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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Motorhome Modification - COMPARTMENTS

To get through this long boring winter, I am going through our motorhome modifications from A-Z....  This is still a blog in the C's ... COMPARTMENTS

Actually that is a mis-nomer because our rig doesn't really have compartments like most motorhomes or trailers, it's one huge storage basement wide open from axle to axle and side to side. 

Some folks have asked me about how much storage we have or how we organize our basement compartment.  It seems their rigs never having enough room, or they are worrying about cargo carrying capacity weight issues.   When I tell them that is not an issue with us, they have a hard time believing it.  

While newer rigs have multiple slides, which are very weighty by themselves, they also have storage issues with the slide mechanisms taking up valuable space.  We don’t have the slides, so we have more than enough storage area in the basement of our rig, and weight is not a problem.  

Even with all our tanks full, (propane, fuel, fresh water and waste water) we have almost 6,000 pounds of cargo carrying capacity.   Being  aluminum exterior construction instead of fiberglass makes a big difference, plus wall and roof supports are all aluminum too.   We weigh in with full tanks at 22,000 pounds without our gear when we first bought the rig.   Our rating is  GVWR- 28,000    GCWR-32,000

The basement of our rig covers a large open area and is all carpeted space open side to side and front to rear from axle to axle.  We are only limited by the width of the doors as to what we put inside.
 our floorplan with highlight basement space

Let’s start on the driver’s side.  All of our stainless steel compartment doors rise upwards on struts and when shut, they lock securely on both ends instead of one lock in the middle. 

I will go down the side from front to back, door by door. Here is door number 1. 
Whoda thunk of that space above the tank as a good spot to put a long tube for stowing the stinky slinky!   For those of you who do not know what a "Stinky Slinky"  is, it’s the flexible 3” hose used to dump the grey and black tanks…ewwwwwww   We don’t want to keep THAT hose in our carpeted storage basement area. 

On to the next door…..
compartments6We bought an assortment of these gray totes with heavy snap on lids.  They are made by HOMZ   http://www.homzproducts.com  and I see that Ace Hardware carries them.  

The large totes measure 30 inches long by 18 inches wide.
The smaller totes measure 18 inches long by 14 inches wide.  

We like them because they have a full handle on each side, not just a lip edge that you carry by the fingertips.   Also the lid fits firmly over the top and comes way down on the sides, which does not allow anything to get into the tote.   We have more than enough totes, and keep swapping out sizes back and forth as we determine our needs in the future.  The extra totes we keep in our garage for now.  When we are ready to full time, we will have it all figured out.  (right?)  

In this next photo below, if you look close to the center of the rig, you will see a white poly 2x4 Cosco table and a larger 3x6 heavy black folding table.  Both tables slide in nicely under the space under the suspended fresh water tank.  We use them for eating and serving food when boondocking at places without picnic tables.  Also good for extra table space when working on crafts or doing some crazy things like canning pickles (see Runkle Lake campground review or Paint River Forks in my archives)   I can use these tables for an impromptu craft sale if we want while on the road full time too. 
compartments7Some of my totes of weaving and yarn supplies will go in this space.  I am even considering a dismantled Union rug loom in this space.  It breaks down to 8 pieces of wood, two beams and a stack of harnesses and treadles and one pipe.  I have hauled Union looms in the trunk of a car, so it could easily fit in this space too.  I can re-assemble it out under the awning if we are setting somewhere for a few days.  Steve and I can put it together in about 20 minutes.  Or it could be assembled inside of a rec room or community room at an RV park too.  Some places might want to see a demonstration of weaving during craft days, or let me put on an impromptu craft sale?

So that is a future decision to make.  

In this photo below you can see the insulated ductwork and some small vents from the main LP furnace which keeps these compartments from freezing in the cold temps.  We don’t often use the big furnace,  (we now use an Olympian Wave 8 heater)  so the easy solution is that in the winter, we should go south where things don’t freeze! 

This next door is kinda a half access on the front, but behind the water manifold section is the water pump, expansion tank and some extra plumbing.  It used to be walled off, but Steveio removed the wall piece for better access.  Nice to have access to that mechanical stuff instead of it being buried behind a wall.   You can see the daylight from right through to the open compartment on the other side of the rig. Steve usually lays his fishing rods in this area, plus the awning rod, which is reachable from the other side.  Deep in here he stashes extra tackle boxes, life jackets and oars for the boat.  We won't be taking the boat full time, so those items will be removed.

Ahhhhh now on to the power stuff! This compartment is further back, behind the rear wheels.  Everything electrical is in this compartment.  Sometimes the cords get dirty from being on the ground, and it's nice to have this compartment separate from the clean carpeted center basement of the rig. 

The generator is located in the far back compartment by the engine. It looks a little crooked in this photo because it was snapped when we were putting the generator back into place after having the rotor rebuilt.  Rest assured, it is firmly bolted back into place now and works just fine.  LOL  
compartments 16We don’t use the generator too often, but we have to run it from time to time to exercise it.  Great to have in an emergency, or to run one of the roof AC units as we are driving down the road if need be during hot summer temps.  But we really appreciate the peace and quiet when camping and don’t like to run it at all.  So if you are a genny-fanatic, please park far far away from us? 

Now that we are done with the driver's side, let's move across the front of the rig. 
Inside the front compartment are all the electronic fuseboxes and grounds etc.  
I had to cut and paste a few pics of it, as it won’t all fit in one picture.
wiring in the front run bay
In here we also have a large fire extinguisher with access in emergency because this compartment does not lock.  Hope we never have to use it, but it's a great location.  If we are ever needing to help on an emergency on the road, it's easy to grab. 

Yes we carry FIVE fire extinguishers in our motorhome: 

Now on to the passenger side photos on the front half of the motorhome:

These are the two most used doors near the passenger front between the side entry door and the front of the rig.   We kinda packed them full, huh?

Someone asked yesterday on the blog about how will Steve get along without all his  workshop stuff?  Rest assured, he has ALL his tools along, even a vice that can clamp into the back hitch to work on items like an outdoor workshop.  The only power tool he won't have is a table saw.  Oh well, he can make due with a circular power saw if need be.  

This one is Steve’s favorite door:

tool drawers0tool drawers1

compartments12Since this photo was taken, there are two more chairs added to this stack, the Coleman folding deck chairs I talked about yesterday in the blog.  And yes, they all fit.  That is why we haven't culled them yet from the group.

Stacked on top of the totes are our camping sign, picnic table cloth, kneeling foam pad  and whatever else don’t get stowed away properly as we break camp the time before. 

Now we can move to the rear half of the passenger side.

The two interior entry steps into the rig to reach the main floor are the only things taking up any square footage in the basement storage area. 
compartments 6
This door is located at the left of the entry door.  In here, we also stow the 6 large planks for under the tires for leveling the rig.  

Yes, Steve puts the large air compressor right into this compartment too. It's used for his air tools, and also in case of a low tire, it's capable of going to the 110 pounds needed for our tires.   It slides in and kind of curves back underneath the stairs in an open space usually not accessible.  By just reaching in to flip the lever on, and grabbing the long air hose, he is in business!    (of course when boondocking, we have to fire up the generator first to get the power to make this run) 

This next compartment is for the batteries.  This is located behind the rear wheels. It is open around the sides and bottom for ventilation.   There are 6 batteries in there now, but we can later move the 2 chassis (driving) batteries into a new rack in the engine compartment that Steveio made.  Then we could increase the bank of coach (camping) batteries to a total of six 6volt golf cart batteries if we wish.  Although with our four 100 watt solar panels that we installed, we may never need six batteries… four might be enough. 
compartments 2

compartments 3
(and for those Techy Kinda Guys, here is the new head piece he re-vamped to fit the new filters that are available for our engine, now that the ones were discontinued) 
compartments 4

So.. that completes the tour of our storage compartments and how we organize them.  In the future we see ourselves adding a few more totes of clothes (in vacuum sealed space bags)  some supplies of my craft stuff, and perhaps my table loom when not in use. The loom folds up somewhat and fits in drivers side number 3 quite well.  

Otherwise we are pretty well set for full timing, and more than adequate space inside the rig for the personal items we take along regularly and keep our kitchen fully stocked as well as the clothing and bathroom gear.   So our weight load will not change much, right now fully loaded we are about 3,000 pounds under our CCC limit, so that is a good thing.  We still have 4,000 towing capacity on top of that too.  We currently tow a Geo Tracker that only weighs 2,200 pounds

Well, enough of all that , time to get a few things done around the house.  Later today I am picking up the Chelsea Beetle Bug Girl from daycare and taking her back to our house.   Her granfaddah needs an apple pie baked, so she better come over and peel/core/slice up some apples!    Putting her to WORK!   Later she can have a spa evening in the big whirlpool tub with bubbles, and get in her jammies before her Mommy and Daddy come to pick her up.  All ready for beddy-bye. 


  1. You are just way too organized. I am sooooo jealous!! You could make money doing this for others...

  2. Yours is one BIG motorhome. I can't imagine driving it, much less backing it up. It looks great!

  3. How organized you are. We usually play the game "Now where did I put the.....(insert object here)?

    Mike and Dee White

  4. Howdy Karen & Steveio,
    BOY HOWDY, are y'all organized!!! I LOVE THAT COACH!!! That propane genset is
    a wonder!! Where did you get it?? There is a smaller 150#PSI Sears compressor
    that Nick Russell & Greg White both have.. You only need a table-saw for 'large' projects; a circular saw does everything a table-saw will do and you can clamp it to a board for larger/longer cuts... Where's the welder go?? I like the 'tall' propane lamp!! I can't wait until y'all 'hit the road' fulltime and we can 'learn so much more!!! Send some snow down here to Texas, please, we need the moisture!!

  5. Okay guys, it is now 1/30 and no posts for quite a while... are you okay?



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