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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Motorhome Modification - Installing Articulating Arm for the TV Cabinet

Our Safari motorhome has a cabinet in the bedroom that houses a big CRT type television.  We ousted that energy hogging tv long ago and have been using a much more sensible LED tv that uses a lot less power.  Important when you are a boondocker.  (camping without electrical hookups)

The cabinet has a large space that could be extra storage, but we have just been setting a DVD player and jamming in the LED tv at an angle when in use.  When travelling we take it out set it on the bed.

Here is the cabinet: 

We had been looking at articulating tv arms that would allow us to move the tv out to reach the storage behind, or to tilt to have better viewing from the bed. Walmart's mounts were $129.00!!  Ouch!  But we were in Menards last week and found one for $35.00  It was made for a bigger tv than ours, but Steve assured me that we could make it work.  Somehow. 

We took it out and laid it out on the bed... 
not only don't the holes match up, but the back base plate doesn't line up with our tv!

Steveio took to solving that problem!  He lined it up and figured where the base plate needed to cut off the top edge that would be overhanging otherwise.  He marked where new holes needed to be drilled in the base to work with our particular brand of tv.

There... that was much better!  He cut it off with his jigsaw blade for metal.  Oh oh... the bolts that came with this kit were also too long!   That was easily solved by Steveio using a special section on his electrical pliers that lets you snip off the threaded ends of bolts without ruining the threads.  What a guy!

 In no time he was screwing the back base plate onto the tv. 

Now we had to mark where the arm needed to be mounted inside of the cabinet for the best position.  I wanted it up as far as it could go along the ceiling, so we could still keep a DVD player in the space below the tv and could use the remote control on it.   It took two of us to hold everything to line up the tv, the bracket, the arm, and mark the spots where to drill inside of the cabinet.

There... all mounted in place!  We ran the 2 inch heavy lag screws into the side wood that goes into the next cabinet. The wood of each cabinet is almost an inch thick, so the screws will hold well in the solid alder wood cabinets in our Safari. I coiled up the cords, coax and DVD connector cables.

We pushed it back into place and it fit perfectly! 

For now, the arm is very stiff and firm, so I don't think we need to use any safety strapping during travel.  We will see.  We can always add a strap later if needed.  

Once it was all done and into place, we turned on the inverter 
and turned on the tv, just to test it out.  Voila! 


  1. Congratulations on your upgrade! I recently did something similar but bought an arm that was not needing to be altered! I also needed a friend for help!

  2. Nice job modifying and mounting the TV and Bracket. As you said with time you might consider adding a travel strap because just the weight of the television on the mount will pop open the casing. We started with a bungee but found a two inch wide Velcro strap that works beautifully at Home Depot. No problems since then.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  3. You might be right Rick. Will see after our first drive. Since we installed the new Koni shocks, nothing rattles off the back vanity or either of our bedside tables like before. The tv is small, only a 18 inch and pretty light, I think under 10 pounds and that arm is pretty stiff and heavy duty welds and joints. But I will look for the strap at Home Depot if we need it. Thanks!

  4. Last year we bought a 17 - 19 inch led tv (I use it for service in the field as well as our rv tv). I bought a mount that looks the same as yours but for a smaller tv. The mounting plate is set up in a VESA standard size and pattern for each size of tv.
    I used our tv in the motorhome in August when we camped for the first time in three years and left the tv on the mougnt when we drove but the tv did move around by itself. I am a little concerned about this motion and the damage that could be done so I take the tv off of the mount when we drive and feel safer about it.
    I do enjoy your blog.
    Wilf Blakey

  5. Steve did a great job, and had a great helper. After 40 years of home improvements on a long eries of houses we are so happy to have someone else do the work. But I did think of Steve last week when we paid over a thousand dollars for our routine annual services on our disel. I know he does them himself and that sure helps the bottom line. Hope winter comes slowly for you and you enjoy a beautiful autumn.


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