September 10, 2012 by Barry & Monique Zander · 21 Comments  
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By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

My plan for today: get under our trailer and squirt grease anywhere that looks thirsty.  Thankfully, a thunderstorm appeared over the mountain crests and favored us with rain.

Since I’ve obligated myself to getting the rig ready for our 10-month cross-country jaunt – by virtue of having committed to blog readers that I’m going to do this – I joined Monique inside for some interior prep.

Monique rented a rug shampoo unit and spent almost a whole day last week cleaning and freshening up our 28-foot floor space (she’s thorough!).

Kokopelli Gets a Needed Bath - Cleaning the Carpets

Kokopelli Gets a Needed Bath - Cleaning the Carpets

We’re still 35 days from departure, so it’s too early to begin filling the cabinets and closets, refrigerator and “health & beauty aids” drawer, but there’s still lots to be done.

On my agenda for today was what I call repair, maintenance and improvement.  For example:

Lots of Tools; Not Much Improvement on the Table Base

Lots of Tools; Not Much Improvement on the Table Base

REPAIR – Our dinette table has been wobbly for years, despite my replacing the 1” factory  screws with 2”ers.  Today I put heavy-duty anchors in the floor.  It may have made it a bit steadier, but the most gratifying result was that it got that project off my list.

MAINTENANCE – I removed the toilet several weeks ago to re-align the gasket.  It still didn’t keep water in the bowl.  A few days later Monique was doing routine cleaning with a scrub brush and hit the gasket by accident.  It was fixed.  Today I checked the interior lights, most of which are LEDs.  All are working and ready for the long haul.

IMPROVEMENT – We’ve suffered for six years with plastic suction-cup shower fixtures to hold our shampoo and soap … suffered because they fall about

I Prepare to Affix the Shampoo Dispenser

I Prepare to Affix the Shampoo Dispenser

once a week, sometimes at 2:30 in the morning.  Today I installed a shampoo-conditioner-bodywash dispenser in the shower.  Another completed project:  since we often forget to bring napkins to the table, I re-installed a shelf under the table with a napkin holder attached with Velcro.  I had devised this a few years ago, so today I took a few minutes to make improvements.

All this information is being conveyed not to brag, not to fill space or to suggest you should do what we did.  My purpose is to encourage you to take advantage of being parked at your home base to concentrate on each aspect of your interior, looking for places that need attention or annoy you.

If you’re handy, you may want to tackle projects on your own (or get an offspring or relative to pitch in).  If there’s a risk involved, it may be time to bite the bullet and call in a professional – especially for electrical work.

If you’re facing draconian problems, and if finances allow, maybe a weekend spent visiting area RV dealerships will be worth your time.  I well remember our first lightweight trailer – cute as a button, but practically every time we pulled into a campground, I was under a countertop with screwdriver and tape measure.  Since we invested in a new trailer five years ago, we’ve been able to spend more time enjoying our destinations, less time cursing the drawers that didn’t work and orange-crate

My Napkin Holder Contrivance -- It Works!

My Napkin Holder Contrivance -- It Works!

wood that splintered.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.  In the Comments Section below, share some of the improvements, maintenance and repairs that have made your life-on-the-road more pleasant.  It’s always good to hear ideas from our readers, and I assure you that I’m no different that most – I print out and save many of the suggestions from you.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

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Last 5 posts by Barry & Monique Zander


21 Responses to “GETTING THE INTERIOR READY – PART 3 of a Series”

  1. bbadwolf on September 11th, 2012 4:52 pm

    I’ve added a cell tower receiver antenna on the top of our RV. This allows us to pick up faint cell towers in places that simply don’t work without it. Another recent upgrade was adding a Winegard Sensar Pro to boost the TV antenna reception. We haven’t had a chance to try this out yet though.

    Love your articles and look forward each time you publish a new one! We live vicariously through your adventures!

    Keep it up please!

  2. Jerry on September 11th, 2012 6:30 pm

    When we spend 3 months in Fl every Jan Feb and March, it still can be chilly and a jacket can be required. We bought a childs coat tree rack and placed it behind the passenger seat after it is turned around. Works great for grabbing jackets and hats when needed.

  3. Cindy Martin on September 11th, 2012 7:21 pm

    Let’s see…we’ve added an antenna booster, hung various small wire baskets to hold kitchen and table items, made our own shower stall (our ultra-lite didn’t come with one), added storage under our daughter’s bunk (there were no doors there), and put up a curved curtain rod so the shower curtain no longer sticks to us while showering. We’ve put up a plastic shelving unit by the door for our “out the door” necessities, and put in some of those over the door towel racks both for the bathroom (large ones) and kitchen (small ones over cabinet doors). A few years ago we made reflective insulation into covers for various windows and vents to block light and insulate when we’re out in cold weather. We also bought a sun shade and some of those cloth hook holders for the awning rail so the shade and lights go up and down very quickly. We hope to put some storage doors on the dinette benches as well. The biggest project was replacing our cracked tub and putting in reinforcement under the new one. Maintenance never seems to end – vacuuming, changing out things, caulking, etc. We keep extra food items and miscellaneous necessities in nice tubs outside our trailer door. The only things we haven’t found a solution for is lack of space in general, and clothes hangers that fall out of the closet rod when we travel. Thanks for your reminders to do all those little things that we all hate doing.

  4. notruffinit on September 11th, 2012 7:27 pm

    Went crazy earlier this summer. Water softener, hard-wired surge guard, slide drawer for the generator and a rack to hold some folding tables in the front compartment of our 5er. Additional shelves in the overhead cabinets and new closet rods in the closet. We even replaced the mattress with one just like our bed at home. We are now on our 3 month long trip and sleeping like a baby….

  5. Valerie P. on September 11th, 2012 7:42 pm

    If you have a motor home that has walls that need sprucing up – try contact paper! I bought the “speckled” pattern – granite I think they call it – and it is so easy to put up! If you have to use smaller pieces (like around curves or the thermostat) you can patch it and it doesn’t show at all. I did the bedroom, the kitchen and the bathroom – all done in three days. Contact also makes self-adhesive wallpaper border which I added in the bathroom and the kitchen.

  6. Katrina on September 11th, 2012 9:16 pm

    Added stuff you would expect to be in there already like toothbrush holder, soap and razor holders in the shower, spice rack and cup hooks in the kitchen. Covered door windows to keep the sun out of my face when working. Installed power jack on the front, satellite dish on top, cell booster, wifi antenna, router, lots of hooks, office center in place of a chair, and cleaned the carpet too. Replaced the lousy shower head with one of those Oxygenics. Replaced all the rubber around my windows on the outside. I sit in one place during the winter which is a great time to make repairs and get some deep cleaning done.

  7. butterbean carpenter on September 11th, 2012 9:41 pm

    Howdy M&B,

    NO ADDITIONS; YOU’RE JUST 5 stars in my book!!!

  8. MrOAK on September 11th, 2012 10:17 pm

    We had our leveling jacks fixed at a dealership. I will never own an RV with Power Gear electric jacks again.
    I bought a 2300 watt inverter to add to my rig. Its not installed yet.
    I am switching from a 4 wire cable from my rig to the toad for towing to a 6 wire cable.
    The objective is to keep the car battery charged while towing. I need to confirm how to connect the charge wire to the car battery and how to deal with the ground. I need to do a little more research before changing the wiring on the car.


  9. Dianne Eddy on September 11th, 2012 10:43 pm

    Cindy, my friend
    regarding hangers that won’t jump off the rail when travelling. I found some suede covered coat hangers at Canadian Tire and WalMart that have a little bump at the end of the hook. The suede keeps the shirts on the hanger and the “bump” allows a rubber band to be stretched under the rail and hooked on the bump to keep the hanger on the rail. works great!

  10. Drew on September 12th, 2012 12:14 am

    I replaced that noisy little bathroom fan with a Fantastic Vent fan. I bought a portable electric fireplace so we don’t use much propane to heat anymore.

  11. Pete Holden on September 12th, 2012 4:51 am

    This might not be a chore everyone will want to do themselves, but along with all the cleaning and loading chores I also check and adjust the brakes before each trip. This involves jacking up each wheel, and adjusting the brake so that there is enough drag that when spun by hand it’ll stop in two or three full turns. (By wheel I mean everything: the wheel with the rim and tire still mounted.) Then I check the electric brake system by having my wife activate the brake controller while I hand spin the wheel. It should stop spinning instantly.

  12. Larry Nutter on September 12th, 2012 7:13 am

    Some great ideas from the responders. Remember to overnight with us here in Crestview, Fl. We are only 4 miles from I10.

  13. Davis S. on September 12th, 2012 10:41 am

    Power Gear levelers are a problem for us also in our new Winnebago Adventurer.

    Glad to hear we aren’t the only ones.

    We do all the vehicle work starting a month before our trip like fluid and filter changes plus the last minute things like tire pressure and dingy maintenence.

  14. Brenda Savage on September 12th, 2012 12:37 pm

    Here is a silly little thing that has made a big difference… all my cleaning things like mop, broom, stick vac; were jumbling up the closet that I had them in. I installed a simple “broom rack” with clamps for the items on the interior wall of that closet and it’s fantastic! Things don’t shift around and I’ve freed up valuable closet floor space! Also, I’ve found the heavier duty ‘Command’ hooks to be invaluable for getting things off the floor, camera bag, purse, laptop case. And, those inexpensive microfiber storage ottomans that they sell at Walmart are great not only as an ottoman, but for storing things that you don’t know where to put (like 6 dog leashes).

  15. Barry & Monique Zander on September 12th, 2012 1:05 pm

    I don’t usually respond to comments, preferring to let readers commend or, if appropriate, voice displeasure at negative or erroneous entries — BUT, I’m thrilled with the responses to the Getting Ready articles. It’s these types of helpful ideas that got me hooked on blogs in the first place. Thanks for all your contributions. Barry

  16. Phil Mitchell on September 12th, 2012 4:49 pm

    Relief from a most dreaded major choir: Get a SANICON black water drain pump installed and a long large hole hose. YES, they will pump a great distance, my hose is over 50 feet long. All available at Camping World.

  17. John Dough on September 14th, 2012 9:52 am

    Here’s my list of upgrades to my 2011 Cougar TT

    1. Built and installed 3 large drawers in the food storage cabinet complete with full extension drawer slides.
    2. Installed Stainless Steel hooks in the bath and shower areas to hang towels and wet swimsuits to dry
    3. Built and installed 2 drawers in the bathroom cabinet complete with full extension drawer slides for underwear and sock storage.
    4.Built and installed 2 shelves in the cabinet above and below the TV alcove to increase small item storage space.
    5. Built and installed multiple storage units for plastic dishes and plastic drinking cups plus a hanging rack to store wine glasses by their stems.
    6. Modified the dining table adding a restaurant style support base making it portable within the trailer or for outside use.
    7. Built and installed 2 heavy duty large drawers in the outside storage compartments, complete with full extension drawer slides rated to 150 lbs. to find anything in those compartments by simply pulling the drawers out.
    8. Used 1/16″ Stainless Steel cable to permanently attach the equalizer hitch pins to the trailer.
    9. Built and installed an angle iron cover for my two exterior battery boxes to prevent theft of my batteries when parked.
    10 Re-lamped all of the interior lamps to LED’s ($368.00). We do a lot of dry camping and we can now have lights on without running the generator.
    11. Built and installed loading ramps to the Cougars slide-out rear deck to easily load our Honda EU3000i quiet generator. I put the 9″ aftermarket rubber tires on the generator. These allow us to run the generator without unloading it. We experience minimal vibration to the trailer as the air filled tires act as vibration dampeners.
    12.Installed 4 keyed-alike barrel locks on my exterior compartments to remove the universal CH751 locks that 60% of RV’s ship with.
    13. Installed a kick down door stop to prevent the storage door under the couch from coming open during travel.
    14. Installed a magnetic knife holder to store all of our sharp kitchen knives and giving the chef easy access to them.
    15. Built and installed 2 drawers underneath the dinette with full extension drawer slides rated to 75 lbs. One storing a case of water and the other storing 2 Soda refrigerator packs.
    16. Super glued 3/4″ plastic angle to the shelves in the medicine to keep items from falling out.
    17. Installed a small Stainless Steel rack in the shower to hold shower needs

    I have taken pictures of all of these refinements and sent them to the Keystone Cougar plant.

  18. marianj` on September 16th, 2012 5:26 pm

    Since we store our 5th wheel in Oregon and live in Alaska we can’t do much to get ready . We have to buy food and unpack our suitcases We have to take it to the dealer for repairs.

  19. Dave Armbrust on September 18th, 2012 11:30 am

    Any suggestions as how to handle repair of the ceiling covering ( wallpaper)
    I have some loosened up at the joints and have NO appearance of being caused by leakage. (perhaps high humidity during storage) I am open to suggestions.

  20. John Dough on September 20th, 2012 10:14 pm


    Go to your nearest Home Depot or Lowe’s. In the paneling dept they have thin flat plastic molding that you could tack over the loose joints in your ceiling. Cheap, simple, clean and will look like a factory item.

    You’ll need to cover every joint so that it looks uniform to the unknowing.

  21. Peg Grich on October 17th, 2012 10:09 am

    One of the best renovations we did to our coach was add MCD shades, ( replacing the pleated blinds. They block heat and cold and really opened up my outside view. Now I have complete privacy inside during the day, but I can see out beautifully. Oh yeah, when we have the night shades down, I no longer have that pesky spotlight waking me up in the middle of the night. I just noticed that they have a special going on right now too.

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