Miss Mosey Mods & Repairs

When Miss Mosey joined us, we knew there would be some modifications necessary in order to accommodate our life style and the cats. The previous owners had purchased her new and had some modifications done in Red Bay, Alabama where Miss Mosey was born. Those modifications were among the things that positively influenced our reason to have her join our family.

The Bathroom

A prevalent theme will be horizontal surfaces, or the lack thereof. The physical size of the bathroom in a Phaeton 36 QSH is quite small. And as "psuedo" full timers we need to cram a lot of stuff in there. So we needed to either create more horizontal surface or make it so things didn't take up horizontal space.

Hidden behind the toilet is a vertical shelf for the bathroom scales. This keeps it off the floor when not in use and we don't have to  find a space for it in the cabinets.

The valance above the bathroom window had a nice flat surface, but anything put up there would just slide off going down the road. We added some trim around the edge so the flat surface now had a lip to prevent things sliding off. EJ added the white baskets so we could really load up that horizontal shelf. We also built a holder for a Kleenex box, mounted on the wall, so it wouldn't occupy valuable counter top space.

The designers at Tiffin apparently didn't anticipate full timers wanting to live in their Phaeton design as they provided a minimal number of outlets. Well that just wouldn't do. I mean we have electric toothbrushes, hair dryers and more and don't want to have to play musical chairs with electric outlets and plugs. So we added two more duplex outlets to the bathroom. They are all GFI protected and it is so nice to not have to unplug one device so you can plug in another. Heads up Tiffin, another design improvement!


Miss Mosey came with a TV mounted in the bedroom which is useless for us. We watch TV in the living area, not the bedroom. EJ and I are fortunate because we enjoy almost all the same shows. So there is no need for a second TV.

All this space was wasted on a TV that would never be watched.

All the TV related equipment was removed. Matching doors were purchased to cover the hole left by removing the TV. Now we have extra space to store more stuff. We also added some fancy hooks on either side of the new cabinet to hang our robes and jammies.

Also in the 36 foot Phaeton the bedside tables are very small. There was no room for a Kleenex box without overpowering what little space there was. So, we built another Kleenex Box holder and mounted it to the ceiling above the head of the bed.. We even added some fancy metal work to it so it would blend in with the rest of the cabinetry. Now if one of us gets the sniffles in the middle of the night, tissues are within easy reach.

In the 36 Phaeton QSH Tiffin has installed a small sink and cabinet in the corner of the bedroom. At first glance this looks like a useful option. But upon reflection, the counter space is too small and the overhead cabinet is a head knocker. 

The corner sink offered by Tiffin in the 36 QSH.

Fortunately for us, the original owners didn't like the corner sink either and opted to have a custom cabinet with shelves and drawers installed instead. Yay! More room to store stuff!

As mentioned earlier, horizontal space in the 36 QSH is limited. One project focused on recovering the space that had been occupied by fancy window treatments. Here is an example.

You can see that the nightstands by the bed are very small. The fancy window treatment wastes most of that space.

By removing those treatments, we recover almost 50% of that horizontal space. Now we have room for mattress warmer controls and a kindle charge station.

The Washer and Dryer

Our previous motorhome came with an All-in-One Splendide washer/dryer and we hated it. It would only do very small loads, didn't dry well and t-shirts came out extremely wrinkled and had to be ironed. No one wants to iron in an RV. We eventually removed it and built extra storage in it's place.

Once again the original owners did exactly what we would have done and opted to have the stacked washer and dryer installed. And we love it! None more going to questionable laundromats. No more fighting for space at the laundry. EJ called it combat laundry. No more wondering what was in the washing machine before you got to it. Now we can wash when we want to and do other things like read, or cook, do puzzles instead of having to pack up everything and go to the laundry. And we can even wash clothes while boondocking. Sweet! For us it makes sense, but others may desire to use the space for storage instead. What ever floats yer boat!

The Litter Box Cabinet

Since we  travel with our 2 cats, accommodations needed to be made for them also. Certain bodily functions must be attended to, and discretely too. We didn't want to use the shower for the litter box, we didn't want to have to constantly move it and it had to be accessible with the slides in. We mulled over this one for a long time before we had a brainstorm and decided to slightly enlarge an existing cabinet. The previous owners had the mid cabin TV removed and the cabinet underneath it was selected to be "The Litter Box Cabinet".
This was how the original cabinet looked. The tile work on the wall replaced the mid cabin TV.
Since Miss Gabby was going to be one of the users of the final product, she decided to supervise the cabinet modifications.

Step Repairs

We too, experienced the dreaded Coach Step failure. I guess being impatient type people we contributed to the failure along with the fact that the steps were over 5 years old. We had a tendency to put our weight on the steps before they were fully deployed. This placed extra stress on the motor and gears. We did have a fore shadowing of the coming failure though. The steps would make an interesting clunk as it was retracting. But eventually the step just ended up hanging there like a limp noodle.

The Internet came to the rescue and soon we had a replacement motor in hand. Getting the motor off the step assembly was fairly straight forward, but installing the new motor was a bear. I had to use considerable force (insert crowbar here) to move the motor so the last bolt would go in place to secure it. The insult here though was that Coach Step would not send me the parts to take care of the recall that was in effect for these steps. They would only send them to an RV repair shop. Although after seeing the work some of them have done, I know I can do equal or better repairs in most cases. So being unqualified to make the recall repair, I opted to put it off until we got to Red Bay, Alabama and let the Tiffin factory do it. (Tiffin, I might add, had a bugger of a time with that third bolt also).

New Tires and Shocks

Before we left on any long trips one of the first orders of business was to replace the 5 year old tires. I had wanted to go with Toyos because of the reviews and price. But they were not available in the Northeast Florida area. So we went with Michelins instead. Several suggested that we join FMCA and use their discount. But our tire shop, Schnieder Transportation, said they could beat the FMCA price. And while the tires were off, we replaced the oem shocks with Bilstiens. We installed Bilstiens on our last motorhome and were happy with the results.

Bad 50 Amp Wiring

Our Phaeton came to us with a 50 amp plug in Surge Guard installed just prior to the transfer switch. I had a 50 amp hardwired Surge Guard that I wanted to install in its' place. When I started removing the old Surge Guard, this is what I found.

The neutral connection had apparently gotten very hot, hot enough to melt the housing of the 50 amp plug. This was part of the Surge Guard.

Even though I was no longer going to use the old Surge Guard, I was curious and dug in a little deeper. All of the wires had corrosion. That coupled with a not very tight connection is probably caused the overheated neutral leg in the plug. (Note to self, check electric connections at least annually). Glad we decided to upgrade the Surge Guard.


We installed solar on our last motorhome and really enjoyed the freedom it gave us. So we knew we wanted to install it on the Phaeton as well. We had to upgrade the batteries in the Phaeton as they were over 5 years old and required constant attention. 

I really wanted to make the leap to Lithium or at least AGM batteries. So many evenings were spent researching and analyzing batteries, inverters and solar controllers. We looked online at the installations others had done. Technomadia, Wheelingit, Gone with the Wynns and others were closely reviewed.

I drew graphs, charts and made lists to try and convince myself that lithium was really worth it. Theoritically you can probably make the case that over the life cycles of the various battery types that Lithium is slighty cheaper or comparable per cycle. But there is still a steep upfront cost. But EJ reminded me that this is probably our "forever" RV and we should fix it up the way we really want to. So LiFePO4 it is!

After looking at several solar equipment suppliers we went with Starlight Solar in Yuma, Arizona to purchase our batteries. At the time I was a little skeptical of Battleborn and they were a little pricey.  Instead we chose to follow Technomadia's path and go with GBS brand batteries and Elite Power Systems battery management systems. They were a little less costly and had a good track record.

The old Lifeline batteries (6-6 volt batteries) had a total capacity of 660 amps (330 usable) and weighed almost 400 pounds. We chose to go with 400 amps of Lithium batteries which would give use between 320 and 360 amps of usable power depending on how conservative you want to be. The weight of the 4 lithium batteries is 140 pounds. And with our system we can pump one and fifty amps per hour back into those Lithium batteries. Try that with lead acid!

My major concern was freezing and overheating the new batteries since there was no space inside the Phaeton to install them, They would have to go in one of the compartments. We shouldn't get caught in weather extremes, but you never now what life will bring. So we built an insulated box that should help protect them from those out of range temperatures. (We haven't been in above 100 degree weather yet, but they have been tested in an 11 hour freezing stretch. So far, so good.)

Insulated battery box

Those 4 batteries above at 140 pounds replace these 6 batteries at 396 pounds and the usable is the same or slightly better.

The EMS system protects the Lithium batteries from overheating, overcooling, overcharging, and low voltage.

The EMS is the section in the center of this picture.

Since the Phaeton already had a Magnum 2812 inverter/charger installed, we opted to go with the Magnum PT-100 solar controller. The added benefit, besides dealing with only one manufacturer is that everything communicates with one another and displays on a single panel mounted above the drivers seat.

To produce power to all this we took the solar panels off the previous motorhome, 4 Grape solar 160 watt panels. To this we added 2 HiTech panels rated at 165 watts each. This gives a total of 970 watts of sun power feeding the solar controller.

6 panels strategically placed to minimize shading with room to add 4 more.

In retrospect, I undersized the system. Since we have a residential refrigerator, Dish DVR and lots of computer stuff plugged in all the time 400 amps of batteries is barely adequate. Right now, we usually have to run the generator for about an hour in the morning and sometimes an hour or less in the evening. I would be more comfortable with 600 amps. Also, 960 watts of panels will only recharge our 400 amp battery bank on an absolutely perfect day. Those don't happen very often. I would like to add 4 more panels for about 1650 watts total. That would provide ample charging power for those less than optimum days.

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