Adventure Wagon RUV Interior Conversion Review

Mattalatta

New member
I just completed the installation of the Adventure Wagon RUV Kit. Since I was unable to find a review of the kit before I bought it, I thought I would post a review. Here it is:

https://youtu.be/xs-3jElInY4

This is a review of the Adventure Wagon RUV Interior Conversion Kit from a DIY perspective. In 6 minutes you see the process, learn a few tips and find out if the kit can be installed by a rank amateur and still get professional results.

I would be interested in other's experience with the Adventure Wagon RUV Kit.
 
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pwe312

Member
I just finished installing the kit too. Agree with everything you said. A few things I'll add...

- I started with a cargo van with cut outs in the B pillars for a partition. This leaves a hole in the front pieces of the kit so I have to get new B pillars from a crew or passenger van to clean up the look.

- The headliner looks great but maybe money would be better spent on one of those shelves if you don't need the headroom. It's kind of a waste to get one now and cover up part of the headliner.

- They made really nice custom molded pieces to go around the rear window and above the sliding door. I wish they did that for the rear doors too. It looks unfinished and the wires are exposed. I've checked some other builders and some just wrap that area with fabric. If I knew this ahead of time, I probably would have wrapped it too before putting in all the panels.

- If you have stock door panels, use them as a template to drill holes for ur new panels. I tossed my rear door panels because they were damaged but still could've traced the holes.

- They provide a giant roll of double sided tape to hold up the insulation. I think this is ingenius and way better than spraying glue everywhere. I don't think the thinsulate really needs to be glued down and it's quite impossible to glue it down in all the nooks and crannies anyway.

- The mule bag is pricey but worth it I think. U have to compare the price to luggage or hard cabinets, not a duffel bag. It's huge and has lots of storage pockets. It's not that easy to install and move around. But maybe I just suck with the L track nuts and bolts.

Now that I've done it, I feel like I could do a full install in half the time. Pretty simple and straightforward. Highly recommended.


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Mattalatta

New member
Great comments and I agree with every thing you said. I didn't have the B pillar problem, but the rear door fitting is an opportunity for refinement.

Once installed the RUV kit provides for almost infinite customization.

Thank for sharing your experience.
 

canyoneer

2017 144 High Roof
I also just finished installing the kit, about three weeks ago, right before leaving on a big mountain bike race trip ( High Cascades 100 and Maah Daah Hey 100) and a bunch of riding in Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and North Dakota, which we just got home from yesterday.

I also agree with all the comments above and those in the video, the instructions were definitely lacking. I didn't have issues with anything except two mis-marked upper wall panels, which caused a few problems, but was mostly fine in the end. Now one panel is not perfect, but it is hidden by the MULE bag anyway.

I just did the pre-sewn headliner option. So Ad Wag cut and sewed it to be ready to be installed by my local upholstery guy. He was impressed with the sewing, and did a great job himself on gluing the fabric to my headliner. I didn't want to mess with shipping back my headliner, and also didn't want to take a chance on getting some used headliner that someone else sent back. It was $400 just for the sewn fabric. I'm sure a local upholstery person could sew it as well, but I had seen at least one example of that, and I didn't like how they did it. So I just bit the bullet and paid for it to be pre-sewn. I also covered an RB Components shelf in the same fabric, and I love the overall look of the cab area.
 

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Mattalatta

New member
Canyoneer- is that the RB Components headliner shelf covered with matching fabric? It looks great. Did you cover the shelf yourself?

Matt
 

canyoneer

2017 144 High Roof
Canyoneer- is that the RB Components headliner shelf covered with matching fabric? It looks great. Did you cover the shelf yourself?

Matt
Thanks.

I had my local upholstery guy cover it. After he did such a great job with the headliner, I just had him do my rear door panels along with the RB shelf. I was going to attempt it myself, but chickened out and just paid to have it done.

I had Ad Wag send me an additional 4 yards of the fabric, and I still have some left over.
 
PWE312 or anyone, do you know the name and description of the wide double faced tape that was furnished by Adventure Wagon to hold up the insulation?
 

canyoneer

2017 144 High Roof
PWE312 or anyone, do you know the name and description of the wide double faced tape that was furnished by Adventure Wagon to hold up the insulation?
I think it's this stuff.

3M 950 Adhesive Transfer Tape, 4" x 60 yd, Densified Kraft Paper, Clear/Tan Liner, 8/Case

https://www.eis-inc.com/adhesive-tr...O3Uf2MlTc75-bH_EVyEbP3dgmhZuhAVRoCqAEQAvD_BwE

But Adventure Wagon is really good about letting you know the name of the products they use and even where to get them. I also asked about the tape they used for the fans (3M Extreme Sealing Tape.) I wanted to use it for my solar panel cable entry gland.
 

pwe312

Member
I think it's this stuff.

3M 950 Adhesive Transfer Tape, 4" x 60 yd, Densified Kraft Paper, Clear/Tan Liner, 8/Case

https://www.eis-inc.com/adhesive-tr...O3Uf2MlTc75-bH_EVyEbP3dgmhZuhAVRoCqAEQAvD_BwE

But Adventure Wagon is really good about letting you know the name of the products they use and even where to get them. I also asked about the tape they used for the fans (3M Extreme Sealing Tape.) I wanted to use it for my solar panel cable entry gland.
That looks like it. Had no idea it was that expensive though!

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Humm, now let's see, a case of 8 would be about $1,700.00. How many rolls did they send you? I would think just one strip across the top of each panel would be sufficient. Looks like I will be sticking to 3M90. :smirk:

Gene
 

pwe312

Member
I got 1 giant roll. Used less than half of it. I'm not an expert but I don't think the insulation really needs to be sealed really tightly against your walls. Think about insulation in your home. It just lays against the walls. I didn't even use any in the lower panels that can be wedged in place. It mainly helped on the ceiling and large middle panels to hold the insulation in place while I put up the panels. Once the panels are up, they squish the insulation tightly in place anyways. The roomier spots were double layered.

You can probably just use some cheap masking tape instead.

If you aren't going with their full kit, I would still recommend buying the thinsulate from them. It's about the same price elsewhere but they mark out all the panels for you to cut. Some still require slight modification but it it saves a ton of time.

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slamit

www.cacampervan.com
I agree with the review as well a few other comments that I have had from others whom have installed as well and being an installer for others with their product.

1. It takes WAY more time than one thinks to put these kits in; I think this is obvious on the video...it's not a one weekend job nor for the first time installer it will take way longer to install any of their products than what they state, no biggie, just be prepared to have your van down for a bit. Just like a home project take what you think it will take and double your time. For someone who has no experience...its would be easy to push this easily into the 60 hour range all said and done. (figure time to get materials, research, tools, clean up, set up...thats the real time it takes to do any project)

2. I agree instructions are horrible, they should provide very detailed video as they are DIY focused

3. Product is a great value; especially if you install it yourself, hire someone like me...not so much, you save a bit, but not a lot, it really is a great value for what you get if you like what it does

4. Fuse panel location in driver seat is horrible, no access if you a have a swivel seat and likely you will want more than what they offer. The wiring as well could ideally be heavier gauge in the perfect world for some of the high capacity outlets. Put the fuse panel in the passenger side; you have access, keep it out of the way if you plan on adding a heater. Even better upgrade the panel and main power connections. I find modification and adding wiring is needed to customize for your particular power needs, but for a DIYer it is pretty simple compared to doing it from scratch

5. You don't need two fans if you have vented windows and a 144"...plus this takes up valuable roof space if you want to add solar or a rack

6. If you modify the kit in anyway (rear small windows) you are on your own, they don't provide support/product to really help you other than general advice

7. Get the pre-sewn headliner and take it to an upholster, for a few hundred dollars it will be perfect.

8. Sound deadener is ok, but that's not the best product on the market. It works. Insulation is excellent choice

9. This is a great kit for the $ if you install it yourself. Quality if very good. It will save you LOTS of time vs trying to do this by scratch. I would recommend the kit if this is what you want (look/function) You likely will make some mistakes for sure due to their lack of documentation, but that is part of the fun and learning process.

10. BEST way to install this kit yourself. Invest in their DIY class, learn how to do it to avoid mistakes. You still will save some $, learn a few things, and have fun. However, mask your roof off and use boards to spread your weight when cutting out your fan otherwise you will dent the heck out of your roof and put hot metal shavings all over your paint. They don't do this in their video and they should.
 

brownvan

2017 4X4 HR 144"
Question for those who have installed the Adventure Wagon Ceiling L-Track kit:
LINK: https://adventurewagon.com/pages/ceiling_track

What is the spacing of the L-track running lengthwise? Center-to-center or inside/outside dimensions would be really helpful. It looks like these rails can be positioned to suit but the cutouts in the rear door archway will largely dictate their spacing.
Trying to determine the spacing of the rails relative to my rear sunroof and if it is feasible...
Thanks!
 

Rpdoyle

New member
The center to center width is 30.5”. If you mount it utilizing their clamping tool, there is no deviation possible from that width. I suppose you could do it without the tool but I don’t think it could be much different.
 

spach

New member
Great tips, slamit. A few questions as I'm getting ready to pull the trigger and order an RUV kit:

4. Fuse panel location in driver seat is horrible, no access if you a have a swivel seat and likely you will want more than what they offer. [...] Put the fuse panel in the passenger side; you have access, keep it out of the way if you plan on adding a heater. Even better upgrade the panel and main power connections. I find modification and adding wiring is needed to customize for your particular power needs...
Wiring/fuses/panel seems to be the area where I have the most questions/issues about the AW kit. For the initial rough build I want to do something to get up to speed and on the road quickly (basically just fan/power/heat/insulation/walls/bed), then re-tackle the problem in the fall after I've had a winter of skiing and a summer of mountain biking to more fully evaluate my needs (this is my first van). On the minus side I don't have an aux battery installed (yet), on the plus side one of my best friends is a professional electrician, so I have qualified help!

Questions for you:

1) Is there room for an Espar/Webasto heater under the passenger seat (I do have factory swivel but not power seats) if I relocate the AW fuse panel there? It seemed really hinky to me to have to remove my drivers seat if I blow a fuse or trip the breaker, which it appears is the case, yes?

2) It really seems like the proper place for house batteries is in the garage, but of course the AW wiring kit terminates at the front of the van. Do you think their system will be easy to expand upon later (e.g., larger panel, house batteries, maybe solar, and rewiring from aux to house etc)? It does seem like a nice polished get-going-quick solution with appropriate amounts and locations for plugs (though no 110).

5. You don't need two fans if you have vented windows and a 144"...plus this takes up valuable roof space if you want to add solar or a rack
I was thinking the same thing. My plan is to put a vented CR Laurence window on the drivers side up front opposite the fixed passenger-side window. If using just one fan would you use the front location (venting would be closest to cooking etc.) or the rear (probably better overall airflow from the front windows to a rear fan)?

7. Get the pre-sewn headliner and take it to an upholster, for a few hundred dollars it will be perfect.
Hadn't really thought much about the headliner, is it just as easy to add/install later as it is when doing the initial buildout?

8. Sound deadener is ok, but that's not the best product on the market. It works. Insulation is excellent choice
Can you elaborate on that a bit? I like the fact that it's pre-cut which seems like it will save a lot of time and hassle, but I did consider using the Noico instead as it seems to be the most non-toxic solution and gets high marks from people.

10. [...] However, mask your roof off and use boards to spread your weight when cutting out your fan otherwise you will dent the heck out of your roof and put hot metal shavings all over your paint. They don't do this in their video and they should.
This is the one area I'm uncomfortable with; the idea of cutting holes in my brand-new sprinter makes me queasy. My plan is to get the fan kit(s), carefully mark off the cut area, and use either a local auto glass place or a local upfitter to double-check the placement and install the fans for me. It seems like a worthwhile expense for something that would be *very* expensive if I screwed it up. My second-biggest worry here since I have to wait a while for the actual v2.0 ceiling panels to ship is that they'll show up and my fans won't line up exactly with the kit hole(s). That makes me nervous.

Thanks for all your time doing all the writeups and comments you do, it's super-helpful stuff, especially for a first-timer like me!

Stephen
 

elemental

Wherever you go, there you are.
Great tips, slamit. A few questions as I'm getting ready to pull the trigger and order an RUV kit:
I installed the AdWag RUV kit June 2018 after attending a Builder's Workshop in April 2018. I didn't see this thread earlier because I hit the road in June 2018 and didn't get back until August... I'll answer your questions where I think I can based on my experience.

Wiring/fuses/panel seems to be the area where I have the most questions/issues about the AW kit. For the initial rough build I want to do something to get up to speed and on the road quickly (basically just fan/power/heat/insulation/walls/bed), then re-tackle the problem in the fall after I've had a winter of skiing and a summer of mountain biking to more fully evaluate my needs (this is my first van). On the minus side I don't have an aux battery installed (yet), on the plus side one of my best friends is a professional electrician, so I have qualified help!

Questions for you:

1) Is there room for an Espar/Webasto heater under the passenger seat (I do have factory swivel but not power seats) if I relocate the AW fuse panel there? It seemed really hinky to me to have to remove my drivers seat if I blow a fuse or trip the breaker, which it appears is the case, yes?
One of the major benefits to the AdWag RUV kit is getting up to speed quickly with a reasonable base capability. If you are planning to use your van like the AdWag "Recreational Utility Vehicle" concept, changing the interior flexibly to serve multiple purposes, then I think it is a great way to go (and I put my money where my mouth is already). I've been using my van for everything from full-on cargo (no bench seats, loaded to the gills with furniture and other things), transporting a robotics team (8 passengers using two bench seats, plus 8 horizontal feet of cargo divided into an upper half for light pieces and a lower half for heavier pieces), to multi-day over the road family trips (seating for five, sleeping one kid under the rear MOAB and the other along the single bench seat), to 2-person camping (no bench seats installed, MOAB for sleeping and a Trail Kitchens Van TK galley module bolted up front).

In the NCV3, there is room under the passenger seat for a D2-sized diesel air heater with room to spare, and so the AdWag fuse panel could fit there (it is a small blade fuse block). However, the two AdWag wiring harnesses are sized to both terminate under the driver's seat. It would be fairly easy to terminate the passenger-side harness in the passenger seat base, because it passes through the passenger seat base. The driver-side harness ends in the driver seat base; each circuit would need to be extended to the passenger seat base.

I screwed my AdWag fuse block onto the plastic infrastructure in the driver seat base near the back on the right where it is somewhat accessible through the foam panel on the top of the seat base. I haven't tried accessing it that way to replace a fuse, but it *might* be possible. So far I haven't blown any fuses, so accessing it hasn't been a problem. I also installed the circuit breaker to the load distribution fuse panel under the driver seat base, and can confirm that the breaker can be reset by lifting up the foam panel and reaching into the base.

My "next phase" plan is to convert from the AdWag-supplied fuse block to a Blue Sea Systems WeatherDeck Fuse Panel so that I can switch each circuit on/off independently, as well as make the fuses more accessible. I plan to install this fuse panel on the outside rear of the driver seat base. I like the capability to switch off circuits I don't want in use without killing off all circuits through the load master disconnect.

2) It really seems like the proper place for house batteries is in the garage, but of course the AW wiring kit terminates at the front of the van. Do you think their system will be easy to expand upon later (e.g., larger panel, house batteries, maybe solar, and rewiring from aux to house etc)? It does seem like a nice polished get-going-quick solution with appropriate amounts and locations for plugs (though no 110).
I think the AdWag kit is a good first phase, and can be expanded from without too much trouble. I added AdWag's aux battery kit after I had installed the original RUV kit, and found it easy to put in place. The ADWag aux battery kit puts the batteries under the hood in the factory aux battery location, however, not the rear of the van. If/when you put house batteries in the rear of the van, you would need to run a high-current circuit from the rear of the van to the AdWag load distribution point under the driver's seat base. Since whatever else you add on merely needs to connect to this load distribution point, all of the items you mention can easily be added on later. If you choose to center your future additions on the garage, then its just a pair of high-current cables up to the front (or just one cable if you use a frame ground/return) to carry the house battery current to the load distribution point.

In my case, I'm adding the additional items you mention around the driver seat base; solar panels down from the roof, and a shore power connection up through the cable passage under the driver's seat base, connecting to a multi-source charger (vehicle, solar, and shore) attached to the rear of the driver's seat base.

Once I have the multi-source charger in place, I'll also have two externally-accessible switches mounted on the driver's seat base; one to select the charging source (vehicle direct through a relay, or from all of the current sources through the multi-source charger, or cut off), the other to select how my loads are powered (from the house battery, from the vehicle battery, or cut off).

In the event that I find that I want to install more battery storage, I'll probably go LiFePo, and I'll have to decide whether to fit those near the driver seat base or in the back, since I won't want them out in the cold.

Hadn't really thought much about the headliner, is it just as easy to add/install later as it is when doing the initial buildout?
My opinion is that getting the van headliner/paneling all in place at one time was valuable to me. It holds the RUV kit insulation in place and finishes off the interior.

Can you elaborate on that a bit? I like the fact that it's pre-cut which seems like it will save a lot of time and hassle, but I did consider using the Noico instead as it seems to be the most non-toxic solution and gets high marks from people.
The sound-damping material (Hushmat) was not pre-cut in my kit. Noico is primarily sound-damping. The 3M Thinsulate thermal/acoustic insulation was not pre-cut in my kit either (April 2018), but I understand from the AdWag website that the Thinsulate thermal/acoustic insulation is pre-cut now. That will save you a couple of hours :)

This is the one area I'm uncomfortable with; the idea of cutting holes in my brand-new sprinter makes me queasy. My plan is to get the fan kit(s), carefully mark off the cut area, and use either a local auto glass place or a local upfitter to double-check the placement and install the fans for me. It seems like a worthwhile expense for something that would be *very* expensive if I screwed it up. My second-biggest worry here since I have to wait a while for the actual v2.0 ceiling panels to ship is that they'll show up and my fans won't line up exactly with the kit hole(s). That makes me nervous.
I personally would wait to cut/have cut the fan holes until I had the ceiling panels, and I had the instructions on how to line up the holes to be cut for the fans with the pre-cut holes in the ceiling panels. I used AdWag's pre-cut front panel for my front fan, and had no problem with the hole that I cut lining up with the pre-cut hole in the panel. The instructions were adequate, and there is some tolerance. An auto glass or up fitter vendor won't really be able to double-check placement without the panels; all they can do is follow the instructions from AdWag.

Depending on where you are located, there might be a reasonably close AdWag installer who would already be familiar with AdWag's solution who could put the fans in for you (at a price of course). I found the hardest part of the fan installation was not cutting the hole, but rather working with the sealing tape that AdWag supplies to make the external junction between the van and the fan ring weather-tight.
 
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elemental

Wherever you go, there you are.
This is a review of the Adventure Wagon RUV Interior Conversion Kit from a DIY perspective. In 6 minutes you see the process, learn a few tips and find out if the kit can be installed by a rank amateur and still get professional results.

I would be interested in other's experience with the Adventure Wagon RUV Kit.
It would have been nice to see a review/details before buying the kit - I bought mine in April 2018, after a) making a trip to AdWag in person to see the details of the kit, and b) attending a Builder's Workshop to get experience in working with the kit. I wish I had had the presence of mind to video my installation experience to share, but I was too focused on getting the work done under a (self-imposed) deadline.

Overall, I personally found the advantage of the kit to be well worth the cost. I didn't have any experience doing any projects like installing the kit, although I had some of the required tools and knew how to use them for other purposes. I was also looking for precisely the capability that the AdWag RUV kit brings - a well-finished van that can be used for multiple purposes (rather than a full-up RV conversion).

For me, supplementing the installation instructions with the hands-on experience of the workshop was a big plus. I could have probably managed it without the workshop, but it sure helped. I also was able to answer questions that arose during installation using pictures that I took during the workshop as well as video segments recorded by one of the other workshop participants to help bridge gaps in the instructions that I couldn't bridge on my own (due to my lack of experience with projects of similar types). For those questions that I couldn't answer with these resources, the AdWag folks were very available by phone and e-mail during the installation process.
 

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