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Old 03-13-2012, 06:06 PM   #1
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Drilling through sidewall - any helpful hints or warnings?

I have a 2001 Adventurer which has the fiberglass sidewalls. I need to pass coaxial cable(s) for my ham radio through something other than a window (which I am doing now). I am considering mounting a stainless steel plate, one on the inside and outside with the sidewall sandwiched in between with a hole cut to pass the cables. If you want an idea of what it will look like, go to this link MFJ Enterprises Inc.

Now for the questions. Obviously I don't want to hit any of the superstructure elements. I looked for anything on-line that would map them for me but did not find anything. I can probably guess where to drill but would like a bit more confidence if it is available.

Second question, are there any helpful hints for drilling through the sidewall? Is it a bad idea? Will I be inviting delamination down the road?

I look forward to your feedback

Chuck Hallett K4SC camped permanently on the shore of Lake Keowee, SC
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:18 PM   #2
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Anytime there is a hole you're taking a chance on a water leak and/or delamination. However good prep, the right tools and sealer and you should have no trouble.
On our rig, on a cool morning you can see the studs/stringers on the outside walls. Can you do that?
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:22 PM   #3
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Chuck, try using a stud finder with electrical signal. Should show studs. May even consider going thru stud as to avoid a 12V wire, as it wont show with stud finder.
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:40 PM   #4
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Chuck, you may want to consider an alternative.

Radio Shack sells an 8 inch long flat cable with male coax ends. It's made to take satellite TV thru a doorway or window. Should work for ham radio as well. Shielded, effective, and works well. No hole to drill and it can be moved.

About 6 or seven dollars.

However you go, best of luck.

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Old 03-13-2012, 07:41 PM   #5
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I would enter the coach from underneath. Possibly through a water line entry point.

I would also consider the firewall or doghouse cover.

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Old 03-13-2012, 07:57 PM   #6
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Drilling a hole through the wall sounds like fun, but consider going up through the refrigerator vent (assuming its not in the slide). I installed solar panels on my rig running the wires from the roof to the batteries down through the refrigerator vent, behind the refrigerator then into the basement.
For over 20 years I worked installing light bars etc. on police cars, and I always enjoyed drilling holes in brand new cars. Drilling holes in my own vehicles makes me a little nervous.
Good Luck!
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:18 PM   #7
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i agree. on top, go through the refer vent. underneath, go through an existing hole for plumbing or wiring.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:41 PM   #8
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I have a 2000 Adventurer 37G. Wanted to install my CB using the ready installed Ant. & 12V set up.
Sad to say, the Ant. could not be tuned. I bought a firestick NGP set up and after several days of worry I drilled through the Drivers side, aft and a little above the top of the Drivers Door. That unit came with steel plates for inside and outside the wall. The outside wall of my unit is two slabs of fiberglass filled with poly foam. Messy clean up, but no problem.
Use good judgement (based on obvious fixtures inside) and You should be OK.
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:21 PM   #9
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I would give Winnebago Owner Relations a call with your Winnebago serial number. They may be able to provide you with blueprints for the wall of concern.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:02 AM   #10
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As stated, early morning when dew is on the side of the RV you may be able to see the lines of the studs.

I would also only consider up through an existing pathway, and there should be some.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:38 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by cbeierl View Post
I would give Winnebago Owner Relations a call with your Winnebago serial number. They may be able to provide you with blueprints for the wall of concern.
That is what I did. They sent me a PDF file with drawings of the sidewalls.
They can cross your VIN to your Winnebago coach ID number.

An electronic stud finder with wiring detection would be helpful.
Before the walls are laminated Winnebago routs channels in the foam to run all of the wiring in.

You can get wiring and plumbing diagrams on the Winnebago website HERE
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:59 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I will contact Owner Relations and see if they have plans. Before I drill though I am going to give some more thought to existing openings. I just replaced the cooling unit on the refrigerator so I am aware of the vent pathway. Chuck
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:28 PM   #13
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Chuck, youmay be able to pass the cable thru the slide seal, near the floor, when the slide is out. If that works, it would be something that would have to be done each time you set up in a CG. If you want something more permanent, depending on where you want to put the ham radio rig, you could drill thru the sidewall up near the roof, into one of the forward cabinets. I have done this on several motorhomes, including this one, and have not had a problem Install a stainless steel clamshell on the outside, to cover the cable entry, and fill the hole with 3M4200 sealant. It will not leak, or pull out. ]

That works if you want to coil the cable up, and store it in the upper cabinet, each time, or you can fish it down behind one of the wire-mold chases (or add one if you don't have an existing one), to where the rig will be.

Same thing can be done in the back of the coach if you want to mount the rig back in the BR area. Winnie will send you a drawing of the wall studs and wiring, so you;ll know what's in that wall before you drill.


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Old 03-17-2012, 10:48 AM   #14
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Drilling through the sidewall would be the least desirable solution for me.

After several campers and now on my third motorhome, I have never had to drill through the sidewall while running any type of wiring. There was/is always an existing entry point of entry containing plumbing, wiring etc. Maybe have to make the wiring somewhat longer in some cases but there has always been an existing entry point. Look carefully and entertain other options. Good Luck!!!
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