Updated: Oct 8, 2021
On contract in Fort Defiance Arizona (staying in Gallup, NM)
CAIRN TRAVELER VLOG
This last week was Project Week for modifications around the Airstream. First, I repair the broken bolt sleeve for the Airstream door deadbolt. Second, I finish the conversion of one of the lower cabinets to a drawer system for shoe storage. And third, I revamp and clean up my Airstream mobile office setup with the under-dinette installation of a slim laptop and electronics storage drawer. I am SUPER happy and satisfied with all these changes and they have made my life better and much more convenient.
PROJECT 1 | Repairing the Airstream Deadbolt
I think this became a problem since the trip out to Valley of the Gods and it may have been all the rough roads. Airstream doors are particular in that they kind of need to be slammed to close properly - this is a known and expected quick. I also USUALLY have to press in slightly to be able to lock the deadbolt from the outside with the key (and from the inside, pull in on the door handle slightly), but I came to kind last week that neither of these would get the deadbolt to latch - it was just hitting the doorjamb - the door itself did not seem misaligned though. After some investigation (and a very helpful article from AirForums on deadbolt repair), I found that the sleeve holding the bolt of the lock had broken (or come loose) and the bolt was now loose and shifting forward.
If you ever have trouble with the Airstream door closing (misaligned), the first step is to pull up and manually reset your stabilizers - often the stabilizers can skew the frame (especially if the using the automatic stabilizer system as this can end up with one leg being more firm than another).
Though initially a bit anxious about this, I watched an excellent tutorial on removing and replacing rivets, bought a pop rivet gun from Home Depot (including rivets), and then set about to complete this project. The hardest part was that the backing of the sleeve having come loose actually jammed against the door hole and proved problematic to remove but I was finally able to pry it out. I was able to bend the holding teeth back in place and additionally wrapped a zip tie around the sleeve but welding or a pipe clamp probably would have been a better option. I’ll keep you posted on how this holds up.
PROJECT 2 | Converting a Cabinet to a Shoe Drawer
I started this project during my trip to Valley of the Gods but wasn’t able to finish it due to the weather changing and having to leave early. Returning to this project, I ended up finding better drawer plywood material at Home Depot (thinner and lighter) and finished up this project. I’m SUPER happy with the results.
Materials (from Home Depot):
This project was prompted by my irritation with a pile of shoes on the mat in front of the door - this also frequently blocked access to the trash can cabinet. There was another cabinet under the dinette seating that was convenient for shoes but I thought it would be much move convenient to have a drawer versus a cabinet (one movement to slide a drawer open as opposed to opening a cabinet and then having to fish around for some sort of shoe container). This is also one of my feedback points on Airstreams in general - I feel like the lower cabinet storage would be more effective as drawers (which would take a bit more space but you end up just trying to find containers for the cabinets anyway).
Here’s links to some of the tools and my general mobile toolkit I used in this project. As I mention in the video, when deciding what tools to bring with you on the road, choose only the items you will truly get utility out of (other specialty items can often be rented from your local home improvement store), choose compact and battery-operated power tools, and choose a battery scheme that is the same for all the tools so you can interchange batteries and use one universal charger.
I keep my tools in the back of the truck under a BAKFlip MX4 Tonneau Cover using just two toolboxes:
PROJECT 3 | Installing an Electronics Storage Drawer (Airstream Mobile Office Setup)
I decided the desktop was too cluttered and decided to install a slimline laptop and electronics drawer under the dinette table to store the laptop and other items - this was also prompted by temperatures getting warmed and the previous setup having the laptop vertical in the window and exposed to the sun.
I have obtained a fully unlimited, non-throttled data plan so my previous setup using the cell phone for streaming video is no longer needed. This greatly simplified things and reduced a lot of cable clutter.
Here’s links to the items involved:
Zebra RV Table Leg, Folding ADJ 24"-29" (Amazon $28.91) - While the Airstream table is very stable, I installed these on the back where the majority of the weight rests for extra support. I originally tried tension rods but felt they would collapse during multiple jolts while on the road.
Oeveo Under Mount 444-14W x 4H x 11D | Under Desk Computer Mount for Lenovo ThinkCentre SFF and Dell Optiplex SFF Computer Mount | UCM-444 (Amazon $43.99) - Easy place to mount the XBOX (mostly a rainy day diversion, but also my Blu-ray player) and get it out of the way.
ViewSonic VX3276-4K-MHD 32 Inch Frameless 4K UHD Monitor with HDR10 HDMI and DisplayPort for Home and Office,Gray (Amazon $379.99) - An absolutely amazing 32” display with a far better resolution than any television display one could try. My previous display (see the previous video) got a pixel streak due to damage so I had to replace with this.
Steelcase Cachet Ergonomic Office Chair with Balanced Action Rocker Mechanism |Adjustable Seat Height and Standard Carpet Casters | Black (Amazon $588) - This is rather expensive but one of the most comfortable office chairs I’ve ever used and a hold over from my administration days.
Belkin 3-Outlet USB Surge Protector, Rotating Plug (918 Joules) (Amazing $19.99) - Mounted with 3M mounting tape/strip to the edge of the table for ease of use top of table outlets and USB charging.
Anker Soundsync A3341 Bluetooth 2-in-1 Transmitter and Receiver, with Bluetooth 5, HD Audio with Lag-Free Synchronization, and AUX/RCA/Optical Connection for TV and Home Stereo System (Amazon $39.99) - I’m only using this with a digital audio connection to connect to the Airstream sound system because the native Bluetooth has too much lag for video.
Penn Elcom Under Desk Laptop Drawer, Lockable, for 20” Laptops - Premium Sliding Security Drawers (Amazon $64.99) - A very streamlined drawer for under the desk storage of a laptop and other electronics (i.e. I have all my charging and cell phone cell booster connections routed here). It also locks which is not a huge feature but may help to secure for transport.
weBoost Drive Reach (470154) Vehicle Cell Phone Signal Booster | Car, Truck, Van, or SUV | U.S. Company | All U.S. Networks & Carriers -Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint & More | FCC Approved (Amazon $499.99) - The metal skin of the Airstream naturally refracts wireless signals so I use this with an exterior mount to boost the cell signal.
I previously used a Velcro strip to secure for transport but now recommend removing the monitor from the arm and laying facedown on one of the beds. I found that using the Velcro strip had actually bent one of the curtain track strips and weakened the anchor.
Editing: Adobe Premier Pro (Creative Cloud)
Music: Epidemic Sound, MUSICBED, Soundstripe, YouTube Music Library
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