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1501  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Doubling Drawer Storage Of Galley Base Cabinet on: April 07, 2014, 11:20:12 am
Our five small galley base cabinet drawers never met our cooking storage needs, and we rarely utilized our pull-out butcher block counter.  We were also annoyed having drawers behind a door.  So, after 6 years I built up enough courage to do something about it.  We now have plenty of cabinet storage for all cooking needs and more.  My wife is "very" happy to have everything in one easy access location where she needs it.  This also opened space in other cabinets for other things.

Comparing "Before & After" space, here are the "square inch" totals of drawer bottom surface areas.
Original Five = 837 sq. in.
New Three   = 1557 sq. in.
To make a fair comparison, I need to mention the original arraingement suspends the sliding flatware tray providing extra space underneath it.  But for us, it was inconvenient limited-use space if you know what I mean.

Here is the original cabinet with 5 tiny drawers and the pull-out butcher block counter.  PCs made after 2005 or 2006 are made this way.  The earlier design is close to it and can be reconfigured in the same manner.  Admittedly the original design looks nice.


Here is the cabinet afterward with three full width, maximum depth drawers.


Here are the drawers today.  I later learned I needed to add locking latches to keep the drawers closed while in motion.  I originally had 5 magnetic catches per drawer, but very bumpy hairpin right turns overcame their strong hold.  Also My wife didn't appreciate the jerk it took to open the drawers.  Now with 2 magnetic catches, she says it's just right.


The latches are commonly used on other brand motor homes and easily found for sale on the internet, common in the brushed stainless finish, very rare in the polished brass finish.
When the button is in, the drawer is locked.
When the button is out, the drawer can be opened.
Each drawer also has two magnetic catches to hold it closed even when unlocked, useful when the rig is slanted down and away from the cabinet.


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Here is a quick run-down on the project.  There is so much more than implied.  I don't consider this project easy at all.  I wouldn't want to do it a second time.  If you are seriously considering doing this with your PC, contact me directly.

I first removed the drawers and butcher block to evaluate the situation.
Note the copper gas line in the upper back left side.


I identified how much space behind the drawers was not utilized.


Convinced to continue, I gutted the cabinet interior and removed the front rails & styles.
Here were the obstacles I needed to consider in making the three new drawers as deep as possible.
1) black drain pipe with service cap (relocate it)
2) gas line for stove (relocate it against the back wall)
3) the stove hangs down (work around it)
4) storage pocket for Corian stove & sink covers (work around it)
5) wiring in the way  (re-clamp out of the way)
In this picture I had already bent the gas line partially out of the way


Determining The Height Of The Three New Drawers (Critical & Detailed)
If the top drawer was made low (shallow) as is commonly practiced in houses, the hanging stove would significantly limit usefulness.  So I made the opening taller than normal,  6 tall.
The middle opening is 5 tall to clear a new sink drain flex hose to achieve maximum depth.
The bottom opening is 8 tall which is great for pots and pans.  It stops just short of the flex sink drain hose making it a few inches less deep than the middle drawer.
With this all planned out in great detail, I then ordered three new appropriately sized drawer fronts and two new rails from Phoenix USA.


I rerouted the hard black drain pipe using flexible components clamped tight against the back wall to achieve maximum bottom drawer depth.  The gas line got nicely bent out of the way.  As seen here, the left interior wall was extended upward to mount the top drawer glide higher.  Not seen, the rails have 1x2 across their back side to strengthen them.


I bought these parts to reroute the drain.  Home Depot was the only place that sold such large diameter 1/4" thick flex hose that works perfectly with this clamp-connecting approach.


Details About Depth
The top drawer clears both the hanging stove and Corian cover pocket by notching the right side and back.
The middle drawer is Full-Depth as there are no obstructions.
The bottom drawer is a few inches short of the back wall to clear the flex drain pipe.

Here are the three different drawer depths.  Clearly visible is the top drawer notch work.


To reduce the sliding of contents while braking hard, we planned some compartments.
The top drawer is mainly assigned for the original PC utensil tray and related cooking utensils.  Trays are held in place using carpet tape.
The middle drawer has a compartment for Corelle plates & saucers, another compartment for cups, and a third for miscellaneous.
The deep bottom drawer has a compartment (is hardly noticed in the picture) on the left side for tall mugs and cutting boards.


To finish the project, the drawers got their fronts with felt bumper pads.  I went with snag-free handles throughout the base cabinet instead of the knobs which occasionally caught our clothing and knee caps.

The final touch were rubber drawer liners to reduce rattling of contents.

Here is what we store in our new drawers.  I am sure we will optimize it on our first long trip.


Top Drawer - center tray is the original PC utensil tray


Middle Drawer - Corelle, kitchen linen, & food wrap


Bottom Drawer - pots & pans & misc with tall mugs & cutting boards on the side


Now that the project is complete and we have lived with it a while, I would have done something different.  That is swapping the height of the top drawer with the middle drawer.
1) The top drawer could easily be lower in height given just our utensils are stored there.  I was concerned the stove above would be a fire hazard to items in the top drawer, but I was over-cautious.
2) The middle drawer would really benefit from that extra inch from the top drawer.  We find ourselves fussing a bit so the taller items clear the hanging magnetic catches.

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Here is a reply I provided to some questions from an inquiry.

It was work to get the drawers the way I wanted, a learn-as-I-went-along process.  I had to take them apart a number of times before I got them right.  It was a good thing I screwed them together for easy disassembly.  Doing it a second time, I think I could get by without taking them apart.

Here is what I learned, what I would do different, and other tips.

1) Make the cabinet vertical openings, 5" for top drawer for utensils, 6" for middle drawer for plates & bowls, 8" for bottom drawer for pots and pans.  Basically swap my top and middle drawer vertical dimensions.  Add up your total left-side/3 drawer cabinet vertical openings now and the 3 numbers must add up to the same after being reconfigured.

2) All drawer box backs and dividers should be 3/4" below the cabinet opening.  The sides & fronts at 1/4".  This will allow adequate clearance for drawer magnetic catches.  I had all sides at a tight 1/4" and that had me disassembling the drawers to add clearance notches with every additional magnetic catch I added.  It was painful, and surely avoidable had I known.

3) Make the top drawer less deep to the back wall than I did because your vertical depth would be 1" closer to the main counter top.  Do NOT make the drawer to get under the Corian counter storage pocket as I did.  If you go that deep to the back wall, it will be too shallow to utilize and things would likely get in the way of fully closing the drawer.  You are giving up the back few inches of top drawer, but gaining 1" more height in the middle drawer for taller items.  The shallow 5" height middle drawer we have limits what we can get in there.  It works, but would work much better with that extra 1" of drawer height.  I feel the trade-off is worth it.  Swapping my top & middle drawer sizes (5"-6")  would be smarter.

4) Do as I did with drawer closures.  Get those button latches.  They are strong and do the job right.  Also use magnetic catches, two per drawer.  They hold the drawers gently closed when the button latches are unlocked, useful when the rig is parked at a bad angle.  Do NOT try to get by without the button latches by adding more magnet catches instead.  You cannot add enough magnets because the weight in the drawers will overcome their hold in extreme road bumps in the turns.  We started out with 5 magnets per drawer.  My wife complained how hard it was to open the drawers, and in the end all the drawers popped open when driving, broke through the glide stops and all crashed to the floor.

5) The magnetic catches....Use the heavy duty ones that are twice as effective as the single ones.  Both types are sold side-by-side in bins at Home Depot and other such places.

6) Things like the gas line for the stove, and the drain plumbing is likely going to be a "see-as-you-go" scenario as I would assume every rig has it's own situation.  I also had to extend upward, my left-side (sink-side) interior cabinet wall to accommodate the drawer glide there.  Plan for that if your cabinet interior is not high enough like mine was.  My interconnecting board on the sink side got real close to the sink bowl which I cut at a steep angle to make it work.  Your carpenter should be able to figure that out.

7) A super-skilled cabinet maker will use dovetail joints for premium quality, but there are so many different jointing methods in-practice.  For me using 3/4" solid maple planking, the 3" deck screw butt joints worked well.  If using a thinner or softer wood they would not hold up.  The false front cherry faces of my finished drawer fronts are screwed to the box of the drawer.  But a cabinet maker can use the face board in making the box.  Either method works well except my method requires a notch in the drawer front to accommodate the button latches.  That is extra work in a different way.  I used dado joints to hold the drawer bottoms in place.  They simply float in the frame of the drawer.

8) The horizontal 2" fixed portions of the main cabinet between drawers are called rails.  Because they are so long, they bend too easy, not good for the button latches and magnetic catches.  They must be reinforced on the back side with a 1x2 screwed 90 degrees horizontally, flush to the bottom of the rail.  That extra board is ideal to mount the magnetic catches set-back with a false drawer front condition like I have.

9) Double-up on screws when mounting the drawer glides to the cabinet interior walls.  6-per glide will work.  3 per glide as provided for with the drawer glides is not enough.  I learned that the hard way.  They loosen too easily with vibration of the road.

Hopefully your cabinet maker can explain anything you might not understand from me.

I did not attach any pictures.  Ask me for any pic I might have to clarify some of what I had written.

I realize you are asking for specific dimensions, but your own cabinet and rig will dictate that as they all vary with every rig.  In general, I made every drawer a tight 1/4" (1/8" per side) smaller than it's cabinet opening and to a back wall.  It worked, but I had to watch things closely.  The drawer glides want the drawer sides real close and the 1/8" was just enough.  Any more would make matters worse.  Any less would be better for the glides, but potential for scraping wood-to-wood when opening a drawer.  I am not a cabinet maker so I would hope your pro will be smarter than me about it.
1502  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Showing prospective buyers. on: April 04, 2014, 08:45:19 pm
In discussion with others who have checked out 2100s, there is one common concern.....storage, both inside and outdoor.  For out door, other than the common rear compartment, there is just a very tiny 9" door to access the front dinette bench from the outside.  It seems quite limited in usefulness.  If they plan to add a rear hitch storage box to gain outdoor storage, they will be basically the same length as the 2350.  So then why not get the 2350 where there are no storage problems.

I feel the 2100 is ideal for a single person or even a couple who are accustom to limited storage, people who had adapted to a straight-up class B which generally offer even less storage.

Given my unpopular no-slide-out stand, the 2100 would do good without the slide-out option, to increase indoor over-head cabinet storage.  I think the factory might be able to get creative upon request with both indoor and outdoor storage when without a slide out.  I would ask the factory to toss the fold-open couch bed and build a bay-window-style bench seat with outside access into that bench.  That would offer more outdoor storage than most other models.  The drawback is that one person sleeps on the bench, the other on the converted dinette.  But for a single person, that bench seat bed seems ideal.  Just toss the backrest cushions on another seat and your bed is ready.  It would be kind-of like a day bed.  Underneath in the bench you'd have all your outdoor stuff accessible only from the outside.

When showing your rig, if you have a laptop, have pics of the 2100 with you so they can see what is common and what is not.

Just a thought.
1503  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Rig baths on: April 03, 2014, 05:22:49 pm
Yes Tom.

wand wash = Do-It-Yourself with the power washing wand.

I see what you mean.  Why wash it just to get dirty outside while being stored.  It makes sense.
1504  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Rig baths on: April 03, 2014, 04:50:55 pm
Normally I wash it at home before each trip.
LOL  I wash ours after we get back.

If we develop a serious dirt problem during a trip, I have been known to spend a few bucks in a wand-wash and do a quick power rinse.
1505  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Wipers on: April 03, 2014, 08:41:05 am
I use the round foam insulation for water pipes to cover my blades when stored.  It already has a slit in it, cut to size and place over your blades.  Keeps them out of the weather and extends their life.  Bob
That is an interesting idea.

I had thought if our rig was stored outdoors, I'd remove the wiper arm assemblies.  They do come off in a flash.  They have a little metal release lever at the base of the arm.  Just pull it away and lift the assembly right off the rotating stem.
1506  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Wipers on: April 02, 2014, 12:51:30 pm
In-General, the only concern I have with installing wiper blades a little longer is what I experienced with another vehicle.  The longer wiper blade got very close to the top of the windshield.  In the winter, when ice formed on the wiper blades while driving, the ice would hit the paintwork above the glass.  I heard it hitting with every swipe.  I was worried it would eventually damage the paint so I replaced them back to the standard size.

If the Ford E350/E450 windshield has plenty of room for a longer blade (2" more is not a lot), I'd say you'll be fine.

I still have the original blades on our 2007 PC....Yikes!
Last trip and all was still well.  I assume it's because the blades have been outdoors less than 5 months total.  I did clean them once already with lacquer thinner.
1507  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Where can I rent a Phoenix Cruiser on: March 31, 2014, 11:54:55 am
You are right in regards to a Private Party sale, but if the PC was being sold at a dealership, they may be open to the idea.  That was where my "rental" suggestion was pointing to.
1508  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Where can I rent a Phoenix Cruiser on: March 31, 2014, 09:47:49 am
We feel that we lucked into the quality of the Phoenix since we didn't really know what to look for.
Us too in a way.

With the limitations of our garage, it forced us to eliminate all but a select few motor home brands and models.  We saw a PC-2350 first at a local RV show.  The 2350 fit our "NO COMPROMISE" requirements of a double main floor bed, a dinette,  and fit inside our garage.  So I searched for a used one in 2007, but had no luck for months.  Those were the days before "Factory Direct", so we ordered through Don Keller of East Acres RV in Mendon MA as he worked extremely well with us on the price.  We visited the factory twice, first to select colors & options, second to pick up our new rig.  While there the first time, we had a better feel for the quality of the PC, but it was after our rig was home and I started tinkering with it, I quickly realized how good a rig we purchased.
1509  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Report on alignment and handling of our 2552 on: March 29, 2014, 11:47:56 am
It is interesting that some PC-2552 owners say their rig has extremely good handling because of their later chassis design and wheel base to rear overhang ratio.  Then two 2552 owners here decided to get suspension upgrades on their brand new rigs that yielded amazing results.  Also interesting was the video report on the stock "noodle action" sway bars.

I will continue to recommend the suspension upgrades we had done to our 2007-E350.
1510  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Transmission Clunk when shifting between Reverse and Park on: March 28, 2014, 12:08:32 pm
I seem to recall many years ago, cars with auto-trans and standard rear wheel drive, they all clunked in and out of gear.

As does my 2007 E350.  I never gave it a thought, except bringing back old memories.
1511  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Where can I rent a Phoenix Cruiser on: March 27, 2014, 05:49:16 pm
I would ask the seller of a PC if they are willing to rent it to you.  When your trip is over, you'd buy it at a pre-trip agreed price, plus the cost of renting it, this assuming you don't discover detrimental issues.
1512  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: How do you store your spices? on: March 27, 2014, 02:48:37 pm
I've gathered for a while now, PC owners with slide outs tend to struggle more with a lack of interior storage than we do, primarily impacting cooking in some fashion.  Some resort to using closet or cab-over space for cookware and food.

With our no-slide, we had been utilizing our large over-the-dinette cabinets for food and cookware.  After reconfiguring our galley base cabinet to three large drawers, all cookware now stores there which cleared out 50% of the over-dinette cabinet.  My wife Irene quickly realized that new space is the perfect place to store her vacation treasures.
1513  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: How do you store your spices? on: March 27, 2014, 11:40:40 am
My Irene bought something similar to this at a local store.  She likes it a lot in our PC.  She has changed out a spice or two for her preferred ones, and also replaces older for fresher.
1514  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Thermopane Windows on: March 25, 2014, 04:28:35 pm
I'll have to check the window seals, etc. extremely well and maybe call Kermit. There must be something wrong with our emergency window.
Try opening the emergency window using the two red handles, inspect the seals to make sure they are not folded or crushed funny, then lower the window sash carefully making sure the seal remains in proper position.

I opened our emergency window, just wanting to understand how it works.  It is hinged up top, swings out from the bottom.  When closing it, I had to position the seal a bit to assure it was not getting deformed.  If deformed, the window sash might not seal properly to the fixed frame.
1515  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Thermopane Windows on: March 24, 2014, 12:54:55 pm
Here is a link to a one of Ron's post when he replaced his chair. It is complete with pictures. It was so nice that I did the same thing to my 2350. I went through Carol at the factory and saved about $60 over going directly to Paul's seating. She was able to get the same captains chair that I had in the front, with two arms.She made sure they used the same bolt pattern that the barrel chair had so I could use the same stand. She shipped it to me and I installed it. That took about 15 minutes to remove the four bolts, remove the barrel chair off the stand, put the new chair on the stand, and replace the bolts.

http://www.phoenixusarv.com/community/index.php/topic,267.0.html
I don't have the installation pictures posted on that thread any longer.  When I get some time, I'll include them again as my flickr account now handles a lot more pictures.  It is a very easy straight-forward bolt-off bolt-on installation.  Like Tom says, all of 15 minutes and not a lot of muscle required either.

Irene and I really like our 3rd captain seat.  We used to fight over it most before we replaced our dinette cushions with leather & memory foam.  Because of it's safety and seat belt when traveling, it gets fought over when we travel with guests.  My uncle claimed it on our trip down to Kentucky to bury his brother.

I would still like to install those "D" rings, just in case we ever need to cart a little passenger in a child seat.
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