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Thursday, September 30, 2010

MOTORHOME MODIFICATION- more new little things we did

First, we need best wishes, good thoughts and prayers if offered for my brotherinlaw Fuzz... he has an infection at the surgery site for his bone cancer in the jaw and is on his way back 450 miles to see the surgeon in Ann Arbor, MI.  They are admitting him in to the hospital and will know more as the tests are done and results are gone over by the docs.


Okay.. we are at it again!   Doing some more stuff to our motorhome to make it more livable. We did some new little things to the rig this week.

First item is:  We have a large side by side 2 door Dometic fridge.  We notice after a week or so, we do get frost building up on the inside fins in our fridge. For just weekend camping, this hasn't been a problem, but longer periods like vacation we do notice the frost building up. Not in the freezer, just on the fridge fins.  We do have two of the little FridgeMate fans that run on 2 D cell batteries, but they are not enough to really keep the frost off the fins, they just circulate the cold air for even temps within the box when setting on a shelf.  I suppose we can put these 2 fans now in the back compartment on very hot days to move air over the back coils behind the fridge. This is what we HAD .......

But now, Steve saw this cute little fridge fan on Ebay.   
the link:  fridge fin fan  

ebay number  250677760674   
It was $14.99 plus $2.60 shipping.
Seller is Richard Lockhart
597 Pickens Gap Road
Seymour, TN 37865

It came in the mail, fast shipping, and we installed it last night.  Pretty easy. The hot lead wire attaches to the 12 volt fridge light wiring before the switch, so there is always 12 volt running to the fans.  Then the ground is a clip that does double duty.  It attaches to the fins of the fridge to hold the fan in place but also completes the 12 volt circuit.  It runs all of the time the fridge is on, with very little draw, one tenth of an amp.   When you turn the fridge off after the weekend of camping is over, the fan goes off.  We put it right where our frost builds up and I think it's going to help a lot--  It sure seems to move the air!

From his website:

RV refrigerators are not frost-free. The longer they run, the more frost & ice accumulates on the fins. Frost comes from opening and closing the door, letting in warm air. The warm air has higher moisture content which results in frost & ice buildup on the fins. The buildup causes your refrigerator to think it is colder than it actually is. Frost also prevents the fins from extracting heat from inside the refrigerator box. The purpose of the fins is to EXTRACT HEAT from the refrigerator box as they are cooling down.

Life Expectancy: 30,000 hours; Rated Voltage: 12 VDC; Max Air Flow: 18.86 (CFM) CUBIC FEET per MINUTE; Max Current: 0.10A; Power: 1.20 watt; Fan Speed: 4800 RPM + or – 10%; Bearing type: Sleeve Bearing; Noise Level: 27.7 dBA; Comes with 22” of wire to hook to power supply.


Okay.. on to the next thing...
We had those white vinyl tire covers on our rig for the last 4 years when parked in our yard.  They are on the west side where the sun beats down unmercifully in the afternoons.  The vinyl soft covers have taken a beating, blew away down the road a few times and are pretty expensive to replace.  Steve decided to cut out these nice flat plywood boards!  He had the wood in the garage. I have to paint them yet.
What do you think?:  Silver, White or Blue?     (or big yellow Smiley Faces?)


This next item I made from vinyl and used a snap setting tool to make it secure.  It's a cover for our Blue Ox tow bar!  They wanted upwards of $40 for one from Blue Ox, so I made my own.  I used leftover grey vinyl from when I made the front spare tire cover.  It keeps the grime and rain off the expensive towbar when setting in the campground after unhooking. Or if we are in the yard and taking off again in a few days and don't want to remove the whole towbar and stow it away. It doesn't look like much, but it sure helps.


Now, the last thing really isn't a modification TO the rig, but rather an item to use IN the rig that I found out works great for us.   About a month or so ago, I was rummage sale-ing with my sister, and saw two of these Swiffer Carpet Flicks brand new in the boxes for $4 each.   

They operate similar to the old fashioned carpet sweeper that Grandma used to have.  But the improvement is the stuff *sticks* to a double sided sticky pad. When the pad is full, you pull it out and toss it in the trash.  I remember on Grandma's sweeper we had to lift it and tilt it and knock on it a few times to get the dirt out, while holding it sideways over the garbage can with the handle flopping around behind you.  Sometimes you made more mess emptying it than when you started out. 

What is sooo nice about this new type----  NO electric is needed, which is great for us boodockers who camp without hookups and have to conserve our power.  Running our Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner would take a lot of solar power or need to start up the generator just to vacuum.  The Dirt Devil uses a 12amp motor that is going to draw power down fast.   

We get a lot of *Leaf Butt* from the dogs and their long hair, with dried crinkled up brown leaves being dragged into the rig. The crushed leaves cling to their belly and skirt hairs behind their back legs. We try to brush them off before getting in, but you can't get them all.   This sweeper unit picks em up toot sweet! The top of the pad collects the dirt as it flicks up inside the unit, and the bottom sticky surface of the pad catches the dog hairs! 

Sometimes right before bed we want to clean up the carpeting quick so we can walk around in stockings or first thing in the morning when we want to walk around bare feet.  Those are not good times to run the generator just to vacuum.  Our carpeting is this low loop Berber in the background on this photo, and it works very well on that.  Not sure about how well it would work on higher pile rugs.

(see all the little flecks of dirt and leaves on the pad in the see-through window?)

One glitch---  when I was at the rummage sale, remember I said they had TWO new boxes for sale?   I looked in one box and saw it was all there, brand new, unused.  But then I grabbed the other box instead without really looking inside.  Oh well, it turns out the second box was missing the pack of 24 adhesive strips that go inside the Carpet Flick for the dirt to stick to.   Dang!   The base unit and handles were all brand new still sealed in the packaging and not used.  Maybe the refills were never in there to begin with? The box said it had 24 refills included.  What the seller did with the refills, I do not know.  Nor why they had two brand new ones for sale at their rummage without even using them.   

I looked at a few stores and finally found the refills at our local True Value hardware store.  The Carpet Flick is $18.99 there! But I bought mine for $4.  Tee hee!    Refills were on sale for $3.99 a box of 12.  So I grabbed 8 boxes of refills because I had read online that they were being discontinued!   

Why is it when you find something that works so great, they discontinue it?   

So if you want one for your camper, buy it now and get lots of refills.  I did read on a Yahoo Answers list that you can make your own refills with thin cardboard like from gift boxes and some double sided carpet tape too.  Good to know.  I could do that too.   Of course I will use the big vac for all the sand and dirt and deeper cleaning, but this is great for the quick little pickups of the surface stuff. 


Well, it's countdown here ... just 8 days till our daughter Heather's wedding.  We are in a flurry of last minute plans and coordinating dog sitting, baby transport who and when and what time to and from so Erin can be Matron of Honor and who will take the baby when.  Then of course the rehersal, decorating, last minute stuff... plus we are videotaping with 2 cameras and taking still photos too, so being sure we have everything charged and set up and ready.

But this weekend, we are going camping!
Fall is here, it's my favorite time of the year and we are going to the woods, no matter what!


  1. "RV refrigerators are not frost free".

    Truer words were never spoken! I had no trouble with the propane stove and oven, but I absolutely hated dealing with the fridge.

  2. I think a vibrant shocking Fuscia color for the tire covers would look marvelous with the blue coach. Probably keep the neighbors awake at night too:))

  3. Congratulations on the upcoming wedding. Wonderful time of year for one!

    I say paint the wheel covers to look like your beautiful grandbabies peeping out - 2 on one, 1 on the other!.. But yellow smiley faces always get my vote, too... :-)

    Kerri in AL :-)

  4. Fuscia may do it for Al but I am a fan of the Smiley faces. Our dometic is a "frost free" model and seems to work well or so those who know tell me.

  5. I am so sorry about your B-I-L and his new complication. I'll keep Fuzz in my thoughts and prayers.

    Another great post with all of your "home improvements". You guys are the most clever folks in the RV world. You are nice about sharing your ideas, too. Thanks.

  6. We are sending our prayers and love to Fuzz,I hope he gets good news soon. That fan will really help I rigged a computer fan in mine the same way and it gets cooler and faster now.I probably get about 6 degrees cooler right near 32 in the box now where before it would be 39. Looks like all you mods will make life easier. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  7. Hope all goes well for Fuzz, he is in our prayers now as well.

    You know of course that my vote is for the smiley faces too! The other mods look like excellent ideas! The fridge fan definitely makes sense. You did a good job on the tow bar cover too. Nice find on the sweeper. Our floor isn't even big enough to use one, but somehow I am going to put in a central vac :) Well, it makes sense in my head anyway LOL!

    Hope the wedding goes wonderfully and your weekend camping trip as well! Congrats to Heather & her soon to be husband!

    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

  8. When we notice the refrigerator's fins starting to frost up, we usually just turn it off for the night and then turn it back on in the morning and the frost and build up is usually gone. I am sure that Kevin will still look into the fan though.

    Good luck with the wedding and preparations. We did that last year with our daughter Lindsey, so I know how busy it can get.

    Kevin and Ruth

  9. I've been following your blog for a while and enjoy what you have to say/share with the rest of us. We've yet to be on the road but hope to soon. This fall was our goal but we haven't found a rig so we are bumping off til the spring. I vote putting funky smiley faces on the board - different kind of smile for each one and rotate them occassionally. :-)



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