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Old 08-19-2010, 10:19 AM   #1
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Should cabinets be built to flex?

I'm putting in new cabinets. Floor to ceiling units. I'm concerned about the trailer flexing and the cabinets not having room to move. I've been wondering if I need to at least leave a 1/4 gap between each cabinet unit so they have room to move.
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:34 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by adwriter73 View Post
I'm putting in new cabinets. Floor to ceiling units. I'm concerned about the trailer flexing and the cabinets not having room to move. I've been wondering if I need to at least leave a 1/4 gap between each cabinet unit so they have room to move.
The shell flexing, can be minimized so that cabinet clearances can be as little as 1/32 of an inch.

The key to restricting the movement is two fold.

One, make sure the running gear is properly balanced, and two, make sure the axle rubber rods are still ok, so that the trailer does not bottom out when hitting bumps.

Andy Rogozinski
Inland RV Center
Corona, CA
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:40 AM   #3
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In my experience (I'm from a family of cabinet makers)...

You should think of assemblies, and keep things solid. A row of cabinets will be able to flex and twist along their length to a greater degree than the steel frame they're supported on. Attach everything securely to the floor and loosely to the wall. If the cabinets face each other, a simple ceiling cross-bar to hold them a fixed distance apart removes most of the wearing motion.

The way the shell moves, the straight walls flex less and the curved transitions to the ceiling flex a little more, all rotating around the floor seam. The movement is less near the end caps and greatest fore of the axles. I towed my TW empty/stripped and measured the movements: 1/4" at the end cap joins, 7/8" at the axle line, and 1 3/8" at the half way point forward of the axles to the forward cap belt line. With furniture installed, the end cap figures all stayed 1/4" and the troublesome forward line dropped from 1 3/8" to 5/8" as the furniture held the frame rigid.

The measurements were taking by placing pivoting 2x4s across the frame, with markers facing up to witness cards. Driving. Looking at measurements then hand deflecting and measuring to match the measurement to a real deflection.

Different years/lengths of trailer will flex differently and do different degrees depending on frame and axle condition. Next time I do this, I will take before and after measurements with new axles.
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:17 AM   #4
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I'd make a floor to ceiling unit in three sections and not over 48" wide. It can look like a single unit but will be seperated to allow for flexing. Try looking at a few new AS to get some ideas on how its done. Note the clearance to the shell and flex seals at the edges. You could go with a sigle unit and just leave more edge gap to allow for trailer flex. Build it light weight and not too ridged. Try to avoid solid glued and screwed framing. Lots of AS interior storage was built with some aluminium framing and parts were riveted together.
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:45 PM   #5
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My cabinets on the street side that holds the refrigerator, microwave shelf, and the three closet doors is all in good shape. I intend to leave that all in place for now. The sink side that holds the range and covers the battery and the furnace is not so good. That I intend to replace.

I intend to make removable components that include the face with doors, end panels, center partitions, fixed and adjustable shelves, and counter top. The components will be manufactured in the conventional way but they will be attached to the coach as well each other with metal corners and screws in a way that they could be removed for service of components and re-assembled without damage. They will appear conventional.

Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 08-20-2010, 10:19 AM   #6
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Good stuff to know as I am in the process of rebuilding my living room credenza. I has assumed that the top was screwed into the ribs, but it isn't. Screwed to the interior wall skin only.

I had thought of beefing things up a bit by adding some screws into the ribs but I see now that would be a mistake. Gave me a few other ideas too for final assembly of the base.

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