So finally we come to the 2nd part of our internal RV look makeover -> Our MCD shades! MCD shades are something we’ve wanted for a while. They are much cooler-looking than those ol’ pleated jobs, have no strings to break, will not crush or deform, provide day-time shade protection (you can look out, but no-one can look in) and complete night-time black-out. PLUS they add some extra insulation too.
The only problem is they are not cheap…
So we waited, and we waited, and we patiently (kind of) waited until I managed to catch the very last day of a 30% off offer on iRV2.com forum in Nov. That cinched the deal and we ordered them that very day for delivery to our park in San Diego in Dec. We decided to stick to side windows only (the big front windshield is a pricier and more complicated job that will have to wait), plus we wanted to do the installation ourselves (to save some $$). All indications pointed to a fairly easy job…and that turned out to be exactly the case. As long as you plan ahead for clearance & measure correctly, the installation is only ~20 mins per window.
Here are the steps:
1/ Ordering MCD Shades
We ordered the manual Duo Day/Night Shades with M33 night-shade color. There are a few items to check before you order your MCD shades
- Valence Clearance Needs To Be At Least 2″ - MCD shades are much thicker than traditional pleated shades so you need at least 2″ depth of clearance under your valance for them to work. Less and you won’t be able to physically mount or clip in the shade, plus it will snag and rub. The “Gold” series are slightly thinner than the “Duo” series, so for Duo closer to 2.5″ clearance is really best. The original valances in our Holiday Rambler were 2-layered pieces of wood (covered in 2 different fabrics) that were too thick and so had insufficient clearance (our depth was just under 2″). Removing the inner layer and simplifying the valances to one piece gave us the internal clearance we needed.
- Shade Measurements Should Fit Your Valence, Not Your Window – When you measure you want to use your inner valence width/height *not* your window width/height *nor* the outer size of your valence. This will insure your shade fills the inside of the valance with no empty spaces. We cut all our inner valence width measurements by 0.5″ to allow a little wiggle-room for the bracket on the ends (so for example, our longest valence is 61.5″ inside width so we submitted 61″ on our MCD order). If you’re worried about clearance you can cut it a little more, but these numbers have worked well for us.
2/ Mounting MCD Shades
Mounting the MCD shades is a simple matter of screwing in the clips (tab facing inside the RV) and then clipping in the shades (tilt the shade forward, hook the back rail into the clip, then press the front rail into the tab-side of the clip). Since we were re-covering our valances they were already off the wall which made it super easy to measure and screw in the clips exactly where we needed them, but it’s certainly possible to install the clips without removing the valances by using a measuring tape, a spacer (e.g. piece of wood) and some patience. The clipping itself can be a bit “fiddly” and this is where internal clearance makes all the difference, but otherwise it is straightforward. You’ll want to adjust tension on the shades before you clip them in. Also the MCD shades are heavier than the string-type so I advise using a few more screws to secure your valence before installing the shades.
- Prepare your clips. Tab-side faces inside the coach
- Screw the clips into the valence tops. Outer clips need to be within 2″ of the end. Other clips are spaced evenly in-between.
- Mount the valence and slip in the MCD shade
- Clip in the shade by tilting it forward and hooking the back-end first, then pressing the front end into the tabs. A flat-head screwdriver can be used to press the tabs and help open them up if clearance is tight.
- And voilà…the shade is in.
And that’s it folks! We’re incredibly happy with our new look as well as the improved insulation of the new shades. A very cool mod which is very, very easy to do.
Got a cool RV mod of your own? Feel free to e-mail me with photos and details and I’ll highlight it on the blog in a future post. Full credit will be yours!