The Revel has a sink drain switch (macerator) for the galley. However to use the sink you need to turn on the water pump. The button for this is around the corner on the One Place panel. Unfortunately this control is software driven and there is a slight delay while the One Place determines the current state of the pump (to display either On or Off). This gets to be a pain. Fortunately, WB added a solid-state water pump control relay to the pump operation which we can piggy back on to add another remote switch and state indication light. Plus you retain the macerator function too! The FB Revel site has many versions of this - it's where I got the idea.
So after adding 4 wires (2 for the light and 2 for the pump control), ordering a custom switch from Rockerswitchpros.com and ordering a replacement bezel from WB (part 144363-02-CHT), we're in business. This is momentary switch in both positions with an LED too part number VLD1-AX0B.
This the wiring diagram - stolen from the FB Revel Group:
The water pump control is below the Nautilus control panel behind the black louvered cover plate (a strikeling poor location for an electrical component - bound to get wet when you service the filter or spring a leak...)
My first attempt to mount it was to reuse the original bezel by cutting out the center section. That worked OK, but held the switch out from the cabinet by an extra 1/2" and kinda loosely. That led to it potentially snagging on clothing or being hit accidentally. Since I was going to order a custom labelled switch for this anyway, I decided to replace the unlabeled mystery switch above the fridge (its for the running board lights) with a labeled one too. Low and behold, this switch uses a simple flush metal bezel - which I was able to find on the WB parts list. So I ordered one. It's a much better solution in my opinion.
I wanted to use the built in water tank for all our water needs - instead of carrying around 5 gallons for drinking, etc. In order to do that, I felt it would be important to add an inline water filter for the galley sink. Although we filter the water when we fill, the water quality varies and more filtering is better.
I went with an Everpure ADC filter - it got good reviews, is built well, has good specs, and seemed like it would fit. I found examples on FB for installing in a Revel, but they were for earlier models with a different cabinet layout. They wouldn't work in the 2021.
I found a spot behind the lower drawer that works, but you have to mount to the wood panel located behind. This panel is only 1/2" thick and the filter is kinda heavy - esp with water. I decided to make a bracket to secure the lower portion and provide additional support. I cut about 12" off the cold line and attached that to the filter inlet. I got a 20" braided faucet line to hook the outlet up to the cold on the faucet.
It just fits!
There's a compartment behind the dinette seat that offers some additional storage. It has a nice door with a 1" hole. Others have mounted a simple cabinet lock there to provide a potential low level of security. It seemed like a good idea so I decided to work on this. The lock I could find (and it seems most of these) use a 3/4" shank. That makes them a bit small for the hole in the cabinet. The lock comes with a bezel you can use to "fill" in the gap, but I thought it looked and worked horrible. I wanted a more solid approach.
I ended up milling a part out of some aluminum to hold the lock and mount it securely to the door. It also fits snuggly so the whole thing has a more solid feel.
And here it is installed. I added a plastic tab so you can easily pull it open if you don't have the keys and it's unlocked.
I wasn't aware of this, but apparently the build quality in the RV market is notoriously poor. Supposedly Winnebago is better than most, but still leaves a lot to be desired. As I've been poking around in the van I've found a few things that I thought I would collect here.
For some reason WB uses duct tape to wrap the wire bundles. I've never seen this in a production setting.
Soln: When I'm fiddling with something I usually clean up what I can and use zip ties
Poor Controller Placement
This little guy is the controller for the water pump. Conveniently placed right near the water pump filter basket. I found that when I clean the water pump filter, water ends up dripping on the top of this. It's stared to corrode the terminals.
Soln: I cleaned things up, replaced the connectors, and sealed with dielectric grease.
In all the nooks and crannies there are metal filings, saw dust, loose screws, etc.
Soln: I tend to vacuum them up when I found them.
This is a brand new (less than 3K miles) van, and the first time we were in rain, we found a window leak.
Soln: It's going to be a warranty item - if we can get in.
Battery Tray Squeak
This thing has lots of little squeaks and rattles. Some are easy to fix (like remounting all the drawer stops so they actually close snuggly) and some are harder. We had a fairly annoying loud squeak coming from the rear garage area. It took me a while of hunting while the wife drove on bumpy roads to track it down. It turns out WB used rivets to secure the new lithium battery tray to the van wall. These do NOT hold the battery tray tightly against the van wall so they can rub.
My solution was to run some self tapping screws through them at various points. This seems to have done the trick. I'll be interested to see if it holds up. (Yes you have to remove the batteries, etc. to get at area.)
I removed the fridge to rodent proof and insulate the step area underneath. When I removed the fridge I found a few issues:
- WB mounts a retention cable to the top of the fridge (I guess this is there to keep it from flying around in an accident). The bracket for this has 4 screw holes, but mine only had two screws holding it on and they were loose.
- The Fridge is screwed into the cabinet by 4 screws accessed through the front bezel. One screw head was stripped, so I couldn't get it out with out drilling it out. Once I removed the fridge, I found two other screws had split the wood strip they were screwed into.
- There is a thin piece of wood above the fridge that is supposed to provide a barrier between the fridge and the drawer above. I found this piece of wood lodged to the side of the fridge. The screws had been ripped out of the wood.
Soln: Screw it back into place.
There are times when you want to use your cell phone, but you're a bit too far from a cell tower to make things work. You can get a cellular amplifier to help with the situation. Basically it's a roof mounted antenna, an amplifier and an interior antenna. The outside antenna is up high, away from the van and sensitive. The amplifier takes this and boosts the signal it can find. The interior antenna is small and meant to be used within a couple of feet. This is so the inside and outside antenna don't "see" each other.
I mounted the roof antenna on the roof rack with a swivel joint. I figure I put it up only when I want it so that it doesn't get snagged on stuff.
WB provided a nice roof access port on the 2021 so you can easily get the antenna cable into the dinette cabinet. I chose to run my cable behind the cabinet interior as well as wire in the power supply.
Since the power supply is permanently wired in, I needed an ON/OFF switch. I used one of the laser engraving companies to get a custom lighted switch. I milled up a bracket out of aluminum and stuck it on with some VHB. It's located just above the amplifier on the outside of the cabinet. Works for me.
The Revel uses radiant heat and the same heat source for hot water. To regulate the temperature there's a mixer valve located under the dinette seat. It's a thoughtful and welcome addition. However, it's a kinda heavy brass valve sitting on 3 PEX "stalks" about 8-10" long. This is free to sort of wave around under the bench since it's not secured. This seems like it will put a lot of stress on the cheap plastic PEX fittings that used.
I decided to secure it.
The large hose clamp goes over the glycol reservoir, the small clamp goes around the valve and the tubing piece goes inbetween. The tubing piece was a short section of square tubing that I cut one wall out of. Took about 3 minutes.
This really seems to have solved the problem.
WB gives you a nice little pantry in the Revel, but for some reason you only get 4 shelves and the shelving brackets are only about 60% of the whole height so you can't really put the shelving in "any" location.
So, I replaced the brackets on the sides with 48" ones that went pretty much all the way. The mounting holes lined up with the original ones, so I didn't have to try to align them. I then made 3 extra shelves with some laminated shelving and some aluminum angle. Put some pads on them to snug 'em up so they don't rattle.
I decided to add some lighting. I found a nice 12v LED light strip that had an adhesive backing. I mounted it to the backside of the door frame. I wired it up to a switch mounted on the door frame such that it goes on when the door opens. I hooked into the cabin lighting circuit found under the pantry.
I think it's much better.
One of the very first things I did was to try to remove the tie down shackle from the garage. The owners manual shows how you push in the center button to release it, then you slide it out of the base. Sounds easy. I went to go that on ours and found WB had mounted the base in such a way as to capture the shackle so you couldn't remove it. Not only that, many of the screws were obviously over torqued.
OK, so I removed the two screws that were in the way and found - they were too big. The head on the screw was too large to fully seat in the chamfer provided in the base. This lead them to stick up enough to foul the shackle.
After a few minutes on the mill, I make the chamfer larger and went to go remount them.
Unfortunately several of the screws had been stripped - they're sheet metal screws drilled directly into the floor, so if they're over torqued, they just strip out. I put some speed nuts on the back side to fix this.
By the way, if you happen to loose the base piece under the flooring and then manage to push it so far you can't get it, you can use a vacuum to retrieve it. I duct taped some tubing on the end of my vacuum, stuck it under the flooring and in about a second had it back out.
I also found the weather proofing that WB used - apparently Great Stuff Black - was sprayed all over, but not necessarily on the screw penetrations. Some Rustoleum hopefully will take care of that.
So in summary, our brand new Revel I found a removable tie down I couldn't remove, which lead to finding the screws were too big, which lead to finding some were stripped, to finding some did not have any weather proofing. This was my first taste of WB Quality Control. More to come.
We purchased a 2021 Revel (4WD Camper Van on a Sprinter Chassis) with a sort of "why not" approach. Plus its a birthday present for my wife. We wanted something we could be self sufficient and both of us would be comfortable driving it. That meant a smaller vehicle. We were going to rent one first, but Lisa kinda went for this when she saw it.
I've never owned or used an RV before, so there is a steep learning curve. It turns out that although the Revel is a very nice and capable vehicle, the build quality is mediocre at best. It's been explained to me as a combination of,
you get a lot for the price so somethings got to give
the entire industry has this problem and WB isn't that bad
you should just expect issues that you'll will have to deal with (more of a DIY vibe)
It also turns out these things are a starting point. Most owners modify them in various ways to either fix design issues or configure it for their particular use. The list of changes, upgrades, modifications, accessories is endless.
So with that, I'll probably post things I've done to the Revel. To be honest most of my ideas are from the Facebook Revel group. But I really don't like FB, so don't want to spend too much time dealing with it.
I've been wanting to put in a garden for a while, but never had the motivation to actually get down to it. Funny how a little bit of GLOBAL PANDEMIC goes a long way in helping one get motivated. This isn't a very complex project, but it was fun. Plus I got to use my little tractor! My first task was to locate and design the basic garden idea. As our soil is filled (I mean it's packed) with river cobble - it's almost impossible to dig. Also I'm getting old enough - I don't want to bend over, so the solution was raised beds. I decided to build four out of redwood in a 4' x 8' configuration at about 24" deep. That ends up needing 9.5 cuft of potting soil.
Once I had the basic sides built, I needed to assemble them in place. I'm not sure if this was important, but I left about 8" on each 4x4 to allow the sides to be "pinned" into the ground. This, of course, meant I had to dig 6 x 4 = 24 holes, 8" deep - in the correct location. That took a while. I needed to borrow a hammer drill to get down that deep!
Once the boxes where built, I lined the bottoms with 1/4" hardware cloth for gophers. I installed PVC for water and ran irrigation control wires to each bed. I'm not sure I'll use them, but wanted them in place if I went that way. I got the soil delivered, then filled up the boxes
So after a week of work, I was ready to plant. Fortunately, there's a nursery very close that had a lot of starts for sale. We went over there and picked up a bunch of stuff and stuck it in the ground. So far, it seems very happy! I had an old electric poultry fence that I've rigged up around the garden to keep the rabbits out.