Projects Started – But Not Completed

Hey, Gang! I didn’t want everyone to think I’d “gone dark”, so here’s a quick update on some of the tinkering I’ve been up to lately. Neither of these projects is finished, so they’re not ready for prime-time posts yet. Regardless, here’s the in-progress scoop.


Project 1: Window Covering for the Slider Door

First off, yes, we still have the fabric rectangle that Winnebago provided that attaches with magnets.  It works fine, and we’re keeping it around.  Most likely, it will see use again in the winter.  But after working out shades for the back windows, we’re sold on the idea of not having to carry and store something separate.


Standard Travato Window Covering

Not bad. But I think I can do better…

Working out window coverings for the slider door has been tricky. Over the last several months, I’ve mentally tried out a number of approaches.  The curve in the window corners presents a problem with any straight shade, like the pleated shades we had installed in Das Bus.


RV Cherry Window Frames

Solid cherry frame in our old RV. Nice, but time consuming, and only workable in certain situations.

I thought about building up a big frame around the window like I had then, but with the door latch mechanism in the lower left corner, it got… complicated.  The MCD shades wouldn’t work either.  First off, since at least one side of them has to be straight, the corners were also a problem there.  And then, there’s the screen door, which actually covers up a good bit of the slider window when closed.

So, I started looking at other RVs built on the ProMaster.  None of the other ones have as big of a window in that sliding door as Winnebago provides.  But the other pictures I found all used curtains.  Eventually, I settled on a way to make the curtains work.  I’m about half way done with this one.  First, I ordered up some ceiling mount curtain track, and mounted it on the top and bottom of the indentation for the slider window.  Like this:


Travato Curtain Track

Simply drilled and screwed to the metal of the door.

Then I made a prototype out of an old junky fleece blanket that we had lying around.  I pinned the curtain hangers to it, and when it’s threaded on the track, it looks like this.


Travato Sliding Curtain Prototype

I know the top has flopped down to show the attachments. But hey, it’s just a prototype!

I plan to use magnets to hold the corners and sides in place, as you can see in the picture.  I’m not too worried about the top of the curtain drooping down – I’ll be using a much stiffer material on the real ones.  When it’s retracted, it takes up a little bit of space by the screen, like this:


Travato Sliding Curtain Stored

May come up with a tie, or some other place to use magnets to hold this open.

Now, all I have to do is find someone to sew up the curtains according to my “pattern”, including sewing the magnets in, and we should be good. I’m annoyed at myself that I never mastered sewing. Wish I could do this step myself. Perhaps it’s time to learn a new skill…


Project 2: I’m REALLY Sick of the Blast of Cold Water in the Shower

Well, that title pretty much says it all.  In our Travato, when you use the water shut-off switch on the shower head, it does two extremely annoying things.

  1. It stores up what seems like gallons of ice cold water to shock you when you forget and turn it back on.
  2. It leaks so much you actually wonder if it’s broken.

I am determined to fix both of these problems.  I’ve been working at this for two weeks already, shooting video, getting stumped, having busted parts, starting again, etc.  I don’t want to give away too much of the video – because I’m STILL working on it – but I can promise you there will be lots of this:

Travato Under Bathroom Cabinet

He’s going in!

Some of this:

Travato Hot Water Pressure

Measuring pressure at the shower hose.

And even a little bit of this:

Buying More Plumbing Parts

Don’t ask…

I WILL get this problem solved.  I’ve ordered what I hope will be the LAST parts I need to pull this off.  Not going to say any more than that right now, but I’ll be hopefully finishing up the video on my shower project next week.

So there you go! Now you’re all caught up on the latest RV projects that have been keeping me up at night. Next time I write about them, you can be sure I’ll have them in the bag. Because, yeah, while Stef loves to tease me relentlessly about my “OCD” nature, that’s one (of millions) of the good things about it. I won’t quit on a problem until it’s solved.


James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling certified coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he's also an IT consultant.

    32 thoughts on “Projects Started – But Not Completed

    1. Terry

      Are you still planning to do a video on the composting toilet adventure? I’m waiting with baited breath!

    2. Dan

      Was wondering if you were going to add a recirculation pump into the under-bath area. Probably too many check valves in the T to make that work without a lot of extra plumbing, though.

    3. Mark Roberts

      The best solution would be diverter at the head, recirculating the water back to the water heater, but that’s getting extreme!

      I do hope you are also replacing the faucet with a model that stands up taller, allowing actual human sized hands to fit between it and the bowl. Hmm, maybe a larger bowl would be on the plate while you are at it. These are on my mind, but if you figure it out before I get started, that’d be really nice too 🙂

      1. James - Post author

        Hadn’t planned on replacing the fixture itself. I suppose I could, but it hasn’t really been a problem for us.
        When I replaced RV faucets in the past, I used models from Dura. They fit the existing fixtures and openings with no issues.
        Replacing the faucet is super simple, and you’ll see what I mean when I get the video done.

    4. Daniel

      There is already a product by, called, “USI-RV’s Insta-Hot water Circulator.” Maybe something like that will help, and conserve more water.

      1. James - Post author

        That’s a more involved solution than what I’m working on. I’m trying to keep it simple!

    5. leia

      James, was this cold water blast a *feature* of the Fuse shower as well? I recall Stef saying that she loved the Fuse shower so I’m assuming it was not.

      Re: window coverings, I’ve been OCDing about a limited production vehicle/RV for sale on Craigslist right now and as such, I’ve looked at every photo/description I can find online. Some say this “thing” (the Eldorado Starfire) was designed by Bill Lear but that doesn’t really make sense because Lear died in 1978 and these strange motorhomes were in production in the mid to late eighties. All that to say that the window coverings original to these RVs were day/night shades (two separate shades) and when I saw a photo of what they looked like I thought of you, Stef and your heat camera (and keeping Lance insulated). Supposedly, only 300 of these motorhomes were ever built/assembled and they were included in a Neiman Marcus catalog as the ultimate gift/motorhome (also appeared on the cover of Popular Mechanics in 1987). The list price on these in the eighties was close to 100k.

      I would love to see you and Stef do a walk-around on one of these!

      At $3900 I thought it would be the perfect way to find out if we are suited for RVing and in my convoluted way of thinking: $3900 = 39 nights in a $100 hotel rooms.

      My husband thinks I’m insane. For him, it’s the Fuse or nothing.

      1. James - Post author

        Well, OK. That’s um…. interesting, to say the least!
        But if it were me, I’d try to figure out if a vehicle like that would work for us before I just went and bought it. You could probably rent something for less time, money, and hassle than $3900. I’d honestly recommend working through my 8-step program post to figure out if something like that (or the Fuse) makes sense for you.

        Oh, and about the cold blast of water in the Fuse. I honestly don’t recall. I can tell you that MOST RV shower heads drip profusely, even when they’re off. So I’m pretty sure it did that. Don’t remember the temperature though.

    6. BobB

      Where did you buy the track?

      If you are going to use those little round “super” magnets, you might find it easier (and safer) to sew little pockets for them, then slip the magnets in. They are so powerful, that if they even get near something like a sewing machine and that moving needle…….IMO might not be too safe. Just a consideration.

      1. James - Post author

        Yes. That would help the dripping. But by itself, based on my findings thus far, it would actually exacerbate the cold water problem!

    7. Dennis

      James, Love your blog. I’ve commented in the past. I’m on my second Travato. Have the 59K now. I have the perfect solution for your sliding door window. Ordered the MCD “bottom up blinds” normally used for class A side windows. I mounted them above the window using them as a top down shade. The best part is they are contained in a very sleek black metal housing, do not rattle and are made to handle the rigors of an opening and closing door. They are under constant tension and require two very small “J” hooks to hold them down. I have them on my rear windows and slider window. I ordered the same fabric as the other factory blinds. The slider blind clears the screen and seals closely to it, yet easily clears the screen on opening. They provide a radius corner option which wraps cleanly around the door latch. I have modified my Travato a lot. But this is the best modification I have accomplished. I have a few pictures but not sure how to post them. If you’d like to see them I can shoot you an email. Good luck.

      1. James - Post author

        We actually have the MCD shades on the back windows. Made a video about that one.
        On the slider window – did you get the radius corner on only one side?
        Perhaps a picture would be be the better way to go. If you send something to my email, I can post it here.

        1. Dennis

          James, sent pics to your email. Only radius is at the lower left side looking out. Where the door latch mechanism is. The radius is not needed on the screen side. You do have to be diligent on making sure your screen is completely closed when shutting the slider. The tolerance is really tight but does clear nicely with no gap at all. You’ll notice in the pic I also added a $3.00 grab handle below the window of the slider window to the right. This allows us to pull the door completely closed without having to slam it every time. I’m not a rocket scientist, but I’m a retired dentist. Lol. You should see my four bottle custom wine rack!

        2. James - Post author

          This is the most complete of the pictures – so everyone can see what we’re talking about.

          Travato Sliding Door Shade

    8. Carol Power

      Well kudos on the side door curtain prototype.Looks WONDERFUL so far!

      Our Pleasure-Way Plateau had a slide curtain on the side door and it was great, but there was more clearance on the side sprinter door then the Travato has.

      Please keep us posted as we would love to be able to shut a curtain on a track and not have to stand there for five minutes trying to figure which end of the stick on curtain goes where.

      1. James - Post author

        We’ve picked out a fabric for the final curtain. Should be pretty sweet when I get it finished. I have to convince someone to sew it for me first though! I’ll post more pictures when it’s all done.

        1. Sally

          I’m wondering what the rail you attached on the bottom is for? Does the final curtain attach and slide on both top and bottom, rather than hang?

          BTW typical curtains add a stiffener (“Pellon”) at the top for neat pleats when a soft fabric is chosen to get the desired drapey effect below. Some forms of this stuff just iron on and are fun to work with.

          Thanks for sharing so much great information.

        2. James - Post author

          You’ve guessed it. The final curtain attaches to both top and bottom. The door tilts, and is curved. The curtain wouldn’t drape properly without two tracks, and would likely get caught in the door opening and closing.

          The final material I used is pretty hefty “privacy” type fabric.

    9. Drew


      Why don’t you just leave the water on while showering? Even when we boondock, my wife and I use less than 10 gal combined each day. Just curious.


      1. James - Post author

        The Travato fresh water tank isn’t all that big. We like to conserve water where we can.
        Besides, my shower at home is pretty small – so small, I can’t lather up with the water on! So I’m used to turning the water off anyway.

    10. Ted

      I have heard suggestions that the leaking shower head shut off valve is a feature designed to maintain enough water flow to maintain hot water in the shower hose (which seems to be contradicted by your freezing cold water experience). Many don’t like this waste of water.

      One thing to look into…. RVGeeks found that their outside shower faucet actually mixed cold and hot water continually when they shut off the flow at the showerhead with both hot and cold valves opened. Perhaps something like this is causing your problem.


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