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Author Topic: "Tweaking" your Van  (Read 5289 times)


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"Tweaking" your Van
« on: November 25, 2007, 03:53:29 PM »
What have you done to your Van to make it more livable, to make it ride better, to improve handling or..?

We bought a very slightly used '05/'06 Roadtrek 190 Versatile last summer and I've done a couple of things to/with it:

1)  Had a 2 1/2" lift kit installed - front and rear - this after having to replace the Black Waste Tank's Slider Valve Housing (because I wasn't careful driving over a high-crowned driveway).  Trimming bolts associated with plumbing brackets gave an additional 1/2" clearance.

2)  I've built a bed frame (out of 1 1/2" pvc) upon which a blow-up air mattress and sleeping bag rest (pun).  Two Adults and two 25 lb Dogs on a 21 day excursion out West showed me the need for a 2nd bed up towards the front of the Van.  My frame is of good size - perhaps 4' wide and almost 6' long - it rests atop the seat cushions of the #3 & #4 seats but also has 4 legs for extra support.  Some of the parts are "glued" while others aren't - that makes for easy take-down and storage in the outside compartment.  Perhaps 10 minutes to install, blow-up the mattress and get ready for bed.  Now nobody has to crawl over the other for those nite-time visits to the John and the Dogs have plenty of room - wherever they choose to sleep!

3)  I use MS S & T for navigation (in the Van & in my F150).  I've made a very sturdy pedestal for the laptop to sit upon (for both vehicles).  It too is made out of pvc (great stuff), galvanized floor plates and a piece of 3/4" wood.  The pedestal breaks down for storage but I've found that I like having another place to put "stuff" so I leave 'em "up" in both vehicles.  They also rotate, left and right, so that either the Captain or the Co-pilot can have a dedicated view - or centered so that both get a good view.

4)  A "no brainer" - bought the continental kit to get the spare out of the Van.

I'm in need of another "project" so if anyone has any nifty ideas let me hear about 'em.....bill 

Len and Jo

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Re: "Tweaking" your Van
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2007, 09:14:09 AM »
Sounds like a good list of changes to make your van more comfortable.

Our van is a 2000 Chev. extended Express van that we bought new as a cargo van and customized ourselves.


1.  Jo got an XM radio in a new car she just got and we have both really liked it.  We bought a movable XM unit that can be attached to either my car or our van radio.  The van is only used 2-3 months a year so paying for a dedicated XM radio with its subscription for the van would be very pricey.

2.  We added an external telephone antenna (magnetic mount) that plugs into our cell phones that we bought at Flying J and that antenna REALLY has increased the cell phone range and use.  Very few places we can't use our phones and reception is almost always very good.

3.  Never enough storage in a 'B' so we added exterior storage boxes that mount between the rear bumper and our bike rack.  That also gives any easy place to store the sometimes wet and dirty side door 7' x 10' carpet roll.

4.  Jo made several square bottomed cloth bags with handles for our food pantry.  Makes it easy to get canned and dry goods in and out while really tightly packing
the always to small storage space.

5.  We also use MS S&T with our laptop.  Allows the laptop to multi task and saves space.

6.  This fall added a second Fantastic Fan.  We do not have air conditioning and having a fan at the front and back of the van should help in warm weather.
Len & Jo
The Green Tardis
We 'B' RVing   Berkley, Michigan
Van Development:   https://youtu.be/5Xqk_G6k95M
12 Years of Travels:  https://youtu.be/UMIf17CzdZo


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Re: "Tweaking" your Van
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2007, 01:28:04 PM »
Nice reply.

Some good ideas there - I'll look into an external cell phone antenna. 

I'm also tossing around ideas of what to do with our closet space - it just a big "hole" with a cheesy hanger bar at the top now - we've sorta been tossing in dirty clothes bags, a fan and miscellaneous other "things".  I like organization so will continue to "think on it".....bill


  • Former Staff
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  • Ned and Lorna are former full time RVers
    • Have you seen Rolling Stock?
Re: "Tweaking" your Van
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2007, 01:35:26 PM »
You could have a closet organizer made to fit the closet, giving you more efficient use of the space.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon


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Re: "Tweaking" your Van
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2007, 04:26:13 PM »
You could have a closet organizer made to fit the closet, giving you more efficient use of the space.

Thanks for the suggestion Ned.

(I wasn't sure exactly what a "closet organizer" was so I googled and found out..

On our 21 day August trip we didn't have a requirement to use the closet for storing clothes (used the two overheads above the couch/bed - one for my Wife - the other for me) so I'm thinking along the lines of perhaps something more of a "pantry organizer" in the closet.  Maybe ala A/V cabinet that has adjustable shelves.  No hurry and whatever I do I want to get it right.....bill


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Re: "Tweaking" your Van
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2007, 07:07:20 PM »
I was really afraid when backing up...   I bought a wide angle video camera and mounted it inside the rear window.  With a 12 v am/fm/tv with a/v inputs for a monitor.  About $75 for everything.

I added a 300/600 w inverter which powers my laptop for S&T with GPS.  Also the small DVD player.

I added a 2700 Onan genset.  ( the remote wiring was already in place, 98 PleasureWay)

I have a Magnetek 3230 converter/charger.  I turn off the circuit breaker and pull the fuses for the propane det and the CO det when not using the RV.



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Re: "Tweaking" your Van
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2007, 07:02:21 AM »
Back-up camera:

That's another project that I gave some time to but have put on a back shelf, for now - but - one that I'd really like to have.

I've seen the "rear view mirror" things (don't care for 'em) - I like the idea of a larger image that part of the laptops display would offer. 

For me it would be used to watch traffic behind (& passing) while driving - backing-up would be secondary.

I went as far as working with a web-cam and my laptop, using my F150 Super Crew as the test vehicle (because of the limited length of the usb cord on camera).  No permanent installation - just wanted to see if the idea was "do-able" - it is.

Will need to find an all-weather, wide angle, mirror image capable camera and a goodly length of usb cable (the camera housing and cable routing will be easy).

By the way, if anyone has any specifics about their install, please post.  Thanks.....bill


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Re: "Tweaking" your Van
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2008, 12:23:08 PM »

He have a 2006 Leisure Travel Van and added a spring rod and sexy lace curtains inside the slider so bugs won't get in during the day.   The tight lace weave keeps things out and allows easy entrance without having to slide the door all the time for entrance and exit.  Made the whole outfit from Walmart.  Looks hot.

Jo Anne