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#9746 Here is the final product! Charley camper van is done!!

Posted by mahu on 15 July 2017 - 01:54 AM

7 months of work over the course of 13 months in 2016 and 2017. Did the finishing touches today. Now it's time to clean the condo and then off to Alaska.


Here a small sample. For a full build thread visit this imgur album: 

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#6872 What have you done to your NV van lately?

Posted by Chris Dempsey on 26 July 2016 - 06:18 AM

I wanted to control my Fan-tastic fan from the dash, and while I was at it, replaced the blank, dummy switches. One will be for an eventual seat warmer, the other for unruly passengers.

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#1243 Disable your DRL's

Posted by Tatunka on 03 November 2013 - 10:36 AM

I posted this earlier in Maintence section before we had this section.


I personaly hate the DRL's on my van, if you do too it's very easy to turn them off.  Under the hood, locate the fuse panels on the passenger side, open the one closest to the firewall (main fuse panel) and pull out the tray of fuses (there are tabs on either side and lift it up and out), locate the DRL fuse (F3, DTRL RELAY PWR), pull it out and no more DRL's and no warning lights on the dash.


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#10089 Total Eclipse of the Sun

Posted by ASD Dad on 21 August 2017 - 02:49 PM

A couple shots from my backyard.  

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#5430 Black out window openings

Posted by Rickf191 on 30 December 2015 - 05:18 PM

I had to do something to the appearance. I wanted to break up all the solid silver. So I vinyl wrapped the window spots with 3m 1080 gloss black. It's a work truck in disguise. Let me know what you guy's think. 


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#5213 Likes Leaders!

Posted by KMG on 19 November 2015 - 01:49 PM

I just noticed I'm six likes away from making the leader board!  And on a totally separate topic I wanted to take the time to say that:

1.  radin2son

2.  Chris_CommercialManager

3.  ASD Dad

4.  andy_george

5.  Tatunka

6.  axulsuv

are really great guys!


Can you guess which member is adjusting to the free time retirement brings?


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#5209 Indel B 12v fridge/freezer

Posted by wollip on 18 November 2015 - 09:44 PM

I'm giving up on ice chests. My $400 one keeps ice 10% better
than my $40 one from Walmart.
I don't make this change without giving it much thought. My plan
was always to keep things simple and an ice chest fits that criteria.
But I think the recently discussed Ctek dc to dc charging system
will make dc refrigeration feasible without complications.
So the first thing installed is an Indel B 12v fridge/freezer.

Space is always at a premium so we decided that the center console
could go away and the Indel B take that spot. Why this brand over
any of the others out there? Because the 50 liter version is a near
exact replacement for the center console. And because the light and
dark grays make it look like a factory option.
I bought the optional mounting plate - for $75 there was no need
for me to try to build something.
All this kit is available from equipt1.com - I think they are the only US
So far I have only used it with the cig plug in the dash. But I am in the
process of wiring it up permanently.
After a couple of months of use I have to say I really like it. Does
everything I wanted and is very, very low maintenance. Just wipe it out
between uses and remember to keep the lid propped open a little
if you aren't going to use it for an extended period.
It has the wife's seal of approval for looks and functionality.

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#4743 Laharview Farm Camper Build

Posted by laharview on 13 September 2015 - 09:00 PM

This morning I installed a solid window in the slider made by CR Lawrence.  I bought it on-line at Sears and found there price $80 lower than anywhere else.


It was an 8 hour job.  The first 7-3/4 hours I spent over thinking how to cut the hole (die grinder, plasma cutter, ?), 10 minutes to make the cut , and 5 minutes to install the window.


I ended up using a good pair of offset tin snips.  I rough cut the hole to within 1/2" and then went around for the finish.  The cut is made right to the second layer of sheet metal.  Had to trim the door handle plastic a bit.  My Son assisted holding the window in.  This was a simple installation and I will now order the window for right behind the drivers door.  Going to get the one that opens.


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#10605 Need 4WD Conversion Advice

Posted by peter_fazio on 07 November 2017 - 01:53 PM



  Well, I think I will give you the opposite take on the 4WD NV.  I have a 2013 NV3500 passenger with the Quigley 4WD conversion.  I spent the first 3 years with my van having RWD.  I found that I got stuck in lots of places where it was just slippery (ie wet muddy grass, dirt inclines, etc).  I typically would be towing a trailer full of dirtbikes.  The stock tires (Firestone Transforce) were almost useless in anything even remotely loose or slippery.  I upgraded to BFG All Terrain KO2 tires.  They were a huge improvement in traction, but I still had lots of difficulties especially in wet muddy fields ( like you would find at dirtbike events in the Northeast).  The so-called active traction control on the rear axle helps, but is very limited in its ability to transfer drive torque to the other (non-slipping) wheel.  I would contend IF you could equip the NV rear axle with a proper locking differential then it would be much more capable in low traction situations.  So, about a year ago I had my NVP converted by Quigley.  BTW, they do an outstanding job, it really looks like a factory setup.  Since, I have been converted to 4WD, essentially all my traction issues have gone away.  I now can tow my trailers up slippery hills and go where I need to go w/o having to resort to chains or other temporary traction aids.  Personally, I love it.  I have been driving full size vans for 40 years and have always put up with the marginal traction that comes with the standard RWD setup in vans.  I now feel like I can take my NVP offroad w/o being concerned about getting stuck.  Now as to the lift, my NVP does not have a lift.  It is still the stock height after the 4WD conversion.  Quigley will convert the NV with or w/o a lift.  As to the low range in the transfer case, the Quigley conversion does have a 2 speed transfer case.  The shift lever is blocked from engaging 4WD low range.  I have personally removed the blocking bracket and manually shifted the transfer case into low range.  Yes, the Quigley transfer case does have low range, but you will have to modify the shifter linkage to be able to engage low range from inside the cab.  All in all, I am happy with my 4WD conversion, I feel, that it makes my van much more capable while off pavement.


                                                                            Pete Fazio

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#10581 Need 4WD Conversion Advice

Posted by mahu on 06 November 2017 - 04:19 AM

Lets work through this one by one. :-)


He says rear wheel vehicles have a bad rap and now a days they come with stabilization blah blah that keeps them from swerving around in the back.

He is right. Properly driven rear wheel drive cars/vans can be just as stable and in certain situations even more than front wheel vehicles. the NVs have stability control which works well. Once you have some weight in the back it'll be planted very solidly!


And that big, treaded tires are more important than 4WD.

Sorry to say, but he is VERY right. It's all in the tires! And not that "all season" crap, but dedicated well-reviewed winter tires.

Look at this comparison 


He also says the 4WD isn’t worth it unless you’re going to do a lift and the lift will make the van unstable and unsafe on the highway. Is that true? (We would want the lift for deep snow and rock in Colorado.)

Especially if are getting the high roof model the lift would significantly shift the center of gravity. Whenever I see (and the times I have ridden in friend's lifted Sprinters) I am so glad we don't have a lifted van. They look/feel like they are seconds from tipping over. 


I think the 4WD will help significantly with driving through bad weather and snow on the highway and over passes, making it significantly safer (he says no).

He is right yet again. The only significant advantage of 4WD is driving up steep slopes on or off pavement in mud or snow. 4WD does not enhance your stability on wet, icy, or snowy roads. Stability comes from the tires and your driving skills. Stopping distance and control in corners has nothing to do with 4WD. We have driven our NV for two years living at 6500 feet in Tahoe with plenty of snow. No problems. 


I also think we need the 4WD for washboard dirt roads, scree, deep snow, and camping in national forests.

Mostly no. In deep snow 4WD might make a difference if you are on a steeper slope but things like good snow tires are far more important. 

In terms of where you can get on a RWD NV just look on instagram, e.g. @vanlifetravelogue. That guy pretty much takes his NV wherever he wants!


We plan on using the van on rocky, sometimes steep, dirt roads in the Rocky Mountains and camping off the grid in places like in Moab. We don’t want to “go 4-wheeling” for the sake of “4-wheeling” but we want to be able to get to remote places.

There may be a select few places you would be able to take a 4WD NV that you cannot take a RWD, but then again the question is do you want to push your NV that close to its capabilities and getting stranded in the middle of nowhere? From my experience 4WD often gives a false sense of capability and more often than not gets people deeper into trouble than they would have otherwise gone with a 2WD.



Besides backcountry stuff, we also plan on using the van for long distance highway traveling across the states, going from Colorado to Key West to Maine.

It looks like you'll be putting lots of miles on it so think of reduced gas mileage, increased maintenance costs, increased instability due to lift, for all those thousands of miles on the freeway. It adds up quickly and those costs need to be factored into the price of the conversion!


And then on top of it, there is one more pretty big problem…..Quigley doesn’t do a low 4WD conversion, only a 4-high. We can’t go with another vehicle (Ram, Sprinter, Ford) because we are both over 6 feet tall and need all the leg room that the Nissan van provides on the passenger side.  We know we can go with Advanced 4WD Systems for a conversion and get a low gear but then I’m worried about it going “limp” and I haven’t read good things about Advanced’s workmanship. Whereas I’ve read great things about Quigley’s attention to detail, professionalism, reputation, etc.

I can't speak to this, but have read good things about Advanced here in the forum.


So, as all things in life it's about the balance of things. Yes, there may be a handful of situations you will have to turn around where you could have otherwise traveled on with a 4WD. But are those few occasions worth the conversion costs, higher operating costs, and reduced stability? In my opinion they are not and it's not even close. 90% of your concerns can be addressed with proper tires, gear and driving. Sorry to say, but I think your husband may win this round...

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#10092 Total Eclipse of the Sun

Posted by ASD Dad on 21 August 2017 - 03:56 PM

Traffic here is backed up for over 40 miles on the main highways getting out of town.  It is even worse south of us.  Live news shots make it look like a parking lot as far as they can see.  I have to run out later and I am not looking forward to it!  


Added a few more shots.  All these were shot handheld with a simple Canon SX50 HS Superzoom at max zoom (1200 equivalent focal length!).  For the sun photos I held cheap $1 eclipse glasses over the center of the lens.  Crude but it worked!  I have two older Sony DSLR's but I dont have the filters needed for those lenses so took a chance with my wife's camera and am super happy how they turned out.

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#9835 NVP 3500 SL (V8) travel trailer towing

Posted by ASD Dad on 24 July 2017 - 05:21 PM

Nice camper you are looking at!  We love bunkhouse campers and we had a Salem Sport SP295 prior to our Toyhauler we tow now.  The TH is more or less a bunkhouse with how it is setup for us.  


Those weights are fine for the NVP.  My TH is around 7500-ish pounds when we are loaded for a big trip and the NV pulls it well even in the mountains of NC and TN.  Do I wish it had more power?  Always!  Does it maintain speed on the inclines?  It does, but it does it in 3rd gear with the RPM's wound up which is normal for a newer gas motor like ours.  It may sound alarming but there really is not much harm being done at all.  The other nice things about the NV is the monster sized transmission and oil cooler sitting right behind the grill.  Even in 100* heat nothing gets too hot when towing.  


Towing through streets is just fine, if you are not used to towing something that long just make very wide right turns and make some practice runs on empty streets.  Be Very aware of the tail end of the camper swinging wide.  The axles are near mid point to keep tongue weight down but that means you have 10 plus feet of camper hanging out the back pivoting when making tight turns like in gas stations or through a campground.  You can clip things with it when you think you had plenty of room.  I did it with our first long camper even after towing it over a year...  Not fun!  


My biggest caution for you is to make sure you get a GOOD WD hitch.  Not the cheap ones they toss in for free with the purchase of the camper.  Those are usually the EZ or Curt round bar hitches with a single friction bar.  At that length they require two friction bars, one per side.  Do they work?  Yes!  Are they a pain?  Yes!  You have two bars to hook up then you have two friction plates to hook up every time.  They are also LOUD when turning at slow speeds (to be fair, so are other higher end models like an Equalizer).  With all the newer hitches out there you would be better served by upgrading a little.  Check out review sites or places like RV.net for suggestions.  Everybody has a favorite.  I happen to prefer a Blue-Ox Swaypro for my setup.  Easy, clean and quiet and it just works well.  Downside is that it is very heavy with a huge one piece head that is around 70 pounds to carry around.  There are lots of new hitches out there though.


Second caution - do Not trust the dealer to setup any WDH correctly.  They want you in and out fast.  They will go by some generic setting that will get you close and call it a day.  When you do pick a hitch, read up on it and then read up on proper WDH installation so you can either check it at home if you have the tools are watch over them to make sure it is right before leaving the dealer.  You would be surprised how one extra link on the bar chains or a small angle change on the head will affect the actual weight and handling.  


Lastly - Check your trailer tires religiously.  Most likely they will be cheap generic tires and they are well known to literally blow up going down the highway.  We just witnessed one blow up 3 days ago on a fifth wheel.  We were next to him on the highway and it sounded like a shotgun went off.  Looked over and his tire was in shreds.  I've had it happen twice in many years of towing and it is not fun!!  The only fix is to swap out the cheap tires for better ones.  I did that immediately on my TH, I only had 50 miles on my brand new dealer tires and I swapped them out.  It is not worth the headaches and risk.  If you keep the originals on there, keep them inflated to max cold, keep them covered from the elements and do not go over 65 mph on the highway.  Period.  Some owners get several years out of OEM tires.  Others get several weeks.  It is a roulette spin to see if it happens.


Sorry for the novel...  We love camping as a family and have been going for many years even before kids.  I started in tents, got married and we had a pop-up, had kids and moved up in camper size as we had more kids (and dogs).  You'll be fine and the NV will be fine, just take your time and read up.

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#8707 Laharview Farm Camper Build

Posted by laharview on 08 March 2017 - 10:09 AM

Built a Cooler Cart for ease of moving the cooler out from under the bed platform.  Just lift the handle a inch and the wheels make contact with the floor and she rolls easy.


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#8165 Building Front Bumper

Posted by SKRUGS on 08 January 2017 - 09:26 PM

Getting closer.  :)

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#8053 How much do the factory steel rims weigh?

Posted by SKRUGS on 29 December 2016 - 03:24 PM

I replaced the rims on my '16 NVP 3500.
Went out to the garage and weighed a rim for you. 38.6 pounds.

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#6608 What have you done to your NV van lately?

Posted by chphilo on 04 July 2016 - 08:15 PM

I envision this thread to be a place to get a small peak of what's going on with everyone's ride.


I will start with my small project. I painted my tow hooks red. 

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#5610 Laharview Farm Camper Build

Posted by laharview on 05 February 2016 - 06:36 PM

Was loading up all the camping appurtenances last weekend and realized a built-in table would be handy for the stove when we are at sites with no tables or want to cook under the awning.  Also to stage beverages.


Used 3/4" plywood and made slides under the bed platform.  Legs are from a Big Leaf Maple from the back 40 and slip into a hole used to slide out the table.  Not needed if the tables are out 2' or so.


Also installed LED bulbs in the factory interior lights.  Still need to add some under the cabinets but these made a huge difference.  Bulbs are from JDM ASTER (evil bay) and I bought the DE3175 with 6 LED's.  Fits nice without hitting the light fixture.


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#10291 States your van has visited

Posted by radin2son on 23 September 2017 - 10:25 AM

Great idea. Not the easiest process to download it. Took a screen shot and saved it...


Oklahoma and Arkansas were missed due to tornados on a spring trip to DC. Headed farther south into Texas to run into severe weather coming in from the gulf. We also had considered going to New England to see family. Too long a trip.

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#10290 States your van has visited

Posted by chphilo on 23 September 2017 - 04:02 AM

I thought it would be fun to see where everyone else have traveled in their van. (I am copying this idea from another forum)


This website (https://www.amcharts...isited_states/#) allows you to click the states then when you are done, you could simply export the map  to your computer. 


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#10103 Total Eclipse of the Sun

Posted by laharview on 22 August 2017 - 09:11 PM

Ended up going 20 miles north of Weiser to DNR camp. $3.00 a night. The CEO of Carl Zeiss Optics was camped next to us. Made the trip from Germany. Got to play with very cool stuff he brought. He is going to send me all his shots and video! Here are the solar flares.

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