Van Conversion Process

How you begin the van conversion process is a matter of choice, and El Kapitan will help you make good decisions every step of the way.


Selecting a Van

Tell us what you want your van to do and how you plan to use it. Most people find it’s best to do this before they begin shopping for a van. Some vans come in a variety of lengths and some with high roofs, for example, to accommodate a variety of conversion van types for business, recreational and family use.

El Kapitan can arrange the purchase and financing with a number of van dealers, or you can purchase direct from a dealer, who will coordinate delivery of the van to us for the conversion process. We are certified Sprinter Van Master Upfitters, which means Mercedes-Benz trusts us to make sound recommendations and do the work right. That carries over into all other van brands, including GMC Savana, Chevy Express, Dodge Promaster and Ford Transit vans.


Custom Design

Knowing the type of van and floor plan you want, we then sit down with you to design a custom van to order. Your conversion van will fit like a tailor-made bespoke suit that enhances your image and reflects your personality. This is where our decades of experience help us suggest alternatives and enhancements you may not have thought of yourself.


Purchase Order

We then generate a purchase order for your approval that spells out all the details and target production schedule. Depending on financing arrangements, a deposit may be required.



We start cutting metal to accommodate custom seating, windows, flooring, sound deadening materials, heating, cooling, lighting, electrical and entertainment systems that make your van unique. El Kapitan’s skilled craftspeople do all installation and most fabrication in-house, including custom hardwood cabinets and trim polished to a fine piano-grade finish, bars, work stations, upholstery in fine leathers and vinyls.


Time Required

A good planning guide is 6-8 weeks, once we have the van in our shop and begin the custom conversion process. Timelines should be considered planning documents, not guaranteed schedules. We will do our best to complete the job within our estimated time, but should a component manufacturer not deliver on time, it could affect delivery date, as could any changes you may request during the conversion process.



Because we do custom work for each conversion van project, prices vary with complexity and cost of components, such as entertainment or additional power systems. For general planning purposes, however, it may be helpful to know that most of our full custom van conversion projects fall into a range of $35,000 to $100,000, excluding price of the van itself, while modifications and less involved custom work costs considerably less. The price of your van conversion will depend on the type of conversion you want, components and materials selected and the complexity of the project.



El Kapitan uses real woods, high-strength, light-weight metals, high-quality leathers and fabrics, up-to-date electronics, lighting, heating, cooling and power systems. We proudly stand behind our work with a three-year, 36,000 mile warranty on our upfitting work. Applicable vehicle manufacturer’s warranties apply for the van chassis and powertrain.

El Kapitan is well into its fourth decade of designing, fabricating and delivering custom conversion vans. We have helped define the industry and we have continued to grow with it. We constantly look for ways to improve our processes, products and customer service. We welcome your calls, visits and enquiries anytime.


Our Location

We are located at 15602 Container Lane, Huntington Beach, CA 92649. To fully appreciate the quality and value of an El Kapitan van conversion we encourage you to visit our facility and meet our outstanding staff. We will be pleased to have you inspect our work and see why thousands of happy customers recommend El Kapitan. We are open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and Saturday by appointment. Please call 714-896-8267 or email us at

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