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Old 02-20-2010, 06:44 PM   #43
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Hi Dave:
Your install looks just like the front of my coach. (I wish it was.) Do you have the finely tuned electronic wizardry (Vansco) package behind the rail? If so, is access impeded? I can't remember the last time I needed to get to it, but ...
Any info on the install process will be most appreciated.
Thanks,
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:30 PM   #44
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Chris- Dave's coach is a 2001; thru 03 model year the rigs were wired w/relays in prefab "VEC" modules located in the same place as your Vansco modules.

1997 thru 00 coaches have a step well cover that hinges up to cover the front panel covering the VECs. It wouldn't be practical to install this handrail on those.

01-03 coaches have the VECs and a fat wire loom from them across the top of the firewall to the left. Dave checked this out before taking the handrail project on and decided it was going to work. There may be some adjustment to the tie-downs for the wire loom needed at the top end on these VEC equipped coaches, but the rest appears to be a drop-in install.

04 (and maybe 05?) rigs have the wood sound board on the inside surface of the metal firewall like the older rigs, but Vansco modules and smaller wire looms. Also next to the Vansco to its left is the SmartWheel module on models so equipped. The rail mounts to the left of the SW module; same mount location for the lower plate as shown in Dave's photos.

06 (and maybe 05?) rigs have the metal-only firewall with a sound material laminated to the front side. Same wire loom routing as 04 rigs, so same mount except thru-bolt to the metal firewall instead of screws to the wood sound board.

Apexes have Vansco's mounted to front of lower front metal bulkhead, and a HydroHot radiator assembly mounted where the Vansco is on earlier coaches. Because the wire looms are moved tot he outside, the landing point for the upper handrail bracket is simpler and more free as far as minor adjustments. Also the lower plate can be moved freely to allow individual preference because the battery disconnect switch is moved to the battery compartment.

SE's also have the battery switch in the back, and have easy location of the lower plate. One word of caution- run the step cover out all the way to locate the loser plate (and upper plate) or you run the risk of placing where the step cover won't open properly.

On the 06 and later coaches (maybe 05's?) there is a hole in the metal firewall approx. 20.5" up from the floor and 25.5" left of the right wall of the coach. There may be a 3/8" bolt in the hole holding a support for the dash, or the hole may be empty. My coach used this hole (mine had the dash support) and 3/8" bolt to hold the upper plate to the firewall. The lower plate mounts with self drilling/tapping screws to the metal stairwell side wall.

One last piece of work to complete the installation- you have to trim the upper lip of the VEC or Vansco (or for Apex- HHot) panel in front of the copilot to allow the upper end of handrail to die below the dash where is is inconspicuous. I used a 2" hole saw to make a neat round cutout for the vertical section of pipe at the top of the handrail, then a Dremel Multi-Max to taper a slot from the round hole to the rear edge of the formed plastic panel. You can use hand tools for the same task. After installing the handrail and trimming the panel, you hold the panel below the sloped part of the handrail and hook the right hand part of the upper lip behind the bar, then work it up into place. This is the only inconvenience I've noticed (versus pulling the panel sort of straight out, maneuvering it sort of straight in). If you cut the hole saw hole leaving about 3/8" of upper lip remaining, the upper lip area becomes flexible enough to do the maneuvering. Your 04 will be easier than mine as the panel is shorter left-right (i.e. you have two pieces where the 06 & later (and maybe the 05?) have a longer one piece panel setup for access into this area of the dash).
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:09 AM   #45
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Mike Late 05's have a metal firewall Mine is 75330.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:56 AM   #46
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Thank you Mike: This will be a project to address after rehab this summer. thanks again
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:34 PM   #47
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A Picture is worth a 1000 of my words.

E-Mike and All with visual acuity.
Having read the posts a few times I still can't figure out the upper mount of the rail or where it goes or if it can go where I want. I have no vertical strut. Does the upper bracket connect through the steel vansco plate ? I'm through talking. All assistance will be most appreciated. Thank you
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:21 AM   #48
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Chris, Since our coaches are very similar I will outline what I did.

The first thing to do is remove the smartwheel module. Then cut about 1 inch of the rear facing edge off of the bracket. This should eliminate the rear 2 holes. Then cut the rear 2 holes from the grab handle (it will ride the dash). Now test fit the grab rail and mark where the top left hole for the smartwheel intersects the bracket. You probably should drill and install at least 1 hole ct the lower leg before drilling the firewall hole in the bracket and install a bolt.

After you drill the first firewall hole in the bracket. Bolt the bracket to the firewall, use a 90 degree drill to put a second hole in the firewall and bracket. Be careful the left side of the bracket is very close to the housing for the dash air . keep the 2ND hole about 1.5 inches to the right. This is not critical. Bolt the grab rail in completely now. Next cut the upper left hole from the smart wheel box (about .5*.5 ). Reinstall the smart wheel using 3 bolts and spacers if you prefer. Now just trim the panel and tie up any wire you may have disturbed.
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Old 03-24-2010, 02:41 PM   #49
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Also remember step #1- close the entry step cover before fitting the handrail. You don't want to find later you've installed it too far to the left and the cover hits the rail when closing. There should be plenty of room, but if you were not considering the step cover....

Apparently the SmartWheel module has moved around some. Fortunately there is plenty of room to relocate it as needed for the upper handrail support.
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Old 03-24-2010, 03:05 PM   #50
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Mike, the way mine came out my biggest concern was making sure the screen door did not hit the grab handle. As it is I have about a .5 gap between the door and the handle. Good thing is the disconnect switch dictates where you can put the lower outboard end of the garb handle.
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Old 03-24-2010, 07:19 PM   #51
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Red face

Thanks Wayne R. I'm now ready to order one. What's next e-Mike ?
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:05 PM   #52
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Chris, some pictures of my install.







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Old 03-24-2010, 08:13 PM   #53
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Thanks for the pics Wayne. I'll communicate if I get stuck.
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:51 AM   #54
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A big HOORAY and thank you to E-Mike and Wayne R. My rail is installed and looks just like the previous pics. You guys make rv'ing fun.
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:50 PM   #55
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E-Mike.. many thanks for the entry handle.. mine went in just right and will be real helpful to us old retired folks when needed... Mel and Lorene
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:58 PM   #56
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I found that if you run a wire from the handle to the red post down at the bottom that gunmetal gray has a great illuminated color as well as being helpful to locate in the dark. One of our friends tried it but got mysteriously ill and we had to take him to the hospital. Oh well, he can try it tomorrow night.
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