Pull-out Shelf under Pantry. Some newer Roadtreks have a slide-out white plastic surface on top of the left kitchen drawer and under the TV cabinet. It increases cooking counter space. Our Roadtrek had a pantry cabinet instead of the TV cabinet. We made a slide-out shelf beneath the pantry cabinet using two oak strips and two lengths of ½” aluminum channel, and a piece of Corian (breadboard size). The Corian was cut to our specs at a countertop shop. To make the spacing wide enough we taped bamboo meat skewers to the side of the Corian shelf and spaced the channels, screwed them up into place on the bottom of the pantry cabinet, then removed the skewers. The Corian shelf has a finger hole front and center to ease pullout.
Sink Cabinet Pull-out Shelves. Our Roadtrek had two shelves in a cabinet beneath the stovetop. To find the proper pan or skillet we were forced to assume Pilates poses with a flashlight, and of course the pan you need is at the back under everything. We found ball bearing slide hardware on the Internet – we mounted it beneath the slide out shelf rather than on the side of the shelf (slides raise the shelf bottom ½ inch above the original shelf). We made shelves of plywood with 2” high sides, front, and back, like a shallow tray. (We used leftover Marine Board for the sides and back.)
The top shelf is notched to clear the plumbing in the back. We spaced the two slides under on the lower shelf so thin plastic cutting boards store between them. The slides allow 100% pull out of the trays without dumping, and a detent keeps them closed while traveling.
Corian Counter Top. The Formica counter top surface looked okay in our third-hand Roadtrek, but we splurged on an upgrade. We went to a Corian counter fabrication shop where they had replaced counters in other RVs. They quoted $500 to remove the old counter, install a new faucet and remount the sink, make a Corian cover with lifting hole for the sink, and fabricate a cover for the two-burner stove that increased the counter space by 1/3. Since this is a “small” Corian job they let us pick the Corian pattern from their scrap pile. Naturally we selected the top of the line (expensive) pattern since it was included in the price. It was pricy but well worth it.
Sink Faucet With Higher Spout. The Roadtrek original OEM faucet was a low-spout two clear plastic handles (cheap) model that defied rinsing ordinary saucepans. We upgraded to a nicer faucet when we replaced the countertop, but we wanted a faucet that reached farther into the sink and was taller for rinsing pots and pans. We found a Moen Bar faucet (model 8940) with a spout with appropriate height and reach. Be sure to measure carefully.
LED Strip Lights. We Googled on 12 VDC strip lights and found them in warm white and cool white color temperature. They come on an adhesive strip with cut lines for fitting. We liked the warm white better – the cool white is a bit too blue for our taste. We installed a separate rocker switch with an LED indicator light on the header above the sink. The strip extends from left to right at the back edge of the upper cabinets and stove hood. The brilliant light is shadow-less and would let you operate on squirrels if you are a vet. A 12 VDC dimmer is available from Amazon if you want to dial down the light level for the kind of romantic evening seen in Roadtrek advertising brochures.
Kitchen Window Sill Storage for Soap & Cleaners. We bought a 2’ x 2’ piece of ¼ inch Marine Board from a boat supply store, and made a piece 8” x 24” to screw into the window sill-backsplash. The space between the board and window accommodates dish detergent, hand soap, 409, and several other cleaners. The cloth curtain on that window was so small we removed it and its tracks, and cut Reflexit panels to block the window altogether.
This photo shows the original installation of the window shelf and the first faucet upgrade. The curtain has since been removed and the faucet replaced.
Sink Strainer. The white plastic stainer with the sink drain was always closing when I wanted it open. In fact most of the time I wanted it open, but I didn’t want non-liquids to go down the drain. One day I found a set of 2 different sized small drain mesh strainer at the Dollar Store. The bigger one fit perfectly in the sink and the smaller one fits the shower drain perfectly. We have been very pleased with how well both have worked.
Sponge Storage. Kitchen sponges will clutter any kitchen and the holders with suction cups that fit in the sink were always in the way.
We made a three-sponge holder out of ½” aluminum strip riveted together. It is screwed to the piece of ¼ inch Marine Board that creates the window shelf.
Compartments are labeled FLOOR, TABLE, and DISH. The holder is mounted next to the kitchen window.
Snyder Kit Makes Refrigerator Better. Our 2310 Dometic refrigerator in our Roadtrek was erratic, turning ice cream into soup one time and turning ice cream into case-hardened steel the next. It worked fine when parked, but while traveling the temperature kept rising.
Many Roadtrekers have solved this problem buy buying a Snyder Kit to install on the back of the refrigerator. It provides a ducted fan to improve cooling performance. We found that sometimes on the road the fridge would warm up, so we made a scoop to bring in ram air when moving. The scoop is made from a 5” vinyl fencepost top sawed in two and bolted onto the grill with stainless steel bolts and shake proof nuts.
We thought the Snyder Kit fan had failed, but when we removed the refrigerator (for other reasons) we saw that a wire had come loose from a connection. We had already ordered a higher cfm waterproof 12 VDC fan replacement from an ebay provider so we installed it. Stu Snyder expressed doubts about the higher velocity fan being beneficial, but so far it works fine. Hopefully, come summer it will pay off.
For a complete set of photos detailing the installation of the Snyder Kit see the Photo Album titled “Red Rover – Snyder Kit Install” on the Yahoo Roadtrek Group website. There are also photo albums there on refrigerator removal, cleaning, and checking the gas pressure.
We installed a new cloth panel on the fridge door front. Unscrew the trim with the door off, pull the plywood panel upward. Then slide a 2x4 in edgewise to pry out the panel. Cover and replace.
Refrigerator Remote Thermometer. How cold is it? We found a Chaney (Acurite) remote wireless thermometer on Amazon. One sender goes into the freezer, the other sensor goes in the space below. The remote digital readout has a magnet base and goes on our kitchen vent hood. It also has button set points that can sound an alarm when the fridge temperature rises above the desired value.
Lunchmeat & Cheese Boxes. We usually have sandwiches for lunch. And we were always digging around in the fridge for the various packages of cheese and lunchmeat. I found these plastic boxes at a grocery store. They fit perfectly under the drip catcher on the fins on the second shelf.
Now we can minimize the fridge door open time. Grab the boxes, pickles and wraps and close the door. Typically we have three kinds of cheese and three kinds of lunchmeat in the two boxes.
MicroHearth for Versatile Microwave Cooking. MicroHearth makes several sizes of covered dishes of a microwave-tolerant material that can let you bake biscuits, steam vegetables, or fry (sauté) meat and fish. It will brown meats nicely. Find them on Amazon. MicroHearth cooking is great when you just don’t want to slave over a hot propane burner. The Grill Pan with ribs on the bottom will cook hamburgers complete with grill marks.
Drinking Water Container. A transparent 1.25 gallon drinking water container made by Arrow is sold in Walmart and Meijer. It fits on the counter flat next to the pantry wall and we held it in place with two eye screws and a bungee cord. We put a thin foam pad beneath it to absorb road shock. A spigot delivers the amount you want.
It is great for both drinking water and for winter use when all tanks are winterized. The bungee can be unhooked and the container rotated to place the spigot over the sink (put an RV dishpan in the sink if your gray tank is winterized). Take care because they are fragile, we have had several that developed corner cracks. Fortunately they are inexpensive.
Spice Cupboard Box. Above the sink is a small rectangular cupboard with a top-hinged lid. We put small bottles of spices in it but the spice you need was always at the back. We found a bamboo box at a Meijer that fit. The door catch protrudes into the interior, so we cut a slot in the box front. All 12 bottles of cooking spices fit in the box. Remove the entire box when cooking and presto – you are a gourmand!
Power Outlet Bar. Our Roadtrek came with a GFP duplex power outlet below the microwave in the kitchen. We bought a six-outlet switched extension power bar with a red indicator light. We shortened the cord and installed a heavy duty plug to go into the duplex outlet. The bar is screwed into the header over the counter and sink (clearing the faucet – we had to move it up to clear the faucet and damaged the veneer in the process – we have plans on how to fix this). Its red indicator also serves as a night light.
The Keurig coffee maker plugs into this. At night we often plug cell phone and iPod and camera battery chargers into this strip.
The red indicator light is also an easy way to look in the window and see that shore power is on.
Yet Another Kitchen Mod. After damaging the veneer above the sink and with some of the side strips about the window having peeling veneer, we decided to go for the waterproof approach. In white, to make things brighter and seem bigger. So as of April 2013 Red Rover’s kitchen looks like this.
The white material is sold in 4 ft x 8 ft sheets for bathroom or shower walls. We are pleased with the appearance and it is easy to keep clean. We replaced the Marine board “shelf” with the same white material, but it was more flexible than the Marine board, so we added an aluminum channel to the top which also provided a convenient attachment for the sponge holder.
Keurig Coffee Maker. Hang the expense! We bought a Keurig Mini coffee maker and two containers for Keurig cups.
They all just fit on the shelf above the closet. Our closet has a 3” rail around it to keep stuff in. A small box on the driver’s side contains flashlights.
To use the coffee maker it is placed on top of the stove cover and plugged into the outlet above the sink. If not plugged into shore power, run the generator for the couple of minutes it takes to brew a cup.
Cutting Boards. At a kitchen store we found flexible thin plastic cutting pads or boards. One package contained four colors. We can store all of them beneath the pull-out shelf. See Sink Cabinet Pull-out Shelves description above.
They work great and don’t take up much room.
Paper Towel Holder. After junking numerous inferior paper towel holders, we made one using two screw eye bolts and a bungee cord. It is mounted on the long top cabinet door near the driver’s end of the Roadtrek. Thread one end of the bungee cord through the roll and hook it to the forward eye bolt. Easily removed and most of the time you can remove dishes from the cabinet without removing it.
Kitchen Foam Flooring. We previously had some interlocking foam flooring that was 2 ft x 2 ft pieces of dark gray diamond plate pattern. We (and the dogs) liked the cushiness and the insulation value, but it was rather dark and ugly. Similar stuff is available for kid’s play areas in bright primary colors, but that seemed too gaudy. Then we discovered this on the internet. It is a oak strip look that matches well with the oak cabinets. This is the dark oak version; we previously had the light oak coloring.
The coloring is only on the surface, so it does get damaged after a while (it is cream underneath). Nine pieces will give you two complete floors. We have replaced it once a year, but we (and our dogs) are likely harder on the floor than most people (e.g. dropping a screwdriver pointy end down). It is easily removed to shower. We cut a hole for the front table post.
Besides keeping the floor warmer in the winter and cooler when driving, it also prevents things from breaking when dropped.