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A couple of storage and wall/roof ladder access ideas

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I know a lot of the guys and gals on this forum are very experienced bus people, so the following might be a little simplistic for some, but I just discovered these myself even though I had fulltimed for ahwile in a motorhome a few years back. So, here goes:

Many maintenance tasks or improvement projects on a bus require reaching high on an exterior wall or reaching or even getting onto the roof. Examples include treating window rubber with preservative, properly washing awning covers or rolled up awnings, changing marker lamps, and finding and repairing roof leaks.

After a lot of serious looking, I have found TWO ladders that I regard as pretty remarkable, for a combination of capabilities, size and storability, and cost.

The first is a Werner 16 foot aluminum extension ladder, as found at Lowe's (pn 212660) or Home Depot (pn 051751011913). This ladder is very light (about 18 pounds) due to its aluminum construction and "only" 200 lb official rating, but very strong AND easy to use. It costs only $95 brand new. It's long enough to easy and safely get onto the roof of a bus that is over 12 feet high.

But, here's the key part: As bought, it is just a few inches too long to sit ACROSS the cargo bay of our Eagles (parallel to the axles). However, if you measure carefully, you will find that you can cut just a few inches off the top end of EACH of the two ladder sections, without running into a step on either section. You can cut about an inch short of the first step in each case (don't get too close to the step or you will weaken the ladder structurally). If you make those cuts, you will find that if you position the ladder after some pre-scouting for best location (to avoid thicker sections of cargo doors, or cargo door latch pockets), the ladder WILL fit "across" the bus, vertically, thus absolutely minimizing the amount of valuable storage AND access space consumed. Here's a photo of mine:

Image

If you like this idea, be sure to ALSO buy the Werner "ladder pads" kit. This includes 2 bright yellow pads that slip over the ends of the "fly" (upper section of the 2 piece extension ladder), to prevent them from scratching the surface you lean the ladder against. After you have cut the ends, this is especially important. You will need to modify these pads a bit since your cutting down of the ends of the ladder leaves insufficent length for them to "engage" the ladder firmly enought o stay in place. Once you see them, you will know what needs to be cut, and the soft pads are very easily cut with a normal utility knife. The pad set costs about $8. The part number at Home Depot is 722571002848.

Another ladder that I really sucked in my breath on concerning price turned out to also be indispensible. This is the "telescoping" ladder, pn 34140 at Camping World. Yes, it costs about $200, and yes, the directions look intimidating. But, the reality of using it is MUCH easier than reading the directions implies (MUCH easier), and while the $200 will seem like a LOT when you buy it, once you have had it a week you'll wonder why you never got one sooner. It replaces EVERY other ladder you might think you need EXCEPT the Werner one mentioned above. At 10 1/2 feet fully extended, the telescoping ladder is simply not long enough to safely get onto the roof of a bus. However, in every other way, it is superior to the Werner or any fixed length ladder, as you can adjust it to the EXACT or BEST height you need for a given job. Examples of different height jobs include washing the windshield, mounting a windshield sunscreen, repairing a CB radio antenna, adjusting the backup camera, or adjusting or locking an awning. This ladder enables you to set the perfect height for each job so that you are not straining to reach up, sideways, or down. The ladder is simply awesome. It bundles down to the length in the following photo in seconds:

Image

Finally, here's a storage idea: Check out these black plastic bins with bright yellow lids at Lowes:

Image

What's so magical about these specific bins is:

- They are strong - can hold up to 400 lb - and very rugged
- They are fully stackable
- When stacked, they resist movement when the bus is going down the road, but once released, their plastic construciton makes them gliiiiide easily across the ones below them, right out of the bus.
- They hold a LOT
- They allow you to organize stuff much better than simply stacking things up (contrast the left and right sides of the storage bay in the photo, for storage efficiency AND rapid access)
- Their dimensions just HAPPEN to enable multiple, efficient but different storage patterns in our Eagle bays, and their height is just right to enable stacking them 2 high and still having clearance to pull the top ones out without disturbing the lower ones
- The bright yellow lid makes it unlikely you will forget either the lid or the bin at a campsite
When empty, they can be nested! (see the Werener ladder photo above)

The part number at Lowe's is 44066 and they cost $18 each including the yellow lid.

Hopefully these ideas will help a few folks solve some of their storage or access issues.

Jim Gnitecki
Jim Gnitecki
("Jim G")
JimGnitecki@gmail.com
1979 Eagle Model 05 reborn around 1997
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Thank You Jim for the information. Also to protect the coach I have seen guy's use short pieces of the black pipe insulation around the legs.

Wayne
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rusty
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Thanks for these tips.

My local Lowe's didn't have the:

Werner 16' Aluminum Extension Ladder - $75.45
Item #: 65500 | Model #: D716-2

in the store, only the similar model:

Werner 16' Aluminum Extension Ladder - $99.00
Item #: 212660 | Model #: D1116-2

It's not much more, but you can order the 1st one and have it dropped off at your closest store to save the $25. Pays for pads and a storage box.

I've used garden hose cut down the middle, zip tied to the uprights, to shield my dolly (hand truck). Not wide enough for the ladder, so the black hose is a good idea!
DavidO - 1970 Model 05 #8284 - www.tinyurl.com/1970silvereagle
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