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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Making Your Rig Suit You

We bought our first new rig in 2000 and our third by 2006. We didn't make any real changes to our first two trailers but by the time we had lived in them awhile we came to realize that the folks who build them do not have any long term experience living in them. Each of our rigs had design flaws that we needed to deal with one way or another. They also had a long list of warranty repairs that required multiple trips back to the dealer. I'll discuss this in a later post since it deserves its own space.

We currently own and live in a 2006 37 foot Keystone Montana model 3500RL. I've made a number of changes to this rig that make it more suitable for how we use it. Here's a rundown on some of the changes I've made:

I build pull out drawers for one of the cabinets in the galley area to improve storage. I added supports to the overhead cabinet doors in the living room and galley that are hinged at the top rather than the sides.

Out side the trailer is where I made most of my changes. On the model we have and most of those of prior years, many trailer manufacturers didn't pay much attention to where the placed things like the sewer hose connection, water fill up port, outdoor electrical connections and so on.
Here's a list of changes I've made to my Montana.

My wife complained that the steps into our rig were too dark at night so I added a step light under the steps that is connected with the porch light so they both come on at the same switch.

The existing 110 receptacle was not handy so I added another at the front of my rig and I use it frequently.

The factory installed water filler port and city water connection is located all the way at the back of my trailer. This actually dictates where in the trailer space I need to park based on the length of my hose. This aggravated me until I added a second city water connection in the middle of the rig so I didn't have to string a hose all the way to the rear bumper. I left the old one in place since some parks do place their water spigots at the back of the space.

My sewer hose connection was place so that it was under the galley slide. Not a problem if dumping while traveling and the slide is in, but when in a park for a couple of months it was a real pain. I moved mine forward about four feet so I don't have to crawl on my hands and knees in the rocks to access it.

My latest change is the addition of a four prong trailer connection that I use to attach my solar panels to my charge controller. I didn't put my panels on my roof because I use them with another smaller rig that we use for rough camping.

Owning an RV to live in isn't much different than owning a real house. You still need to do maintenance, repairs and make changes that suit your needs. Some you can do on your own based on your ability or you can have someone else do them for you.


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