How to install quick release stabilizer brackets

Our first, and longest running, struggle with our trailer has been getting it in our driveway.  It’s steep, narrow and cut into a hill preventing us from adjusting on the way up.  On day one we drug it up the driveway on the tongue jack and stabilizers and then began working on ways to make the process easier.

Step one was to do a suspension lift on out trailer, but we still needed to remove the rear stabilizers and tongue jack each time we took a trip.  I needed to remove them in the driveway before we left, install them at the campsite, and then remove them again before leaving the campground so we could get back into the driveway.  We only did this a few times before deciding we needed to find a better solution to this problem.  It way taking far too long to remove and install these items multiple times each trip and I was worried that the threads would strip at some point because of the constant abuse.

After turning to Google for a solution to my problem I found SaveAjack.  This product is a quick release bracket that mounts to the trailer and the stabilizer jacks.  Once in place you can remove the stabilizers by pulling just two pins and sliding them off.  This is the only product I found that made the process of removing stabilizer jacks easier and I needed to have them!

Check out our video showing how to install quick release stabilizer brackets.  The install was quick, easy and has made taking our trailer out much easier.

 

If you have any questions or comments leave them below.  If you need to deal with a tough to access driveway how to you manage this?  Check back next Tuesday to see what we did for our tongue jack.

 

Top 10 must have tools for RVing

After completing the overhaul of our travel trailer last year I began to carry a large amount of tools on our trips.  Because we had so much torn apart at the same time I really wasn’t sure what could potentially go wrong and I decided to prepare for the worst.  I carry most of tools in the truck which has turned out to be really convenient while not RVing and all trailer specific tools in the trailer.  In my toolbox is everything from brake spoons to a circular saw.

Knowing that this is overkill I’ve decided to thin out our RV tool herd and I’ve started by coming up with our top 10 tools.  I’m certainly going to carry more than this, but these are the tools I wouldn’t leave the house with.  So, without further adieu, here’s our list.

 

One – Tire Pressure Gauge
We never pull away from the house or a campsite without checking tire pressure.  I do this before ever hooking the trailer to the truck.  I prefer a nice dialed gauge, but I use a digital gauge because I’m lazy.

Two – Torque Wrench
At the same time as checking the tires I also check the lugs.  I keep a 1/2″ torque wrench in the trailer specifically for tightening lug nuts.

Three – Level
I use a small level when setting up the trailer on a site.  I have a bubble level on the front of the trailer, but use a small level to double-check side to side level and set front to back.

Four – Flash Light
This is a no brainer.  You can never really have too many flashlights when something breaks in the dark.  I went back and forth over moving this up in the list and settled on #4.

Five – Electric Drill
I seem to always have a use for an electric drill.  I use it to put my stabilizer up and down every trip and then all the typical drilling & screwing around the trailer.  I blame the electric drill for a generation of men with weak forearms, but it’s so worth it.

Six – Common Hand Tools
I consider this everything you should already have handy.  Wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, tape measure, etc.  I lumped these all together because listing each one would have made for a mighty boring list.

Seven – Razor Knife
I prefer disposable razors to avoid messing around with swapping blades.  I bumped this down to number 7 because any self-respecting man should already have a pocket knife on them at all times for quick work.  The razor really just helps me avoid dulling the blade on my good knife.

Eight – Hammer
When something needs to be beaten it’s hard to do it without a hammer.  I’ve never driven a nail with a hammer in our trailer, but I’ve used them to smash things into or out-of-place many times.

Nine – Multi Meter
Whether it’s checking voltage or continuity, a multi meter is priceless when you need it.  This is also the one tool that requires some “know how” to get the most out of.  If you don’t already have one, go buy a multi meter right now and learn to use it.

Ten – Jack
I’m certainly not strong enough to lift the trailer off the ground and change a tire without a jack, so this make my life much easier.  We use an Anderson Rapid Jack for emergencies and it works great.  Just throw it under one of the tires and drive up on it while it lifts the other tire off the ground.  It would take a pretty large traditional jack to so the same.

Bonus! – Caulk Gun
I hate water leaks!  We had a ton of water damage when we bought our trailer and I’m not going to let water ruin all my hard work.  I keep a caulk gun with Dicor lap sealant and Geocel Pro Flex handy at all times.  When it comes to water…Never Forgive, Never Forget.

If you think I missed anything or have any more suggestions leave them in the comments below.  If you haven’t watched the video check it out and you’ll have plenty of ammo to make fun of me with.

Tour of our travel trailer

Over the past year we’ve posted lots of photos and details of the work we’ve done to our RV, but haven’t really shown the finished product.  Realizing this was a bit of a tease we decided to do a walk through video to show what it looks like now.  With the help of Vanna White Sandie, come along as she takes you through our KZ Sportsmen 2505.

For those that haven’t read through our older posts, here’s a summary of work we did on the interior of the trailer:

  • Replaced the entire roof including some of the rafters (couldn’t have done the inside without this)
  • Replaced a 3’x8′ section of floor and sister floor joists
  • Rebuilt the entire rear wall around the slide
  • Rebuilt the rear 4′ & 10′ of the side walls
  • Rebuilt part of the dinette that was rotted
  • Rebuilt the base of the jack knife sofa that was rotted
  • Disassembled and clean toilet while replacing seal & blade
  • Installed new vinyl flooring
  • Installed Smart Tiles backsplash
  • Painted walls and ceiling
  • Painted cabinets
  • New short queen mattress
  • Replaced all bulbs with LED’s
  • Made new curtains

I’m sure I’m missing some things, but that will give you an idea of what this journey has entailed.  If you’re interested, all of our old posts can be viewed by going to Interior Repairs or Exterior Repairs in the “Our Trailer” menu at the top of the page.

It’s been a long road from the start of our search until now, but this has brought our family closer and has given us the opportunity to make lasting memories.  If you have any questions leave them in the comments below.

 

How to install a Smart Tiles backsplash

When we were going through the brunt of our repairs last year Sandie found Smart Tiles while on a shopping rampage at Home Depot.  When she first told me she bought stick on tiles, and they cost $10 each I expected the worst and had no intentions of putting these on the wall.  Once I actually saw the tiles in person I quickly changed my tune.

At first glance these Smart Tiles look like real glass tile, but are soft to the touch, lightweight, thin, self-adhesive tiles.  They can be cut with a razor or scissors and don’t require any thin set which makes for a quick and clean installation.

When compared to what comes from RV manufacturers, the Smart Tile product blows them away.  Most travel trailers don’t come with any back splash while some make a feeble attempt at a tile backsplash by using unrealistic wall paper to fake the look.  In all of our shopping only the higher end units include an actual backsplash that compares with this product and we were able to get this look for about $140.

From start to finish the installation took me about an hour and a half including prep work and removing trim, switch and outlet.  The only tools I used to install the tiles were a razor, scissors, cutting mat, and metal ruler.  I also used a drill, small pry bar and a putty knife to remove brackets and a piece of trim prior to installing.

The installation was about as easy as could be expected.  If you can safely handle scissors, a razor, and apply stickers you should be OK.  Here are a few tips I have based on my installation:

  • Start with a full sheet in the entrance of the room just like you would with real tile.
  • Keep the flat side of the tile on the same side as the direction you’re working since the next tile will overlap the first.  Since I started up against a piece of trim I started by cutting the staggered edge and butted that end against the trim and the bottom against the counter.
  • If you’re going around an opening such as window or doorway strike a like spanning both sides to make sure the tiles align correctly on the other side.

At the end of the day I think it turned out awesome and more importantly Sandie is thrilled with the new look.  As they say “happy wife=happy life” and this was a small price to pay in the happiness department.

If you have any questions or want to share a Smart Tiles project of your own please comment below.