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Saturday, January 7, 2017

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS *C* from Cabinets to Camping Lantern and Mat

I am going to start off the new year with posting three of our motorhome modifications at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter C now!


Cabinet rebuilding:
I know I kinda sorta touched on this one a couple blogs back with Back Up Camera. Our motorhome has three nice dark acrylic? glass? doors across the front of the motorhome.  Inside each one is all of the surround sound system control deck, booster and amplifier for the sound system.  Plus other electronics: dvd player, vcr player, dvd storage, our fans and some other doo-dads.  They are major storage areas for us and all our "stuff".  We even mounted a clock with velcro to one of the doors, so it can removed to adjust time or change out the battery.

The far left part is a bit of a challenge.  Many Safari motorhome owners will call that cabinet that encloses the tv as a "headbanger"  or some other %*$@))&!! word.  Because it suspends down lower into the cockpit area, it is easy to knock your head against it when getting up from your seat.

We long ago stopped using the big CRT television overhead as a main tv.  Instead, we mounted a slim LED flatscreen to a bracket suspending it from under the cabinets on the passenger side of the rig. It uses less power, and weighs less and has a much better/larger picture too.  So we are happy with this change, and can see the tv better from the loveseat on the opposite side.

(I LOVE Andy Griffith and Mayberry... 
playing dvds from a collectors set from daughter Heather) 

Well, then why keep the big CRT tube type tv, you ask? Because it doubled as a back up camera screen for the built in camera system in the motorhome.  About the only time we use it to flick it on to see if the Tracker is hooked up properly and turning corners correctly behind us as we tow.

One fine day, Steveio's brain was a-working on this head-banging matter. After he had banged his head again, of course. He decided that if we order a nice small 7" monitor screen we can eliminate that tv.  Then he started thinking even more.... what about removing the cabinet, cutting it off at the top, and installing it back into place now flush with the others?  The front and underside surfaces are finished like the rest of the cabinets.  They are all solid wood, nothing paper particle board garbage like in our old Coachmen. These are western alder wood and such lovely pieces of cabinetry we don't want to wreck them or try to replace that one unit on the left.

Great thinking.... lots of work, but great thinking!   And since when did Steveio shirk from work???

He had the big tv out in no time, that was the "easy part"....  now we looked behind to realize that a whole slew of wires for all the electronics were not just behind the cabinet... noooo.. they were through a hole IN the wall of the side of the cabinet leading into the other cabinet.  We would have to unhook each and every one before we can remove the cabinet.  I am talking about TWENTY different wires that had to be unhooked!

We photographed all the wire connections for the surround-sound, booster, amplifier and camera/tv systems, and I carefully labelled each one before disconnecting them. Let's just hope we get each one hooked back up correctly when this job is done?

Now Steve could carefully unscrew all the mountings to get this piece of cabinetry out of that section of the motorhome ceiling.  Whew... it worked!

This is what it looks like behind there. 
All of those wires need to be fed back through that tiny hole
 to the right when the cabinet goes back into place after it's alteration.

(See what I meant about the wires???)

Here is the cabinet out of the rig
and he cut off the top sections to make it
now go back in flush along the bottom edge
with the rest of the cabinets. 
We removed the visors too....
We use the wide powered windshield shade instead.

The next step was to get a new piece of plexi for a matching door... and finding some matching hinges. The hinges are big black circles that extend through the glass to the outside and are a design feature.  Hmmmmm   Trying to match the same color, tone, shine of 20 year old plexiglass plus matching the type of hinges might be a bit tricky?  

Off to check on my Safari Group on Yahoo called SafariCoaches  One of the members, Bill Edwards, happened to have a door he had removed from his motorhome during a modification he made!  He bundled it up with about a mile of bubble wrap, and shipped it to our home!   Yay! now we have a perfect match! Thanks Bill!!!

We had to do a few minor modifications of beefing up the wood on the left inside surface of the cabinet for the hinges to attach to. We had to remove the little tweeter speaker for the surround sound on the right to make a bit more clearance and shift it over about 1/2 an inch.

There!  Done! 

Sure looks great and improved our view out the front. 
Visually it makes our rig look wider....

but most of all, Steve won't bang his head on the too-low cabinet!

Camping Lantern:
We have had plenty of camping lanterns over the years... from Coleman white gas units with double mantles, smaller Coleman propane units with single mantles, big battery units that ran off those huge 6v batteries, remember those?   

Well, now we have settled on this small LED lantern. It runs off a few AA batteries and the little LED lights reflect on the bright shiney silver point hanging down from the top.  It has brightness from low to high setting and the batteries last all summer long.  We take it out to set on the picnic table to play cribbage at night and it does not attract as many bugs as the old lanterns did.  We jokingly call it Steves Manly Man Light which was a tease because it was so small compared to the big huge lanterns we used to haul around.  But we like it.  A lot. 

Camping Mat:
Sadly I do not have a source for this mat any more. It came from a camping RV store about 20 years ago and we have not seen them since.  Its a rubbery mat similar to shelf liner but stronger.  It lets the water and sand fall through the little holes, but holds up well. 

It has gone through four teenagers, numerous dogs, poking legs of lawn chairs, drifting sparks from a campfire and countless days in the hot sun, night of freezing temps and frost and sometimes even snow, mud, rain, and gooey marshmallows.  We hang it up on the washline and hose it off.  Good to go again. 


As another icy cold day in Wisconsin commences, as Jack Frost is painting out our view of the cold frozen motorhome in the back yard. brrrrrr It was about 6 below and windchills around 15 below this morning. 

Steve decided to cook us a heart-warming breakfast! Love his humorous touch! 

Then we set about with a few household tasks in the morning. Took care of this and that around the house. I was happily sewing by 11 a.m. and Steve was content and busy with a new project.

He decided that we needed another outlet in our upstairs hallway.  There were not any outlets in the hallway when we bought the house, but during the electrical upgrade, one was added up at the eastern end.  It made it handy for using the vac cleaner and also for a night light.  Steve decided we should have a light at the west end too. (the hallway goes the entire length of our upstairs) 

He was able to tap into the electrical line in an outlet in my fiber storage room (formerly the maids quarters in 1914 when this house was built)  I just LOVE the funky old flooring in this room! 

From there he cut an opening in the wall in the hallway.  It is thick cutting though the heavy cement-like plaster and lathe.  He loves this little oscillating cutting tool that makes quick work of the plunge cuts needed to make the opening wide enough for the electrical box.

He was supervised closely by two interested spectators. 

And... he even cleaned up his mess afterwards! 

He tested the outlet it works perfectly 
(of course) 

I had in mind a perfect little lamp on a perfect little table to go there. It used to be in our downstairs foyer, but I moved it upstairs to the guest room when I got a pretty marble pedestal instead.

It was in the way in the guest room, and it really needed a *place* to be. It is a special table, it was abandoned under the back stairs when we first looked at the house. I hoped that nobody would throw it away, thinking it was junk. I stuffed it in the corner of the garage for safekeeping till our closing. I was SO happy to see it still there when we closed on the house. I dusted it off and later refinished it to its former glory! 

Now it has a new place at the top of the back servant's stairs
holding a sweet little lamp plugged into a timer
to serve as our night light. 

on edit:
middle of the night


  1. Sounds like Steve had a lot of work...the hardest must have been all those wires and being in their right place, but the finished product sure looks good. Hey no more head hanging now.

  2. Note to Nancy who just wrote to me on Blogger Contact.. your email address is bouncing and I am trying to reply back to you. Try again? pfundt@gmail.com

  3. I understand why Steve modified those overhead cabinets. I have banged my head a lot on the TV enclosure in our RV.


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