Saturday, March 2, 2013

Replacing the front TV in our Tiffin FRED…

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more Rockport area 013When we first bought our motorhome we pretty much knew we were going to replace the TV’s as soon as possible. However, as bad as the analog TV was in the bedroom the front room TV wasn’t all that bad. So here we are two years later and decided it was high time to replace the front TV. My plan was to replace it with a nice 32 inch TV that would also provide ample storage behind it. I went to a Lowe’s store and bought everything I needed including a nice piano hinge that would let us swing the entire TV assembly out to access the storage behind it.

So with tools in hand I removed the outer frame which turned out to be quite tricky. An email to the Tiffin service department revealed that there were two screws on each side of the frame assembly that had to be taken more Rockport area 014out before you could remove it. These screws can be found in the shared wall of the cabinet to the left and right of the TV. Once the screws are out it releases the “wings” attached to the frame that holds it to the cabinet.

Next there were four screws that could be reached with my electric drill and and 10' inch extension with Phillips bit. These screws released the TV and the steel frame it was attached to. The frame was massive and weighed nearly as much as the TV did! Once it was removed it unfortunately revealed (see header photo) that there wasn’t going to be any useful storage behind the TV so now my original plan was shot and I had to come up with a plan B.

more Rockport area 015After looking at the steel frame I had an idea that I may actually be able to salvage part of it to assemble the new TV. After lots of head scratching I came up with a hybrid steel and 2X4 frame that would be the support for the new TV. So back to Lowe’s to exchange what I didn’t need and get the new items needed for plan B. I used a hacksaw to cut the bottom of the frame off and then I attached it to the 2x4’s with bolts and chiseled the wood so the frame was recessed into it.

more Rockport area 017Once the frame was stabilized the TV was attached to it and installed in the space. This made me aware of the speaker placement in the back of the TV so I made a support piece for the bottom edge (photo above) of the TV Last Day in Rockport 046that I could attach some fabric to so sound could get through. Then I created a few support blocks that I screwed into the cabinet to lock in the new frame so it wouldn’t move while driving.

Now I also wanted this new TV to play the audio through our receiver so when we watched movies we could get surround sound. Our old TV would not do this. This required me to order a special converter to make it happen. I found an inexpensive one from Monoprice that would convert the analog audio signal to digital since my receiver did not have an input jack for digital sound. This and an additional 10 foot HDMI cable was all the electrical stuff I needed for Plan B.

Last Day in Rockport 002With the new cables installed and the frame securely attached all I needed to do was to come up with a solution for the top and bottom gaps created by the new TV. However I didn’t want anything solid as it would block both the sound from the TV speakers that were in the back of the TV and it would also block the remote IR signal. The solution turned out to be an inexpensive one! I simply bought plastic gutter guard. This plastic mesh designed for keeping leaves out of a roof gutter was perfect for the job.

Last Day in Rockport 047So I cut the gutter guard to the right dimensions and stapled it to the back of the frame. Then I attached some industrial strength Velcro to the backside of the frame. The only thing left is to get the fame trimmed a little on the right and left sides to expose the entire width of the TV. Since I don’t have access to a band saw or a jig saw and a router the trimming of the frame will wait until I can borrow one. I attached the Velcro on the two sides that won’t be trimmed and hung it up. Looks pretty nice for an amateur…

Hopefully now that we are in College Station I can get an old buddy of mine to let me use his wood shop to finish up the job and while we are here we will go ahead and replace the back TV as well. In the meantime we can now use my laptops Blue Ray DVD player and attach it to our TV with the new HDMI cable to watch movies and listen to digital surround sound through our old receiver. Total cost of this job was right around $500.00 including the TV. Sweet!, movie night will now be more awesome in Abbey our beloved motorhome…


  1. So envious! We've been wanting to replace these old analog things for ages. We just never seem to get around to it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Nice job! Looking good and something you'll enjoy for some time...

  3. Nice to get that renovation done while you can get access to some tools.
    Someday ours will be replaced too, but hey its still working.

  4. Good job!!! Watch that ladder there pal.