You see that 5th wheel in my header? That's our 2011 Crossroads Cruiser we're getting ready to live full-time in. Like the trailer before it, and most of our friends' RV's, nothing, I mean nothing, is standard in this otherwise high-quality rig.
Our first project this morning went well. We measured our headboard wall in the bedroom and bought a piece of wallboard to fit, then stuck our recently-acquired faux stone brick panels on it, attached it to the wall, added a shelf and a couple of small wooden boxes, and voila! Our new headboard area now looks classy.
The 2nd project didn't go so well. My wife bought a 6' tall pantry and mirror that is supposed to be attached to a bathroom door, adding 4"or so of pantry space on the front of the door. It isn't deep enough to cause a problem getting into the bedroom and you can get to the inside without opening the bathroom door. Cool, huh?
The problems started when the instructions said to pull the pins on the top and bottom bathroom door hinges. The pins were non-removable. No problem, I just drove on down to the Depot where I would find hinges with removable pins. Except, there were NO hinges that size anywhere to be found. I picked up three of the closest one in size I could find and took them home. I replaced just the top hinge so that the door would remain in place while I tried it out, and even a couple of the holes lined up. However when I tried to close the door, it was about 1/8" too wide for the opening. It turns out that the original hinges were half as thick as the new ones and there were installed on the wood surfaces (not chiseled into the frame and door edge). Not wanting to spends hours to remove the door and apply a chisel, and without knowing that spending the time and effort would end up being an adequate fix, it was back to the drawing board.
I took the original hinge and put it a vise, then used a small file on the less knobby end of the pin. Eventually I was able to push the pin through. Happy with the small victory, I took it back to the rig and noticed that the hardware on the pantry would not fit on the dinky hinge's pin (the pin would go right through it's loop) and even with washers I would have to gouge out part of the door and jam where the the pantry hardware should attach. I gave up and we just reboxed it to return. If the door and hinges were of house standards, I would have completed the project in about an hour.
The next task was a minor one. We had bought an electric outlet plate that had a night light built into it. My wife removed the existing plate and found that instead of a box, the outlet was attached with a couple of metal strips. There was no way the prongs of the new plate would fit into the space. Again, it's being returned.
Those of you who have owned an RV or two are probably nodding in agreement, having experienced this yourselves a few times. It's so deflating to hit brick wall after brick wall in a remodel and we've definitely hit our share. RV's, even higher quality rigs, are built with non-home-standard sizes of just about everything. Weight considerations are one reason, but I suspect costs of odd-sized lots of doors, windows, cabinets and other items are sometimes just too good for manufacturers to pass up.
The remodel continues...
Jack Huber is a novelist with 7 mysteries published, along with several books of poetry and photography. Now retired, he and his wife, Nadyne, are free to travel the country in their 32' 5th wheel and 1-ton Ford pickup.