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Old 06-07-2019, 05:26 PM   #1
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Upgrading, modifying, updating -- What are you doing for this year?

Here we are in the midst of another camping season for those of us not as fortunate as you lucky folks who are able to camp all year. Anyway, every year my wife and I take an inventory of the things we would like to have had while camping, or maybe would like to make better, or perhaps just get rid of before taking a trip and then I end up having to do it all. This year is no different. This summer, we are taking a long trip without hookups, so I've been working on making our TT more "boondockable" if you know what I mean. Here is a list of a few things things we (I) have been doing since our final trip of the year last fall:

1. Added two more batteries and built a custom aluminum battery box complete with disconnect, remote charger and fuse.

2. Installing a 2500 watt pure sine inverter/charger and removed the converter.

3. Installed a 12V ceiling fan in the master bedroom.

4. Purchased a quieter generator

5. Replacing the awful original bathroom faucet and shower head with more efficient and comfortable types.

6. Added a 12V water pump to transfer water from portable container to trailer.

Those are just the upgrades for the trailer; never mind the truck. I wish I had pictures to share right now but they will come later.

We are always interested in what others are doing with their rigs and we have "borrowed" some great ideas from others. What have you done, or are you doing to make your camping year more comfortable, or efficient, or whatever? Please share pictures if you have them.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:44 PM   #2
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I’m planning on a bit of an electrical upgrade. I took out a central vacuum so I’ll have a free breaker to reuse. I’ll upgrade this to a 20amp breaker and will run a 120v line up to my battery compartment where I have an extra lithium-aware battery charger. It’ll be within 4’ of the batteries for maximum efficiency.

I’d like to also wire in my inverter more properly. I’ll probably start with Xantrex 15amp transfer switches. There’s another maker but the name eludes me right now.

And lastly, I’m going to run a set of new outlets to the living room slide, at the dining room table (probably GFCI), and 2-4 outlets in the garage. I’ll probably pull these off of the dryer breaker in the panel since we have a combo washer/dryer unit (and it uses the “washer” breaker).

We are also shopping tomorrow for a new loveseat + separate chair. We had our sofa replaced and the new one is like a torture device. Sucks to spend the money, but this thing is truly unbearable.

I’d love to add solar to the roof and a pair of Victron 2000 or 3000W inverters (one for each leg of the 50amp service and just Fred the whole house). I just don’t see my budget supporting that.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:47 PM   #3
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Planned upgrades:

Folding shelf brackets for counter extension
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:56 PM   #4
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Planned upgrades for 2019. Sell the camper, build play ground for grandkids at cabin, spend more time with grandkids, spend more time relaxing, spend more time enjoying life. Hiking, biking, fishing hunting...These are my planned upgrades.
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Old 06-08-2019, 11:34 AM   #5
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Added 120 volt receptacle

Didn't like the 120 volt receptacle located under the kitchen cabinet. So installed a duplex receptacle under the kitchen counter top. No more cord clutter.
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Old 06-09-2019, 10:33 AM   #6
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Jayhawker, that looks great!
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:57 PM   #7
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So far this year, I installed 0.0000003 jigawatts of solar.
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Next is to upgrade to a LiFePo battery, or 2 or 3... (I toasted the current one by forgetting to turn the DC off to the fridge.)

Change the locks on all outside compartments. (I hate the cheap ones that are on there now)

Install a 2000 - 2500 watt inverter/charger.

Install a spacer between the axle and frame to gain some ground clearance for boondocking.

When the tires need replacing, upgrade to 15 inch wheels.

And somewhere in this time frame, replace the curtains with something darker and with more privacy.
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jayhawker View Post
Didn't like the 120 volt receptacle located under the kitchen cabinet. So installed a duplex receptacle under the kitchen counter top. No more cord clutter.
That's a great idea! That's what I'm talking about. We have a similar outlet in the bedroom. I suppose it was put there for a TV but we will never install one.
Thanks for the idea!
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:47 AM   #9
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We are also shopping tomorrow for a new loveseat + separate chair. We had our sofa replaced and the new one is like a torture device. Sucks to spend the money, but this thing is truly unbearable.
Welp, upgrades started. Ordered a new sectional yesterday. 114” wide in a space that is 115” wide!

I lost my plan for a loveseat + separate chair.
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:16 PM   #10
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Buying an electric tongue jack.
Going to pull apart the dinette forward bench back top and take a belt sander to the sharp corners that are the bed edge. Unknown if I'll need replacement pleather or if I can re-staple the original covering the worn corner hole. It lasted about two campouts.
Biggest mod was buying a new truck 5 weeks ago, upgrading from an older Explorer
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:32 PM   #11
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Last year we did a lot of upgrades (new tires, slide out awnings, electric over hydraulic disc brakes, storage/cargo organization upgrades), hoping to keep it pretty low key this year.We need to replace our entry steps (again) They are the black folding 4 step from Hickory. The main support is cracked and rusting again, slowly making the steps more bouncy. Not sure which type to replace with, Glow Step or the Step Above/Solid Step. Don't want to cut up our door trim or lose our screen door, so that may make the decision for us.

Might add a tankless water heater.... Redo the kitchen island and add a dishwasher? Pull carpet and put in laminate? Lol options are endless, but the budget isn't.
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:34 PM   #12
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My upgrade list is up to 17 items, some just small stuff I've done while camping and some that inflicted pain on my Credit Card.

Best upgrade was a pair of Battleborn 12v 100ah batteries and supporting charging equipment (solar, DC-DC Charger, Victron Battery Monitor).

Still on the fence regarding inverter large enough to run Microwave. I boondock mostly in the NW woods where solar may work but not enough to rely on to charge batteries over and extended trip. This means I still need a generator so I just start mine (no big deal as it has it's own little platform on the rear bumper) and let it run for an hour or so when I need the Microwave, letting it charge batteries too.

Using this method I used the microwave twice during a week long trip into the deep woods only 8 hours total Solar due to shade and two days of total, dense, overcast. When I packed up and started home my Victron monitor showed 75% remaining battery charge after a week and only two hours of generator time.

I keep going back and forth but it always boils down to the fact I need a generator regardless. Even if I run the microwave from an inverter, I still need it for the A/C.

Next "upgrade" I'll probably work on is improved ventilation for the refrigerator cooling unit. Thinking of securing a flexible solar panel to the roof, running wires down the "chimney" and installing a fan kit. I'll probably use the cheap PWM controller that came with my suitcase solar panels and just run the fan(s) off the load output. I figure that when the sun's out it's hot and the refrigerator could use the extra circulation. When it's not shining the fans won't be as important and this way I'll have zero drain on my battery bank.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:29 PM   #13
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Welp, upgrades started. Ordered a new sectional yesterday. 114” wide in a space that is 115” wide!

I lost my plan for a loveseat + separate chair.
Continued today. Sold my existing furniture and brought in our temporary “couch”:
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Old 06-11-2019, 09:15 AM   #14
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Upgraded our RV to 50 amp service last year. Plan on adding a front A/C in the bedroom this year, and maybe upgrading the weak vent fan in the bathroom with a Vortex insert.
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Old 06-11-2019, 09:44 AM   #15
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Continued today. Sold my existing furniture and brought in our temporary “couch”:
Attachment 207017

That is an upgrade on some of the RV furniture I have tried!!!
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Old 06-15-2019, 08:55 AM   #16
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Due to health issues with DW, we wont be taking the rig out till end of summer if at all so lots of time do do things. Front cap has finally succumbed to the dreaded cap fade / oxidation, so bought some Maguire's compound, wax and a random orbital buffer. A couple of hours and it looks like new again.
Probably be a yearly project now unless I sent it in for painting. The 50 amp power is in the very back center of the 33' long trailer, we have a 25' 50 amp cord, and a 30, 30 amp cord. A fair amount of the time we have to use the 30 amp as the 50 wont reach if the power pole is to the front of the site. Last labor day weekend we had to use both cords to plug in as the pole was 8 feet in front of the trailer. So I am adding a 50 amp plug in the front of the trailer, running the wire to where I have the PI EMS and adding a range outlet so I can switch between front and back as needed. As I was running the wire I found the diamond plate rock guard on the front cap and the bottom had pulled loose (5 small screws to hold almost 8 feet together, really?) So I reattached it with about 8 more screws with washers then Etrnabonded it to seal out the water. Next going to add a circuit to plug in my waste pump so I can plug in at the dump valve and not need to run 20' of wire to the battery when i can not gravity drain, like at home. Then Eternabind the roof seams. Then think of more.

Oh. And Doug. Love the temporary seating.
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Old 06-15-2019, 09:43 AM   #17
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Well if this counts ordered a new 2020 Rockwood 5ver ... yes it is smaller lighter shorter... Great price on the 2019
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Old 06-15-2019, 07:29 PM   #18
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So far this year, I installed 0.0000003 jigawatts of solar.
Attachment 206843

Next is to upgrade to a LiFePo battery, or 2 or 3... (I toasted the current one by forgetting to turn the DC off to the fridge.)

Change the locks on all outside compartments. (I hate the cheap ones that are on there now)

Install a 2000 - 2500 watt inverter/charger.

Install a spacer between the axle and frame to gain some ground clearance for boondocking.

When the tires need replacing, upgrade to 15 inch wheels.

And somewhere in this time frame, replace the curtains with something darker and with more privacy.
Installed the new LiFePo battery and a Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor with Battery Temperature Sensor. Changed the settings on the Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/30 Charge Controller to the new battery.

With the old FLA battery, the solar charger would put 140 - 190 Wh into the battery, spending 5 - 8 hours a day in bulk mode.

With the new LiFePo battery, it puts in about 60 - 70 Wh, spending around 4 hours a day in bulk.

I can do better, but my parking spot places the solar panels facing North.
I could close the roof to get a better angle, but I like to go out and putz around in the camper thinking of the next trip and/or upgrades.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:28 AM   #19
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Continued today. Sold my existing furniture and brought in our temporary “couch”:
Attachment 207017
Hey! How did you get a picture of my living room!!
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:10 PM   #20
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Well the list for the trailer is long, but let's keep it to what I did today. Installed new Bilstien 4600 B6 shocks and a Roadmaster Active Suspension system on my 2002 GMC Sierra 1500 2WD. It still had the factory shock on it. Amazing difference in the ride, and is night and day from before. You really don't realize how soft old shocks have gotten until you have premium new ones installed. The RAS also has made a difference in body roll/sway when I try to make it lean. I can't wait to see how much difference it also makes when towing.

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