Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Modifying the Front Table

The front table in the Roadtrek has changed over the years and from model to model. It has been a clover-leaf table supported by a leg that fits into a hole in the floor. It is a table on a tripod in some models. In the 2011 Roadtrek 190 Popular that front table is stored in its own thin cabinet and it slides out on a rail and is hinged to swing up into place supported by a poly support that slides out from the outside of the wardrobe behind the driver's seat. This table is a drop-leaf table hinged in the middle with a spring mechanism to keep it open.

The first time we opened the table I went to sit behind it in the driver's seat swiveled into lounge position. I could not get into the seat behind the table as it was too long. It was slightly easier to get in behind the table in the swiveled passenger seat - but still the seat was just too close. As it was the table was not very usable. To use it I would sit and Meryl would swing the table up and we would both hold it to open it. Then she could get into her seat. I was pretty much trapped. There had to be a better way.

I went out on the forums and learned that a number of people had this same feeling and there were a variety of modifications to the table - in addition to those who just did not use the built in table at all and used a folding table in its place. Examining the table, it did not look hard to remove the leaf which while reducing the table's size in half would make it much more usable to sit at. There are two hinges on the bottom of the table - one with the spring mechanism. I got a screwdriver and removed the screws - and nothing came apart. It was still solidly assembled. Back to the internet and I learned that the hinges are not only bolted on but also glued down.

So now what? I did not want to ruin the table trying to break the glue. I could see breaking the table with the glue. I then had a suggestion on a forum to use a paint scraper slid under the hinge and cut the glue bond.

What you will need -

1) a flexible paint scraper. Buy a cheap one.

2) a phillips head screw driver

3) a square head screw drive (for the usual RV Robertson head - square head - screws)

My table had a combination of both types of screws used on the hinges.

4) a hair dryer (a heat gun will be TOO hot for this job)

5) a mallet or small hammer

How to do it -

First open the table. You will be removing the fold down leaf and not the side of the table that slides on the slide attached to the inside of the cabinet.

Next remove all of the screws from the two leaf hinges on the side of the table that will REMAIN in the Roadtrek.

Now you are going to break the glue. I started with the plain hinge and not the spring hinge. I found quickly that if the hinge was heated with a hair dryer this task is much easier and the glue bond breaks much cleaner.

Slip the paint scraper against the edge of the hinge - on the top of leaf of the table that will remain.With the mallet or a light weight hammer, tap the top of the paint scraper's handle gently. The blade of the paint scrapper will start to move behind the hinge. Start at the point of this hinge. We will call this Hinge #1 and I will label it as such in the photos below. I found that a few taps actually broke the handle of my paint scrapper. I just proceeded by tapping the top of the blade once the handle broke off. If the blade is hard to move deeper behind the hinge heat the hinge with the hair dryer again. DO NOT tap so that the blade is moving into the table top. Just move it along straight down. Once the blade is mostly through the length of the hinge, heat the hinge again and give the handle of the scrapper (or  in my case since the handle broke off - the end of the blade) a slight twist and the hinge should come off. If it does not, just heat it again, and drive the blade a little deeper. In this way the hinge will come of. There will be glue residue left behind on the table bottom.

Once this first hinge comes off you need a partner to hold the table together where the hinge once was or you run the risk now of flexing the table top at the other hinge and the table top breaking. This partner is needed now for the rest of the removal.

Repeat now what you did on Hinge #1 on Hinge #2 - the spring hinge (which will be labeled in a photo below).  This hinge is heavier metal and will need more heat to penetrate than Hinge #2. Heat the blade of the scrapper also. Move it in behind the metal, again careful not to dig it into the table top. When you have most of the blade in give a twist and the bond should come apart and the hinge will be free. At this point your partner is supporting the table leaf you are removing. It is heavy and awkward.

The photos that I have taken were taken after the leaf was removed.

The table leaf removed. Here you see what the hinges look like.

Hinge # 1

Hinge #2 CLOSED
 (I kept the screws that I removed in the plastic bag attached)

Hinge #2 HALF OPEN - this is a very strong spring!

The three holes are where Hinge #1 was removed.
Above, you see the slide that moves the table out of the cabinet.

 The five holes are where Hinge #2 was removed. The routed groove is where the hinge spring slid.

You now have half the table as show above. In this photo you see it hanging from its slide/hinge from inside its storage cabinet. Above it you see the slide that supports the table. To open this table, first slide out the table and pick it up from the bottom to above where the slide support will be. Then slide out the slide support to hold the table securely up. Remember that you now have half the table that you started with and the slide support is made for the full size open table. This is no problem. Just slide the slide out enough now for the smaller table. It will securely stay in place.

Notice in the photos that there is no sign of glue residue. The glue was easy to remove with a little scrapping and alcohol. Household cleaner finished the job to make the table ready for use. 

 Here is a good shot of the table now open. Look to the right front corner and you see three circles. These are the outer caps to the screws that went through the hinge. I returned these caps and the screws that were opposite so that the table would have no holes through it left behind by the missing hinge.

That is all that there is to reducing this table to usable size. We find it most comfortable to eat at this table with one of us sitting in the passenger seat and the other in the third seat as both reach this table nicely. I have used the table while sitting in the driver's seat to work on the laptop. The driver's seat,  when turned around to face the rear of the van, does not slide back very far because of the steering wheel. It still can be a tight fit but with the table in half it is much easier now to get out around it. 

Now you may ask, why not just leave the table as it was, and just not open the leaf. The leaf would hang down and would get in the way. It was also awkward and very heavy with the leaf hanging down like this. 

Here are some shots of the table open. 

If you look into the cabinet in the photo above you will see a blue cylinder. Once the table is reduced to this size it is not half as wide as the cabinet is wide. Before with the full table there was some swing inside the cabinet when the van was moving. I cushioned that with a sponge. Now, with half the table gone there was a lot of movement inside. Once again, a swimming pool noodle float came in very handy. I cut a six inch length of the float and trimmed the foam flat on two sides to fit between the table and the wall of the cabinet. This was pushed into the cabinet when the table was inside - at first. I then glued the foam inside to hold it in place with some stick on adhesive. The foam now prevents any swing and any noise from the table while driving. Swimming pool noodle floats have many uses inside the Roadtrek to keep things from moving around and making noise! Buy them in the summer for a dollar!

ADDENDUM:  It was suggested that the table could be left with both leaves attached and just let the leaf that folds up hang down. We did not find this convenient - you may. Here is a photo of what that would look like (Meryl is holding the table in place where it would be if it was still attached and hanging down).


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Summer Mode/Winter Mode - Two Water Tanks in Roadtrek 190 and 210

One of the most frequent questions that comes up about Roadtrek's 190 and 210 models is about the two fresh water tanks that these models have. There is an interior tank that is located inside the van in the rear and there is the exterior tank which is located outside the van in the front. The exterior tank holds 14 gallons of fresh water. The interior tank holds 11 gallons of fresh water. Together the two tanks equal the capacity of the single 25 gallon tanks that are found in the other Roadtrek models. The questions that come up about these two tanks that confuses many are which tank is in use, how do I only have water coming from the rear tank, how come my back tank never empties and so on. The answer to all of these questions will be clear when you understand how the connections to these two tanks work. Detailed photos for the 210 are at the end of this article.

There are two valves inside the  Roadtrek that determines how water flows between these two tanks. In my Roadtrek they are located in the cabinet on the floor on the driver's side where the bed platform starts. Inside this cabinet you also find the water pump and the hot water tank with its bypass valves. Inside are also two valves that can shut off water flow to the outside shower. Here is the cabinet once opened -

The biggest thing in this photo is the hot water tank. If you look to the left you can just make out a red handle at the bottom. That is the location where you are going to find all that you need to control which tank your water flows from and how that works. 

Let me explain why there are two tanks. The Roadtrek 190 and the Roadtrek 210 is designed to allow one to travel in the winter with a fresh water tank inside the van where it can stay warm - provided that you have heat inside the van - and the water not freeze. To make this happen you set the tanks into what the Roadtrek manual calls "Winter Mode".  I will tell you how to set the valves for winter mode shortly. First, let's talk about what the Roadtrek manual calls "Summer Mode". Summer Mode is the normal operating mode to use all of the water that both tanks are carrying. 


Here are the two valves that control where and how the water flows from the two tanks - the small black handle valve on the  left and the large red handle valve on the right. The two valves in this photo are in SUMMER MODE position. Each valve is pointing along the length of the pipe that it is on. Here is a close up -

Take a look to the right of the red handle at the pipe that comes off with an elbow the right goes back and then is connected off to the right at the bottom. This pipe is going directly to the water pump.  The RED HANDLE VALVE is the TANK SELECTOR valve. The BLACK HANDLE VALVE is the FLOW THROUGH valve (Roadtrek calls this valve Tank Isolator Valve and also Tank Transfer Valve - two names in the manual for the same valve). Think of the valves as "red" and "black" because thinking of them with the names given only gets more confusing.

When the handles are set AS YOU SEE ABOVE the two tanks are in SUMMER MODE. Now, what does that mean. In Summer Mode water flows from the back interior tank into the front exterior tank and then from the front exterior tank into the water pump and then into your faucet or toilet or shower or hot water tank. In Summer Mode if you look at the monitor panel on the wall of your Roadtrek and push the test button you will see that the back tank or "FRESH 2" on the panel of LEDs will empty first, and after it is empty and you look at the monitor panel, you will start to see that the exterior tank or FRONT tank is then being used and emptying. As I said, in Summer Mode water is coming into the system from the FRONT tank - and while there is water in the back tank, the back tank water flows into the front tank and refills it. Confusing? A little. Water comes from the front tank but the front tank is filled back up from the back tank. With the valves set as above you do not have to do anything to use all of the water in both tanks. Some people say that they like to manually switch from one tank to the other. I am not sure why, but some do. I am not going to get into that and confuse you any more. If you want to just "automate" the process just put the two valves as shown here. WITH THE VALVES IN SUMMER MODE YOU HAVE THE TANK SELECTOR VALVE SET TO WATER COMING FROM THE EXTERIOR (FRONT) TANK AND THE WATER FLOW THROUGH VALVE IS SET TO ALLOW THE WATER TO FLOW FROM THE INTERIOR BACK TANK INTO THE EXTERIOR (FRONT TANK).



1 - It is getting cold outside. You are afraid of a sudden drop in temperature to below freezing and you don't want to take any chance that your water or pipes will freeze. This is one reason why you would put your water tanks into Winter Mode. (This is not a substitute for winterizing! This is temporary.)

2 - You are planning a winter trip and it will be freezing outside. The 190 and 210 are designed with the interior (back) tank to carry water inside a heated van. You want to use your interior tank for water. This is another reason why you would put your water tanks into Winter Mode.

Let me give you some warnings to be very clear up front. The interior of the van must be kept at 64 degrees F and above at all times - ALL TIMES - if it is freezing outside for the water in the back interior tank not to freeze. This means that you are going to run your furnace or a heater inside your van 24 hours a day while on your trip to keep the interior temperature at 64 degrees F or above. Once that water goes down the drain or the toilet into the waste tanks it is now again in danger of freezing and doing this requires that you add anti-freeze to your black and grey tank. At the end of your trip OR if you decide that you cannot keep your fan heated inside all of the time you are away - YOU MUST WINTERIZE to prevent your tanks, pipes and valves from freezing.  If you put your tanks in Winter Mode DRAIN your outside fresh water tank. Any water in there WILL freeze.

The valves are shown here in WINTER MODE. Here is a close up - 

The two valves now CROSS the pipes and are pointing to the front of the van. When the valves are set AS YOU SEE ABOVE your two tanks are in WINTER MODE. What is happening here is that you have now SHUT OFF ALL WATER COMING FROM THE EXTERIOR TANK and you have now CHANGED THE FLOW OF WATER COMING FROM THE INTERIOR TANK SO THAT IT NOW WILL FLOW DIRECTLY INTO THE WATER PUMP AND PIPES (and not your exterior tank) going off to your faucet or toilet or shower or hot water tank. Let's say that again - no water comes from the outside front tank. That tank is now shut off from the system. Water now comes from the inside back tank and goes into the water lines directly.

If we are traveling in the Fall we will fill the rear tank only and place the water system in Winter Mode. This way, if it gets cold at night, we have less of a chance that the whole water system will be effected by the cold. If we are in the Roadtrek and it is getting colder at night, we have the furnace or the heat pump on and the inside is heated. During the day it will go well above freezing and there will not be a problem. We did this once in a campground because we heard that the temperatures at night would go below freezing. It was over 50 during the day. We quickly drained the front tank and set the system to Winter Mode and we were fine.

If you are traveling in freezing weather with the system in Winter Mode, you do not have to be concerned about the hot water tank water freezing. This tank is inside your Roadtrek and is insulated with two inches of foam. There is only 15% surface of the tank not insulated and Roadtrek assures that it has been tested way below zero F and will be fine - as long as you have the cabin heated. 

Remember in WINTER MODE you need to keep the inside of the van heated. I cannot say that enough. There is no magic here. If the inside of the van goes below freezing the water in the system will freeze. AND water going into the waste tanks will freeze unless you add antifreeze to BOTH waste tanks. The waste tanks are OUTSIDE - whether there is heat on inside the van or not, if it is freezing outside and there is any water in either of the waste tanks, the water will freeze.

There is one other thing to be aware of if traveling in freezing weather in Winter Mode. There are two other valves that you need to shut off - the water valves on the pipes that come from the water system and go outside to the outside shower. Once you shut these two inside valves off, go outside to the shower faucet and open both handles to let any water in the faucet and pipes drain out - then close the outside shower handles. If it is freezing outside, the outside shower faucet and pipes will freeze if there is water in it. These two valves are located in this same compartment way in the back on the top at the van wall.


To keep all of this straight we made up small cards and attached them to the inside of the cabinet door. With the cards, we know at a glance which way the valves have to be for what. Each card on the opposite side has what happens when the valve handle is moved the other way. The cards are flipped when the valves are moved and are attached back down with "fun-tack" putty that holds them in place.


BLACK VALVE                 RED VALVE                                               RESULT

UP                                       UP                                      Summer Mode - Water from both tanks

ACROSS  (RIGHT)            ACROSS (RIGHT)            Winter Mode - Water ONLY from BACK

ACROSS (RIGHT)             UP                                      Water comes ONLY from FRONT tank

UP                                       ACROSS (RIGHT)             DO NOT DO THIS*

*Let me explain why Black UP and Red ACROSS will be a problem. Essentially you are sending water from the back tank into the front tank and the front tank is closed and not sending water into the system. Water will try to be drawn from the interior tank but the water there is flowing into the exterior tank while at the same time the pump is trying to draw water from the interior tank. Basically a mess. If this confuses you don't worry,  it confuses me too.


What happens when the RED handle is turned? 
You are selecting from which tank the water will be drawn into the water pump.


What happens when the BLACK handle is turned?
You are changing the flow of water from the interior tank either into the exterior tank or "isolating" the exterior tank from the system and allowing the water from the interior tank to flow directly into the water pump.


My back tank never empties. My front tank is working and is emptying. What is wrong?
The black valve is turned across the pipe and needs to be moved to the UP position. RED UP - BLACK UP


The water in my front tank is not being used. Water only comes from the back tank. What is wrong?
The system is in winter mode. Move the Red valve to the UP position.


No water is coming from any tank and I know the tanks are full. What is wrong?
Look at the valves - are the valves set to black up and red across - you have the setting that is shown as a problem in the chart above. Turn our black handle UP and your red handle UP. Water should then flow from both tanks as explained. IF it does not - there may be a clog in the pipes or a problem with the water pump. This may require a service technician to fix.


Which tank monitor lights correspond to which tank? 
Front exterior tank is FRESH 1.
Back interior tank is FRESH 2.


Hopefully, I have demystified Summer Mode and Winter Mode for you. I have to tell you that all of this confuses me also. I have had a lot of help from Meryl figuring this out. She is good at puzzles and she is the one who unlocked the mysteries of the two tanks. 

None of this applies if you have a Sprinter Roadtrek or a 170. These have only one water tank and there are none of the valves that I have been talking about. 

Thanks to one of our great readers, Nick,  I have been able to add to this article details about the location of the Summer/Winter Mode valves in the ROADTREK CHEVY 210 model.  Nick, was very gracious to respond to my request for him to take photos of the location of and the valves for summer/winter mode setting in his 210.  These photos are credited to Nick:

Here are the two cabinets past the kitchen cabinets in the 210 on the driver's side. In the cabinet closest to the front of the van, which is labeled "Cabinet A", is where you will find the valves - and the water pump - in the Roadtrek 210. 

The cabinet door pulls down to open:

And inside are the valves! 

The red handle valve and the small black valve are the same as in the 190 and will be set exactly the same as described in this article above!

(As an aside you can see the water pump filter on the right.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Are You On The Level?

For a variety of reasons when you park your Roadtrek or any RV on a campsite, you want the RV to be as level as possible. One of the reasons is for a three-way propane RV refrigerator. This does not as much apply to newer models of these fridges as much as it does to ones that may be in older Roadtreks or RVs but even on a newer model propane fridge you do not want it to be too far off level. At least, the inside of the Roadtrek should be comfortable to stand in - if you are parked on an incline or decline and are going to be running the refrigerator. A propane refrigerator works differently than your fridge at home and will not run efficiently and can be damaged if operated on a steep angle. The other reason you want to be as close to level as possible is for comfort. Park off level and things roll off counters, you may find yourself walking up or down hill as you move around inside, or you may roll to one side of the bed.  I exaggerate some, but you really want to be as close to level as possible. 

How do you know if your Roadtrek is level? This is something that the company did not build into your Roadtrek, but the solution is as simple as bringing a level inside the van.  A level is simply a tube with liquid inside and an air bubble floating in that liquid. There are various types of levels. There are round levels that will tell you which way you are off level in 360 degrees all around. There are straight tube levels. Now there are electronic levels. In fact you can download an app to your Iphone or Android phone or tablet that will function as a level. (Just be aware that these apps require that you calibrate your device with the app on a perfectly level surface to get it to function correctly.) When checking for level you can be off level in any direction. Usually, though, two straight tube levels are sufficient to tell you if you are level with one positioned front to back and the other positioned side to side.

I started out with a round level. This is just a little disk and the bubble floats in the circle. If it is in the middle of the circle you are level. If it is off, that is the direction that must be corrected. The trick with this - and with every level is that the level must be sitting on a level surface to start with to be able to tell if the vehicle around that surface is actually level. In other words, if a counter top is not level to start off with, any level put on that counter top will always be off level no matter what is going around below that counter top. Things are not built quite so precisely. I soon discovered that the ground we were on was level, but my Roadtrek counter top was not. So putting the little round level on the counter to check the van was no help at all. I did discover that the middle of the floor just behind where we sit when driving was level. So if the level went there, it would pretty accurately tell us if the whole van was level. This worked for a while but started to be literally a pain in the turning around and looking down to see if we were level - that is once we put the level there to start checking. I knew there was an easier way.

Many RVs put the levels on the outside of the vehicle - on in the back and one on a side. This way a second person can see if you are level. This does require that a second person be outside to check while the driver finds the most level spot on the campsite pad or that the driver stop and keep getting out to check. Not good. So where to put the levels in a Roadtrek. The best place would be in the front fully and easily visible from the driver's seat.  I looked around inside and eliminated various places because I wanted a spot that was flat, horizontal and easy to see. I found two spots that work well.

First, purchase a pair of levels from an RV store (or Walmart). The ones you will see in my photos are cheap, work well, come with adhesive and screw holes, and only take up about two inches of space.

Second, find a perfectly level spot to park your RV on when you install your levels. This could be the hardest part. You can always level your Roadtrek with leveling blocks anywhere so that you have a level Roadtrek. I am not going to talk about leveling blocks here but will in a future article (when it gets warmer outside). Why do you need to level your Roadtrek first? If you don't, how will you know that your levels are level to the van to start out with? I knew that in one particular campground that we go to that has cement campsite pads, that the sites are for the most part all level. I waited for our next trip there to install my levels.

The two spots I selected are on the middle of the dashboard and on the side of the passenger door. I can see both easily and not move from the driver's seat. At night, it does require that I put on the light inside or use a little flashlight that I keep in one of the cup holders in the dashboard. Not a problem!

Here is where they are located:

To mount the levels, I used the adhesive backing that comes on these levels. Remove the tape from the adhesive.  Hold the level over the spot exactly where you want the level to be. MAKE SURE THE LEVEL BUBBLE IS EXACTLY IN THE MIDDLE. Push the level against the surface and it sticks. You get one shot. If it goes on off level, you are going to have to try again and you will need to peel the adhesive off the back of the level and replace the adhesive. I actually found it easier to just buy a new set of levels. (I did not put it on wrong - one fell off and I will get to that in a minute.)

Here is the level on the dash. This one went on nice and easy and has stayed on ever since. The glue and the plastic that the dash is made of worked well together. This spot seems almost made for this purpose!

 Here is the level on the passenger door. I don't know what type of plastic Chevy uses to make the door panels and column covers, but no glue seems to hold to this for very long. The adhesive on the back of the level lasted for only three days. This level fell off on the way home from that trip. I have tried gluing and using self-adhesive strips on other parts of the van that have this same plastic and sooner or later every one of them has fallen off including an epoxy.  When I put this level back on I had a reference pencil mark on the wall that I had made when I installed the levels. Just in case, what happened, happened. I did buy a new set of levels and used one to replace the one that fell off. I used the adhesive again to put it on and then I used two stainless steel sheet metal screws to permanently hold the level on. I was very careful to make sure that in the process of screwing these screws in I did not move the position of the level.

These photos were taken with the Roadtrek parked on my driveway which is apparently very level side to side and as expected, on an incline angle toward the front of the van. This is a good example of how the levels work. If the bubble is on one end of the level, the van is lower on the other end. So you need to raise the lower end until the bubble sits in the middle. Yes, very basic stuff, but you would be surprised to know how many get confused by this.

Most campgrounds will tell you that all of their spaces are level. I have begun to think that they are not telling the truth OR that these spaces are level for a much larger RV and with one of the shortest and smallest RVs there is, our Roadtreks just don't find the level spot that easily. I will drive around the site back and forth and side to side to find a place where both bubbles are in the middle. So far, more often than not, they are close enough, though sometimes it means stopping in the space on a diagonal. That is it. Then get out and put down the leveling markers that I have told you about and you are on the level!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

In Search of the Elusive Roadtrek Inverter

I am going to take you with Meryl and me on an journey. Not one that we took with our Roadtrek but one we took inside our Roadtrek. One in search of the elusive Roadtrek inverter!

You just read an article here last week all about the Roadtrek inverter but I never told you where to find it inside the Roadtrek. That is because I did not know where it is. I had an idea of where it is but I have never seen it. Meryl thought that she saw it but it as it turns out from discussion the night before we took this journey, that she had never seen it either.

When I first got the Roadtrek, someone told me - and I really cannot recall who - that the inverter was located on the inside of the first bottom cabinet on the passenger side below the bed area of the Roadtrek. When we were first setting up the Roadtrek for traveling, Meryl was inside placing things to be stored in various cabinets. She opened that cabinet and was about to place several things - some heavy things - in there and I stopped her. I told her that inside that cabinet is the inverter and it would not be a good idea to put anything inside there that could be bounced around and damage such a vital piece of the Roadtrek like the inverter. She looked inside and told me she saw a plastic box inside and we both assumed - since I have been told that this is where the inverter is - that this was the inverter. Enough for us to leave storage out of that cabinet.

Recently one of our readers had been asking about the inverter and I had been reading forum posts about the potential needs to get to the actual inverter to make adjustments or turn it on and off with its own switch rather than the remote switch on the wall. Meryl and I got to talking about the inverter. She asked me, "What does the inverter look like?"  I got out the inverter manual and showed her the picture. She looked at me and said, "There is nothing at all that looks like that inside that bottom cabinet." OK, then what is inside there? I have not been able to look inside that cabinet for myself and I asked her to describe what she sees when she looks there. She described a large plastic box type of thing that goes beyond the cabinet. What she was seeing is the rear interior water tank that is a feature of Roadtrek 190s and Roadtrek 210s.  So where is the inverter?

We got out the Roadtrek manual. Let me tell you right away that for somethings the Roadtrek manual are very useful but for many things they are useless BECAUSE they have not been updated with the change in models. There is a diagram inside our manual that shows the locations of all of the "appliances" which includes equipment that has been installed inside the Roadtrek. This diagram is for a Roadtrek that is much older than our 2011 and even in the 2007 manual that we were given with our 2011 Roadtrek (don't ask), the diagram is the same as the manual that Roadtrek emailed me for a 2010 190 and as the so-called revised and updated manual that I downloaded from Roadtrek that includes the 2011 190. There is a symbol shown on the key of the diagram for the inverter. We found that symbol on the driver's side of the Roadtrek in the first cabinet on the floor under the bed area. This is the cabinet that contains the hot water heater tank and the water pump.  Could the inverter be there too? Well, the manual diagram did not show the water pump or the hot water heater as being there at all. These were in a different location. In fact a number of things were in a different location from where they actually are in our Roadtrek. The furnace is not across that aisle as shown on the diagram. The propane detector is on the opposite side. I started to wonder if the whole thing was just reversed but no - the sink was where it belongs and the toilet was where it belongs. This was a diagram for some long past Roadtrek. (By the way - I plan to create my own correct diagram and share it with you all in the future.) We started speculating where could the inverter be? OK. The next day we would go out and search.

As it turned out, Meryl lost sleep over this wondering where was the inverter. She went out before I did the next morning and came back still baffled. She even opened the cabinet where the water pump is and said there was some electric box on the wall in there but it did not look anything at all like the picture of the inverter that I had showed her. We both, then, went out together - and I took my camera along - as any journey should be well documented.

She went back to that front cabinet that we "thought" the inverter was. She confirmed that it had to be the interior water tank that she was seeing. She could see the sensor wires attached to the tank if she looked deeper in toward the rear. She looked around as we saw in the inverter manual that it can be attached to a wall. Nope. Nothing like it. Someone had described being able to see it deep in from the back of the Roadtrek under the bed behind the rear passenger door inside a small cabinet that is in there. I knew that cabinet but never looked inside. This whole section is actually one long continuation on the passenger side of the Roadtrek from the front cabinet that we had been looking at and thinking all along that it was in. Perhaps we could just not see in deep enough. But this inverter has got to be accessible. There are things that one must be able to see and reach the inverter to do. It could not be buried someplace.

I went to the rear cargo doors and opened the passenger side and looked in. Here is what I saw.

Let me explain first that MY Roadtrek 190 Popular has the non-power bed in the rear. If you have the power bed which is more common than what I have you will most likely see a different view in general than what you see above in the photo of the back of my Roadtrek. When you look in yours you will see the bottom of the power sofa - but you will also see this cabinet or something very similar.

 So, forgive the mess and look off the the right. See what looks like a door with a hole in it.I reached in and put my finger in that hole. I gave a gentle pull and nothing moved. I looked for a hinge. At the back of the door was an aluminum frame but no hinge. this door was not going to swing out as far as I could see and started to wonder if it was a really a door at all. I was not going to pull hard. I do not want to break anything that I will regret. Meryl tried to see in that direction from inside that front cabinet but could not see anything there. We got a flashlight and tried to look into the hole. Something was inside. Meryl got down closer - as I have said in the past, I cannot really bend down in ways that I would like to without starting to feel dizzy. (Readers who are medical professionals please refrain from offering a diagnosis.) She took the light and looked into the hole. "I found it!", she exclaimed. "It is in there!"  Great, but how do we get to it. I tried another little tug on the hole. I tried feeling for a catch. Nope, this was tight. It slightly moved toward the back of the van like it would slide. I tried sliding it. Nope. that was not it either.

I asked Meryl who makes the bed on the platform right above the point we were at if there is an access door or panel above here under the bed cushion. She did not think so. I said, well let's look to make sure. We went inside and took off the long mattress cushion off the wooden platform - remember this is the non-powered rear bed. Here is what we saw - 

Close up, please...

An access panel! At last, we found a way to get to the inverter! I got out my small, rechargeable, lithium battery screw driver that I keep on the Roadtrek for minor repairs and getting into trouble. Put on the square drive bit for the square drive screws that are used throughout the Roadtrek and apparently all RVs and started removing screws, hoping that I would not find out later that they would not go back. The screws backed out easily. It seemed almost too easily. I opened the panel...

And this is what I saw! Two household metal electric boxes on the outside wall and below...


The inverter is the white box off to the back. The junction wiring is what is close up here with the red and yellow connections. All things that you do not want to touch! I stuck the camera in the confirm what I thought I was seeing. 

 And while here was the inverter. This access is not very practical.There had to be a way through that door in the rear! I took the camera and explored the back of the door...

I had to get a close up of the other corner. I reached inside with the camera and got as close as I could and snapped the photo and looked at the camera's screen...

A catch!

OK! Then I knew that I would do no damage if I really gave this door a yank. I went back outside the van and to the under bed storage area to the door. I reached my finger into the hole and really gave a pull and at the same time slid the door forward out from behind the aluminum frame at the other side-

Here is the elusive inverter and in a position where you actually can lean in and see the indicator LEDs and get to the dip switches and the setting switch.

Here is what the inverter looks like overall -

And here is the part up close that you may need to get to...

There to the left are the dip switches that need to be set if you change the type of battery you have. There in the middle on each side of that blue plug are the Green, Yellow, and Red banks of LED indicator lights, and to the right of that is the Switch - Auto/Remote - DC Off - Charge Only.

The two electric outlets in the metal boxes above - the one nearer to the rear of the van is labeled "Inverter INPUT" and the one near to the front of the van is labeled "Inverter OUTPUT". 

There it is in all of its glory! Elusive no more! And most important - no need to remove any screws in the panel above to get to it. Just give the hole in that door a tug and pull forward and slide out - it has to come out from behind that metal frame on the other end!

The inverter in your Roadtrek if it is another model or an older model may not be here at all - then yo will need to take your own journey! But I am pretty sure that that all recent year 190s and 210s with or without the power sofa/seat will have the inverter right where I have showed you!

Now that all is said and done - I could have just written "The inverter is located in..." but taking you on the journey seemed like so much more fun! It was an exciting journey and we did not have to leave our driveway for it! I thank you all for coming along for the excitement!  Now, if it only would get warm outside again, we could take the Roadtrek on a real journey! When it is 95 degrees outside in July, I will think back to the cold and wonder which is better - sweating in the heat or being able to get warm by putting on coat and gloves? Well, since you can travel easier in the Roadtrek when it is 95 degrees I guess the answer is sweating in the heat and in the Roadtrek you always have the A/C.