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Ask Dave: We have an old woodbox-mounted TV. How do we upgrade it?

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. Today he discusses upgrading an old TV.

Upgrading the RV’s TV

Dear Dave,
We have a 13-year-old Class A and need to replace the original TV. It’s bolted securely into its woodbox frame and we’ll need professional help fitting and installing a new model into the space. We also want a TV that can take the bumps and jolts of travel. Should we go to an RV service facility or to an electronics store to have this done? We’re not sure where to start or which one would have the most expertise. Thanks, Dave. —Ron

Dear Ron,
This is a fairly common upgrade as the older tubed TVs were stuck up in between the driver and passenger area because they were so deep it would take up too much room in the living area. Today’s flat-screen TVs are so much easier to place and the quality is outstanding. I have replaced a few over the years. One project was for a 1992 Itasca Suncruiser, where we replaced a 12” TV in the overhead with a 21” flat screen.

Options for the new TV location

We had limited options since the old TV was more of a square screen, called 4:3 aspect, and new HD TVs are rectangular, called 16:9. One option would be to remove the TV and install a cabinet door to match the two side doors for more storage and place the new TV somewhere else in the living room. We decided not to do that as we wanted to connect the entertainment center located in the right overhead compartment to the new TV. Putting it in the living room was too hard to wire. Plus, we would have a difficult time getting coax there from the antenna.

So, we decided to place the new TV in the existing area and had to decide how big and what type. I researched what brand RV manufacturers were installing. I even called Winnebago Owner Relations to see if they were experiencing any issues with the LG brand they were using. It seemed that was holding up well in travel and cold weather. So that is the brand we chose.. However, I do see several companies using Vizio and Sony. These are the brands I would recommend.

Choose the size TV

Next, we had to decide on size. We chose the 21” as it fit in between the two doors and used a telescoping mount inside the compartment. We used this mount as it could be pushed inside the compartment with the TV sitting flush to the opening. It could also be pulled out and the TV swiveled.

This is a fairly easy DIY project, so you don’t necessarily need to go to a repair facility or electronics specialist. Check out this video at RV Repair Club and decide for yourself.

Another option was to install a full wood face to the opening and install a permanent mount to the wood and the other to a larger TV and store the TV under the sofa while traveling. Then we could just pull out the TV and hang it up and have a full-size TV while stationary. The owner chose the first version!

Since you indicated it was mounted in steel, I assume it’s a Winnebago product, as it was one of the few to do that. This is good, as it gives you a solid frame to mount whatever you want. The existing coax will work with HD, and even the old “batwing”-type antenna will receive an HD signal. I would recommend upgrading that as well with either the Wingman addition to the existing antenna or, better yet, upgrade with the permanent mount Winegard model.

Read more from Dave here

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DW/ND
30 days ago

I removed a 19″ CRT from the front overhead of our Winnebago Vectra to a 32″ flat screen which swings down from the overhead so you can watch it straight on not looking up with the attendant sore neck. I swing the Tv up for travel. Has worked for several years now. Stored at -30f and +100f. Pictures are worth a thousand words. I have the detailed pics if anyone is interested. Contact RV travel for an email address exchange.

Gary
30 days ago

Just remember, a 32″ tv is not 32 inches wide. It’s much less.

Jeff Craig
30 days ago

Ten years ago, I replaced my Sanyo CRT in my 2007 Georgetown Class A with a 32″ Philipps LCD 1080P from Woot.com. I left the original plywood base, removed the old mounts, added some 2*4’s cut to fit the outside for horizontal and vertical support and then another pair of 2*4’s in the dead center of the box – basically making a massive, enclosed ‘plus sign’. A basic SANUS TV mount from Costco was then lag bolted to the center and the TV clip side went into the 200×200 VESA holes. It fit perfectly! The only issue with it was a constant squeaking as we drove, but the judicious use of adhesive packing foam padding and a pair of bungee cords (an emergency backup my wife demanded) reduced that to near nothing. It worked so well, that I recently upgraded that TV to a 40″ Insignia 1080P LED – at half the weight.

Jeff Craig
30 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Craig

FYI – My Philipps now is in my bedroom, and instead of a whole box for support, I installed a MorRyde TV40 (SHORT) mount (https://amzn.to/2XOLHpV) (the tall mount wouldn’t fit) after putting down another layer of plywood on the bottom (just in case). This one is extendable and we put a laptop (for ripped movies and games) in the back and use it for storage as well. Since this is a solid unit (unlike the front mount) there is no squeaking and vibration is minimal as we drive.

I would strongly recommend these Mor/Ryde mounts to anyone who is upgrading to a flat screen!

Bob P
30 days ago

I too wanted to upgrade from the old tv so after removing the old and buying the new 26” tv and an articulating mount that can move in many directions side to side I installed the mount inside on the right side of the old frame. This allowed the tv to move to the right exposing the old cabinet for storage. When watching tv it was covering the “hole” and when traveling I simply secured it with a bungee cord. This traveled many miles without any problems. After 2 years DW complained about getting a sore neck sitting on the couch and watching tv with her head turned to the left and I moved the tv to the area just to the left of the door and above the recliner. So it can be done with very little skill.

AWanda Henning
30 days ago

Dave: I tried to upload additional photos but did not have the option to include another question. You can contact me via email for the others if you want to see them.

tom
30 days ago

Good luck in finding a new smaller size TV. We have a 26″ Samsung and there is no replacement made to fit that space. Samsung has worked great for 9 years and 133k miles. No complaints, other than a lack of additional HDMI connections.

Bob
30 days ago
Reply to  tom

There are still some 24 inch available but they are few and far between. Best buy even has a 19 inch, if you can find one in stock.