No More Tent: 1985 Dodge Roadtrek 190 Versatile

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This 1985 Dodge Roadtrek 190 Versatile is listed on eBay and can be found in gorgeous Sumner, Washington, a half-hour east of Tacoma. The seller is asking $4,500 for this great-looking Class-B camping van, this is a great buy.

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This would be much better than staying in a tent, at least it would be for me. I have nightmares about ripped tent flaps, having both my head and feet hitting on the ends of the tent, and mosquitoes buzzing around my head all night. Not to mention, trying to pack up in the pouring rain, etc. Plus, I’m huge Dodge van fan so this would be a great rig. Motorhome some in three sizes, or classes: “Class A” refers to the motorhomes that look like a bus; big and square without a separate cab. “Class C” refers to those with a van chassis and cab but with a motorhome-like body often with a cab-over portion for sleeping. A “Class B” is a van, often an extended van, like the one shown here. Sometimes they have a custom top such as this Roadtrek does.

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Roadtrek has been the number one seller of Class B motorhomes (or, camping vans, as I call them) since 1990; that’s quite an accomplishment. Either that, or nobody else thinks it’s a big enough market to dabble in. The 190 Versatile is almost 19-feet in length, which you could probably guess from the “190” part of the name. The “Versatile” is the mid-level 190 Roadtrek, above The Popular and below The Top Liner. There is no mention of rust at all, and just a note about a dent near the RR tail light. As the former owner of a Dodge Maxivan I can attest to those areas getting dented, almost by magic..

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There are no engine photos, but the seller says that they just spent $2,000 for a rebuilt 5.2L 318 V8 and also had a new starter put in. I changed a slant-six on a Dodge Van once, on a gravel driveway with the engine hoist catching in the gravel the whole time, and it wasn’t the easiest thing that I’ve ever done; I can’t imagine changing a V8. There is one underside photo and it looks super clean and corrosion-free, but I don’t see any mention of rust or anything like that so I’m not sure if it is free from the R-word or not. They say that it gets between 12 and 15 mpg; not too bad for hauling your house around. The interior looks super clean, other than that one hole in the driver’s seat bottom. This van has power windows and locks, AC, cruise control, tilt wheel, and more.

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The Versatile looks like it has a nice layout with the dinette and bed combo in the back. There’s also a round table between the front and rear seats for more casual eating or playing cards or games when you’re on the road. Although, come to think of it, playing cards or games with other actual humans has given way to sticking one’s nose in their smart phone or tablet and escaping into one’s own little world. So much for the “game table” idea..  This van has an all-important feature, a toilet! Not to mention, a nice little kitchenette with a two-burner LP gas stove with an exhaust fan, a sink with a 22-gallon freshwater tank, and a 3 cubic foot 12/110 volt Norcold refrigerator. I think this would be a fantastic camper van. I’ve always wanted one of these or a VW Vanagon, either one would work for me. Would a small camping van like this be big enough for you or do you need more room to stretch out?

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Comments

  1. boxdin

    The easiest way to get the engine out is to drop the k member which included the front suspension. Its actually easier to go this way rather than thru the front, and never thru the pass door.
    The rear dent by the taillight is usually caused by the spare tire on the door being opened until contact is made. I’ve been “vanning” since 1972 and its the only way to go.

    Like 2
  2. Mr. TKD

    This is the perfect van for some young millennial who wants to sell everything and just live in it down by the river. Unfortunately I’m neither “young” or a “millennial.” But I can dream.

    • Eric

      Are you kidding I’d use while traveling with a carnival lol

  3. Dave Wright

    The coolest version of this type vehicle are over wide. They sometimes had 3 piece windshields with something like a 12″ center section to make up the width. They also made ambiliances with that chassis. The width is a huge deal for interior room. You have enough width to turn your bed sideways saving room. I prefer my Dodge Chinook motorhome but used a 1990 Dodge conversion van to move my boat crews around for several years. It was great, fuel injected engine would get close to 20 MPG on the highway, it was comfortable and fast on the highway.

    • boxdin

      The windshield was two pc, each cut 7 inches past the middle as the van was cut down the middle right side and widened 14 inches. Early ones had not widened the track as the wheels were very recessed in the wheel wells, but later ones the wheels/track was widened also. The state of CA outlawed these rigs because of the width but it was BS because other semis etc were same width. Production moved to Mexico and even today you will see “wide ones” used in Mexico. I’ve got more pics if I can find them.

      • boxdin

        We had a customer who bought one of these new and had a perkins diesel engine installed, we did the interior and he took it to Europe. I’m sure he had fun, but narrow streets in some places must have been nuts.

  4. Luke Fitzgerald

    Laminex! Laminex! – you know someone loves something when the kitchen/ bathroom/ some ugly 80s room carpet off cuts end up in the wheels

  5. pappy2d

    The pic of the bottom from the front… that oil pan looks just as dirty as the rest of the chassis. Matçhing dirt. Fresh engine? Hmmmmm.

  6. Chebby

    Easy on the ‘great deal’ claims in some of these eBay ads, BarnFinds. The seller isn’t asking $4,500 for the van, he’s starting bids there.

    I’m suspicious of any van with a side-to-side bed, I doubt a six-footer could stretch out comfortably. Does anyone have experience with that?

    • boxdin

      Yes I do. About ten yrs ago I built a 77 Dodge B200 swb that I rescued from a junkyard. The rear platform bed is 6 ft 3 inches from side to side. I did this by removing the 2 ribs over the wheel wells and making the side walls a little over half an inch thick. The porthole windows aren’t necessary to keep the walls in place because its all custom cut to fit precisely and once pushed into place would be difficult to move.
      Here’s two pics, look at the end of the side cabinet where you can see the wall moves out about 3 inches.

  7. boxdin

    I guess one photo at a time…..

    • Chebby

      Not only is that my favorite kind of van, but exactly the info I was looking for. Thank you boxdin! You still driving it?

  8. boxdin

    It was about 9 yrs ago when i saved that van from the crusher. At the time I hated emissions controls and I was going to build my all time fav van w no emissions. During the 5 yrs it took to restore the van mech and body and build the interior I became familiar w OBD 1& 2 controls and began to realize carbs are out. So another guy had to have it and I’ve been debating whether to build another one or not? I do have a 1990 Chinook/Ford that I love so that may be my only van.

  9. Jeff Stewart

    Having owned 11 VW Westfalia campers, 3 of them Vanagons, you’re better off with this one. The Vanagons are great campers, but they are not for the mechanically faint of heart. I’m still in several VW Vanagon groups, but I currently own a Ford TurtleTop camper. While the VW folks ponder over which engine swap to do (Subaru, VW inline 4 cyl) and suffer with endless repairs, all I do is plan my trip in my Ford!

  10. boxdin

    I must agree w Jeff. After owning all kinds of vans, pickup/5th wheel combos I have finally settled w an excellent 1990 Chinook on a Ford E350. Fords of this era were the best apex of trucks imho they got worse after this time. Too many sensors, complicated repairs etc. But yet new enough to have EFI and OD trans. They didn’t get any better.

  11. Dave Wright

    Be careful there Boxdin…….I made a LOT of money fixing VW buses in the day……they were a great source of income. For a small motorhome, it does not get better than a Chinook…………..

    • Jeff Stewart

      LOL, good one! A neighbor of mine, an older retired lady, always admired one of my Vanagon campers and asked me for advice on buying one-I told her to buy a RoadTrek, which she did. She still has it and loves it.

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