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Friday, May 4, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS - *T* is Television Articulating Arms and Motorhome Exercise Day

I am going to start off the new year with posting some of our motorhome modifications, a few 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 T now!


Television Articulating Arm (front tv):

In 2012, we removed the big old heavy CRT tube type tv from the cabinet in our motorhome.  It was located in a "headbanger cabinet" over the driver's seat. We took out the tv and shortened up the overhead cabinet to save Steve's noggin.

We had bought a nice lightweight LCD flat screen tv to watch instead.  Not only is it a nicer, bigger screen, but moving it over to the passenger side of the rig is easier to watch from our reclining loveseat on the driver's side. No more twisting to watch it up over the dash. 

For the first few months, we set the new tv on a small table and plugged it in each time that we would stop.  When we moved, we would put it laying flat on the bed in back.  That worked okay for weekend trips.

When we were on a long trip, it soon became a hassle to move that tv back and forth each time we stopped.  Steve said "there has to be a better way..."

Our rig has a lot of windows and very little wall space, which suits us just fine. But where to put this tv was a challenge. We didn't want it on a table anymore. This tv was small enough to suspend from a bracket.

We were stopped at a Walmart in Texas to stock up on a few things. Over at Lowe's a block away they had some very nice heavy duty articulating arm brackets on clearance down to $14.00.  Done. 

Steve figured out how to rig it up to hang down from the upper hardwood cabinets in an area between two windows. We decided to sacrifice a bit of the windows to put up this very lightweight tv on the arm hanging down from the cabinets.

He held it up while I marked the holes to be pre-drilled into the hardwood cabinets.  Then I held it up while he screwed it into place. Teamwork!   It really came out kinda nice, and doesn't block too much of the windows.

(love love love Andy Griffith and Mayberry) 

I tucked the wires behind the lambrequin (side pieces of fabric covered window treatment) and I will hide them even better later along the edge of the window to the power outlet and antenna jack below by the table.  

See? It didn't block much of our view out of the windows afterall, and the tv doesn't rattle or move while we drive down the road.

It does overlap the windows on each side some, but we are thinking it's a nice trade-off for opening up floor space. Not to mention NOT having to move the tv back and forth between the bed and the table while travelling and stopping!

Television Articulating Arm (rear tv):

Our motorhome also has a cabinet in the bedroom that housed another CRT type television.  We ousted that energy hogging tv, and bought 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 used for extra storage, so Steve got to thinking of how to best use it. 

Here is the bedroom cabinet with the old tv taken out: 

The type of arm we used on the front tv would not work for this type of application.  The ceiling is not firm enough to screw into and it would flex or bounce.  The outer walls are thin wallpapered wood as well (remember, the front tv arm was screwed into solid wood cabinetry). We needed something that we could screw into the side panels of this solid wood cabinet and swing out and away.

We had been looking at different 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 then we went to Menards, a chain of midwestern home improvement stores like Lowes or Home Depot, 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.  He always does, doesn't he? 

We wanted one that would swivel, turn and tilt.

We took it out and laid it out on the bed... 

ACK! The holes don't match up, 
and the back base plate doesn't line up with our tv!

Steveio took care of solving that problem!  He lined it up and figured where the base plate needed to be cut off the edge that would otherwise be protruding up over the top edge of the tv.  He marked where new holes needed to be drilled in the base plate 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. 
It was a perfect fit now!

Next 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. I used a plastic zip tie to keep them in order.

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! 

This is now about six years later and the arm remains firm and does not move around during travel. No strap needed. Yay! 

Motorhome Exercise Day:

On Wednesday, the weather was nice and we decided to fill the diesel fuel tank up in preparation for for a short vacation later this month.  The price of diesel is going up, and we had a discount coupon deal at the local Kwik Trip station of 10 cents off a gallon!  It only covers for the first 30 gallons, but hey, I will take $3.00 off a fill up since it's only about 6 blocks away from our house. 

We tossed the dogs in the rig before we left the yard.  Otherwise they have a hissy fit inside of the house if they see the motorhome leave without them on board! LOL ! 

After topping off the fuel tank, and adding some Lucas fuel treatment, we already had some algaecide treatment in the tank from the last fillup in the fall.  We put that in to keep down on anything growing in the filters and lines as well as the tank.  Steve said let's get the fuel moving around in the system.  We decided to shake out the winter cobwebs and open it up driving at highway speeds to the next town.  

We pulled into the local Piggly Wiggly store there, and bought a rotisserie chicken, some potato wedges and a few other groceries.  Not the most nutritious dinner, but hey, we were on an adventure!   Howard and Linda from RV Dreams often celebrate the first night of any road trip with a rotisserie chicken and call it Pickin Chickin Dinner! 

We drove the motorhome around to the back of the store. There is a nice road behind it lined with planted trees of different types and signs put up by the city depicting each one.  Across the road is a large plowed field and a woods behind that.  It has very little traffic, so we pulled to the side and parked to have our little dinner. 

Set up our dinner
and had a view out the window as well.

Things have not greened up yet in Wisconsin
but the fields are ready to be planted.

Steve carved up our little bird, and served our meal on paper plates.  We do not have fresh water yet in the tank nor have we de-winterized the lines.  Paper plates worked just fine for our meal, and we turned on some nice dinner music while we ate.  Only thing missing was a bottle of wine  Oh well, he would be driving home later, so we didn't need the wine after all. 

We also fired up the generator and kicked on both AC units to run it under load to exercise the generator as well. It's a 6500 watt one and can easily handle both roof air conditioners running at the same time.  We exercise it monthly so it gets used and lubed and not rusting up.  We learned that the hard way, and had to have the rotor rebuilt in it about 8 or 9 years ago.  With our 500 watts of solar on the roof, and four 6volt battery bank, we don't often need the generator.  So exercising it monthly is a good habit to get into.  

Besides, it was HOT out. The temps were close to 80 degrees and humid. Very strange for May 2nd in Wisconsin, because just 2 weeks before we were in the middle of a huge record setting blizzard with 12 inches of snow and ice and winds.  Go figger. 

The dogs watched us eat our dinner from the couch. 
They are not allowed to "beg" 
but we did give them each a little piece once we were done.

While we were sitting there, I made up lists of things I needed to replenish in the motorhome before our trip next weekend.  I keep a fully stocked cabinet for meds, and cooking dry goods and spices etc.  We keep clothing and cleaning supplies on board too.  I even carry an extra sewing machine, yarn and needles as well. All we need to do it toss in cold foods, the dogs, and us, and we are ready to roll. We are going to hit the road for about 10 days and wander around western Wisconsin and maybe southern Minnesota.

We sat back and watched some tv, and enjoyed being in our motorhome again.  We didn't go anywhere over the winter, so the last time we used the motorhome was in October with the kids and grandkids for camping at High Cliff. It felt good to be out and about in our rig.

Ahhh all too soon, we had to fire it up and head on back... 


The dogs were disappointed to hop out the door, only to find themselves back home in our own yard. They really thought we were going somewhere with new things to sniff and places to see. 

1 comment:

  1. I used to love doing those little one day trips to nowhere special, yet it was special


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