We knew when purchasing a new motorhome there would be modifications and upgrades that we would want to make to make the vehicle more like a home and be able to provide a more comfortable lifestyle. We had read many reviews on various models of motorhomes including the one we purchased and knew that it would not be perfect and that some work would need to be done before venturing out long distances. Moset of these mods were not because things didn’t work but because they didn’t work they way we would like them to, as usual!

We made both major upgrades and several minor ones.  We prioritized our list and focused on the ones we knew for sure we wanted.  We have another list of potential items to do in the future but we will wait on those.  We will cover those items in a future post.

We will start with the major upgrades and modifications first.

1) Addition of a Satellite Dish

The View came pre-wired for satellite but did not have a Satellite Dish mounted on the roof.  No problem for us as we added one.  We added a Pathway X1 Antenna (White) & DISH Wally HD Receiver Bundle. This required a roof mount kit and was easily installed and so far, knock on wood, works like a charm.

Winegard Satellite Dish
Winegard Satellite Dish
Winegard Satellite Dish Roof Mount Kit
Winegard Satellite Dish Roof Mount Kit

Of course we do have a DISH satellite subscription for On The Go (RV) along with a DVR which we had on our previous motorhome.  We mounted the receiver vertically against the back wall of the cabinet behind the TV to help save space. The DVR sits on top of it and both are attached to the wall behind them with velcro.

DISH Reciever and DVR
DISH Reciever and DVR in a vertical mount

Although the Sat TV was fine we also often watch movies that we have on DVD or on a hard drive so I decided to install an old Blu-Ray player we had collecting dust since we got a smart TV for the house.

DISH Reciever Power Strip and Blu-Ray Payer

I soon discovered the next shortcoming Winnebago did when wiring the TV.  They only passed one HDMI cable out to the jack in the compartment and I needed two, one for the Sat receiver and one for the BR player.  I installed a two-output HDMI outlet plate and ran two new HDMI cables to the TV.  The existing HDMI cable is a very nasty thick/stiff cable so it was scrapped and replaced with two thinner/flexible cables.

Dual HDMI Outlet

The Dish Rx Remote is RF so it worked fine with the receiver behind the TV, however the BR Player uses an IR remote which won’t function without an IR line-of-site from the remote to the payer.  Needless to say, getting up and opening the TV compartment every time we wanted to control the BR player got old very quickly so I installed an IR repeater.

IR Repeater with dual IR LEDs pointing at BR Player

I mounted the receiver for the IR remote just above the microwave.

Receiver for IR Repeater

We can now control the BR player in the TV compartment from anywhere in the Living Room.

2) Added 2 More Solar Panels

Our View came with 2-100 watt solar panels mounted flat on the roof.

View 24D Solar Panels
Original 2 – 100 Watt Solar Panels – factory installed by Winnebago

We knew we needed to upgrade the solar and the batteries to allow us to boondock and keep the compressor fridge going amongst other items.  Tests which were done by Litchsinn RV on a Winnebago Navion/View on the Zamp Solar System powering a Norcold Refrigerator is documented on You Tube.

The tests showed that the fridge could maintain adequate cooling temperatures for about 3 days when using nothing else (no one living in it and using lights, TV, water pump, etc.). The sky was a bit cloudy/overcast for the tests which allowed for some testing in real situations. A limitation of approximately 3 days is not ideal and we knew we needed to do something, either replace the fridge with a 3 way (AC,DC,propane) or add more solar and battery capacity. We thought we would take the easy route first (the latter) and see how that works before buying and installing a new fridge.

A generator can be used to charge up the batteries but we really hate to run the rather noisy generator and try not to except for situations when we have no other viable alternative and/or maintenance.

With the factory installed 2 solar panels already on the roof on the passenger side there isn’t much real estate left to add many more panels but it can be done. There is some shading which is bound to occur from the a/c and also from the newly mounted satellite dish that we installed. My husband laid out a few different designs with different sized panels to figure out the best use of real estate measured against wattage, cost, and benefits.

The additional solar panels we purchased were the Renogy (2 pieces) 100 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panels and we mounted them on the roof on the driver side. This would give us a theoretical total of 400 Watts of solar energy.

Renogy Solar Panels Description
Renogy Solar Panels Description

Below is the wiring diagram for panels as provided by Renogy.  The View came equipped with three ports with SAE connectors on the roof for attaching solar panels.  Two of the ports were used by the existing Zamp panels so the third port was used for the additional two panels which were wired in parallel.  The only potential glitch during the install is that I discovered that the existing SAE connectors which are wired opposite to the de-facto standard for SAE connectors!  This required making a short “gender changer” cable and an adapter cable to go from the standard MC4 solar connectors to the reverse-wired SAE connector on the open port.

Our new panels prior to mounting

Solar Panels
Our newly purchased panels before mounting on roof

Panels being mounted – note the newly installed Satellite Dish also in the picture

Winnebago View 24D roof mounted solar panels
Busy mounting additional solar panels on driver side of roof

Here are the panels in action.

4 – 100 watt solar panels in action

During periods of unobstructed sunshine on a partly cloudy day we were seeing some readings like this:

Reading with close to full sun

On a party cloudy day, in Arizona, in March the panels were producing about 90 Amp-hours (Ah) and we were waking up in the morning with the house and chassis batteries over 13 volts.  So far so good!

3) Replaced The Original House Batteries

The original house batteries provided by Winnebago were  2 deep-cycle Group 24 RV batteries (flooded lead-acid) which each weigh about 42 lbs and are 9 3/8 in high and 10 3/4 in wide and are rated at approximately 70 Ah.  Since they are lead-acid batteries the actual usable capacity is roughly 50% of the rated capacity.  That’s a total of 84 lbs and approximately 70 Ah which we calculated to be inadequate for boondocking.  The compressor fridge seems to have a duty cycle of close to 50% even in relatively cool weather and the compressor draws more than 5A when active so the fridge alone requires roughly 60Ah.  When we add in lights, some TV viewing, charging laptops, etc. the daily Ah capacity required to avoid running the generator is well beyond the capacity of the OEM batteries – we clearly needed significantly more battery capacity!

We replaced the OEM betteries with Lithium-Iron-Phosphate Batteries (LiFePO4) 12 Volt 100 Ah) which each weigh about 28 lbs and are approximately 260 mm (10.2 inches) long, 158 mm (6.2 inches)  wide, and 246 mm high (9.6 inches).  This means that the LiFePO4 batteries are a drop-in replacement for the original house batteries.  They weigh significantly less (total of 56 lbs) and provide much more energy. LiFePO4 batteries have more usable capacity of up to 80% without significantly shortening the life of the batteries.   Overall these batteries give us roughly double the capacity and a saving of 28 lbs from the original lead acid batteries.

Besides being lighter and having more usable capacity, the LiFePO4 batteries also are faster and more efficient at charging, are pretty much maintenance free, and have an extended life cycle.

The down side?  They are not inexpensive!

The original batteries were located under the steps when you enter the motorhome from behind the passenger seat.  We removed the original batteries and inserted the 2 new LiFePO4 batteries which are lighter and fit easily in the existing battery compartment.  Some re-cabling was required since the LiFePO4 batteries had the posts on the opposite side compared to the Napa batteries.  Since I had to make some short connector cables I decided to replace the the existing cables.  The original cables were stiff and of marginal capacity considering the new lithium batteries so I replaced them with “00” flexible welding cable.  I also re-located the fuse holder and modified the battery restraint brackets.

Winnebago View 24D House Battery compartment under steps
House Battery compartment under steps – installing the lithium iron batteries
Winnebago View 24D House Battery compartment under steps
House Battery compartment under steps – showing the newly installed lithium iron batteries.  Note the much heavier new cable vs the old light cable.

4) Added A Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer

A major omission in Winnebago’s DC electrical design is that the chassis batteries are not charged in concert with the house batteries.  When parked for a period of time the parasitic loads on the chassis batteries will run them down even if the vehicle is plugged into shore power with the converter maintaining the house batteries fully charged.  We added a Trik-L Start module which allows for charging the chassis batteries from the house batteries when the house batteries are above a threshold voltage (approx 13.2V).  This ensures the chassis batteries are maintained as long as the house batteries are being charged by shore power, generator, or solar panels.

I installed the Trick-L-Start in the box that the passenger seat is mounted on.  In that compartment you have access to cables from both the House and Chassis batteries so connecting the Trick-L-Start is a very easy job.  The input is connected to the hot cable from the house batteries to the boost relay and the output is connected to the cable coming from the chassis battery to the boost relay.  Probably the most time consuming part was removing the passenger seat in order to get at the cables where they are attached to the relays.  I mounted the unit inside the seat box but I have heard of others mounting it on the outside and just running the wires through to the inside.  In either case you really need to remove the seat to get at the cables.

Trik-L-Start installed in passenger seat box

There is a battery boost switch on the 3500 Sprinter Chassis which is used to temporarily connect the house and chassis batteries together in order to start the vehicle if the chassis batteries have been run down.  This is useful in an emergency but it is *much* better to keep the chassis batteries charged so that you never need to use the boost switch.

 

Sprinter 3500 dash buttons
Lights and switches on Sprinter 3500 dash (left of steering wheel) for tow brake light, stabilizers, and battery boost

There is also a switch on the dash to change the radio from Engine to House batteries. You can switch the radio to house batteries to allow the operation of the dash radio (Riverpark Xite) while parked and hopefully then not put a drain on the chassis batteries. Switch it back to Engine while driving.  Since installing the Trik-L-Start module, we tend to leave the switch in the Engine position.

Sprinter 3500 dash radio engine house switch
Switch to toggle between engine or house battery for the Sprinter dash radio

The Trik-L-Start seems to be working fine.

 

Trik-L Start Charger
Trik-L Start Charger

 

5) Added Sewer Hose Storage

Our View came with a sewer hose storage container on the driver side’s basement which is located under the slide. It is inconvenient to use those basement compartments when the slide is out though not impossible.  The compartment has a plastic container with an opening that you can slide a BARE sewer hose into but you must first remove any fitting on the end. This is cumbersome at best, and just plain ridiculous considering you no longer have a positive connection at the sewer entrance.  You have to just shove the bare sewer hose down the hole and hope it doesn’t pop out during a dump of the black tank!  Overall this potentially good idea of a storage compartment was completely unworkable and was removed which had the additional benefit of providing a good bit more storage in the rear compartment.

Basement compartment - driver side - under slide
Diagram showing the original factory installed sewer hose container

Both of these items were addressed by removing the sewer hose storage plastic container thhereby freeing up more basement compartment storage space.  More space is always good.  I mounted a plate over the hole that was left after the removal of the hose holder.

Winnebago View 24D sewer hose storage
The useless Winnebago View 24D sewer hose storage – after removal from the basement compartment
Basement compartment - driver side - under slide
Extra space in compartment now that the factory installed sewer hose container has been removed

We purchased a sewer hose storage system which mounts to the bottom of the rig close to the dump controls.  We purchased a Super-Slider Adjustable Super-Tube 43/80 after watching a review by The Fit RV on You Tube .

This tube is big enough to accommodate the hose with connector attached and it is MUCH easier to insert/retrieve the hose plus it is adjacent to the dump valve and not under the slide – another big bonus.

Super Slider-4380
Super Slider-4380

 

Super Slider-4380-Description
Super Slider-4380-Description

Mounting the Super Slider was straight forward.  I added a 1×2″ strip of wood to the sloped part of bottom of the compartment to provide more clearance as well as to spread the attachment points. The tube is then screwed to the wood strip, not directly to the chassis.

On the far side mounted it directly to the bottom of the Wet Compartment.  I used  large washers inside the compartment to prevent the bolts from pulling through the plastic although the tube with the hose inserted is very light.

The sewer hose is now in a so much more convenient location and actually works great!!!!

Our new sewer hose storage system mounted

 

6) Added a DC-DC Converter for Reduction of Solenoid Power Consumption

The View has an electrically operated solenoid which opens and closes the main valve on the LP tank. This switch-operated valve is convenient however it draws a considerable amount of current in the “ON” position. When the solenoid is on the coil is continually energized which draws roughly 900mA at 13.2 VDC from the batteries when not connected to shore power.  This drain amounts to roughly 24 AH over a 24 hour period. Of course if propane isn’t required full-time this could be reduced by only switching the LP on when required.  This isn’t practical when the stove, furnace or hot water are required.

Other View owners had reported that the solenoid valve will operate at a much lower voltage than the nominal 13.2 VDC. Lowering the voltage applied to the solenoid will proportionally reduce the current and overall energy required to keep the LP available to the coach. In order to reduce the voltage I installed a DC-DC variable converter with adjustable current limiting and LED readouts for voltage & current.  I reduced the voltage to where the solenoid would no longer operate (about 3.5V), then increased it to 5V where it would operate reliably.

DC-DC Variable Converter

The solenoid now operates reliably at 5.0 VDC and only draws 170 mA so the 24 Hr usage is reduced from 24 AH to roughly 4.5 AH and when boondocking and charging the battery bank using solar panels this is a significant saving.

After I confirmed the reliable operation of the solenoid on 5V during a few trips, I swapped out the vairable converter with a fixed 5V converter. The variable one is just too handy around the shop to be permanently installed in the RV 🙂

Here is a link to the 5V fixed converter now permanently installed in the View:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-Waterproof-to-DC-buck-Converter-12V-to-3-3-3-3-7-5-6-9V-Power-Supply-Module-/361157743941?var=&hash=item5416add545

Other Miscellaneous Modifications

7) Removal of Various Items

The following items were removed from the RV to give us more space and to save on our weight allowance.  We did not dispose of them but they were items we didn’t think we would be using or we thought they were not necessary. We still have them and can put them back in anytime we want.

2 Booster Seats – The Sprinter Chassis driver and passenger seats can swivel to face into the coach therefore 2 booster seats are provided so when you sit on the seats your knees don’t come to your chin (ha, ha…). We had a Sprinter chassis before and rarely swiveled the seats so we thought we would remove them and save on storage space.

Extra table and pole – The View 24D comes with an extra table and pole which can be mounted either between the driver and passenger seats or next to the couch. We felt that our needs only required the dinette table and again we wanted to save on space and weight so we removed them.

Both sink covers – The kitchen sink has 2 sink covers which provide extra counter space. We felt the kitchen counter space was adequate and having the 2 sink covers would require always having to put them somewhere when using the sink. Out they go!

Curtain which hangs around bed – The View comes with a large curtain which can be hung around the Murphy bed/couch to provide privacy. This isn’t something needed by us and takes up a fair bit of storage space that could be used for clothes or other items. Out it goes!

Cab over bunk mattress and ladder – The mattress and ladder weigh quite a bit and when we aren’t in need of extra sleeping space then out it goes. We added a carpet to the area where the mattress usually sits for both aesthetic reasons and also to keep items (such as coats and hats) more secure. Of course, if the grandkids come then we can easily put the mattress and ladder back in.

Cab over bunk View 24D
Cab over bunk with mattress removed and carpet installed

8) Added a TPMS – Tire Pressure Monitoring System and Valve Stem Extensions

We removed the TPMS from our previous Class A and are now using it on our View. We bought it years ago at the RV tent show in Quartzsite and it still works great.  We have TPMS senders on the six wheels of the View and probably more importantly on the tires of the toad.  It is not obvious if/when a tire on the toad deflates – this TPMS gives us piece of mind knowing we will get an alarm and reading of both tire pressure and temperature on all tires.

Unfortunately Winnebago didn’t provision the View with valve stem extensions that allow access from the face of the wheel for service and subsequently do not make it easy to install TPMS sender units on the valve stems.  What was needed was a straight extender on the inside dual and a “U” extender on the outside dual.

Detail of the U Valve Stem Extender on Outer Dual

Valve Stem Extenders and TPMS Senders Installed

These TPMS senders are the “flow-through” type so that air can be added/removed from the tire without removing the sender.

Tire Safe Guard TPMSTPMS Display Display

9) Adjusted the Kitchen Sink Faucet

On our first drive from the RV dealer home we noticed that the kitchen sink faucet would easily swivel, even while driving. It would swing around and hit the kitchen window. Not good. So when we got home my husband added an thick rubber elastic band around the fixture to allow it to still swivel but with some resistance so it now stays put. Problem solved! And it looks half decent.

Kitchen sink faucet
Kitchen sink faucet with band installed to limit reckless movement

10) Bubble Levelers

We don’t have hydraulic leveling jacks with this RV but we do have stabilizers. This will mean a bit more of a job to level. My hubby installed a couple bubble levelers hidden inside the fuel door to aid with leveling.  When the fuel door is open one bubble indicates fore/aft level and the other indicates the side-to-side level.

Leveling Bubbles by fuel fill
Leveling Bubbles by fuel fill

11) Added a trash can under sink

One of the problems we saw with many of the Class B+/Class C motorhomes we looked at was either no location for a decent sized trash can or no location for a trash can at all.  What is a decent sized trash can you ask? Well, that is very subjective.

We measured the area under the sink very carefully and looked around both at stores and online for a trash can (with a lid/cover – a strong requirement since we are sleeping close to the trash) that would fit under the sink.  The trash can needed to not have a straight flip up lid due to the small area. We found, what we thought was, a perfect sized trash can with a swing top lid online at Wayfair. We ordered it and, lo and behold, the advertised measurements were for the trash can without taking into account the lid therefore it did not fit under the sink.  We did, however, decide to keep it (and notified Wayfair of the actual measurements) and simply cut a section out and pop-rivited it back together.

There is now plenty of room to allow the swing top trash can to swing and not hit the sink above it. We love the modified can and it works perfectly! By the way, it was advertised as 9.5 gallons and when we received the product it stated it was 9.2 gallons. After cutting it down we assume it is around 7 or 8 gallons. That to us is a decent sized trash can.  The only other one we could find was 2.6 gallons. That would not be a decent sized trash can to us.

Swing Top Trash Can - Modified
Swing Top Trash Can that we cut down to fit under the kitchen sink

12) Added Boot Trays

Boot trays make an easy place to store shoes/boots for easy access when parked. We purchased 2 shoe trays which are 20″ x 15″ each and they can either be stacked when traveling or put one behind each of the drivers seat and the passenger seat when parked. These are smaller than normal shoe trays and we found that the standard sized ones were in the way when we walked from the cab to the coach and vice versa.

Small boot tray
A smaller than normal boot/shoe tray

 

13) Foot Stool

We purchased a bean bag foot stool to use by the couch and opted to not use the table which can be mounted by the couch when parked. We felt the dinette table was good enough for us but can always change our mind later.  The foot stool is light enough to be stowed on the cab over bunk and small enough to fit under the bed when the Murphy bed is pulled down. It can also be used a extra seating or as a little coffee table.

Bean bag foot stool cube
Bean bag foot stool cube – can be used as a coffee table, foot stool, or extra seat

 

AND a variety of other upgrades

14) We mounted a indoor/outdoor temperature gauge and clock to the wall which we had in our Class A.

15) We mounted a magazine rack by the dinette for various items such as reservations, maps, e-readers, mail, etc.

16) We installed brackets in the driver side basement (rear wall) to mount wash brushes and our hiking sticks.

17) We labeled several of the switches which were not labelled to help us remember what is what.  They included the switches as you enter the coach on the left side and are for the outside light, the cab over bunk light, the skylight, and the galley light. We also labeled the switches outside the bathroom door for the Murphy bed up/down and the bedroom ceiling light.

18) We added labels to the dashboard (in both feet/inches and metres) of the height of the RV and the length of the RV. This helps in quick decisions when driving anywhere where there are height or length restrictions. Having it in metres helps us quickly from doing the math (and making an error) while driving in Canada.

19) We put a label on the Truma control switch in the bathroom. The dial is located in the corner of the bathroom and the controls are very difficult to read because they are small and in the shadows. We put a piece of tape on the control dial and also on the off switch to know they need to be aligned to have the unit off. Otherwise it is impossible to see where the dial is located.

Truma Aqua Go controls
Truma Aqua Go controls

20) We added 2 additional shelves in the bathroom medicine cabinet and 1 additional shelf in the cabinet below the bathroom sink.

21) We mounted a small spice rack to the wall close to the stove.

22) We mounted 2 more towel hooks in the bathroom. There is one close to the shower which is a bit of a shallow hook and nothing seems to stay on it while traveling.

23) We mounted a toothbrush holder under the bathroom medicine cabinet.

24) We put pillows on the dinette so we can sit lengthwise if we want to relax some.

25) We added a thick carpet under the dinette for those cold days.

26) We added floor mats in the Sprinter chassis. Nope, they did not come with any.

27) We removed the holders for the cab over bunk ladder and put 2 coat hooks in their place.

Winnebago View 24D
Coat Hooks in place of the bunk ladder – can easily be switched back

28) Broom Storage  We added a few hooks under the kitchen sink for a small broom and dust pan and fly swatter. We have a swiffer with a collapsible handle for mopping the floors which we store under the dinette seats. We have yet to decide if we want to use space and weight for some kind of cordless vacuum. Too soon to tell.

Winnebago View 24D
We cut down a broom and mounted it

29) Inside Screen Door Handle.  We added a door handle to the inside of the screen door on the screen door slider. Without the handle you have to open the slider, go inside, grab the opening of the slider to shut the screen door, and then close the screen door slider every time you go in. A nuisance! Now you just open the screen door, go inside, and grab the newly installed handle to shut the screen door.

Handle on inside of Screen Door

30) Levelling Blocks.  We had to purchase leveling blocks. Yes, we are back to the days of having to do a manual leveling. Maybe hydraulic jacks are in our future?

31) Media Player and Movie Storage.  We added a DVD Player which accepts USB input from an external hard drive with videos and/or music.  The 32″ Insignia TV which comes with the View only allows USB input with JPEG format photos.  Our DISH Receiver mounted in the rig only allows USB input for a DVR drive. The Jensen entertainment system (in the coach) provides a radio, DVD player, and a USB input but we tried multiple devices (USB stick, USB external hard drive 1 TB, USB external hard drive 5 TB) with the following formats (jpeg, jpg, mkv, mp4, mp3) and the TV would never recognize them. Maybe we are just too stupid to figure it out but we had a DVD player in the house with a USB input which allows us to plug in a USB device and the TV can recognize the video/music/photos with no problem.

32) Inverted AC Outlet. We added a sorely needed single 125VAC outlet near the entry door under the radio on the kitchen counter waterfall area.

Inverted AC Outlet by Door

33) Slide Switch Modification.  We modified the slide control switch to allow opening and closing the slide without the engine running.  The parking brake still must be set for the slide to operate.  This can be accomplished by moving the wire on the plug from the #8 (top) position to the #2 position and just tape up the wire that originally went to #2.  The #8 position is no longer used.

Modified Slide Switch Connection

34) Always Powered USB & 12V Outlet.  We added an additional pair of outlets by the bed which provides an always powered 12V socket and a double USB power outlet.  The two existing USB outlets require 125V AC in order for them to function so we needed to either be connected to shore power or have the inverter turned on for the USB outlets to be powered.  We don’t normally leave our inverter on, especially overnight when boondocking so they are pretty well useless for our purposes.  We now power a digital clock mounted to the wall from the new USB outlet and charge small items from this outlet without turning on the inverter.

Always Powered USB and 12V Outlets

 

The source for the always-powered outlets is the 12V supply line for the water pump which is under the sofa.  The power for the water pump is always on.

35) Automatic Transfer Switch.  The absence of an automatic transfer switch between shore power and the generator output annoyed me to the point where I could no longer put up with “manually switching” i.e. crawling on hands and knees in the dark plugging the shore power cable into the generator output plug so that we could use the AC at night or some other power hungry appliance that can’t run on the inverter.

I chose a model, one of the few I could find, that is housed in a sturdy metal box.  Call me old fashioned but I just wasn’t keen on those that come in a plastic case.  It is well labeled and very straight forward to connect to the shore, generator and panel cables.

30A Transfer Switch

I find it disappointing that the 24D didn’t come with one of these in the first place but it is now installed and working well.  I removed the existing junction box and 30A outlet box and installed the transfer switch in the same general area.  It is quite awkward to work in that small compartment but in my estimation it is well worth the effort.

Transfer Switch Installed

36) House Battery Monitor. The 24D View has only limited ability to see the details of the use and replentishment of energy in the house batteries.  After swapping out the stock lead-acid batteries for LiFePO4 batteries I was especially interested in monitoring not just what the instantenous voltage is but how much the batteries are supplying to maintain the various DC loads as well as how much current is required when the inverter is being used.

I was aware of some very capable systems like those provided by Victron and others but I wasn’t too keen on the cost so I looked for a “poor man’s” solution.  The answer was a pair of these simple and inexpensive MICTUNING ($17 each) meters.  They provide the information I was looking including voltage, in/out amps, and watt-hours since reset.  Initial impression is that they seem to work well.  Perhaps the only “shortcoming” is that, in order to monitor both charge and discharge, one needs a pair of meters since they will only register positive current flow.  A second meter is required to measure the opposite direction current flow with the shunt wired in the opposite polarity.  Only a single shunt is required for both meters.

Display during battery discharge

And during charging

There is precious little space for the meters in a View, none in the existing panel so I mounted them on the bulkhead behind the passenger seat.  The box is bigger than required but I had this old aluminum box repurposed from the dark ages when if you wanted a 1200 baud modem you built your own.

Bulkhead on right at entry door

37) Water Hose & Shore Cable Storage.  Early on we found that hooking up shore power and water was time consuming and we felt that there was no really convenient place to stow of the power cable and the water hose.  While snooping around under the RV I discovered that the panel immediatly forward of the service bay was not fixed to the wall but was actually mounted on hinges just like the aft bay door however it was secured with a couple of screws so it could not be opened.  Behind that door is the black tank but between the door and the tank there is enough room to store both the shore power cable and the water hose.   I decided that could be a great place to store the coiled power cable and water hose so I removed the screws that secured the door, fabricated a couple of hangers, added a strut and a hasp and then “permanently” connected the power cable to the transfer switch and the water hose to the shore water input.  Much more convenient!

Shore Water Hose and Power Cable Storage

Strut Holding Door Open

I initially planned on mounting two struts but found that one seems to hold the door open just fine.  I used the same strut as the service door.  I mounted it so that it opens more than horizontal, this helps getting access to the hose and cable but the down side is that I must make sure the door is closed before opening the slide.  This arrangement works for me.

Strut Door Mount

Door Portion of Latch

Latch Closed (Need Better Paint!)

This is the latch I used.

This is probably just the start of our upgrades and modifications. It is a learning process and requires more time traveling in it and living in it to determine what needs to be done or not done and to determine if we even like the rig or not. It takes time to get used to downsizing and having a different rig. We drove the other rig for over 8 years so we are now going through an adjustment period.

Stay tuned for our next mod.

      1. Very good article and I will be adding some of these.
        I just ordered the Trik-L starter and am wondering where you mounted the module?
        We just picked up our new (to us) 2019 View.
        Dan

        1. Norm,
          I am sorry, should have started a new thread instead of tagging on to this one. Did not see the replay at end of the comments.

    1. Why do you turn the inverter off at night? How much does it draw when nothing is powered on for those 8 hours?
      Plan to replace the AGM house batteries with the new Relion RBG100-LT (low temperature) lithium ones and thought about thicker cables but with the very short length a thicker gauge cable seems of little value.

      1. Our inverter draws something over 7 amps just idling with no AC loads so over night the consumption is in the order of 70 AH. When you combine this with what the fridge draws it will consume a good portion of the 160 AH that is available from a pair of fully charged 100 AH batteries. Of course our batteries are never fully charged when we turn in becuase we like to watch a movie or some satellite TV in the evenings so we might only have 150 AH of charge when we turn the lights out. We also like to make coffee in the morning using the inverter which draws about 65 amps while it is brewing so, yes, for us it is useful to turn the inverter off over night when it isn’t required to power any AC devices leaving ample capacity in the morning before the solar charging really kicks in to re-charge the batteries.

        Cables: you make a good point that the cable runs are relatively short and if you don’t plan to upgrade the inverter to a 2000W unit anytime in the future the existing cables will be fine. However if you ever want to upgrade the inverter so that you can power the microwave, you will be drawing at least 130 amps from the batteries and heavier cables will help reduce voltage drop and resistive losses in the cables. Flexible cables (like welding cable) are a bonus and makes them much easier to work with, especially if your Relions have a different terminal arrangement than the existing AGM batteries that you are replacing.

        Good luck with the project, you will appreciate the extra energy and quick charging of those LiFePO4 batteries.

  1. I thought lithium batteries replacements required a different charger/ inverter?

    1. Hi Eugene,

      Ideally yes, a better charger that had a charge profile for lithium batteries would be better. As it is, the stock charger does work, sort of.. but the good news is that the solar charger works better and has a lithium profile and I installed two additional solar panels so when the sun shines the lithium batteries get charged more fully. Also when we are driving the alternator charges the batteries fully and when we are plugged in to AC the batteries are kept at about 13.2V by the converter which, although not fully charging the batteries, it is fine for just maintaining the batteries.

      As for inverter, the stock one works OK but only puts out 1kW. I intend to replace it with a 2kW inverter that has a much better internal converter and transfer switch. Then I will be able to power the microwave and other appliances off the inverter as required. I will need to re-wire the outlets but that is straight forward. A bonus is that I will be able to relocate the existing transfer switch to generator/shore power duty. It seems Winnebago has realized how sub-standard the batteries/charger/inverter are and designed the 2020 View with many of these issues sorted out properly – unfortunately we have to do the mods ourselves to get a reasonable system.

      Norm

      1. What charge controller would you get if you upgraded?
        Driving charges the batteries fully? To what voltage?
        Is the switch worth it so far?
        I have a 2017 Navion 24J on my second set of Lead Acid batteries.
        I run from town to town for business and boon-dock during the week.
        Try to find something interesting on the weekends. Ideally in nature but a KOA to do laundry and see urban sites works too.
        I am thinking, If driving fully charges the Li Battery I’ll be in good shape.

        1. Hi Thomas,

          I haven’t upgraded or fully researched charge controllers yet but it would have to have a LiFePO charge profile and ideally allow for custom settings. It should also have a bit more monitor capability showing the charge mode in effect and hopefully the capability to manually select a mode.

          The alternator does charge the batteries. I suspect that after some hours of driving the batteries do get well charged because the indicated voltage is about 14.4V but whether they are “fully” charged I cannot tell with my current lack of a good battery monitor system.

          For us the decision wasn’t so much “is it worth it” as “do we want to be able to boondock without running the generator daily”. Since we do like being able to boondock without running the generator increasing the battery capacity was almost manadatory for our RV. The 24D comes with a DC only fridge which consumes more energy than the two stock (puny) Lead-Acid batteries could deliver over a night following a cloudy day in warm weather. We now have at least twice the energy available and with a total of four solar panels we can boondock for extended periods without resorting to running the generator – unless of course we have a few consecutive days of heavy overcast or we are parked in a heavily treed campground!

          Sorry I can’t be more difinitive but hope that helps a bit.

          Norm

          1. Thanks for the kind words and feedback, Lisa is the webmaster and has done all the work keeping up the blog.

  2. I have a 2019 View 24D. I also installed 2 Battle Born batteries to replace the original batteries. My Zamp controller never seems to fully recharge the BBs. It never shows over 13.4 on its display while recharging with solar. We were very good boondockers in our old RV, but are struggling with energy management with the View. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    1. Sorry Daniel I can’t offer much help other than to commiserate!

      I have experienced the same issues you have. It is unfortunate that Winnebago chose to install such a low end controller that doesn’t allow any adjustment to charge profiles, or even to view them. I do see about 13.6V before it starts flashing “Full” but that is well short of what it should be for a LiFePO batteries. Since no adjustments are possible I have been considering swapping out the controller for a more capable one and maybe a battery monitor as well if the functionality is not provided in the controller.

      How much solar do you have on the roof? If find 4x100W to be just barely sufficient for extended boondocking. Since the panels are mounted flat they only approach 300W output when the sun is directly overhead.

      Although I find it frustrating to have such a basic controller I find the lack of an automatic transfer switch even more irritating! Cheaping out on some of these systems really detracts from the rest of the coach.

      1. Hi Norm,
        I am taking your advice and adding the 200W of solar as well as the Lithium Iron Pho batteries to my 2018 Navion this winter. Now that you have had this upgrade installed for a while is there anything you would have done differently or are you still pleased as punch? 🙂

        1. Hi Steve,
          The addition of the solar with the new batteries has worked out pretty much
          as expected. We are now able to boondock without running the genny unless
          we are parked in a heavily treed site or we have several consecutive days
          of heavy overcast which was the goal. So, yes I am pleased.

          As for doing anything differently with the solar/batteries, I really don’t think so.

          I still have a few items on my wish list though:
          – A more capable/flexible solar charge controller with custom profile for LiFePO
          – An automatic transfer switch for the shore/generator input
          – A 2KW inverter/converter with built-in transfer switch and better monitoring
          – A “real” fan in the bathroom
          – An infotainment system that actually works

          1. Hi Norm,
            I just completed the install of two additional 100W solar panels on the Navion and it looks good and is acting real nice! I did notice in the manual that the technical specs for the roof mounted three port solar cap is a maximum input of 150W per port. Do you have any concerns that we are now exceeding that rated maximum? -Steve

          2. Hi Steve,
            Sorry for the delay in replying, the e-mail notification must have gone astray..

            Good to hear your installation went well, the extra two panels should really help.

            Concerning the ports, I really don’t think it is a concern. The ports are combined so I think it would be more important to keep within the 450W for the total or about 30A total current. Of course the four panels when mounted flat on the roof will never actually put out the rated 400W or 28A. The best I have seen on a sunny summer day in Arizona summer is more like 25A so well within the 30A spec for the combined three ports. I don’t anticipate any problems.

      2. There is a setting on the solar charger control to accept lithium batteries as the storage type. I talked with Battle Born batteries and they walked me through the process of setting this mode.

        1. Press and hold down on the battery mode button until it blinks. You may need to get a step ladder as the type of battery indicator is at the bottom of the screen. When blinking push the mode button until it shows your type battery. When done the display will quit blinking and you are all set.

        2. Right, I also selected the LiFePO4 profile when I installed the new batteries. It seems to work all right but the controller doesn’t provide a lot of information i.e. no indication of which stage the controller is in at any time.

          1. I didn’t know the Zamp charger had that option; good to know. Most suggest LiFePO4 only needs bulk and float, no absorption. Also impressed at the prewire for extra panels AND the 30A charger, which with 24V panels should support up to 900W of solar.

            However, to maximize you want to go with MPPT; I’ve heard good things about the Rich Solar chargers which are available in 20 and 40A versions and there’s a Bluetooth module and an iOS app as well. Victron has really nifty products but SOOOOO expensive.

          2. Yes 24V panels with an MPPT controller would be ideal. If I started with a clean slate I would do that route, unfortunately with the View, as equipped, you would have to scrap/sell the existing solar system components. With the AC unit in the middle of the roof you will get some shadowing when sun angles are low but you would still be able to capture a lot of power.

            I’m not familiar with Rich, will have to look them up. Agree re Victron.

  3. Hi Norm,

    We take delivery of our new 2020 24D on Nov. 2nd. at Lichtsinn RV in Forrest City Iowa and then travel back to San Diego to outfit it! I have been using your Upgrades and Mods as a great resource and I really appreciate all of your work!

    The 2020 does not have your great cab pleated blinds but instead has folding ones like you see that people use in their cars. It has something to do with the redesign of the Mercedes cab and the front air bags. But there are many improvement that WBO made that mirror many of your upgrades and mods.

    There is a Fantastic Fan in the main part of the coach which I understand is quite good. My question is, the bathroom has a very small fan. Did you upgrade that fan to something like a Fantastic Fan or find it necessary? I think the roof opening size is the same as the original fan so one may fit. I think the fans can pull in fresh, cool air if it’s needed, especially at night so I wanted to get your opinion.

    Thanks Norm, safe travels and let us know when you have more adventures!!!
    Lou & Alicia in San Diego

    1. Hi Lou good to hear from you,

      Your 2020 24D sounds great and worth the wait.

      At first I thought the pleated window covers in our rig were a bit obtrusive but they work really well and we have come to really appreciate them. Hopefully the new system will work equally well.

      So true about the bathroom fan. It is puny, makes a lot of noise but doesn’t move much air. It also only has one speed. Our previous
      RV had Fantastic fans which we loved. They *really* moved air on high, had fully variable speed and were very quiet when run on low speeds. They were also reversable which was useful from time to time.

      So yes, I definitely want to replace the supplied fan and I agree that the roof opening seems to be a standard size. I haven’t ordered a new fan yet but it is on my list.

      I think the one in the middle might be more complicated to swap out but I think we would be happy with a good high-volume fan in the bathroom.

      I look forward to hearing about your first impressions of the 2020 when you get back to San Diego.

      Cheers,
      Norm

  4. Hi Norm,
    When you installed the Super Slider Tube on the passenger side did you bolt it thru the floor of the bin? -Steve

    1. Hi Steve,

      Yes, I used fairly big washers on the inside of the bin to distribute the weight, but in reality there is very little weight and it is has held up well.

  5. Great article/site! My wife and I own a 2018 Navion 24D. Our mods so far: Borg Dually valves, TPMS, Bluetooth Thermostat, 15 lb drawer closers (the stock 10 lb sometimes opened in curves, freaking out our dogs), and a step-through gate to keep the dogs in the back.
    The LiFePO4 capable replacement for the stock Progressive Dynamics PD9245C charge controller is the PD9145ALV (~$190). The main issue with Lithium Ion batteries (besides cost) is the risk to ruin them when charging below 32F/0 C. The house battery location under the stairs is vented (required for lead acid batteries), and should be insulated for Lithium Ion batteries to stay warm(er) in colder climates. Unless you go with Cold Weather Lithium Ion batteries (e.g. Relion LT), which are even more expensive, but won’t get ruined when charging at/below freezing temps.
    Re. Dan: Using the Zamp ZS-30’s Li/Ion battery profile, the Solar charging voltage should be 14.6V DC, which *should* top off your BB’s, as the 13.6V from the shore/alternator via the PD9245C will only charge Li-Ion batteries to ~2/3 capacity.
    The idea with the 5V DC step-down voltage for the LP Solenoid is a good modification. I first read about it on the viewnavion.com Web site (which is worth checking).
    Happy RV’ing,
    Alex from Northern California

    1. Hi Alex,
      Thanks for your comments and especially the pointer to the PD9145ALV which could certainly help with getting the most out of a set of LiFePO batteries.

      We also added valve stem extensions for the inner duals and “U” extension for the outer, TPMS and and more powerful drawer clasps.

      Regards,
      Norm

    2. Alex/Norm – from what I have read about charging the LiPo batteries when they may be below freezing temp is that the built-in Battery Management System will protect the battery and not allow the batteries to take a charge below a certain temperature. Let me know if you agree. I did buy some upholstery foam that I intend to pack around the batteries in an attempt to provide some insulation. For anyone who might be interested, I bought my LiPo batteries direct from China off the Alibaba site (China’s version of Amazon), exact same specs as Battle Born and paid about $700 for 2 batteries delivered to my house. I installed my SuperTube yesterday and that is pretty sweet deal.

      1. Hi Steve,
        I have read the same concerning charging below 0°C. Battle Born have stated that their built-in BMS will prevent charging the batteries below freezing. I have heard of some people installing battery warming blankets where they really do need to charge the batteries when the ambient outdoor temperature is well below 0°C. Of course you need to have some power source for the warmers but solar panels work very well in the cold and output even higher voltage as the temperature drops.

        You got an absolutely smokin’ deal on those batteries! I have never ordered from Alibaba but if I ever need more batteries I will definitely check them out. Thanks for the tip!

        1. UltraHeat makes a small tank heater that you could set the batteries on and I would think that would be sufficient. But after thinking on it we plan to NOT be in cold weather so it seemed like overkill and will just try the foam insulation which I imagine for us will be fine.

          1. That is also our reasoning. We live in Arizona and stick around the south in the winter. We don’t normally venture north to cooler climes until the summer heat down here chases us out.

          2. After reviewing the tip re. Alibaba, I am looking at the following Low Temperature 200ah LiFePO4 battery to replace the two wet Napa Group 24 House batteries in my 2018 Navion:
            https://www.meritsunpower.com/low-temperature-lithium-ion-battery-li-ion-lifepo4-battery-pack-12v-200ah-lifepo4-battery-and-bms-12v-200ah-with-bluetoo
            The cost on Alibaba is currently $615 plus shipping, AND it has self-contained Heating for charging at temps up to -30 C (!). Together with the PD9145ALV Charge controller, this should work for most climate zones.
            For those looking at the PD9145ALV, AND if you have a Trick-L-Start, please be aware: The constant charging voltage for LiFePO4 batteries is 14.6VDC, which means you might slowly destroy/cook your chassis battery, unless you reduce the voltage before the Trick-L-Start to 13.6VDC, which is appropriate for 12V Lead Acid/VRLA batteries.

          3. Alex,
            Thanks for sharing the link and that very interesting and valuable information about the batteries.

            As for the concern about using a Trick-L-Start with the PD9145ALV, I haven’t been able to find out exactly what is going on inside the sealed black box and the web page doesn’t really describe the function sufficiently. There is definitely a voltage drop between the input from the house and output to the chassis but some of the infomation (i.e. input voltage 12-18VDC) on the device spec page seem to imply that it also functions as a voltage regulator. It would however be prudent to monitor the chassis voltage when using a PD9145ALV plugged in to shore power for long periods of a time.

      2. Good afternoon Steve,
        We are getting ready to upgrade to Lithium Ion batteries as well. We were wondering what specific brand you purchased and how they are holding up. Hope your travels are going great!
        Bill & Vickie

  6. Hi Norm,
    Regarding the PD9145ALV, was wondering your opinion of the value of this upgrade considering you now have 4 solar panels which will get your batteries to show “Full” status quickly (although I understand they won’t reach “Full” while on shore power) and changing out the converter seems to be a bit of a PITA due to where it is located. While the PD9145ALV is ideal it may be more trouble that it is worth? Also, where the heck did you get the 15 LB drawer clasps? Really tired of having to baby those right-hand curves…:)
    -Steve
    Spicewood, TX

    1. Hi Steve,
      Excellent points about the PD. I was actually considering (still am) of replacing the inverter with a 2KW model that has a built in transfer switch and a charger that has a LiFePO charge profile. I would then just scrap/bypass the existing PD and relocate the inverter transfer switch to the back and use it between the Generator and the Shore Power. The reason for the 2KW inverter is so that I could run the microwave or 1500W tea kettle off the inverter.

      As for drawer clasps, I didn’t use the 15lb ones that others have, I just added a second clasp on the drawers – they now stay shut.

    2. I finally installed my low-temp 200Ah LiFePO4 battery w/ Bluetooth from China last weekend. Below freezing temps, the battery will take any charging current (i.e. alternator, shore/gen, solar), and warm up the Lithium Ion cells up to ~9-10 degrees Celsius first, before charging the battery. The cost on Alibaba is somewhat misleading. A single 200 Ah battery runs just under $1K plus shipping, the price goes down with higher quantities.
      Also replaced the PD2945C converter with the PD9145ALV at that point. The converter is located underneath the pantry on the 24D floorplan.
      I also have an update on the Trick-L-Start topic, to keep the chassis battery happy. The manufacturer (LSL) recently upgraded their bigger version (the Amp-L-Start) to include a jumper configuration to make it compatible with LiFePO4 batteries (actually it’s more about the charger/converter, and Zamp Solar setting). For those who have upgraded their House batteries to LiFePO4, and charge them with the recommended 14.6V, the Amp-L-Start will only “bridge” the connection to the Chassis battery between 13.35V and 13.45V House battery voltage (i.e. when the House batteries are not being charged). Those who kept their Lead Acid converter, and “wet” Zamp profile with LiFePO4 batteries, the Trick-L-Start should work to prevent the Chassis battery from slowly gassing out.

  7. Nice Mods!!!
    Love some detail on modifying the slide control switch to allow opening and closing the slide without the engine running… Giant pain in the butt. I have seen a few posts but no how-to.

    1. Hi Mark,
      I’m not advocating this mod but find it very convenient and I don’t feel that it jeopardizes my safety since the you still have to have the parking brake set for the slide switch to operate. In any case what I did was as follows:

      1) Pop out the slide switch and disconnect it from the 5-pin plug that plugs into.
      2) Move the wire that was at the top of the plug (Position #8) and attach it to position #2.
      3) If you have a tool to remove the wires from the plug you can just move the wires but I didn’t so I cut the wires from #8 and #2 and used a crimp connector to connect the old #8 wire to the old #2 stub.

      I’ve posted a pic in the blog entry which might make more sense than these words?

      Good luck and enjoy the mod!

  8. Norm/Alex: Regarding the Trik L Start “The constant charging voltage for LiFePO4 batteries is 14.6VDC, which means you might slowly destroy/cook your chassis battery, unless you reduce the voltage before the Trick-L-Start to 13.6VDC, which is appropriate for 12V Lead Acid/VRLA batteries.”

    I contacted Support at Trik L Start and they indicated that it works fine because the maintenance mode will be less than the 14.6 charge mode. The exact response was: “We have customers using TRIK-L-START with their BattleBorn LiPo house batteries – It works fine, as long as you confirm that your house battery charger or solar panel charge controller isn’t constantly maintaining your house batteries at any voltage higher than approx. 13.8 volts.

    Occasional excursions above this value (as typically occur while the panels are in the process of recharging the house batteries) are OK, but a long-term maintenance voltage above this value can cause excessive water loss in your starting batteries. For conventional lead-acid batteries, 13.5 volts is generally regarded as being the ideal maintenance voltage.”

    This make sense to me, what do you think? =Steve

    1. Interesting response from Trik-L-Start.

      A couple of thoughts:

      1) They still haven’t disclosed what exactly the circuit inside inside the box is actually doing. Is it as simple as a diode which would present a fixed voltage drop of about 0.5V or is it something more sophisticated. They seem to indicate in the ad literature that the input voltage has to be above a fixed threshold before the chassis battery will get any charge current – this sound like more than more than a simple diode. A diode would continue to drain the chassis batteries down to 0V?

      2) Their comment about reducing the input voltage to 13.6V seems to imply that there is no voltage drop accross the TLS but that isn’t what I observe. It would be nice if they would be a bit more forthcoming about exactly how their box functions.

      3) I have never observed sustained chassis battery voltages above 14.4V, and that only a few hours per day during peak solar, but I do see those voltages from the alternator which is directly connected to the chassis batteries. Supposedly Mercedes engineers chose the output voltage of the alternator for optimal functioning, but maybe not longevity, of the battery?

      4) Before I installed the T-L-S I did see the chassis battery being drawn down when the veh was parked and it didn’t take long – the worst was when the veh was on the dealer’s lot. I feel that those too low states of charge probably did more harm to the chassis battery than potential over charging due to the T-L-S.

      1. If I remember correctly, the Sprinter Alternator can provide a brief 14.6 V “boost” charge to the Chassis VRLA battery, IF it is drawn down extremely low. After a few minutes, the alternator goes into “bulk” charging mode at 13.6 V. If you see the 14.6 V at your alternator, the chassis battery may already be “on its last leg”.
        The Trick-L-Start comment about Lithium battery maintenance mode being lower than 14.6 V anyway deserves a “yes, BUT” response IMO. A Lithium Ion charge controller likely provides the required Constant Voltage of 14.6 V. The Batteries’ BMS (most often built into the battery) may drop the voltage internally to a float/maintenance 13.8 V, etc. if it is full. That means that your battery still gets 14.6 V at the posts, and that is what the Trick-L-Start sees.
        As far as I am concerned, the Lithium Ion House battery/ies, and the Trick-L-Start only “mix”, as long as the Lithium Ion battery receives 0 charge in Lithium Charging spec voltage (Lead/Acid spec voltage is OK). That means, you keep your PD9245C (and do not upgrade to the PD9145ALV or equivalent), and leave the Zamp ZS30-A in Wet mode. Of course, the Lithium Ion House battery will never get a full charge that way (2/3 to 80% max.). This is basically what Trick-L-Start told Steve.
        Otherwise, the chassis battery would get the same charging(!) voltage as your House battery receives at its posts during the trickle intervals, which is too high for a VRLA battery (i.e. it loses water, or slowly “cooks”).

  9. I have a 2019 24D. Having some problems with the slideout so I am looking for the control box for slideout. Where is it located ?

    1. I haven’t had occasion to deal with the slide control box but according the the WIRING INSTL-BODY,12V Diagram it is on the driver side in front of the forward storage compartment. The wiring diagrams are available on Winnebago’s website.

  10. This was a super article… Thank you… we are downsizing from a Berkshire xl 40 with bath and half… trying to decide between the winnebago 24d and a Thor Tiburon same basic floorplan…. Small differences, but cant decide.. what made you go with this one? Ours would not be used much now…. husband has heart issues…
    question… is the screen door a sliding one?

    1. Hi Diane,
      Here is a link to our considerations when we decided to downsize from our 40′ DP.

      http://www.thoseyoungguys.com/2019/02/14/buying-a-class-c-lamesa-rv-mesa-arizona

      The Tiburon looks very interesting. It wasn’t available when we were shopping but one of those floorplans looks very similar to the View 24D so I would certainly consider it if we were looking now.

      The screen door opens on hinges with the door. We added a handle on the inside to make it a bit easier to operate but it is effective in providing fresh air while keeping the bugs on the outside.

      Good luck with your decision!

  11. Great post – super helpful!

    Do you happen to have a link to the DC-DC variable converter you used? Any additional details on that mod would be helpful as well.

    Cheers!

    1. Hi Ben,
      The specific converter I bought through eBay seems to no longer available but it is very similar to this one with the addition of a pair of digital readouts on a daughter board:

      https://www.ebay.com/itm/5A-DC-DC-Constant-Current-Voltage-Buck-Step-Down-Converter-5V-12V-24V-LED-Driver/263380084186?hash=item3d52ad25da:g:kQkAAOSwa0VaKl4r

      After I confirmed the reliable operation of the solenoid during a few trips with the variable converter, I removed the vairable converter and installed a fixed 5V converter. The variable one is just too handy around the shop to be permanently installed in the RV 🙂

      Here is the one now installed in the RV:

      https://www.ebay.com/itm/123048446165

      As for installation, I simply installed the converter in series with the 12V feed to the switch on the inside panel.

      Regards.

  12. I recently installed 1-100 ah bb battery but am concerned about the ouput of the alternator on a winnebago view with a sprinter chassis. The chassis alternator output is 220a. BB reps said I should install a sterling battery to battery charger after I showed him the solenoid under the passenger seat. Without this I could shorten the life of the battery or cause overheating of the alternator. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi John,
      Other people have relayed the same concern from battery distributors and it is theoretically possible to exceed the safe charging rate of the battery so I guess if I had a single battery I would heed their advice and get the charge controller to be safe. In my case I have a pair of 100AH batteries as well as the chassis battery so in real life the alternator will not exceed the recommended charging rate for the lithium batteries.

      People have also expressed concern that the alternator may deliver too high a voltage which over time could potentially over charge the batteries. In this case I trust the built-in BMS which is designed to prevent excessive charge voltage on the cells. The BMS is also supposed to prevent drawing the cells down below a certain threshold as well as prevent charging below 0 deg C.

  13. Hi Norm, your site is really informative and I’m so glad I found it. I have a 2017 Navion 24G with four 100 watt panels, the stock Zamp solar controller, PD9245 converter and 1000 watt Xantrex inverter. I want to upgrade to two LifeP04 100ah batteries and the Xantrex Freedom XC 2000 817-2080 Power Inverter/Charger. My understanding is I take out the PD9245 because the new inverter will handle those duties, swap out the batteries, set the Zamp controller to the lithium battery setting and then adjust the Xantrex inverter to the proper limitations on the digital remote panel. I already have the 5 amp TLS installed and believe I’m ok with that in the new mix. Am I correct with those assumptions? Also, I see the Xantrex inverter has a special gfci plug as an option, is that needed to replace the gfci plugs in my rig? I only think I have one in the bathroom, and maybe one over the galley sink. I’ve got a few more question but dont want to bombard you all at once.Thanks so much, your site and knowledge is invaluable to us DIY rookies.

    1. Hi Dave,

      Your overall plan sounds very good to me. One minor comment is that you can also remove your existing transfer switch, since the Xantrex has one built in, and move it to the rear compartment where you can wire it between the shore and generator inputs. I’m assuming that your 2017 G model is also lacking a transfer switch for shore/generator like our 2019 D was?

      You will also want to re-home the outlet for the microwave over to the inverter.

      Concerning the GCFI, unfortunately I’m not able to answer that question. I suspect the existing outlets will be compatible with the Xantrex inverter but a call to Xantrex would certainly be prudent to confirm it.

      Good luck with the project, I’m sure you will love the new capability.

  14. Thanks for the fast reply Norm. To use my gen I have to plug the gen cord into the 30 amp receptacle found in the basement electrical bay next to the wet bay, and then to use shore power I unplug it and use that cord to hook to shore power, so I dont think I have a transfer switch. I’m not sure if this matters, but I have installed a hardwired Progressive Industries HW30C 30 Amp surge protector in that bay also. How do I re-home that microwave outlet to the inverter, does that require switching around breakers in the breaker/fuse box?

    1. Sorry for the delay in responding, we weren’t notified of your comment until today..

      Yes, the procedure you describe is unfortunately required because Winnebago decided to not equip the View with an automatic transfer switch like almost all other RVs have. Life is much better with an automataic transfer switch! Your surge protector can still be used on the shore power cable before the input to the transfer switch.

      Re-homing the microwave circuit will require disconnecting the MW breaker from the direct non-inverted AC and re-connecting it to the bus connected to the output of the transfer switch. It will then get power from the shore/generator through the transfer switch when plugged in, or the generator is running, but will fed by the inverter when the inverter is supplying the AC.

      1. Thanks for all your help Norm (and Lisa). Ive got another question for you. My 2017 Navion came with the Norcold 3150 ac/dc/propane absorption fridge which works great when plugged in to AC power but totally sucks during any off-grid situations because it refuses to hold temps. I want to replace it with a compressor style fridge and wanted to know if your fridge is the Norcold DE-0061, and if you are satisfied with the off-grid performance. Are your fridge/freezer temps during off-grid camping close to what you get when plugged into shore power? I have an identical situation as you with 2 lithium 100ah batts and four 100 watt solar panels. I know the DE-0061 has a history of problems but understand the newer models of that fridge have the glitches fixed. Thanks in advance for your expertise.

        1. Hi Dave,

          Yes we have the Norcold DE-0061. Before we bought the View I had read several complaints about the Norcold DE-0061 so I was more than a little skeptical about it and thought I might have to swap it out for an absorption fridge. To cut to the chase, our fridge has actually worked flawlessly since day one. We set it at slightly over 3 on a scale of 1 to 5 and it keeps everything in the freezing compartment frozen solid and the fridge compartment nice and cold, but not frozen. Since it is actually running on DC at all times it works equally well when boondocking or on shore power.

          It does cycle frequently and draws about 5 amps when running but since we installed the lithiums & extra solar we have not had a problem running out of battery. Well one time we were camped in very heavy trees during three days of rain/overcast so effectively no solar at all and we did have to run the generator from time to time. But we have now had our View for about 18 months and the generator just hit 20 hrs run time, most of which has been to power the AC and microwave.

          In summary, we are pleasantly surprised by the operation of the DC fridge, and while it really does need more battery & solar than what came with the View, I suspect it would work equally well for your configuration.

          1. Thanks for the recommendation Norm, sounds like thats the one for me. I’m also getting ready to have the 2000w inverter charger installed and am getting quotes upwards of $2000 just for labor. I’m a hands on guy but got somewhat spooked with taking on the required new sub-panel and the rewiring of all the outlets. After all the mods I’ve done so far in impossible cramped spaces I can see why the techs charge $180/hr. I liked the idea of being able to run the air conditioner off the 2000w inverter too but discovered you got very limited run times and I’m not ready to shell out the cash for one or two more Lip0s to make it worthwhile. Just being able to have my wife run the mic for her coffee and use her blow dryer/curling iron in the morning with out starting the generator is fine for now.

          2. That installation charge seems a tad on the high side to me but it has been quite a while since I contracted custom electrical work. I agree that, as the years tick by, the contortions required to do some of these “simple” jobs get more difficult. In any case I agree with your conclusion about trying to get enough battery to run the AC – that is a very demanding requirement.

            We are not heavy power consumers. We typically run a coffee maker in the morning a very quick bit of hair dryer on low once in a while then not much more than charging computers/cameras during the day and using lights and watching Sat TV or a movie for two or three of hours in the evenings. Our Zamp controller typically goes into float mode in early afternoon and shows about 130-160Ah produced during a typical day in the sun.

  15. I have a 2019 Winnebago View. I had been having chassis battery problems and just installed a Trik-L-Start. Seems to be charging okay. I would next like to change out my stock Napa Grp 24 (8240) batteries to lithium. But all I can find on the internet are too large for the battery compartment. The measurements you gave are smaller than anything I can find. Can you tell me what brand you have, and approximate cost (I know I am looking at a sizeable investment). Also, any problems yet with the Zamp controller? Thanks for any information you can give.

    1. Hi Edward,
      Agree that the Trik-L-Start is a life saver for the chassis battery. That battery is drained very quickly if not kept up with a charger or regular driving. As far as I’m concerned, it should be standard equipment on an RV which often sits idle for extended periods.

      Concerning the LiFePO4 batteries, I installed a pair of Renogy 100Ah batteries. They were about $900 each shipped. I have had no issues with their operation/performance. They easily fit in the battery box however I did need to modify the restraints to secure them in place. The only negative I can mention is that the posts are not positioned in the same corners as the Napa batteries so I had to re-arrange the cables. The existing cables were stiff and not really heavy enough for the anticipated future loads so I bought some heavier (2*0) but nicely flexible welding cables put ends on them and replaced the existing cables. I also relocated the fuse holder to one end of the battery box where it was more out of the way.

      I see that Renogy still has lithiums for sale for $900 but these look a bit physically different than the ones I bought, in particular the posts are in a different position which may actually make it easier to cable.

      The Zamp controller seems to work OK when set for LiFePO4. However, it doesn’t provide a great deal of information about the batteries so I installed a shunt and a pair of meters so I can see the rate of charge/discharge and the watt/hrs in/out of the batteries.

      Hope that helps and good luck with the project.

      1. The Renogy LifePO4’s that I found are too big. I did find the one you used, but it seems it is discontinued. I am now thinking about replacing the two 63Ah Napa Grp 24s with one 200Ah battery. I assume that one 200Ah would be no different than two 100Ah, but will fit in the battery compartment.

  16. I have a 2019 View we just picked up and am very excited to get on the road.
    I just ordered the Trik-L starter. I am wondering where you mounted the module?

    1. Mounted my Trik-L-Start just below and on the outside front of the passenger seat. Super easy to install. And, after a month it is working like a charm. Before the Trik-L-Start, my chassis battery would discharge in a week of non-use.

  17. Hi Norm,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to document all your modifications. We are on our second View with the new one being a 24D purchased a year ago. Your article addresses so many of the issues all View owners seem to have. I am in the process or have completed nearly all of you & Lisa’s modifications, but have one question. Where did you tap into the live 12V circuit for your USB ports you added to the bedroom? Also, interestingly, when I did the slideout switch mod to move the wire from pin #8 to pin #2 and removed the old wire from pin #2, my slideout operates with or without the emergency brake engaged. I haven’t had time to look at the wiring diagram from my specific serial number yet, but assume it must be different than your 2019 24D. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Gary,
      Glad you found our blog useful.

      Interesting about the slide switch. Mine difinitely needs the parking brake firmly set.

      For the USB socket I fished a pair of wires down to the hot lead (and ground) on the terminal block that supplies power to the water pump under the sofa. That +12V wire is always hot and it was close to where I wanted to mount the USB plug. Fishing was a bit tricky and securing the USB and 12V plugs but I found that if I removed the AC outlet on the front I could just get my hand inside to tighten the nuts on the inside.

  18. Hello Norm:

    We also have. 2018 24D and I have struggled with the sewer hose storage issue. You seem to have found a great solution. Do you have anymore instructions or photos to help describe the installation?

    Joe

    1. Hi Joe,
      I have added a bit more description to the post about how I mounted the tube. Hope this helps but let me know if it still isn’t clear.

    2. I have the “tube” and mounted it vertically attached to the ladder with plastic straps. Great place to put all those State Parks and National Park stickers without attaching them to the View body.

        1. No problems. I just slide it right in from bottom to top. I do try to clean it as best possible before stowing it. If it drips, it would be minimal at best. I also use a very tiny carbineer that fits through the hole next to the handle that closes the end flap. With that in place, there is no way the flap will open and it assures me that I won’t loose the hose.

          1. Cudo’s on your innovation. It is certainly a better solution than that useless contraption, and waste of space, that Winnebago came up with!

  19. I LOVE the upgrades! I am purchasing the same rig for my daughter and I to travel in. I can not make these modifications. Any idea how I can find someone to do them for me?

    1. Hi Rachel,

      None of the modifications that we have made require highly specialized skills or tools. Of course an RV maintenance shop would be able to easily make these mods but you would be paying shop rates, and they might be reluctant to take on these relatively small jobs and order the parts. A private Mobile RV Repair guy might be more ameniable and less expensive. I would also think that a competent automotive do-it-yourselfer who is handy and has a reasonable array of tools would be able to make these mods as well.

  20. Hi Lisa,

    My hubby and I are interested in purchasing a 24D Navion/View just like the one you own. I read your entire website regarding all of your modifications, upgrades and changes, and would like to know if you would recommend this vehicle to us as a retired with no children/grandchildren, and we will not be living in the motorhome). We are very impressed with the modifications you hubby made, but my husband is not as “handy” as yours. What are the modifications that you consider to be of utmost importance for maximum enjoyment of this RV? Thank you. Shelley

    1. Hi Shelley,

      Thanks for contacting us. Boy that’s a difficult question. I assume you mean you are interested in purchasing a 2019 Sprinter Chassis View as opposed to the 2020 Sprinter Chassis VIiew. The newer 2020 Sprinter/View has many of the mods my husband had made. It also depends on your preferred method of camping/RVing. We don’t like to go to RV Parks and prefer campgrounds or boondocking so things like solar, batteries, and Satellite were important to us. If you plan to spend most of your time at RV Parks (with shore power and cable TV) then you can easily enjoy this RV just as it is. I know this doesn’t help you much but none of the mods we made were really required. We did them to suit our lifestyle. Just like buying a house it is best to live in it (camp in it) for awhile before you decide on any changes to better determine your lifestyle. That doesn’t help your purchase decision but we have found that no RV or house or car is perfect and your needs and wants change over time. It all depends on what you want to sacrifice.

      Good Luck!! – Lisa

  21. I really appreciate all the advice you gave on the modifications on your RV. I did a number of them as a result of your recommendations. On the adjustable tube I put mine under the storage compartments front to back on the drivers side. That kept it away from the spare tire. Using the adjustable tube is a great recommendation. Not only is much easier to use but give a lot more storage in the storage compartment. I also put in the transfer switch and my knuckles are still hurting from that change but worth it. One of the first things I did is replace the blinds over the kitchen counter. I put in RV Day & Night Shades. That made a huge difference and is a black out shade at night and shear during the day. I replaced the lead acid batteries with Lion Energy 1300 Lithium batteries that I bought through Costco. I put a King One Pro satellite dish on the roof and if our coach so if it is covered with trees I can remove it and put it on a tripod away from the trees. I noticed that in the coach by the gas pedal there is a wire with a red cap and when it is disconnected the coach battery is disconnected and will not go dead when it is in storage because there is no drain on it. Also since the battery is disconnected it makes it hard to steal since the thief would need to know it is there and how to reconnect it. I was wondering if anyone knows how to get the heater blower to work off of the lithium batteries. Not concerned with the AC working but would like to be able to heat the coach with propane.

    Thanks
    Tom

    1. Hi Tom,
      Glad to hear that you found our blog useful in improving your View. A removeable satellite dish give you a lot more flexibility, I can’t count the number of times we have had one lone tree at our site which was of course directly in line with the satellites. The master battery disconnect is great for not draining the battery during storage but it also zero’s some of your data.

      I’m not sure I understand your question about the heather blower. Are you saying that the propane furnace (electronics & blower motor) is powered by the chassis battery and not the coach batteries? On our View the propane furnace is powered from the coach 12V DC system – the fuse is in the main panel.

      1. The blower for the heater will not work on the coach battery only when plugged into shore power or when the generator is on I would like to have it work on the battery

        1. Hi Tom,

          Sorry for the delay in responding, your last comment was tagged as “suspected spam” for some unknown reason and we didn’t notice until just now.

          As for the furnace blower I suspect there is a fault in the wiring somewhere. It should be drawing 12V DC power from the 12V bus through a 15A fuse in which case it will run no matter the primary source of the 12V DC. i.e. converter/charger, solar, generator or just the coach batteries as long as the bus has 12V DC on it the furnace blower should function.

  22. Hi, thanks for taking the time to share your mods and answering myriad questions. My question: one of your most brilliant ideas is using the space by the black tank to store the water hose and electrical cable. My 17G has the same hinged door that WBGO screws shut. Can you expand your description and parts used to hold the compartment door open and how to latch it closed?

    1. I have added some more pics to the post and a link to the latch that I used. I *think* I bought the strut at Camping World. I had to fabricate a couple of little plates to hold the door and body parts of the latch. They are quite crude and the black paint is flaking off but the latach works well and I can open/close it easily by feel.
      Hope this helps but if you have more questions fire away.

    1. Glad to hear that that little mod helps you with the jacks. I, and probably others, would be interested to hear your impression of those jacks and how they are working out.

  23. Hi I have a 2020 View 24D with the same zamp charge controller. I noticed that the charge controller never displays voltage higher than 13.6+- volts even with full sun. I verified that the voltage goes into the roof port and the wires are all 19+ volts. Behind the charger controller there is an automotive ATC 40amp fuse. I wonder if that is reducing the voltage? When checking the +- terminals on the back side of the controller, the voltage matches the display 13.6+-. I never disconnected from the controller to test the voltage of the wires, but you would think the voltage to be the same minus the loss from the wire length. Seems odd and the ATC fuse doesn’t make much sense.

    1. I don’t have any definitive answers but here are a couple of thoughts.

      If you have the two supplied 100W panels they will only deliver about 10 amps in good direct sun and depending on the type/size of batteries you have it could be that those panels just don’t deliver enough current to get the batteries above 13.6V during the Bulk charging phase while you have sufficient sun.

      I believe the 40A fuse is in there so that you can make use of all three ports with up to 400W of solar. In this configuration a 40A fuse is appropriate and necessary. The voltage drop across a 40A fuse would be neglegible with a current of 10A so I don’t think this is the culpret. A bad (high resistance) connection elsewhere between the panels and the controller could be but would be unlikely.

      In my configuration I have 400W of solar which produces 20-24 amps in direct sun at noon and they are charging 200AH LiFePO4 batteries plus the chassis battery through the Trik-L-Start. In these conditions the voltage on the house batteries will eventually get up over 14.2V and the ZAMP controller will then switch into the Float mode where it drops to about 13.5V.

      Lastly make sure the appropriate battery type is selected on the ZAMP controller.

  24. We have a 19 24D. Your article is very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Unlike you I’ve kept the sink covers and use them as cutting boards. I occasionally use the extra dinette table as an extra prep counter.
    Shoes are always a headache but because we seldom use the cab bunk, I hang a shoe organizer on the ladder with the help of a dowel. It also gives me a place for the bug spray, sun lotions, etc.
    We are heading out next week for Texas and the west.
    Happy camping

  25. We have a 2021 24V which we are greatly enjoying. Unfortunately, the audio system in the Sprinter has terrible sound quality. Do you have any advice on improvements, maybe adding speakers?

    1. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to improve the sound to anywhere near acceptible quality. The infotainment system on the 2019 View is just awful, actually unuseable in my opinion, and I’m not some fussy audiophile. I fully expected the Mercedes system in the 2021 View to be a major improvement (it couldn’t get much worse) but, from your comment it is apparently still not up to scratch.

      Our infotainment system has a sub-woofer installed under the floor behind the driver/passenger seats. It sounds terrible no matter what settings are used and only provides unintelligible booming. It thought I could remove it and replace it with a balanced sub or full-range speaker, but I couldn’t see any non-destructive way of removing it.

      We have completely given up attempting to listen to anything while driving and have also disconnected the house audio system which is almost as bad.

      Best of luck with yours and please let us know if you manage to find a workable solution.

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