Travel Trailer Upgrades - Grey Wolf 26DJSE - My List so far

ctechbob

Active member
Hi all. Wayne invited me over here. I thought I'd registered a while ago, but apparently not. Posting up a writeup I did over on BITOG about some modifications and additions I did to our 2022 Cherokee Grey Wolf 26DJSE.

The trailer: Cherokee Grey Wolf 26DJSE 'Stick and Tin' Construction (IE it has studded walls covered by paneling, this makes some things easier.)

Listed in no Particular order:

1. Morryde CRE2-3000 Suspension and Wet Bolts

Why - The factory shackles, bolts, and bushings are garbage. The bushings are plastic and had already started wearing through by the time I did this upgrade earlier this year with less than 3000 miles on the trailer. Wet bolts allow you to inject grease into the bushings.

Difficulty - Install 5/10 (Lifting and securing the trailer? 8/10 unless you have a some really nice jacks and stands) The actual install is easy. The hardest part is putting the trailer in the air with all 4 wheels off the ground at the same time.

Cost - $179 for the suspension $80 for the wet bolts

Old (right) New (Left)

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Before:

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After:
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2. Tire Upgrade - Carlisle Radial Trail HD

Why - The tires that come with the trailer are rated for 65mph and are, ehh, not great. The Carlisles are not quite as nice as the Goodyear Endurance's, but they're a little more affordable and are probably 90% the tire the GY's are.

Difficulty - 1/10 - I had Tire Rack's Mobile installer stop by. They will not remove the tires from a trailer, but it is super simple to put one or two wheels in the air at a time and let him mount the tires while you shuttle them up and back to his van.

Cost - $89/Tire and $120 for the install


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3. Dimming overhead lights

Why - Sometimes you want less light and would prefer to dim the overheads instead of turning them off. Especially useful for the lights over the beds.

Difficulty - 1/10 (For me) - Cherokee uses WAGO connectors for everything, so you just pull the old lights down and put the new ones up. Super easy in my trailer.

Cost - $40/4 Lights - I replaced a total of 8 (Out of 10 that are inside the trailer)

4. New USB Charging Ports

Why - The ones they put in the trailer are SLOW, and sometimes wouldn't even charge our phones properly. The new ones also have a USB-C PD port that the others didn't. New ones to the left and right of the master bed. Also some plug expander style ones in a few other places. We now have probably 20 fast charge/high power USB ports in the thing. If you can't charge your device in our camper, it can't be charged.

Difficulty - 3/10 - I had to 3d print some plates to cover the wider screw holes of the old in wall plates.

Cost - $6ea for the new charging ports $12ea for the plug expanders.

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5. Shower Curtain Rod

Why - The factory one runs straight across and doesn't give you a lot of room in the shower. The new one is curved outward and gives some more space so the curtain isn't sticking to you.

Difficulty - 2/10 - Wall inserts and screws

Cost - $35 for the new rod and curtain. You can just get a residential curtain and cut it to fit if you're not picky.


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6. Hanging Storage

Why - You need a place to hang things and this trailer came with none.

His and her 4 post coat racks, one on either side of the bed.
2 Posts attached to the back of the bathroom door.
4 Post key rack at the entrance.
Towel rack in the bathroom.

Difficulty - 2/10 - Screws/Screws+Anchors. This is where the 'stick and tin' trailers are an advantage. There are studs in the walls 16 inches on center. If you don't mind the alignment, you can sink your screws into the studs.


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7. Gas assist struts for master bed and cabinets.

Why - Holding up cabinet doors and the storage access under the bed is a pain.

Difficulty - 4/10. Mainly just for the bed. You'll have to fabricate some mounting brackets if you want to do it cheaply and not spring for one of the expensive kits. I just needed a couple of chunks of 2x4 and long screws as well as some scrap pieces of wood and wood glue. All stuff I have laying around.

Cost - $25 for the bed shocks and $18 for the cabinets

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8. Fridge switch.

Why - My camper has a 12v compressor fridge. These are new within the last few years and work just like your fridge in your house, except the compressor motor runs on 12v. My model year has no way to pull power to the thing except by pulling a fuse in the fuse box. So every time you turn on the battery, the fridge would start unless you pulled the fuse. I felt like that is not great for the compressor to be starting and stopping all the time if I turned the battery on and turned the fridge right back off, so I added a switch to the power line. I'm lucky in that all my power is right near the fridge and all I had to do was interrupt the positive wire with a heavy duty switch. I've noticed that some trailers are coming configured like this from the factory now, so someone must have the same thoughts I did.

Difficulty (For me) - 2/10 - Mainly for having to lay on the floor to do it.

Cost - $5 Switch

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9. Water filter

Why - The camper came with an under-sink pump soap bottle that we never used because the soap would dry out and get yuck between trips, but it leaves a nice hole next to the faucet for something. How about an under sink filter so we can quit carrying the Brita pitcher around. This filter takes the same 2.5x10" filters we use on the countertop unit in the house, and there are a wide selection of filters for them.

Difficulty - 3/10 - Crawling under the counter again

Cost - $80 for the Filter, faucet, line, and tap for the water line.

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10. Quick connect fittings everywhere

Why - Why? They're just better. No screwing around screwing hoses together. I have many many sets on all my water lines, pressure regulators, and outdoor filters. When we get to the campsite, the only thing I have to screw on is the one fitting on the campsites water faucet. Everything else just clicks together. I did 3d print TPU caps for them to keep the crud out between trips.

Difficulty - -10/10 they make life that much more simple

Cost - $10 - Set of 6. I'm not sure how many sets I've bought, I really do have them all over the place, both on the camper and at home.
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11. Stinky Slinky Storage

Why - I don't like storing them in the bumper. My bumper caps are always threatening to fall off and this is slightly more secure.

Difficulty - 2/10 - Just self tapping screws into metal.

Cost - $54

I just realized I need to get under there with some paint this upcoming weekend.

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12. Cargo rack tie downs - These are just simple U Bolts drilled into the cargo rack to give me a place to hook tiedowns. I put 6 of them in the rack. 2 on each end and 2 in the middle.

Why - I don't like attaching tie-downs to expanded metal

Difficulty - 4/10 - Lots of metal drilling, locktite, etc.


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A Note on Build Quality/Attention to Detail

As shipped, my cargo rack was attached to the bumper with the attachment bolt fully rearward. This was putting more strain on the bumper than it should have. It was installed this way, because if you slide it the whole way forward, as it should be, it interferes with the licence plate. My temporary solution to that is to flip the tail light upside down (The license plate holder is part of the left tail light) so that the plate is out of the way of the cargo rack mount. This should take a lot of the leverage stress off the bumper. You can see in this picture where I've moved the U-bolt fully forward. You can also see that I've flipped the right tail light to match the left. New tail lights are on the way. Sealed LED units to replace these incandescent ones.



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13. Asus Chromebox

Why - I'm well aware that camping is about getting away/unplugging. But sometimes you need to look up local restaurants, or pay some bills while you're on the road, and I'm one of those people that think using a phone to do 'real' computer work SUCKS.

Difficulty - 1/10 - More screws in the wall

Cost - $20 (+$30 in wireless keyboard/mouse) from Ebay. It is a few generations old, but it is Chrome OS, so it gets the job done.

It's peeking out from behind the TV. HDMI Switcher right below, and a FireStick below that. I had everything but the ChromeBox and the TV only has one HDMI input, so I used a switcher I'd had on hand for some reason.

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14 - Hanging basket storage. See picture above

Why - I needed a few places to shove some things. Came in a pack of 3 so I hung all 3 of them up.

One holds the TV/Firestick remotes (Above) a bluetooth speaker, and wireless keyboard/mouse.
One is mounted on the back of the couch near where I sleep. I put sunglasses and random crap from my pockets in it.
One is mounted close to the floor by the door on the back of the dinette. Currently holding plastic bags for dog poo pickup.

Cost - $15

Difficulty - 1/10

15 - Renogy solar controller

Why - Not only was the factory controller some off brand thing, it was mis-wired from the factory and nearly cooked my battery. They had the panel essentially wired straight to the battery, so that when the battery was full and the sun was out, the voltage would climb to 18V+ on the battery terminals. Also, there was no way to pull the converter or panels from the circuit. Now I have a disconnect built in via the fuse block.

I didn't need to use a 4 position block, but I had one, so that's what went in.

Cost - $20 for the controller

Difficulty - 1/10

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Of course, if anyone has any questions or would like to know where I got anything (Mostly Amazon), feel free to yell, always glad to help.
 
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The bushings are plastic and had already started wearing through by the time I did this upgrade earlier this year with less than 3000 miles on the trailer.
Pretty much everything Morryde makes is good quality. For the manufacturer to install shackle pins with plastic that wears through in a few thousand miles, is inexcusable. I see many trailers that the shackles make terrible groaning sounds when being pulled. I'll bet their plastic quieting bushing are shot and probably have fallen off.

The tires that come with the trailer are rated for 65mph and are, ehh, not great.
Getting rid of the china bombs is always a good thing. These tires look much better than some of the chinese tires I've seen. We have seen so many trailers with cheap tires pulled off the side of the road with people standing there looking at the blown tire like, "Now what?"

The factory one runs straight across and doesn't give you a lot of room in the shower. The new one is curved outward and gives some more space so the curtain isn't sticking to you.
We put a curved rod in the spare bathroom shower. At first I thought it was kind of a gimmick, but they certainly aren't. So much more room and the curtain doesn't stick to your arm like velcro :)

Hanging Storage

Why - You need a place to hang things and this trailer came with none.
Our trailer has a coat closet that also has lots of hangers for eyes, umbrellas, etc. Always good to have places to store and hang items, else they build up on the back of chairs and counter tops.

Gas assist struts for master bed and cabinets.
We also have storage under our bed. Without the gas struts, storing or retrieving something becomes a two person job or you risk getting your head banged!

The camper came with an under-sink pump soap bottle that we never used because the soap would dry out and get yuck between trips, but it leaves a nice hole next to the faucet for something. How about an under sink filter so we can quit carrying the Brita pitcher around.
When our 5th wheel was built, we had them install our Clearsource dual cartridge filter (sediment and carbon) in the basement. All of the water that enters from the city service goes through the filters. The difference in taste when the water is filtered through a carbon filter can be pretty substantial. We still carry our Brita, but I'm not sure why other than to have a water pitcher.

Quick connect fittings everywhere
I have thought about installing these, because it never fails that the twist-on hose ends leak even with new gaskets. The convenience of quickly hooking up hoses would be really nice. The only thing that has stopped me is my experience with quick connects is that they also leak. Do yours leak? Which brand did you use?

Cargo rack tie downs
Great upgrade! Makes you wonder why this wasn't done at the factory, as it's so simple and so effective.

Not only was the factory controller some off brand thing, it was mis-wired from the factory and nearly cooked my battery. They had the panel essentially wired straight to the battery, so that when the battery was full and the sun was out, the voltage would climb to 18V+ on the battery terminals.
Ugh, there is no excuse for miss wiring anything. This had to be a fire hazard and a hazard to the health of your DC loads. Is your battery lead-acid or lithium?
 
The quick connects are just some chinese ones from Amazon. They don't leak, or at least I've never had one leak. You do have to make sure not gorilla tight the female side onto the hose as the rubber gasket that seals the hose also seals the quick connect and if you tighten it too much you won't be able to get the fitting together as the gasket bunches up and presses out to the point you can't complete the connection.

Lead acid on the main battery.
 
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That's a great set of mods! I'm going to research the wet bolts for my axles.

Do the suspension at the same time (if they make a model for yours), it won't be much more work and it is a really good upgrade. Keeps from bashing the trailer around so much.

The common ones are 33" and 35" wheelbase. Not sure what there is if it different from those two sizes, but surely someone makes one.
 
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The quick connects are just some chinese ones from Amazon. They don't leak, or at least I've never had one leak.
I think I'll finally try some, it would be much easier to hookup and unhook the hoses.
 
The way I have mine now is:

#1 Quick connect female - attached to the parks water outlet
#1 Y-Connector with individual shutoffs - quick connects on the one input and 2 outputs
#1/#2 Quick connector on the water filter/pressure regulator combo
#2 Quick connector on the water supply hose with

#3/#4 90* on the end that goes to the trailer so that I don't have hose hanging off the side putting extra strain on the water input.

Quick connector on the trailer - for both black and freshwater.

I omit the y-connector when I'm not at a full hookup site, otherwise, when we are there is a separate black flush hose I'll hook to it.

You can just make all of that out in this image.

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16. Awning shade

Why - Blocks the sun from the 'sitting area' outside the front door

Cost - $35 for the shade assembly $10 for the velcro $5 for Rivets (not yet installed).

This one will require some explanation.

We'd seen a few other people with a setup like this and decided we wanted one. I was browsing Amazon one night and came across one on sale for $35 advertised as being for a 15-foot awning, which is what Forest River advertises our awning to be (foreshadowing).

Awnings of the past used to have grooves in them that would allow you to slide in accessories, the new ones do....not.

My alternative method of mounting is currently a long strip of self-adhesive velcro. I am lucky enough to have a long-time auto upholsterer in the family who did the sewing of the velcro and the trimming of the upper panel. Trimming you say?

'15-foot' awnings, are about 14 feet of material, which meant that my newly purchased sunshade was a foot too long, and I had no way to mount it. I had my uncle trim a foot off, terminate the zipper, and sew the fuzzy side of a strip of velcro on the upper panel.

In the meantime, I took the stiff side of the velcro and riveted small metal grommets in it, intending to drill and rivet it to the awning tube. I haven't gotten around to doing this part yet, but might this fall since down here in GA the adhesive is likely to give way sooner rather than later in our heat. I left the lower panel at 15 feet. It looks dumb, but I didn't want to impose on my uncle as they've already helped me enough and wouldn't take my money, so I didn't want him to do even more work for free for me. He's semi-retired and he's got better things to do than work on my stuff.

The bottom is just held down by tent stakes and bungee cords, and I have some dog lead screw things if I run across super loose soil.


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An awning shade would be real nice on those bright sunny days where the awning isn't blocking the sun.
 
Here is a better picture of my usual water quick connect setup. I've marked the connections that are QC's.

The only actual bit I screw on when we get to a site is the one on the site's house outlet. Everything else is quick connects.

The male QC's live permanently on the trailer and are covered by some 3D-printed push-on covers when not connected.

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Here is a better picture of my usual water quick connect setup.
You do practically the same as me. A pressure regulator going to the potable water and the black tank flush on the non-regulated side of the Y. Our filter set up is permanently mounted in the basement of the trailer.
 
You do practically the same as me. A pressure regulator going to the potable water and the black tank flush on the non-regulated side of the Y. Our filter set up is permanently mounted in the basement of the trailer.
Yea, no reason to filter or regulate that black line. That is one of those expanding hoses that I'm not super fond of as it doesn't really flow all that great, but it is super convenient for toting around. Works well enough. I'll usually drain the black, then close it back up and let it fill up for a few min while I'm cleaning other things up, dump it again, and then the grey. Seems to have been working well for getting most everything out.
 
17. Electric Heat Kit for my Coleman Mach 15 AC Unit

Cost: $140ish - Depending on the parts you need. I needed both the heating element and a new control box.

This is a decently easy upgrade IF you have an extra, unused wire that runs from your thermostat to the AC unit. You need this extra wire to control the heating element. You also need a thermostat capable of running electric and gas heat.

I had a problem with my original thermostat and Coleman was nice enough to replace it with a unit that does the dual heat option.

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I also took the opportunity to clean things up in my plenum and clean up the wiring.

Before:


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After:

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Buttoned up:
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Heating element installed. Little extra loctite here. I am NOT a fan of this attachment method and might go back in with some bolts.


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I also cleaned up the thermostat wiring:

Before:


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After, I will be tying the bundle of wires to the wood to keep vibration to a minimum, I just haven't done that yet.

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Next up is cleaning up the mass wad of ground wires. Need it to be light out since I need to pull all power from the trailer to do it.
 
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18. Key all your locks the same.

Cost: $39 shipped for 3 lock tumblers.
Time: 10 min a lock

Our coach came with a Global Link key for the door, a different key for the two cargo doors, and a different key for the outside shower.

Now I have one key that does everything on the coach. I know some manufacturers equip their product with keyed alike systems, but mine was not.

One purple key to rule them all.
 
How many BTUs is the electric heating element?


It looks really good now! Where did you get the extra wide black tape? Is it electric tape or duct tape?
It is a 1600 watt element, so similar to any space heater you might buy at the store. Main thing for me is that it is all integrated and one less thing I need to tote around or move around when we're at the site. Out of way, out of mind.

The black tape is actually not for ducts, but I couldn't think of a reason I couldn't use it. It is a butyl tape meant for sealing things up to be waterproof. It is super sticky and somewhat stretchy.

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Butyl Tape

Worst case is I have to go in and do it again, but the stuff sticks super well on the underside of the camper, I figure it will inside the air duct.
 
It is a 1600 watt element, so similar to any space heater you might buy at the store. Main thing for me is that it is all integrated and one less thing I need to tote around or move around when we're at the site. Out of way, out of mind.
I think it's a way cool upgrade. We have an electric fireplace in our trailer or I would put one in. 1600 watts isn't a blast furnace, but it will heat your trailer no problem down to 45F.
 
I think it's a way cool upgrade. We have an electric fireplace in our trailer or I would put one in. 1600 watts isn't a blast furnace, but it will heat your trailer no problem down to 45F.

I could have sworn that I posted an update about the heater, but I certainly can't find it.

I don't have a 30a plug available (yet) so I waited until last weekend to test the heat coil. Wasn't a terribly cold Saturday morning, but the inside temp of the trailer was 63 deg. I started the generator and cranked up the heat. As I expected, it was using around half the output of the generator and shortly some warm air started blowing through the vents. I didn't run it more than 10-15 min since I just wanted to exercise the genny a bit since I hadn't started it in a while, but it brought the temp up 4 degrees in that amount of time.

Perfectly happy with the upgrade. We're going to a state park next weekend and overnight temps will require running heat (47 overnight), so it will be fun to see it work for a longer period of time. Especially since I like to have a window cracked and the maxxair on low to pull fresh air into the camper and give me a shot of cold air in the face while I sleep.
 
I could have sworn that I posted an update about the heater, but I certainly can't find it.
This post I believe:

 
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