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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A simple, yet elegant, install of a grab handle for people entering the van via the sliding door. :D This handle, plus the Carr super hoop step make it very easy to enter and exit the van.



If you remove the black boot at the bottom of the column, you will find one screw that needs to be removed to allow you to pull the grey plastic cover away from the column behind the passenger door.

Pull on the weatherstripping to release it from the edge of the grey column trim.

If you measure up 13 1/2" from the bottom of the grey cover you will find a hex hole punched in the steel column. Up 8" higher, you will find a second hole. I think these are used for partition holding.

If you enlarge the two holes with a drill, they will fit a 1/4-20 rivnut. Install them.

In the plastic cover drill corresponding 3/8" holes about 7/8" in from the edge. Cut two small blocks of wood - 5/8" thick, about 1" high and 3/4" wide. Drill a 3/8" hole in each. These are needed to fill the space between the plastic cover and the metal column so the screws can be tightened against a solid surface.

Run two 14/-20 x 1 1/4" round head screws thru the handle holes,thru the plastic, thru the wood spacer blocks, and screw into the rivnuts. Note: round head screws not hex head bolts!

Put the rubber weatherstrip back in place and trim to clear the handle. Done! :D

Note: when you close the door, the door opening lever will just about touch the handle, but it does not interfere (at least in my case)

But, you say, where do I get a handle that fits the two hole spacing EXACTLY?

I found these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-Black-Plastic-Grab-assist-Handle-Bar-RV-Motorhome-Camper-Trailer-9-25-lg-/111698301445?hash=item1a01bcd205

The guys at Fiat must have set the hole spacing to be just right for the "RV handle industry"!

All of the above should work... do so at your own risk - no warranties expressed or implied. Not available in all states, and subject to local laws and ordinances. etc....>:D

Enjoy your PM!
Ed
 

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That's a lot cheaper than the $150 for the factory handle, which should be included for safety. Maybe I'll upgrade from my dog collar around the headrest and the rope hanging from the ceiling.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Nice write up. All I need then will be a grab handle for the front passenger!
Thanks!

I highly recommend adding the Carr Hoop Step for the passenger. Makes an awkward climb-in much easier. I added both sides and the Super Hoop for the slider - what a difference with a 9" step up instead of a 17" step all at once.

Ed
 

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That had to be tough.. to run the bolt thru the handle, thru the plastic, thru the block spacer and blindly into the rivnut..twice!! I applaud you! great idea, i fear that id get so frustrating in starting them bolts in the rivnuts. And i bet it goes great with rhe Carr step. Good job
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That had to be tough.. to run the bolt thru the handle, thru the plastic, thru the block spacer and blindly into the rivnut..twice!! I applaud you! great idea, i fear that id get so frustrating in starting them bolts in the rivnuts. And i bet it goes great with rhe Carr step. Good job
jim,

I used some double stick foam tape to stick the wood block on the inside of the grey trim piece. Made it a lot easier!

So far, I've found rivnuts to be a bit forgiving... they funnel the bolt toward the center of the rivnut and once started, grab pretty tight.

Ed
 

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Thanks for the writeup Ed! I had a handle with 6" centers I had already bought so I just drilled another hole, in fact I drilled two new holes as my rivenut was a bit loose in the hex hole after I drilled it out. I did cut off the little plastic spacer flap as it was in the way of the oak strip that I put in place as a spacer. I used a piece of ¾" oak ⅝" thick with both ⅜" holes in it rather than 2 separate blocks and double sided tape as you suggested to hold it in place. It all went together perfectly. It clears the inside latch by about a ¼" which is fine.
 

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I had to use wood Tee Nuts since I do not have a rivenut tool. The first pic shows the 4 screws on the back/side that have to be removed, there is also 2 more on the front to get the black lower piece off. I also removed the seat belt bolt so the tan piece can swing further out.

I first cut 3/4 plywood to 1.25 x 9.5 inches and test fitted it on the back side and also marked the holes to be drilled into it thru the 2 hex openings. Then I pressed the tee nuts into place (1/4 x 20). I had a duplicate piece of plywood to pack out the space from the metal to the tan plastic. I used the 1/4 x 20 screws to hold the two pieces of plywood together in the correct position and screwed them together with deck screws after pre drilling the first piece and just thru the metal. Then I put the trim back in place, drilled a 3/8 hole in the trim for the handle screws. I did have to angle cut the back side of the plywood on the trim side to angle the handle to miss the sliding door handle.

I used the same handle Proeddie shows in his post and they are easy to secure on Ebay. Many thanks to Proeddie for the original write up, otherwise I would have not even attempted this.
 

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Anybody have an answer to Slamit06 (post #3) for passenger side?
Front passenger grab handle is here.
 

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Thanks, for the post. Handle ordered, I'm going to try the hex head rivet nut and no wood first. I might get two, I wouldn't mind having a handle to help in the back. I would like to find a pull out manual side step, like the Thule.
 

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Thanks KWB, that's good stuff there.

I would however like to alter my questions if no one minds. I would like to add an additional handle on the passenger side. About where the seat belt hangs or perhaps off of the seat back. It would be an extra grab point and keep things balanced.

PUFFCARD - Pull out side step...deal me in.
 

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Thanks, for the post. Handle ordered, I'm going to try the hex head rivet nut and no wood first. I might get two, I wouldn't mind having a handle to help in the back. I would like to find a pull out manual side step, like the Thule.
Reg. Manual pull-out step: just recently found this video. It’s reassuring because I have been eying this manual step on etrailer.com for a while.
 
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That flexco manual step is very useful and a good option for a simple and hopefully inexpensive solution.
I would consider it except for 3 factors:
-Not ideal for people with back issues that would have to bend over to pull it out/push it in.
-If you use it to get in and drive away, it has to be left out until you get to your destination.
-Seems like it would rattle quite a bit in both in and out positions.

I would be interested in something like that if it was spring loaded and could be pushed in and released to the out position with a light push from a foot.
Also, on a track system that eliminated any rattle.
 

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I have wondered how a manually retractable step would work—how to get it out before you get out or get it in after you’re in.
 

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I would think you might close up the van side door getting road ready, secure the step, do a walk around and jump into the driver seat. I don't like crawling thru the seats. So works for me.

I just watched a video on installing a power Thule step on a ProMaster. I'm thinking I like the much cheaper and simpler Flexco. It is not as well made as the Thule, not even close. It is much lighter, a little afraid of rattling. Might add a low LED light tied to the door open switch for the step. Be a cheap safety add on. I could see me coming out the side door at some outback place where it is black as black can get and busting my butt.

Going manual Flexco, my work under the van needs to be minimal, I don't have no garage or driveway, working on gravel and grass.
 

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It seems like it would be most useful at the sliding door for when in camp mode and frequently getting in/out of the side door.
 

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Manual version of the Thule product.


Not sure how easy it would be to adapt to Promasters vs the Ducato.
 
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