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Little RV Finishing Touches that Make a Big Difference

| Updated Dec 13, 2014

I was onsite and part of the work crew during the build of my new CS Adventurous, so I got a unique opportunity to make it come out exactly the way I wanted. The operational details of the fancy prototype stuff like the lithium battery were largely left to the specialists in those areas, but I was able to work on some of the more mundane aspects of construction to ensure that our new Roadtrek would fit our full timing lifestyle, and look nice while doing so. Here are some of the detail touches we messed with to make this unit unique in a subtle way.

Our retro rear doors, with sliding curtains instead of blinds.
Our retro rear doors, with sliding curtains instead of blinds.

We like to boondock at the beach and other remote locations, with the back doors open. Sharon is a fresh air fiend, and Fiona the Fearless Kitty is nosy, so the more open the unit is, the better. The problem with this, though, is current models have a box enclosing a blind on the back doors which isn't exactly weatherproof, and we're likely to pick up a sprinkle or two leaving the doors open, especially in the Pacific Northwest where we spend much of our time. We looked around at earlier models and found what we wanted in the 2007ish Agiles – synthetic fabric curtains which match the curtains in front, and which slide on tracks across the rear door glass. They were available as replacement parts for the older models. A little scrounging to recover the OEM plastic panels above and below the window, and we had a weatherproof inside finish for our back doors.  We also like the larger glass area exposed compared to current production back doors with blinds in an enclosure.

Our immaculate passenger side. Oops, better crank that roof fan vent down
Our immaculate passenger side. Oops, better crank the Fantastic Fan closed.

On the outside, we wanted a sleek look which didn't scream RV!!! when you look at it. The new models have done a great job of minimizing all the vents and other body penetration features of earlier Roadtreks, but we wanted to carry it as far as possible. We deleted the awning and porch lights on the passenger side, and moved the exterior 120 volt receptacle usually found just in front of the rear wheel well to a location underneath the lip of the ground effects. The result is a passenger side without any telltale signs that this is an RV as opposed to a 15 passenger airport transport or other non-residential Sprinter.

See any shower here? Me neither.
See any shower here? Me neither.

But what to do about the outside shower on the rear of the driver's side? Dave the paint shop supervisor and I huddled up, and lo and behold the raised letters proclaiming “SHOWER” on the cover disappeared before it was painted to match the body. I'm thinking about putting a misleading label on it like “DANGER-HIGH VOLTAGE” or “NITROUS OXIDE ONLY” or something like that. Unless you are familiar with RV fixtures, you won't recognize it for what it is, which is the whole idea. I still need an outside shower because of some *cough* unusual features of my fresh water system, but I don't want to advertise the fact that I have one.

Sliding window with screen in place.
Sliding window in closed position.

Additionally, we are testing out a type of new sliding windows for Roadtrek that are common in Europe but aren't seen here. Unlike in Europe, most folks here want a screen, so I fabricated some screen frames out of flexible ABS which pop into the grooves the glass slides in, and come right out when you want to close them.  Screen problem solved. We find them to be quite functional and attractive, and they even keep the rain out if you close the windows on the upwind side and leave the downwind side screens in place. The nice thing about sliding windows is that they are wide open, so airflow is at least as good as louvered windows which only open an inch or two.

My suspiciously wide wind deflector. Nothing to see up here, folks, move along.

There are a few other custom touches on our Roadtrek which took some fiddling to fabricate and install. The wind deflector on the front of the roof is actually two wind deflector halves with a few inches of spacer spliced into the middle to widen it enough to hide all the monkey business going on up there behind the deflector. Dave in the paint shop once again was most accommodating in helping me figure out how to make this look as smooth as possible and minimize the salience of the RV-looking stuff up there.

Taken together, these little touches add up to a smooth and pleasing appearance for our Roadtrek, and we're very happy to have the opportunity to fulltime in a one of a kind unit like this.



RV Lifestyle

Published on 2014-12-13

3 Responses to “Little RV Finishing Touches that Make a Big Difference”

December 23, 2014at1:36 am, Russ said:

I also have a 2015 CS (2014 chassis). Is this an XL, ie extended….or just wide angle lens distortion? I noted the newer ground effect panels. I agree re the waste of window space with enclosures on the rear doors….seems excessive.

Noted your desire for stealthiness and subsequent omission of awning and patio light. I don’t think I’d be willing to forego those. I like the CS’s clean lines and absence of graphics, having only the small Alde vent and exterior shower door on the driver side , but I might remove the faux windows above the windshield!

Interesting comments about removal of the embossed SHOWER on the exterior door as well as the new side windows. Do you expect that if Roadtrek makes these available as standard or option that they’ll include the screening….or make us DIY?

December 14, 2014at7:27 pm, Diane Gruber said:

Wow! Wow! And more Wow!

December 13, 2014at2:09 pm, Georges Labrecque said:

Congratulation for your new CS! Good idea to use a curtain on the back doors and leave the nice big windows. I ordered the same, but RT couldn’t find a replacement curtain. I didn’t like the design of the panels and the blinds. (see ) Nice touch for the sliding window. Do you have other windows to open if it rains a lot? Looking forward to see more of the interior and technical details of your van. I am a fan of all class B blogs. Posted your article on my Flipboard magazine

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