6 Volt Battery Setup

Our reliable Trojan “house” battery was nearing the end of it’s usable camping life (no longer as many days between charges), so I made the switch to a dual 6 volt system. More power - how cool is that? This required removing the existing battery box, installing a new box (after modifying the box with parts from the old box, as well as latches and seals), installing a smaller box for the battery disconnect switch, and while I was at it, installing a new battery meter (an upcoming post).

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Foam Blowing Out of the Dash Fix

A couple of years ago, while traveling on Route 66 in humid Missouri, chunks of foam started blowing out of our dash vents, filling the cab with sticky bits of disintegrating material - quite a mess. I had remembered reading on the ev_update list that this was from the “blender box” in the air conditioning system - the box that regulates the air flow from the heater, directs air to the defrost, floor, etc.

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Platform Bed Details

Here are some photos of how our platform bed is put together. The wood is 3⁄4 inch birch plywood, the hinges are brass piano hinges, and aluminum angle is used to create the “box” portion and other supports. View from the back: My method for holding the platform in place:
The platform is hinged in such a way as to form a seat (from before we had a drawer):

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Mini Table for Coffee

We only travel with one table, but once you have dishes on that, you don’t have much room to prepare anything - like coffee after lunch! We mocked up a “mini” table out of plywood before our desert trip to see if this idea would work - it was such a success, I now need to make one out of maple. Our “big” table is also out of maple (much nicer than laminate!

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Modified Control Panel

This is how our control panel above the fridge looks now. Let me give you a tour, explain what I did, and share some pointers on what NOT to do… The stock EuroVan control panel is black, has only one 12 volt outlet, and on the 95, has a very stupid layout for the water pump switch. On later models, the faucet has an integrated switch, eliminating the need for a water pump switch on the control panel.

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New "Food Cabinet" and Upper Shelf

The EuroVan has a small cabinet to the left of the sink/stove - we call it the “Food Cabinet”. Below this cabinet is a small drawer, which is poorly designed - it cannot open to it’s full depth, and is a pain to get back in place if you pull it out. Others have added “normal” drawer slides to the drawer to improve its usability - we started to do this, and then decided to redo the entire cabinet - like so:

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Awning "shoot out"

Our van had a Carefree awning installed on it - the “standard” awning installed on the EVC by Winnebago - and frankly, it sucked. It was a terrible thing to try and use - difficult to get the awning out of the case, heavy, even harder to get back IN the case. We dreaded using it. We finally splurged on a Fiamma awning, as well as a ShadyBoy awning for the fridge side of the van (driver’s side) - see my earlier posts here, here, and here on the installation of these awnings.

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Fiamma Awning Installation - part 2

The Fiamma comes with 2 brackets that mount to the side of the van, so you do not need to place the legs on the ground - great for a quick setup at a lunch stop. The placement of these brackets is not “spelled out” anywhere - here is what I found worked best for me. I placed the brackets the same distance below the “crease” in the side of the van.

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Fiamma Awning Installation - part 1

I had a “Carefree” awning installed on the EuroVan - the awning that was “stock” from Winnebago - it was a terrible, terrible, thing. I could never get the Carefree OUT of the case without banging up my fingers, or smashing the wife’s, as she holds out the end that I FINALLY was able to get out as I try to PRY out the other side. Then once it comes free, we are so pi**ed off and tired that we can barely roll it out, then then legs fly out, smack us somewhere on the body, or again, pinch our fingers.

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Shady Boy Awning Installation

One of the awning choices for a EuroVan is the Shady Boy. This awning is made in Canada, of US materials, and has a very compact case, and a not too difficult set up procedure. The installation and set up instructions leave something to be desired, though. Wolfgang at Shady Boy is VERY quick to answer any questions, which helped. There is a YouTube video online showing how a Shady Boy is set up - not the best video, but it helped me figure out how to set it up.

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Propane tank and regulator repair

My propane tank had a bad “service valve” - the part you turn on and off. Every time I would turn it on or off, a great cloud of freezing propane vapor would escape - the valve needed some work! I learned that rebuild kits for the valves are no longer available, as new valves are not much more money. Replacing the valve would require the tank to be removed and all the propane emptied from it.

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Suburban furnace thermostat swap

Usually when we camp, we just use our furnace to warm up in the morning, then shut it off after getting out of bed. When we were up in the mountains of Nevada, and it was really chilly, we let the furnace run for quite some time, and I was surprised at how often the furnace would cycle on and off. After reading a few posts on the ev_update list about “short cycling” thermostats, I replaced our original Honeywell thermostat with a new Suburban thermostat.

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Pop top insulation

Reading a post on the ev_update list, I heard about a company making insulation for the inside of the pop top. This was an idea that we had, ever since a very cold night in the mountains of Nevada. So I contacted Fancher’s Upholstery and after a few emails, decided to order one. After a couple weeks (they make 2 at a time), the insulation arrived, nicely packaged:

You can see the instruction sheet, roll of velcro, stuff sack, and the Fancher business card (I love little touches like that…)

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Converter upgrade

I recently replaced my “house” battery, and since those darn things are not cheap I wanted to take good care of it. In the Camper, there is a “converter” - it’s job is to supply 12 volts to the furnace, power to 12 volt outlets, and to charge the house battery when connected to AC (“shore power”). The stock converter is a Magnatek - a HUGE unit that provides very “dirty” (unregulated) 12 volts, as well as poor performance as a battery charger.

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Engel Fridge Temperature Gauge

After having our Norcold fridge fail on us (fuse blew on the DC heater) during a long slog up the coast on a rainy Thanksgiving (fortunately all the leftovers were in another ice chest!), I decided that I needed a way to monitor the fridge temperature remotely. I found that Engel (makers of electric coolers) have a remote temperature accessory - product link that looked to be a perfect solution.

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House Battery Disconnect

I wanted to have an easy way to disconnect my house battery for servicing 12 volt appliances, etc., so I added a battery disconnect switch - accessible via my rear access hatch - Add a Rear Hatch.

I purchased a switch, and a short battery cable:

Here are some shots of inside the battery box - it is tight, but it all fits (the small red wires and fuse are for the hitch lighting system, detailed in this article: [link id=‘323’]):

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Luggage rack brackets

Above the EVC cab is a luggage rack - a plastic cover over the roof that has 2 handles for strapping boxes, bags, etc (see my post: Storage Box Above Cab). I received a stainless steel bracket kit to replace the existing steel brackets that attach this piece of plastic to the roof, so I thought I would take this piece of plastic off and see just what is going on underneath - man, I am glad I did!

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Norcold 3163 fridge removal and cleaning

Decided to tackle the job of removing the Norcold fridge (one of our favorite parts of the van) to check just what IS the condition of the burner box (the part that can be sometimes hard to start, or hard to keep lit). If you own a Camper, you really owe it to yourself to pull this fridge out and see what makes it tick - it will take the mystery and fear out of the thing.

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Trailer wiring

We have a trailer hitch on our van (from Eurocampers) but we have had no power connection for hauling a trailer - until now. I wanted something that would handle both 4 pin an 7 pin connectors, so I got such a beast from Hopkins - here is it installed:

The trick was just how do I wire this into the Van? As usual, the ev_update list came through (thanks, Paul!

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MaxxFan roof vent/fan

This is going to be a long post - I have lots of photos! I finally installed the Maxxair MaxxFan Ventillation FanI bought a few months ago - this was different than any other installations I have done, as it is a “destructive” install - once you do this, there is no going back to the original roof vent. Let me sum this up by saying that in my case, it was REALLY worth the time and trouble to do this.

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Coffee

When traveling, we HATED trying to find good coffee - stumbling upon good coffee is one thing, but stopping for lunch in the middle of nowhere and NOT having a good cup o’ joe after the meal is UNTHINKABLE! So we have perfected what we think is the best method for making coffee on the road (easy prep, easy clean up, great coffee). You need to use the best coffee - Cafe Mam - great people, great coffee, get the “Mocho” blend.

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Adding a rear hatch

One of the things that Winnebago should have done is create a rear hatch for the coach battery compartment. Many others have done this (where do you think I found out the model of hatch to use?), but I wanted to show how really easy it is, as well as the specific approach I used. Here is where it will go: I created a cardboard template from the hatch I used - a BOMAR G7711-11 from Pompanette - they are listed in their online catalog under “access hatches”.

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Custom Bed

Since there are just two humans and one cat that travel in this van, and since the built-in bed leaves much to be desired, we decided to remove the back seat (that folds into a bed), and build a platform bed that can still turn into a seat for eating, etc. I added another post with more details here Since I did not take any photos during the construction, I will try my best to explain:

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Cat Box

OK, we travel with our cat, Flea - he is leashed trained (really, he is), and is a fantastic travel companion. Deborah came up with an utterly brilliant method of carrying the cat box and supplies while we travel. We have a two drawer “seat thingy” behind the passenger seat Bottom drawer (lined with a “contractor bag”) holds the cat box! This gets placed into the passenger foot area when we stop for any period of time

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Armrest removal

Hated the armrests - never used them, they got in the way when we used the “pass-through” to the back, made swiveling the seats a pain - so we removed them. But we needed something to hold our “seat back pockets” in place, so we reused the bolts and combined them with a large coin - still need to get “better” screws and washer though…

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Hot Shower Setup

OK - first you get a shower tent - Paha Que Grey Aluminum Tepee Shelter (it HAS to be this one - accept no substitutes! Maybe a different color, though…) Then you get a Stainless Steel Garden Sprayer A 1 gallon size will fit on the stove top, be enough for 2 people, and it you remove the pumping mechanism, it can store under the bed! Then you get a Sink Sprayer

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Storage box above the cab

We have a dry bag from GoWesty for the top of our van - we wanted something that was hard sided, could be locked, and was not super easy to remove. I just happened to stumble upon a case at Home Depot: I have since added some “jam” nuts, so that you cannot remove the turnbuckles without a wrench. The turnbuckles are Stainless Steel, as are the “S” hooks. The “D” rings are welded zinc plated.

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Rear Speakers Removal

Our rear speakers never worked, and we never use the stereo on trips anyway, and who wants to look at a 70’s looking grille in their living room? So…

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Place to hang things...

I figured that all those covered screws could be put to better use - so with some “D” rings for mounting mirrors or picture frames, I removed the caps, unscrewed the existing screws, turned the plastic cap “dish” over (so it acts as a spacer), put in some new stainless steel screws, and ended up with this: We have these all over the van now:

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Front Curtains and Seat Storage

We wanted some curtains to allow us to close off the back of the van without closing off the cab. We used some parts from Curtain Tracks, and combined with Deborah’s outstanding sewing, we ended up with this: The list of things we bought to make the curtains (excluding fabric): (1) 3112 RECMAR 3112 Plastic Curtain Track - 8 ft. Color: Black (4) 3091Y RECMAR 3091 Snap Tape - Yard Color: Black (4) 3115 RECMAR 3115 Curtain Track End Cap Color: Black (2) 3070 RECMAR 3070 Snap Carrier Color: Black Everything just screws into place (of course, your mileage may vary!

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Upper kitty “bunk”

Our modified upper bunk, complete with tent! We removed the stock upper bunk, including the metal bars that ran across the rear of the bunk - this left 2 unsightly brackets that we covered with cedar 2x2’s. We then cut a piece of 3⁄4 inch birch plywood to fit, carpeted the top with short pile nylon carpet, then finished the edge with aluminum angle. This provides a great place for Flea to hang out whenever the top is up.

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