List of Mods Performed by Rookie- Huge Thanks!

Discussion in 'My Favorite Mods, Tips, Tricks (and Blunders!)' started by McFlyfi, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Well-Known Member

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    I just wanted to stop by and say how thankful I am that the Portal exists. Since even well before buying my very first PUP (a NTU 2004 Coleman Carmel, bought in August 2014), I have been lurking here, soaking up as much information as I can.

    The Coleman came to me in immaculate condition, so “fixing” anything was not necessary. However, all of your help in the Pre Purchase forum gave me the confidence to be able to tell if this was going to be a workable deal.

    Once in my possession, it was clear I would need to add a brake controller to my 2002 Toyota Tacoma Doublecab 4x4. The previous owner had not used a brake controller on their truck, curious I thought since the PUP had electric brakes on it.

    So in researching the Brake forum, I decided that I could in fact perform this job myself. The truck did not come with the factory Tow Package, so I would have to install the wiring myself. I decided to attack it in stages, to keep the frustration to a minimum. Making it easier was ordering the universal wiring kit from eTrailer.com. It comes with everything you need to wire in the controller, right down the ring terminals for the battery. If you are going to do this yourself, without a factory tow package or plug in coupler, I highly recommend this kit.

    Stage 1: After work, I attached the coupler mounting bracket to the hitch, installed the coupler, and ran the wiring into the engine bay. Time: about 1.5 hours.

    Stage 2: The next day after work, I removed the truck battery, cleaned up the posts, installed the fuses in the engine bay, and connected the wiring. Time: About an hour.

    Stage 3: I set aside one whole day to complete the install- running the wiring into the cab, hooking up the controller, and testing the brakes. The only snag I had was trying to find the wire that controls the brake actuator under the dash. A call to a local RV shop had me tapping into the brake light wire in the taillight, and running a wire into the cab from there. Success! A complete wiring and controller install in about 6 hours, over the course of three days. An hour spent testing and adjusting the brakes, and I now have much more confidence in the ability to stop the trailer in an emergency situation.

    Emboldened, I set out on installing a digital thermostat to better control the heating in the PUP. I decided that mounting the thermostat on the bunk side of the swing up galley would be perfect. I could control it without getting out of bed!

    This was actually a pretty simple install- snip the wires from the t-stat, connect them to longer wires I had fished behind the wall, under the seat, around the furnace, up under the galley top, and finally to the t-stat location. A couple of holes drilled, box mounted, and DONE! It actually took a few hours, I used 10 g wire as that was what the t-stat was connected to originally. The large wire made it difficult to fish, and impossible to connect to the t-stat. I ended up connecting a 16g pigtail to connect to the t-stat.
    [​IMG]

    Now I wanted to add some 12v power outlets. I originally planned to tap into existing wiring, but decided to install a fuse block instead. With a fuse block, I could also install a USB charging port, and a switched voltmeter, which I thought was really cool. Each device could be on its own separate, fused circuit. Yes, it would take longer, but it would be a much cleaner install, and much easier to troubleshoot later if necessary.

    Ordering the parts from Amazon, they arrived earlier than I expected, so over the weekend I did my install. Again planning it in stages:

    Stage 1, Saturday: Install 6g wire from the battery to the fuse box location under the seat, on top off the converter cover. 13 ft of 6g wire, fused at the battery box, routed under the trailer, placed in a loom, zip tied and cable holders installed to keep it in place. I found a rubber grommet 1” long and ¾” wide to pass the wiring through the floor. Drilled a ¾” inch hole in the floor (nerve wracking!), then siliconed the hole and wiring in place.
    Time: about 3.5 hours.

    Stage 2, Sunday: Install fuse block. Install 12v receptacles in two locations, wire in the receptacles. Figure out how to wire the switched 12v meter (thanks a million, YouTube!). Cut hole for meter, drill hole for switch, press in place, run wire to fuse block. Drill hole for USB charge port, press in place, run wire to fuse block. Clean up wire install (loom, zip tie, cable holders), attach to fuse block. Attach 6g power and ground wires to fuse block, put in 15a fuses. And finally, connect to battery. Success! All power outlets functioning, battery meter turns on and off with the switch. Time: about 6 hours, including cleaning up all the parts packaging, wire bits, sawdust, zip tie tails, etc and putting the trailer back into its normal configuration.

    Finished fuse block:
    [​IMG]
    Link to Sea Systems Fuse Block

    Finished battery meter and 12v outlet:
    [​IMG]
    Link to battery meter
    Link to lighted rocker switches
    Finished USB port:
    [​IMG]
    Link to USB Port

    All of these mods were inspired directly by YOU, the forum members. These were things that I didn’t know even existed or that I wanted or “needed” them until I read about them here. I have no experience to speak of with 12v, trailer brakes, or wiring, yet I was able to complete these additions/modifications with very little trouble. When you stop to answer a question or provide advice to a forum member, you are giving advice to many more people than just the original poster. I gleaned all of the information I needed without actually posting, and I wanted to go out of my way to say “Thank You!”

    I also wanted to point out to newbies that with a little research, you too can do this work without any real technical experience, and that if you run into trouble, there always seems to be someone here who can answer your questions.

    Next up: the fridge baffle and fan mod. I’m going to mount the fan with a switch inside, so I can turn the fan on and off when necessary. With the experience I’ve gained, I expect this to be a pretty straight forward installation.

    Many thanks!

    Matt
     
  2. Sussya

    Sussya Member

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    Nice job! We've done a couple of those mods, too. This forum is awesome, isn't it? [:D]
     
  3. jamb046

    jamb046 Member

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    Very nicely done. Like the installation of a better thermostat. Think mine is shot, so I'll be using your idea.
     
  4. bropaul

    bropaul New Member

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    Excellent post and documentation, Matt! Thank you for your contribution as you are now helping fellow members with their possible mods. That's what makes the Portal such a wonderful site, the sharing and caring of all our members.

    Happy camping!
    Diane
     
  5. 3hooligans

    3hooligans Member

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    Nice work.


    Me the missus and three hooligans!
    2014 Rockwood Premier 2317g
    2012 Ford F150 super crew ecoboost
    2011 Honda Pilot
     
  6. ghri49

    ghri49 Member

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    Great job !
     
  7. xshield

    xshield New Member

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    Nice!
     
  8. PaThacker

    PaThacker Well-Known Member

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    Nice work. I need to do similar modding on jon boat. Outdoor spec fuse block to bow and stern lights, bilge pump, plugs, and a radio.
     
  9. MItoVA

    MItoVA Member

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    Hey, McFlyfi...I wonder...is that just a standard (simple, non-programmable) household thermostat, or is it a special RV or "heat-only" 'stat? I was rummaging around at the local ReStore the other day and found a similar-looking electronic thermostat marked at $3. I almost bought it for the PUP, but I feared...for some reason...that it wouldn't work in the PUP for one reason or another.


    Also, I wanted to ask if you installed a switch for the thermostat...so it won't attempt to fire the furnace when you're closed up and in storage (you know...if you forget to push the "off" button or remove the batteries). The opposite side of the galley is a long way to try and reach when the pup is closed...


    Nice, clean looking installs! You inspire lots of confidence...thanks for the post!
     
  10. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Well-Known Member

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    It's a standard, home thermostat. Not programmable, it has a three way switch- "Heat" "Off" and "Fan".
    I did not put a switch on it, it stays in the "Off' position unless it's needed, which so far has only been at Camp Driveway. As far as it coming on, when I close the pup, I disconnect the house battery, and shut off the propane. I suppose I should also remove the thermostat batteries as well.
     
  11. MItoVA

    MItoVA Member

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    Great. Thanks for the info. I swung back through the ReStore today...and the same $3 thermostat I saw the other day was marked down to $2. I went ahead and grabbed it to add to the Winter Project List. [:D]
     

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