Now that we’ve been on the road a few months and have gotten used to the gear we’ve bought and the modifications we’ve made to our rig, I feel its time I start some posts about it. This is the first in that series.
Right off the bat when we bought our camper, a 2017 Grand Design Reflection 367bhs, we ordered the parts for a few essential modifications. Let me talk about those first:
Most people don’t realize that the keys of most campers are keyed alike. not just the keys for the locks on their camper, but on every single other camper. There are exceptions, but, for example, if your luggage bay keys say CH751 on them, there are literally millions of keys floating around that could open them. Since this camper was going to be our home, we wanted at least a slight upgrade in security. We placed two orders.
For the main door we ordered a keyless entry lock from RVLock. It includes a remote for car-style clicker access as well as keypad access with a user-settable code and a key for last ditch access or if the batteries in the unit die. RVLock also makes replacement slam-latch locks for the main luggage bay of our rig. We ordered those as well so they’d be keyed-alike to our main door. The order was off from the beginning and it took two additional shipments and returned parts to finally get the four locks, two fobs and keys we wanted. To their credit they paid for shippng both ways and gave us no trouble in correcting the order. Still, it was a hassle and I’ve heard stories of similar order mess-ups from fellow RVers. The main door lock has been great and we’ve have no issues with it once we got it installed and adjusted properly. The strike plate on our camper that the bolt goes into was installed crooked by Grand Design and getting that straightened out was the trick to getting the lock to work properly. That was Grand Design’s fault, though, not RVLock. The slam-latch luggage door locks, though have been a real problem. The latch itself binds up and doesn’t move freely, especially in the cold and damp of the Pacific Northwest. Every time I think I have it lubed and adjusted perfectly, they bind up again. It’s getting old and I’ll be calling them if it happens again.
All in all I’m fairly happy, but not completely satisfied with them, and they were expensive. I expected higher quality. The remote entry is very convenient, though and we feel better knowing our keys are unique. If a person were determined, they could get into any RV, locks or no locks, but still, it will inhibit the casual thief.
Secondly, we ordered two sets of cylinder locks to replace the CR751 locks on the front storage bay and the side bay. These are the locks that are inherenty worthless and have millions of keys floating around, so it was critical we protect the gear we have stashed in there. Ordering requires making some careful measurements of your existing locks such that everything will fit. I made the mistake of measuring one and assuming the other would have the same dimensions. When the locks arrived, one fit and the other one (the one I did not measure) was waaaaaaay off. The company gladly accepted a return and shipped the correct locks at no additional cost to me. These locks have been great, no complaints, easy to install and they work great. The keys are unique and we feel better leaving stuff in the compartments.
New cylinder lock with cover to replace CR371 locks
New cylinder lock with cover to replace CR371 locks
Whole RV water filtration and water pressure regulator
Since we’re moving around a lot and using campground water, we’re bound to encounter water of varying quality. Hard or soft. City or well. High pressure or low. Full of iron and other minerals or not. I’m really picky about my drinking water. It must be ice cold (ideally with actual ice in it) and tasteless. That and I’d read horror stories about what dirty water can do to RV plumbing in no time at all. Lastly, park water pressure is highly variable, but anything over about 55-60psi can be harmful to RV plumbing, causing leaks or worse.
To help with this, I mounted a whole RV filtration system and pressure regulator and added a quick connect fitting to our water supply hose to make setup easier. Or entire setup is as follows from tap to RV water inlet:
Y-adapter with individual shut off valves (not shown)
1- 50’ drinking water safe poly kink-less hose
2 - Set of quick connect fittings
3 - 45 degree fitting
4 - Adjustable pressure regulator with dial gauge
5 - Large sediment filter
6 - Carbon filter
7 - 90 degree fitting
8 - Short hose
9 - 90 degree fitting
10 - RV water inlet
The filters and the bracket they sit in were ordered from rvwaterfilterstore.com and other than their outrageous shipping costs, they’ve been great to work with. Be sure to order the mounting bracket separately, it doesn’t come in the kits. This oversight caused me to have to make two orders and pay their ridiculous shipping twice. I also ordered several replacement filters up-front that should last us about two years. The whole system wasn’t terribly expensive and the replacement filters are cheap. This means that not only will our system do a better job filtering our water than the cheap Camco in-line filters, but we’ll save money too, as the Camco filters seem to last only about 3 months from what I’ve heard and are $30+ a pop. A set of filters for ours will run about $10 and last about 6 months.
The pressure regulator has been trouble-free. The adjustability and the gauge are great so we can see if park pressure is under the set point we have it at (60psi) and making setting that set-point easy. The quick-connect fittings have been great, too. I’m considering getting another set or two for the Y-fitting at the faucet to further make setup easier.
The only hassle with this whole system was finding somewhere to securely mount it inside the RV. I wanted it right by the Kant-leak panel (where all the regular valves and inlets for the camper are), but the only surface there is fairly thin felt-covered plywood. I wound up using a bunch of large washers and bolts instead of screws to get a secure mount. I also had to use some cut foam to keep the filter canisters from bounding around a lot while traveling. Still, it wasn’t that hard and I totally feel this was worth it. The water tastes great!!