Pipe&Slippers

Member
T6 Pro
I have been driving VW Transporters over many years, and in that time, have covered many enjoyable miles.

Back in September ’16, I picked up a new T6 SWB 150PS T32 Euro 6 Kombi in Indium Grey.

It had been quite a wait for the new Kombi, as there were factory build delays on vehicles fitted with swivel seats, but was more than happy when it finally arrived.

I needed to put some serious thought into how I wanted to convert the Kombi.

I wanted to be able to use it as a Camper, but also to be able to carry passengers, and to be able to have an empty van if I chose… I didn’t want to lose the practicality of the Kombi!

I did not want to be “stuck” with the standard camper layout, with units down the side and a ¾-width R&R bed. These layouts always look great, but for me, in use, are not so practical!

The beds are to narrow, and I am not so keen on cooking inside the van.

(It’s not just the cooking smells that linger in the van, but things like cooking oil can splatter up the walls / windows etc.)

VW Transporters are like “Man Caves” to me, and I wanted my particular cave, to suit my lifestyle.

I wanted a conversion that was removable. It needed to have a full-width, full-length bed, but also have a full-blown kitchen unit!

I would have looked at doing the conversion work myself, but am very limited with time, due to work commitments.

There are several well-known and established VW Converters in my area (Vanworx, Uberbus etc) and plenty of other options, but when I looked into Slidepods, I was excited, as the Slidepods Kombi Pod offered me everything that I was looking for! (Removable Kitchen & Bed etc)

Slidepods as a Company have a very good reputation, and the quality of their work looked outstanding! I loved the look of their soundproofing / lining package. (The split panels look far better than on any other lining package that I have seen, and the one-piece roof looks amazing)

So, after a bit more researching, and a few chats with Jonny, I decided to go for a Soundproofing / Lining package with LED downlighters, a Kombi Slidepod with all the options (Table, Shower, Mattress Toppers, 40L Water Tank etc) a Blam Audio upgrade to front /rear using Blam RX /RS Components all powered by a Blam 4x80W Class D Amplifier.

I also ordered a Webasto 41Litre TravelBox. A Digital Voltmeter for main and leisure battery’s, and USB + 12v Power Outlets in the front seat bases, with a battery cut-off circuit fitted next to the leisure battery.

My Slidepods order was booked just after Christmas, and this gave me a build slot at the end of February.

The entire build process was very professional from start to finish. As soon as my van arrived at the workshops, Jonny filled in the booking-in form, which would detail any marks or scuffs on the vehicle (there were none!) and took photos with a Canon DSLR.

The Kombi was to be in the workshops for a full week, and Jonny kept me updated throughout the entire build process.

There was an unforeseen issue however where a faulty loom for the Blam Amp, had been supplied. This was in no way Slidepods fault, but it did mean that I would have to return to the workshops for the Amplifier to be finished at a later date.

Jonny was also looking into a better way of fixing the one-piece roof headlining, and so this also needed doing on my return visit.

With Slidepods being so very popular, I wasn’t able to return until the first week of April, to have the Amp and Roof finished-off.

Now, the Amplifier is working, coupled with the Blam Speakers, all I can say is Wow!

To say powerful would be an understatement! I wanted the Amp to help with the “clarity” of the sound produced, better Bass response etc. It has certainly done this… on Steroids!

Lovely sound, and so very, very, loud!

At the time of writing this review, Slidepods did not have VCDS software, and so could not enable to rear fader for me, but once they have the software, they have offered to do it FOC.



I am totally over the Moon, with the work Slidepods has done, and would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone else!

Would I use Slidepods again? Yes, without a doubt!

The whole Team are friendly, knowledgeable, and professional, and do fantastic work.

JZ9_A1407-_NEW.jpg

Kombi Slidepod
JZ9_A1388-_NEW.jpg

Full Size Bed
JZ9_A1395-_NEW.jpg

One piece roof headlining panel
JZ9_A1409-_NEW.jpg

JZ9_A1408-_NEW.jpg

Digital Voltmeter / USB / 12V Power Outlets
JZ9_A1424-_NEW.jpg

Battery Cut-off circuit
JZ9_A1427-_NEW.jpg

Rear Speakers
JZ9_A1437-_NEW.jpg
 

T6 Dave's Dad

Member
T6 Legend
@Pipe&Slippers. Thank you for a very comprehensive report, with supporting photos, of your experiences with your project completed by @slidepods, being honest about the hitches encountered, albeit outwith the control of Slidepods, and what was done to sort a very professional fit out.

Truly a good review that is worth reading by anyone considering a company capable of doing a great job to the customers requirements agreed at the outset. Nice to read that Slidepods are investing in VCDS so they can code the fader they installed.

A satisfied customer is the best advertisement that a firm can have. Well done, a well written review :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::cool:
.
 

Chrisfraser05

Electrical Technician
T6 Legend
I love what I've seen so far with Slidepods work.

Definitely on my shopping list for the future too!
 

slidepods

Senior Member
Trade Member
T6 Guru
Also thankyou for taking the time to do such a fantastic write up @Pipe&Slippers, good lens to get those angles. Admittedly you experienced a couple of teething problems which happily are perfect now. Have to say I am pretty jealous, your motor is far nicer than my van :D. I hope you have many years of enjoyment from it. I will get Tracey to send out one of those extra caps for your tank and stay in touch, I would love the opportunity to see how the van wears over time to see if we can upgrade or improve our work in any way with hindsight. :thumbsup:
 

Chrisfraser05

Electrical Technician
T6 Legend
Have you got up close and personal with any of our work yet @Chrisfraser05 and if so where (best to book early aswell to avoid disappointment :thumbsup:)

only the Kombi pod not the interior linings etc.

Going by the pictures, testimonials and the quality of the removable stuff I have seen and touched I know I'd be putting my money in the right place.

Will be a while yet till I'm ready though ;)
 

slidepods

Senior Member
Trade Member
T6 Guru
Well if its just the pod the lead time is only 4/8 weeks under normal circumstance and that is for a 100% custom unit in 1 of 200+colours or a combination of 2 colours if you like. You can now collect from leighton vans or @Dean@VanDoc where you will be given a run through on fitting and functions :thumbsup:.
 

Tombs

Publisher
T6 Pro
In the next few month's I'm after getting the 'Bus' sound proofed, it's awful on the motorways. What's the cost for SWB Slidepod?
 

Pipe&Slippers

Member
T6 Pro
I drove down to South West France for a surf trip in August, and I must say that the slidepods shower attachment was freakin awesome!
The webasto travelbox was also fantastic, providing Ice cold beers in 34 degree heat.
I really love my van and the way it's converted!
Slidepods are the NUTS!
 

Eskie

Member
This time last year I bought my first Transporter with the idea of converting it into a camper. I read lots of reviews and went out to visit a few places including Slidepods and I was impressed with what I saw there and Jonny's attitude, so I went ahead a booked my van in for the whole hog - SCA roof, windows, soundproofing, insulation, carpet-lining, electrics package, diesel heater and RIB seat, totalling £13, 596. All good up to this point!

They had the van for about 3 weeks and during this time I didn't get any photos or updates on the van as I had been told I would. To this date I have still received no photos despite requesting them! Jonny was on holiday when I picked the van up, so Brett, the workshop manager, who had done most of the work handed it over. At first sight I was delighted at the transformation and set off home. It was on the journey home that I started noticing things...where was the USB charging point that Jonny, Brett and I had discussed the day I handed it over to them and had been on the job sheet from the beginning and I had paid for? There was also a large scratch down my leather steering wheel; At a join in the headlining in the rear of the van, one side was 1cm wider then the other and they overlapped - not a pretty join at all; The passenger window clunked when you opened or shut it. Tracey was great when I contacted her though and said they'd put a USB port in and sort out the headlining when I brought it down again.

The real issues started when I took it to an auto-electrician to connect the fridge. This is his report:

'As requested, a summary of the slightly less than impressive aspects of the conversion that I've noticed while working on your van. Pictures attached.

1- Leisure battery too large for chosen location. Part of the battery and two sections of the passenger seat base have been hacked to make the battery fit. Even then, the positive terminal of the battery is too close to the underside of the seat. The space is little more than the thickness of the rubber cap over the battery terminal. This is particularly concerning because the leisure battery has not been secured to the van floor in any way other than being a damn tight fit! NOT RECTIFIED.

2- Cable from battery-guard to fuse boards poorly fabricated with a screw terminal block and a badly crimped eyelet. Replaced with 2 properly terminated cables. RECTIFIED.

3- Extremely poor terminal crimping at various positions under passenger seat. One connection at the CTEK didn't even have a terminal, the bare wire was twisted around the bolt. RECTIFIED. Sorted the worst ones but a couple on the negative terminal aren't pretty either.

4- Cabling to Webasto heater - very poor routing. Pulled hard up against sharp edge of floor body panel where it passes through grommet hole. Cable was also touching exhaust of Webasto under the vehicle which gets very hot during use. RECTIFIED. Re-routed cable to relieve tension through floor and avoid heater exhaust.

5- Grommet in van floor under drivers seat not refitted and was found discarded under driver's seat (assuming after Webasto heater installation because cables run through that hole). RECTIFIED but had to cut slit in grommet to install - cables could have been fed through small holes in grommet if it had been done at installation time. Grommet could do with sealing in so it doesn't pop out again.

6- Mains consumer unit not sufficiently secured. NOT RECTIFIED.

7- Excess cabling for Webasto left bundled under drivers seat - no effort to secure neatly. NOT RECTIFIED.

8- Bolt missing from Webasto heater mounting bracket. NOT RECTIFIED.

9- Brown cable to fridge wiring connected to mains consumer unit rather than leisure battery system or chassis ground. RECTIFIED (with an eyelet to drivers seat base bolt). Brett told us that the consumer unit earth should be tied to ground of leisure battery but it's not. PLEASE CHECK.

10- RCDs in consumer unit wired up opposite (or the stickers have been applied wrong way round). RCD marked up as 'sockets' was feeding the NUMAX battery charger and vice versa. RECTIFIED.

11- Nearside A-pillar interior trim not replaced correctly. RECTIFIED.

12- Front passenger door trim clip not fitted correctly. NOT RECTIFIED.

13 - One bolt on section of undertray covering Webasto heater was loose. Also some retaining clips missing - no big deal and may have been missing before conversion but the existing bolts should have been tightened.

Items 1 to 4 cause me the greatest concern. Item 1 needs sorting and frankly I'd be pretty annoyed. I'm sure they were trying to get you the highest Amp-Hour rating they could fit but hacking the new battery (and your seat base) is not cool, unless they explained what they were going to do first and you agreed to it. The leisure battery manufacturer would be well within their rights to reject any claim to the warranty in the future. Item 2 and the bare wire mentioned in Item 3 is amateur stuff, plain and simple. OK as a quick fix to get you home but not what I'd expect from a professional conversion company. A real shame because they've used good quality kit only to let you down with poor workmanship.'


I contacted Jonny when I realised there were problems, but he was on holiday and he said I should contact Tracey at the office. Tracey replied really quickly and was very apologetic, showed the report to Brett, but then had to wait for Jonny to get back from holiday. I was in Scotland at this stage (meant to be on holiday!), so got as much as I could fixed, because with this much wrong, I did not feel at all confident in Slidepods ability and just felt like I'd been completely taken advantage of since I know nothing about electrics which is why I paid them to do it.

Great customer service!
I left it with them and I was promised that Jonny would phone when he got back from his holiday on the Monday - he didn't! In fact it took over a week before he did get in touch. When he did he said that he had spoken to Brett and that Brett had denied letting it leave the workshop like that. The tone in which he said this was accusatory therefore being the presumption that I had done the damage myself! Again, electrics scare me, so I stay away from touching them, let alone start playing with them! I had nothing to gain from doing this, Brett (Slidepods workshop manager) had everything to loose. There was absolutely no apology. This left me fuming and contemplating legal proceedings.

Things did not really improve, Tracey emailed me and I found myself able to deal with Slidepods through her. She listened, was reasonable and was a shining light and she was the only reason I did not take Slidepods to court. I realise that Tracey has now left the company of her own choice.

If Jonny had just admitted that things had not been as they should then this could have gone completely the other way, but the fact that he was not willing to admit that things had not been as they should, I did not trust him to work on my van again. Months later he had still not sat down with Brett and looked at the photos that I had emailed them and have also attached to this post, and asked Brett whether that was his work.

At this point I bought the RIB seat off them and got another company to fit it, they have replaced the seat base after I got advice from VW, I returned the battery with the sides taken off to Slidepods and got a refund (they'd fitted a 195mm tall battery under a swivel seat), and they have fixed the headlining (thanks Mike).
For all this stress, aggro' and having to waste a week sorting out their workmanship, I have been offered anything I would like from the catalogues at cost price - so no cost to them!!! For taking a day off work, driving down (210 miles) and spending the day there whilst they fixed the headlining and pulled the door apart to try and fix the clunking (not fixed), Jonny gave me £50, but at this stage I was just ready to get out of there. Even some of the work that does look good I worry about now, as realising that they are happy to let a van go out in the state mine was, what else is wrong behind the panels. This does mean that I don't enjoy my van like I should.

Unless you know what you are looking at and happy to go through and inspect each little bit of work before you leave Slidepods, I would not touch this company. Having gone with them because of all the good feedback, from talking to Jonny I know that there have been problems with others, so I wanted to make people aware of the experience I have had with them. I am happy to provide more photos or information if anyone has any questions or wants details clarifying. A pillar trim.jpg terminal wiring.jpg cable.jpg Seat base bottom.jpg Seat base.jpg hole without grommet.jpg
 
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Eskie

Member
I know and that's why I was keen to write something. When I was looking for someone to do the work, I did loads of research and visited workshops before settling on Slidepods. I know from talking to Jonny and his team that there have been other problems, so I wanted to just put it up and people can make up their own minds. I know when looking at reviews I always take things with a pinch of salt, both good and bad, but it's just there for others to think on. To be honest, I wouldn't have even been aware of most of the problems if someone who knew what they were looking at hadn't seen it. Because I don't do anything with electrics, I'd have never gone under the seat to look or known what I was looking at. I've shown the photos to other conversion companies who have agreed that it's not normal. One company in Inverness saw the photo of the wire wrapped around the CTek screw and said that that's what he used to do with his scalextrix when he was young!
 

Eskie

Member
I should maybe clarify one thing that I’ve had a message about, in the 3rd party report they comment rectified or not rectified. This means it was rectified by the 3rd party, not Slidepods. The 3rd party also had no financial incentive, he did me a huge favour and spent a week rectifying these issues, he did not therefore make any money by highlighting these problems.
 

superflyguy

Senior Member
VIP Member
T6 Legend
The amount of people I hear saying it must be easy to set up a business doing up vans, as loads of money to be made is scary . Maybe so , but if it goes wrong it can end up costing them not only financially, but also there reputation.
It's so difficult finding good tradesman in any trade now, be it fitting bathrooms, building etc, and as customers we always want it doing yesterday.

Unfortunately the mistakes made are then associated with everyone in that trade. As some of you have mentioned good tradesman do exist despite it sometimes being a costly journey finding one.

I think it's healthy for a forum to hear feedback be it negative or positive, and we shouldn't feel guilty sharing our experiences. But always try and resolve with the company first , as the original poster has done.
 
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