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Old 06-12-2014, 06:47 AM   #61
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Shower Drain

I have been having an extended challenge getting the shower drain removed so I could seal a leak. The leak started from under the shower pan at the end of our last trip. Now that I have things apart and seen how it was put together, I can see how the leak started and what caused it. I recall stepping on the drain that last night. It shifted and started leaking.

To begin, here is the removed drain on the right and a sink drain on the left for comparison. The plastic tailpiece and P-trap below is standard stuff in the plumbing world.

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The way the shower was put together, it is evident that they had installed the drain while the stall was outside the trailer. They then drilled a 6" hole in the floor and placed the shower unit before the walls went on. The metal assembly on the right was later connected to the drain piping. That is when my problems started.

The assembly was installed such that the two black rubber gaskets were on either side of the fiberglass floor pan. It was cranked very tight with no evidence of any sealant. It was so tight that I could not get a grip on the lock nut using multiple tools: pipe wrench, slip joint pliers, chisel and hammer, or bad language. When viewed from below, the lock nut was 2" above the bottom of the floor. This inset nature defeated my approaches. Working on my back in the basement (you may recall I currently have the rear walls of the basement removed) was awkward and uncomfortable. Tiny guys may feel different. I eventually loosened the lock ring up using the reverse approach like this.

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Once loose, I had a different problem. Now I had to hold the drain assembly while trying to turn the lock ring. Sigh. I then went to a destructive removal approach. With the lock ring now a little bit away from the bottom of the shower pan, I felt safer drilling through it at two points. I did this to most easily remove the greatest amount of metal with the least effort. I then used a Dremel tool to grind away the rest and the lock ring fell off. Here is an unsurprising picture of the shower with no drain.

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When I examined the drain, I saw that I was actually never going to be able to get it apart any way other than by destroying it. When the plumbing was attached, FR pre-assembled the tailpiece and that washer you see in the first photo using epoxy. In the process, epoxy got smeared all over the drain threads. That is likely good for the installer but bad for the repairer.

The leak occurred between the drain and the upper gasket inside the shower visible in this pre-destruction photo.

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I am going to reassemble the drain with new hardware using RTV silicone sealant on both sides of the upper gasket. I hope to use a slip ring to make future disassembly easier. You can see a white one on the sink drain above next to the lock nut.
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Old 06-15-2014, 04:45 PM   #62
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Shower Drain and Scratches

The shower drain repair is almost done. I used the JR Products drain (#9495-211-022 "Shower Strainer") which ended up being identical to the original drain. For installation, I used RTV silicone to seal the drain to the shower pan. It is curing at the moment. When cured, I will attach the locknut and drain assembly from below then do a leak test.

We ended up with a couple of places where the interior wood finish was scratched at delivery and by our gentle children. I went around today with a paper towel with wood stain on it to help hide those scratches. The biggest problem with them is that the scratch exposed the light colored wood underneath and made it obvious. The stain moved those scratches into the background making them less visible. I will likely need to do this again after our summer trip.
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:47 PM   #63
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Shower Drain

Now this is done--finally. Everything is all connected again. A static water test (tape over drain screen and pour two gallons of water into the shower pan) showed no leakage. You have to look closely to see the water line at a little more than an inch deep at the drain.

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Removing the tape drained the water and filled the trap. Interestingly, surface tension across the grating holes prevented the water from draining until I broke it. The draining also checked the pipe joints below for leaks since it moves more water than during a shower.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:45 PM   #64
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Entry Step Carpet

I looked at the pre-made carpet step covers available from Camco (#42925 Wrap Around Step Rug). They are nice and easy to install. I foresee a problem if the spring loosens or pops free since there is a good probability that the step cover will end up on the side of the highway. Amazon has them for $8.97 each. I need eight so that would have cost me over $76. The cost at the local dealer was even higher.

My solution was to go to Lowe's and have them cut me a 2' strip of gray indoor/outdoor carpet (#97913 Stratos Gray) as my raw material for a little over $11. The guy said that my request was common for their store. My steps are just over 23" wide, 8.5" deep, and 1" thick. The standard 12' wide carpet roll cut into eight pieces gives me 18" for each of the eight step covers. This proved to be just enough for the curved-front steps. It was plenty for the straight steps

Some reality: The 12' wide roll was actually 12' 2" so measure before you trust and cut. Also, I asked for 2' and actually got 28". That is why I had to make allowances when I placed the grommets. It should be obvious which side I will be trimming.

First I cut the roll into the eight equal pieces of 18" x 24" throwing out the scrap. I then added four 5/16" brass grommets to each piece using this kit about 3" in from the corners. This will give me plenty of room to trim the edges and space if I need to replace any grommets in the future. The strange offset is because I measured from a single side. If I did it again, I would put the grommets about 2" from the edge.

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I then took the carpet pieces and trimmed each one to fit a specific step since they are all slightly different widths. I labeled each with its location on the back. We have two different types of steps on the trailer. The front is original equipment, but they used to be on the back. I crunched into a parking lot pole early in my ownership with the front steps suffering catastrophic damage. Once I got the bent carcass off its mounts and straightened out the mounting brackets, I moved the rear steps to the front so we could get into the main room of the trailer. At least no welds were broken. I bought and installed new steps on the rear.

I fastened each step cover through its grommets using stainless steel wire typically used to lock wire mechanical fittings. These are not super tight, but they should also not be falling off. I need to solve the droopy carpet under the curved steps.

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I will see how these hold up during our summer travels.
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Old 06-23-2014, 05:55 AM   #65
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OC Awning Poles and Hold Down Kit

I finally gotten around to fully installing OC's awning poles and hold down kit. I have had the upper brackets on for a while and rigged the poles as needed.

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I have two of his latest/last batch of aluminum poles and brackets. Since I have a 5er that has satin black trim, I decided to not even try to match the color and texture. Instead, I painted the poles and brackets with a rattle can of Rust-Oleum Hammered Black.

After that, it was a simple matter of following the instructions. For the lower bracket, drill and set one pop rivet. Then align the bracket before drilling and setting the second rivet. For drilling holes in the poles, I used the same drill bit I used for the pop rivets before drilling it larger to handle the safety pin. My front pole hangs about 3" below the front cap, but it clears the truck bed rail.

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I added some stick-on foam rubber to the inside of the lower brackets to reduce the paint chipping. That also nicely covered the rivets.

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Three of the four rivets did not install cleanly using my years-old "economy" hand riveter and I had to break off the shanks using pliers. One of those did not break cleanly and I had to grind it smooth with an angle grinder. This was a great weekend to digging through the equipment and using the various tools I have gathered.

I also confirmed that the Progressive Industries EMS-HW50C works fine for low voltage. I plugged in an old vacuum to clean up the sawdust from my Dremel grinding to enlarge the rear sink faucet holes to make the new faucet sit flat. The EMS shut off power to the trailer when the voltage dropped too low. At the moment, I can only power the trailer via an extension cord to get some charge back into the battery.
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:11 PM   #66
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Loose Interior Trim

The bedroom trim above the closet popped loose on the way home from the dealer back in February.

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While I could hand nail it back into place, I had no Brad nails that were easily findable. This was an excellent excuse to put my finish nailer to use. Once I moved the compressor, the hose reached the trailer bedroom and it easy to nail the strip back in place.

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It was easy to see why the factory nails failed--they were driven in too far. With almost no grip within the trim, normal travel flexing was enough the push the trim off the nails.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:17 PM   #67
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Vent and Mattress Covers

I installed two MaxxAir Fanmate Black Vent Covers and one MaxxAir II Black (AKA "Smoke") Vent Cover. This one goes faster if you have a helper to raise and lower the vent covers as you need. The instructions are very good once you work your way through all the cautions. The first parts of the MaxxAir II assembly can be done on the ground before you go onto the hot roof. Our two Fantastic fans are installed near the curb side wall, so I did the first half of each install from a ladder.

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The nuts included in the parts bag will leap from the roof given the slightest opportunity. You can counter their escape plan by installing while on concrete or asphalt. It only took me ten minutes of searching on asphalt to find my two escaped nuts.

One reason we got a bunkroom trailer is for the kids. As every parent knows, kids leak. We have had mattress covers on every mattress in our house since our first child arrived and they have saved our beds from numerous accidents. We do the same in the trailer. These single/twin mattress covers are for deeper home mattresses, but they work just fine on the 4" bunk mattress pads.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:24 PM   #68
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I think I would remove that front pole during travel. If I had that much clearance, my bed would be all beat up.

It all looks good!!!
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:28 PM   #69
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Again, thanks for sharing. I have picked up ideas and cleaned the bathroom skylight. The dealership now working on outside light from relay board.

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Old 06-29-2014, 05:24 PM   #70
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Pro Tip

If you use screws to hang things in your trailer, you should probably have a depth gauge.

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Mine is just a piece of stiff copper wire. After drilling a hole, I poke it through to verify nothing is back there (pipe, wire) before I insert the screw. I have found all walls are 1-1/2" deep. Interior walls are empty. Exterior walls have Styrofoam.
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:06 PM   #71
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Air Return Vents

If you have never taken them down, here is what mine look like. Very standard vent cover.

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The return duct is molded onto the back of the ceiling panel. My guess is that the standard "Wire & frame for 2nd AC" probably includes the return duct. If you get the optional second A/C (mandatory here in FL) or add it later, they cut open the return ducts, mount the grilles, and drop the A/C unit on top.

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Now I understand why we got so much sawdust out of the vents when we turned on the A/C for the first time.

The duct is not very big and it explains why the A/C is so loud. Moving all that air through such small ducts means it has to move faster and is accordingly noisier.
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:55 PM   #72
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Remotes with Velcro

Another common mod to Velcro the remotes. We have lost the TV remote a couple of times already, so this may help control things. The bedroom TV remote also got a similar treatment.

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Old 07-05-2014, 07:29 PM   #73
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FRF

Oh yea. Ready to travel.

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Old 07-05-2014, 09:18 PM   #74
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Bug Screens

Florida has lots of bugs. There are two means of protection: physical isolation and chemical warfare. For the trailer, that means I have to put up screens to keep the bugs away from where I don't want them. As done elsewhere, I taped aluminum screen to the back of the water heater intake. For the exhaust, I removed the existing grid insert, formed the screen around the outside of the piece, and reinserted it into the cover slot.

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For the refrigerator, I taped plastic screen to the back of the vents. In retrospect, I should have used aluminum here too since it would have been much easier to work with.

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The tape is standard 2" flexible foil tape that I cut down to 1" wide.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:23 PM   #75
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Awning Pole Towing Clearance

After installing OC's awning support poles, I wanted to reassure myself that I have plenty of clearance to my bed rail. Here is a picture taken looking across the top of the tailgate.

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The pole is 4" above, 6" behind, and 6" outside the truck box. The rattle can paint is reasonably complimentary with the awning support arm finish.
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:03 PM   #76
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Key Rack

I am trying to bring some organization while we travel. Two sets of trailer keys and the truck keys seem like they would be easy to keep track of, but they always end up under something. I added a small key rack under the main room convenience panel and switches.

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We chose the location based on reducing the possibility of brushing against it when walking by. It may hurt.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:46 PM   #77
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Tire Pressure

I forgot to mention this before, but when I got the trailer, all five tires were inflated to exactly 60 pounds. It was perfect symmetry. It was nice attention to detail. The problem is that the sidewall pressure and trailer label pressure is 80 pounds.

This is a big trailer: 7K axles, 8-bolt wheels, Goodyear Marathon ST235/80R16 tires, GVWR 15,610 lbs. I can only guess both the factory and the PDI tech (if he even checked) did a lot of smaller trailers. My guess is that they were mounted and inflated long before they were put on the trailer and the guy doing the work guessed at the correct pressure, although he could have read it right from the rubber. After that, no one checked until I did. In the interim, the trailer was towed 1300 miles on underinflated tires. At least it was at minimum weight.
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:40 AM   #78
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Spare Tire Storage

This irritated me when I found it. In our trailer, the spare tire is mounted on the front wall of the basement on the driver/road side. It is a little more towards the centerline of the trailer than is convenient due to the propane tank enclosure. The location is a selling feature in that the tire is not stored under the unit. It has a special recess in the basement floor in order to fit. (That is a hint) It is secured to the front wall using a strongback and an oversized wing nut assembly. It looks like this. (Taken back when the basement was still empty.)

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The first problem is that FR used the shortest possible threaded rod for the wall fastener. This means the wheel faces the wall so you have to remove the tire to check the air pressure. The second problem, when I first tried to remove the tire, was that I found it would not fit through the road side basement door. I had to empty most of the basement to get it out of the curb side door--just to check or add air.

I am considering alternate mounting locations, but I will likely keep what I have due to that built in recess. I will change the tie down rod to flip the tire around.
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:07 PM   #79
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It's probably good that it doesn't fit out the drivers side. With so many inatentive drivers out there, you are more than likely to get run over while trying to get the spare out. I have never blown a trailer tire yet but if I do, I certainly hope it's on the passenger side.
I have a question about the steps you added. Do you have to deploy all four steps? The last campsite we were at was uneven just enough that our third step was only a few inches off the ground. Just curious how that would work with your four step system.


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Old 07-16-2014, 10:40 PM   #80
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Steps

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Originally Posted by garmford View Post
I have a question about the steps you added. Do you have to deploy all four steps? The last campsite we were at was uneven just enough that our third step was only a few inches off the ground. Just curious how that would work with your four step system.
Yes, all four steps get unfolded for normal use. #1 (bottom) flips on top of #2. Those two flip on top of #3 and then the unit is lifted and rotated into the housing. Actually, the original steps are easier to extend and retract, but the new one feels significantly sturdier.

I can leave #1 on top of #2 and step on #3 to enter if I am in a hurry. If #1 is flat on the ground (frequent with a level or right side high site), I lift #2 to get a grip on #1 to fold. Right now we are in a right side low site (one board under the wheels) and step #1 is about 6" off the ground.

The perfect system would be power adjustable since both three and four step units have their disadvantages during different scenarios.
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