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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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