17 Improvements to my Outback - Fiberglass RV

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Old 05-11-2013, 10:52 AM   #1
Junior Member
Name: vrm
Trailer: Trillium OutBack
Posts: 5
17 Improvements to my Outback

I bought my (2008) Outback (mfg in Calgary) new. The major options I got with it are: awning, flush toilet, hot water, bicycle rack, door with window, dual propane tanks and a 3 cu. ft fridge. My aim for the mods are target maximum autonomy. I'll spare some details or this is going to be a way too looooooong post.

Mod # 1: battery location change (pict 1)
The trailer came with dual 6 volt batteries. Those (120 lbs) caused the tongue weight to be 295 lbs, with empty tanks! Way too heavy for a 1500 lbs (empty) trailer. I replaced the 6 volt batteries with a large 12v deep cycle and moved it to the rear bumper. I made the tray for it. Removing the batteries from the front took off 60 lbs off the tongue and installing it (12v) to the back reduced it another 30 lbs. Tongue weight is now around 200 lbs.

Mod # 2,3,4,5: Solar panel installation (pict 2 and 3)
This is an 85 watt unit that I roof mounted, got with it a Prostar 30 charge controller. Along with that were several electrical mods such as the inclusion of a battery isolator (from the car) a manual disconnect (from car) relay, an auto DC disconnect relay that activates when shore power is present to disconnect the power controller and battery (protects against power converter failure, which happened a few years later). BTW when I had to replace the converter I used a WFCO WF-8725P, much superior to the Elixir unit. I also added a 12v socket.

Mod # 6,7: Quiet down the water pump rattles (pict 4)
The water pump pipes rattled so loud, I thought I would wake up the campground during the night. I added an accumulator (Shurflo) and installed it on the cabinet panel left of the sink. I replaced the thin wood plate by a plywood one to prevent vibrations of the panel where the accumulator is bolted on. I used 1/2" pipe foam insulation around all water pipes where they contacted the trailer box (easy to find, just run the pump!). The foam insulation that I used was the type that has self stick on the seam, allowing me to push the insulation into innaccessible places.

Mod # 8,9,10,11,12,13,14: Various minor
I adding shelving in the "closet". Replaced all internal incandescent lighting with LEDs. I added additionnal lights onto the bottom of each rear cubby so I could have good "reading" lights. I added 4 inch piping onto the rear bumper and onto the tongue for black water hose
storage. Added a small storage box on the tongue for black and gray water stuff. Added a propane tank shield. Replaced the dead Elixir converter with one that had proper battery charging/maintenance abiltiy.

Mod #15: Installed a gray water tank (pict 5)
Got a 10 gal. tank from Icon Technologies. Fabricated a sub-frame to hold the tank and installed right angle brackets onto the frame to hold it. The sink piping was replaced and now goes into the tank (located behind the rear axle) and another pipe (vent) was connected to the original sink outlet on trailer side. The side vent is also used as a tank flush connection. A valve is connected to a garden hose outlet. I also ins talled a bottom drain hole.

Mod #16: Backup camera
Got a (cheap) backup camera from Canadian Tire. It's only drawback is that is not meant for continuous duty. I Installed it inside the trailer at the top of the rear window. I connected its power to the trailer marker lights. This way I can have a look behind while driving. The transmitter is installed in the inside edge of a cubby. Works quite well. I made an "adapter" for the monitor so it would easily fit in my car's "change" hole. The monitor is close to the outside mirror, making it an ideal location.

Mod # 17: Air conditioning (pict 6,7,8,9)
The big mod and hopefully the last. This was major work. A roof location was not an option because of the solar panel. In any case all units sold here are way too heavy. There was a unit made by Dometic in Europe that would have been ideal but is not available here. Although inefficient (I don't really care) the only locations available was inside one of the benches. I picked the driver's sided because it allowed easy access to the air filter of the unit I chose.

I got the smallest, squarest non plastic body unit I could find. This was a Danby 5000 BTU widow type. Very cheap at $100. The challenge was separating the intake and exhaust condenser airflows. I installed a rear subframe to hold a makeshift exhaust conduit and 4 captive nuts for mounting.

Next came cutting out holes (Yikes!). All cutouts have aluminum right angle channels to restore strength of the trailer body around the holes. "milled" 2x4's and aluminum channels are used to hold the unit. The 2x4's are bolted onto the frame through tapped holes and trailer body. The drain of the unit is through a cut-out funnel.

The air intake and exhaust fixtures were procured at an RV shop. The air intake is located behind the license plate (fabricate angles there too). The trailer side has the condenser hot air vent . Not shown in the pictures is a plastic partition that separates the conditioner from the rest of the bench storage space.

It turns out that the condenser aiflow is excellent. Won't have to add another intake.

All set for the next road trip!
Attached Thumbnails
Battery box 2.JPG   Solar panel 2.JPG  

Solar charge controller 2.JPG   Accumulator + foam 2.JPG  

Shelves 2.JPG   Propane tanks 2.JPG  

Gray tank 2.JPG   Air conditioning outlets 2.JPG  

Air conditioning hole 2.JPG   Air conditioning front 2.jpg  


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Old 02-13-2016, 01:21 AM   #2
Junior Member
Name: Tom
Trailer: In market
British Columbia
Posts: 2
Great mods... Thanks for sharing. It's been 2.5 years since your post and I was wondering if you are happy with your battery location. I'm thinking about moving mine to the back too but worried if the frame can't handle it. By the way, I feel a slight sag on the floor right by the entrance.. I'm wondering if all Outbacks have that...

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Old 02-13-2016, 05:46 AM   #3
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Donna D.'s Avatar
Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 23,916
Unfortunately the OP hasn't been here for a very long time: Last Activity: 10-28-2014 11:57 AM Hopefully some other Outback owner will step up and answer your question regarding similar/same mods.
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 07-13-2016, 11:49 PM   #4
Junior Member
Name: Ron
Trailer: 2004 trillium outback
Posts: 29
I had a similar problem with tongue wt. and put two gel cells inside under rear seats, one on each side. That fixed my excess tongue weight problem.

PS: I don't have any floor sag in my 2004 trillium outback.
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