GMC Yukon XL Denali & Tango 289BH Travel Trailer
GMC Yukon XL Denali & Tango 289BH Travel Trailer

Current Tow Vehicle

2007 GMC Yukon XL Denali
Ownership: August 2008 - Current

Towing Modifications and Accessories

I'm happy to say that the Denali pulls our 30' travel trailer quite well. I keep it in Tow/Haul mode most of the time and it never has any problems keeping up with traffic. I was a little worried because I've noticed that in hot weather with the AC on in the front and rear, the Denali can lag quite badly. Without the AC, the Denali jumps off the line like a lunging beast--it can be as addictive as it is gas guzzling. But when it's hot out, I'll put my foot down to pass or merge and the engine does nothing. It's bad enough that I have to change my driving pattern to anticipate the lag. Luckily, with the trailer I'm not concerned about jumping off the line so the lag is not as noticeable. It's a little slow off the line when when the AC is on especially up a slope, but once the engine gets up to about 3000-4000 RPM and into 2nd gear it pulls very strongly. I love the sound of the 6.2L V8 engine! The biggest annoyance is not being able to keep the engine in the sweet spot because I'm behind someone who is going slow. (Another annoyance is those single vehicles who travel on the interstates and freeways below the speed limit for no clear reason at all, but that's a whole other rant.)


RV Modifications

This is a list of items big or small that have been added to the RV in some way or another. I believe that all mods should be easily removed in the future so nothing is really permanently mounted. If it is attached to the RV and not intended to be moved around it is listed here. If your looking for a list of more general RV items that we use, see this page: RV Gear and Accessories.

I found that LePage's No More Nails double-sided tape works great at holding items very securely. Items are listed by order of installation. Items listed without cost amount were either free or purchased before we acquired the Keystone Premier.

Current RV: "The Bullet"

2010 Keystone Premier 31BHPR
Ownership: May 2010 - Current

Picasa Web Album: Bullet Modifications and Accessories

Modifications

  • Bamboo Gutter Extensions - I got the idea from the service tech at the dealership and it worked well on our Tango to keep the water from the sides so I put them on The Bullet, too.
  • Non-slip shelf liner for under Outdoor Fridge - The outdoor fridge tends to slide around when it's not strapped down so opening the door is a bit more tricky with just one hand. I suppose if it was filled with food and drinks, then it might not slide so much, but I figure this works, too.
  • Over-the-Cabinet Hooks , Camping World, From Tango. These hooks come in various configurations and in the Tango there were a lot of places where we could put them. We thought they were great and bought a bunch of them. In The Bullet there really isn't that many places to put them.
  • Winegard Wingman Digital Booster , Camping World, From Tango. Removed from Tango Hotel and reinstalled on the Bullet.
  • Maxxair II Vent Cover , Camping World, From Tango. This vent cover had double the vent opening as the original and has hinged latches so that it is easy to clean under. They bolt right into the vent frame and do not require you to drill into the roof at all. The covers are a must so that we can open the vents in the rain.
  • Maxxair Fan Mate , Camping World. From Tango. While you can use the Maxxair II vent covers over fan vents, the Fan Mate is specifically designed for high-speed ceiling fan vents.
  • Programmable Digital Thermostat, Rona, From Tango. Very handy for maintaining a consistent temperature in the RV. I have it programmed just like at home so it's cooler while we sleep.
  • Shower Splash Guards , Canadian Tire. Secured with weatherproof indoor/outdoor double-sided tape.
  • Re-keyed Outside Lock , Local RV Dealer, $15. I didn't like the fact that the door to the outdoor kitchen used the same key as the other storage compartments so I bought a new 1 3/8" lock and replaced it. Unfortunately, the 7/8" Combi-Cam locks I bought for the Tango do not work on the Bullet which has 1 1/8" locks. The doors on The Bullet are much more sturdy than the ones on the Tango and I'm a bit more reassured having a different key. I also modified all the outdoor locks so that it would be easier for me to open by re-orientating them to the way I'm used to using and changing the locked and unlocked position.
  • Atomic Clock with Moon Phase and Remote Temperature Sensor , Walmart, From Tango. Bought last year and love it. I have a thing for Atomic clocks--got a few already including a wristwatch! I put the Remote Temp Sensor outside on the wheel chocks after we setup.
  • Added AV extension cable to back of TV, Keystone, no cost. This was easy to do. The cable came with the TV and I already had some spare connectors. Step 1: Remove the 4 screws that hold the panel behind the TV in the Bunk House. Step 2: Connect the cable and run it through the pivot tube. Step 3: I put female connectors on the end so that it will be easy to plug in any accessories into the TV.
  • 3M Command Strip Mini Hooks , Walmart, From Tango. I use these every where in different sizes for different purposes. I thought this was a good spot for keys.
  • Toothbrush Holder , Camping World, From Tango.
  • ProPride 3P Trailer Sway Control Hitch, ProPride Inc. , $2495.
  • Exterior Sewer Hose Carrier , Home Depot, $16. Drain pipe. Very light and allows for ventilation.
  • Add-a-Drawer , Camping World, From Tango. These are great for some extra storage space. It doesn't interfere with leg room under the dinette at all. Unfortunately, the Bullet's table can only fit one drawer instead of the two the Tango had.
  • Screen Door Crossbar , Camping World, From Tango. The screen door handle was very handy in the Tango. The Bullet's door was about 1/2" narrower so I had to make a simple adjustment . However, since our doors are held open with a strut, it takes more force to pull the door closed. I'm not as comfortabl e using the handle to pull on the screen to close the door. It will be better when it's warmer and we have only the screen to open and close. I'm not going to install one on the bathroom door because I can't think of any situation where we would be just leaving that door open..
  • Hoppy Graduated RV Levels, Canadian Tire, From Tango. These work well and are very handy. Bought them for the Tango and kept them for The Bullet.
  • 3M Command Strip Soap Dish , Rona, $6. The soap dish that I had used in the Tango was originally designed to work with suction cups. I had to use double-sided tape and bathroom silicone to make it stay on the wall. I didn't really want to go to all that trouble in the new trailer so I decided to simply buy another one made by 3M. I love the 3M Command strip products. They work really well and are very strong and I've used them all over our RV.
  • Rubber Maid Paper Towel Holder , Rona, $2.50 x2. Cheap and light. Had one in the Tango, but left it there. I got one for the inside and outside kitchens. I discovered when installing in the Tango, that double-sided tape was not strong enough to keep the hold in place, so I mounted them with the two screws that were included.
  • Thetford Water Module Replacement , Thetford, Free. I noticed on our first trip out that water leaked out of the top of our toilet valve whenever the foot pedal was pressed down to fill the bowl with water. After a quick search on RV.net there were several others with the same problem. The dealer could not replicate the problem, so I called the Thetford directly using their 1-800 number and after I provided a serial number and VIN, they shipped out a replacement valve to me. It was very simple to install and since there was plenty of clearance in our bathroom to reach the valve, I was able to replace it without having to remove the toilet. The cost of buying the replacement kit at our dealership is $35.





Previous RV: "Tango Hotel"

2009 Pacific Coachworks Tango 289BH

Ownership: May 2009 - May 2010
Picasa Web Album: Tango Modifications and Accessories
Modifications

  • Reese High Performance Trunnion Bar Weight Distributing Hitch , Local RV Dealership, $540. Reese Dual Cam HP Sway Control , Local RV Dealership, $220. UPDATE: 2010 May 12. Entire hitch and sway control removed from Tango Hotel and SOLD for $450.
  • Barker VIP 3000 Electric Trailer Jack, Mantelli Trailer Sales (ebay), $150. UPDATE: 20 Feb 2010. Removed and SOLD for $120 because the Keystone Premier comes stock with a power tongue jack.
  • Programmable Digital Thermostat, RONA, $30. Removed and reinstalled on The Bullet.
  • External showerhead holder, Zellers, $3. I stole this idea off of someone else. Sometimes the smallest things make a big difference. Update: I didn't remove this from the Tango when we sold it because I never really used the holder at all.
  • Over the door hanging rack, London Drugs, $11. You can never have too many hooks. Removed and reinstalled on the Bullet.
  • "Panty Hose" floor register vent filters, source unknown, free. Having young kids who tend to drop things, I knew I wanted some kind of screen for the floor vents in the RV to prevent things from falling in. Using panty hose was the idea of our RV service tech. Why panty hose? Apparently it doesn't restrict air flow as much as other filters can. Luckily, it doesn't really look like the vent is wearing panty hose! Update: After one season of RVing the panty hose had runs in it. I'm not sure I want to do the same mod in The Bullet.
  • Sunforce 50013 1W Power Sports Charger, Canadian Tire, $8 x2. These were on sale for so cheap that I bought two of them. Amazon.com currently has them on sale for $21 USD each. Update: I didn't bother removing them because I don't think they actually did anything useful.
  • Corner Shower Caddy, Canadian Tire, $15. Removed.
  • Shower Soap Dish, Canadian Tire, $5. Removed.
  • Shower Splash Guards, Canadian Tire, $6. Here's a picture of the other side. And here's one of both together. Removed.
  • Clothes pin gutter extensions, Zellers, $2.50 lifetime supply. Another idea from our RV dealer. When I first saw the wooden clothespins at each of the four corners of the trailer on the rain gutters, I had no idea why they were there. They were there to keep the water from streaking down the sides of the RV. Despite the "low-rent, red-neck" look, I liked them and kept them there. They actually work pretty well in the rain. After we brought the trailer home, one went missing so I went out and bought a package of 50 deluxe 100% Bamboo clothespins for $2.50 from Zellers. That should last us for awhile!
  • Dometic Adjustable-Pitch Arm for Power Patio Awnings, Retro-fit Kit #3312508.017B, Local RV dealership, Free. (Sold with the Tango.)
  • MaxxAir II Vent Cover, Camping World, $40. Installed over the bedroom vent, this prevents water from coming in with the vent open. Very easy to install and also 50% cheaper in the USA. Removed and reinstalled on The Bullet.
  • Add-a-Drawer, Camping World, $22 each. These are great for some extra storage space. It doesn't interfere with leg room under the dinette at all. Removed.
  • Screen Door Crossbar, Camping World, $12. This is really handy for something easy to grab on to when closing the screen door. Removed.
  • SHURflo Pump Silencer Kit, Camping World, $20. Removed.
  • MaxxAir Fan Mate, Camping World, $80. Removed and reinstalled on The Bullet.
  • Winegard Wingman Digital Booster, Camping World, $27. This is a low-priced, easy-to-install modification that increases the digital reception of the stock TV antenna. The results are immediate and I was able to get a digital channel that I could not get before. This is what it looks like before installation. Removed and reinstalled on The Bullet.
  • Combi-Cam Locks, Padlocks4less.com, $100. I recently bought my Combi-cams directly from the manufacturer in Lynnwood, WA. I replaced all my storage compartment locks including the one for the outside shower. My reason for changing them was mostly because I wanted to deal with as few keys as possible--I don't like carrying around a lot of keys so getting rid of even just 1 key is worth it to me. I also bought dust covers and finger pulls to go with them. The locks were easy to install and work great. I originally got the 5/8" size but had to exchange them for the 7/8" size to fit the additional width of the dust covers and finger pulls. Here's what it looks like from farther away. Update: I was disappointed one day after checking on the trailer while it was in storage to see that the finger pulls had rusted. The Combi-Cam locks themselves were fine. I don't think I will reinstall the finger pulls. Removed.
  • Sanus Full-motion Tilt and Swivel TV Wall Mount, Model F107, Walmart, $60. I originally bought this mount to install in the main living area. But when I realized that I could fit the 22" LCD on the TV shelf without extra hardware, I decided to install it in the bedroom. Finding a stud in the RV wall was a little tricky because the walls are very thin and hollow. An electronic stud finder found a spot on the wall that would work, but it ended up that the actual stud was not the full 2" thickness of the wall. Luckily, the opposite wall is a set of cabinets we use to store the mattress pad for the sofa bed. I knew that I would be able to put in extra support with minimal disfigurement of the RV. The mounting bolts that come with the Sanus are 2.5" and designed to hold up to 30 lbs. I screwed a piece of scrap 2x4 I had in the garage inside the cabinet and installed the stock bolts through it. It feels very sturdy and I'm pretty happy with the final look. Here is the Sanus mount without the TV. And this is a picture with the TV in place. I have to say, it feels very luxurious with a flat panel TV hanging in the bedroom! The bedroom doesn't have a connection to the RV's built-in DVD player like the TV in the front, but that's not a problem because I can watch podcasts and movies through my iPod Touch connection. The bonus is that the valance over the window provides a nice flat shelf to hold the iPod. Removed. The Bullet already comes with 2 mounted LCD TVs so this will no longer be needed.