Sunday, June 14, 2015

Always Think Safety! And Windows!

I thought I wasn't going to post again this soon, but I forgot one little important detail that hasn't been mentioned for awhile...the extra side door keep someone from coming along and trying to lock us in the trailer!

I wasn't too concerned about that with it setting here at home, so even though I have had the part since a year ago last September, I wasn't in a rush to do it. But the time is getting close, and it was just one more thing taking up space inside the trailer, so it was time to put it on.

For those who haven't read from the beginning, this trailer was originally equipped with a cam bar on the door, same as on each side of the rear ramp door. It was a motorcycle trailer, and never intended to live in. So the first order of business was to install a Bargman style door latch, so the door could be opened and closed from the inside. But that still wouldn't keep someone from closing the cam bar and preventing someone from getting out. That could be downright dangerous, especially in this heat and humidity...even if it was only a joke!

In the photo below, you can see the new hasp installed on the left. I know it looks crooked in the photo, but I assure you it is level. It must be the camera optics on my cheap cell phone. In this position, the cam bar is locked in place as it was meant to be. Even though the Bargman style latch has both a lock and a deadbolt on it, having this cam bar latch is an extra measure of security when we get out in public places and have to be away from the trailer.

I also purposely installed the Bargman style latch under the original cam bar handle, just as an extra preventative measure. Someone would have to be a total idiot with a lot of time on their hands to try to break through all of that!

The Bargman style latch being covered by the cam bar lock in its normal position.

When we're not out in public places, and/or going to be in the campground but away from the trailer, we don't want to have to mess with the cam bar every time we want to go in or out. So for those times when we are going to be using the door a lot, or while we are inside the trailer at night, we can now lock the cam bar handle back, so that someone can't use it to lock us in. That safety position is shown in the photo below.

The cam bar handle locked back.
With the cam bar locked back, we still have plenty of least as much as any other RV. We can lock not only the door handle, but the deadbolt as well, and still be able to exit the trailer.

Windows? Maybe!

I originally said I wasn't going to install windows in the trailer, for stealth and security reasons. But let's face's nice to be able to see what's going on outside, as well as having a way to let fresh air in besides through the roof fans.

Since I did not make any provision while the interior plywood was off to add any extra blocking or cut out any studs (nor do I want to), I am limited on window size. I know that the steel wall studs have about 14-1/2 inches between them. And where I would put the windows is also limited to about that much height. Unfortunately most windows are bigger than that...even RV windows!

I really don't need any extra blocking if I find the right size windows. There is rigid foam inside the walls now, so the outside metal can't collapse, but then, neither is there anything solid to screw into from the outside...only the thin sheet metal skin. The inside is covered with 3/8-inch plywood, which is plenty strong enough, but not for screws that would have to come all the way through the wall to reach it!

The only answer, without doing major cutting and restructuring, is to have windows with inside trim that bonds to the outside trim to sandwich the wall in between. In reality, this is how most RV windows are built anyway.

I also wanted awning type (sometimes called tilt-out) windows that swing open at the bottom, so they can be left open even when it rains. And of course, we want screens. The problem is finding all these features in a window that is less than 15 inches wide (and high).

This morning, I was searching one of the tear drop trailer suppliers, when I came across a place that has at least the right size of windows. The information wasn't exactly clear as to how they open, but they seem to have everything else we need. The price was a little higher than other windows of similar size, but not excessive. The shipping prices on their site were ridiculous, though, at over $35 per unit! Maybe I could get a volume price on combined shipping if I called them, though.

Still that doesn't deter me. Why? Because they are located in southern Michigan, not far from where we plan to be for a couple weeks when we leave here! I can arrange to drive up there and see the windows in person, and probably purchase all that we need right there...with no shipping involved!

I will have everything with me that I need to install them, and once I get my tools out, I should be able to do it in about a half hour per window. All I have to do is cut a hole through the wall between the wall studs, apply putty tape to the outside flange, and screw the inside frame to the outside frame.

I figure on putting one at the head of the rear bunk, up high. Two will go side by side above the piano and below the wall cabinets, and one will go above (behind, actually) the kitchen sink. If there's not enough space between the backsplash and the microwave cabinet, we may put it farther forward, at the end of the kitchen cabinet and above the head of the couch.

We might put one in the top of the side door, too, but we will also want a stationary glass in the bottom of the door, so Angel can see out.

These can actually be added at any time in the future, but if we don't pick them up while we are close, it may be another year before we get back up there again. And why pay over $35 each for shipping if we don't have to? I haven't found anyone else with windows that size, so even if they aren't awning type windows, we may have to settle for them. We still have our two Fantastic Fans with Maxx-Aire hoods on the roof for ventilation when it rains, so there's no reason we can't make these work.

Anyway, this really is the last post for a week or so, until I get the kitchen cabinet done, so you can relax for awhile, maybe even go on a week's vacation. I wish I could! But even though we are working hard to get to that point, ours will be a permanent vacation when it happens. We can hardly wait!

Thanks for reading.  

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