Strut-supported (dog Proof) Side Table

Discussion in 'Custom Additions' started by Inn42, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    When we visited the Camp Inn factory in July we related to Craig how last year our dog had wrapped her cable around our side table, then took off after a squirrel. The result was the table collapsed and our Dometic came crashing to the ground. The purpose in relating the story was to illustrate our experience at how substantial the stainless steel fenders are - we now have a dent in the side table, but you can't tell where it impacted the fender! Fortunately the Dometic survived, to our great relief! But we aren't too sure how many more such incidents it would take until we weren't as lucky.

    Craig, being a born problem solver, went inside and fetched a piece of angle iron. He adjusted the leg of the side table to the middle hole. We then attempted to keep the side table level while he determined if attaching the angle iron to our frame would work as a place for the table leg to sit against, allowing the leg to act as a strut to support the table.

    It was possible, so he went inside, and cut the angle iron down to around 3" long. When he came back, we slapped our level on the table while he refined where to position the bracket. He then drilled two holes through the angle iron and frame, slapped on two bolts, and viola! Our dog can no longer pose a threat to our refrigerator!

    The one word of caution is that the side table can be an inviting place for someone to come along and lean against, or for a kid to climb on. BAD IDEA!! That sort of stress MIGHT be sufficient to either pull the screws holding the table brackets away from the side of the camper, or create a sufficient lateral load to do something similar to the six screws that hold the leg bracket to the bottom of the table. To minimize the chance of the former, we drilled out the topmost screw hole of the forward table bracket (the one closest to the tow vehicle), replacing it with a 2" long stainless steel pan head bolt and nut (I think it was a #10). The hole thus created came through in the battery compartment, where it was easy to access and tighten down. It is possible to do likewise with the topmost screw of the other bracket, but good luck with seeing where it comes out in the battery compartment, as it will be hidden by lots of wires and stuff. So we only did the one.

    Another benefit of this modification is that, when hitching up, we can now drop the trailer tongue on the ball without having to worry about the side table being deployed (though we generally don't do that).

    Anyway, we've used the new strut configuration for close to two months now, probably moving the Dometic on and off the side table an average of a few times per day. Thus far, there is no sign of any of the table bracket screws or leg bracket screws working loose due to the added lateral load.

    Before anyone else makes this modification, consider whether, for instance, you are routinely around small children who might be tempted to sit or lay on the table, as that would likely place a greater load on the table than we have applied to it.

    While Craig did the design and install on this, we are using it at our own peril. For us, the risk is worth not having to go through the calculus problem of where to chain up Lana so that she can be near us and yet not endanger the Dometic. It has simplified our already simple lifestyle.
    Evan, Tom & Diana P and Brian & Lucy like this.
  2. Handben

    Handben Junior Ranger Donating Member

    What do you do to reduce dog risk with the other table (driver side)?
  3. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    There is nothing that we place on there of any significant value, so we aren't too worried about it. Besides, the calculus to keep the dog from getting wrapped around one table leg is way less than for potentially getting wrapped around one of two table legs (there is probably a logarithmic scale involved).

    When she has crashed has crashed the rear table (far more than the side table, by the way), there has rarely been anything on it, and it has never caused any significant collateral damage. When she dropped the Dometic, though - that was a heart stopper. We figured we had just experienced a $750 moment (luckily we hadn't).
    Handben likes this.
  4. Randy

    Randy Ranger Donating Member

    This is really cool! No more worrying about leveling the table. I wonder if that will be incorporated into future builds as a standard feature for both tables.

  5. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    I can't imagine how to do anything similar for the rear table, so I would guess that is very unlikely. And I suspect the rear table offset bracket would not be usable if there was someone way of making it strut supported (there's a fair amount of lateral play in that set up as it is).

    As for the side table, the one thing that would probably prevent that from becoming a standard feature is potential liability, as in if someone were to get hurt while using the table for something other than what it was designed for (i.e. sitting or standing on the table.) If it were to fail, an attorney would likely see if there was an blame to be assigned the manufacturer.

    But perhaps by now Craig has calculated what sorts of lateral loads can be supported by the table brackets and the leg bracket? Maybe it is possible that it will be offered as an option? All I know is that I'm not doing a table dance on our to test its limits. ;-)
  6. AlCat

    AlCat Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Great idea. I've crashed the other ("rear") table when it had a mini-gas BBQ on it (including some lovely salmon), but I do agree that the side table is a greater risk due to placing the Dometic on it.

  7. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    Ouch! Lana has collapsed our rear table a few times, but it is rare that we use it for much more than stacking up dirty dishes...

    At least now there is one side of the camper where she can't do any harm. That makes deciding where to chain her up while we are outside a lot easier.
  8. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    An update to our original post:

    After more than six months of daily use we noticed that the topmost screw of the rearmost table attachment on the camper was starting to work its way loose a little. The topmost screw of the other attachment we had replaced with a 2" bolt, so it was unphased by the extra load that has been created by using the side table leg as a strut.

    It seemed it would be prudent to replace the loose screw with a bolt. Toward that end, I removed the LED taillight, thinking it would be possible to drill through the original screw hole. Wrong! The wood at the corner of the camper is over 2" thick, which was longer than the drill bit that I had available. And it is doubtful that I could find a #10 bolt any longer than 2 1/2". So instead I replaced both of the original screws (which were 3/4" or 1") with #10 X 2" stainless steel oval head screws (the longest that I could find locally).

    I suspect that with this additional modification that it is possible (though definitely not advisable) to now do a table dance atop the side table.

    One other modification that we made was to put two #10 stainless steel washers between the strut bracket and the trailer frame. By shimming that out by 1/8" or so the side table is much closer to being level.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
Similar Threads - Strut supported (dog
  1. Hilditch

Share This Page