input to this screen is connected to the Apple Carplay/Android Auto head unit and so can be used to watch films etc.

Remote Controls

Remote Controls

There are 2 hand held remote controls which pop out from the backs of the front seats for use by the rear passengers. These provide control over the following:
Rear air conditioning, temperature, fan speed, manual or automatic, and source. There are air outlets on the floor and above the doors.
Rear sunroof, slide or tilt.
Drop down screen. Films can be played on a smartphone and mirrored so that they can be watched in the rear. While the campervan is stationary and the handbrake is on the same film can also be watched on the top dash screen in the front.

Control Panel

Control Panel

The control panel switches 12v power from the leisure battery to the 6 LED down-lighters, the multi-coloured LED strip underneath the edge of the worktop, the 40 litre top loading fridge, and the fresh water pump.
There is a further output to provide power to an auxiliary supply. There is a digital voltage meter to provide information about the state of the leisure battery, selected with the Battery switch.
There is also a 12v outlet socket and a double USB charging point, giving 1.1A and 2.1A power.

While on electric hook-up there is a double socket available, with a further 2 USB charging points, again both 1.1 and 2.1 Amps.

Drive Modes

Drive Modes

The drive mode buttons are used as follows:

Power: Allows higher revs before changing gear to give quicker acceleration.
Snow: Better traction by moving away in second gear and accelerating slowly with less torque.
2WD: Constant rear wheel drive.
Auto: When loss of traction is detected it automatically switches to 4 wheel drive. The torque distribution between front and rear is optimally and seamlessly controlled.
Lock: Constant 4 wheel drive.

Keyless Entry

Keyless Entry

If you have the key fob in your pocket you can operate the central locking by pressing the button to the side of the door handle. There is a similar button on both front doors and also on the tailgate. While the campervan is unlocked, the side sliding doors can be opened and closed remotely by pressing the corresponding button on the key fob. The campervan also has keyless ignition, and will detect that the key fob is inside the vehicle before allowing you to switch the ignition on and start the engine.

Gas locker

Gas locker

For added safety a sealed steel gas locker with a 50mm diameter drop out floor vent has been installed A length of flexible 51mm aquatic tubing extends from the vent through the car floor. It is then sealed around with  Sikaflex sealant adhesive. A lot of campervans that I see only have a non-sealed wooden storage cupboard.

Insulation

Insulation

To reduce any condensation, interior trim panels were removed to allow silvered bubblewrap insulation to be fixed to the outer body skin using high temperature spray contact adhesive.

Head Unit/Smartphone mirror

Head Unit/Smartphone mirror

The original dash which held a Japanese mini disc player and radio has been replaced with a double din fascia into which has been fitted a Pioneer head unit with single din shelf which has a smartphone mirroring box. It is complete with Bluetooth, USB, DAB+, made for iPod/iPhone, and is compatible with Android. Using your smartphone with the smartphone mirror box allows the use of Satellite Navigation apps or movies which can be viewed on the top movable dash monitor. It also has a video link to the drop down screen in the rear.

Contact

Please feel free to contact me about anything you see here