Aliner Renovation – Number Two


Several years ago I undertook my first major renovation for my 2006 Aliner Sportliner. I basically replaced the table and cabinet tops, which were beginning to warp as particle board is prone to do, and resurfaced the cabinet faces to undo some modifications made by the previous owner. I decided to finish the panels with a dark (Mahogany) stain thinking it would look “elegant”. All it really did was make it look dark. An Aliner is not a corporate jet or even an Airstream where mahogany and marble look at home. Oh well, lesson learned.

So, this time I went with 1/4 inch birch plywood (readily available at big-box lumber stores) and finished with Rubio Monocoat Cotton White. It’s a bit lighter that I probably would have wanted but, as it turns out, I’m very happy with it and I think it’s definitely more appropriate for this style of camper. And, as expected, it makes the space seem a bit bigger and obviously brighter.

Here’s a breakdown of the changes made during this second renovation:

  • Refinished all cabinet faces with 1/4 birch plywood finished with Rubio Monocoat Cotton White.
  • Removed the propane heater and use space for more convenient storage. I never really liked the propane heater and generally don’t do any winter camping without electrical hookup. In those cases, a small electric heater keeps the Aliner toasty warm. Removing the propane heater opens up additional space beneath the sink for a drawer (to be built-out later) and a lower cabinet.
  • Repositioned Renogy batter monitor and inverter switch to front of cabinet. Those two control panels were previously located down there with the converter and were just too hard to see and access. Much nicer having them up there in plain sight.
  • Replace WFCO WF-8735-P with Progressive Dynamics 4100 Series Converter for use with LiFePO4 battery. Although WFCO has the WF-8735-AD (Auto Detect) version, there were just too many negative reviews indicating that the unit would simply fail to switch to the Lithium mode or, even if it did switch, would revert back to the Lead Acid mode. Fortunately, the Progressive Dynamics is a direct replacement for the WFCO and has a simple switch for mode selection.
  • Replaced Lead Acid 50AH battery with Eco-Worthy 50AH LiFePO4 battery and moved to right-side compartment (where water tank was installed). I never used the water tank and took it out last year when I installed the WFCO WF-5110RS 1000W Pure Sine Inverter.
  • Built a power distribution panel to clean up the DC wiring. All those miscellaneous wire nuts were not sitting well with my OCD. Might be a bit of overkill considering how few DC circuits are actually in use, but it’s definitely cleaner.
  • Painted the seating top panels with a color that reasonably matches the cabinet face finish. The originals seemed to be a mismatch of wood and color and although they’re mostly covered by the cushioned, the edges still peaked out. This looks much better.
  • Replaced Goldstar 5K BTU Air Conditioner with LG 6K BTU unit. The original was still working but at almost 20 years old, I was afraid it would fail just about the time the replacement would be hard to find. Plus, the LG has a digital thermostat that works like a champ.
  • Replaced door handle with typical RV style latch (as opposed to original “door knob” style). Probably not worth the effort but it looks a bit better.
  • Earlier this year I borrowed a sewing machine and made a new set of curtains. Considering the fact that I had no idea what I was doing, they turned out pretty well.

There’s still a few things left on the to-do list:

  • Now that the propane heater has been removed, I going to rerun the gas lines for the stove and refrigerator so that they can be run from the 1 pound canisters.
  • Would like to replace the 15 amp shore power access door with a 30 amp receptacle.
  • Looking into installing either a spring or gas assist for the left side of the under-couch storage. Seems like I always have stuff sitting over there and adding an assist might make it a bit easier to get to that area without moving stuff off the cushion. We’ll see…
  • Rebuild the doors and drawer fronts with birch. They’re current built from pine as I really just prototyping the layout. No big hurry on this one.
  • Build out the frame and drawer box for the drawer located beneath the sink. The drawer front is currently just attached for layout (and because it looks nice).
  • Add a Solar Charge Controller and access plug for solar panels. Mostly just for fun and to learn more about solar charging. Probably next summer.

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