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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 10:50 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:30 am
Posts: 38
Location: Long Island, New York
Hey everyone,

I've been an infrequent lurker of this place for about a year or so, but didn't register due to low activity. I see now positive signs of life here (great!) and thought I'd post a project thread for anyone who has similar interests or issues and is looking for assistance toward that end.

I'm not a mechanic, and actually do very little in the way of maintenance or repairs. I'm strictly electronic/electrical with custom audio/video installation skills and some lesser fabrication skill thrown in.

Anyway, we own a 2003 "no frills" Chevy Venture, purchased new, with almost no options. It was the "soccer mom car" that sees new life today as a cross-country mini-RV that my wife and I use when we travel the highways and bi-ways of the United States every 6 months or so, when we can get away. We live in New York, and travel to the West Coast and most points between as regularly as possible. To help make these journeys more pleasant, I have converted our 8-passenger minivan into a two-passenger bedroom on wheels.

Here are a few of the installs/modifications:

Kenwood DNX-8120 AM/FM/CD/DVD/GXM30 XM NavTraffic XM/GPS/KCA-iP300V iPod Control/Dual Video Out, where I can play content on:

Skyworth 17.5" TV/DVD w/XBox Hookup & Dual Display w/Second iPod in the rear.

Boyo VT-403 Rear View Camera Dual Monitor Hookup

Cobra 200GTL-DX CB w/Wilson 1000 (all hard wired)

Escort Passport 9500i Radar Detector (hard wired)

TomTom 920 GPS (Secondary) (hard wired)

Xantrex 400-Watt Inverter (Primary) in dash (hard wired).

Cobra CPI-2575 2500 Watt Inverter (Secondary) under seat.

Microwave, Coffee Maker, "Fridge"

Multiple 10-gauge 12v and 5v USB Power Ports throughout.

Twin Size Bed, Privacy Windows, Privacy Curtain, etc.

Dome light installation (this van came without a factory dome light above). I used one from my old Dodge Caravan that I scrapped.

In addition to the above, I have rewired the circuits of the Daytime Running Lights to have the ability to switch them off as desired, as well as control my interior lights (yes, turn then off) from locations at the dash, as well as the rear as desired, using a pair of 12v panel mounted 3-way DPST switches. These two involved accessing and tapping from both the BCM (interior light control) and DRL Module adding a simple switch loop between the outputs.

The Cobra Power Inverter required the use of 1/0 gauge through the firewall. Using DVM top posts and double taps on the battery. 1/0 out to the inverter with a 250 amp 1/0 gauge ANL fuse between, 4-gauge to a 3 circuit fuse block running 10-gauge to my accessories, all wire loomed through the firewall.

Anyway, that's the very abbreviated story. If I can be of any assistance to anyone here looking to do something similar, please post away. Also, if anyone is interested in wiring diagrams or pins, I have access to this year only, but a few years before and after are quite similar.

Lastly, if anyone is interested in pictures of the thing, lemme know and I'll upload them.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 1:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:36 pm
Posts: 16
im a purist myself keeping mine factory and add ons as such but yours sounds great! if i were to travel then definitly i would have scores of questions for you welcome to the forum i myself tinker and rear entertainment is something on my mind wiht a little travel thrown in for good measure.
thnx
ventureman


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:30 am
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Location: Long Island, New York
I've been doing this stuff for about 25 years now. I remember when Crutchfield was a 12 page mail-order catalog company back in the early 80's -- around the time I began installing car radios and such. It was, like most things automotive related, much simpler back then. A few screws, a few more wires and you were done removing some stock "radio" for an Alpine, JVC or Kenwood "6 cube" with a "benzi box". Today, a radio install for those who aren't well versed might seem extremely overwhelming, considering all the options, accessories and the like.

One of the things I loved about this Kenwood is the "almost" stock look. Aside from the double-din face, you wouldn't know looking at it that it's an AM/FM radio, and XM radio, a GPS navigation system, an iPod Player (fully radio controlled), a mobile television, and so much more (I've actually got 4 feeds from this radio to a rear mounted flat screen TV). I'm the type who doesn't appreciate wires all over the place, and aside from the radar detector wire which is visible for approximately two inches, no other wires are visible anywhere, maintaining that stock appearance. And the only thing I have affixed to the dash top is an automotive air ionizer/freshener that I hard wired to an ignition accessory that wasn't being used in the IP fuse box.

I have pulled every single panel from the dash to the rear hatch to customize these installs. The XM antenna, GPS antenna and CB antenna are all run between the roof and headliner. No visible holes or wires anywhere. Same with the rear view cameras, the three-way switch lines and other related power accessory lines.

Regarding the CB radio, well there's no way to maintain a pure stock appearance there, but I mounted it inside the lower glove box (removing the door permanently) so it's not at all visible from the outside unless you look towards the center floorboard console area. I did need to modify the knee bolster somewhat to install a set of four switches, an external CB radio speaker and the CB mike. So I suppose I lose you there :-)

But all in all, you wouldn't notice much of what I've done with the thing at first glance. Of course, you'd need to look into the vehicle from either of the front windows, because all the rearward windows have been painted! Yep, an oil-based flat black double coat of paint ensures our privacy where I'd removed all rear seats and installed a fully functional twin sized bed on a platform. Under the platform is where we store out luggage and other trip items. It's also where we keep the microwave, which serves a dual purpose for us: use on the road (we travel desolate roads) as well as use in motels that do not offer one (we take it with us when necessary)!

But aside from these things, my two favorite installs are actually modifications to existing wiring. The first, disabling the DRL (daytime running lights) without removing the fuse. The second, wiring a three-way switch loop into the interior lighting circuit so we may turn the interior lights on or off from the dash and the rear seating area. Very convenient when one of us is asleep in the back and I need to get gas. I can open the doors without turning on a single light or hearing a chime.

So stock... well not so much after you take a closer look, but at first glance, it doesn't look very dissimilar to any other Venture out there. Aside from the 4-foot CB antenna screaming from the roof :-)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:30 am
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Location: Long Island, New York
I've uploaded a series of pictures to Flickr. Most of what you see here has already been changed... again! But this will give you an idea:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/56427564@N ... 219453205/

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:11 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Jackson, Ga
Where can you find the tint to tint the windows? Do you tint all the windows or just the sides and the rear? Although some of the windows on my van are tinted already (i guess from manufacturer) it's real easy to look into.
This looks like something I might work on in the future. I have a 2001 model Venture.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:30 am
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Location: Long Island, New York
I didn't tint the windows. The did come with a factory tint, but that doesn't really afford much privacy; especially at night and even more-so at night with interior lighting. Instead of tinting, I rolled oil-based flat paint onto each pane -- both side windows and the rear hatch window. The front windows were left as-is.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 2:30 pm
Posts: 18
Thats a sweet, sweet, ride!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 4:17 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:35 am
Posts: 1
Location: Fairbanks, AK
I know this site is kind of dead now, but I have a question about your installation. When you put in your CB antenna, how did you run the cable from the antenna into the cabin?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:30 am
Posts: 38
Location: Long Island, New York
Hi and thanks for the question.

I used a roof mount and cut a hole in the thin sheet metal using a Slug Buster, threaded it into the roof, attached a right angle connector, ran the cable under the roof carpeting and down the left side window cowl where it finally dropped to the van floor and then was just a matter of routing it safely to the radio behind the glove compartment. The windshield cowl removes easily with 3 body clips and attaches again just as easily. On the other side was just a matter of screwing in the magnet mount antenna when in use, or removing that and using the included cover seal when not in use (or when in the garage).

I hope I described this okay. If you have any questions, please ask.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:24 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:59 am
Posts: 17
Location: Russia, Moscow
Hi! Tell me. What function does the door handle? (See picture)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:24 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:51 am
Posts: 1
Location: Seattle
Great idea, can we see some before and after pics of the conversion?


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