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Old 11-19-2019, 06:04 PM   #1
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Yet Another Mini-Lite Mod Thread? Sure, Why Not?

Is it me, or is there something about the smaller Rockwoods that are just begging for a little (or a lot) of personal touches? Maybe, or it could be because my 2104S happens to be the only trailer I've ever owned and I have a colorful history of never leaving well enough alone. Regardless, I've put a lot of work into this thing upgrading original features and adding some new ones, few of which would have happened without this invaluable forum. You might notice a few obvious ripoffs from other similar threads, although I prefer to think of it as inspiration.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, and the fewer of mine the better. Let's start with the simple stuff.
Even though I have a 2018 model, it came with an old analog thermostat. I prefer the digital units, so that was first to go. It was an easy wire for wire exchange, but I'll have to do something about the original mount holes:
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Old 11-19-2019, 06:17 PM   #2
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But Wait...There's More!

I'm just getting warmed up.
We usually bring our own water for drinking, so bye-bye water filter. While I was in there, I removed the screws on the silly false hinges that FR used instead of knobs on the doors that give access to the water pump and heater bypass valves. I installed magnetic catches to keep the doors closed, but now I can open them without a screwdriver:
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Old 11-19-2019, 06:35 PM   #3
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Fellow 2104S owners will attest to the fact that there is a serious lack of counter space for the kitchenette. Although there are a few folding shelves available, I went bespoke and built my own with a section of oak stair tread and some folding hinges. I had to reinforce the structure with a couple pieces of 1X2 which makes it reasonably sturdy, but I'm not about to put any pots of boiling water on it. I had to pick a stain using only a picture of the interior on my phone, not perfect but reasonably close.
I also used some leftover 1X2 to add a few storage hooks above the sink. I learned the hard way not to leave anything hanging when towing, I'm just glad those coffee cups were plastic:
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:28 PM   #4
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One disadvantage of that shelf is it covers the 120V outlet nearest the kitchen when folded. I saw another post where someone installed an outlet next to the weird little drawer under the sink (whoever that was, thanks!). I daisy-chained this to the Romex going to the external outlet, that way it's still protected by the GFCI in the bathroom. I had to sand down the cover plate a bit to get it to fit in the recess, but otherwise it looks like it belongs there.
Plenty more to follow!
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidBo View Post
Is it me, or is there something about the smaller Rockwoods that are just begging for a little (or a lot) of personal touches? Maybe, or it could be because my 2104S happens to be the only trailer I've ever owned and I have a colorful history of never leaving well enough alone. Regardless, I've put a lot of work into this thing upgrading original features and adding some new ones, few of which would have happened without this invaluable forum. You might notice a few obvious ripoffs from other similar threads, although I prefer to think of it as inspiration.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, and the fewer of mine the better. Let's start with the simple stuff.
Even though I have a 2018 model, it came with an old analog thermostat. I prefer the digital units, so that was first to go. It was an easy wire for wire exchange, but I'll have to do something about the original mount holes:

I had a similar issue when I changed the rooftop antenna on my Micro-Lite. I merely cut a square piece out of some luan paneling with a nice pleasing wood grain, cut the proper size hole in the center, mounted the new piece of wood with finish screws in the corners, then mounted my antenna control to the luan.

My thought was that even though the Luan didn't match the ceiling material it looked like an intended decoration and now it's hardly noticable.

For the thermostat I'd consider something similar, perhaps even a thicker piece of wood like they sell at Home Depot for wall sconce mounts and have a decorative edge cut on them using a shaper/router.

FWIW the thicker wood may be a big help in thermostat operation. When I changed my Thermostat I noticed that there was a slight draft in the hollow portion of the wall and with the back of the T-Stat open to this cooler temp it might cause the furnace to run when the room temp was still OK. I stuffed some insulation in the gap. A 3/4" decorative "mount", with wire hole sealed, could make sure the T-Stat is only influenced by room temp, not any draft from a storage compartment, etc.
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:19 AM   #6
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Would a small pitcher frame work to cover screw holes ???
Have ya added a screen door handle yet ??? Great up grade !!!
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Old 11-21-2019, 10:59 AM   #7
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I stuffed some insulation in the gap. A 3/4" decorative "mount", with wire hole sealed, could make sure the T-Stat is only influenced by room temp, not any draft from a storage compartment, etc.
I did tape the hole behind the thermostat up as best as possible to keep any drafts down. Fortunately that's an inside wall and so far the temperature has been holding steady, at least with the A/C. I'll only use the furnace if we're boondocking, I have a little ceramic heater that does the job when plugged in.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:08 AM   #8
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Would a small pitcher frame work to cover screw holes ???
Have ya added a screen door handle yet ??? Great up grade !!!
I thought about that. I actually regret not getting the digital unit that had the same dimensions as the original analog thermostat, but according to the Coleman-Mach website the one I got was the recommended upgrade. Admittedly I had it swapped out in minutes and it works great, I especially like the illuminated display that's lacking on other models.
I plan to cut some small circles of wallpaper from behind a cabinet and paste them over the holes, not perfect but adequate.
A new screen door handle is on the list, I'm also considering a keyless lock for the main door.
I'm still collating the pictures I have of the more serious mods, including a pretty effective cell phone booster setup. I'll be posting those soon.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:20 AM   #9
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... It was an easy wire for wire exchange, but I'll have to do something about the original mount holes.
The after-market thermostat I installed in my home came with a decorative backing plate to conceal holes from the thermostat it replaced. You could accomplish the same with a piece of rigid plastic. Cut it large enough to cover the old holes, round the corners, smooth and polish the edges, and drill the holes required for the wires and new holes. When complete, it will look like it's part of the new thermostat.

Edit: I found these on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=thermosta...late+universal
You'd have to spray paint them with a product compatible with plastic but you're more likely match the thermostat that way, anyway.
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Old 11-21-2019, 06:33 PM   #10
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I added a removable counter and I use Velcro to hold the utensils hanging on the wall. I tried to add a picture but I am unable to.

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Old 11-21-2019, 06:52 PM   #11
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Here is the removable countertop.
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:46 PM   #12
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Here is the removable countertop.
That's definitely stronger than mine, I don't have quite as much structure for support.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:32 PM   #13
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Most of my camping has been in sunny Southern Texas, so beefing up the refrigerator's performance was a must. Absorption fridges don't circulate air inside, so a few fans on the cooling fins can help speed up the cooling a bit. I got this setup off E-Bay; it is a bit of overkill, but installed easily enough. I wired it to the hot side of the interior light switch.
Moving outside, I replaced the plenum cover with a Dometic unit that has a solar powered fan. I brushed up on my soldering skills and modified the wiring by adding a toggle switch so I could turn it on from inside the trailer. I had to cut and peel back the chicken wire to position the fan, I learned the hard way that the jagged ends needed to be taped off before reaching inside. Fortunately my tetanus shot is current. The plenum shares a wall with the pantry, so that was where I drilled a hole for the switch. Convenient, but I wish I put more thought into that because I can't access the switch with the slide retracted. No big deal I guess. Since that wall gets pretty hot I added a layer of Reflectix insulation to keep the pantry from getting too warm.
Apparently all these fans help because after only one day of pre-cooling the temps inside were plenty chilly. After loading up with food, water and various beverages (everything already cold), the freezer averaged about 10 degrees and the fridge a safe upper 30s. This was on electric during 4 sunny days in the upper 90s. Pretty happy about that.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:49 PM   #14
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How does the fan setup inside the fridge attach to the fins?
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Old 11-26-2019, 11:09 PM   #15
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This might be unique to the 2104S, but getting into the bathroom with the slide retracted is a tight squeeze, even tighter if you're on the wrong side of 200 pounds like me. If I suck my gut in hard like I used to before I got married, then I can just get past the doorknob. I could lose weight I suppose, but since that seems to be taking an inordinately long time for some reason. I decided getting rid of that enormous, massive, giant doorknob will have to do for now. I found a low-profile knob on Amazon, and after waiting two weeks since for some reason it was literally put on a slow boat from China, I finally got it installed. I had to do some modifying due to the thinner door, but it was nothing a hack saw couldn't handle.
Now I can get into the bathroom a bit easier without messing with the slide, even after 2 breakfast tacos.

BONUS PIC!!! On a related note, a self-adhesive holder inside the undersink cabinet keeps the TP roll neatly tucked away when not...in use.
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Old 11-26-2019, 11:18 PM   #16
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How does the fan setup inside the fridge attach to the fins?
It uses brackets that attach to the fins with double-stick velcro. The company apparently sells from their own website now.

https://rvcoolingunit.com/Dometic-3-...-P5672097.aspx
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:11 AM   #17
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We do plan on doing some mild boondocking in the near future so the generic group 24 marine battery had to go. Obviously the factory box wouldn't work, so out with that and in with a much larger group 31 sized box. A new group 27 deep cycle AGM battery fits inside nicely with a bit of room left over for the shunt I needed for a battery monitor. I installed the monitor display itself by drilling a 2 1/8" hole in the console between the couch and the dinette. The included cable from the shunt was too short, so I made my own using the original connectors and routed it up alongside the fresh water tank fill tube.
That console was also a good place to add another 120V outlet (with USB ports) since it was close to the "guest bedroom". I used a deep old-work box and ran the Romex from the nearly useless outlet tucked away by the bed. A couple of pieces of paint stirring sticks reinforced the veneer-thin wood behind the little swing out locking lugs.
I have a Champion inverter generator, I think a solar suitcase might be next.
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:58 AM   #18
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It uses brackets that attach to the fins with double-stick velcro. The company apparently sells from their own website now.

https://rvcoolingunit.com/Dometic-3-...-P5672097.aspx
I plan on making something similar. I am currently designing a microcontroller that will control a couple of fans that are variable speed. My goal is to consume a lot less current than those fans use.

My controller will also get rid of the thermistor. It's ridiculous that they haven't updated that outdated design.
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:14 AM   #19
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Great job on the fans. I stayed in Kingsville and on my previous trailer used computer fans on my vent along with a Valterra fridge fan near the bottom of the fridge, all wired with individual toggle switches, albeit outside.

Here is the link to my fans (along with everything else I did to it as well)https://www.jaycoowners.com/forums/f...ted-44332.html
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Old 11-28-2019, 09:59 PM   #20
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I plan on making something similar. I am currently designing a microcontroller that will control a couple of fans that are variable speed. My goal is to consume a lot less current than those fans use.

My controller will also get rid of the thermistor. It's ridiculous that they haven't updated that outdated design.
Sounds pretty ambitious. I hope you plan on posting your work, I'd really like to see how that comes out.
The thermistor design is awfully dated. I'm thinking about doing the snip-the-tip mod, although in all honesty I'm not having any actual problems with the factory setup.
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