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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Precarious Pod Placement

I need to install a pod on my Coachmen, Class C RV. I'm very limited in storage space (like none at all). How do I go about doing it? I consider myself to be a pretty good handyman but I could use your assistance.
James, (Murrieta, CA)

James, storage pods, those attached to the roof area, are relatively easy to install. The biggest risk is creating a water leak. But by taking a few precautionary steps, you should easily avoid that malady. 

First, find a suitable, flat location on the roof (an alternate location is on the rear bumper), be sure you have clear access to open it fully and comfortably. Make sure it does not interfere with roof vents, sewer vents, antennas and air conditioners. Also, be very wary of shading any solar panels you may have up there as well. If your coach is equipped with a soft roof, (non-laminated), your location choices are somewhat limited. The bottom section of the pod must span at least two roof rafters in order to secure it properly. But if you have a solid, laminated roof, just stay clear of the aforementioned components. Once you have a suitable location picked out, thoroughly clean the roof. It must be clean and dry before continuing. 

Obtain a handful of rubber grommets. The grommets must be able to accept the thickness of the pod’s shell in order to seal properly. The center hole in the grommet should be 1/4-inch in diameter. You’ll need to drill holes in the pod bottom the same diameter as the width of the slot in the grommets. The grommets should slip into place snuggly and grip the bottom of the pod securely. Drill three of four holes, (depending on the overall size of the pod), in two rows through the bottom of the pod that correspond to the rafters you are spanning. If you have a solid roof, such exacting hole locations are not crucial. 

Next obtain some 1/4-inch fender washers and 1/4-inch lag screws about 1-inch long. Fender washers have an outside diameter larger than standard 1/4-inch flat washers. The outside diameter should be slightly larger than the outside diameter of the grommets. Mark the screw locations on the roof and pre-drill a 1/8-inch pilot hole at each screw location. Squirt a gob of silicone sealant directly over the 1/8-inch pilot holes and carefully lower the pod into place. Then simply install the lag screws and fender washers through the grommets and secure the pod to the roof. Do not over tighten the lag screws. They should, however, slightly depress the rubber grommets as they are tightened. There is no need to seal the head of the lag screws since they will be protected by the upper half of the pod, enclosed inside. But I do recommend placing a covering or two of duct tape over each head just to protect them a little when you place objects into the pod. Check the tightness every six months or so, just to be sure the rocking motion and shifting gear doesn’t loosen them over time.


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If you are in doubt or do not feel comfortable about a procedure, do not continue. Simply call your local RV service facility and make an appointment with them. The advice, recommendations and procedures offered by the RV Doctor are solely those of Gary. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions, procedures and recommendations of our sponsors or advertisers.