Adventure Wagon RUV Kit Install

dpk

New member
I had been scouring these pages and several other resources looking for some guidance on the Adventure Wagon RUV kit, the install process, and the work required to get one of these kits into a blank van, hopefully this write up can help anyone else looking for the same information or send someone in the right direction for their build. I have no doubt that as these vans become more popular and the word continues to spread about how functional and durable the AdWagon RUV kit you will see more of these write ups and the finished vans out there. It will be fun to see how the creative minds and functional skills of many on these forums will adjust and modify these setups to fit their hobbies and needs.

Background: I am NOT a talented mechanic nor am I one of those guys with a brilliant mind who can look at a problem and instantly know how to solve it. My brain works on a third grade level and my process usually requires me to lay everything out, go over each step of the instructions, call some people, screw it up, and then finally fix it and get it right on the second or third go. With that being said the Adventure Wagon setup is easily installed by anyone who has a basic understanding of simple hand tools and enough DIY motivation to keep moving forward. It took me 68 hours, over the course of 15 days, from start to finish on a blank 2017 144" 2500 Sprinter to completely install the RUV kit. This time included several hours of reworking some items that where probably unnecessary or just me being overly cautious. It was completed nearly entirely by myself with only two hands (and several Irwin clamps), however a second set of hands to help layup the interior horizontal and vertical wall bracing is almost certainly required due to the nature of the setup and the fit requirements. I would plan on using a buddy to help ensure that these items go in exactly as specified in the instructions. After seeing how tight the fit is and how precisely AdWagon has engineered the kit for a truly professional finish making sure each measurement is nuts on and level while using the standard 'measure three times, drill once' philosophy.

The Kit: Adventure Wagon has put together an extremely nice off the shelf product. After looking at the photos, watching the videos, and reading the instructions the kit still impresses straight out of the box. The finish work is dialed, the seams are tight, the upholstery and cuts are precise. We picked the kit up at the facility in Portland but each item is professionally packed to ship so no doubt or worry if you were having the kit shipped via freight carrier. The components of the electrical system are very high quality marine grade components. The wiring harness is piece of art work, the connections are tight and easy to build up using a quality crimping tool and a heat gun. The Blue Sea systems Charge Relay and Fuse Block fit comfortable under the driver seat and the entire power system was easy to install with out much fuss. One item to mention is that AdWagon is in the process of updating the directions and videos for the install guide on their website, a couple of the components I received were different that the items listed on the directions. It was self explanatory for the most part but required a couple phones calls to AdWagon to make sure I was looking at the right guidance. the customer service is second to none. After two rings Chad Smith, owner/designer, answered the phone and dropped what he was doing to explain it. Several other guys around the shop were available nearly constantly to just answer general questions via cell phone and email. Several friends of mine asked questions about the parts or items used in the kit and the AdWagon crew has provided all the information about the parts used, nothing proprietary, no secret parts. They can provide replacements parts or the information you need to replace anything in the entire kit. Just last week we dropped in to pick up the MOAB bed and arrived late in the day right at the 5pm shop closure time. Sean had built up the bed last minute and Jeff Bantle was waiting for us with a smile, he had everything ready to go, he stayed late and even helped install the bed, a MULE bag and hung out for a bit to ask about how the process went. These guys make it easy and definitely have a great group. Outstanding support and customer service.

The Tools: AdWagon provides a complete tool list and a video explaining which items are required for the build from start to finish. It cost about $500 in specific tooling after it was all said and done, this amount was not totally a hard and fast fixed cost but I did purchase and pneumatic 1/4in rivet gun and in hindsight would have shelled out another $250 on a pneumatic rivnut tool w/ an M6 mandrel. After installing a couple hundred rivnuts with the Marson manual tool ($130) dropping another $150 to go pneumatic would be a no brainer. This will save time and most likely improve the quality of each rivnut installed. I noticed the difference the most when installing the rivnuts in the thinner steel of the doors. The rivnuts supplied by AdWagon most definitely worked but in hindsight I might switch them out for a different type with a smaller grip size or maybe even nut plates. There are a few nut plate solutions out there and I think I will experiment with when I get the extra free time. The 1/4in pneumatic rivut gun is a must, no way can you accurately place that many pop rivets with two hands using a manual tool, I snagged one for $60 from Harbor Freight. Another useful tool was a multi-meter for making sure each electrical connection and outlet are tight and pumping power and the wiring harness and battery system is working as advertised prior to installing the insulation and wall panels. Using slightly more expensive and higher quality drill bits was worth the extra cost, the holes were cleaner and it as easier to drill. Using a stop bit setup to help prevent a mis-drill is required. Some areas near the midline of the van has structural components behind the interior that required drilling or modifying. Having an extra couple bits on hand and a file and punch will easily help those situations.

Install process: We first started with the exterior van preparation, sealing all of the usual holes in the body and making sure everything was weather/corrosion proofed. The biggest weakness we found was the standard trim clip leakage which is easily fixed. This was a 2017 van with 146 miles on it when we picked it up in February in Wisconsin, you can see that even a new van has some leakage. We also removed the OEM lights and wiring and capped and cable loose ends. We also removed the interior paneling and saved it just in case we needed a drilling template, but all the AdWagon panels come predrilled nicely with the fabric trimmed and the holes precut.
We had nice weather and warm temps so we went ahead and installed both MaxAir fans on day one and started the electrical system install starting with the battery tray and running the wiring harness. The fan install was very straight forward and the templates provided in the kit fit perfectly. There is always a little heartburn when you are on top of your new Mercedes roof with a jigsaw about to axe two holes in it but everything turned out perfect. The trim rings might allow a little slop but being accurate and slow helped us make sure things fit tight. We painted the bare steel and fit the rings. The 3M Extreme Seal tape is pretty aggressive and seals well. One technique I learned quickly was to remove the backing slowly as you lay the tape down working out the air bubbles and ensuring a seal. The first strip has a small learning curve but you will get the hang of it. It is also available on Amazon and I ordered a few extra strips to have on hand for other projects. I watched the fans for a couple days after some solid rain and a car wash to endure no leakage before we continued the build. The wiring harness was straight forward, be sure to run the wiring harness down the correct channels in the roof. You will hit some dead ends near the midline of the van and having the wires running down the correct channel will provide for a level fit of the ceiling panels toward the end of the build. I tucked the wiring between the van body and held it in place with the hush-mat. The terminal fittings are installed after the wiring is run, make sure you verify which terminals are going where and that the panel cutouts match which terminals you are installing. Some panels have one, two, or four precut holes for the 12V or USB charges and those determine which fittings go where.

....this is a work in progress and add more in the next couple days.

Please reach out with any questions or descriptions. Glad to share what we learned.


Since the Sprinter Forum website only allows five photos I have attached a link to the photo Adventure Wagon RUV Kit Installation Photo Album:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TV3QRdJPMBqjKxnX9
 
Last edited:

VanGoSki

Active member
Awesome, and welcome to the forum. I'm new here as well. I have a Sprinter on order and am pretty certain I'm going to go with AdvWagon components, so this write-up is very interesting to me. Note that AdvWagon doesn't show an RUV kit on their website. Although they do have an Interior Conversion Kit which must just be a new name of it.

So what else will you be adding to your van? Any kitchen components? Windows? Heat?

Keep up the good work. :thumbup:
 

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!
 

grantwilson

FreedomVanGo
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!
It is a set spot. no variance. They include a tool to locate them that hooks in the holes on the cross supports
 

spach

New member
Great writeup, dpk, thanks for doing this! (The photos are super helpful too). I'm getting ready to order an AW kit and had one question for you:

We first started with the exterior van preparation, sealing all of the usual holes in the body and making sure everything was weather/corrosion proofed. The biggest weakness we found was the standard trim clip leakage which is easily fixed. This was a 2017 van with 146 miles on it when we picked it up in February in Wisconsin, you can see that even a new van has some leakage.
Can you elaborate on that or point me to some links on what kind of inspection and prep I should do? I have the good fortune to have just received my 2019 144" and am trying to be as buttoned-up as possible from the get-go. Reading about "the usual holes in the body" is new to me, and any help or suggestions you have here would be greatly appreciated!

Stephen
 

spach

New member
Hi Stephen, check out this thread in the VS30 forum. They redesigned the plugs in the 2019 models and so far nobody has complained about water ingress.
Well, that is very good news. Thanks for the heads-up, wquek!

Stephen
 

brownvan

2017 4X4 HR 144"
It's the 80 mil Noico. I bought 3 boxes (36 sq-ft per) and was almost able to cover my entire interior panels of my 144HR cargo including above the headliner.
NOICO 80 MIL
Also I have cut templates for the Thinsulate and will post them soon. I think 300 sq-ft was super for my van (60' x 5') allowing me to do a double layer in the lower panels similar to what AdWag does.
 

GYG

New member
@brownvan looking forward to those templates! The price savings seem like a no-brainer to go this route versus utilizing Adwag's insulation kit.
 

canyoneer

2017 144 High Roof
It's the 80 mil Noico. I bought 3 boxes (36 sq-ft per) and was almost able to cover my entire interior panels of my 144HR cargo including above the headliner.
NOICO 80 MIL
Also I have cut templates for the Thinsulate and will post them soon. I think 300 sq-ft was super for my van (60' x 5') allowing me to do a double layer in the lower panels similar to what AdWag does.
I also used the Noico, but only one box, as I also used lizard skin. So the Noico just went in the cab and in the doors. Adventure Wagon just deducted the amount they charge for their hushmat. I ended up just using Ad Wagon's thinsulate just because I wanted to save the time of figuring out the sizing. They sent the thinsulate with all the panels marked and I just had to cut it, which was pretty easy using a powered rotary fabric cutter. But now I think they send it already cut.
 
Last edited:

elemental

Dis member
Quick question regarding the the Adwag kit. I am considering not purchasing the insulation or hushmat from Adwag. For the Thinsulate, I will likely go with Hein. For the Hushmat, can anyone point me toward the right product and quantity needed for a 144" Sprinter? This seems like the stuff: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IJG20MS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_zzSUEbKA9W6A0
That box of Hushmat you have linked looks like the right stuff. I picked up extra off Amazon when I did my van because of reasons that I now forget. Can't tell you how much to get for your 144", though; I have a 170" and I installed the kit 2 years ago (I've slept since then). If it helps, some people (Hein) suggest you don't need much Hushmat (if any); some suggest a 25% coverage is more than adequate. I know I did a lot more than 25% coverage with the Adventure Wagon kit.
 

brownvan

2017 4X4 HR 144"
Thanks GYG, let me know when you will receive your insulation and I will try to post the insulation cut drawings before then (I'm still drawing them up). I kept notes from my build and I have been meaning to start a thread on cutting thinsulate patterns and I did some patterns that others might benefit from. My approach was sort of origami-style and many of the pieces were single-piece with slits to accommodate the spaceframe. It was fun and I had the time to do it. Otherwise the adventure wagon video online is a great reference for how they do it and you could just refer to that for inspiration on how to get it done quickly...
there are some other videos on their Youtube channel
 

GYG

New member
Thanks GYG, let me know when you will receive your insulation and I will try to post the insulation cut drawings before then (I'm still drawing them up). I kept notes from my build and I have been meaning to start a thread on cutting thinsulate patterns and I did some patterns that others might benefit from. My approach was sort of origami-style and many of the pieces were single-piece with slits to accommodate the spaceframe. It was fun and I had the time to do it. Otherwise the adventure wagon video online is a great reference for how they do it and you could just refer to that for inspiration on how to get it done quickly...
there are some other videos on their Youtube channel
Any luck with those drawings? Receiving insulation next week and the build will begin! :)
 

Top Bottom