Pictorial catalog of mods so far (long, and picture intensive)

Discussion in 'My Favorite Mods, Tips, Tricks (and Blunders!)' started by bondebond, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

    Aug 14, 2008
    I've been wanting to post a few pictures in responding to other posts, etc but haven't ever really taken any pictures of the work I've done on the PUP. I took pictures last night.

    So, here's a shotgun approach to a number of the mods I have completed thus far on the new-to-us this year PUP.

    About the first thing done was to replace the Atwood thermostat with a digital unit:

    Next, since I had to deal with the black holding tank and hooking up the gray water tote using the same, traditional TT-type gate valves, I needed a way to carry a couple of the stinky slinkies but I didn't want to use the the inside of the rear bumper. I got a pair of surplus 40mm ammo cans, painted them, then attached them to the rear bumper with 4" square U-bolts. One holds the black tank slinky and the other holds the gray water slinky and clean-up kit. I pop the lids on these when I get home so all dries out nicely. The configuration allows that each end of each hose is pointed up (like a U) and holds any moisture inside the hoses.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    After using the PUP a time or two, there was a gap in the 120v AC power outlets, so I ran a new circuit from the converter through the front curb-side storage compartment. Just a standard blue box from Lowes.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    That same storage compartment is also the outside accessible area. I wanted a light in the compartment as we often deploy in the dark, or I would want something from storage. I didn't want to have to pull out a flashlight just for that, so...

    Of course, that was timed with the full LED conversion. When I sold our first PUP, I pulled all of the LED boards out and put back in the incandescents that I had saved. Because I had purchased for that PUP's fixture bases, I had to change the base of the overheads in this PUP to a T10 type base. A quick soldering job and it's all ready to go.

    Two of the three overheads are configured this way: the "one light on" side is a small, I want to say, 6 SMD LEDs board at around 110 lumens. When the switch is turned to "both lights on", the second one is a CommandElectronics 30 SMD LEDs board with that puts out 510 lumens. This lets me have either a lot of light or conserve battery, depending on the needs.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The overhead fixture sitting over the table gets a different treatment, as I wanted a lot of light in this area for reading, playing games, etc. It has the 30 SMD LED in the second position like the other two, but in the "one bulb" position, is a CommandElectronics 21 SMD LEDs board with 357 lumens out of it. I guess combined is around 850 lumens, even though I have the smaller one slightly angled out into the hallway.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] (Hopefully the correct orientation of the images will show soon.)

    Here's one of the bunk-end light/fan combos with an LED board installed, source: ebay.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Even the porch light gets an LED treatment.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    All LEDs, with maybe one exception, are "warm white" in color.

    I tried dampening the sound of the water pump, which was significantly less than what was in the first PUP, so it won't be much more before it's completely silent. I am still probably going to install an accumulator to help with the pulsing. The dampening comes from the neoprene mousepad cut up and the mounting screws run through them between the feet of the pump and the floor.

    My refrigerator seems to struggle more than the last one, so I've really taken to doing the baffle and fan mod. I made the baffle from steel flashing that I had from the last time I did this. The fans are new 120mm fans from ebay, controlled by a switch installed in the kitchen cabinet on the left as you enter the PUP.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I even put the little cube fan inside.

    That's getting swapped out for something that looks like this, when it arrives in the mail. It will be controlled by the same switch as the external fans or maybe not, as it has an independent switch onboard. There are a couple of clips that attach to the fins and it then blows air directly across the fins.
    (Yes, I know it's a glorified hard disk drive cooler.)

    Speaking of electricity, I installed this 12v DC meter that I got from Ebay for less than $7 shipped. I used a salvaged switch from an extra power strip.

    And speaking of switches, for when boondocking and life in general, I don't like having the radio powered (the display panel is always lit). I put a switch in to kill power to it. However, I put it on the backside of the wall, under the sink area, so it is out of sight/out of mind. The kids have YET to find it (only a matter of time).
    You can also make out the black "tape" wrap used as sound-deadening material on the underside of the sink. It's tape used around window frames during remodeling to seal up gaps and is many, many mils thick. Works well.

    Storage is always a concern in campers, but especially for PUPs, so here's a few of my answers.

    Instead of the bunk-end shelf, I just used zip ties to hang a Rubbermaid hanging storage pouch from the bunk-end pole. It stays permanently attached. It's great for holding snacks, phones, flashlights, pocket contents, etc, as I sleep toward the outside of the bed.

    The main drawer has a turnbuckle lock, but the slide, if you can call it that, did not go out very far. I replaced the center, wobbly and nearly useless single with two full-extension ball bearing slides. I also reinforced the corners of the drawer so it holds together as long as possible. You can barely make out the little corner brackets used on the inside.

    The mirror on the hard-walled bathroom is not glass and suffers from warping, much like a fun house mirror. We don't use it much (but occasionally) so it's a great place to have a clothes or towel hanger. I did put felt pads on the back of it where it touches the surface of the mirror. Here, it's holding my trash bag.

    Next to the bathroom is the counter that has the microwave and additional storage below it. I thought we could increase the storage space based on what I saw someone else doing, so I got these storage shelving units, used industrial velcro to attach them to each other (in case I wanted to separate them again), used liquid electrical tape on the feet to prevent sliding and said "DW, LOOK! More storage!" I got a nose in the air. They do hang off the right over the edge of the counter.

    So, I dropped back into huddle formation and came up with this. It fits and looks better.

    More disdain. So I asked DW if she would like to address it directly. This is what she came up with, and what is now there.
    She wanted the counter space, but we did need something for the nick knacks.

    So, I turned the two storage units into "walls" for the kids' bed (DS age 7, DD age 5). Each bunk-end is a king size bed. The kids each get one half of that bed, but instead of one closer to the main area and one further away that would have to crawl over the other one (We want SOME peace when we're camping), we split it front to back. These storage units sit right on the invisible line, forming a "wall" between. It works! I face one set towards the DS and the other set towards the DD. They use it for clothes and toys.

    We also have a shower curtain that uses curtain rod hangers and hangs from the shepherd's pole to make a soft wall, if needed. Used with the storage shelves, this really completes the visual "his space, her space" separation. It looks and hangs better in person.

    Back to the outside. I needed a place to carry the new Bal Light Trailer Leveler I treated myself with (Happy Because I Can Day). I looked around for unused exterior space and came up with fitting it between the LP tanks and battery box. I had to make a bracket to keep it from falling through to the ground, so I used angled aluminum and rivets to build this. Bungees hold it in place. I should have taken a picture before installing it, as it's too difficult to see now. You can also see the battery cut-off switch on top of the new battery box.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I may come back and hit the bracket with a coating of Herculiner to match the battery box just forward of it. It's the only shiny metal in this area.

    When I replaced the battery box with one large enough for a Group 31 battery, I had to drill out some rivets to turn some tabs around for more space. After pulling up the old plastic battery box, there was a bit of rust and corrosion under it on the cross member supports. I cleaned them up and put Herculiner all over the supports. It is tough and scratch-resistant, not to mention that the bits of ground up rubber will provide some cushion. The shiny part doesn't look like that in standard light - thanks, flash.
    I also used Herculiner on the brackets that hold the safety chains and that has stopped any rusting there as well. It looks a LOT nicer now.

    Then, quickly, there's the Eternabond down the center roof seam:

    The refrigerator grill screen replacements to aid in airflow documented in another thread on here:

    The flashlight by the door:

    And a few other things that haven't made it into the archives yet. Not to mention the complete brake job, Barker's blue tote (15 gallon, low-boy style), numerous little tweaks and updates. The blue tote straps onto the spare with a couple of cinch straps when under way. It's about the first thing off, as it blocks the roof crank otherwise.

    I think I'm JUST about ready to go camping.

    Still on the list: replace the non-smart charging converter with a modern unit, add velcro strips to the awning to hold it rolled up when trying to zip the awning cover bag, and some other things I can't remember at the moment.

    I'll save those things for next week...

    See you out there sometime.
  2. Campit


    Sep 16, 2011
    Wow! Nice job on everything. You have been very busy. :)

  3. RotnMom

    RotnMom Am I there yet?

    Apr 4, 2011
    Excellent mods and photos, bondebond!! I want to do most of those but just can't manage it right now. Electricity scares the bejeebers outta me [}:)] [V]

    It all looks good, too! I did find a friend who is going to do welding on my tongue to rearrange things for me, so that's a start!

    Now get out there and camp!!
  4. daveman

    daveman Member

    Jun 10, 2012
    Awesome set of Mods!! (got the man here thinking [}:)] [}:)] )
  5. dregsfan

    dregsfan New Member

    Jun 25, 2012
    Thanks. I'm borrowing the ammo box idea.
  6. RonJ

    RonJ Member

    Aug 12, 2011
    Nice. Thanks for posting all of the pictures with narrative.
  7. JeepMama

    JeepMama New Member

    Jun 10, 2011
    I am so impressed with everything. Great job!
  8. shadetree_camper

    shadetree_camper New Member

    Jun 28, 2012
    Nice work...looks great!
  9. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn New Member

    Jul 3, 2012
    Nice work and it is great to see the photos! I wear glasses and I always end up looking for a place to put them while I sleep, so that will be the first one I borrow.
  10. Fire Captain Jim

    Fire Captain Jim New Member

    Jan 22, 2012
    Great mods and pictures! Keep up the great work!
  11. Wrenchgear

    Wrenchgear Near Elmira, Southern Ontario

    Aug 5, 2010
    5 Star Eagle Camper
    Thats a lot of great work you did there. Keep it going and keep the pictures coming.
  12. stovepipe

    stovepipe New Member

    Jul 10, 2012
    Absolutely fantastic post! I really appreciate you taking the time to post pictures and explain things in detail. You did some fine work there and I'm sure many will be inspired.

  13. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

    Aug 14, 2008
    Thanks, folks. I appreciate the comments. Obviously, it's one of the things I enjoy doing. If I would just do the same on the house kitchen remodel...

    Speaking of which, here's a counter top I made from scraps of the new kitchen counter in the house for the RVque. The rack has a lot of empty space between it and the camper. Of course, the lid opens and eats up a lot of that space, but I made the little counter to extend a little off to each side. It is enough space for tongs, spices, a drink, barbeque sauce, etc. I coated the exposed wood parts with UV-resistant outdoor polyurethane.

  14. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

    Aug 14, 2008
    Ooops, double post.
  15. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

    Aug 14, 2008
    Some Responses

    I've gotten some questions via PM that I thought I would share the answers here, in case others were wondering.

    For the Eternabond on the roof, that is a single 4" wide strip of Eternabond put down directly on the roof after having removed the screw trim, the butyl tape under it, smoothed down the elastomer sealer that goes down into the joint to be level with the roof material. I then put the screw trim back on top of it and put new vinyl cover back in the track to cover the screws. I just didn't take a picture of the finished product. I put the trim back on top because of the original screw holes would transfer up as bulges. I also decided not to just lay the Eternabond over the whole thing, as is. You can. I decided not to for aesthetic reasons. I've put it over other things before and did not like the looks. Eternabond is fine for screwing through and will for a complete seal around the shaft of the screw. There's even a video on their website specifically about screwing through it.

    On the refrigerator fan mod, the 120mm fans are blowing outward, to enhance the natural chimney effect that is already there. You wouldn't want to try to force the airflow opposite to what it was designed to do.

    For the 12v meter, you certainly can get the cigarette lighter type meter and not have to permanently mount this kind of meter and not have to install a switch. I don't have an existing cigarette lighter outlet, so I would have to install one first, then get the meter that uses that outlet. For me, this was a cleaner install and I obviously don't have anything else in the PUP that needs that kind of outlet.

    For the rear bumper storage, I looked around quite a bit, but everything was geared towards pick-up truck bed storage and not workable for my bumper's configuration. I researched a lot on the different dimensions of ammo cans before getting these from a surplus store website. I hope they had been used at least once, as they came in near mint condition and only required painting. I did go to Tractor Supply Co. and purchase a couple feet of flat belt material used in commercial farming combines to make a liner for the bottoms, since the U-bolts would protrude upwards into the cans. This protects the hoses and other contents from rubs and punctures.

    Something not yet done for this PUP which a number of folks have done, is to cut Reflectix. However, what I've never seen done anywhere else and I shared in a different thread, is to cover the INSIDE of the Reflectix with material so you are not staring at the inside of a carnival house of mirrors with all of that silver in every window. I used a heavy weight fabric and some contact cement (be sure to test this before committing) to glue fabric that was cut to the Reflectix. After the second or third piece, I cut the fabric larger than the Reflectix, then trimmed it after the cement was dry. It doesn't take long to dry and you'll be trimming the first piece after you've finished gluing the last one. Please include the DWs if the DHs are doing this, as we tend to have problems coordinating colors. Or so I'm told.

    Thanks for the questions and suggestions. Keep them coming.
  16. flash82

    flash82 Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    Northern KY
    Nice work!! Wish I could do the ammo case mod. Tire and plate in the way, not to mention don't have a square bumper.
  17. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

    Aug 2, 2011
    Steinbach, MB
    [LOL] Color Blindness Test

    Seriously though, great presentation here! Thanks for taking the time (and I know it took a lot of time) to share this with us!
  18. MichelleMS

    MichelleMS Member

    Feb 17, 2012
    We just used our RVQ for the first time and were discussing that it should have a bit of counter space behind it! I'm showing this to DH when he gets home. How do you attach it to the rack? Is it just sitting on there.

    Love all your mods! I'd like to had a 12V outlet, but I am too, scared beejeezus of electrical.
  19. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

    Aug 14, 2008
    Technically, it is just resting there. I cut notches out of the front face of it to allow for the hinges and the little post that keeps the RVque's lid from going back any further when opened. This sort of locks the counter in place. I thought about adding little cleats underneath the counter to be just inside the horizontal support brackets that it rests on. I haven't yet. We'll see after a season of camping.

    And working with electrical connections is not too hard once you get a basic grasp. Working with DC is pretty straight forward, as there's only a positive and negative side. Get a cheap multi-meter from WM or auto parts store, some black and white wire of sufficient gauge (at least for interior PUP work) and whatever you're wanting to connect at the other end of the wire. Obviously make sure the battery and shore power are disconnected for the actual work.
    I use a lot of these quick wire splices for tapping into existing wire/circuits. Just be sure you know what circuit you're tapping into and what load is already on it and what you'll be adding to it.
    When I wired in the 12v meter, I reversed the colors I was using as I was tired, it was late, and the circuit I was tapping into had black and purple wiring. I had my black and crimped it to the purple by mistake. I had to finish up with my white to the black wire. It works, as the meter is not polarity-sensitive. I just have improper color coding. Regardless, that's why I have a multi-meter to verify beforehand AND after, that I know which is which. I trust no one, even myself after the fact, to have done it "right".
  20. fritz_monroe

    fritz_monroe New Member

    Jan 31, 2006
    Nice mods.

    Our Bayside had a drawer under the couch. I took a look and saw all kinds of wasted space, I removed taht drawer and not the drawer face is just a panel that doesn't move. It is amazing how much extra space is under there. Might be something to take a look at.

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