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Does anyone think it would be possible for an individual to make a rear slide-out like this Roadtrek with 80/20? It does not seem like rocket science. [edit -- end of broken quote]

"Possible" ?

Yes but incredibly complicated and expensive (if you are factoring in your labor), not to mention very difficult to pull off @ 100% functionality incl. waterproof, easy to extend/retract, durable over the years, etc..

"Not rocket science" ?

Not in concept [ "JUST build a simple slide out" ] but the devil is in the details. Similar to your other thread about building slide-in 80/20 modules, the dream seems simpler than the task of actually COMPLETING the project and having it be usable SOON.

Maybe ya get what ya pay for . . . . ?

There are many false (apparent) economies all over the place, in my personal opinion, when one ignores labor costs . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Does anyone think it would be possible for an individual to make a rear slide-out like this Roadtrek with 80/20? It does not seem like rocket science. [edit -- end of broken quote]

"Possible" ?

Yes but incredibly complicated and expensive (if you are factoring in your labor), not to mention very difficult to pull off @ 100% functionality incl. waterproof, easy to extend/retract, durable over the years, etc..

"Not rocket science" ?

Not in concept [ "JUST build a simple slide out" ] but the devil is in the details. Similar to your other thread about building slide-in 80/20 modules, the dream seems simpler than the task of actually COMPLETING the project and having it be usable SOON.

Maybe ya get what ya pay for . . . . ?

There are many false (apparent) economies all over the place, in my personal opinion, when one ignores labor costs . . .

Good points! I was actually wondering how many ppl who have converted their vans have kept track of all their labor expenses as well. Have you seen data on these and what they "spent" compared to buying one already converted?


My experience is limited to making a 1929 cabin that had been unused for a decade or so comfortable and safe. I did hire an electrician to re-wire the entire place and other labor for plumbing, painting and woodworking. However I did strip and paint the kitchen walls and floor myself. If I was to actually count my own labor (I put 20 coats of Tung oil on an old ice-box and counter by hand) it would have been much higher than the 20K I spent, but I when I look at my cabin, I get the most satisfaction from what I did by myself.
 

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Does anyone think it would be possible for an individual to make a rear slide-out like this Roadtrek with 80/20? It does not seem like rocket science.

.....cut......
Rocket science isn't that difficult for rocket scientist, right? :)

All depends on the person's capabilities, resources, creativity, funding, etc.... If guys at Roadtrek and other companies can design, fabricate, and install a van slide then I'm sure it can be done. Whether 80/20 or 2X4s is best material for a given individual only he/she knows. My gut tells me that if you have to ask you probably shouldn't try it full-scale first. You could always build a scale model to see how hard it is and how well it actually works.


Having said all that, "why" would you want a rear slide in a van? Roadtrek couldn't give me a free slide if I bought one of their Class Bs.

Slides come at a price (i.e. -- many compromises). I can see them on trailers since people don't ride in them, and less on motorized Class As and Cs (personally makes me feel confined when slides are in for travel). Mostly for me, slides counter much of what van campers are great at. Just my personal opinion.

I'm pretty sure I could build one if I wanted one bad enough, but don't want one at all. In fact, I've been trying to buy a compact Class A (in lieu of Class B) but only if the manufacturer will delete the rear slide.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
...(personally makes me feel confined when slides are in for travel).. .

I have no experience with slides... have never even seen one except on the outside from a distance. I was wondering how it affected the usable space when not extended. As for "why" ... it just seemed to me that if one could keep a van to 20 feet but still have the 23 foot experience it would be a win/win....
 

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I have no experience with slides... have never even seen one except on the outside from a distance. I was wondering how it affected the usable space when not extended. As for "why" ... it just seemed to me that if one could keep a van to 20 feet but still have the 23 foot experience it would be a win/win....
They now even have slides inside slides, so we can conclude there is much demand for them.

No doubt they add floor space, but it would be easier to make an RV longer if square footage was the only measure. What slides mostly do is add width which then allows designers to create different floorplans. However, the wider the slides, or the narrower the RV, the more they crowd the interior when retracted.

Over the years I've looked at 100s if not 1000s of RVs at shows, and they are essentially never displayed with slides in. I'd bet that most buyers would pass on many RVs if they walked inside with slides in. They obscure visibility while traveling, diminish access to bathrooms and kitchens, reduce inside and outside storage, increase chance of leaks, make floors uneven, add weight, add cost, add maintenance, etc... I could go on but for me the chance of water leaks is enough. The musty smell of RVs only a few years old literally makes me sick, and it's far too common with slides. Shouldn't be that way but it is. Apparently too many owners don't follow instructions on how to prevent leaks according to manufacturers.

Vans are unique in that they have rear doors to improve flexibility. They can be opened for loading, ventilation, emergency exit, etc... To eliminate that feature seems questionable to me. Some vans have slides behind driver that extend out through optional side door, and that is slightly more appealing to me. But not by much.

The Roadtrek in OP would work just as well for me if it had a dinette in rear that made into a bed. And I'd like access through the rear doors more. The seat looks cramped anyway.
 

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Good points! I was actually wondering how many ppl who have converted their vans have kept track of all their labor expenses as well. Have you seen data on these and what they "spent" compared to buying one already converted?


My experience is limited to making a 1929 cabin that had been unused for a decade or so comfortable and safe. I did hire an electrician to re-wire the entire place and other labor for plumbing, painting and woodworking. However I did strip and paint the kitchen walls and floor myself. If I was to actually count my own labor (I put 20 coats of Tung oil on an old ice-box and counter by hand) it would have been much higher than the 20K I spent, but I when I look at my cabin, I get the most satisfaction from what I did by myself.
You do not want to keep track of the hours DIY. I will say it is more difficult to do a second conversion because you now know how many hours are required. The first one was easier because you under estimated the time required by a factor of at least 4.

But the bottom line is you get the satisfaction, you get exactly what you want and you know how it is all put together. Hopefully the workmanship is considerably better than anything you can buy for a lot more dollars. I spent about $20,000 for the materials for my last conversion.
 

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You do not want to keep track of the hours DIY. I will say it is more difficult to do a second conversion because you now know how many hours are required. The first one was easier because you under estimated the time required by a factor of at least 4.

But the bottom line is you get the satisfaction, you get exactly what you want and you know how it is all put together. Hopefully the workmanship is considerably better than anything you can buy for a lot more dollars. I spent about $20,000 for the materials for my last conversion.
Good points orton. Do you have a rough idea of your labor time for the Sprinter DIY? Thanks

PS not sure how my user name ended up inside your quote above, but those were not my words. They were lkruper's. Oops, the same thing just happened when I quoted you, his name appeared in my quote box. I have just sent a PM to Aristo.
 

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Good points orton. Do you have a rough idea of your labor time for the Sprinter DIY? Thanks
No idea. Took about 2 years of part time work. Should be less with the Transit because I can copy all the things that worked well and only redesign the stuff that I could improve. Collecting lots of parts. Picked up my 300 watt solar panel, solar controller and the Magnum 1000 watt inverter, remote and battery monitor today.
Unfortunately real work is getting in the way of actual progress on the conversion.
 

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It would be instructive if you could guesstimate your total hours, in order to illustrate the actual hidden costs for a well-done DIY build. lkruper might be surprised IMO.

Glad you have the real work, but the time for getting OTRA (*) is on the wane . . . Not that anyone needs reminding . . .

Recovering from open heart surgery here. The new wagon can't come soon enough . . .

* On The Road Again
 

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Discussion Starter #16
They now even have slides inside slides, so we can conclude there is much demand for them.

No doubt they add floor space, but it would be easier to make an RV longer if square footage was the only measure. What slides mostly do is add width which then allows designers to create different floorplans. However, the wider the slides, or the narrower the RV, the more they crowd the interior when retracted.

Over the years I've looked at 100s if not 1000s of RVs at shows, and they are essentially never displayed with slides in. I'd bet that most buyers would pass on many RVs if they walked inside with slides in. They obscure visibility while traveling, diminish access to bathrooms and kitchens, reduce inside and outside storage, increase chance of leaks, make floors uneven, add weight, add cost, add maintenance, etc... I could go on but for me the chance of water leaks is enough. The musty smell of RVs only a few years old literally makes me sick, and it's far too common with slides. Shouldn't be that way but it is. Apparently too many owners don't follow instructions on how to prevent leaks according to manufacturers.

Vans are unique in that they have rear doors to improve flexibility. They can be opened for loading, ventilation, emergency exit, etc... To eliminate that feature seems questionable to me. Some vans have slides behind driver that extend out through optional side door, and that is slightly more appealing to me. But not by much.

The Roadtrek in OP would work just as well for me if it had a dinette in rear that made into a bed. And I'd like access through the rear doors more. The seat looks cramped anyway.

I also did not like the rear slide-out as much as a Sprinter based one I saw that had the slide behind the driver but I did not want to obscure the side exit. So I am evolving my concept.



  1. I saw that the Transit has an option for dual sliding doors. One can be used for a slide out.
  2. Since there is a door, there will be no leak problems.
  3. Could get fancy and allow for the slide out to be either left or right with rails that cut across the floor.
  4. First idea is for the space to be a sun room with a solar panel on top.
  5. Windows can be opened with screens and mini-blinds on the inside.
  6. Setee will take up the bottom of the slide out and hold deep cycle batteries which when extended will not extend past the van floor providing a counter balance.
  7. Do slide outs ever have compressible sides so that contract when not extended? I know canvas should work, but that material is frowned upon in some rv parks. That would make the slide out take less room inside when not deployed.
 

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I also did not like the rear slide-out as much as a Sprinter based one I saw that had the slide behind the driver but I did not want to obscure the side exit. So I am evolving my concept.



  1. I saw that the Transit has an option for dual sliding doors. One can be used for a slide out.
  2. Since there is a door, there will be no leak problems.
  3. Could get fancy and allow for the slide out to be either left or right with rails that cut across the floor.
  4. First idea is for the space to be a sun room with a solar panel on top.
  5. Windows can be opened with screens and mini-blinds on the inside.
  6. Setee will take up the bottom of the slide out and hold deep cycle batteries which when extended will not extend past the van floor providing a counter balance.
  7. Do slide outs ever have compressible sides so that contract when not extended? I know canvas should work, but that material is frowned upon in some rv parks. That would make the slide out take less room inside when not deployed.
When we travel we stop to eat. I would hate to have some big object inside the van restricting space when it is not deployed. Certainly would be nice in a campground when parked for some period, but would be a problem just stopping along the road. The back slideout would not be as difficult to work around. It also would not be exactly stealth if that is a requirement.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
When we travel we stop to eat. I would hate to have some big object inside the van restricting space when it is not deployed. Certainly would be nice in a campground when parked for some period, but would be a problem just stopping along the road. The back slideout would not be as difficult to work around. It also would not be exactly stealth if that is a requirement.

Agreed, but collapsible sides to the slideout could mitigate the size when not deployed, if that is possible. And if stealth is a requirement I agree that the slideout could not be intrusive when not deployed.
 

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.....cut......


[*]Since there is a door, there will be no leak problems.

[*]Could get fancy and allow for the slide out to be either left or right with rails that cut across the floor.

....cut....
You seem certain there could never be a leak. Why couldn't slide leak with door open and slide in out position? Or do you plan to pull it in every time it rains at 3:00 AM while you're sleeping?

If a fancy slide could go out either side of van, wouldn't you have to rotate it 180 degrees so that outer wall is to the outside in both cases? Or am I missing something?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You seem certain there could never be a leak. Why couldn't slide leak with door open and slide in out position? Or do you plan to pull it in every time it rains at 3:00 AM while you're sleeping?

If a fancy slide could go out either side of van, wouldn't you have to rotate it 180 degrees so that outer wall is to the outside in both cases? Or am I missing something?

It is no doubt that I am starting to design a Rube Goldberg machine! When I added the batteries for counter-weight I made it difficult to move from left to right. I don't expect merely hitting a switch would make the transition, but if I were to need to boon-dock for a few weeks in one location, the 80/20 system would lend itself to moving the window frame from one side to another if I were parked where the sun was hitting the opposite side of the van. PITA, but doable.


As for the leak, my objective was to eliminate the possibility that I would have no recourse if it rained and there was a leak in the seal. Even that could be automated like the Fantastic fan... Rube Goldberg here I come!
 
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