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Old 10-01-2011, 12:26 PM   #1
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Location: Langley, BC
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Fishing wiring into walls

We have a recently purchased Catalina 20RD trailer. First trailer and we've used it twice now. Way fun.

I want to mount a TV in the bedroom and I also want to install a recessed fan forced heater with a wall mounted thermostat (low voltage). The TV outlet is factory installed on a shelf in the rear dinette.

Can wiring be fished into interior or exterior walls? How would you remove and re-install the fabric covering under the trailer to run wiring? I'm an electrical engineer and know all about wiring in buildings, but a trailer is entirely new to me. Maybe this is something to get done at the dealer's shop?

Thanks!
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Old 10-01-2011, 12:56 PM   #2
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First of all, hello and

Now, to partly answer your question. Recessed heater is going to require "what?" in the way of mounting. Most walls in campers are only 2 inches thick, not the 3 1/2 inches you may be used to house construction.Trailers are built with 2x2 lumber or aluminum in the walls.

As for repairing where you cut through the underbelly, I use thin plywood or paneling above the cut, then pre drill a piece of sheet metal about the same size for the outside. Hold the sheet metal up, use wood screws to mount to the paneling, making the membrane the meat in the sandwich. The I spray coat with automotive undercoating.

As for fishing wires, just like a house, you have to study and figure your best option, and hope it works. You can go up and down somewhat, but never across due to studs. Good luck, and keep us posted.
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Old 10-01-2011, 04:38 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I plan to install the heater into the storage space that is under one of the dinette bench seats. There is about a foot of depth available.

For the power to the heater, I have 2 options. Wire into the panel or run a separate 15 amp cord to the site pedestal. I would prefer wiring into the panel since we'd only have to plug in the 30 amp cord and also since the A/C unit would never be turned on at the same time.

I guess I will have to crawl under the trailer and have a more detailed look at underside. Is there typically a plywood (or OSB) layer on the underside of the floor joists? Is the fabric I am seeing affixed to this plywood?

Thanks.
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Old 10-01-2011, 05:08 PM   #4
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Typically there no floor joist. You verify this by doing a little measuring at the entry door. Measure from the ground, to the bottom of the flooring, just inside the entry door. Now stick a board out of the door and measure from the ground to the board. Want see much difference, maybe an inch. The metal frame acts as the support, no floor joist needed.

The fabric is usually laid down over the frame, and then the plywood, or OSB, or whatever the flooring material may be in your model, is laid down, then the top side flooring, then the walls and cabinets, etc. I just use my pocket knife to make a slit in it. If is below floor level, may have some insulation between it and the floor. Usually you can find a couple of edges of wood to make a patch and screw in to. If not, you can use self tapping screws in to the trailer frame. Check the other dinette bench for outside shower, city water inlet. They like to put these things under benches, and may give you easy access.

One last tip, if you drill through the floor on the inside, take a straighten coat hanger and poke through the fabric. Makes finding your place much easier.
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:10 PM   #5
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I had to run wire for a new 110v outlet under the bench seat which was in a somewhat diagonally opposite corner from the load center. I ended up using some of that .... heck, I don't even know the proper name for it, but it's that wiring that's wrapped in flexable metal coil you can get at Lowe's or HD, or just about any home improvement store. Anyway, I ran that under the trailer below the fabric, and secured it good underneath. I have no concerns with it, and don't forsee any issues.
This cable just happened to fit perfectly inside 1/2" PEX tubing (which I happened to have on hand), so I drilled a 5/8 hole thru the floor and ran a piece of PEX thru the floor and fabric, then ran the cable thru that. Did basically the same thing on both ends of the cable, and it made for a very neat installation.
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