REVIEW OF FIRST TRAVEL TRAILER REMODEL
Some of you may remember that I posted a video called “Turn Your RV into a Tiny Home” on YouTube. If you don’t remember, below is a link to the video.
SECOND (AND I AM SURE, NOT LAST) TRAVEL TRAILER REMODEL
Well, after my wife completed that remodel, she decided that she had to do some more work – namely, she wanted to remodel the bathroom because (1) it was too dark and (2) the curtain Forest River provided did not adequately prevent water from leaking onto the floor from the shower. She also wanted to paint all the cabinetry in the trailer white, but that is on hold (for now).
For those of you with Forest River trailers, you may know that the standard bathroom looks something like the picture below. Note the curtain – if you want a shower with a door, it is an upgrade from Forest River.
When she started the process, I had no idea how big an effort it would be. My wife had to disassemble the bathroom cabinet, remove the plumbing that was there, removed the existing shower curtain, trim the shower curtain hardware she had bought and so on. This picture shows what the trailer looked like when her project began.
After my wife disassembled the cabinet, she began to sand the cabinet face frame and sides. That is when she discovered that the cabinet has some type of flimsy paper covering to give it the appearance of nice wood. That made painting the cabinet more of a chore than she anticipated. The picture below shows the work-in-progress on the cabinet.
She also had to sand the walls of the bathroom to remove the wallpaper that was on it and to make them more receptive to paint and primer. After all the sanding was done, she had to apply two coats of primer (Glidden Gripper Primer) and two coats of paint. She said that she could have added a third coat of paint but was done painting after two.
An interesting thing happened during this process. My wife stormed into the house and said, “My sander died.” We went into the garage, turned the sander on and off and, sure enough, it was dead. She bought a new, battery operated sander at Home Depot so she could keep working. Then, a day later, we heard a buzzing noise coming from the garage. The old sander suddenly came to life. Very odd. It was like the old sander was haunted. So now we have two sanders. “Oh, well,” my wife said. “Another power tool. What a shame.”
PS: My “power tools” are my chain saw and 32-inch walk behind mower.
Then she decided to replace the shower curtain with a curved shower door, specifically a door from Shower Enclosures America, Inc. At the end of this blog post, I will give you a link to that company which, if you want to deal with them, you will have to call. It is worth the call. This is the shower door work-in-progress.
Finally, she decided to replace the sink that came with the trailer, using a Kinro Composites Stainless Steel Colored Acrylic Bathroom Sink. She also replaced the faucets that had been provided by Forest River.
Funny story about the sink – it really looks like it is made from heavy metal, but probably weighs less than a pound. Donna decided to have some fun and walked towards me holding the sink. “This is so heavy,” she said. “Help me carry it.”
I was prepared, however. A long, long time ago I had a summer job with UPS (this was way before college kids could get intern jobs with IBM, etc.). The job was loading trucks with parcels based on where they were being shipped. One time this old guy walks toward me holding a box. “Hey, kid,” he said. “Help me with this.” I braced myself and, suddenly, he tossed the box to me. I almost fell over backwards. That gave everyone a good laugh.
Well, another college kid showed up, so I played the same gag on him. Unfortunately, he DID fall over backwards, right out of the truck. No one laughed. It was a union job so he got a few days off for disability. He was actually grateful after the incident – he got paid for doing nothing.
Back to the bathroom. Here is what the finished products looked like. Unfortunately, the space is too small to fit for me to get a single shot of the bathroom.
Below is a “before” picture of the bathroom cabinet.
Below is the mirror after my wife remodeled it, followed by the sink area after remodeling. Note also the nicely painted walls. The whole bathroom area is much brighter as a result of the changes she made.
Bellow are before and after pictures of the sink and faucets.
Below are pictures of the shower with the door open and the door closed.
Below are the product links.
Shower door link (you have to call the company for pricing): http://www.seamerica.com/
Vinyl Sink Link: https://mobilehomepartsstore.com/parts/110117.html
OTHER REMODELING AND PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS
Those of you with Forest River Toy Haulers know that they come with two “dining tables” that look shown below. These tables are removable, which is what you want to do if you want any room in the back of the trailer. Unfortunately, this means that you have to haul them around and install them whenever you want to use them. We decided to use smaller, lightweight tables that also have to be hauled around and set up whenever we wanted to use them. My wife and I had a few discussions on what would be the best alternative table and she came up with this.
This is the Nautic Star Cube boat table, a table that opens from the ends, resulting in a square table when the leaves are closed. The best place to read about this table is at the following link. Note that it is built in the UK but we received it in two days. Note also that it does not have to go into the holes in the floor of the trailer, but has a base that screws directly into the floor. There is a pretty good video at the link below.
This was a nice addition to brighten up the kitchen.
The back splash is made from peel and stick material. It is easy to remove, so if you have to reposition the tiles during installation you can do so without damaging the wall underneath. The backsplash is also great for apartments if you want to return the walls to the way they were before you began renting. It is amazing how much this seemingly small change brightens up the kitchen area of the trailer.
You can find the backsplash she used at this link: https://bdarlingdecor.com/products/black-aztec-tile-backsplash
Ever have your RV door whipped open by the wind? We have. The result, if you may be able to make out, was a dent in the side of the trailer.
Here is another picture of the dent.
My wife’s solution was a magnetic door stop. The magnet is very powerful and, hopefully, will keep the door from slamming into the side of the trailer as well as keeping it open when we want fresh air to come in. There is no longer a need to use a door stop latch (meaning, of course, no longer a need to bend over, something great for older folks).
You can find this product here by clicking on the link below.
Our trailer came with a venetian blind covering over the window in the bedroom. Since I sleep on that side of the bed, I found it quite annoying, especially since the slightest touch would result in a metallic rattling and, ultimately, a bent blind. My wife’s solution was to use material from some window coverings she made for out house, make her own roller blind, and replace the venetian blind.
My wife said she was not happy with this shade, so she made another. Here are pictures of the final result.
She also modified the pillow so it fit the bed better.
I don’t know about your trailer, but the plastic screen on our Toy Hauler never closed correctly. It was misaligned and we were unable to zip it completely, so we really never used it and kept it rolled up.
Here is what it looked like before she replaced it.
My wife bought white vinyl fabric, cut it, added a zipper and now we have a new screen.
This is what the back of the trailer looks like with the screen rolled up.
Sewer hose holder
This is one of my favorite additions my wife made – a sewer hose holder, specifically the D&W “Super-Slider Adjustable Super-Tube.” Quite a name, eh? What’s different about this holder is that its opening is large enough to accommodate the elbow, whereas from what we have read, people have had to sand down the bayonet on the hose to get it to fit into the holder. That is not the case with this tube. Below are some pictures of the tube showing the elbow neatly inside.
Here is the tube from the other side.
My wife attached the holder to the outside of the trailer using J-B Weld Adhesive and 36” cable ties. The adhesive set up in a very short period of time.
Here is what the tube looked like after it was attached. The cable ties and adhesive are boxed.
Here are the links to these products.
JB Weld Adhesive
Sewer Hose Holder
Gardner Bender 45-536UVBSP Heavy-Duty Cable Tie
Breakaway Cable for Brake
We were unhappy about how close the emergency break cable was to the ground. Our fear was that we may go over a rock, it would get snagged, and the trailer would come to a sudden, jolting halt. My wife’s solution was the Fastway Trailer Products Zip Breakaway Cable. The coiled cable of the Zip easily stretches to your tow vehicle and clips right on with the included carabiner. There is no looping over and around the trailer tongue to keep the cable out of the way. It is faster, easier and safer than standard breakaway cables.
Below is a link to that product.
Air Conditioner Silencer
We had two issues with our air conditioning – it was loud, and the vents, for some unknown reason, kept closing, leaving only the small, round vents open. My wife purchased and install the Dometic RV Air Conditioner Silencer. It really makes the AC much quieter and we won’t have to mess with the vents anymore. (Interestingly, I had to put ear plugs in the vents to keep them open, not to reduce the noise). Below is a picture of the AC Silencer after installation.
Here is a link to that product: https://wackoproducts.com/product/dometic-rv-a-c-silencer/
Propane Tank Gauges
Our propane tank setup looks like the following.
There is little information about the plastic dial thing in the middle of the tanks, other than it is used to tell you if there is propane flowing or not. It does not tell you how much propane there is. We found that to be annoying, so my wife bought two GasSaf Propane Tank-Gauge Detectors. We installed one on each tank and were happy to see that we have plenty of propane.
Here is the link to that product. https://amzn.to/2Tolewd
Really? Am I suggesting that there is something special about a wheel chock? Yes. This is the product my wife ordered for our trailer – the Fastway ONEstep Wheel Chock Double Pack For Tandem Axle Trailers and RVs. The great thing about this product is that you can set the wheel chock standing up – just slide it between the wheels and step on it.
Great for us older folks.
Once it is in place, it prevents forward as well as backward movement of the trailer.
The chock also has a place where you can attach a lock to prevent it from being stolen. Finally, to remove the chock you just have to pull upward on the chain and slide it out from between the wheels.
Here is the link to that product.
Paper Towel Holder
Once again you might say – seriously?
The answer is yes. We had a paper towel holder that attached to the side of a cabinet. Admittedly it was not the best, and it had the problem of losing the paper towels when we were moving. When we got to our destination, we would discover paper towels all over the floor. Not something you want to deal with after a few hours of white-knuckle driving.
So my wife purchased the Kamenstein 4554ASB Perfect Tear Patented Wall Mount Paper Towel Holder. This paper towel holder features a ratchet system that prevents rolls from unraveling and allows you to effortlessly tear one piece at a time. The interior wire roller allows you to use any size paper towel roll, from regular sized rolls to jumbo rolls.
Here is a link to that product. https://amzn.to/2IYvuq8
Now I know this is something you all will be interested in. We have tried two different coffee makers, each of which requires you to bring along coffee. In fact, my wife likes espresso in the morning, so she would bring along her Nespresso Coffee Maker. I also like espresso, so I would bring along Café Bustello.
Two separate coffee makers just added to the stuff we had to bring along, so my wife got the Chefman Maker K-Cup Instabrew coffee maker. It satisfies both our needs. Because it takes K-cups, she can bring along her favorite espresso and I can bring along Café Bustello K-cups. And – best yet – the only trash you have to worry about are the K-cups. They can be recycled. No more wiping out the filter and washing coffee grounds into your grey tank.
Here is a link to that product. https://www.campingworld.com/single-serve-coffee-maker
Unfortunately, we discovered that the Instabrew coffee maker does not have an on/off switch. Strange, I know. So my wife went out and got the BESTEK 900 Joules Surge Protector with 8 Outlets. The great thing about this power strip is that each connection has its own on/off strip, something that can come handy in many instances. Also, is has 2 USB charger ports. We are going to put these in our house as well as in the trailer.
Here is a link to that product. https://amzn.to/2Hk9vrg
Spray Contact Cleaner
Finally, last but not least, a spray contact cleaner. Last year we started getting messages on our F-150 like “left turn signal fault” and “hill assist non-functional.” That was annoying, but then we got, “trailer not connected.”
Now that will get your attention!
We took the truck to our Ford dealer and they could not find a problem. We researched the issue on line and someone suggested cleaning the contacts on the trailer connector. We researched some more and found out that the easiest way to solve the problem was to use a contact cleaner. The most recommended one was the Hosa D5S-6 CAIG DeoxIT 5% Spray Contact Cleaner. So far, at least, the problem seems to have been solved.
Here is a link to that product. https://amzn.to/2VKkvC5
Due to the efforts of my wife, and my ability to stay out of the way, our trailer is very comfortable. I’m sure more changes are on the way and, when they are done, I will blog about those as well.