Removing the rear door panels on Crew and Passenger vans

The trim surrounding the door handle is flimsy, so be careful when you remove it.

If you have a Crew or Passenger van, it’s likely that you have the rear door panels installed. These have handy storage compartments in them.

If you want to insulate behind them or install a rear view camera in the license plate area, you’ll have to remove the panels.

Just recently we realized that we never described how to do this on the site. We’ve had several people ask how to take the trim off the door handle area, so here’s the missing information. Continue reading “Removing the rear door panels on Crew and Passenger vans”

Front window air vents from Reimo/EuroCampers

Close-up of the window vent

The MaxxAir fan is great, but it can’t do its job if the rest of the van is sealed up. It needs a flow of air in/out of the vehicle. We’ve thought about replacing the window behind the driver with an aftermarket vented one, or making another hole in the floor or step area to act as a vent.

Before we did that though, we wanted to try these slide-in metal vents from EuroCampers. They fit in the driver’s and co-driver’s windows and are held in place when you roll the window glass up.

First impressions are that they are functional but not the type of quality you might expect for the cost.

Continue reading “Front window air vents from Reimo/EuroCampers”

Ordering a Sprinter – what all the options mean

Sprinter build site

When you order a Sprinter, there are loads of different options you can choose. Some make more sense for a conversion van than others. Some come in packages which are great value. Others come in packages where there’s little additional value at all (Mercedes branded flashlight, anyone?)

Here’s a list of most of the options you’ll care about, what they really mean, and whether they’re worthwhile having for a conversion van.

Continue reading “Ordering a Sprinter – what all the options mean”

Sprinter A and B service costs – how to avoid dealer tricks

Service A dash message

If you call a dealer and ask how much their Sprinter A and B services cost, it won’t sound too terrible. That’s because dealers have started quoting just for an oil change, not the additional preventative maintenance that is required.

Once you drop the van off, they’ll subsequently let you know the extra cost -and time – for items such as replacing fuel filters, etc.

Do your homework. You need to know what items are typically required during the two types of service and you need to make sure the dealer quotes for all of them before you commit to getting the service done.

Continue reading “Sprinter A and B service costs – how to avoid dealer tricks”

Making foldable window shades from Low-E foil-faced foam

Low-E window coverings that will fold up.

We made some window shades for our van a while back using Low-E. They work great but they are a pain to store. We decided to make them fold so they’d take up less space.

We tried stitching them with a sewing machine, melting them with a soldering iron, just smooshing them together, but the best overall technique was to use a hot iron on the fold lines. This is how we made it work.

Continue reading “Making foldable window shades from Low-E foil-faced foam”

LED lantern comparison – we did so you don’t have to

Five lanterns to test out in the van.

We bought five different types of LED lantern to test out which worked best in the van.

We found that we needed a couple of small lanterns for when we want to get up in the middle of the night rather than switching on the main lights inside the van. Because they are portable, we also use them outside the van when we’re hanging out after dark.

Here’s a list of what we tried, and which worked best for our needs…

Continue reading “LED lantern comparison – we did so you don’t have to”

How corrosive is DEF fluid, anyway?

Black corrosion on copper cable from DEF exposure

When we last filled up with DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid), we poured a little into a plastic tub and threw in various pieces of metal. DEF is corrosive, but we wanted to find out just how bad it really is.

No surprise that zinc really reacts with DEF fluid, but the copper wire turned black with surface corrosion faster than we expected.

The biggest reassurance from this experiment was that tinned copper cable showed absolutely no reaction to the DEF fluid.

Continue reading “How corrosive is DEF fluid, anyway?”