After a season with this contraption in place I noticed that the floor was sagging. A Lot. Beneath the closet, behind the floor to ceiling door is a storage drawer. After pulling it out and putting it aside it turns out the floor of the closet was only a thin wood paneling veneer that has a 1/2" frame all around with nothing supporting the middle. I guess the manufacturers though most people would be using this as a hanging-only closet. Since I routinely store a whole trips' worth of food (some of it in cans!) I really needed to reinforce this before it failed completely. Below the drawer is the rear driver side wheel well and a bit of micro-storage that contains the Transfer Switch and some miscellaneous stuff I've managed to shoe-horn in there. This process will work on most any storage space that you can access the underside of.
|Passenger Pete And The First Try.|
Of course, I could see that this was going to require some finesse as it would be tough, if not impossible, to build a brace and then get it through the existing opening. The drawer opening is MUCH smaller than the closet floor. I had to be able to attache the reinforcing frame to the 1/2" existing frame AND not let it hang into the area the drawer goes. Not much choice here. I measured about 10 times to make sure I had the exact dimensions (you all know what's going to happen later, right?) Then proceeded to build two identical box frames that I would insert into the opening, attach to the existing 1/2" frame then screw or bolt it all together.
Sounds pretty good. I'm pretty decent when it comes to electricity and mechanics....woodworking is really NOT my strongest skill. Forget about cabinetry. I see so many folks redesigning and building cabinets for their RV's that are better than the factory. I have NO idea how they do that so well!
Back to the project at hand. I had drawn the plans, cut the wood on a borrowed table saw. Screwed the box frames together and then put them into the opening. It was when I was test fitting them that I realized two things. One, there was a 1" gap between the frames that I was going to have to figure out how to fill. Two, I had used the slightly longer wood for the middle of the box. This was going to prevent the drawer from going back in. Ever. Back to the saw. I cut a very long and amazingly straight cut down the length of both middle pieces and made a 1" (you know...I don't think anyone makes a 1" thick piece of stock wood!?!) wide piece to span the gap between the boxes. Back into the RV. Test fit. (Drum Roll Please!)
Miraculously, it all fits! Drill some new pilot holes for the screws (as usual, in contorted positions) then hold the assembly up, while holding the screw in place, while using a battery powered drill/driver in a confined space to tighten the screws. Easy.....NOT! I won't bore you with the insane amount of finagling it took to get it all tightened and in the correct spot. Ultimately, I had to try and fit the drawer in. It does fit...mostly. It's much harder to pull in and out now...I could likely sand or plane the box frame down where it rubs, but the drawer won't rattle now. Have to decide that one later on. Everything is a trade-off.
|Not That Pretty, But It Works!|
All in all, this is an easy fix to do. Since it's invisible when done...it doesn't have to look all that pretty, but will get the job done.
Be Seeing You...Down The Road,
Rich "The Wanderman"