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RE: Newbie with questions on Roadtrek

Seat belts: IIRC, my '00 Dodge RT D190V had belts for 2 on the forward-facing part of the rear L-lounge. I don't recall for sure, but think they were anchored to the piece of ~2" angle iron that runs across the back door opening and supports the back lower edge of the bench; check for 'extra' holes in that. I _assume_ they were H&P original, but I bought it used, so don't know for sure. Correctracs: Pricey, & add a good bit of unsprung & rotational weight. Dunno if the 3/4 (2500) ton chassis that I think yours is on needs them or not. Measure the width of your front and rear axles, and if the rear is narrower, you can use 'em. They made a _little_ difference in my Dodge's handling & driving, but not much. Probably a 318, but I think the filters & tune-up stuff are the same for both a 360 and 318. Try some spray silicone on the shower rollers; use the little red straw in the nozzle to direct it where it's needed. I'll defer to Bob on towing, but lock the OD out if so equipped when doing it. Snow driving: How steep are your roads? I never tried it in either RT. I live in the mountains, where the weight conbined with the steep roads would be problematic. I carry chains all winter, just in case I get caught out somewhere, but would be inclined to 'hunker down' & wait for the roads to be cleared. The tires & compounds that will support that kind of weight are generally too stiff to give really good traction, tho' newer M&S-rated 'ice' traction compounds _may_ be avaialble in LT tires by now. If I was serious about it, I'd install an ARB air locker; regular lockers may give squirrely handling on slick surfaces. HTH, and enjoy! Jim, "Everybody lies about sex!"
Handbasket 08/24/05 10:51am Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Class B for family of 5?

Since you are well aware of the limitations, don't write off the Roadtrek 190 Versatile. We kinda have 4 in our rig - 2 adults, a 3 yr old and an 80 lb Golden Retriever, all trying to sleep in the one bed. As a driving machine, I'd say it handles as well as if not better than any other Class B built. The Chevy chassis is great. Aesthetically, it's the least "motorhome" looking B on the road - it simply looks like a nice conversion van. Since almost all of the alternatives have similar floorplans, consider how roomy the interior "feels". The Roadtrek, with its shallow closets on the passenger side, seems more open than a lot of the other B's. The wide aisle is nice. The aisle shower worked well for us. Check out how this guy modified his rear bed. We have done the same in our rig, and I think we like it - we have only tried it once, so I can't really confirm it yet. But a mod like this would allow for one or two little ones to be in the back with you on the main bed. We also considered a Great West MGM with the upper bed, but they are pretty scarce, expecially in my part of the country. My experience with Dodge handling issues ruled out another Dodge based model. I don't know much about the Fords handling, other than it's gotta be better than the Dodges. I know the Chevy chassis is a great handling machine. Good Luck on your search. PS Oh yeah, I don't know if anyone mentioned it yet... you did seem like you might be interested in used rigs. The older Airstream 190's had the upper bunk like the Coachmen. I think those all had side sofas... they were built thru the 90's, maybe even in 2000? not sure. I think they were all on Ford chassis.
ARcruiser 07/01/05 09:32pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Older Class B - expected reliability

I bought a near perfect "looking" '86 Falcon about 3 1/2 years ago. Dodge "350" 1 ton chassis with 360 V8 and torqueflite 3 speed auto. It had only 23k on it at that time, +9 hours on the genset. It was kept under a car port since new and was still in the hands of the original family that bought it new. I'm under the impression that the Coachmen and Falcons may be similar units, though mine is a hightop. Initially I had some roof leaks from a bad roof air seal, and the van windows and bubble windows needed new silicone caulk all around. I've never had any touble with leaks around the hightop seal. My unit had been maintained from about '86-92' then the original owner passed away and the wife kept the van but hardly touched it. SO, it was only driven 2k miles and had but one oil change from '92-'02. SO I had to replace almost all the hoses, and all fluids leaked in some fashion. Obviously the original tires were bad. I had to install a new coach battery, and rebuild the furnace. Luckily the drivetrain faired well once it was gone over and driven a bit, however the dash air didn't last long before I had to rebuild it. The dash air was my biggest expense in the restoration, next would be the tires. I had to replace some plumbing washers and such, and it needed a new propane shutoff valve and regulator. Luckily the AC/DC/PROPANE fridge was fine, and the roof air too. I've never tried lighting the hot water heater. I also haven't had any electrical problems with the coach, though the genset is weak to start, but it does work though is almost too noisy to use anyway. Yes, after paying $6k I ended up putting almost $3k more into it. Quite a bit was spent just adding mods to help with the well know Dodge handling ills. That said though, it has been fairly bug free for the last couple years and I now have 51k miles on the van and plan to take it on a 5k+ mile trip in August. I'm glad I took a chance on my old Falcon, though the 1st year was quite an experience getting the bugs worked out.
GKinTN 06/13/05 08:26pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Roadtrek steering

Margo, Jim's post pretty well summarizes most of what is generally agreed upon for the resolution of Dodge handling problems. My 98 and 2000 Dodges drove pretty well. Both were Pleasure-Ways with air bags and steering dampners. The 2001 American Cruiser was not friendly at all - I had the TSB done, with alignment and a new steering gear, and it was greatly improved - probably as good as the other 2 when not in the wind. It was still a beast in the wind, but I attribute a lot of it to the higher roof profile of that model. It had a Hellwig on the rear, no air bags or steering dampner. For more information, you can Search the forums. use the keywords: dodge handling Find posts with all of the words in any order: in the Entire Message: and only in Camping Van Coversions: The above steps produced the following 5 pages of relavent posts for the last 12 months, and another 8 pages of posts over 12 months old. Good luck!
ARcruiser 05/25/05 11:14am Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Roadtrek steering

Ah, the famous Dodge handling issue. :) On my '86 Falcon class B on a Dodge 1 ton "350" chassis (later known as the "3500" chassis) I added the following: 1) carefull alingnment job. 2) Michelin XPS rib tires. 3) Safe-T-Plus Steering stabilizer (installed myself, easy job thought it takes some time to get it centered) 4) Correctrac wheel spacers (helps some, but not as much as the S.T.+) 5) Bilstein shocks. 6) Extra leaf in each rear spring set. The Safe-T-Plus probably made the most difference. Also I've found running 50psi front, and 75psi rear makes a noticeable difference too. Your class B probably isn't as tall as my old Falcon and probably less prone to wind effects from passing trucks. Plus your van is newer, however I haven't ever heard many say the Dodge chassis got much better anytime recently. Maybe your van won't need as many mods to calm down the handling. I'd say start with the steering stabilizer first. I've had mine now for 25k+ miles and no problems. I went with the "white" one.
GKinTN 05/24/05 09:23pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: New Falcon 190 owner

You think the micro-lite is noisy, you should hear the '86 (pre-microlite) Onan in my Falcon! To even add to the clatter, it's mounted right under the sofa bench. That said, my Onan only had 9 hours on it when I got it. I had to soak it with WD40 down the plug hole for a couple weeks to free the piston, but since then it has been ok. Recently though been having trouble getting it to crank, some folks say I need to clean the brushes so I'll try that next. You might try the trick on your ac of running the fan for a moment, then kicking it over to ac to lessen the surge. My AC unit use to really pull heavily at first on start up, but after a few months of "working it" the AC seems ok now. I considered replacing the AC startup capacitor, but it seems to be fine now with a little use. Good luck with your new Falcon purchase. My '86 Dodge 1 ton Falcon had 23k miles on it when I got it 3 years ago. It looked awesome inside and out however there were many problems, but luckily nothing major with the drivetrain. Everything leaked, everything. Finally though I seem to have worked out the bugs. My 350 Dodge V8 (4 barrel carb motor w/electronic ignition) and 3 speed torqueflite tranny have held up fine and now I have about 51k on the rig. If the Dodge handling gets to you, you might try some or all of the fixes I've done. They all helped and made a commulative noticeable improvement to the handling. Hope the long list doesn't scare you! 1) carefull alingnment job. 2) Michelin XPS rib tires. 3) Safe-T-Plus Steering stabilizer. 4) Correctrac wheel spacers. 5) Bilstein shocks. 6) Extra leaf in each rear spring set. The Safe-T-Plus probably made the most difference. Also I've found running 50psi front, and 75psi rear makes a noticeable difference too. At first the rig was a terror on the highway. Now on a good day it is a one finger driver, however when the trucks pass quickly or the wind kicks up it takes some talent. At least now the fear factor is mostly gone. Enjoy your Falcon, my wife and I sure enjoy ours. GK
GKinTN 05/08/05 09:16pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: any experience with GW vans?

Low top model here. But I'm a brand newbie 2005! I love my low top. I have no problems with closed in spaces - except when I bend down for something and end up hitting my head on a cabinet or the ac when I straighten up. But then its just me and my 2 dogs. They've not complained about the low top and I've yet to see them hit their heads. I have the Ford so can't comment on the Dodge handling. I can tell you when its even slightly windy or I pass a semi (or they pass me) I"m fighting to keep from doing the hula on the highway. My least favorite thing about the van. The RT chevy I test drove didn't seem to do that. I keep my rear dinette made into a full size bed all the time - with 4" foam mattress on top. Its very comfortable. I use the shower every nite while camping but am only gone on 3 and 4 day trips. Yes its cramped but compared to hotel coodies, I'll take cramped. No problems with the toilet. So far my mileage has ranged from 13.5mpg (included running the generator some) to 15.5mpg. Still trying to match that 17mpg Alan J got.
dombodals 04/25/05 09:26pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: any experience with GW vans?

My bad Dodge handling experience was a '99 chassis Dodge 3500, '00 Roadtrek conversion. I _think_ that the factory had fixed the problems by '02-'03, but I'm not real certain. There's a Yahoo auto group devoted to the Dodge camper vans, so you might google the address, and ask there. My problem _may_ have been worse because I had Michelin LTX tires on it; that's my personal theory, not a proved fact. I wouldn't turn the van down, just be sure you're satisfied with the handling and driving before buying; aftermarket cures like wheel spacers and sway bars may or may not correct problems. And I should emphasize that I know folks who have the same model B van, and are perfectly satisfied with the handling. I'm assuming from that that there's only a limited percentage of 'lemons'. As far as the truck camper, the roomy ones seem awfully unwieldly, with overhangs in all directions. I guess the importance of that would depend on how much in-town driving you're going to do. You don't have walk-thru access to / from the driver's area, which was what decided me against one. I like convenience & security, since I'm often "urban boondocking" when I travel. Jim, "Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again."
Handbasket 04/25/05 07:09am Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: wandering problem

Hi John, A common problem for Dodges. Tom (smallcamper) is probably the reigning expert on this topic. He has a Yahoo Roadtrek Group, which was originally started for owners of Dodge Roadtreks. http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Dodge_Camper_Vans/ You will have to join the group to access it's information. Lots of information in the RV.Net archives. Try searching for "Dodge handling" or something similar. Here is the link, to the thread, that will tell you how to search the archives. http://rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/708173.cfm
My Roadtrek 02/27/05 01:35am Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: sway bars

.... it can't hurt! Actually, past posters seem to have noticed some improvement with the sway bars... some also swear by the Correctrack Spacers... others profess miracles by the addition of Bilsteins. If it's a '98 to '01 model, it probably needs to be aligned to the newer TSB specs, have the springs checked and possibly have the steering gear replaced. Do a search of this forum for some of the following terms: hellwig, correctrack, dodge tsb, dodge handling, dodge steering, white knuckle, etc. Good Luck.
ARcruiser 01/28/05 08:40pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: 1997 190V

The old Dodge chassis is as reliable as any, if not more. The 318 and 360 engines are Very reliable. As to handling, Dodges ain't the best - but it's usually not really all that bad. On a '97, it should not be too bad. The real problem cases started in '98 thru about '01 models after the slight redesign. The '97 is before the redesign and I have not heard of any serious handling problems in those. Also, the handling on Dodges was not considered an issue on '97 models for two reasons. 1. as mentioned before, real handling problems didn't start till the redesign in '98. The majority were OK. Most others were pretty well straightened out with a TSB for new alignment specs, springs and steering gears. However, there were a few '98 to '01 models that never got straightened out. Dodge even bought some of 'em back. 2. Dodge handling was considered good compared to the competition at the time. The new Chevy's that hit the ground in '97 set a new standard 'tho. And as far as I can tell, the only rig that can rival the Chevy chassis in handling is the Sprinter (according to reports in this forum). The Ford chassis is probably in between on handling ... A little better than the old Dodges and not quite as good as the new Chevys. Lastly, some folks consider the vans of the year you are considering to be some of Home and Parks best work. Their opinions are that attention to quality and detail has slipped a bit in recent years... But I think the new Chevy 190's are awesome, and would love to have one!
ARcruiser 01/27/05 08:22pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: 1997 190V

You probably will want to read the current thread started by MGollad on th InterVec Horizon; the comments on Dodge handling are pertinent to Roadteks. Test drive it among fast trucks. The only options that are really useful, IMHO, are the generator (some will disagree), the awning (optional, but never seen one without), the 2nd house battery, and maybe rustproofing. I don't think there were many (any?) other H&P options, other than a couple of cabinets in place of the 2nd row seats. The 360 / 5.9 L engine would be nice, but not really needed, and carries a (very slight, IIRC) gas mileage penalty. 318 base is adequate unless you tow. I think the vans H&P used mostly were fully loaded with dash air, CD (not sure what year that started), cruise, power windows and locks, etc. I don't think they offered front leather in the Dodges. have a good mechanic drive it and give his opinion on the transmission; in my '99/'00 D190V, it was shot at 55,000 miles; a bit over $3K for a remanufactured one, installed. Probably the result of not disengaging the OD when towing or driving in mountains. If the shocks are worn, you'll want new, probably Bilsteins. Many Dodges have been retrofitted by owners with rear & maybe heavier front swaybars. Correctrak (sp?) rear wheel spacers are a pricey ($350+) upgrade, and may help with handling. Tires should not be run beyond 5-6 years, regardless of tread remaining. HTH, and keep us posted. Jim, "Liberal arts major; will think for money."
Handbasket 01/27/05 07:56pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: generator removal

Any chance the Bilsteins are just supplying a harsher ride than what you are used to? We hear lot's of Dodge handling complaints about wandering and such.... but not too many complaints about ride harshness. As much as I liked the handling characteristics of the Chevy chassis in our 99 RT, it did have a negative... it rode harsher than our previous two Dodges.
ARcruiser 10/19/04 04:28am Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Difference Between B and B+?

cheeze1, there happens to be an American Cruiser fairly near to your part of the country at what seems to be a very good price. It was not listed when I bought mine. It's here at rvtraderonline. By near, I mean mapquest shows it to be 3 or 3 1/2 hours from you. I drove / flew 16 to 18 hours each way to look at or purchase the last 2 rigs I was interested in... I still believe fit/finish on American Cruisers was as high or higher than RT or P'Way. The layout is great for touring... the sofa and dinette near the front keep all passengers together, but only one of those seats is forward facing... as a camper though, I'm still getting used to the bed being kinda in the middle of the rig instead of in the back. Of course, it's the same layout as a Chinook, so it's not really that uncommon, just different to us. The rear entry is great, and it does have a hitch... we towed a trailer on the TX trip, and it did not interfere with the rear door or electric step. From what I understand (from 3 different stories) they sold to a company that discontinued the motorhomes and concentrated on conversion vans. They pioneered and built the rear entry model from '99 to '01. You mostly see RE2000's, which is what we have. They also built the RE2000X, in which they extended the rear body about 18" or so, and I believe added dual rear wheels. From what I can tell, this design partly led to the selling of the company. As I hear it, American Cruiser and Xplorer both got into trouble with Daimler Chrysler over the severe body modifications on the extended body models. American Cruiser also had a model called Express or RE2000 Express. It did not have the bath and shower, only a closet for toilet. A while back somebody said they thought "they went outa business cause they built 'em too good". I have to agree it is a nice and well designed rig overall. The enclosed bath is larger than those in our P'Ways. Most of the exterior doors and windows are fiberglassed into the body instead of just being attached to the existing sheet metal. Shortcomings: Typical Dodge handling, but made worse in windy situations due to higher profile. Only 1 tank for black and grey, which overall I like - but if the tank gets full, the stuff that sloshes up the shower drain ain't gray water. To use the 110v A/C there is an exterior door that has to be opened to expose the exhast of the a/c unit. Earlier models did not have the door, and I may modify mine to use the grille like earlier version had or the door.
ARcruiser 06/18/04 08:17am Class B - Camping Van Conversions
Specific Questions on late model Dodge Handling - TSB and CorrecTrack

OK, I'm trying to find out about a few specific items on Dodges. #1 On 1998 and up models, pertaining to TSB. If you had steering gear replaced under the TSB, did it help? How much? #2 CorrecTrack Spacers.... If you added 'em, did they help? How much? Correct tire pressure is assumed, and alignment to new TSB specs along with the gear will be assumed also. #3 SAFE-T-PLUS Steering Control or some other brand. If you added it, did it help? How much? Any negative effects? (seems like I saw a couple of posts about premature steering component failure) Lastly, I don't wanna hurt nobody's feelings, but I do not need to hear from Pleasure-Way or other brand owners who have the spacers and steering damper UNLESS you added it. Since most Pleasure-Ways had one or the other or both from the factory, you folks cannot provide a "before and after" opinion. I really need to hear from folks that have personally experienced the "before and after" effects of these modifications on a single specific van.
ARcruiser 05/13/04 03:50pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions

I am about to drive to VA to purchase a used, 1-owner, 1994 COACH HOUSE Class-B what seems to be in excellent condition from correspondence, pictures, & follow-up. Congratulations! Hopefully the collection trip will go smoothly. I don't have Coach House experience, but some Dodge and a lot of general automotive experience. It sounds like it probably hasn't had new tires put on it in a while; get someone to post the way to read the date code on them (week / year?). If they're five or six years old or older, take it easy coming home, even if they have good tread on them. Then plan to replace them. Put a can or two of dri-gas in before you leave. Fuel tank condensation is a common problem on vehicles that have been sitting a lot with a less-than-full tank. Your rack should work fine for lighter stuff; the Dodge handling issues are for later models, but no vehicle will drive very well with too much weight that far behind the rear axle. The hitch should be readily available, as long as Coach House didn't mount some part of the conversion under the floor right at the back. Jim, "The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up."
Handbasket 01/07/04 07:44pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: great west vans

Hi Barbara, You didn't say what model GVW you had been looking at and what options were fitted , like does it hsve a generator? I have a Classic Sport the low roof model, wish I had the Supreme h model which gives you more "shoulder room" as the top lockers are moved out slightly. The roof is only minimally higher than the sport roof but the few inches overhang on the sides make a big difference inside! I have found the manufactures helpfull with e-mail queries when I first imnported my van to the UK. I know a lot has been said about the Dodge handling, but it can be improved, it is specific to certain floorplans particulary on the GWV. For example mine is a side sofa model which has all the water tanks and under floor mounted generator (all heavy items) placed behind the rear axle which is not the best position for good handling, between the wheels is best. Playing around with the air ride suspension settings i.e higher pressure for freeways will give a more stable ride, Upgrade to Bilstein shocks (if the van has not been fitted with them from new) this will make a big improvement too.
jogguk 10/19/03 03:41pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: American Cruiser

Don't know tons of info in the forums, search "American Cruiser", any date - do the same for "Dodge", may also look at "Dodge handling" and "Dodge chassis" http://www.rvtraderonline.com/adsearch.html has 5 of 'em right now
ARcruiser 05/18/03 03:46pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Roadtrek.....older vs new.....

2002/2002 190V Chevy: After 12,000 miles, very minimal issues. Nothing that really required warranty work, and nothing beyond what I would expect for a Class B camper. Has been an awesome unit and we can never return to normal minivan life. Previously owned a 2001 Dodge 190V which was 100% flawless until it was rammed into a low clearance parking garage. Also a great vehicle except for the scary Dodge handling which was alleviated somewhat by a Steer-safe installation. We would definitely buy another Roadtrek. We always give our units a good 1 to 2-hour look-over before driving it off the lot. This is good policy no matter what high-cost item you're buying. *This Message was edited on 24-Apr-03 12:38 PM by rob830*
rob830 04/24/03 12:35pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Great West Vans - Design Challenge

SOME RESPONSES TO YOUR COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: My questions or comments are marked with: JG>> Xxxx, xxx… Carowag New Member Chalmette, LA USA Are the Ford units being manufactured now? JG>> Yes. They are not yet available at all dealers though. I, like Karen am confused on Dodge handling problem. What, if anything, has changed? JG>> Chrysler has recognized problems with the steering boxes on some earlier models. A service bulletin (#19-002-01) has been issued and Chrysler dealers can service steering problems for those earlier units under warranty. Great West Vans installs air ride stabilizers in the rear suspension as well as offer heavier shocks (Bilstien) and a heavier duty after market stabilizer bar to suit personal handling preferences. Some of our competitors may have built wide body models or have poor weight distribution that is affecting their driveability. Great West Vans has not experienced this problem. Ultimately we feel that the best way to judge is to take a Great West Van for a test drive. As for my ideal van, I haven't seen the TBM, but it comes close. With another chassis (Chevy prefered) and the night table removed (perhaps a drop down table) to allow seat belts and of course a resonable price it would suit me fine. JG>> The night table is removable. There are two belts in the back already. If you want a third there and no night table at all, I can have one made for you. JC & Suzibug New Member Richardson, TX, USA Finally, I believe that if a manufacturer could design and build a Class B with bed, toilet, microwave, sink, and TV (only these items), with a price of $35-45,000, and do some decent marketing, they would have a winner. We've had our Roadtrek for about a year, and in that time, we've seen maybe 10 Class B's in our travels. Just imagine if only 5% of SUV buyers opted for a Class B instead, how many could be sold! JG>> These exist with pop tops. Are you saying you would want a 6’ to 6’3 interior with this? One more item I would like to add to my "nice to have" list is a second coach battery on/off switch either on the dash or within reach of the driver's seat. JG>> We’ve always put a coach battery on/off switch by side coach (house) door. Is the driver location better, or would both be preferred?
Jeremy Grattan 04/07/03 09:11pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
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