February 2023
February 2023 cover
Preview Issue
February 2023
RV Enthusiast logo
February 2023
Volume 3, Number 2
person working on a suspension
Taking the ‘Wander’ Out of Wanderlust
No one really knows suspensions better than people who deal with them every day — so we approached two of the top names in the field — David Robinson at Roadmaster and Jack Enfield at MORryde, and asked them: What single upgrade to a motorhome and travel trailer/fifth wheel provides the most bang for the buck? Their answers may surprise you.
man working on a suspension
An Independent Approach
The typical trailer suspension only allows for about two inches of travel — and when it’s loaded down, it’s a lot less. MORryde’s IS independent suspension for trailers, on the other hand, is designed to provide more than five inches of travel, which significantly reduces road shock. We followed along during an installation at Henderson’s Line-Up Brake & RV in Grants Pass, Oregon, to see what’s involved.
Mercedes Benz sprinter
When ‘Seeing Red’ Is a Good Thing
Most folks don’t realize that shocks wear out just like tires — it just takes longer, so it’s not as noticeable. Replacing worn shocks with premium versions, though, makes a big difference in ride quality — which was demonstrated when the tired shocks on this 2021 Winnebago Navion riding on a Mercedes Benz sprinter chassis were swapped out for adjustable Koni Heavy Track “Reds.”
man and woman wine tasting in front of their RV
Boondocking membership clubs that open up new vistas for travelers and can add to a host company’s bottom line not only work for RVers but for the host sites. When one legislators in one region called “foul,” business owners responded in a big way.
Winnebago’s eRV2 prototype
Is there an electrified RV — meaning battery-powered — in your future? As Winnebago’s eRV2 prototype shows, we’re closer than ever. Meanwhile, FMCA prepares for its 2023 conventions, used RV prices are on the rise again, and The Dyrt releases a new campground booking app.
close up of RV tires
What do you do when your refrigerator stops cooling (okay, on electric)? When should you really consider replacing your RV’s tires? How can you correct for body sway when your motorhome catches some wind? Tech Director Bill Gehr answers these queries, and more.
February 2023 cover
RV Enthusiast Technical Director Bill Gehr shows how to rejuvenate a sagging RV screen door by relocating the hinges. Photo by Lorie Swoffer.
PUBLISHER – Bob Livingston
(805) 320-6909
[email protected]

EDITOR – Bruce Hampson
(574) 584-4616
[email protected]

(805) 340-5015
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Business Office
26362 Douglas ave., Elkhart, in 46514
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Sue Seidlitz
(805) 816-8759
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To subscribe electronically, log onto: www.rventhusiastmagazine.com, click on the “subscribe” icon and follow the prompts to add subscriber and payment information. Alternately, you may also mail to: RV Enthusiast Subscriptions, 26362 Douglas Ave., Elkhart, IN 46514. Subscription rates: Subscriptions for U.S. and Canada: $9.99/one year, $18.99/two years. Premier membership subscription rates available upon request.
Correspondence is invited from subscribers and readers of RV Enthusiast. Technical inquiries relating to RV function, maintenance, repairs and/or upgrades should be directed to Technical Director Bill Gehr at the above email addresses. Letters to the Editor should be directed to Editor Bruce Hampson at the above email address. Personal replies cannot be sent due to the volume of mail received. By forwarding letters to RV Enthusiast magazine, the author consents to allow letters to be published at the discretion of RV Enthusiast editors. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarification.
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On the Road
By Bruce Hampson
Overnight Campers, Business Owners Win in California
Overnight RV parking has always been a bone of contention with some municipalities and businesses. At one time, Walmart became a darling of the RV world by allowing travelers to park on its store lots overnight while en route to places near and far. Unfortunately, problems caused by a few miscreants — coupled with local legislators outlawing the practice in various regions — pretty much killed that Golden Goose. Other establishments with larger parking lots, such as Cracker Barrel restaurants, have picked up some slack, but it’s not nearly enough.

That’s why Harvest Hosts’ (harvesthosts.com) program has been so popular. And so necessary. At a time when sold-out campgrounds are turning away guests, the ability to safely overnight in a self-contained RV can be critical. The fact that Harvest Hosts offers members overnight stays among some of the most beautiful surroundings imaginable, from wineries to farms and more, makes these stays just as memorable as any other part of a trip.

Naturally, it was only a matter of time before local governments saw such programs as less about safety and helping to promote local companies — such stays are most often at establishments, which sell their own products through everything from fruit stands to wine-tasting cellars and Harvest Host members are encouraged to frequent them — and more about being yet another untapped revenue source.

News & Notes

Winnebago Debuts eRV2 Prototype Class B
profile view of the Winnebago eRV2 Prototype Class B imposed with a shot of the interior
As the first major RV show of the new year, the Florida RV SuperShow doesn’t disappoint in its showcase of new rigs. Last year, Winnebago Industries debuted its eRV concept vehicle at the Tampa event.

This year, the company introduced a fully-operational prototype of its all-electric, zero-emission RV. Known as the eRV2, the prototype emerged from Winnebago’s original eRV concept. The eRV2 is said to be the most advanced all-electric, zero-emission RV, and rigorous field testing with everyday consumers is underway to provide insights that will inform the eRV2’s final design before hitting dealerships in the future.

Among the key features of the eRV2, America’s first all-electric, zero-emission motorhome prototype:

Beware of Power Surges sign
always watching. Always alert.
You never know when trouble may spike. Unpredictable lightning and poorly wired campgrounds are always a risk. So protect your assets with Power Watchdog®. It’s the most inexpensive security investment you’ll ever make. And it can be your RV’s best friend.
Hughes Autoformers logo
pit bull named Spike
Beware of Power Surges sign
Hughes Autoformers logo
pit bull named Spike
Beware of Power Surges sign
pit bull named Spike
always watching. Always alert.
You never know when trouble may spike. Unpredictable lightning and poorly wired campgrounds are always a risk. So protect your assets with Power Watchdog®. It’s the most inexpensive security investment you’ll ever make. And it can be your RV’s best friend.
choose from 30 or 50 amp with exclusive features!
replacement module
All of our products feature an exclusive, replaceable surge module. If you get hit by a large spike, simply order a new surge module. And the first two years are free if you should need a replacement!
Power Watchdog amp
A full line of 30 and 50 amp surge protectors is available, some with auto shutoff. All have a *limited lifetime warranty. Visit our website for details and learn about our voltage boosters as well.
free bluetooth app
FREE bluetooth app
Our PATENTED Bluetooth connectivity allows you to monitor live campground power conditions on your smartphone using the free Power Watchdog easy-to-use mobile app.
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© 2022 Hughes Autoformers, LLC

Loosie Goosy Steering

a technician installing a Safe T Plus steering control beneath a vehicle
Steering stabilizers like this Safe T Plus steering control offer a number of benefits, including better steering control on uneven road surfaces, during high winds, or when being passed by 18-wheelers.

Bill, I purchased a used 2017 Fourwinds 28-foot Class C motorhome with about 9,280 miles on the odometer. On our first trip, I was so disappointed on how loose the steering seemed to be. It felt like I needed to constantly correct the steering — basically a white-knuckle ride when we hit some wind. With the low mileage, it doesn’t seem like the front end should be worn out, maybe a little bit of wear but nothing like this.
—Ron Zimmerman

Indeed, traveling in strong winds can be scary at times; I’ve been there, done that. I’m pretty sure that your wheelbase has a lot to do with the situation. If the wheelbase is too short, leaving a lot of overhang to the end of the motorhome, the chassis produces “tail wagging” sensations, and at times can even be dangerous, depending on severity and loading.

"Removing the 'Wander' from Wanderlust"
Person working on RV's suspension
MORryde’s Jack Enfield and Roadmaster’s David Robinson weigh in with a few ideas for improving the handling, ride quality and durability of motorhome and trailer suspension systems.
By Bruce Hampson

raveling by RV represents, in many ways, the pinnacle of freedom. Whether you’re heading out for just a long weekend or a months-long adventure, it’s tough to minimize having the ability to just pick up your “home” and head off to virtually anywhere the road can take you.

Well, until something breaks. Rather than become frustrated at the mostly unavoidable result of a machine succumbing to inevitable wear-and-tear, however, RVers might well look upon their RV as something that can not only be personalized but improved upon. Unless you’ve got deep pockets, most RVs are a compromise between what it could be and what it is — and we’re not just speaking about the difference between, say, a nice linoleum floor covering and heated ceramic tiles. RV engineers, designers and product managers are constantly working to create the best vehicle they can — albeit within price point constraints. Ironically, though, the difference between a “good” and “better” product is sometimes just a few dollars, a situation that oftentimes leaves owners scratching their heads.

An Independent Approach typography over an image of a truck pulling a trailer, with additional images showing close ups of the wheels
An Independent Approach
jayco trailer on truck with close up shots of wheels and rims
MORryde’s Independent-axle conversion softens the hits larger RV trailers take on the road
By Bruce W. Smith / Photos by the author

oday’s larger travel trailers and fifth wheels are truly houses on wheels. They offer all the amenities needed to provide a comfortable place to stay during a weekend getaway, going on a long vacation or even being used for extended stays. The downside is these RVs take a constant pounding when being towed over rough roads, which are all too common across the country — and those hits from the stiff solid-axle trailer suspensions take a heavy toll on the trailer and everything inside.

“The (OEM) leaf-spring/solid-axle suspension system under RV trailers really isn’t good enough to protect the house on wheels from damage and road shock,” said Jack Enfield, sales and marketing manager at MORryde International, an industry leader in RV suspension systems.

As Enfield pointed out, unlike the abundance of suspension travel afforded in the pickup trucks doing the towing, the typical RV trailer leaf-spring suspension only has about 2 inches of total travel. When the trailer is loaded up, that suspension travel is limited to about an inch.

When ‘Seeing Red’ is a Good Thing
an image of a Mercedes RV riding down a road superimposed with the image of a KONI Red installed on a vehicle
Replacing the stock front shocks on Mercedes-Benz’s 2500 and 3500 Sprinter chassis with KONI Heavy Track “Reds” can make a welcome change in ride quality and handling
By Bruce W. Smith / Photos by the author

nytime a group of RVers get together, one sure topic of conversation is the “towing capacity” of their rig — and we’re not just talking about pickup trucks. Motorhomes also are rated by their manufacturers with a maximum weighted ability to pull “stuff” across the country.

On the other hand, one topic usually overlooked — but shouldn’t be — is their rig’s cargo-carrying capacity, especially for a self-contained coach not traveling with a dinghy. And since you won’t see a “toad” behind a Class B motorhome, what owners put inside their conversion vans (and even smaller Class A and Class C motorhomes) has a big effect on how they handle.

For example, a 2022 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 chassis — a popular choice for manufacturers of luxury Class B and Class C coaches — has a stout 11,030-pound GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating). That’s an impressive number and leaves plenty of room for cargo and things you’ll pick up along the way. However, the more “stuff” you add to any vehicle, the more it tends to negatively impact its riding and handling abilities. Age and miles also take their toll.

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks
Stop Bugging Me
man using spray and a cloth to clean dead bugs off a truck
Collecting squashed bugs on the front of any tow vehicle/RV is inevitable — and subsequent cleaning is not fun. Here’s how we learned to wipe away bug remnants with almost no effort
By Bob Livingston

f you’re an entomologist, you love bugs. If you’re an RVer, not so much. For RVers, the bug collection can be found on the windshield, grilles and the front of their rigs — and they make a mess. Once bugs have dried on these surfaces, removing them can be pretty difficult.

Over the years I have used several commercial bug cleaners; some work and some don’t. Recently, I ran out of cleaner — and the bug remains stacked up. Since I hate to see bugs on my tow vehicle and fifth wheel, I experimented with a few products I already had in my storage compartment — and discovered that, together, they worked amazingly well.

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks
A Soak to Success
man rinsing his hand off in the sink
Calcium deposits impact water faucet efficiency — and just look ugly. Here’s an easy way to eliminate the problem.
By Bob Livingston

hen you’re RVing, you never know the quality and hardness of the water you hook up to at a campground. Hard water wreaks havoc on any RV water system and usually ends up leaving heavy calcium and other mineral deposits on the faucet spray head or aerator — to a point where the water either stops flowing or does a wild dance all over the sink counter. Removing these ugly deposits should be done periodically to keep the water flowing smoothly and prevent damage to the faucets.

While there are products on the market that are formulated to break up these calcium and lime deposits, finding a way to use them without first having to remove the spray head, aerator and/or even an auxiliary spigot can be problematic. After some head scratching, we found a slick and easy method to get the job done with little effort and expense: We enlisted small Ziploc storage bags, cable ties and CLR Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover, all commonly available in grocery stores and Walmart.

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks
Quick Carpet Cleanup
spilled Carl's Jr cup on a carpet
Keeping your RV’s woven fabric flooring is as simple as applying the right products and techniques
By Chris Hemer

hile the RV industry is rapidly moving away from carpet to more easily cleaned flooring products such as linoleum and tile throughout many motorhomes and trailers, floor coverings made of thick woven fabric can still be found in many new RVs — and a lot of older units. And if there’s one thing RVers have discovered, it’s that carpet is a dirt magnet.

Fortunately, most common stains can be removed with a spot carpet cleaner, but beware: They are not all created equal. In fact, some carpet cleaning products can actually make stains worse, as their residue can actually attract dirt.

So how do you know what’s best for you and your RV? Look for products that have been awarded the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Seal of Approval (SOA). The CRI tests an assortment of carpet cleaning solutions and equipment and has found a big difference in how well these products work. According to the organization’s website, the CRI is the carpet industry’s only scientific program designed to test and measure the effectiveness of cleaning products and equipment, helping consumers make informed decisions about the product(s) they use. Products are evaluated on seven performance attributes: soil-removal efficacy, resoiling, residual moisture, surface appearance change, pH level and optical brighteners.

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks
Y Not?
a wye connector added to the outlet side of a water pressure regulator
When it comes time to disconnect the hose and pressure regulator, the water must be drained before unscrewing the fittings — or, in this case, releasing the quick connectors — to prevent taking a bath. With the wye adapter in place, all you have to do is open the other valve and let the water run out, which is much easier than running in and out of the rig to open a faucet.
A wye connector, added to the outlet side of your water pressure regulator, is one of the most versatile components when hooking up a hose. In its simplest form, it just gives you another spigot for multiple hoses — but it’s much more than that.
By Bob Livingston / photos by author

onnecting a hose to the RV hookup spigot seems like a benign process — but there are times when the placement of these faucets can have you scratching your head, wondering how designers managed to complicate the process when installing the faucet as part of the hook-up utilities. That’s when a wye connector comes in handy. These simple “splitters” do the obvious: They allow two hoses to be connected at once. Further exploration, however, reveals several other convenient purposes when using this inexpensive piece of equipment.

First off, I use a home-style pressure regulator, which is bigger and bulkier than the typical fitting found in RV supply stores and in starter kits provided with new RVs. Faucets that are too close to the ground, or worse yet, pointed downward, made it difficult to attach the regulator and hose without crimping the hose and impeding water flow. Adding a wye adapter (like the one I purchased at Lowe’s for $11) allows the connection point to be moved into a position that will provide additional clearance.

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks
Food Inflation-fighter
Woman reaches into her fridge to show that she uses many green bags for her produce
Escalating food costs make it more important than ever to shop smart and prevent spoilage. Storing fruit and vegetables in special green bags limits deterioration over longer periods of time — without altering taste and texture.
By Bob Livingston

toring fruit and vegetables seems like a simple enough proposition, but for most RVers, there is a certain amount of spoilage that translates into a waste of money and more runs to the grocery store to replenish the refrigerator. The Internet is chock-full of products designed to store food, including the more common plastic bags and containers (which, at the least, may help you stay organized). Most containers, however, are bulky and take up precious space in the smallish confines of a typical RV refrigerator.

My wife, Lynne, discovered the solution to spoiled produce many years ago — special green storage bags designed to prolong the life of fruit and vegetables. The first ones were marketed without much hype, and we were told that they were invented in Japan. Nowadays these bags are marketed under the Debbie Meyer Green Bags moniker and are readily available on the Internet (debbiemeyershop.com).

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks
Get a Grip
foam on entryway grab handle being fixed
When the foam on the entryway grab handle deteriorates, wrapping the surface with bicycle handlebar tape provides a firm grip when negotiating the steps — and it looks good
By Bob Livingston

rab handles can be indispensable when it comes to entering and exiting an RV — especially with travel trailers and fifth wheels, which usually require a longer “hike” to get to the door threshold or ground. Unfortunately, constant use means the foam tube mounted around the center portion of the arm to facilitate a secure grip will eventually deteriorate — and without it, the grab handle can become slippery and dangerous.

Replacement foam grips are available from RV supply stores and online, but I discovered that bicycle handlebar tape — the stuff we all used as kids on our very first transportation vehicles — is a great alternative. Like so many other things, I learned this almost by accident; while traveling last summer, the foam grip on the grab handle of our fifth wheel ripped off. Not able to wait for a replacement to be shipped — there were no RV supply stores in the area and waiting for a delivery would have caused me to surrender my next reservation — I procured handlebar tape while visiting a local, small-town bicycle shop for $20. There are dozens of handlebar tape styles on the market in different patterns and colors — some thicker than others. I was happy to find handlebar tape in black that was impregnated with real cork. It was fairly thick and offered plenty of shock absorption. Higher-end tape, used by hardcore bicycle enthusiasts, is even thicker and prettier — albeit more expensive.

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks

Flavor Intensifier

Electric Smoker
If you want a different — and tastier — food experience, a portable pellet smoker will make you the most popular chef in camp
By Bill Gehr

e all know that food that’s cooked outdoors just tastes better. That’s why so many RVers pack along a barbeque. It’s always fun to take in the aroma that permeates the adjacent sites, encouraging others to cook outdoors or come looking. Portable gas grills and griddles are probably the most popular among RVers heck, the Blackstone has developed a cult following and products offered by companies such as Way Interglobal’s Greystone line are a hit with outdoor enthusiasts, as well.

That said, RVers are always looking for something different and the proliferation of pellet grills on the market is spurring big interest from RVers looking to do something a bit off the beaten path. In fact, some companies are targeting RVers with new, compact models, and even RV manufacturers have noticed. KZ RV, for one, will be including a pellet smoker on certain of its Durango fifth wheels for the 2023 model year.

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks

Plugging the Gaps

2 hands holding JB Water Weld
Making repairs around the RV comes with the territory. One of the most reliable products for filling gaps, holes, cracks and broken pieces is J-B Weld — and carrying a couple of the company’s putty sticks will often save the day.
By Bob Livingston / Photos by author

nyone who has worked around cars and metal probably is familiar with J-B Weld bonding products jbweld.com. They are go-to “epoxies” touted to provide the “World’s Strongest Bond” — and they work. One of my first encounters with J-B Weld was more that 40 years ago when brain flatulence possessed me into drilling a hole in a vehicle gas tank in order to mount a clamp for a wire cable. Yup, pretty stupid, but J-B Weld saved the day and held to the day the vehicle was traded in.

More recently, a couple of places on my fifth wheel’s front cap became damaged because of flying rocks. It’s important to seal any holes immediately to prevent moisture intrusion and J-B WaterWeld made short work of plugging those holes.

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks

Closing the Gaps

2 hands holding JB Water Weld
Sealing the vent holes in the access panels is part of the process when retrofitting an absorption refrigerator for a residential or 12-volt DC compressor model.
By Bob Livingston / Photos by author

he trend to opting for compressor-type refrigerators as standard equipment in RVs these days is moving along at a rapid rate. The popularity of 12-volt DC refrigerators is growing every year, offering a practical alternative to residential models which require 120-volt AC power. As the market expands, so does the viability of replacing an absorption refrigerator with a direct-fit model that can be accomplished by handy do-it-yourselfers.

I made the switch to a 12-volt DC Everchill model a year ago and enjoy the versatility of running on battery power — and the increase in food-storage capacity. Other than routing 12-volt DC power to the refrigerator compartment and plugging the LP-gas line, the hardest part of such a project is the heavy lifting. The other consideration was closing off the holes in the exterior access panels, which will prevent an unwanted breeze into the living quarters from the wind and also provide an added level of insulation.

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks
What a Drag
man in green shirt holding screen door
When the screen door starts to sag, a simple relocation of the hinges is all it may take to restore proper function.
By Bob Livingston

Vs are fitted with a framed entry-way screen that’s integrated into the hinge mechanism and makes it possible to work in concert with the main door. It’s a system that’s as common in the RV industry as wheels — and, for the most part, it works. The screen is designed to be used independently of the entry door and is latched in place when it comes time to close the screen and entry doors together. Over time, however, the screen frame can sag on its hinges — creating a drag that makes it hard to open and close, which also impacts the operation of the entire entry-door system.

The trick to restoring clearance on the threshold is to relocate the screen frame on its hinges, which is a simple 30-minute project.

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks
Zippity Doo Dah
man installing sewer hose

Placing the sewer hose on the support always resulted in a jumbled mess. The original ties were hard to install and did not keep the hose in place, especially when the support was on unlevel ground.

Controlling an unruly sewer hose on a support apparatus in order to keep it off the ground — and lined up properly — can be an exercise in futility. Securing the hose with silicone zip ties solves the problem.
By Bill Gehr

xtending a sewer hose as part of the hook-up process in an RV park is just part of the deal. In fact, in some places (like Oregon), state law requires that your sewer hose be always off the ground. Then, of course, there are those sewer inlets in parks that simply defy physics by extending the hook-up point above the ground — making it necessary to manually lift the hose off the ground so that the contents run downhill.

To overcome these obstacles, RVers use some sort of a sewer support to position and contain the sewer hose. I carry a Valterra 25-foot Slunky Sewer Hose Support (valterra.com), but there are several other excellent choices out there, including Thetford’s Titan Sewer Hose Support (thetford.com), Camco’s Sidewinder Sewer Hose Support (camco.net/home) and Lippert’s Waste Master Flow Down RV Drain Support (store.lci1.com). All can usually be found on amazon and at RV supply stores.

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks
Tech Tip Trifecta
Multiple RVs parked in a park
A little preventive maintenance and the creative use of readily available product counterparts can save the day — and your trip.
By Bob Livingston / Photos by Bill Gehr

ometimes little things can make a big difference. Over the years I’ve discovered simple solutions to situations that usually rear their ugly heads in the most inopportune times — and have the potential of impacting any trip. The Internet (and, specifically, Amazon) has made it easy to find things that can be used in unorthodox ways to solve problems and improve the longevity of items that can create big snags when they fail. Here are three of them.

Pinned Down
Entry steps that fold down from the doorway and provide solid contact with the ground have revolutionized how we get in and out of our RVs. Beyond the additional support these steps provide — and the improved safety factor — the adjustable legs make it easy to stabilize the steps on uneven terrain. The pins that hold the step assembly in place on Lippert’s Solid Step system do a great job of immobilizing the inner braces — but grabbing on to the end to remove can be difficult for those with short (or soft) fingernails. Replacing these pins with a counterpart with a spring-loaded ball-and-grab ring provides a much better grip.

clipart stopwatch; Quick Tips & Tricks
Have a Seat
A person seated on the toilet reading a newspaper
It may seem silly, but reconditioning a toilet seat really works. All it takes is paint, sandpaper and a little time.
By Bill Gehr

y Dometic toilet seat had seen better days after 10 years of full-time service. Heck, I’m truly amazed that it even lasted that long. While there were no splinters or broken hinges to worry about, it did start to look terrible as some of the paint had worn off and other portions of the seat became discolored. Yup — it looked like crap.

I was somewhat shocked, however, when I learned that the price of a new Dometic toilet seat was about $70 — and, as I discovered, local home-improvement stores weren’t a lot cheaper. The bigger problem, though, was finding an exact fit between those residential-sized seats and my Dometic. I did finally find a couple of models that would fit, but I was not thrilled about the cheap plastic finish, nor could I match the color.

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Thanks for reading our February 2023 issue!