Replacing the 27 inch CRT TV in our '04 39L with a flat panel LCD is a huge improvement. The flat panel is only 35 pounds, fits in the same cabinet, reduces the intrusion on the windshield area and entry from the front door. It also has a superior picture and sound, and will accept a High Definition source. I chose to use Toshiba, 27HL85, because it is slightly larger than a Panasonic, and it better fits the cabinet. Speakers are at the bottom, and the width of the unit just overlaps the front of the cabinet.
The first step, of course, was to remove the old t.v. and then the centre cabinet. It was a little difficult as there are brads fastening it to the side panels, besides the obvious screws. Rather than disconnecting all the wiring, I cut out the plywood side enough for the wires to stay in place. Once the cabinet was out, and I realized that finding new vinyl of the exact colour was difficult, I was careful to save the original vinyl. I left the centre power visor in place, and carefully cut the cabinet to a smaller size. I took about 4 1/2 inch off the top, so the cabinet bottom would be higher, and I cut the front edge so that the cabinet edge would be perpendicular. With the flat panel there is no need to tilt the t.v. forward for best viewing or mounting. I added 1/2 plywood to the thickness of the sides, in the very front to better attache the front alder trim. I used the straight strips from the previous framed trim, cut them down to about 1 1/8 wide, and screwed them to the cabinet, making sure that the front of the t.v would cover them.
The toughest part was designing a plywood bracket to hold the t.v. in place. and I didn't want any visible fasteners. 3/4 inch plywood was fastened to the back of the t.v, and then the plywood extends to the bottom edge, about 1/2 of the length, in the centre and also extends to the two upper outer edges. The bottom slips into a groove at the bottom and the top extends to within about an inch of the ceiling. By keeping the unit down from the ceiling about an inch, I can fasten it to the cabinet, on a cross piece, with lag bolts. You just place the t.v. in the lower groove, push the top in and tighten the lag bolts. This makes the fasteners completely invisible.
LCD tv's do have to have adequate circulation to the rear so they don't overheat. Therefore the plywood fastening to the rear is cut to maximize the ventilation and is always at least 3/4 inch from vents on the back of the t.v. There is an opening at the bottom. The top is 1 inch from the ceiling, and the front strip vent, from the original cabinet is modified and vents at the windshield. Also I enlarged the holes to the side into the a.v. cabinet on the left.
The finished project provides us with a better, more modern picture width and quality, great sound, and much less weight, and with less intrusion into the windshield area means more picture window view as we travel.
Here are a couple of pictures of the completed project. Click on a thumbnail for a larger view
Submitted by Jack Myton
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