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Old 07-04-2011, 12:51 AM   #1
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Default Minor mods to my "new" '97 Roadtrek

I just bought a '97 Roadtrek 190 Versatile (Dodge 5.9L). 96K miles, but in near-perfect condition; the only thing broken was one of the plastic cupholders on the side door.

My mods to date are not really original (nor significant); they're borrowed from the many great threads in this forum.

1 ) Changed the 12V power to the refrigerator from house battery to vehicle battery, so that the refer will run in 12V mode only when the Dodge motor is running. Yeah, a compressor fridge would be cool (pun intended), but I can't afford it. With this change, I've got cooling while I'm driving, and not when I park for a 3-hour hike (unless I feel like turning on the LP, which I don't). It's a compromise, but at least I always start the camping portion of my trip with a full house battery.

2 ) Installed a macerator pump. I used the other threads found here for install tips, and basically did it the same way, except that I found I did not need to lower or remove the existing 4" pipe; I was able to cut the 7" slot with a variable-speed reciprocal saw. OK, the lines aren't perfectly straight, but it works fine. I also added a metal strap at the end, held in place with two drywall screws into the pipe edges. Maybe not necessary, but it keeps the pump securely in place.

One other tip: I bought the "Tank Buddy" version of the Sani-Con system because it was cheaper than the permanent mount, and gave me everything I needed. (Plus, I got a "free" toolbox. <g> ) It cost $289 at Camping World, and includes the pump, switch and bracket, inline fuse (in waterproof casing), wire, flex hose that extends to 21', and sewer connector with cap. I simply removed the switch bracket from the pump, cut off the last 3" or so off the bracket, and it worked perfectly to mount the switch inside the LP/waste compartment. The only thing I had to buy was 3' of 12-ga wire to make it to the engine compartment, and a lot of cable ties.

3 ) Installed custom cupholders. This is the mod that I'm most proud of. <g> The silly cupholders in the wooden thingie that sits on top of the engine compartment are nigh-on useless for anything other than a standard coffee mug. They're too big, and, especially, too shallow: Put a normal drink or can or slurpee in there, and it'll go flying out unless the vehicle is stationary. My fix: Buy two 3.5" PVC pipe couplers from your local hardware store. Insert into existing cupholders. Drink. (I added wide black plastic tape to the outside of mine, to a) make the fit even more snug, and b) make them black instead of bright white. Someone more elegant than I could spray paint the PVC to match the RT interior.)

4 ) Removed the continental kit. I agree with someone else here who said (more or less) that that's why God invented 24-hour roadside assistance. Plus, I have a couple cans of Fix-a-Flat and a 12V compressor. I'll take my chances.

5 ) Replaced the factory stereo with one that plays CDs and has an aux input for MP3 players plus a USB charging port. (Crutchfield is a great source; not always the lowest price, but they include all the faceplates, cables, etc. and vehicle-specific install instructions.) One tip here: If your Dodge has the Infinity sound system, the speakers require 12V power. So, hookup the power antenna wire (usually blue) on your after-market receiver to the blue wire in the Chrysler harness.

6 ) Added wood dividers to the silverware drawer (the one under the stove).

7 ) Removed the TV, and put a surge-protector with two USB charging ports inside that cabinet. This gave me more food storage, and a place to plug in my laptop computer (which I use for watching movies) and my portable sound system. (I use a Sansa MP3 player connected to a couple of iHome iHM79BC rechargeable speakers -- really amazing little doohickeys that you can get at Amazon for about $42.)

8 ) Had my local upholstery shop do some carpet mods: They bound all the edges of the center aisle carpet (even the table post hole), and installed snaps for the three front mats. I was tired of those sliding around, and the bound edges make for a tidier, less frayed look on the center carpet. Total cost was $60.

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Old 07-04-2011, 11:39 AM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 8,349
Default Re: Minor mods to my "new" '97 Roadtrek

The macerator install looks great and you got a good deal on it. Maybe swap out the drywall screws for stainless steel screws. The drywall screws will rust and break off if you try to unscrew them in a few years.

I like the cup holder idea. I had the same problem in my Class C but never came up with an idea to solve it.
Two bikes on sliding cargo box: & 1997 GMC Savana 6.5L Turbo Diesel Custom Camper Van Specifications:
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