DIY Projects

Door Striker Upgrade

I got this idea from Max Hubrich. He, like some others, has ripped one or more shirts or lost some skin to the door striker on our Newmar coaches. The end of the striker is shaped like bolt head but it is very thin and kind of sharp. What we have found is this same door striker is used on many other RV's. We have found that some DP's need a slightly longer threaded section. So, if you need the long version please indicate that in your email.

If you think you may want to order one from the dealer read the following that was posted on IRV2.com.

"The stricker bolt on my entrance door latch is showing signs of wear. I have also had this part called a shoulder bolt. I have a 1999 gas Mt. Aire. I called a local Newmar dealer and they want $44.00 for this bolt. I tried calling Newmar direct, but they will not deal with a customer unless at a rally. Anyway, does anyone know of a source for a replacement bolt. I have tried auto dealer, parts store and lawnmower repair shop."

Tom Van de Bussche

Get one Free - Order Instructions

I got the following info from Max.

Just in case you have slammed your door hard many times you may want to check the striker alignment before you install the new striker. To do this get yourself a 3/8"x16 3" bolt and a 3/8"x16" nut. Remove the old strikeer, thread the nut on the bolt, screw the bolt into the striker nut and use the nut on the bolt as a jam nut. Now stand on the top step and look down at the bolt to see if is canted in. If it is the door frame is bent. Get a BFH (big fricking hammer) and give the bolt a whack to reailgn the door frame. Now you can install your new striker and you should be good to go.

Orginal Striker:

But, Max went out to his shop a came up with a bull nose design with 3/8" machine flat to allow you to use a wrench to tight it up when installing it.

Installed

Specifications

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Screen Door Upgrade

I got this idea from a fellow Newmar owner, Jimmy Yeago.

If your screen door is like mine you have to slide a little door to open and close the screen door during the summer. This gets to be a real pain. So, Jimmy came up with an upgrade so you could leave the sliding door shut. I made a couple small changes and added a handle.

Parts:

  • A small piece of wood for the handle
  • Some 1/8" rod for the handle
  • Some small washer for the handle
  • Some 1/8" brass rod for the door latch
  • A small wooden knob for the door latch
  • Some miscellaneous items
    • Epoxy
    • Wood Stain
    • Varnish

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RO Water System

Here is another idea from Jimmy Yeago.

We had been buying RO (Reverse Osmosis) water for a couple of years, at 35 cents a gallon. We bought 1-gallon, 3-gallon and 5-gallon jugs at different times. The only down side was STORAGE. What a pain in the butt when you are living in an RV. We took as much as we could when took a trip and used bottled water when we ran out. But, I sat down, did the math and an RO system would pay for itself in about a year based on our usage of water.

I bought a Watts Premier 5 stage RO system with a 3-gallon water storage tank from Cost Co. You replace the 3 main filters (1 sediment & 2 carbon) every 6 months, the final carbon filter once a year and the RO membrane every 2 to 5 years.

The only down side of this system is that it takes 4 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of pure RO water. But, if you route the waste water from the RO system to your fresh water tank you can use it for showers, flushing and washing dishes.

Costs:

  • Watts 5 Stage RO Water System - $159
  • Filter Pak - $30
  • Membrane - $75

Install:

  • Follow the instructions supplied with the RO system.
  • I had to fab up a mounting bracket to attach the unit to under the sink.
  • I also had to fab up a way to hold the storage tank.

Here is what the RO filters looked like after a summer on the road. Remember, I have a 5-micron Omni whole hose filter in front of the RO system that filters all the water going into the coach. If my memory serves me correctly I changed the Omni filter at least 2 times while on the road due to "bad" RV park water.

Before:

After:

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Table Latches

Shortly after we got our new coach we had a problem with tabletop separating and the leaf stored under the top would slide out on to the floor. I fixed this by adding a set of drawer clasps to hold the two halves of the tabletop together. I figured while I was at it I would add a second set of clasps to the leaf so it remained together when installed.

Parts:

  • 2 packages of draw clasps - $3 a package - Home Depot/Lowes

Notes:

  • Be sure to buy the clasps in pairs as I found that they do vary in size and fit slightly.
  • Turn the table upside down to install the clasps.
  • Pre drill the screw holes, as soft brass screw heads will strip out when screwed in to hardwood like Oak oe Maple. Also, be careful not to drill through the tabletop.

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Shelf Upgrade

Although Newmar makes a fine coach they do take some shortcuts to save money. The shelves are just one place they cut corners by putting faux wood panels in instead of real wood. This slick surface allows stuff to slide around as you drive down the road. I decided fix this by adding some indoor/outdoor carpet to the shelves. I got enough material to completely do the kitchen and bathroom.

Parts:

  • Indoor/Outdoor Carpet - $2/$3 a yard - Home Depot/Lowes
  • 1 Small tube of silicone - $2 - Wal Mart

Install:

  1. Cut carpet to fit.
  2. If the carpet moves around or does not lay flat, add a couple of dabs of silicone to hold it in place.

Before

After

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Bathroom Upgrade

In the summer of 2004, just prior to a trip I asked my wife what didn't look right in the bathroom from a decor standpoint. After about 2 years and 10 minutes we finally figured it out. Newmar installed brushed aluminum accessories except for the chrome faucet, an all plastic toilet seat and ratty looking brown plastic floor vent that probably saved them a few more $$.

Parts:

  • Price Fister Faucet - $80 - Home Depot/Lowes
  • New Toilet Seat - $20 - Wal Mart

If you have Dometic Sealand toilet one other thing to check while your installing the new toilet seat is the water valve or vacuum break at the back of the toilet. Should it be leaking replace it with a new kit for about $40.

June 2008 Update

During a morning sit down I looked up at the plastisc shroud the covers the bathroom vent opening and realize how yellow it was. So I decided to paint it. I got out my screw driver, sanding pad, tack rag, a can of Krylon plastic primer, a 96 can of Wal Mart's BEST spray paint and went to town. In about 2 hours or so it was done.

Before

After

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Floor Vent Upgrade

Newmar cut some more corners and saved $1 or so by installing cheap brown plastic floor vents that break every time you step on them. I can't image that they saved any money on my coach as I had 3 replacemented under warranty.

I replaced mine (living, bath & bedroom) with metal ones that allow you to redirect the heat or shut them off.

Parts:

  • 3 - 2 1/2"x12" Floor vents - $4 each - Menards
  • Spray Piant - $3 - Menards

Bathroom Before

Bathroom After

Livingroom Before

Livingroom After

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Air Bed Upgrade

Although the full queen bed was ok, just very firm, it was not what we wanted compared to what we had in our house. So, we started to look at various beds such Tempurpedic, Select Comfort etc. I found a Select Comfort style from and ad in the Highways magazine.

  • Twin air bladders with controls.
  • Full memory foam vinyl covered insert.
  • Pillow top zip off cover
  • 20-year warranty.
  • It took all of 20 mins to install.

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Laptop Stand

I have Garmin GPS 18 that connects to my laptop via a USB port. So, I needed a place to set the laptop while I was driving. I looked at a Jotto desk but $250 seemed a bit much for my tastes. So, I made a DIY version for about $20.

Parts:

  • Table top - Oak TV Tray - Wal Mart - $10.00
  • Pedestal - Local Muffler Shop - $5 (6"-2 1/2" & 18"-2 1/4" pipe)
  • Base - Local Steel Supply - $2 (1/8 x 4" x 36)
  • Nuts/bolts/screws - Local Hardware Store - .75
  • Knobs - Local Craft Store - .50
  • Primer/Paint - Wal Mart - $1 a can
  • Epoxy - Harbor Freight - $1

How To:

  1. Cut 2 4"x5" pieces of plate and drill mounting holes in each corner.
  2. In the short section of pipe drill 2 holes offset from each other.
  3. Put a nut on each bolt and bolt them in the 2 holes drilled in step 2.
  4. Weld the external nut to the pipe. Remove the bolts when cool.
  5. Weld one plate to each piece of pipe.
  6. Using a Forstner bit drill a hole in the knobs for the bolt heads. This best done in a drill press.
  7. Mix the epoxy and add a small amount of the mix to the holes drilled in the knobs. Install the bolts in the epoxy, cover with epoxy and let dry.
  8. Sand, prime and paint the pedestal/base and stain the knobs.
  9. Mount the top to the pedestal with screws. Pre drill the holes and don't drill through the top. I off set the plate from the center of the top.
  10. Mount in the desired location.

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Side Window Tint

This is another DIY project that is not for beginners per si. But, considering the costs to have a pro do it I decided to DIY it. The estimate I got was $65 a side, "Because it was an RV".

Parts:

  • Window Film - Wal Mart - $20 (buy the Best Version)
  • Window Film kit - Wal Mart - $10
  • Spray Bottle - Wal Mart - $1
  • Single Edge Razor Blades - Wal Mart - $2

I could write down the steps on How To Install, but the instructions that come with kit are as good or better than what I can compose.

Before

After

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