What We Replaced:
Our old pump was tired. The water pressure was lousy, it was low and constantly pulsed so it was very inconsistent. The pump was also loud and vibrated the entire back half of the RV when it was on.
New water pump and accumulator tank.
The water pump got an upgrade. We went with SeaFlo 42 Series Water Pressure Diaphragm Pump with variable flow. This water pump is a significant upgrade from our last. The pump has increased water pressure and is a lot quieter and vibrates a lot less. The pump also has a variable flow for reducing cycle feature which is an added bonus. The allows the pump to handle low pressure without turning itself on and off.
In addition to the water pump we added a SeaFlo Accumulator tank (Model # SFAT-075-125-01). So we have a much more consistent flow. The water no longer pulses with the pump.
Our old Atwood 6 gallon hot water heater worked but was impractical. We found turning on the hot water inconvenient in terms of time and gas. It was a traditional hot water heater, so it heated all six gallons of water before we could use it. This took a long time (about 25 - 30 minutes) and took some foresight in order to use. This wasn’t bad if we needed to shower because we would turn it on and wait until the water was hot. But you cannot wait that long every time you need to wash your hands or the dishes. More often than not, we'd end up suffering with the cold water.
We quickly learned our shower had a lot of drawbacks and showering in the RV was not enjoyable. We had to contend with inconsistent shower temperatures, lack of water pressure, leaky shut- off valves. Taking Navy Showers was also a pain. A Navy shower is a method of showering that conserves water by shutting off the water during the lathering phase. Shutting off the water was done by a shutoff valve on the showerhead. This is where we faced a lot of our problems.
First of all, the shut-off valve really didn’t shut the water off. It still leaked water out of the showerhead. Apparently, this is how RV showerheads are designed to prevent you from being scalded when the water is turned back on. What it really did was leak cold water on to you while you were lathering, wasting water and making you cold. But the worst part was when you did turn the water back on you were blasted with cold water. The shut-off valve would allow the cold water to mix in with the hot water and the temperature of your water would drop significantly. Knowing this, we had to grab the shower head and point it down the drain and let the shower run the drain till the water even temperature evened out. This is obviously contradicting the purpose of a navy shower. This wasted water and filled our gray tanks unnecessarily Overall, I would rank our shower experience a 3 out of 10. It got you clean but you didn’t look forward to it and actually dreaded it at times.
For the shower, we replaced the showerhead and added a cutoff valve, and one-way valve on the hot water line. We went with Oxygenics PowerFlow RV Handheld Shower Head Kit in White. We wanted a shower head that would maximize water pressure without using a lot of water. The showerhead only uses 1.8 gallons of water per minute. The Oxygenics PowerFlow RV Handheld Shower Head has a shut-off valve built in but this showerhead also leaks by design. To combat this, we installed a shut-off valve between the hose and the showerhead. We used KES Shut Off Valve Brass Shower Head Valve with Handle Lever G1/2 Water Flow Control Valve Regulator in Brushed Nickel. Now the showerhead completely turns off without any leaks. To avoid a shot of cold water when we turn it back on, we installed a one-way valve on the hot side of the shower line. This stops the cold water mixing into the hot water line whenever we use the shut-off valve.
Access to water outside the RV when boondocking
Many RVs have a built-in outdoor shower to give you access to clean things outside. Our RV didn’t have this feature. This isn’t a big deal when you are connected to city water because we use a splitter at the city water connections and you can connect a hose to get water. The issue lies when we are boondocking and need water outside the rig. We would have to fill a bucket of water in our kitchen sink and bring it outside.
Outside Hose Spigot
From the water pump, we ran a ½ inch pex line to the outside wet bay. We attached a ½ inch quarter turn hose spigot. We now have running water outside the rig when we boondock.
We used a combination of Camco TastePure inline water filtration and a Brita Stream Water pitcher filtration system. The idea was to filter it coming into our tanks and filter it before we drank it. This is probably the most common and practical setup. It’s easy, fast, and has a cheap starting price. The filters were readily available at any local Walmart. This setup is ideal for weekend warriors and part-time RVers. The drawback of this combo were the filters for us didn’t last longer than 2 to 3 weeks for the Camco and a month for the Brita Stream before they clogged up. Changing the filters every couple of weeks added up in price. A new Camco TastePure is about $17 per filter and the Brita Stream is about $15 -$20 for a 3 pack. Another drawback was set up for the Camco TastePure, while most RV city water connections were easy to hook up to occasionally we had trouble. The Brita also had drawbacks, the pitcher was cumbersome and took up valuable counter or refrigerator space.
While we didn't initially intend on replacing all of this, once we upgraded one thing we saw the next was lacking and/or insufficient. We went through the entire plumbing of the RV, from point of entry and to dumping. We finally feel the plumbing is up to the task of a full time rving.
Who else has made big overhauls to their RV plumbing? Leave a comment below and share your plumbing overhaul story!
Most projects we start stem from problems or annoyances we experience while living in our RV. Whenever we say ”I hate” or “I wish”, the brainstorm part of our brain comes alive and we focus on how we can fix the issue or make it better.
This week we updated our bedroom closet with a more functional layout and a built-in a nightstand with charging capabilities.
RV closet space is obviously small, but the setup in our RV was inefficient and didn’t maximize clothing storage. The original setup was a single rod across the top. We were initially happy to have a hanging closet and while we hung some clothes and stored some baskets in the bottom, in the end the closet was wasted unusable space.
Another issue was the closet side of the bed had no nightstand. This was super annoying. I didn’t have anywhere to put my glasses, charge my cell phone, or have a drink while laying in bed. There is a nightstand on the opposite side of the bed with an a single outlet, but that's obviously not convenient for me and charging devices back there was a pain.
So we redesigned it. We built 3 big shelves for storage and left a small rod for hanging jackets. We also borrowed some closet space to make a night stand cubby.
This project was easy and cheap, it cost less than $50 in material including all the charging outlets and wiring.
Nightstand Cubby with a Charging Station
5. Level and secure the box.
Put the box back in the hole and level the box by placing legs under the cubby to level it. To secure the cubby, I screwed 3 2.5 inch screws through the cubby and legs and down into the floor of the closet. This box isn’t going anywhere.
New Closet Layout
2. Plan cut list.
We had 3 shelves and a vertical divider and all the shelf supports which came out to ¾ of a 8 x 4 piece of plywood
3. Buy material.
We used a sheet of ½ inch sanded plywood because it was one of the cheapest options and 1 inch drywall screws and 2 inch drywall screws
4. Cut out pieces from your cut list.
We used a table saw to make our cuts but you can easily use a circular saw.
By: Kevin Quiambao
Has one side of your slide completely stopped working? Are you thinking of taking it into a repair shop? Well STOP! We can help you avoid that costly trip and repair it yourself. A broken slide is a pretty common occurrence and depending on the problem, it isn't that hard to fix on your own. As long as you are somewhat handy/mechanical, have a couple of tools, a partner who is as fearless as you are and these instructions you should be set.
From the moment we purchased Wanda, our used 2007 Winnebago Vista, we anticipated a problem with the slide one day. While it did work, every time it went out or in it sounded awful. The sounds of rubbing, scraping and clunking predicted that one day it would cause us a lot of stress on the road. And it sure did, at a very inopportune time. But luckily after some troubleshooting and research we figured out how to fix it.
These directions are specially for those who have a DigiSync Kwikee slide made by Power Gear and are having the following issues:
These were the symptoms we had with our slide. You might be having 1 or more these issues or none, it could be a different problem altogether. After this happened and at a loss for how to fix it, we called Power Gear directly and spoke to their support. They were extremely helpful and knew what the problem was right away, the Acme Nut. This plastic nut keeps the acme screw in place in the slide housing. He asked for my email and sent me instructions on how to remove the nut and replace it and fix the issue. The nut can be found on Amazon, but we found it online from Lichtsinn RV. The part only cost $14 dollars. So we bought 3 spares and upgraded the clevis pins which hold the acme screw in place.
Lichtsinn RV Part Number:
62832-01-702 Acme Nut $14
162832-01-700 Clevis Pin $1.50 x2
Time: It took us about 4 hours, but if we had to do it again we could probably do it in half the time.
Congrats you fixed your own slide and saved yourself a ton of money. This repair probably would have cost you anywhere from $300 to $600 to fix.
If you have any question, feel free to reach out to us and leave us a comment below if this helped you.
By: Kevin Quiambao
How to Make an L Shaped Dinette with a Versatile Table Top, Plenty of Storage, Pull Out Drawer and a Full Size Bed
Wanda's old dinette really didn’t fit our needs and was a waste of space. By re-configuring the layout and maximizing the space, our new dinette meets all our requirements and works much better for us.
The original booth style dinette, which is built into many different RV layouts is designed to accommodate 4 people with storage under the seat and can be converted into a small bed. The drawback to this design is it takes up a lot of room and interferes with the layout of the whole kitchen. The walkway is tight, the seats are tight and there is no usable counter tops. Even after adding a flip up counter top and cover for the stove on the other side of the kitchen, we still did not feel there was enough room.
Features of the New L Shaped Dinette
Seating for 4 or More
How to Make an L Shapped Dinette with Versatile Table, Pull Out Storage, Converts to a Full Size Bed
Step 1: Remove/Demo the Old Dinette
Step 2: Measure Dimension
We wanted to use the existing footprint of the old dinette. On average bench has a height of 18 inches and a depth of approximately 17 1/2 inches. Depth should not exceed 20 inches for comfort. We made the backrest as tall as the bottom of the window. We didn’t want to obstruct the window.
Step 4: Make a Cut List
I use MaxCut to make my cutlist. This is also a free application you can download. You simply type in the dimension from your sketchup plan and it automatically lays everything out and provides you with cutting diagrams and an estimated cost.
Step 5: Purchase Lumber, Screws, Drawer Slides, Piano Hinges and Stain/Paint
Go to Home Depot or Lowes and bring your cut list. The cut list will tell you how much material you will need to complete your design. For our design we use ¾ inch birch plywood. It is a little heavy but I wanted to ensure that it would last forever.
Step 7: Finish and Paint Lumber
After a quick sand around the edges, finish the each piece in paint or stain. We stained ours and gave it a distressed rustic look. We first applied gray stain and layered in white stain over it. After we got the desired look we wanted, we applied two coats of matte poly.
Step 8: Lay floor (If necessary)
Since we ripped all the carpet out of our RV (Wanda), we needed to install our new flooring before assembling the dinette.
Step 9: Move electric (if necessary)
The original electric box was on the back wall. Since we were going to cover that location we needed to move it to a more convenient spot. If you are moving it, you might want to update the outlet to one that has USB outlets on it. You can also add another outlet if needed.
Step 10: Assemble and screw down Dinette
Assemble the back pieces together first. This way the screws are not seen. Then screw the long back piece to the wall and then both pieces to the floor. Continue to attach the rest of the walls to each other first then screw them to the floor. Next attach the seat pieces. I used a piano hinge for the seat so they can flip open. For the doggie door I used flush opening hinges and added a cabinet pull to easily open the door. For the pull out shelf, I made wooden brackets to mount on the drawer slides so the shelf can clear the doors.
I used combination butt joinery and pocket holes joinery . I made sure you couldn't see any screws when putting it together.
Step 11: Order Cushions
For the cushions the best/cheapest/fastest place we found to get them done was through Esty. Our cushions are 3 inches thick and have zippers so we can wash them easily. We also used Sunbrella material so they can stand up to camp life.
Step 12: Install Lagun bracket
Our L shaped dinette was planned around this bracket. The Lagun Bracket provides so much flexibility. Install the wall bracket first and then attach the table to the bracket arms. We didn’t center the bracket because we wanted to be able to flip the table around to the couch as well. Find a location that will benefit you the most. For the most stability, make sure most of your weight is centered towards the center of your table.
Note: Our table is actually a piece of wall art that was hanging in our original house. We re-purposed it to use as our table. The wood is warped and very heavy. Our table tilts because of this. We are definitely maxing out the capabilities of the bracket. If you use a the same ¾ plywood from the benches as your tabletop, you shouldn't experience this problem and you can use the same piece to complete the bed. We carry a separate piece to complete the bed. We just really like the look of our tabletop so we deal with the tilt and carry the extra piece of wood in a bay underneath.
By: Kevin Quiambao
Do you have old school CRT TV or a spot where one used to be in your RV? These cabinets which housed the monster sized TVs are no longer useful with today's flat screen TVs and waste a lot of space. There are ways to modernize the housing by installing plywood and mounting a TV outside the cabinet (what the past owner of Wanda did) but the problem is, the TV placement isn’t great for watching TV and the cabinet blocks the view out the front windows. Our solution was to move the TV in front of the couch for better viewing and make additional usable storage space by turning the TV cabinet into an open shelf.
Step 1: Remove the Old TV, Label all the wires that run into TV and reroute them to the new TV location
The new location was 10 feet away from the existing location. We extended the coaxial cables to reach the new location.
Step 2: Carefully Remove the Old Trim, Leather and Carpeting.
You will be reusing these pieces later on.
Step 3: Using a Reciprocating Saw Cut Out The Metal Bracket That Held The Existing TV
The bracket is welded in so the only way to remove it was to use a saw and cut it out. I only cut out the portions of the bracket that would obstruct with the new cabinet. I left the rest in for some additional support for the new cabinet.
Step 4: Frame In The New Cabinet with MDF to create a box
Carefully measure and cut out each side of the cabinet.
Step 5: Use the Old Trim, Leather and Carpeting to Finish the Box
I reused the wood for face trim, glued down the carpet on the bottom and wrapped leather around scrap wood and screwed it in underneath the box for continuous coverage to match the existing dash.
Step 6: Sand and Paint
Step 7: (Optional) Make a Cabinet Door
We opted to skip this as we liked the feel of the open shelf, but you can certainly close it in if you prefer.
Does your RV still have an old school tv? Let Us know how you removed it in the comments below?