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2021, Promaster 159 HR 2500, Silver
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I worked on my van all summer in the Arkansas heat. It is not fully finished but it is fully functional. I will eventually post a build thread.

I didn't post about my Alaska trip previously because I knew I would hear a lot about how I didn't know what I was getting myself into. But I have driven the Alcan a few times. The last time I drove it was when I moved from Alaska to Arkansas. I had a teenage autistic son in the car with me. I figured if I could do that, then taking 3 dogs to Alaska would be a piece of cake. I was right.

Currently in Seward, AK. I used to live here so I am moochdocking. I am seriously considering establishing a summer place here and doing this trip every year. I am currently teleworking and that is working out fine.

My Bluetti AC200P and my 525 watts of solar are doing a fantastic job at keeping everything going. Even with coastal Alaska rain and clouds I have not dipped below 70% charge. I am mostly running fridge, lights, and fans. I have occasionally heated water but no heavy cooking yet.

I brought about 30 gallons of water and that lasted 2 weeks. I have a simple water system with portable jugs and a rechargeable faucet.

All 3 dogs are doing well. I have plenty of room for more dogs. HA!

Enjoy the pics!

Dog Blue Dog breed Comfort Carnivore

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Leisure Metal

Cloud Sky Plant Car Ecoregion

Lake Audubon, North Dakota. Excellent boondocking site!

Sky Cloud Plant Building Land lot

Kennecott National Historic Landmark in Wrangell St. Elias National Park. GO!
Sky Cloud Plant Mountain Vehicle

Somewhere in the Yukon Territory
Wheel Tire Sky Vehicle Car

Welcome to Canada.
Cloud Water Sky Mountain Natural landscape

Holgate and Surprise Glaciers. Kenai Fjords National Park
Water Lake Boats and boating--Equipment and supplies Natural landscape Calm

Orcas near Cape Aialak
Water Vertebrate Lake Carnivore Mustelidae

Sea Otters near Rugged Island
 

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2021, Promaster 159 HR 2500, Silver
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Other thoughts/comments/notes:

Things that remain to be finished in van: upper wall panels (no upper cabinets for me. I don't need the storage). Final kitchen module is not yet done. Would still like to be set up to charge from alternator at some point but so far there has been no need.

Parts of van build that are working great: Interim kitchen/water system is great. Solar/bluetti/Orion roof rack is amazing. I love all the lights and entire electrical system. The 12 volt socket that the fridge plugs into is inside the pillar behind the slider. It is mounted vertically and I was worried that the fridge plug would shake loose but it has held tight. 8" mattress! Sirroco fan is excellent. I would probably put in 2 near windows or vents if I were to do another build and skip the maxxair fans.

Parts of van build that leave something to be desired: Mostly the maxxair fan. I have the 5100 manual and the rain shroud/lid has always rattled a lot. I don't notice a lot of highway noise from it, just rattling. I have the voltage regulator for it but it still sometimes beeps and shuts itself off. So far it has always worked again either by me pulling fuse or last night by letting it sit overnight. If I were to do it over I might not use maxxair fans.

Things I brought that I haven't needed so far: tools/tire repair/inflator but I'm glad I have them. Probably could have brought fewer jugs of water. I wasn't sure where I would be able to fill up along the way but I could have made it to AK with half the water.

Things that I wish I had brought: a couple more long sleeve tshirts. a couple of skinnier water bottles. All of these I have bought along the way so no big deal.
 

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I read "shakedown trip to Alaska" and went 😬
But it sounds like it's going well. Good on ya! 👍
And you have a sled-dog team with you in case the PM breaks down!

Weird about the Maxxfan rattle. Ours doesn't do that. We've had no issues with our manual model and I didn't install a voltage regulator. Those seem to be needed only with remote-control models. What position(s) does it rattle in? Did you know you are only suppose to drive with it fully-open or fully-closed? IIRC, much older models had rattle problems that the company released a fix for. I wonder if you somehow got sold a really old model. They could tell by the serial number.
 

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2021, Promaster 159 HR 2500, Silver
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I read "shakedown trip to Alaska" and went 😬
But it sounds like it's going well. Good on ya! 👍
And you have a sled-dog team with you in case the PM breaks down!

Weird about the Maxxfan rattle. Ours doesn't do that. We've had no issues with our manual model and I didn't install a voltage regulator. Those seem to be needed only with remote-control models. What position(s) does it rattle in? Did you know you are only suppose to drive with it fully-open or fully-closed? IIRC, much older models had rattle problems that the company released a fix for. I wonder if you somehow got sold a really old model. They could tell by the serial number.
I will have to check the serial number to see about the age. It rattles in every position. I almost always drive with it closed. @MsNomer heard it when she visited. I have been meaning to get up on the roof and check those 4 screws that it is attached with but it mostly just seems to be the lid. I might end up with a diy solution eventually.

I tried to find out if the manual lift fan needed a voltage regulator and I couldn't find any information so I installed it just in case.
 

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I have been meaning to get up on the roof and check those 4 screws that it is attached with but it mostly just seems to be the lid.
If those 4 screws were loose, you could lift the whole unit from the inside. It's probably the lift arms. Open it up, take the screen off, reach in and test-wiggle the lid and lift arm if you can.
 

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I will have to check the serial number to see about the age. It rattles in every position. I almost always drive with it closed. @MsNomer heard it when she visited. I have been meaning to get up on the roof and check those 4 screws that it is attached with but it mostly just seems to be the lid. I might end up with a diy solution eventually.

I tried to find out if the manual lift fan needed a voltage regulator and I couldn't find any information so I installed it just in case.
There is a fix for rhe rattle, and for a while MaxxAir sent silencer kits out to people who asked. I remember this vaguely from my time on the Airstream forum. I believe it’s just a matter of adhering additional weather stripping.
 
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There is a fix for rhe rattle, and for a while MaxxAir sent silencer kits out to people who asked. I remember this vaguely from my time on the Airstream forum. I believe it’s just a matter of adhering additional weather stripping.
Never mind, apparently that “silencer kit” doesn’t help really. Just found some info on the Sprinter Forum.
But here is someone who found a solution, scroll down in Post #55
Oddly I do not have a rattle problem with my MaxxAir.
 
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You should document some of your trip on YouTube! Thanks for posting such beautiful scenery. I’d especially love to know how you manage to care for all the dogs in the van during the long road trip.

I’d love to take my dog to Alaska some day. Until then, we’ll have to live vicariously through you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Never mind, apparently that “silencer kit” doesn’t help really. Just found some info on the Sprinter Forum.
But here is someone who found a solution, scroll down in Post #55
Oddly I do not have a rattle problem with my MaxxAir.
Thanks! That looks very helpful. And it looks like something I can do while on the road. It would get a good road test up here if I manage to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You should document some of your trip on YouTube! Thanks for posting such beautiful scenery. I’d especially love to know how you manage to care for all the dogs in the van during the long road trip.

I’d love to take my dog to Alaska some day. Until then, we’ll have to live vicariously through you!
Lots of folks have asked if I youtube and I do not. I thought about it up front. But I am a rather private person and sometimes I don't even tell anyone about cool stuff I do. :)

The dogs are very easy. The main goal is to allow them to be off leash as much as possible. They are excellent with other dogs (I've had over 160 foster dogs) but sometimes if a random dog runs up off-leash my dogs think they have to protect me. It is honestly too much dog for one person but Bandit (fluffy brown shepherd) was returned after being adopted and I kept him.

Full size bed works if they all want to sleep in the bed. Yesterday we hiked and they got muddy and swam. So I'm learning that cotton quilts are not the best van bedding for such a situation.
 

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2019 Promaster 3500 Silver high top 159"
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The maxxair fan mechanics are pretty simple. Don't feel intimidated. Just take it apart and you probably will figure out the issue quickly.

Mine is noisy, mostly turbulence from my roof rack & lights. I made a quick cover for the inside with some scrap wood and thinsulate and it worked really well (silencing and insulation) but fell apart after a few months.

+1 on more photos. Make an album in your Profile -> media section and annotate the photos.
 

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Thanks for sharing your trip. Love the dogs. The main reason we got a van almost 5 yrs ago was to be able to bring our dogs. Are you working remotely from inside the van? If so, do you mind sharing your work station setup?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for sharing your trip. Love the dogs. The main reason we got a van almost 5 yrs ago was to be able to bring our dogs. Are you working remotely from inside the van? If so, do you mind sharing your work station setup?
Yes the dogs made me get them a van. It is my rolling cabin and it is perfect for dogs.

I haven’t yet worked from inside the van. I have been working from a friend's house who is out of town. I stay in the van and just work at her house.

If I end up working in van I will swivel the driver seat around and use the end of the kitchen counter to work. I haven't yet installed lagun table but I think that would be an excellent work area as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I removed the screen on the maxxair fan. I was able to get most of my hand between the fan blades. With the lid extended fully it was loose and jiggling. However, something I did seemed to get the lid locked in. It seemed that the arms were extended completely but the lid was not. I then closed it and went on a bumpy ride. It seemed to be much quieter. Hmmmm......

It did still do the beeping shutdown thing later when I turned it on. I left it for an hour and then it worked fine. I will probably not put a maxxair fan in my next van (if there is a next van as I am in love with my current van).
 
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