After two weeks on the road I've had a chance to live with and judge the modifications that I made to the Boler
. I'll review them here give an opinion on some of products and equipment I've used. Perhaps it may help someone decide whether or not to spend their money on the same products.
First up. The bed. It was the first part of the build that I did. I made it about 4" wider than the original dinette setup. The extra width made a huge difference in comfort and the custom mattress was well worth the money in my opinion. We both slept great every night. I'm too old to be uncomfortable and I've spent enough nights in tents to know the value of a good nights sleep.
The Fantastic Fan. If you don't have one, get one. Three speeds, reversible, power open and close, thermostat and it will close itself if it starts to rain. Anytime we were cooking the fan was on the lowest speed on reverse and it cleared the trailer of steam and cooking odours in no time. I'm sure it will be a nice addition during the warmer weather also.
The modified kitchen setup. We extended the kitchen counter beyond its original width into the area of the front bench. The extra counter space was very handy. When camped we put the toaster oven and electric kettle there. Beneath the extended counter is a microwave
The water tap. Instead of separate taps for city and on board water I bought a cheapo laundry tap at Home Depot. City water connection is hooked to hot tap and the cold tap connects to the pump and tank. Most places we stayed had water at the site but not all of them.
The stove top. I bought the basic Suburban two burner propane
stove that is in loads of trailers. Inexpensive and works well.
. I know there is lots of talk here about which is best. Three way, two way, 12 volt etc. After much thought and lots of web searching I settled on a 12 volt fridge
from Truckfridge which is based in Kentucky I believe. I purchased it from their Canadian distributor, Northern Fridge. Apparently these are common in tractor trailers. I figured the average big rig is seeing a lot more time on the road than most trailers so hopefully it will be durable. I didn't want to cut up the outside of the trailer so that pretty much eliminated the three way. Having 120 and 12 volt seems kind of redundant. I'm using a PD convertor so no shortage of 12 volt power when plugged in at a campground. When I ordered it Larry from Northern Fridge called me right away to tell me that the unit I wanted was on back order and would hopefully arrive in his warehouse in six weeks. This was seven weeks before our trip. Cutting it close but I said ok. I received a number of emails and calls from Larry keeping me updated on the projected delivery date. When it was looking like it wouldn't arrive on time Larry called and apologized offering me a full refund. I told him I would just use my electric cooler on this trip and to deliver it whenever it finally arrived. He called me again the next day to say that he was talking to a business associate who happened to have the exact fridge I was looking for. Only thing, it was last years model and it had been out of the box on display at a truck trade show. I said ok. He gave me a nice discount and shipped it for free. It arrived the day before we left. It worked like a champ the two weeks we were away. When plugged in at a campsite it hums away very quietly, it's plenty cold, when running down the road I leave it in on and it seems to run great on the charge line from my TV. I'm not sure how long it would run on battery
power alone. The compressor has a Danfoss sticker on it. So far I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a 12V fridge and I would definitely recommend Northern Fridge. His customer service is top notch.
The Progressive Dynamics PD4045. Once you get by the lousy instructions and get it installed its great and the price is right. I opted to install it under our bed in the storage compartment. I was a little worried about the fan being noisy and that it would get enough air but it seems fine. I only noticed the fan running once and it's is virtually silent. It does everything it's supposed to whether on shore power, battery power or hooked to the tow vehicle. I had the microwave
, toaster oven,TV and all my 12 volt lights
and fridge on and it took it all in stride.
My outside connection was via a 30A Furrion power inlet. Heavy duty, marine grade so it should last and it looks good.
Storage. The bins that we use under the bed hold a huge amount of stuff, clean clothes, laundry, dry goods. I have two separate storage cabinets under the front bench. The one closest to the door holds the porta pottie and the other holds pots, pans, paper towel, water, etc etc. The closet by the front door housed all of our small stuff, soap, toothbrushes, phone, keys, flashlight, etc.
Television. I mounted a 19" TV on the closet wall on a swivel mount that allows viewing from the bed or dinette. I used the media player from my home TV so we had an endless supply of movies and TV shows to watch on those rainy nights.
The only real problem I encountered during the two weeks was with the attachment points for the upper cabinets I built. I used about 20 plywood blocks that I bonded to the fibreglass shell using construction adhesive. I then attached the front and side cabinets to these blocks. I wasn't sure how well this would hold up on the road. By the end of the trip two of the blocks had become separated from the upper part of the shell. I think I'm going to drill through the blocks and use either a small stainless steel or galvanized carriage bolt to fasten them. I don't think it would be necessary to do all 20. I may do every second one or every third one. I was hoping to keep the number of holes in the shell to a minimum.
In my tow vehicle I'm using a Blue Sea battery isolator. The installation was a snap and it seems to do everything it's supposed to.
It's unlikely we'll get out again before winter so I'm planning my next projects which include, properly installing the fridge and building a cutlery/spice drawer above it, interior paint
job, filling all of the rivet holes in the shell, an exterior paint
job, new axle
modifying the front of the frame to get rid of the jack that bolted to the side of the frame and replacing the 32 year old 1 7/8 coupler with a 2 inch coupler. I'm not sure how much of that list will be accomplished but there's enough there to keep me out of trouble for a while.
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