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Old 04-26-2019, 10:35 AM   #1
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A few tiny mods....it's the little things

When we got our trailer back home to Austin several days ago I set out doing a few small tweaks to things we already knew we wanted to do, or discovered on the trip home that needed to be done. These are all very small mods, but sometimes it's the very little things that can make a difference in livability - although thanks to all of you on the forum I also have a lengthy list of bigger projects that I want to tackle eventually as time permits.

We discovered on our first few days of travel that we have some of the wonderful self-opening frameless awning windows, we could see in the truck's mirrors that several had worked loose and were open a little bit and bouncing from the wind at highway speed. We stopped and closed them but they came loose again right away. I knew not to crank them closed really hard, but we found that a sock wrapped around the crank provided enough resistance to eliminate the problem.

I got some 2 inch thick foam and cut out pieces into kind of a horseshoe shape. It's easy to stuff them in around the window crank, and this will now be part of our "pack up for travel" routine on driving days on all the windows. They're easy to pull off and stow when we arrive, and smell much better than dirty sweat socks We don't mind doing this because we otherwise really like the look and function of the frameless awning windows.
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:43 AM   #2
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The primary reason we got the frameless awning windows was the ability to leave them open for the cats when we are away hiking all day and not have to worry about a rain storm popping up. Depending on the direction of the sun and wind, it is often desirable to have the dinette escape hatch window open, but that mechanism is not secure - someone could come up and just pull the window out and the arm would go through the hole, or a big gust of wind could do the same. And fully extended that is open further than we would like.

I drilled a hole in the housing that the arm slides through and a corresponding hole in the metal arm part way out. Now we can open that window part way and slide a snug fitting clevis pin in place that securely latches that window in a partly open position. It doesn't show in the photos, but the clevis pin has one of those little spring loaded bumps on it that compress when you push it through and makes sure the pin doesn't work itself loose....or have help from cats.

We only use this when we're going to be away from the trailer, it does leave part of the metal arm sticking into the trailer well past the cushion. When we're home we just open it all the way using the lip on the end of the arm to hold it open. The big ring on the end of the clevis pin fits over the latch on the right for storage when not in use.
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File Type: jpg Escape window latch 1.jpg (216.6 KB, 99 views)
File Type: jpg Escape window latch 2.jpg (154.5 KB, 82 views)
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:48 AM   #3
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I too did this mod, but drilled the hole a lot closer to the red handle. I actually needed to do this mod as the 'catch' on the red handle had worn down to the point it wouldn't hold the window open.
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:49 AM   #4
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One rule I have is not to store anything that can bounce around during travel next to relatively fragile plumbing lines and connections. The exterior storage compartment where the landing gear switches reside is plenty large enough to store a few things for easy access, but the toilet plumbing line (and in our case the cutoff valve) is in there and seemed exposed and vulnerable to me.

So I built a little guard to go around it and protect it from anything bouncing against it. I also took a piece of bubble wrap, not in the photo, and stuffed around the toilet valve both as insulation and extra protection, easily pulled off if I ever need to use the toilet cutoff valve.
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I too did this mod, but drilled the hole a lot closer to the red handle. I actually needed to do this mod as the 'catch' on the red handle had worn down to the point it wouldn't hold the window open.
My original intention was to drill a hole in the red handle also. However, the red handle that was metal in our old trailer is now plastic and I was a little worried about drilling into it. If yours has been holding up fine I'll probably go ahead and do that too. And I just realized that I could drill a second hole in the metal bar just in a little bit from the red handle and the window would still be open plenty wide and the handle wouldn't protrude enough to poke us when sitting there.
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:50 AM   #6
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I too did this mod, but drilled the hole a lot closer to the red handle. I actually needed to do this mod as the 'catch' on the red handle had worn down to the point it wouldn't hold the window open.


Agree. I did this also but drilled the hole in the red handle (itís plastic). I like to idea of drilling a second hole in the bar about halfway to give me another option.
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:52 AM   #7
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My original intention was to drill a hole in the red handle also. However, the red handle that was metal in our old trailer is now plastic and I was a little worried about drilling into it. If yours has been holding up fine I'll probably go ahead and do that too.


Mine has lasted 4 years with a hole in the red handle with no problems. I recommend it.
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by davidmurphy02 View Post
One rule I have is not to store anything that can bounce around during travel next to relatively fragile plumbing lines and connections. The exterior storage compartment where the landing gear switches reside is plenty large enough to store a few things for easy access, but the toilet plumbing line (and in our case the cutoff valve) is in there and seemed exposed and vulnerable to me.



So I built a little guard to go around it and protect it from anything bouncing against it. I also took a piece of bubble wrap, not in the photo, and stuffed around the toilet valve both as insulation and extra protection, easily pulled off if I ever need to use the toilet cutoff valve.


You just keep adding things to my list! I like it.
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:01 AM   #9
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I have already learned a valuable lesson - not knowing exactly what you may want to do later, on your build sheet get ETI to run 12 volt drops anywhere there is no 12 volt power easily accessible nearby. I have learned this, of course, the hard way.

I determined months ago that I wanted to put a little 12 volt fan on the underside of the upper cabinet on the driver side...and realized that there's nothing in that spot using 12 volt power. How hard could it be, I figured, to tie into the captain's light up in the front and just run the wire inside the cabinet down to the other end? Pretty hard, as it turned out. The inside front corner of that upper cabinet is boxed in and the captain's light wiring is forward of that panel....which was stapled in place really well and did not want to be removed.

So I wound up having to drill a hole in that panel inside the end of the cabinet and then use a curved stiff wire to try and fish through that hole and then 90 degrees around the corner to come out the little hole behind the captain's light. That took me an hour...but did finally get done. The hole for the wires feeding the captain's light was just barely big enough for them, and I didn't want to drill another hole in that limited space, so I worked very carefully like a prisoner at Alcatraz trying to break out of a cell, enlarging the hole without damaging the wires. The hole went through a wood frame member - had it only been in the paneling it would have been a cinch.

So if you are ordering a trailer....get a few extra 12 volt drops, you may really thank yourself later!
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:06 AM   #10
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I almost forgot to give a shout out to someone - unfortunately do not remember who - for the first thing we did when we got our trailer. We found the straight vertical seat back cushions uncomfortable, and Mary remembered seeing someone mention stuffing a pool noodle behind them at the base to create more of a wedge shape. It worked great! It sure feels to me almost exactly like having a custom made wedge shaped back cushion would feel...but at $2 for two pool noodles from the dollar store pretty hard to beat.
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:09 AM   #11
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My original intention was to drill a hole in the red handle also. However, the red handle that was metal in our old trailer is now plastic and I was a little worried about drilling into it. If yours has been holding up fine I'll probably go ahead and do that too. And I just realized that I could drill a second hole in the metal bar just in a little bit from the red handle and the window would still be open plenty wide and the handle wouldn't protrude enough to poke us when sitting there.
I drilled about 3 or 4 holes along the way(including one in the red plastic as ours did not stay open) that way I can open it as much as we want. No problems with the red plastic....very little force on it anyway.
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:26 AM   #12
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One free mod I got was having a full length door on the cabinet just inside the front door next to the steps. That used to be accessible mainly through an outside hatch, but we wanted it all for more readily accessible interior storage. When I asked for that, Linda let me know that they had just switched (last fall) to doing that a standard feature now. That cabinet comes with no shelves but one is easily added depending on what you want to put in there - in our case a six pack holder of heavy wine bottles on the floor, a trash can, folding broom, and the all important cat litter scoop And additional storage space on the newly added shelf above those items.

I thought that they told me that when you get the optional full cabinet instead of the counter space with a cabinet above it in that same area up above it that they put several shelves in that tall cabinet. Nope - but they are easily added.
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by davidmurphy02 View Post
When we got our trailer back home to Austin several days ago I set out doing a few small tweaks to things we already knew we wanted to do, or discovered on the trip home that needed to be done. These are all very small mods, but sometimes it's the very little things that can make a difference in livability - although thanks to all of you on the forum I also have a lengthy list of bigger projects that I want to tackle eventually as time permits.

We discovered on our first few days of travel that we have some of the wonderful self-opening frameless awning windows, we could see in the truck's mirrors that several had worked loose and were open a little bit and bouncing from the wind at highway speed. We stopped and closed them but they came loose again right away. I knew not to crank them closed really hard, but we found that a sock wrapped around the crank provided enough resistance to eliminate the problem.

I got some 2 inch thick foam and cut out pieces into kind of a horseshoe shape. It's easy to stuff them in around the window crank, and this will now be part of our "pack up for travel" routine on driving days on all the windows. They're easy to pull off and stow when we arrive, and smell much better than dirty sweat socks We don't mind doing this because we otherwise really like the look and function of the frameless awning windows.
Good mod! You're adding to my todo list!
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Old 04-26-2019, 12:30 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by davidmurphy02 View Post
One rule I have is not to store anything that can bounce around during travel next to relatively fragile plumbing lines and connections. The exterior storage compartment where the landing gear switches reside is plenty large enough to store a few things for easy access, but the toilet plumbing line (and in our case the cutoff valve) is in there and seemed exposed and vulnerable to me.

So I built a little guard to go around it and protect it from anything bouncing against it. I also took a piece of bubble wrap, not in the photo, and stuffed around the toilet valve both as insulation and extra protection, easily pulled off if I ever need to use the toilet cutoff valve.
While I didn't make a guard for the plumbing, I did put a cover over the front leg switches.
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Old 04-26-2019, 12:33 PM   #15
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Dave,
Just be careful with the opening escape window, that screen will easily pop out. I'd stick to using the other awning windows with the 2-3" opening and maybe the fan on exhaust. I hate to think of you losing your cat family out in the wilds.
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:08 PM   #16
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Dave,
Just be careful with the opening escape window, that screen will easily pop out. I'd stick to using the other awning windows with the 2-3" opening and maybe the fan on exhaust. I hate to think of you losing your cat family out in the wilds.
I put the pin in so the escape window only opens a few inches much like the others, just enough for a bit of breeze and so the cats can hear what's going on outside. We had that same window in our old trailer and never had an issue with the cats - that screen fit pretty tightly, in fact it was a pain to get out to wipe condensation off the window - but I will for sure check to see how tightly or loosely this screen fits. At some point I'll probably rescreen all our windows with the cat-claw resistant screen material I use on my catios and will see how they all fit then.
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:11 PM   #17
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While I didn't make a guard for the plumbing, I did put a cover over the front leg switches.
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Old 04-26-2019, 04:07 PM   #18
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wow! two new things to do--the foam around the window knobs--never woulda thunk of that!--and the holes in the fire escape window lever.

I was in a place with a lot of little flying bugs and found they were coming in the space around that lever with the window open. So I cut a 4-5 inch long piece of small diameter pool noodle in half and cut a slot in it. it slips over the red knob and also stores easily in the red loop pull under the window. No more bugs.
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Old 04-26-2019, 05:10 PM   #19
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A slice of pool noodle might do for the foam to hold the knobs in place as well.
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Old 04-26-2019, 06:08 PM   #20
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A slice of pool noodle might do for the foam to hold the knobs in place as well.
I thought about that, but pool noodles are pretty dense foam, they don't squish up a lot or easily - I was a little wary about putting undue stress on the crank handle shaft so I went with a softer foam that compresses easily. I used 2" foam because that was was readily and cheaply available, but I think probably 1" would work just fine - it appears that all it takes is a gentle tension on the crank knobs to keep them from turning loose when driving.
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