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Amazon Reviews van build

Amazon Product Review:

Suburban 3206A Gas Range with Conventional Burners – Black w/Piezo Ignition, 17”

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Today, we are starting a series of Amazon product reviews. If you’ve landed here because you are building out a van or just curious about the process, then you might be interested in our experience with the appliances and tools we used on our own build! I’ll describe the product we bought plus the pro’s and con’s of it. Let’s get started with the oven. 

Things to Consider Before Buying any Oven:

Space

Space is always the limiting factor in a van build. Space is constant. You can have more/less water, more/less electricity, more/less propane – not space. Ovens can be harder to fit into shorter vans and stove tops take up your counter space. So, visualize where an oven would go and the opportunity cost of giving up that space for something else.

 Propane

If you don’t want to use propane, this particular oven may not be the one for you. You might put more effort into a good battery/electrical system and then get an induction stove top (as many van builders do) and use a smaller propane tank for a camp burner.ExpensiveOur oven cost $473.23 from Amazon (currently $455 at the time of this writing). Ours is 21x18x16 inches, 54 pounds, gas range with piezo ignition. So, it’s a fairly simplified design, you have to turn the ignition on a separate knob and you have to manually light the oven with a hand held lighter. The ovens with electric ignition are quite a bit more expensive than even this one.We like our oven, but it’s not great at heat disbursement. So, keep in mind your RV oven won’t behave like a full kitchen oven and will take some practice to get used to how it cooks.

Do you even want an oven? 

We almost considered using just an Air Fryer for our cooking, because we were already in the habit of using it for much of our food. But, we figured we would need the oven too often to do without. We plan to live full-time in the ProMaster, so the convenience of an oven/stove combination seemed like a luxury we needed to make the van feel more like a home. Maybe you don’t use the oven often at all. Maybe you want to do a microwave/portable propane stove combo. Just think about how you usually heat/cook your food and what your goals are for the van.


Alright, so here are the pro’s and con’s of our specific oven.

Suburban 3206A Gas Range with Conventional Burners – Black w/Piezo Ignition, 17”

Pro’s:

  • Sleek Black Color
  • Easy to use stove top ignition
  • 3 gas burners
  • Easy to clean
  • I feel like it gives us extra counter space when it’s not being use
  • Compact but efficient
  • Fits an average Costco pizza
  • Easy to hook up to the propane lines – Common size fitting
  • Spots for mounting

Con’s:

  • Small, so pans & dishes need to be smaller
  • Poor heat disbursement (runs down the middle in a line), so we needed to get a pizza stone to help
  • Expensive, but I wouldn’t say it was too expensive for how often we use it
  • Arrive with a dent in the front (common complaint on Amazon too)
  • From other Amazon customers (not us): rusting after 6 months, weak burner grill, paint scratching off

Hopefully this gives you some helpful information while you’re shopping for your oven. Questions? Let me know in the comments!


If you click this link to the oven and end up purchasing something from Amazon, we may get a commission at no extra cost to you. It’s a great way to support us on the road!


Sincerely, Hanna

Categories
A Little Lost, A Little Found Just for Fun

They’re not called ‘fur babies’ for nothin’

How do you know when you’re ready for a puppy or dog or any kind of pet? As an adult, I have not had the responsibility of pet ownership and the thought of having a little companion is quite rosy and sweet. Right now, she’s being a good little girl lying next to me on the couch.

Of course, she’s nothing like a human baby – I’m not falling for that. But, wow, is a puppy a lot of work. Between getting up in the middle of the night, keeping a corner eye on her at all times, and the constant wondering is she’s sad, bored, or content, I wonder how a person could do this with a full time job!

Yet, she’s so darn cute! Is it okay if we take a moment to ooh and ahh?

This is Frankie – she’s a girl and particularly adorable when she’s asleep in awkward poses.

I’ve spent a lot of time alone while traveling on nursing assignments. In Florida, Ivan worked 5 nights a week. He usually works 3-4 days a week. A nurse’s shift is often 12 hours long, 13 by the time you include shift change and commuting. Without kids or nearby friends, it’s gets lonely! I didn’t understand loneliness until we started travel nursing.

There are ways around it – go meet people, sit in coffee shops, go to church, sell things at craft fairs – these are things that definitely kept me busy and entertained. But, I’d still come back to the idea that it might be nice to have a furry friend too.

Let’s be honest – we didn’t overthink getting a dog, but we did take our time. I can already see she’s helping me stay active and she gives me just the right amount of stress to be mentally engaged during the day.

All that to say, she’s a lot of work – but good work and we love her so much!

How did you know when you were ready for a dog? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time!

Hanna

Categories
van build

3 Things We Wish We Would’ve Checked Before Buying our ProMaster Van

We knew there would be unforeseen maintenance, but as amateurs at care buying, here are the three things I wish we would’ve checked first, because it might have given us a bit more negotiation leverage. Maybe, maybe not. 

A little background – these tips are personal to our buying experience as we shopped for a Ram ProMaster to convert into a tiny home. So, it was a bigger and more “industrial” purchase than a regular car.

It was pretty obvious the side door handle needed replacing, since the handle itself had been broken off. I did a quick Amazon search, thinking it might only be $50. In fact, the replacement part was $115. If we opted to have someone replace it for us, we were looking at a $200 ordeal. When settling on the price, we were able to get $500 knocked off. The salesman was pretty ready for that move and pulled out the, “This is the best price in the country on this type of van.” Which, was true. But, it’s still $18,000 coming out of our pocket.

Here are three more unforeseen problems, that we probably could have checked while at the lot.

  1. The Spare Tire – This is one I wouldn’t have thought about, unless someone mentioned it. How often is the spare tire flat? Actually, I don’t know. I don’t buy cars that often. But, repairing the spare tire cost us $183, rounding up to $200.
  1. The Headlights – These might be hard to check during the daytime, but try to get a close look at them. Are they scuffed and scratched? Does it look like some elbow grease will shine them up? We didn’t know it until our overnighter road trip how dim they were and not just because of the bulbs. Ours were pretty worn and needed replacing, which added up to $330. Whew! Who knew they’d be so pricey? If it’s obvious your desired car will need new headlights, do a quick Amazon search to get an estimate. 
  1. Brakes & Oil – ask the dealership when they last changed the brakes and oil. It may be standard practice, it may depend on the dealership. You might need new pads, or new calipers too. But, changing the brakes to make sure they were fresh and ready to go cost us $390.
Our brakes really weren’t terrible, and it gave Ivan something to do/learn while waiting for the weather to warm up.

All in all, the repairs we were responsible for added up to $1,000. We got a bit knocked off the price, could have negotiated another couple of hundred dollars if we knew to look for these three things? Maybe, maybe not. 

But, at least I will know for next time. (Hopefully, there’s not going to be a next time to soon!!)

Any other quick checks people should do when buying a car? Maybe ones that are less obvious than checking tire tread? Comment below. And, good luck on your next car purchase!

Love,

Hanna 

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