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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Motorhome Modifications - PAINTING DOOR FRAME and PROP POLE

Since I have all of the painting and touch-ups done around the house, my paint brushing hand was still a little itchy...   I usually give our motorhome steps a coat of black rustoleum paint every year, and again this spring, they needed a touch-up.     It was a gorgeous day after the thunderstorms moved on through, so I got out my can of paint and my little brush and went at it.

Steve had removed the icky fake indoor/outdoor carpeting on our steps a few years back, and installed two nice polished aluminum stair tread/bull nose pieces for traction on the stairs.  It matches with the aluminum lower portions of our motorhome and works very well.  But the black portions do need the touch-up.

Once I got the steps done, I was looking at how horribly marked up and grubby looking the cream paint was around the edge of the screen door.  Especially near the handle where we are always grabbing or pushing the door shut. 

Well, if the main door can have a strip of black around it, why can't the screen door???   So I cleaned the surface well and let it dry in the sun, and went to work on painting the frame of  the screen door! 

I carefully painted around the edges, here I am partially done....   I wanted the worst portion to adhere well, so I scrubbed it twice and was letting it dry while I painted around the other edges first. 

And here is the door all done!   See the frame around the edge of the inside of the main door?  So I think it kinda matches.  I didn't paint any of the cross pieces as many of them are plastic and didn't want the problem of peeling paint. (we got the stained glass insert in the big door when we were in Mexico last year)   Ahhhhh there, all done!  Steps and door.

On many of the Safari motorhomes, they had a goofy door latch that was kinda a sideways pull lever instead of the normal push down lever on most RV screen doors.  We decided to take that off a few years ago, and we just put in a roller catch for cabinetry instead.  The Steve added an angled piece of aluminum as a door pull.   Now we can just pull the door open or push it closed and the roller catch will latch it lightly.  It makes it much easier for going in and out, especially with trays of food or dishes when we cook outdoors.  We do that most of the time!

But..... every once in a while, this can be a problem with sassy doggers who know they can push on the screen door with their noses!  POP and it's wide open!   They only do this if we are sitting outside eating, and they want to come out too.  heh heh

So from the inside, we added this half-butterfly that is used for attaching screens or storm windows on a house.  From the inside we can turn it to keep the door from popping open by doggers' noses, or even from the outside we can reach in through the slider and turn it open or locked.

(roller catch on halfway painted door)                                 (the half butterfly catch)


The other thing I finally got around to taking pictures of is our "prop pole" for when we work on the diesel engine.  Our motorhome has a king sized bed, and a very heavy household mattress.  This makes the bed very hard to lift and keep up in the air when working under it.  The little struts that hold up a normal RV bed and lightweight RV mattress just don't cut it on our bed.

Steve found this pole... it's called a cargo retainer pole and used for keeping items from sliding around in the back of trucks or cargo vans. It is very heavy pipe, adjustable, and has swiveling ends with rubber gripper surfaces.   He got it at Harbor Freight for about $15 or so?  We both lift the bed together, then Steve sets the pole into place with one rubber grip pad on the engine and the other grip pad on an angle under the lip edge of the bed.

 Now we are able to reach in underneath the bed to do our service and check things as needed.

He is even able to crawl right inside the engine compartment and reach stuff without having to shimmy in underneath the rig.  Engine access can sometimes be a problem with diesel pushers.  Many diesel truck companies don't even want to work on them because of the difficult positions of the bed, slide mechanisms and engine placement.  I was just reading on a fellow blogger's post about how the workmen had to cut into the actual floor/step area to make an access hole to get to a certain part of their engine.  Then they hinged the cutout piece so it could return to it's previous position.   I am glad we have full access, this is much easier!

We are almost done with our spring maintenance on our rig.... in the last few weeks we have:
  • changed transmission fluid and filters
  • changed the oil and filter
  • changed the 2 fuel filters
  • changed the radiator fluid over to long life antifreeze after a good flushing
  • changed all the brake fluid and bled the brakes
  • lubed the chassis and checked the hub oil in the front wheels
  • installed another solar panel on the roof (now 500 watts up there)
  • changed oil and filter in the generator and a new muffler for it
  • new air filter on engine
  • soldered back on a tab on the alternator that broke off, bought a spare alternator just in case

The last thing we need to do yet is double check all of our caulking along the three metal strips that run horizontally along the body of the aluminum sides of the rig, as it deteriorates over time and needs to be fill with a thin bead of a special caulk made for the UV rays that blast on the exterior. 

Whew... and who says the RV Life is easy and care-free living??????

Horrible thunderstorms and large amounts of rain to the south of us last night. They are showing flooding in the southern portions of the Fox River Valley around Lake Winnebago.  We are good up here in our northern area, but hope the sun comes out soon. 



  1. Your motorhome will last forever, as well-maintained as you guys keep it. Plus all the things you add or change to make it better for the way you live in it.

  2. The freshly painted door frame looks very nice.

  3. If you don't stop adding solar soon Steve will be able to do welding with solar power!

  4. You guys are amazing with your skills! Wish we could borrow Steve sometime for some fixer-uppers or new ideas!

  5. Your painting job looks professional! You did a great job. You are going to be traveling down the road in style.

    Send some of that rain this way. We have been dry for a while.

  6. Great job on the painting.
    Duchess and Duke look like they are plotting a way to get around that
    latch, deep in conversation

  7. Steps and door look great. Steve does a lot of work on your motorhome but so do you. Won't be long now.

  8. Oh how I wish I just had a fraction of the talent you guys got.......

  9. I'm tired just reading all that ya'll have done! Come on down south I have a Holiday Rambler that could use some maintenance and we're not as handy as you two are!

  10. You two have been busy. Getting the house ready for sale and also working on the RV maintenance and you're so full of great ideas on little modifications. You'll soon be ready for the camping season.

    Kevin and Ruth


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