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Now that our National Parks Tour is wrapping up, we’ll soon be back to rolling in our “regular” Class B, Lance. We’ve had Lance sidelined most of this time – though we have taken him out for day trips on occasion.
I can’t tell you how much this excites me, for a number of reasons. First, there are the things that had already been done to Lance that you just can’t get in a “regular” Travato, no matter how cool it is. I’m talking about things like:
- Automatic hydraulic Leveling System
- Air Suspension System
- 7.3 cubic foot refrigerator freezer
- And THE ABILITY TO STORE BIKES INSIDE
And those are all cool. But there’s one more thing Lance has that I’ve really been missing… THE ABILITY TO MOD! You see, while we did negotiate a few, reversible mods with Winnebago before taking Parky on loan, we really weren’t supposed to be modding it out. As a result, my mod gene hasn’t been expressing itself lately. That’s about to change.
Here’s a sneak preview of some of the mods that I’ll be doing to Lance in the next couple months. While it’s true that none of these are of the magnitude of the refrigerator replacement project, these are nonetheless things that have been on my mind. I’m glad now to have the free reign to tackle them. Here we go:
Insulate the “Pizza Oven”
This is by far the biggest and most involved mod I’ll be doing, and it corrects one of the biggest problems with the ProMaster as a Class B chassis. If you’re not familiar with the “Pizza Oven”, it’s the nickname not-so-fondly given by ProMaster owners to this area above the cab
“Pizza Oven” is an appropriate nickname not only because of the shape of the area, but also because of the temperature. In the summer, it can get BLAZING HOT up there. Well, I aim to change that by adding some sound deadening and insulation. I’ve already got the insulation
I’ll be installing some RockWool (formerly Roxul) insulation, which has proven to be a popular and durable choice for Class B owners and DIY van builds. I’ll also be installing some FatMat sound deadener where it makes sense. This is such a big job; I’ve arranged for a second Travato to do at the same time. I haven’t yet told the owner that I’ll be learning the process on their rig, and then doing it for reals on mine.
In the end, this will make it quieter and cooler in Lance, but until we get there, there’s a weekend of swearing and cutting myself on sheet metal somewhere in my future.
Re-work Rear Storage Area
Years ago, I made a video of adding some rear storage to the back wall of Lance.
That storage has been nice, but it hasn’t been something we’ve put to very good use. I aim to change that. The main reason we haven’t used it much is because the shelves inside it are very narrow. Just a couple inches wide each.
Well, recently, when I was modifying the rear storage area on someone else’s Travato, I realized I could extend those shelves out past the rear wall. There are still a few inches there before you run into the rear door. With the shelves thus extended, it opens up possibilities to store some larger bulky items there. So that’s what I intend to do.
(I may change the color as well… The grey doesn’t really go.)
Pump Switch in Bathroom
We never use the pump switch at the rear of the van. At all. Ever. Like… I don’t even really know if it works. We don’t use it because we don’t use the exterior hose ever. It’s in the box of “Lance Parts that Didn’t Make the Cut”. What can I say. I guess we’re just not big fans of squirting our fresh water onto the ground.
Well, since I’ll have the back of the wall opened up, I’d like to move the switch from here
I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to add a second switch, or just move the original one. That probably depends on what parts I can find. But whichever way I go, it should be super simple, and it will cut down on those awkward “Honey, can you turn on the pump” calls through the bathroom door.
Install Refrigerator and Freezer Temperature Monitors
This is such a little thing, I almost didn’t even mention it. But I’ve had this sitting in my shop for about 6 months now.
It’s an AcuRite 00986 Refrigerator Thermometer. The idea is that it can monitor the temperatures in your RV’s refrigerator and freezer. Other people have reported problems with their compressor-driven RV refrigerators not being able to keep up. I don’t think we’ve ever had the problem (because I paid attention to venting when I installed it). But it’s possible that we DO have the problem and I just don’t know about it because we’re not monitoring it very well. Hence, now we’ll have a monitor (with alarms!).
I intend to get this hooked up and working – though that mainly consists of just installing batteries…
Fix Cab Curtain
Years ago, I made a curtain for the cab of Lance that could be used even when the seats are turned around. It makes kind of a big “tent” area out of the cab.
But here’s the thing. Ever since I installed the Remis Cab shades… it doesn’t work like that anymore. I can still pull it straight across, yes. But the Remis shades required changing out the sun visor mounts, and they no longer work with the magnets on the curtain. I’m going to fix that. This fix will probably involve mounting some magnets on the visors themselves. So the visors may come out looking a bit weird. But it will give us back our cab curtain, which we had really grown fond of.
While I’m Looking at Window Coverings
I’m also going to do something about the curtain on the slider door. Yes, the curtain we have on there works just fine, but…
With the curtain open, it bunches up and drags down the side of the van when you open and close the slider door. Not good! So I’m going to be doing something about that.
I’m also going to take a good hard look at the rest of the window coverings in Lance. Some of our windows are just covered up with a MCD shade. I want something with better light-blocking and insulating capabilities. I’m going to look to Vanmade Shades. We’ve used them on Parky for these past few months and have really liked them. Look for more of their shades in Lance soon.
Back Door Woes
Over the years, the rear doors on Lance have become misaligned. As a result, there’s now (depending on how I close the doors) a gap between the seals that I can see light through.
But look at it when I turn the lights off!
Obviously, this ain’t good. Besides letting in light, a gap like this will also let in heat, cold, dust, dirt, and SAND! OH LORD, PLEASE, ANYTHING BUT SAND!!! (Not only that, but the rear doors SQUEAK! Gah!)
I’ve dealt with that for long enough. I’m going to fix it, and it will be a two-step process.
First, I need to adjust the doors themselves. For that, I’ll need some large Torx drivers. Once I’ve got them adjusted as well as I can, then I’ll go back after it with some weatherstripping to seal up any remaining gaps. It’s a good afternoon project.
There are other things I intend to do as well. Sanitize the fresh water system. Replace the cabin air filter. Re-Grout the shower area. Replace some peeling decorative stickers. Etc. etc. etc… But the ones I’ve outlined above are the only major (or semi-major) projects I have on tap for the coming weeks.
You’ll see ‘em when I do ‘em! Cheers!