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Old 02-14-2012, 09:23 PM   #1
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Default Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

I'm looking for information on a company that was called "Star Wide" at one point and later called either "WideOne" or "Wide One". They were in Anaheim, CA, and they took Dodge cargo vans, cut them longitudinally just inside of the passenger's side frame box, added 14" of metal, wider axles, wider windshields, and other necessary components, and then finished them as either oversized Class-Bs or as minibuses.


I've been looking over the years at various Class-B vans, but so far I haven't found anything in my price range that has the features I'm looking for. I'm innately familiar with Mopar drivetrains, so I'm trying to stick with a Dodge chassis as I won't have any problems maintaining it (and could show it possibly at a car show along with the car that it'll be towing) I suppose that the last-generation Roadtrek 190 is the closest, but those seem to have had the 318/5.2 engine instead of the 360/5.9, which reduces their towing, and the shower arrangement in the center of the van looks a little awkward to use.

I suppose ideally I'd find a Dodge-based Roadtrek that ran into a telephone pole in the front and a WideOne, and transfer all of the RV stuff from one to the other...

Any insights would be much appreciated.
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

Quote:
Originally Posted by TWX
...................and the shower arrangement in the center of the van looks a little awkward to use.............
It being Valentines Day and all...............
There's something special about a Roadtrek Aisle shower



Funny, the lighting in my Roadtrek never produced the same effect Must have been those LED bulbs...........
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Re: your inquiries - there should be a few members that can help.
The rear axle ratio also greatly affects towing capacity.
I will start searching "Wide Ones".
Attached Images
File Type: jpg aisle_shower_rgb.jpg (31.0 KB, 807 views)
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

*chuckle* I hadn't considered such a possibility. Of course, I also didn't realize any RV company combined a shower and a tanning booth into a single unit...
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

http://phoenix.craigslist.org/wvl/cto/2787064253.html

This is the kind of van that I'm talking about, in bus configuration.

Anyone know of a Dodge-based Roadtrek that crashed into a telephone pole head on that I can buy for less than $1000 for parts? *grin*
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

Have you contacted the author of the craigslist ad to see if they have any info? Perhaps some clues
buried in the documentation with the van (assuming any exists)?
Could you contact Anaheim CA area Chrysler dealers that have been around since the era when
these units were bought and converted, and see if they sold any units to the original converters?
Maybe they have some info on what happened to them.
Or, if they had a corporate relationship with Chrysler back then, perhaps Chrysler has records they
would share with you to track down the "Star Wide" or "Wide Ones" company contacts?
You could also ask the folks at the NADA RV guide people. Sometimes they have info on obscure RVs.
I've sent them emails before and got answers.
http://www.nadaguides.com/RVs
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

Nice video here:

[youtube:539q623n]MLBby8bRqds[/youtube:539q623n]

It is very wide.
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

It would be great to find a Wide One that was originally made into a camper van.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

Curiously, how difficult is it to do a conversion, assuming starting with a donor RV of some kind with functional fixtures?

If I built one from scratch I'd want seatbelts for at least four with some kind of functional view out of the vehicle, small sink, two-burner cooktop, an oven the size of a moderate to large toaster-oven, a toilet, a small shower, and a bed for two. It wouldn't need a TV or other entertainment center, and even a table would be somewhat optional as depending on a bed configuration that might adapt, and clothing storage would be determined at layout, either storing clothes folded under the bed/table or something to the effect.

I assume that having hot water essentially requires having a generator, as would operating the rear air...

I suppose a small travel trailer might make a good donor, as once it's cannibalized the trailer frame and title could be sold to someone wanting to build a trailer project who needs something pre-licensed...
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:52 AM   #9
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Default Re: Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

I don't see anything wrong with this center isle shower arrangement; do you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWX
...................and the shower arrangement in the center of the van looks a little awkward to use.............
It being Valentines Day and all...............
There's something special about a Roadtrek Aisle shower



Funny, the lighting in my Roadtrek never produced the same effect Must have been those LED bulbs...........
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Re: your inquiries - there should be a few members that can help.
The rear axle ratio also greatly affects towing capacity.
I will start searching "Wide Ones".
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:20 AM   #10
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Default Re: Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

Is this one of the vans you speak of? http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/rvd/2851579418.html
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:57 PM   #11
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Default Re: Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

Similar- something like that would do, but my wife's argument that upwards of $10,000 will pay for a LOT of hotel rooms makes it hard to justify buying a unit this expensive.

I know that I'm being picky.

I'm essentially at a crossroads. I have an '82 Dodge Ram D350 crew cab short bed that I'm considering cloning into a crew cab version of the Dodge Lil' Red Express that I'll use to tow my show car around when I go out of town, but it'll cost me many thousands of dollars to do the restoration it'll need. I only paid $700 for it, but I essentially have to do everything to it, including powertrain overhaul. But, I'd also be able to show it at the shows in the truck class.

A Class-B would need to be able to tow at least 5000lb to tow the car and the trailer it sits on. I think that a Dodge B-series one-ton should be strong enough, if it has the 360/5.9. The advantage there is that it offers the amenities of home, and is also useful in that same way for roadtrips. We're planning on having kids, and my wife likes to travel, so I figure we get about ten years to travel regionally by road with kids as opposed to travelling internationally by air, as flying with little kids just sucks.
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Old 02-16-2012, 03:48 PM   #12
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Default Re: Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

Here are specifications for a 2001 Roadtrek 190 models on Dodge 3500 Maxivan:
http://www.roadtrek.com/specifications_2001.aspx

Other conversions will differ but it will give you an idea as to what you can tow.

5.2 L/318 CID SMPI gas V8 with 3.90 ratio rear axle.
5,900 lbs. Maximum towable weight with driver and minimal fuel only.
Quote:
This weight reduced by weight of optional equipment, fuel, water, LP gas, cargo and/or passengers.
5.9 L/360 CID SMPI gas V8 with 3.90 ratio rear axle.
6,400 lbs. Maximum towable weight with driver and minimal fuel only.
Quote:
This weight reduced by weight of optional equipment, fuel, water, LP gas, cargo and/or passengers.
Optional equipment (like a generator), fuel, water, LP gas, cargo, gear, clothing, food, passengers and tools could easily add 1,000 to 1,500 lbs.

Conversion vans are heavy .....................
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

some info for comparison:

2003 Roadtrek 190 models on Chevy 3500 Extended Van
6.0 L SFI gas V8 with 4.10 ratio rear axle.
8,400 lbs. Maximum towable weight with driver and minimal fuel only.
Quote:
This weight reduced by weight of optional equipment, fuel, water, LP gas, cargo and/or passengers.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My 1997 GMC Diesel van with a 3.73 rear axel has a GCWR rating of 13,000 lbs.
If it had the 4.10 axle ratio the GCWR would be 1,500 lbs. greater.
Better mpg for me with the 3.73 but less towing capacity.
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: Trying to find info on obscure conversion company

Don't forget the trailer electric brake controls - it's something to consider as not many vans/trucks have
sufficient brake power to stop a loaded trailer. Requires additional wiring and a brake/gain control module.
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