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Old 11-30-2014, 06:38 PM   #1
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Axis/Vegas Mods and Upgrades

I don't see a thread for Axis or Vegas modifications and upgrades, so let's start one. Here're the first couple from our Axis.


1.
I added an Ultragauge engine monitor. It's mounted on the upper-right of the main console. Sorry, no pictures of this one. I haven't done much with it yet. So far I only have one screen enabled with speed, instant MPG, Average MPG, and distance to empty. If anyone has a good set of gauges for the E350 please post!

2 & 3.
I made new driver and passenger-side consoles and upgraded the front speakers. Here are the results.





The tops are solid cherry (the real thing) with a hand-rubbed oil finish. They will darken pretty quickly to that beautiful burgundy-brown that stain (and paper-covered pine) can't come close to!

I built a CNC-router a couple of years ago and used it to make a new switch bezel to replace the original black plastic unit. I painted the tray on the driver's-side with gloss black Valspar plastic formula spray paint to better match the rest of the plastic bits.

Both units are about 4 inches taller than the originals making them much easier to reach. On the driver's side I swapped the location of the switch panel and cup holder. I reach for the cup holder a lot more often than I do the switches. On the passenger side I lengthened the whole unit a bit and added a second cup holder. DW wanted someplace to put a bottle of soda in addition to the cup of ice.

The speakers are Pioneer TS-A6995R 5-way 6x9s from Amazon. I replaced the 110 outlet in the passenger-side unit with one that contains 2 USB charge ports. With two iPhones, two iPads, helmet communicators, and multiple cameras we can use all the charger space we can get!

Construction is pretty simple. The originals are really cheap 1/2" softwood plywood, stapled together, and covered with foam-backed vinyl. The new boxes are 1/2" Baltic Birch ply, glued and screwed together. Baltic Birch is a solid-ply (no voids) hardwood plywood. It's much stronger and more stable than normal ply, but a bit heavier. It's stiffer too which should make the speakers sound a bit better.




I found a perfect match for the vinyl at a local upholstery shop, but they didn't have it foam-backed. No problem though they did have 1/8" closed-cell foam. I attached it with 3M 90 hi-strength adhesive and trimmed it all 'round. More adhesive attached the vinyl which was then wrapped around the back and stapled down.









You can see the difference between the new and the originals. The whole project cost about $150. DW and I are really pleased with the result. They look great, are much easier to reach, and the new speakers are a marked improvement over the original Sony's.

Next up is a replacement for the front table. We generally use it instead of the large table in front of the couch. I glued up a cherry panel while making the console tops. It needs trimmed, edge-routed, and the finish applied. It should look great and is half the weight of the original Formica/particle-board tables.
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:00 PM   #2
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Sewer Hose Storage

I always like mod/idea threads!

Anyways, the Axis didn't have convenient storage for a stinky slinky and it's nice to have a good hose ready for those outings that include a dump station stop while out&about.

After looking at various storage options I decided to try the 64" sewer storage tube from CampingWorld (square vinyl fence post was my other thought). Just happens to be a nice open spot underneath.


Drilled 2 small holes near frame rail edge to secure one factory tube mount end. Milled out a hole to fit a frame rivet for a more flush mount.


There's a few options for the other end but I picked metal strap to the frame rail. The strap is secured with bolts through existing frame holes. Simple and easy.


Needed just a bit of the skirt cut for access... Jig saw worked better than rotary tool.


A piece of flat metal strapping to the bottom of the sewer compartment bottom to eliminate for/aft shift/flex.


All bolt to nut joints are snug but not tight and they each got a dab of epoxy to help make sure they don't loosen due to road vibration.

Next I need to see if my scangauge out of my FJC will work in the E350 port. And then think about mounting a 1500W AC inverter and then convert screw access panels to latched or hinged type panels and then ... yea ... it never ends!
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:46 AM   #3
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Replaced axis couch with power recliners

We replaced the miserable couch in our Axis with two Best Home Furnishing stationary power recliners with optional lithium batteries. They sit two inches from the window shade, and accommodate my 6'1" husband, and my big butt. Only complaint is the arms are a little hard. Most sales people are unaware of the optional lithium battery. The chairs are bolted down and work great! Installation was easy and only required movement of a junction box. Recliners | Petite | COSTILLA | Best Home Furnishings
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Old 05-02-2015, 03:14 PM   #4
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Access Panels Made Simple

Looks like my sewer storage picture links disappeared! Oh well, I'll try a different picture place ... here's another simple access panel fix for access without those darn screws that couldn't possibly last very long in that thin wood.

Glued some small magnets to the back of panels and let them fully set.


Isolate glued magnets with a piece of paper and held in place with the facing magnets.


A dab of glue on the top of the magnets followed promptly with setting and holding the panel in place without movement until epoxy dries.


Once the epoxy sets the panel can be easily removed and the paper glue protectors removed. If all works out right there will be matching magnets adhered to both the panel and opening frame. This perfect match makes for a very solid magnetic connection but yet a simple pull on a corner releases the panel when needed.


I used a cut-off end of a 45 shell on one panel and an old metal button on the other as pull knobs. Works great!
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