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Old 11-23-2010, 07:15 AM   #1
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Re-Attaching outlets and molding to walls

Our 20 year old Holiday Rambler Aluma Lite class A has a number of electrical outlets and various moldings that are coming apart from the wall. Some have had numerous holes drilled through them to hold them in place and in most cases, there is nothing but a very thin piece of wall board to hold them in place, causing them to separate over time.

Is there a better way to anchor these pieces to the wall (especially when replacing with new items?)? The wall board is very thin and conventional wall anchors don't fit (too long).

Help!
David
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:48 AM   #2
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You might try "gluing" the moldings in place with an adhesive caulk... you will either need to tape (3 M VHB double stick tape would work great... or any other thick double stick tape) or nail them (thin wire brads) while the adhesive dries. Use a latex based one and it will clean up easily while still wet. The "clear" latex caulks will pretty much "disappear" once they dry. As for the electrical outlets. Do you mean the boxes? For that... personally I would remove the electrical box, and glue a small block of wood behind the screw hole. Once dried, I would drill a small pilot hole that is the same size as the screw (less the threads). Some folks would use a wall anchor but they can also strip out and then they are a PITA to remove. the wood block would give a better attachment.
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgmelp View Post
Our 20 year old Holiday Rambler Aluma Lite class A has a number of electrical outlets and various moldings that are coming apart from the wall. Some have had numerous holes drilled through them to hold them in place and in most cases, there is nothing but a very thin piece of wall board to hold them in place, causing them to separate over time.

Is there a better way to anchor these pieces to the wall (especially when replacing with new items?)? The wall board is very thin and conventional wall anchors don't fit (too long).

Help!
David

Are the outlets in raised boxes on the wall or just stuffed in a cut out opening without a gang box behind them?
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:41 PM   #4
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Y As for the electrical outlets. Do you mean the boxes? For that... personally I would remove the electrical box, and glue a small block of wood behind the screw hole. Once dried, I would drill a small pilot hole that is the same size as the screw (less the threads). Some folks would use a wall anchor but they can also strip out and then they are a PITA to remove. the wood block would give a better attachment.
I used a thin strip of aluminum (1/8" x 3/4") instead of the wooden block on my RV. Glued the aluminum strip to the back side of the paneling and then drilled a small pilot hole.
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:08 PM   #5
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If you're going to replace the receptical boxes you might consider getting shallow boxes designed for "old work". They are usually blue plastic and once inserted into the opening two screws on the front tighten up "ears" on the back side which hold the box tight to the wall.

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Old 11-23-2010, 06:03 PM   #6
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If you're going to replace the receptical boxes you might consider getting shallow boxes designed for "old work". They are usually blue plastic and once inserted into the opening two screws on the front tighten up "ears" on the back side which hold the box tight to the wall.

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Old 11-24-2010, 07:08 AM   #7
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Are the outlets in raised boxes on the wall or just stuffed in a cut out opening without a gang box behind them?
All the outlets and switches are stuffed into a cut out in the wall...there isn't one box in the whole unit! I realize that's part of the problem, and it seems ridiculous that HR would have built these units this way (the first time you loosen an outlet or switch, you raise the danger of not being able to securely remount the outlet).

Do I need to install boxes throughout this unit, and will boxes even fit (its a very shallow space behind the wall)? Or do I use the thin strip of aluminum glued behind the wall and drill two holes to mount the switches and outlets? Is that safe enough?

Thank you!
David
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dgmelp View Post
All the outlets and switches are stuffed into a cut out in the wall...there isn't one box in the whole unit! I realize that's part of the problem, and it seems ridiculous that HR would have built these units this way (the first time you loosen an outlet or switch, you raise the danger of not being able to securely remount the outlet).

Do I need to install boxes throughout this unit, and will boxes even fit (its a very shallow space behind the wall)? Or do I use the thin strip of aluminum glued behind the wall and drill two holes to mount the switches and outlets? Is that safe enough?

Thank you!
David
You really never want a 110volt electrical connection exposed to the surrounding structure if possible. If your walls are made from 2x2s there are specifically designed gang boxes that slide sideways into the opens and provide enough space for the wire nuts. They're considered "old work" and should be easily found at home depot, lowes, maynards, etc....

I used this specific style myself, there's a version of it that has little flip up tabs that clamp the box in place to the surrounding wall when you tighten the screws they're attached to.

It will look like this:
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:24 PM   #9
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All the outlets and switches are stuffed into a cut out in the wall...there isn't one box in the whole unit!
And they say the manufactured RVs are SAFER than a self-conversion!

Stop in at the hardware store and wander down the electrical aisle. You will find plastic electrical boxes that are shallow. These are what you want. Try to get the ones with the "ears" (made for remodels) as opposed to the screw/nail to a post type. If you can't find the ones with the ears at one place, try another. Lowes & Home Depot should carry both types of shallow boxes.
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:29 PM   #10
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And they say the manufactured RVs are SAFER than a self-conversion!
Back in 1974, the gang box above was what was used. All the 110 volt electrical components were household grade. My water lines were galvanized steel and copper. My gas lines were all copper with brass connectors, but several have been replaced since then with rubber lines because the flexation of the camper over some backroads caused the brass nuts on the lines to crack.
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:30 PM   #11
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I don't know if it is something relatively new, but the electrical outlets in my RV are an "all in one" product. The wire snap in the back and then you snap a cover on and it becomes it's own box.
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Old 11-24-2010, 01:25 PM   #12
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I don't know if it is something relatively new, but the electrical outlets in my RV are an "all in one" product. The wire snap in the back and then you snap a cover on and it becomes it's own box.
This is typical of most RV's with the possible exception of the very high end type. The type show in your picture is the cheapest type, the others actually have a removable face plate.
The best way to secure is to take a piece of 1/2" Plywood cut into strips 3/4" x 3" GLUE and clamp so that new wood screws (I use drywall screws)
will attach to the plywood. Be sure to drill a small pilot hole for the screws. I recommend a good quality plywood such as Baltic birch. cabinet shop would be the best source for this see if they have some crap pieces. You don't want to buy a full sheet as it's 5' x 5'.
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Old 11-24-2010, 07:07 PM   #13
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Personally, I wouldnt use anything but the remodelers box shown above (blue gang box). Anything else used on 110v invites a fire..The box is designed to allow some cooling and insulation from flammables. Remember, any junction will cause some heat through resistance. That last one would get you trown in jail if used in your home. Just because its not a 'house' doesnt mean proper practices should be thrown out the window.
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Old 11-26-2010, 05:52 PM   #14
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Personally, I wouldnt use anything but the remodelers box shown above (blue gang box). Anything else used on 110v invites a fire..The box is designed to allow some cooling and insulation from flammables. Remember, any junction will cause some heat through resistance. That last one would get you trown in jail if used in your home. Just because its not a 'house' doesnt mean proper practices should be thrown out the window.
Strange as it's a UL listed device. Granted not for residential use.
There's millions of them in use in RV.
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