Another Week Picking Away

Last week I spent most of my weeknights working on the RV.  Most of the items I worked on were small projects that all make a big difference in the end.  Here are some photos and quick descriptions.

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I took and removed the radio that came with the RV and installed a similar one but with an Aux input on the front for hooking up an iPod etc. When I removed the old radio, of course I found that wiring the speakers up on the new one exactly as the old one was caused a severe decrease in audio quality. After 30 min of futsing around with all the wire combinations I could think of, I got a really bright idea. Hummm. Maybe I should get out my ohm meter and see which wires go to which speakers and make sure everything is right. Turns out none of the speakers wires were terminated correctly at the speakers (wire just wrapped around the blade terminals). Also turns out the old wiring at the radio had multiple speakers run in parallel and jumper wires that had no place being there. It’s these kinds of screwy hack jobs that make me wonder what goes through other peoples brains. I crimped on the proper connectors and made sure the polarity was right at the speakers and then wired everything up correctly at the radio. Now the sound is excellent and everything works properly.

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This is what the battery looked like when I bought the RV. The battery tray was completely rotted out and the battery was on its side.

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So, as I’m on a budget trying to save every penny for the road, I fashioned a new battery tray out of some plywood I had laying around. Not going to last forever but maybe it will surprise me and last longer than one might think. Either way, I can always fix it properly in the future.

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When I was done, it looked pretty good. Solved the problem for the time being at least. Less than $10 in materials vs. $90 for the new OEM part.

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I didn’t get a key that fit the side door deadbolt so I figured it would be easy to swap out – I’ll just go to the hardware store and get a standard deadbolt. No, it’s some special vintage winnebago special deadbolt – that’s extra long and the spacing of the screws and diameter of the screws that hold the assembly together are all different. So I said the heck with it after destroying one new deadbolt trying to modify it to work. I bought another deadbolt and spent hours modifying the original parts to create a hybrid of the two. It was the most ridiculously involved lock swap I’ve ever done. It involved welding, tapping, grinding, drilling, and lots and lots of patients – which were running very thin.

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In the end, the brass finish washers I had to use to cover up the enlarged holes to get the proper alignment, actually look pretty cool.

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The finished, repaired hinge arm on the mirror tray assembly in the rear bedroom. I had to re-pop rivet the arm to the metal tray and straighten out the arm that was all bent up and mangled from being disconnected for years.

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The completely Frankensteined GPS unit I got from April’s mom. The power/charge connector was ripped clean off the circuit board inside. After seeing it sit on my desk at work for months, the RV gave me the motivation to finally fix it. I finally had a bright idea and decided to take the battery out completely and just cut the connector off the battery and use that to tap the power into the GPS. Now the GPS has to be plugged in at all times to work, but so what. I’m going to mount a small plug on the dash with 12v DC to it to plug the GPS into and I soldered a DC-DC converter that I bought for $12 inline to convert the 12v DC from the vehicle to the 3.7v DC the GPS runs on. Works great! Looks weird!

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Here’s the plug on the end of the GPS and the socket that I’m installing in the dash to power it.

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I cut a few small brackets out of aluminum to hold the GPS nice and sturdy on the dash. Here is the part cut out. Next, I bent and shaped the metal to the proper fit.

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Here’s the final product attached to the GPS.