Mods to the Travel Trailer


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We spent last winter in our travel trailer in the Gulfport, MS area and plan to go again this year. It was our first winter as snowbirds and also the first winter in our trailer. Generally things went well, but I came home with a list of projects to make things more livable in the future. I thought I'd document some of them as they are completed just for the fun of it.

We got set up and discovered that the living room TV could be connected to the campground cable connection or the amplified roof antenna but the rest of the TV hook-ups were only to the antenna. To get the bedroom TV connected to cable as well I jury rigged some splitters and a switch and got things working temporarily. Below is the back side of the antenna/cable switch and routing set-up I made to fix it all. I guess it sort of looks a little confusing, as in addition to everything else there had to be a split-off for the amplified antenna signal to feed trailer's built-in AM/FM/WX radio.

It's a little easier to look at on this side. Since the antenna amplifier is powered w/ a 12v feed I'm going to tap into that 12v and add a double USB outlet for cell phone charging below the panel.

The next project was the front of the refrigerator. It bothered Mrs. Ridesolo that the front panels on the refrigerator and freezer didn't match. (If you look close you can see the difference. The thing came from the factory that way.)

The door panels slide out of the front of the doors, so we bought a sheet of 1/4" ply, cut new panels, and stained & varnished them to match the rest of the interior woodwork. (The color match is closer in person than in the pictures.)

Also if you look at the pix above you'll see the propane oven/range unit. We don't use it much, using the cook top made the smoke detector go off constantly, even with the exhaust fan running full speed. We have a microwave, a convection oven, an electric skillet, and a George Foreman grill as well as the outdoor gas grill that work far better for our needs. So, to make more usable counter space I was asked to come up with a cover for the cook top. I made a frame out of some 1x3 poplar and laid in glass and stone tile.

There are a few other projects in the works that I'll try to post as they are finished.
Looking good Cory, and the work looks just as nice in person!
Virgin travel trailer'rs, we pick our new baby up next month after Labour Day. Can't read enough about must do accessories or modifications. First on the list will be a mobile hotspot and a US prepaid data card to provide Wifi no matter where we park. Flagging this thread for future ideas. :D
cqyqte said:
Virgin travel trailer'rs, we pick our new baby up next month after Labour Day. Can't read enough about must do accessories or modifications. First on the list will be a mobile hotspot and a US prepaid data card to provide Wifi no matter where we park. Flagging this thread for future ideas. :D

Thanx! The RV parks we stayed at going south and north all had wifi. We wintered on a Navy SeeBee base and had wifi there, too. We lucked out with our trailer, it's got lots of storage. The microwave is built in but if it dies I'll replace it w/ a microwave/convection oven combo made for an RV that bolts right in. Saw one on Amazon for around $400. We have a crock pot, electric skillet, George Foreman grill, small convection oven, & coffee pot. It's easier to use the campground's electricity than constantly refill the propane tanks. Oh yeah, we also learned real quick that it was necessary to have a small dehumidifier. Two adults and two big dogs did a pretty good job of putting lots of moisture into the air every night. To keep from popping the breakers with too much draw, I snaked an extra electric cord under the slide-out to power the dehumidifier.

The trailer tows and handles well. Our biggest disappointment is with the furnishing. It's extremely uncomfortable for day-to-day living. The stupid "jackknife couch" isn't comfortable seating and the dinette/bench/table thingie isn't much better. My next major project will be to essentially gut the living/dining slide out and redesign/refurnish it for practical use.
Good points on the moisture as well as the use of electrical over propane.
The next project is related to trailering and towing but doesn't involve the trailer directly. As I was preparing things last year I put together a basic tool kit to carry in the trailer. It was "adequate" but just barely. One of the guys I became friends with had a huge stash of tools in the "basement" of his motor home, including a drill press. I don't need to tote along as much as he had, but I certainly need more than I originally packed. I decided to find a way to carry a better kit of tools in the bed of the truck. I wanted to find something that didn't stick up above the sides of the bed so I can use a bed cover and I wanted something that wasn't just a covered "bin" that I had to root through every time I need something. I came across this big old tool box at an auction and decided that even though it was pretty ugly it had lots of potential. For $20 it came home with me.

Dirty and surface rust on the lid, but solid and functional. It was made by Huot and originally had a hinged cover that went down over the front to cover and secure the drawers. Unfortunately the only part of this left was the piano hinge on the lid.

Since it's going into the back of my truck I had to find a way to keep the drawers closed and secure. I investigated the idea of having a new front cover made and found a guy who would have done a fantastic job. However, I really wanted to keep this project on a strict budget so after a little thought I cut the piano hinge off of the lid and came up with Plan B. (More on that later.) Since it's going into the truck and will ride secured up at the front near the cab, AND since it's pretty heavy, even without tools, AND since I can't see hoisting my old carcass up into and back down out of the bed every time I need a tool, I needed a way to easily move it to the rear for easier access. I decided to build a frame for it to sit down into and then got a pair of roller blades at a thrift store. The wheels from the roller blades fit nicely into the ridges in the bed liner.

So, I took everything apart and cleaned, sanded, and painted and this is what I've ended up with:

Unlock and lift the lid and the steel bars that go down through the handles can be pulled out of the way.

So, for a total investment of less than $50 I've got the capacity for a real tool stash.
Maritime said:
Awesome, that is great! Use it at home all summer too

Thanx! I could. Already have plenty of tools and tool boxes in the shop. I managed to get organized a while back and set things up so I have a Metric box and Standard (SAE or whatever) box, helping to make it easier to find things when I need them. For the most part I think I'm going to be able to set this new one up using duplicates of pliers, screw drivers, wrenches, etc. I don't have any extra ratchet handles and sockets, though, so I'll be keeping eyes open for extras of those. I'll keep "the good stuff" in the shop and put the lower quality items into the travel box.
It's been a while but I finally got a cover for the bed of the truck so I can put the tool box in place. (And get it out from under foot in the shop.) The idea for putting it on the base (dolly/platform/whatever) w/ the roller blade wheels was to allow it to be rolled closer to the back so I don't have to haul my old body up into and down out of the bed every time I want a tool. I don't know about you, but just about every project I take on usually requires several trips back for an additional tool, regardless of how well I think I've planned ahead. So, here it is rolled to the back:

And here it is rolled into it's normal riding spot and stashed in place. No seatbelt citations for this passenger!

It's a crappy picture, but here it is under the bed cover.

Now I get to start loading it up w/ useful things!
Have another small mod to both the trailer and the truck I made.

Charging cell phones in the trailer is a bit of a pain as there aren't all that many 110v outlets that aren't already being used by the TV, our computers, the wifi repeater, coffee pot, etc. Since the panel I made for behind the TV has 12v routed to it because of the TV antenna booster I thought a place to charge the cell phones & iPod using USB ports would be in order. So I got a USB port with a panel mount face plate and made up a jumper cable to connect to the antenna booster.

Since there is little available real estate on the metal panel I made I mounted it below.

Now on to the truck. The thing has three lighter plug locations (actually four now that I think of it, but the dogs never use the one in the back seat) two in the dash and one in the center console between the seats. I was going to replace one of the ones in the dash but it was easier to take apart the one in the console so it went there. It's convenient, the console is about the size of a cooler, so it's easy to stash the cables right where they're being used. Again the first step was to make a little jumper and then a little use of an Exacto knife opened up the hole a bit more.

Plug in the wires and snap the little panel back into place and it's done. Easier to mess with than bulkier phone chargers.

(Much later edit: Over time I discovered that i seemed to be having battery slow drain issues. If I didn't use the truck for a couple days or only drove around town for a few days, sooner or later I'd come out to discover the battery discharged, sometimes to the point where the door locks wouldn't even work. I decided it could be the transformer in the USB port so I added a SPST toggle switch and haven't had a battery discharge problem since.)
Nice work. I missed the toolbox, that thing is the business! The rollers are a great idea. Hopping up into the bed 25 times a day does get old!

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hurco550 said:
Nice work Cory, as usual!

advCo said:
Nice work. I missed the toolbox, that thing is the business! The rollers are a great idea. Hopping up into the bed 25 times a day does get old!

Thanx a bunch guys! I just keep piddling around w/ things and once in a while they come out ok.
The time has come to quit working on it and head south for the winter. Most of the planned projects are done and the temperatures have taken a dive so we've got to head toward warmer climes. I'm sure several more ideas for projects to get done next summer will come up. So, as of now there'll be a wake-up, load the last of the stuff and the dogs, lock the doors, and hit the road.

So we get set up for the winter and decide that our old boy, Rudy, is not able to get himself up the steps any more. So we made a trip to the local Lowes for lumber, screws, glue, and some outdoor carpet/turf stuff and Ol' Rudy is now the only dog you know w/ his own putting green. Ah, trailer life...

SONIC. said:
That's awesome! You've got to cater to the 4 legged kids.

Yeah, this boy is 12 years old and we almost lost him two years ago to a ruptured disk in his back. Our vet coaxed him back to decent mobility; he's slow n gimpy but doesn't seem to be in any pain. At his age we're happy to have him around and try to make him as comfortable as possible.
Yeah, it's been a long time, but I thought i'd resurrect this thread for the fun of it.

First off, old Rudy shown in the pictures above is no longer with us. His Degenerative Myelopathy progressed to where he could no longer get up on his own and was having a very difficult time dealing with cold, snow, and ice. (OF course we were in Ohio in the cold, snow and ice rather than being back in Mississippi because there's no way he could have handled the trip.) He was 13 years and one month old when he passed on 16 January, a good long life for a large dog.

So, anyway, a year ago on our way back from Mississippi we decided that the Kodiak trailer had to go. The floorplan was useful and comfortable but the furniture wasn't comfortable and the build quality was very questionable. Typical for me, I did lots and lots of research and decided that a smaller 5th wheel trailer would be a better option for us even though I knew I'd have to be pretty careful with weight and size to stay w/in the weight capacity of my Tundra, rated as a "heavy half". I discovered a no longer made Canadian brand that has a reputation for good quality, excellent towing properties, and insulation(!). As luck would have it I found the perfect candidate a couple of counties away... so began a months-long process of looking, negotiating, reading, researching, more negotiating, etc. Eventually this followed me home:

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