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RAVadoodle - the adventures of a USPS rural vehicle.

12769 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Blogson
:) Greetings everyone!

Time to start a build thread for all of our USPS mods. ;)


Here she is as of Christmas time. :)

I will take more pics later today. AFTER her bath! She's really dirty right now. :rolleyes: And I will go into what I've done for mods too, with detailed pics. I might even be able to get someone to take a pic of how it looks when I'm delivering mail. :thumbs_up:
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
0kay, I have a few more pictures. :)




^^^^ Yes, that's the R4W sticker all covered up on the back window... :( I couldn't bring myself to take it off!!

Here is my RHD setup for my LHD RAV4. ;) It's actually quite comfortable.



I sit mostly on the passenger seat, and partially over the e-brake. That way I can still reach the pedals with my left foot. (Yes, I had to learn how to drive ALL 0VER AGAIN!!! :rolleyes:)

I wired in a switch to turn on my caution light. You can see the blue handle, down by the floor/side door, on the passenger side.

Let's talk about seat belts. I use mine as a lap belt. What I've done is taken a hack saw to the passenger side seat belt buckle attachment area. There are tabs on both sides of the buckle to keep it in place. I took off one of these tabs to allow it to swivel out of the way towards the back. That way I'm not sitting on it. ;) Next I buckle into the drivers side, pulling the whole length out, then I put the shoulder strap over my head and behind the seat. It works very well. :) If you have to get in and out A L0T, the whole seat belt thing tends to be a PITA!!! But safety first. :thumbs_up:




Here is a wind deflector that I made, to help stay warm during the Winter months. It works great!! :) I leave my window open the whole 80 miles (5-6 hours of driving). 90% of the wind is completely deflected from even coming inside the open window.


I used coroplast, and a heat gun to make the deflector. It was easy, cheap, and fun to make. :)


I also added a rain deflector along the top. However, that hasn't been tested yet. It's only rained one day that I was delivering, and that's when I knew it was something I needed to address.




I have a small tab along the length of it, to wrap around the door frame where it's attached via 3M Tape. It's simple to move the door gasket out of the way to do this, and to put it back in place, once finished.



Here is a handy thing I happened to find at Wal-Mart of all places... :eek: Not sure what I was thinking by being there, but that's another story. I use it to store 3849 forms, books of stamps, markers, pens, etc. It will be able to be used more, after I install the RHD conversion kit. Right now I leave it there and drive from the driver's seat when I'm not delivering. Having several things in there can make it uncomfortable. But having paper things stored there is great!



I use the tubs that the flats come in to deliver from. Using a criss-cross method. The letter trays don't fit on the seat, and I can't stand fussing with rubber bands, or straps. :rolleyes: The tubs are also a perfect height to rest my arm on while steering. My arm doesn't get tired from the reach one bit. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I also have taken out the back seats (easy, just 4 bolts per seat), taken off the right side mirror, changed the interior mirror, and added a rubberized exercise mat that covers the entire floor area behind the front seats.

The rear spoiler is VERY helpful for keeping that back window clear. No need to put the rear window wiper back on.
 

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Why not import a Rav4 from Japan with a rhd steering wheel? Mail carrier cars are exempt from steering wheel placement. I've even seen many Jeep wrangler rhd mail carriers for rural areas.
You could get a 4.1 or 4.2 from Japan for less than $5k delivered to a US port.
 

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That involves a lot of work and ingenuity! But it is surprising that it had to be done - here the Postal Service provides RHD vehicles for its rural routes, ranging from purpose-made utility vehicles to RHD Jeep Cherokees. Are there different types of rural mail routes, with one requiring the carrier to use their own vehicle?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
hd72m, Thanks. :) After comparing the various vehicles other people are using, I would have to agree with you!!! ;)


Veliksam, The costs involved with getting, and repairing a RHD is much greater then modifying or converting a LHD. ;) And I enjoy the challenge anyway.


Blogson, We have LLVs (Long Life Vehicles), here for rural routes too. But on some of the routes it's up to the carrier to provide the vehicle (Typically the more remote/longer routes). I'm actually 0NLY interested in the routes that I have to provide a vehicle. They pay me mileage in compensation. I have no doubt, that the amount I'm given ($0.76 per mile), more then covers fuel, and repair costs. Provided, I do all the work, which I am M0RE then happy to do. :thumbs_up:
RAVadoodle has almost saved up enough to buy herself a conversion kit (~$1,500). She's been able to save more for herself then I have. lol :)
 

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:) Good scouting there Jim. I am planning on getting the PostalThings conversion kit, unless I find a better one. There really aren't that many kits out there... Who knows, I may end up L0VING the process of converting RAVadoodle so much, that I may decide to help others with their conversions too! :) I'm all for helping others save their hard earned money on sensible, beneficial, lasting things. ;)

After mid Feb, I will have more then enough to get the kit. The few aerodynamic and air intake mods that I still have in place, has helped to save more of the mileage compensation that RAVadoodle gets. :) Every bit helps!
But because I'm an enabler, and teacher, I enjoy showing others how simply a person can make a "normal" vehicle, perfect for mail delivery. Just today, I saw a rural carrier, in a LHD Jeep Cherokee, leaning way over to the passenger side as he moved forward to the next mail box. My heart ached for that poor guy. He's got to be S000000 sore by the end of the day! I would hope he's not the Regular for that route!!! But what I don't understand, is why so many people don't explore or experiment on making their job easier with the vehicle that they have??? I do realize, I'm still unmarried, and probably have more time on my hands then most people. But still....
Maybe it would be helpful to just buy and convert, or modify vehicles to be not only easy to deliver mail from the right hand side, but more fuel efficient too? Now I'm dreaming. :rolleyes: :) :thumbs_up:
 

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:) Good scouting there Jim. I am planning on getting the PostalThings conversion kit, unless I find a better one. There really aren't that many kits out there... Who knows, I may end up L0VING the process of converting RAVadoodle so much, that I may decide to help others with their conversions too! :) I'm all for helping others save their hard earned money on sensible, beneficial, lasting things. ;)

After mid Feb, I will have more then enough to get the kit. The few aerodynamic and air intake mods that I still have in place, has helped to save more of the mileage compensation that RAVadoodle gets. :) Every bit helps!
But because I'm an enabler, and teacher, I enjoy showing others how simply a person can make a "normal" vehicle, perfect for mail delivery. Just today, I saw a rural carrier, in a LHD Jeep Cherokee, leaning way over to the passenger side as he moved forward to the next mail box. My heart ached for that poor guy. He's got to be S000000 sore by the end of the day! I would hope he's not the Regular for that route!!! But what I don't understand, is why so many people don't explore or experiment on making their job easier with the vehicle that they have??? I do realize, I'm still unmarried, and probably have more time on my hands then most people. But still....
Maybe it would be helpful to just buy and convert, or modify vehicles to be not only easy to deliver mail from the right hand side, but more fuel efficient too? Now I'm dreaming. :rolleyes: :) :thumbs_up:
Cherish, that's potentially a great and profitable enterprise for you - you could be on your way to your first (or second, or whatever) $1 million! Good luck, and keep us up to date! :cool::thumbs_up:

Maybe the guy who was delivering mail in the LHD Cherokee had back problems and was using the leaning over to the right side as an exercise to help heal it! :)
 
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