2003 Casita SD 17 Mods and Personalization’s. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-25-2020, 03:26 PM   #1
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Casita Spirit Deluxe 17, 2018 4Runner TRD Off-Road
California/Oregon
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2003 Casita SD 17 Mods and Personalization’s.

I thought that since I was taking so much from this forum in the way of ideas and advice, the time has come now that I give back, if not, at least share what I have done, so far, with all of your wonderful ideas and words of wisdom. This is, I believe, my first post. These projects are not necessarily in order of completion. We purchased the camper with an as new interior but with a chalky sun-baked exterior in 2017. We named her Charlie.

First, we removed the old-style cabinet door latches (falling apart!) and replaced them with chrome pulls and Velcro. Amazingly, the Velcro is still holding up! Or-should I say holding in! Then some small bits of accent painting: The mirror frame, the silly boards above the microwave and below the gas heater. I custom notched the board above the MW to fit better over the MW flange and then used rust proof screws to hold in place. Purchased stainless steel wall hooks from Home Depot to replace the cheap plastic ones that were already broken. The two hooks on the closet door have tile inserts to match the accent painting. Got these at Cost Plus.

We didn’t like the plain stark white wall behind the stove/sink so installed self-adhering aluminum tile back-splash. Will add a bamboo shelf/rack below the register when I find the right one. Then, we decided that the hood was in the way and made the area look and function as “crowded”. Hence, the removal. I installed two computer fans, two push-button switches and two of the newer style light assemblies from Casita. Wanted them to match since they are side by side. I wired them so that one push of the button lights both lights. You can turn them on and off independently if you leave the push-button switch turned on. The fans are turned on/off by the other push-button switch. I installed a floor/baseboard register over the fans by cutting out the back an turning it upside down. It also has a damper in case you want to close it. Very, very pleased with the outcome. Also, I turned the stove around 180 degrees, so now, the knobs are on the sink side and replaced the chain on the stove cover with a locking flap stay. Much
easier to access when you have a pot boiling water for our French press or tea. The flap-stay keeps the cover up and out of the way. Since we don’t use a television while traveling, I used the 12v power in the area of the cable drop and television plug-in to install USB charging stations for our phones and tablets.

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Now for the floor. I found some vinyl planks on “super sale” clearance at Home Depot. Kind of a pain-in-the-knees to install, but I think it turned out well. Doesn’t match the cabinet doors and tables perfectly, but close enough. Much easier to sweep and Swiffer mop than to vacuum. An entry mat and isle runner finished the project.

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Our entry has been improved by the following: Two LED Maglite’s (better flashlights can be had, but how cool are these bad boys!) and two light switches on the inside. One for the porch light and one for the entry way fixture. We like that the entry light can be reached from the outside without stepping up. We didn’t like that you couldn’t turn on/off the porch light from the inside. Now we can! Installed two bottle openers, a black just outside the door on the side of the camper and a silver one just the inside the door. Can’t have too many, I guess. I replaced the vents on both sides of the microwave and refrigerator cabinet from white to stainless steel to match other appointments – like the very awesome chrome fire extinguisher from our son-in -law and daughter. They saw what we were going for and surprised us with it for Christmas!

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On the outside, I installed the frame-mount receiver hitch to the back of the camper so we can haul bikes. It takes a pretty rugged bike rack to withstand the road bounces, so went with the Kuat NV. A tough, solidly built rack equals less fatigue on the bikes. I used a 5” riser to keep the rack from scraping because we have the old welded-on, low riding axle. We are avid mountain bikers, so we need to protect the investments that are riding back there. I also have a roof rack for my TV for additional bikes or as an option.

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Up front, I built a platform for our generator to ride on the tongue just in front of the propane tanks. It just sits there. It becomes secure once I route a cable lock through the handle and the trailer frame and strap down the generator. A cover slides over it for protection from the elements. I replaced the crank style tongue jack with an electric one after this photo was taken. Got tired of all of the cranking. Plus the cranking action was somewhat hindered by our newly mounted generator. Ordered and installed hub caps. I personalize them by inserting chrome pieces to the centers. We have since upgraded to Goodyear Endurance tires.

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I installed a Fastway E2 WDH from eTrailer. Can’t believe the difference in ride and control. Took me a while to dial it in, but I’m real close now. I was using airbags and WDH with our first TV (2001 Isuzu Rodeo) but one of the air bags blew out while climbing a grade in Montana. Maybe too close to tail pipe?? Cut them out at Flathead Lake and adjusted the WDH. We have since upgraded to a 2018 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off Road. Way more power!! And smoother ride - air bags not necessary. Considering air adjustable shocks though. Will need to research this.

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The trailer’s gel coat was chalky, and the decals were peeling off when we purchased “Charlie”. After some research and with some hesitation, I went with the Zep Wax trick after positive reports of a friend doing the same. I first removed what was left of the decals and washed the entire outside surface with Soft Scrub; rinsed, and then washed again with Dawn detergent to remove any existing residue that the Soft Scrub may have left. I then applied the mountain scene decal on the front. The same friend tried to talk me into the Jet-Puffed marshmallow logo! We went with mountains. After this, I applied eight (8) coats of Zep Wax. I could not be happier with the results. It’s been two years now. Every spring and fall, I wash with Dawn and reapply a couple of coats. More coats on the front over the decal since it gets all the bugs. I have since removed the remaining decal stripes just above the belly band as seen in the photos below.

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Lastly, we upgraded to Goodyear Endurance tires and I installed a MaxxAir II vent cover last week so we could have the vent open in the rain. MaxxAir II was an easy, peasy install.

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FUTURE PROJECTS:

• Rear facing camera (Bluetooth)
• Hi-lift axle w/shocks
• LED bulb replacements
Solar Panel and additional deep cell
• Air Adjustable Shocks for the tow vehicle's rear end.
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Old 01-26-2020, 11:59 AM   #2
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Name: Alan
Trailer: 2010 Little Joe / 2010 2 Dr Jeep Wrangler
Colorado
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Nice mods... my wife loves the new interior/kitchen range hood/stove mods
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Old 01-26-2020, 12:11 PM   #3
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Casita Spirit Deluxe 17, 2018 4Runner TRD Off-Road
California/Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan H View Post
Nice mods... my wife loves the new interior/kitchen range hood/stove mods
Thank you alan H! My wife is tall and loves it too! I should add that although I installed computer fans for fit/function, they don't really have the power of the original fan that I removed. We're okay with that. We mostly only boil water or occasional scrambled eggs. Outside is where I like to be and cook our meals.
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:04 PM   #4
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Name: Elaine
Trailer: Casita freedom deluxe 16
Arizona
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I love your mods and a lot of them I plan to do myself... I'd love to hear where you got a lot of your stuff... backsplash, lights over the stove, etc.etc... and costs of things??/
thank you
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:52 PM   #5
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Casita Spirit Deluxe 17, 2018 4Runner TRD Off-Road
California/Oregon
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miscellaneous View Post
I love your mods and a lot of them I plan to do myself... I'd love to hear where you got a lot of your stuff... backsplash, lights over the stove, etc.etc... and costs of things??/
thank you
misc.
If I can't get it at Home Depot or local hardware store, I just search and shop online. I got the hooks, flooring and back-splash, flap-stay and bottle opener from Home Depot. The lights I got from the Casita store. Hubcaps, computer fans, switches, MaxxAir II from Amazon. Stainless steel vents from a boating supply online, can't remember the name. The floor register that covers the fan from Ace Hardware. Weight distribution hitch, electric tongue jack from etrailer.

I didn't mention this, but my best purchase was the Tow-Pro Elite brake controller from the Australian company REDARC.

Here's the link:

https://redarcelectronics.com/produc...ake-controller.

Hope this helps. I'll be happy to answer specific questions when you have them.
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Old 02-24-2020, 12:25 PM   #6
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Casita Spirit Deluxe 17, 2018 4Runner TRD Off-Road
California/Oregon
Posts: 6
Talking Closet Shelves

Well, I dove into adding closet shelving. This was an intermediate project for me, even as a veteran professional woodworker. What made this project challenging is the compound radii and the tight space that I was required to work in.

I started by guessing the lower (and largest) shelf radius by cutting and fitting paper board (the type that is used as cover sheets for units of plywood, etc.). Once I found that radius, I cut/fit the square end and then used this as a template to cut my shelving. I worked my way up to the smallest shelf by continuing to modify the first template. By the way, I replaced the board used for screwing the door hinges to with a 3/4" x 2.5" piece of clear pine of the same length to provide something to screw the shelf brackets to. You can see the edge of it in the photos. I used 5/8" thick Rubbermaid white closet shelving from Home Depot and 1" aluminum angle for shelf edge. This provided a small lip to keep stuff from sliding off of the shelves. I may add elastic cord or web across each of the shelves if I find the small lip is not doing the job.
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