Installing Extra Cabinets in Airstream Interstate


12/4/14

I was looking for additional storage in the rear compartment of our AI EXT. The space is limited vertically as you must allow for when the rear seat is laid out as a bed. I had already removed the bed extensions as we discovered that the bed was large enough for us without them. This opened up some vertical storage area on the sides as I used the bed extension tie backs to fasten some tall items on one side like a broom.

That helped but what I was really looking for was a vertical cabinet as the area directly behind and above the folded down bed is dead space. After doing some measurements, I could see that a cabinet about 15″ deep and 13″ across would fit and still allow me to use the sunken storage area in the center. I did a search on Google and came up with this cabinet at Ikea. While it has a flat finish, the color of the cabinet goes with the stock cabinets quite well.

LILLÅNGEN High cabinet – black-brown – IKEA

The depth and width dimensions were perfect but it was too tall. 58″ was the height I needed and this one is 70 1/2″. While I do a lot of work on cars, I am not very good at working with wood. But, fortunately, my best friend has a full wood workshop. He made quick work of cutting down the cabinet and routing out one hole for one of the hinges. When I got it back to my garage, I used one of the pieces we cut off as a pattern to drill four holes needed to mount the bottom piece of the cabinet. I used some tape on my drill bit to make sure the holes were the correct depth. The sides were cut to 58″ length with the cabinet door cut to 57 1/2″.

11-24-14 rear cabinet 10 11-24-14 rear cabinet 9 11-24-14 rear cabinet 8 11-24-14 rear cabinet 7

A trip to Lowe’s netted me some cabinet door fasteners.

11-24-14 rear cabinet 11-24-14 rear cabinet 2

The measurements above gave me 1/4″ to spare between the floor and the lower lip on the rear overhead cabinet. To get the cabinet in I had to pull up the carpet at the rear and remove the right angle metal piece along the rear floor that the carpet is attached to. To get this piece off I had to remove some of the lower screws that hold the vertical gray plastic factory trim piece on the left side as the metal piece goes behind it. To make it easier to remove the metal piece in the future, I cut about 1/2″ off each end so it no longer goes behind the gray trim piece.

My buddy had some 1/4″ walnut shims that I used at the top between the cabinet and the lower lip of the overhead cabinet. I ran four screws into the floor and two into that lower lip to securely mount the cabinet. Since the cabinet would need to be removed to service the water heater, I tried to make that an easy task. Six screws on the cabinet and another six to remove the rear metal trim piece and it can be lifted out.

12-4-14 rear cabinet 6 12-4-14 rear cabinet 7 12-4-14 rear cabinet 5 12-4-14 rear cabinet 4 12-4-14 rear cabinet 2 12-4-14 rear cabinet 3 12-4-14 rear cabinet

The headrest must be removed to lower the rear seat. I have a door pull on the way to match the overhead cabinet pulls. I can still reach in along side the cabinet and will be able to store tall vertical items there. I am so pleased with the way this turned out that I am going to buy another one of these cabinets for the other side. As you can see, it holds lots of stuff.

I installed the second cabinet today. There is still storage on each side of the cabinets for tall items and areas behind both cabinets for small things. The center is still open for storage as is the recessed storage area. It is even more tempting now to install an overhead cabinet between the two vertical cabinets!! I am still waiting for the cabinet knobs that match the ones on the overhead cabinets.

12-13-14 second cabinet 3 12-13-14 second cabinet 2 12-13-14 second cabinet

The door pulls arrived from Airstream so I could complete the cabinet installation.

12-28-14 extra cabinets

The center shelf in each of the cabinets is fixed and a structural part of the cabinet. Each cabinet came with four additional shelves and shelf pins. The bottom of these shelves have four holes pre-drilled. The shelf pins are to be inserted both into the side of the cabinet and into the bottom of the shelf. The shelf pins did not fit very well and I was concerned that the shelf might fall due to the stresses from the motorhome being driven down the road.

At Lowe’s I found 5mm shelf pins that fit the existing side holes. I drilled a hole in the shelf pin and then attached the shelf to the pins with screws. Now the shelf is solid as a rock.

12-15-14 extra cabinet 2 12-15-14 extra cabinet 5 12-15-14 extra cabinet 4 12-15-14 extra cabinet 3 12-15-14 extra cabinet12-15-14 extra cabinet 6

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