Famagogo’s Top 10 Revel Modifications (So Far!)
Famagogo’s Top 10 Revel Modifications (So Far!)
This adventurous full-timing family share an exciting update on their van mods.
By: Peter & Kathy Holcombe
There are two types of RV owners who both love their Winnebagos. One who is completely content with a stock vehicle and one who sees a stock vehicle as a great start, but knows there is always a way to improve one tiny aspect of day-to-day life on the road. I definitely fall into the latter category. I was planning mods for my Revel before I even owned one. It’s a very satisfying feeling to get your vehicle just the way you want it, which perfectly serves the tasks you will be asking of it.
We are purpose building this Revel with the big goal of international overland travel as a family of three, to explore the whitewater rivers of the world. So far, we have accomplished a lot and met many great people in this process. I’m so thankful for all of their wisdom and direction.
I enjoy working on my vehicle and have a relatively high tolerance for figuring out how to do much of this myself, so many of the mods were DIY. But some were well beyond my skill set and required professional expertise to make these changes safe for me and the Revel.
In this article, I’m highlighting the ten mods that we have finished so far, and I think these are a great addition that would benefit most any Revel owner. We are about three-quarters of the way through our list (it's grown a little) and will be doing a segmented video series to walk you through the rest. We will also share our impressions of these mods and try to give you the insight to help decide if it would be something worth considering for your Revel.
Our Top 10 Revel Mods (So Far!)
1. Ride Improvement Package
The Agile Off-Road RIP Kit (ride improvement package) is something you will notice in the first 30 seconds of driving. It smooths out the bumps and dramatically reduces the sway we all know too well when crossing a diagonal bump (the one that makes you think everything is going to come flying out of your cabinets). The RIP Kit has completely tamed this in our Revel.
The kit features Fox Racing tuned shocks and front coil-overs, plus heavy-duty leaf springs. It feels like the suspension supports the heavy loads we put on our vans when filled to the brim with toys. While off-roading, it feels like a whole different vehicle. I can go faster over the washboard and take bumps, rocks, and ruts with confidence.
This mod is a game-changer. If I could only do one thing on this list it would be the RIP Kit.
2. Agile Onboard Air
Having the ability to air-up your tires anywhere is nice, but the first time you air-down your tires on a rough trail while off-roading, you will be amazed by the drastically improved ride quality. This also has the benefit of a wider traction patch and float in soft sand, mud, and snow.
Then, when you are returning to the pavement, just pop the hood and in less than five minutes your tires will be re-inflated to standard air pressure and you can be on your way to the next great destination.
The Agile Onboard Air kit supplies everything needed to install this great addition to your Revel. The kit includes the mounting bracket and an ARB 12-volt twin compressor to be mounted under the hood. The onboard air, combined with the Agile RIP suspension upgrade, sets a whole new standard of off-road performance.
3. Agile Auxiliary Fuel Tank
What's the one thing any vehicle is limited by? Its fuel tank capacity. Sprinter vans don’t have huge diesel tanks, and this can be incredibly limiting for far-flung adventures – even more so when traveling internationally with limited access to ultra-low sulfur diesel. Having more range between fuel stops is always an advantage.
We went with the Agile Off-Road 28-gallon auxiliary fuel tank. This is mounted in the spare tire location under the rear of the van. It's a solid metal tank that fills this area very well. It uses a fuel pump to move fuel back and forth from the main tank to the auxiliary tank with two switches located on the driver's side seat base.
We will often move fuel from the rear tank to the main tank while driving, giving us a great range between stops. It was also handy on our last trip to California which has much higher fuel prices than neighboring states. We were able to fill up in Nevada and then skip the more expensive fuel stations in California with our added range.
4. DMOS Delta Pro Shovel
Nothing is better than having the proper tool for a specific job. After digging out my stuck Revel by hand from a deep sandpit in the Mojave Desert, I vowed to get a real overland-capable shovel for my next off-road adventure.
After talking to lots of off-roaders and overland travelers, and an exhaustive Google search, I came to the conclusion that the overland shovel winner was the DMOS Delta Pro. This beauty is built to last. It has a solid metal construction and space-saving folding design with an extendable handle and a hoe for pulling and pushing. It also has a quick-release locking mounting bracket that allows it to be mounted on your roof rack or other spots around your van. And it’s made in the USA. Hopefully, this is not a tool that we will use often, but are sure glad to have it aboard, just in case!
5. Black River Dual-Rail Roof Rack
Black River is a new offshoot from the long-time brand Summit Manufacturing. They are the supplier that Winnebago uses for the stock Revel roof rack. Under the Black River brand, they are offering some neat add-ons for Revels and any Sprinter-based vehicle. I have been testing their Double Rail Revel Rack for the last eight months, and it’s been great.
This rack adds a secondary rail four inches above the standard rack and gives you more mounting options to clear vents and ports on your Revel. I have added a separate tower and crossbar kit from Black River that I use as a kayak rack.
It’s also good for adding cargo boxes, skis, or most anything else you would want to put on dedicated crossbars. I commonly travel with six kayaks on this rack and it has served me very well.
The dual-rail kit comes with a new fairing that includes a 40-inch lightbar as well as four area lights for the sides and rear of the van. The additional lighting is a huge improvement for both driving and around-camp illumination.
6. Lightforce Driving Lights
Once you experience driving off-road at night with high-quality driving lights, you will want them on every vehicle you own. They increase safety, decrease eye strain, and make looking for that isolated campsite down a dark path so much easier.
On the grill of my Revel, I have installed a Van Compass Floating Light Bar, which allows you to mount two driving lights on either side of the Mercedes emblem. I added a set of two Lightforce Genesis LED driving lights to this mount.
These lights are simply gorgeous. Built to withstand the toughest conditions of the Australian outback, they have a bright and even light that covers a great distance. They are designed to take a beating and also have a 5% daytime running light mode that gives you added visibility to others when driving around town.
My Black River dual-rail roof rack kit is designed to incorporate a 40-inch lighter to the front fairing that came with the kit, so I installed a Lightforce 40” Dual Row LED lightbar. It features both flood and spotlights to give more distance while also evenly illuminating everything just in front of the Revel. Really, in combination with the Genesis on the grill, it's better than daylight.
Driving in rough terrain at night is no longer an issue. And when I need to reverse or set up camp, I added six Lightforce Rock 40 lights to the rear roof rack. I flip a separate switch and I have all the light I need to do most anything around camp or on the trail.
Once you see the light, it’s hard to go back …
7. Drawer System with Secret Lock’er Down Safe
I am constantly searching for a way to better organize the mass of gear that travels in the 'garage’ of my Revel. Living in such a small space as a family of three means that everything has to have its place with easy access, where I don't have to crawl in and sort through bins or bags to find what I need.
I built a DIY rear storage drawer system for my revel over five cold days this December. I have built something similar for every truck and van I’ve had over the last 30 years, so I had a pretty good idea of what I was after. I used Baltic birch plywood and created a deck that cut the garage roughly in half. This then has two giant drawers that allow access to the lower level by sliding the drawers out without me needing to get in the van. All this is accessed through the back doors.
However, there have been many times I wanted a secure place to lock valuables in my van. So, I incorporated into this design a hidden trap door that is accessed from inside the van's hallway to discreetly encase a Lock’er Down Security Products Cold Rolled Steel Vault. This is specifically designed for Police officers to lock firearms in the trunk of their cruisers and will be the perfect place for me to keep my computer, hard drives, and Johnny Cash bootleg albums.
8. Max Trax & Mount on the Roof
MaxTrax could be the best tool to easily get yourself unstuck from sand, snow, and mud. I’m not saying they will *ALWAYS* get you out, but they are often all you need for vehicle recovery. I travel with a set of four on the roof of my Revel to help myself or others.
They can also be used as leveling blocks or a standing platform on your roof rack. Agile Off-Road makes a cleaver mounting bracket that fits the stock Revel rack perfectly. They also crafted a special version of this to allow me to stand on my MaxTrax when loading kayaks on the roof. I like having everything be dual purpose and this is an elegant solution.
9. Pedal Box
I think we all have experienced the diesel wind-up when leaving an intersection or passing another vehicle. The PedalBox gives you options to remap your throttle response and give your Revel a peppier feel.
This has been great going up the passes in Colorado and while pulling our HIKE camper trailer. You are no longer stuck with just one accelerator setting and have four options to set the acceleration exactly how you want it to prioritize power and fuel economy for a variety of driving conditions.
10. Warn Zeon 12s Platinum Winch
Warn is the name in off-road winches. They are proven and have pulled countless vehicles out of sticky spots on almost every place imaginable around the world. Our Revels are heavy. Especially when we load them up with the toys for our next adventure. With this in mind, I went with the Warn Zeon 12S Platinum 12000 lbs monster.
It has tons of pulling power, but two other features also stood out when I was winch shopping. It uses a synthetic winch cable made of Spydura® Pro. A similar fiber to what I have been using for decades in my rock-climbing equipment. It is super strong and lightweight, making it safer if you have whiplash and just lighter weight for your MPG and handling. Another great feature is the wireless remote to allow winching from the driver's seat or from a safe distance outside of the Revel. It puts winch, clutch, and accessory controls anywhere you need it in the palm of your hand. This is charged by USB and is ready to go when you need it most.
The Warn winch is mounted to my Revel using an Agile Off-Road hidden winch kit. This securely mounts the winch inside the stock bumper cover. It maintains the good looks of the Sprinter while adding the capability of a winch. This is the mod that you hope to never need, but when you do, nothing else can take its place. Owning a winch makes for great peace of mind -especially in remote areas where a tow truck would be a very expensive proposition. In the future videos, I’ll give a rundown on the other winching accessories I carry, like straps, line extensions, shakes, and snatch block.
In the following months, we will be starting the video series taking you through our next series of mods and breaking down how and why we have them. We will also share how you can do similar mods to your revel and who can help make it a reality. Please make sure to say hello if we cross paths in the real world and happy Reveling!