The First Cut...

This was the first hole I cut in our brand new van and it was a nervewracking experience. I still have the little piece of metal that came out as a souvenier.

It so happened that the first hole needed was for the water filler. This may seem a little odd, but there were a lot of obstructions in the area and it needed to be in place so that the bed platform could be made around it.

What I did was to sandwich the side of the van between two pieces of wood for my 'critical' hole for the water filler: I drilled a pilot hole in the centre of the hole I wanted and used this to fix a piece of wood to the van (I did both sides, but even one side is a help). I then drilled through everything within the outline of the hole and fitted more screws to hold it all together and stop the wood spinning.  I took the screw out of the central pilot hole and used that hole to guide the hole saw to cut through everything. It left a nice, clean hole.


The outside of the van with masking tape where the hole will be, both for ease of marking out and to protect the paintwork. Outside of van protected with masking tape

Pilot hole drilled in the centre (OK, I changed my mind about the position slightly)

pilot hole


Scrap wood screwed through the side of the van and into another piece of scrap wood inside. The screw holes are  inside the area that will be cut out

There's extra masking tape to stop the wood damaging the paintwork and to try and stop swarf getting lodged between the body and the sliding door track.


 scrap wood on outside


 scrap wood inside van


The implement of destruction:

Hole saw

Just an Erbauer branded holesaw from Screwfix. They're not as long lasting as the likes of Starrett, but the ones I've bought have been fine for cutting holes in the van.

The result - a nice, clean hole...

 there's a hole in my van

That was luckily in the right place!

 water filler in place



Protecting cut edges

The cut edges of this hole (and all the others) were treated with zinc rich primer. The Sevel vans (Citroen Relay, Fiat Ducato and Peugeot Boxer) have galvanised bodies so it makes sense to use a zinc primer. I've used 'Zinc 182' for various things over the last 30-odd years (including major repairs on a bay window VW camper) and I've found that works well. It helps that it's widely available (Halfords sell it) and fairly cheap. The smallest can (250ml) was ample for the whole build (I've still got over half of it left). It is also available as an aerosol, but I think that would just make more mess  (and risk over-spray, etc.) when all you're trying to do is protect the edge of a hole. The tinned stuff dries quite quickly (about 20 minutes) so it's easy enough to apply two coats to the cut edges using a cheap artist's brush.

  Zinc 182 tin

Roof Lights and Windows


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