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No sense in waiting: Modifications made in our first two weeks of Revel ownership

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

ince we'd been patiently awaiting Hermes arrival, we'd had plenty of time to research modifications, upgrades, tips and tricks across YouTube, Facebook and all of the other treasure troves of the internet. (One might even say too much time?) So when Hermes finally came on the scene, we had our to-do list ready to go.


Before leaving the dealer lot


And when I say "ready to go" I mean didn't even wait for Hermes to make it home before starting upgrades. Since we had couple of weeks before we could pick him up in Rockford, Illinois, we had our friends at Winnebago Motorhomes get a head start for us. Knowing we would be working while driving Hermes back to Seattle, we got a WeBoost Drive Reach RV antenna installed to help bolster our cellphone signals and keep us a bit more connected. Mick also got us connected with the local Mercedes dealer for some additional floor mats for the cab (since I am a neat-freak), and a boot wrap for the electronic ignition switch (EIS), essentially a psuedo-recall fix to make sure the wiring up front is protected from any condensation.


And when we finally arrived to Rockford, while we tested all of the systems and got oriented to the Revel, we also got right to work tinkering in the lot of Winnebago Motorhomes. First project: disconnecting the center speaker, which notoriously ruins the OEM sound system. Next up, and requiring much more elbow-grease, removing all of the Winnebago decals and unnecessary stickers from around the van.


While Jim was working on the outside, I was nesting on the inside and leaning into our organization strategy. I added 3M Command hooks and velcro strips around the van, including hanging up bedside caddy and securing down the "bed seat belt" to keep it from knocking around, and got to work on Phase 1 sound proofing with weatherstripping and shelf liner.


But Rome was not built in a day. So we hit the road to get back to Seattle and the pups (and Jessica's dad who was on dog-duty and ready to help with the next phase of the mods!)


Exterior mods: Jim's turf


After 3 days of cross-country driving, we got straight to work (and "real" work!). While Jessica's handy dad was at our disposal, we started digging in on the exterior mods: our Owl Van Engineering tire carrier (no crawling under the van for a spare!) and a Van Compass rear tug (bumper) step to make entry into the back super easy. We also added a bit of non-slip gripper to the tug step to make sure that even in Jim's clumsiest state, we would be good to go.



While those two were not precisely "easy," our next one involved a few more swear words: mounting our Harbor Freight rifle carrier to the roof-rack and adding our two MaxTrax recovery boards mounted on top. In the end, it was worth the hassle to get the extra storage for our recovery equipment and air compressor, but beers were certainly required upon completion of that one.


And undoubtedly the modification Jim was most jazzed about: our Baja Designs LP9 lights with Van Compass floating light bar! In addition to helping us see at night in off-road/backwoods scenarios, the LP9's upped our cool factor by at least 50%. And just to add that extra nudge of personalization, we used a bit of black holographic Plastidip on the Mercedes emblem. Pretty rock and roll...



Jessica takes over: Interior mods

With Jim's projects off the list, my dad and I focused on adding additional function and personality to the inside of Hermes. Step 1: deepening the drawers (Why, Winnebago? WHY???) A straightforward affair with a bit of pine, which left some spare wood for our passenger-seat mounted shoe box!


Next we focused on the pantry, replacing the ridiculously shelving short tracks and adding some Bino clear storage bins to double our shelving and storage.


And to make sure we could actually SEE all of the extra goodies that will inevitably be added to the panty, we added some simple some one-touch lighting.


And to round out the kitchen "love" we made a multifunctional sink cover with a bamboo cutting board, adding some 3M grippers as "feet" to keep the board in place when we're on the road.


Then it was adding a new rug here, adding some dog-ready bench seat covers there and rounding things out with a seat-back organizer for even more storage options.

Adding a bit of cheek: the toilet sanitation station

Since it is Jim's job to deal with the cassette toilet, I wanted to make sure that he was well armed for the task (and clean afterward!). We we created a little station with rubber gloves in a holder, hand sanitizer and toilet chemical storage. And couldn't resist the urge to add a bit of humor to the situation with Cousin Eddie (a National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation reference).



Calling in the professionals

Let's be honest, we are not equipped to do everything ourselves. So to round out the final sprint, we handed the baton over to Via RV and Signs of Seattle for the last steps.


Hermes got an upgraded ride with the Van Compass Stage 1 suspension system and a bit of personality with a 3M hood wrap, rocker wraps and, and his name proudly displayed for all to see.




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Greg Bishop
Greg Bishop
Sep 17, 2021

Would love more details on the plastidip of the front emblem. Does it come off easily? Any tips or links? Thx

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