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Spirit Underbed Storage Redux


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#31 CC-John

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 09:42 AM

This pic is of the 12VDC common ground wire that wrapped around the rear of the trailer.. It was easier to just replace it with new wire than have to replace every one of the Scotchloks with a properly crimped butt connector with shrink wrap..
 

100_1648.JPG

 

After towing the trailer over to the storage unit, I could already tell the difference in braking performance from removing the excess wire from that circuit.. I had to drop the gain on my Prodigy from 9.5 down to 7.0 to keep the brakes from being so grabby.. The brakes now work as well as the electric brakes on my other trailers, it can actually lock the wheels on dry pavement now.. The trailer also seems to have better road manners and ride quality traveling with a full water tank after relocating the tank to the centerline of the trailer.. Traveling over the same roads/same speeds that before would have pitched all the dinette cushions on the floor and rearranged the cabinet contents, this trip resulted in no cushions being thrown to the floor and the cabinet contents were not so jumbled as before.. The trailer also seemed to be less twitchy after moving the tank and it's nearly 200 pound filled weight out of the far rear corner..


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#32 CC-John

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 09:49 AM

Well, after a half-dozen trips on the newly "remodeled" egg, I begrudgingly had to admit that the stock luggage door wasn't gonna cut it for access to the "new & improved" outside storage compartment.. :blush:

After picking Larry's brain and researching RV door options, I fell back to my boating background and ordered a marine hatch assembly..

The new hatch fits a 10 1/2" x 18" cutout, it will add about 6" in length to the stock hatch opening.. This will make retrieving items from the compartment much easier..

The frame is extruded, powder coated, aluminum, with marine grade stainless hinge, fasteners, and slam latch.. The door is cut from a piece of 1/2" thick solid Acrylic sheet, with an automotive style weatherstrip around the perimeter.. Not a bad deal for $125 & free shipping..

Check it out..

 

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Now to set about hacking a larger hole in the side of the trailer and install it..  B)


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#33 CC-John

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 09:58 AM

Well, it’s time to perform some minor surgery to install the new luggage door..

Of course there was plenty of "anesthesia" for the surgeon, for the Casita not so much!!

 

100_1819.JPG

 

Out with the old......

 

100_1809.JPG

 

(continued below)

 

 


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#34 CC-John

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 10:02 AM

100_1810.JPG

 

Held the new door frame up and marked the new area to be cut out and the weapon of mass destruction...

 

100_1811.JPG 100_1816.JPG

 

A lot of noise and dust and a big chunk of fiberglass is hacked free and there's a nice new LARGE hole in the side of the Casita!!
 

100_1812.JPG

 

(continued below)

 

 


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#35 CC-John

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 10:04 AM

100_1813.JPG 100_1814.JPG 100_1815.JPG

 

 

(continued below)


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#36 CC-John

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 10:08 AM

Time to do a test fitting..... Damn!!! It fit perfectly on the first try!!! I honestly don't know how in the hell THAT happened!!! :D

 

100_1817.JPG 100_1818.JPG

 

Next, I'll drill the mounting holes in the frame, butter the frame with a healthy coat of pooky, stuff it back in the hole and rivet it in..

Time for a stogie and some more "anesthesia"!! B)


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#37 CC-John

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 10:13 AM

Time to get the luggage door finished up....

Marked and drilled mounting holes in the frame, laid down a fat bead of Dynaflex 230 caulk around the perimeter and fastened the frame to the sidewall with 3/16" pop rivets.. Adjusted the door to fit snugly against the weatherstrip and called this project done!!

Now this is the door that should have been installed at the factory..

 

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The latch is a marine grade, stainless steel Southco keyed slam latch, just pull the ring to open..

 

100_1822.JPG

 

Before and after..... Definitely much "MO BETTAH"!!!

 

100_1641.JPG 100_1823.JPG

 

 


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#38 CC-John

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 10:19 AM

I finally got around to installing the final detail of this whole project..

I had wanted to mount the water heater & water pump switches in some sort of a recessed panel to give them a "finished" look.. I did a quick online search and came up dry.. So I went ahead and installed the switch panels in the cabinet front just below the sink.. Well a few months ago I stumbled across the perfect recessed panel for the switch plates, it happens to be made by the same company that makes the waterproof toilet paper holder that so many on here use..


SSI Plastics Recessed Panel

Today, I set about installing the panel.. Since I really didn't care for the cobbled up setup I had for the water heater switches, I went by PPL and picked up an Attwood water heater switch plate that has switches for both gas and electric.. So I got out there with the cutoff tool and the shop vac and hacked out a hole for the panel to mount in.. I cut a couple of holes in the new recessed panel to mount the switch plates and printed some labels to ID the switches.. Reconnected the wiring and mounted the panel in the cutout with a few pop rivets..

Now the switches look like they should..

 

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The best part is..... No more "butt switching" when you bump into the side of the cabinet..

 

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Thanks for sticking around thru all this!! B)
 


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CC-John

 

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#39 Carol Christensen

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 10:04 AM

WOW!!!  You did an amazing job, on the mods, and the photos and description.  Moving the 25 gal water tank to the middle was a stroke of genius.  I hope someone at Casita takes notice of that.  And the wiring you replaced was a real eye-opener.  Love the little recessed panel too.  Thanks.


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#40 CC-John

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 10:56 AM

WOW!!!  You did an amazing job, on the mods, and the photos and description.  Moving the 25 gal water tank to the middle was a stroke of genius.  I hope someone at Casita takes notice of that.  And the wiring you replaced was a real eye-opener.  Love the little recessed panel too.  Thanks.

 

Thanks!!

 

The whole project took about three months of weeknights and weekends to complete.. It was a ton of work but after several trips it became very obvious that it was worth it.. I don't miss having to constantly load all the trailer's support gear in the back of the truck every trip at all, and I damn sure don't miss having to crawl on my hands & knees to fish stuff out from under the bed.. B)


Edited by CC-John, 28 December 2015 - 10:58 AM.

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#41 Euphoria

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 11:06 AM

What can I say but AWESOME!!! Tremendous amount of work there John, but it all looks amazing now, and I'm sure that it is much more functional and it's definitely a much better allocation of what was once a lot of "wasted space". Absolutely incredible.

 

I enjoyed all the pics as well. It has been an epic visual journey/documentary through all the "innards" of these trailer systems and also, unfortunately, a blaring expose' of some rather poor "craftsmanship" from the factory. They should hire you as a QC guy, but then, they'd probably have to charge double for these trailers if they had to do things right.

 

Nice work...


Edited by Euphoria, 28 December 2015 - 11:12 AM.

"If I have seen a little further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

Sir Isaac Newton

 

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#42 C.FiberglassFreedom

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 02:13 PM

  That's some really impressive work... I'll admit my butt kinda clenched seeing the cut into the fiberglass but the finished result looks amazing and actually opens as it should!  

 

  The recessed panel is really nice I'd certainly be interested in doing a similar mod, why it isn't all kept in something like that to begin with who knows sure cleans up the trailer. 

 

Damn impressive.



#43 CC-John

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 02:32 PM

What can I say but AWESOME!!! Tremendous amount of work there John, but it all looks amazing now, and I'm sure that it is much more functional and it's definitely a much better allocation of what was once a lot of "wasted space". Absolutely incredible.

 

I enjoyed all the pics as well. It has been an epic visual journey/documentary through all the "innards" of these trailer systems and also, unfortunately, a blaring expose' of some rather poor "craftsmanship" from the factory. They should hire you as a QC guy, but then, they'd probably have to charge double for these trailers if they had to do things right.

 

Nice work...

 

 

Thanks Greg!!

 

Having the large drawers on full extension glides makes a huge improvement in actual usable storage space in these trailers.. One would think that Casita would at least offer the option of drawers given the average age of their customer base.. Granted, I'm no stove up senior yet (only 48 yo), but I have a bunged up knee & wrist from an auto accident over 20 years ago and having to get down on the floor to access things under the bed or the dinette seats was a REAL pain.. The addition of actual usable storage space accessible from outside the trailer is a big help because I have two different trucks that I tow with depending on whether the trip is work or play, and having to deal with loading all the trailer's support gear every time was getting really old.. Now, it all resides in the trailer and all I have to do is hook up and roll..

 

As far as Casita's QC and "craftsmanship",,,, Lets just say that I quietly chuckle to myself whenever I read a post by someone that's just gushing syrupy accolades about Casita's quality.. :rolleyes:  B)


CC-John

 

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#44 CC-John

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 02:52 PM

  That's some really impressive work... I'll admit my butt kinda clenched seeing the cut into the fiberglass but the finished result looks amazing and actually opens as it should!  

 

  The recessed panel is really nice I'd certainly be interested in doing a similar mod, why it isn't all kept in something like that to begin with who knows sure cleans up the trailer. 

 

Damn impressive.

 

Shoot, fiberglass is nothing!! I got plenty of experience with fiberglass modification & repairs when I restored the old Chris Craft in my sig.. I spent the better part of 18 months working on that beast in the driveway, replacing all the 120VAC wiring & panels, the 12VDC wiring & panels, rebuilding the engine & transmission, installing a 12,000BTU water cooled marine A/C/Heat system, installing a 3000W onboard generator, doing a metric ton of structural & cosmetic fiberglass repairs and repainting the hull with two-part polyurethane in the original factory colors..

 

100_0510.JPG

 

As far as the water heater switches.. Tell me why Casita does half the crap they do and then we'll both know!! :lol: Every other RV I've ever had always grouped the water pump & water heater switches together, logic sorta dictates that both tend to be used together a good portion of the time.. The funny part is, I used a portion of the unneeded extra wire that I cut from some of the other circuits to extend the water heater harness so I could move the water heater switch panel from it's original location on the rear dinette seat down near the floor..  :huh: 


CC-John

 

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#45 blugoo

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 04:25 PM

This extensive mod was one of the most interesting and well documented mods on a trailer forum that I have read in a long time....I really appreciate the expose of the factory construction under the rear fiberglass seats ..both wiring and mechanical...some trailer manufacturer's seem to be getting better in their construction methods, others seem to be stuck in what might seem the dark ages to some. Your attention to detail both electrical and mechanical during the mod of the trailer is wonderful to see. You have definitely made this trailer YOURS!

It seems that if one needs a project, buying a rv trailer could perhaps be a project.....

 

IMHO...one other thing noticed was the difference in construction of the new converter versus the original converter....the mfg seems to have taken a lot of the cost out of the original design, some good some bad..nice to see you added the screw connection/terminal strip for the 12v circuits that was deleted from the original converter design. Casita indicated in newer models they were installing the PD4060 converter which is perhaps similar to the one you installed.