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Old 12-02-2023, 12:32 AM   #1
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Default Roadtrek 190 Versatile living, mods, tweaks, etc.

Hi all,

In March of 2023 I bought a well-maintained and clean 1997 Roadtrek 190 Versatile on a Dodge Ram Van b3500 chassis. I made a few mods and changes over the next couple months and moved into it with two friends and started traveling, climbing, hiking, and adventuring from Arizona, up the west Coast, and across the country. We had 4 people and a 70 lb dog in it for a few months and have really had to make smart use of our space and utilities. I plan on posting some of our projects, additions, and ways we do things to help anyone else thatís in a similar situation and get some discussion from the community that could help us as well.

Get out there and enjoy the world, life is too short to stay parked in the driveway.
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Old 12-02-2023, 07:27 PM   #2
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Good advice! My girlfriend and I have travelled over most of the mainland US in our 1997 Roadtrek Popular, and we have treasured the experience. The only thing close to it was sailing my boat from Florida to Massachusetts and back, exploring the Intracoastal East Coast. We live in a wonderful part of the world, so get out there and enjoy!
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Old 12-07-2023, 07:10 PM   #3
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Initially for your crew size I'm thinking a cargo trailer to haul your stuff that could be emptied in the evening to provide bed space would provide flexibility. I've not resorted to that but instead haul a 10x10 tent with sides that I can set up to get all the 'stuff' out of the van while at camp and/or provide sleeping space.
Looking forward to what you've come up with.
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Old 12-25-2023, 11:12 PM   #4
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This week we replaced the driver and passenger seat in the Roadtrek. They had this hump just behind the knees and an odd seating position because of the wheel well under your left foot, and your hips are below your knees with your legs not able to stretch out. Not good.

So we grabbed the front seats of a mid-2010s Dodge Durango, cut the original mounting legs off so theyíd fit on the seat base in the Roadtrek, put them up on a 3/4Ē plywood riser to give space for the slider track holding pins, drilled holes in the existing base, and bolted them in.

Overall not difficult but definitely the most custom work Iíve done on a vehicle. We ditched the swivel base in favor of a lower seating position and we donít use them anyway with our setup.

I didnít take enough pictures of the process per the usual, but you can see the base of the swivel mount thatís welded onto the seat base, and I didnít want to, or have to remove that. The new seats are way more comfortable, and we get much more adjustability since the new driver seat has a raising and lowering function that the old one didnít. Iíll be posting more pictures of our setup soon, like the full-size bed up front to match the original one in the back.
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Old 01-10-2024, 02:19 AM   #5
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This week we insulated the rear door, side doors, and front doors in preparation for heading to Colorado for some snowboarding. We used a full bag of 3Ē Rockwool from Home Depot and it was the perfect amount, and only about $55. The doors already had some fiberglass insulation but it was pretty thin and had plenty of gaps in it so we pulled all that out, cut and maneuvered the rockwool into place, getting as much coverage as we could and then adding some half-thick pieces in places that it would fit without compressing. It also had the added benefit of dampening the sound that comes in from the doors a bit, and now the doors donít ping with an empty metallic air when you knock them, they sound more solid. Comparing that to the walls that are already built out (and not getting any more insulation because that would be such a headache), theyíre much better insulated. Hopefully it makes a big enough difference to keep us warmer in the van when weíre in the snow, and less heat in during summer.We put the extra insulation we had into the rear AC unit housing on the outside. Not sure if itíll matter much but itís right over the rear bed and has minimal insulation on the inside of the vehicle there, so probably does at least something.
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Old 01-10-2024, 02:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SQUASHMIRE View Post
Initially for your crew size I'm thinking a cargo trailer to haul your stuff that could be emptied in the evening to provide bed space would provide flexibility. I've not resorted to that but instead haul a 10x10 tent with sides that I can set up to get all the 'stuff' out of the van while at camp and/or provide sleeping space.
Looking forward to what you've come up with.


Hey Squash, we mulled the idea over for a moment but we really value our maneuverability and like to go deep in the woods and mountains for climbing, hiking, and camping, and have had more than a handful of situations where we had to backup 100 feet or so to find a turnaround spot. That would’ve been impossible if we had a trailer. We also move a good bit and don’t end up immobile for more than 2 days really, even if we just go out into a city or check out different hikes in a small area. We do have a cargo rack on the back with a cooler, collapsible ladder, outdoor 9x12 rug, and 2 waterproof husky bins with climbing gear and extra winter gear.

Something else that more recently made a big difference was going down to 3 people, then 2, and we just yesterday shipped the dog off to his aunt’s house for pet sitting while we’re in the snow. So while space was definitely on the tight side with 4 people, it was still just fine for us all, and there’s even more now.

And here’s some pictures of the inside with the front bed that I made by reupholstering the stock jump seats into rectangles and making an extra piece in the middle and putting a 6” memory foam mattress on it all to be a comfortable bed.

Overall it’s definitely more on the hippie side than a typical house on wheels, but so are we!
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Old 01-10-2024, 02:48 AM   #7
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Default More pictures!

Hereís some pictures of the outside and us camping at various places in the US. In two of them you can see the newly upholstered jump seats and the middle piece that rests between them to make a full-sized front bed. The front and rear beds stay up all the time and that was the last time we were able to walk to the front. The old seats are also in the picture and this was right after I painted the oak cabinets white for a less dated feel with minimal work.

We just rerouted the water pump to take suction from a few 6 gallon water jugs we have under the rear bed for when weíre in freezing temps. Iíll make a post about those soon too, as well as any other random things we find.
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Old 02-22-2024, 07:15 PM   #8
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In your pic of the rear of the A/C - in order for the A/C to operate air has to flow over the condenser (radiator looking part) and it looks like your insulation is blocking this flow. Air has to come in or out the sides (should be slats or louvers on the side). remember the A/C is effectively 2 separate units in the one box and there should be no airflow between the back half (the compressor/condenser fan and condenser coil) and the front half (the evaporator and room fan) - it doesn't pull air 'through' from the outside to the inside.
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Old 02-22-2024, 07:39 PM   #9
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Hi Bwiencek,

I do realize that by smothering airflow around the AC it won’t be nearly as efficient or effective, but we’ve only used it once, and while hooked up to shore power (we haven’t hooked up in months at this point) and it wasn’t working well enough to keep us cool so we opted to just open all the doors and get tons of airflow and mist water all over us. Point being, we don’t use it and will probably end up removing it to have more storage. The insulation is super easy to remove and if we really do need to use the AC in the future it’ll still probably not work very well anyway.

But thanks for the concern. We’ve been traveling for 6 months and will go to cooler weather or stay with friends and family if we’re somewhere that’s just too hot for us.
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Old 02-26-2024, 04:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerealkillr View Post
Hi all,

In March of 2023 I bought a well-maintained and clean 1997 Roadtrek 190 Versatile on a Dodge Ram Van b3500 chassis. I made a few mods and changes over the next couple months and moved into it with two friends and started traveling, climbing, hiking, and adventuring from Arizona, up the west Coast, and across the country. We had 4 people and a 70 lb dog in it for a few months and have really had to make smart use of our space and utilities. I plan on posting some of our projects, additions, and ways we do things to help anyone else thatís in a similar situation and get some discussion from the community that could help us as well.

Get out there and enjoy the world, life is too short to stay parked in the driveway.
https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...ion-13520.html
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