Some who do this conversion want to use the space behind the flat screen TV for storage, but we are a bit leery of that due to the extreme heat that occurs up front on hot summer days. If we store anything behind the TV, it will be long term items we rarely if ever need. Whether of not we close up the access hole against the windshield remains to be seen ...it is within the tinted portion toward the top of the glass so not really noticeable from outside. It helps with air circulation behind the TV, but that may not be as important with the new flat screen as it was with the old tube TV. After the TV was out of the way, I totally removed the original hold-down strap framework by removing screws into the top of the TV enclosure. Then came the BIG step ...in the picture on the left you can see the curved structure of the vinyl covered doublel-layered metal floor of the TV cabinet. After a lot of thought, we decided the right way to do this would be to CUT THE CURVE OFF, and make the bottom of the compartment flat across the front just as the top was. After peeling the vinyl covering back and carefully applying masking tape to the top and bottom of the cabinet floor, I used a dremel tool w/cutting wheel (several cutting wheels in reality) in the tight corners on each side, and then a saber saw to cut across the floor ...first the top from the top side, and then the bottom from the bottom side since the floor was too thick for the blade to reach through the bottom from the top. With the nasty foam backing on the vinyl (think car headliner material), after pulling the vinyl back out of the way it was a sticky, messy job, but it went pretty well, and before long the cabinet floor was flat across the front!
With the front portion cut off of the compartment floor, the two pieces of the hollow floor were not terrible stable, so I put a piece of 1x1 between the two layers of metal and fixed it in place with screws. That stabililized the compartment floor, and then I could wrap the vinyl around the front edge and up onto the compartment floor. You see on the right the piece that was removed from the compartment floor. After stretching the vinyl back around the newly cut edge, I removed the attachment bolts from the front edge of the TV mounting bracket and secured the vinyl under the bracket so it will not come loose. The lower edges were glued to the metal with "Household Goop" ...a great glue for pretty much any type of material.
After mounting the TV to the bracket, the bracket was adjusted to be secure and not rattle while driving. We have made a few trips since the installation, and noted no movement/noise from the TV. In the picture on the right, the TV is in the extended position and turned to one side. This might be helpful for viewing in some mounting situations, but is not necessary in ours.
The TV was a perfect fit side to side ...could not have been tighter ...but we had gaps at top and bottom. After some adujustments of the mounting bracket, the top was just wide enough to accommodate the surround sound speaker. We first thought about getting some oak stock and finishing it to match the original cabinets, or cutting pieces out of the original surround to fit, but after considering the options we decided it was much simpler than that. We liked the black appearance of the cabinet around the flat screen picture, so I bought some 1/4" plywood at Lowes, and some black denim-print cloth at Hancock Fabrics. After cutting the plywood to size, I used Goop (again, a great adhesive!) and staples from a standard desk/paper stapler to fasten the fabric to the plywood. On the top I attached an angle bracket inside the cabinet at each side, then put velcro on the angle brackets and along the top metal strip, and matched that velcro to vecro stapled to the cloth covered plywood. You can see in the picture to the left below that I also had to cut away a bit of the upper metal structure right in the center to make room for the surround sound speaker. Across the bottom I used an angle bracket on each side, and two more angle brackets mounted to the bottom of the cabinet.
One special item is needed to accommodate the original surround system in a Winnebago coach ...you either need to buy a TV with audio out plugs, OR you will have to come up with a "wort" ...either removing one from an original Winnebago installation or finding the original supplier. Since we had not planned ahead for this conversion, but rather just happended to end up with an extra Emerson 32" flat screen, we did not get a TV with the audio out plugs. While many TV's installed in Winnebago coaches have the "wort" attached from the factory, our's did not since the OEM RCA had audio out plugs built in. After some online research, I called River Park Audio in Elkart IN at telephone 572-522-7781 to get the original "audio out" cable provided to Winnebago and other mfg'ers. They understood immediately what I wanted. They call it an MT02 Modification Pigtail, Part #0000HRN-MT02. It has two RCA plugs on one end, four loose bare-wire ends on the other, and a large round filter around the wire between the two ends. The cost was $10.++ plus shipping ...$24.70 by the time it was over. Then I had to take the back off the new TV, drill a hole to get the wire through the case, and solder the loose ends of the audio cable to the speaker wires. Unfortunately, the Emerson lasted only 5 months and was replaced with a 32" Vizio with built-in audio out plugs.
And here is the final result. The first bottom trim piece I made left a finger-wide gap between the bottom trim and the TV to allow access the TV control buttons along the bottom edge of the TV, but we didn't like the appearance with light making the inside of the cabinet visible during the daytime, so I made a slightly wider strip that totally closed the gap. Having the control buttons on the TV itself accessible isn't all that important as the TV can be controlled from the remote just fine. If we lose both remotes (the original TV AND the Dish) we can always just pull the velcroed trim strip loose to get to the controls.
And here on the left is the original rear 19" TV. After pulling it out of the "box" on the wall, I created a 1/2" plywood door mounted
]on a piano hinge to the left, mounted the flat screen TV on the door, and then added two cabinet catches to keep the "door" in the closed position
when driving while providing easy access to the storage behind the TV. By mounting it on the face of the "box", I was able to use the same model
Vizio 32" TV here as was installed up front. This is a HUGE improvement over the original 16" CRT.
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