Working on a few projects and upgrades

Once we arrived back in Grand Rapids to be with Diana’s mom, we thought we would take the opportunity to get a few maintenance issues with the rig taken care of, along with a few upgrades we had wanted to accomplish.  Grand Rapids is Michigan’s second largest city, and everything we need to get the job done is here at our fingertips.

The first order of business was to get the leaking steering box on the F-350 replaced.  Turns out that there is a huge back order on the part, and no one seems to be able to get one.  Mark up at Uncle Rod’s in Elk Rapids even did a search for me, to no avail.  Of all the vehicles I’ve had over the years, this is my first steering box issue.  I am amazed that they are that hard to get, as was Mark.  The mechanic at Ford told me it wasn’t leaking too bad, and to just keep an eye on the power steering fluid.  Meanwhile, I’ll keep searching….
The next project was to install the skirting on the trailer again.  What took me a good 4 days to do last year was whittled down to 2 days this year.

Not only was it faster, but I also was able to do a better job of it.  Not what I would refer to as a ‘thing of beauty’, but it gets the job done in a big way.  The temperature sensor was at 45 degrees under there this morning, and the outdoor reading was at 22.  The electric heater underneath will not kick on until it reaches 41 degrees, which it has yet to do.

Inside the trailer, I put 3M window film on the windows.  While it doesn’t totally eliminate the condensation on the aluminum frames, it greatly reduces the moisture on the windows and cuts down on the drafts.

Once that was done, I was able to concentrate on two sets of improvements I had wanted to tackle:  new drawer glides and cabinet latches.  Having spent my career in the cabinet industry, I was impressed with the quality of the doors, frames and drawer boxes in our fifth wheel when we first saw it.  The  drawer glides were standard epoxy-coated glides, and I had always planned on upgrading them to full extension drawer glides.  I’m in the process of doing that now.  In conjunction with that, I am installing new cabinet latches.  A year ago, I purchased a couple of sets of Tot Loks.  There were several glowing reviews of them on the RV forums, so I thought I would try them out.  We had a few issues where our cabinet doors and drawers popped open as we were going down the highway, and these locks will prevent that from happening.

With the red lever flipped forward, the latch remains open for everyday use.

With the lever flipped back, the latch pops open.  When you close the door, it is closed and latched.  The only way to open it is….

…with the included magnet.  All you have to do is set the magnet near the location of the lock on the front of the door and you can hear it unlatch.  Open the door, flip the lever forward and you are good to go.  Nothing is visible from the outside.

With that being said, installation is a little tricky.  The latch requires a hole to be drilled in the back of the door that comes within 1/8″ of the front.  I am using a metal over-the-bit depth gauge on my drill bit that is set to 5/8″ deep, so I have confidence I won’t pop through the front.  The company that makes the Tot Lock has answered customer concerns about this by developing a new lock called the Safety 1st Magnetic Locking System that doesn’t require a deep hole to be drilled in the door…only the smaller pilot holes for the mounting screws.  Reviews seem to be as good as they were for the Tot Lock, without the installation complaints.  Though both were designed to keep children out of the cabinets in a home, they work great in keeping the contents of the cabinets from flying out while going down the road in an RV.  We haven’t road tested them yet, but I’m not able to open the door by pulling hard on the knob.  I’m sure they will work well for us.


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15 thoughts on “Working on a few projects and upgrades”

  1. This image of your insulation job is better than the one I saw first — or I paid closer attention. Interesting that you insulated your slides too. Did a really classy job there!
    We’ve had a few drawer latches go over the 4 years — but have stuck with the original latches. Recently I tried one of the old fashioned metal latches with metal fingers on the frame and that has lasted quite well, not sure if I’ll use that for replacements in the future, but It’s no more unsightly than the original and seems to close better.
    Holiday Rambler uses a pretty common RV style Euro cabinet hinge with a spring mechanism that pops rivets easily. We’ve been re-popriveting those but aside from the fridges and these little glitches we’ve had pretty good success with ours.
    Still and all…. you never run out of projects in an RV, do you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I lead my Facebook post a few days ago with a photo of a partially skirted trailer. Skirting the slides is important, as they et so cold otherwise. Ours are toasty arm. Did you notice the sarcophagus around the bedroom slide? We has frost on our headboard last year before we did that. I even put little Lexan windows in it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like the sarcophagus idea! a lot!
        You have been keeping colder temps than we, and the extended forecast is now up to the 14th with mostly 30’s for lows — so we’re optimistic. Don’t really WANT to be in temps as cold as you had last year. But, we’ll see how things go in the future. Now I’ll look at cold differently after seeing your approach to winterization.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great job with the insulation on the rig! Looks like you should be cozy for the winter:) Hope you have solved your frost on the headboard problem. That would not be fun! Wishing you a warmer winter this year:)

    Good luck with finding a steering box. Hope you are able to locate one soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you were able to make your home cozy again, and it looks very nice! I always find it strange when a particular part is so difficult to locate – did they just forget to make them or are they made of some rare alloy? Hope one surfaces before the need is greater 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully the weatherproofing won’t be anything you two ever have to do for yourselves, Trace….but Lee may be able to use that info for his business. All that’s required to cut the foam board is a utility knife.


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