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Discussion Starter #81 (Edited)
Considered a plastic grab handle for the B pillar / slider like recommended in this excellent forum thread, but have some minor concerns with long-term viability of plastic parts, particularly under temperature changes, UV exposure, age, and load. (Figure it is only a matter of time until I break off one of those plastic levers to swivel or recline the seats.) So, I ended up getting the genuine Mopar accessory (Part #82214304) just for the peace of mind that it will outlive me. Quick Google search, wide range of prices. Best deal I could find was here, with shipping $130. Arrived today. One word of caution, the included template for cutting trim is NOT the correct size. The centers of two holes to be drilled should be exactly 180mm apart. This one was printed slightly too small. Had to find the online instructions and print my own.

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Considered a plastic grab handle for the B pillar / slider like recommended in this excellent forum thread, but have some minor concerns with long-term viability of plastic parts, particularly under temperature changes, UV exposure, age, and load. (Figure it is only a matter of time until I break off one of those plastic levers to swivel or recline the seats.) So, I ended up getting the genuine Mopar accessory (Part #82214304) just for the peace of mind that it will outlive me. Quick Google search, wide range of prices. Best deal I could find was here, with shipping $130. Arrived today. One word of caution, the included template for cutting trim is NOT the correct size. The centers of two holes to be drilled should be exactly 180mm apart. This one was printed slightly too small. Had to find the online instructions and print my own.

View attachment 67410
I took off a couple from the rear doors they were on my purchase in 2018.

I considered mounting on my sink cabinet that slightly encroaches the slider opening. Might be an easier install in my case.
 

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Discussion Starter #83
I almost ordered grab rails with the van, but wasn't sure how/if the rear ones would be usable at all. No plans to go in/out the rear door with my sideways bed. But I like the functionality of the slider handle... more so as I have been in and out that door a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #85
I spend a lot of time reading prior build threads to see what direction I should be heading. Copying things that work saves me a ton of time and money, thank you. (That is how engineering functioned for centuries before Isaac Newton came along.) Came across this and just had to add a link to it here, for when I get bogged down and need a good chuckle.

BEST POST EVER!!!

"Click the little arrow to read" (Otherwise it gets compressed)
 

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Always oversize the building columns. Then when the architect pleads for a few extra inches we (structural engineers) can be the savior and "make it work" lol!
 

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Discussion Starter #87
Sather, could you post the distance from the van floor to the bottom of the handle?
Absolutely. Started to install the grab handle this morning, had to take a break and do a run home for tools I forgot. The provided instructions were vague and generic. For example, several steps involved removing the shoulder harness from the B pillar. My shoulder straps are attached to and swivel with the seats, not involved with the B pillar in any way. The lower trim (black) is held in place with 5 Phillips screws and a snap clip across the top. The upper trim (grey) is held in place with one Phillips screw at the bottom, a Torx bolt at the top (under the "AirBag" cover plate), and 4 pair of clips down the length of the panel. Once the two panels are removed, installation of the grab bar was quick and easy. The included Rube Goldberg* bracket is a steel plate that slides up inside an access hole in the B pillar, hooks over another hole, and is then held in place with three bolts. All this to only place the two additional nuts in the correct location for the two bolts that will eventually hold the handle. While the pillar was exposed, I took the opportunity to stuff the cavities with insulation.

The template was cut out carefully along the lines and fit easily around a couple reference tabs under (inside) the gray panel. Again, check you get it printed correctly, the spacing of the hole centerlines should be exactly 180mm. This was the scariest part, as drilling holes in the wrong spots would totally spoil the experience. I taped the template in place, drilled pilot holes from the inside, the two 3/4" holes from the outside, and reinstalled the panel. Last step was to install the grab bar with two bolts, and spacers to avoid crushing the panel. Once installed, I don't know if I could ever go back to NOT having a handle there. Perfect height (for me) going in AND out, and also helps with the passenger seat swivel.

The handle is 10" high (O.D.) with 1" tubing, so 8" I.D. The bottom of the outside edge of the handle is 37.5" above the sheet metal floor (subtract whatever thickness your added flooring is), with the bottom of the opening of the handle 38.5" above the sheet metal floor.

• a machine intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overly complicated way

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Discussion Starter #88 (Edited)
First impressions...
(1) my feet hang well off the floor when the seat is fully swiveled. Will have to build up some floor storage in that area.
(2) the windshield wiper stalk is exactly where the shift lever is in my other van. So, wipers and washers engaged instead of transmission when I attempted to leave the dealership looking cool.
(3) everything else is exactly what I was expecting, and I am extremely happy with the RV prep package. Ride is nice when empty.
Second impressions...
(2, revisited) This is not my only vehicle, so habit patterns / muscle memory are starting to be a factor. I am getting tired of activating the windshield wipers / washers when attempting to put the transmission in gear. How long is it going to take to get used to THAT?
(4, new one) I find myself waving to other Promasters on the road. Even when I’m not IN my Promaster.
(5, new one) The control to swivel the seat is part of the seat base, on the right side of the driver's seat, and on the left side of the passenger seat. Yeah, I know, inboard, right? Should be easy to remember. Except when the seats are swiveled the full 180°, then the controls are now outboard, rendering the inboard / outboard position meaningless. And one person can switch between seats, so the right and left position are also meaningless. Here is the problem... on the opposite side of each seat is the control for the seat recline. When you reach for the unmarked control to swivel the seat, depending on its swivel orientation and the side you are on, you get a 50/50 chance of changing the recline. Unintended consequences. Side story to emphasize my point. Most aircraft cockpits have side-by-side seating. On the outboard side of the each yoke (left on left, right on right) is a microphone button. Makes perfect sense, since pilot's generally maneuver the airplane with the outboard hand and manipulate the throttles with the inboard hand, you would want the mike button on the side of the steering wheel your hand is going to be. What could go wrong? Years ago, the U.S. Air Force bought off-the-shelf Cessnas and retrofit them with the ability to launch 2.75" folding fin rockets from pods. Mounted the rocket launch button on the yoke. Pilots do switch seats, and the occasional rocket was inadvertently launched while intending to key the mike. There are whole fields of study around stuff like this, called Human Factors Engineering. Basically, any system that incorporates humans needs to account for them. I'm guessing our friendly engineers at Fiat did not include this in their studies. If the swivel switch was on the SAME side of BOTH seats, it would be the same location all the time, regardless of which seat you were in or which way it was facing. Knowing where a switch is (instinctively) without having to think about it for a minute (distraction) is a safety issue.

Rant over.
 

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Discussion Starter #90
"All those switches look the same to me" is not a good start to a traffic stop. ;-)
 

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It was criminal of FCA to make the PM's turn signal and cruise control knobs/stalks the exact same size, shape, and texture. Do they not employ industrial designers?

My SUV has a similar arrangement of those knobs/stalks on the left side of the steering wheel. Guess what? They're specifically NOT the same size, shape, and texture...

The problem is exacerbated for people who drive multiple cars. There isn't the opportunity to "get used to" such stupidity in design.
 

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It was criminal of FCA to make the PM's turn signal and cruise control knobs/stalks the exact same size, shape, and texture. Do they not employ industrial designers?

My SUV has a similar arrangement of those knobs/stalks on the left side of the steering wheel. Guess what? They're specifically NOT the same size, shape, and texture...

The problem is exacerbated for people who drive multiple cars. There isn't the opportunity to "get used to" such stupidity in design.
Lol yeah I've already hit my turn signal accidentally many times. And I'm not used to this "blink a few times and then stop" feature, so I end up trying to turn it off and then it starts blinking in the other direction lol
 

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It was criminal of FCA to make the PM's turn signal and cruise control knobs/stalks the exact same size, shape, and texture. Do they not employ industrial designers?
IIRC it's the same as the Ducato
 

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Discussion Starter #95 (Edited)
Couple quick questions...

1) I have read that it is important to leave a gap around the polyiso flooring, so it doesn't rub (and squeak) on the vertical walls. Do you then fill that gap with Great Stuff or that foam rope/caulk thing flooring people use, or leave it open. I have visions of it filling with dirt and gunk in time. Same thing with the plywood layer, or all the way to the sheet metal?

2) I plan to bring the upper cabinets to the edge of the overhead tray, at least on the driver's side. There are some styrofoam blocks up there. I don't know what their purpose is, but I would like to remove and cover the area with cabinets and better trim. The shape of those areas also scream for a pair of 6" round speakers. Would removing / covering the styrofoam in that area interfere with the airbags?

3) Attaching wood stringers to metal ribs. Directly, or put a "washer" of thin rubber between them? Any squeak issues?

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1) I have read that it is important to leave a gap around the polyiso flooring, so it doesn't rub (and squeak) on the vertical walls. Do you then fill that gap with Great Stuff or that foam rope/caulk thing flooring people use, or leave it open. I have visions of it filling with dirt and gunk in time. Same thing with the plywood layer, or all the way to the sheet metal?
IIRC I filled the gap level to the plywood with "window and door foam" to keep crap out of the gap.
2) I plan to bring the upper cabinets to the edge of the overhead tray, at least on the driver's side. There are some styrofoam blocks up there. I don't know what their purpose is, but I would like to remove and cover the area with cabinets and better trim. The shape of those areas also scream for a pair of 6" round speakers. Would removing / covering the styrofoam in that areathat interfere with the airbags?
I removed the upper ones, the bottom ones stayed because "for my layout they don't matter", but if I had to remove them I would.

Contentious topic "Removing the bottom ones depends on what you think they are for, it's up to you and your layout"
 

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Discussion Starter #97 (Edited)
Contentious topic "Removing the bottom ones depends on what you think they are for, it's up to you and your layout"
Thank you, Phil. I did a little research after asking the question. I know what they are stated to be for (compliance with FMVSS 201, to "ensure the safety of all passengers"), but IMHO all they really are is a giant placebo. The cheapest possible, obviously bandaid solution to an over-reaching federal regulation. They appear to be the same material bicycle helmets are made of, which are strapped around your head to protect it in a low speed impact. Having one placed two feet away for the low probability that that would be the ONLY place my head would hit is unlikely to be of much real help. And they are only held on with plastic fasteners - they would just as likely pop off when the metal starts bending anyway. I rolled a car in high school, and the padded ceiling was quickly overwhelmed by flying stuff. I imagine it will be worse in a van full of furniture and kitchen appliances. I'll probably leave the lower ones in place, may trim the uppers to be less obtrusive. Reminds me of the "Do Not Remove Tag" on mattresses. Probably some liability issues.

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Discussion Starter #98
Continued progress on sound mat. (Stalling actually, as I was still a little apprehensive about plunging into the floor insulation). Finally, over the long weekend, I laid the 145" roof rails on the garage floor to create a flat base on which to lay three sheets of 1/2" BB plywood, then the 1/2" polyiso on top of that, and then the cargo mat. Traced around the edge, and discovered what everyone else here already knows... polyiso cuts very easily with a utility knife. Eureka! First panel of floor insulation in place.

The floor will be raised by at least an inch from the sheet metal, which will make it difficult in the future to remove the lower trim around the B-pillars. Anyone have a good workaround for that?

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For me, I simply removed them. I found the space under them useful. And now I can access the upfitters' connection at will. :D It's not a polished look and thus this approach is not for everyone.

I'll also repeat my comment to TJMarcoe that I found it useful to have channels in the polyiso for things such as cabling. I mention it as it's at the right stage in the build for you and it would be hard to do it later.
 
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Just leave an ⅛" space between the floor and the B pillar trim you will be able to slide it in and out fine. Mine is 1 ¾" think and I have no problem removing the trim piece.
 
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