Mod #49: Dinette Replacement
Submitted on: 07/26/08
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Most larger RVs, especially those with super slides, come with the option to replace the standard dinette or bench seat furniture configuration with a free-standing table and four chairs. If you are an RV owner that has opted for the bench style dinette and are finding it’s not meeting your needs, you can still change it out for the table and chairs, or other custom options like a J-couch and table, or even a computer workstation.
The first question to ask yourself before ripping out the dinette is whether you can get by without the additional under-bench storage. If storage space in your RV is at a premium, consider where you will put the items that were stored in the dinette bench compartments.
If your dinette folds down in to a bed, consider whether you can do without the additional sleeping capacity. If you have children and your RV has no bunks, a free-standing dinette is not going to be very comfortable to sleep on. Yes, children can sleep most anywhere, but…
Once you have determined that this mod is for you, ensure there are no plumbing, electrical, or heating components under the dinette bench seats, such as the water pump, plumbing pipes, water heater, furnace, or shore power cabling . If any of these components are present, then this mod becomes much more complicated. Depending on what is in there will determine your next step. If, for example, only the water pump is present, then you may have a shot at relocating it. If any of the other components are there, this mod is not worth the effort, and may not even be possible.
So if after all these considerations you still want to tackle the mod, start by looking at how the dinette benches are attached. Usually they are attached by the bench frame to the floor and can be easily removed just by removing a few screws on each bench. But some attachment points can be anchored to the walls and possibly the sofa frame (if the sofa and dinette are next to each other). If this is the case, you can cover the holes left with plastic caps.
If you have drawers that slide in to the dinette benches, you should remove them from the sliders before attempting to remove the benches, then remove the drawer slide brackets from the flooring. The benches can generally be removed as a unit. But depending on their size and how they were assembled, you may have to partially disassemble them to get them out the RV door. After removing the benches, you will be amazed at how much free space there is.
You should also remove the table post fixtures on the floor as well if you have them. You won’t be needing them any longer but keep them in case you want to put the dinette back for some reason. This goes for the rest of the dinette hardware as well, like the wall bracket some tables have to secure the edge of the table to the wall.
If you purchase an RV-type free-standing dinette, it should have pre-drilled holes in the feet of the table. Set the new table and four chairs in the open area and have four adults sit at the table. Adjust the table to the best fit and secure the table to the floor. This can be done using bolts or large wood screws, depending on the type of flooring and support under the flooring you have. You don’t have to secure the table if you want to be able to move it around or take it outside, but you will need some way of securing it during travel. This goes for the chairs as well.
Finally, you don’t necessarily have to replace the dinette benches with a free standing setup. Many fellow RVers have replaced the dinette benches and table with recliners and swinging TV trays, or big Lazy Boy rockers and a small table inbetween. Even a J-sofa with a single-post table can be done. It’s your RV and your imagination.
You can source parts for this mod from these links:
RV Tables and Chairs
RV Tables and Dinette Chairs
Brad and Hall Quality Seating Products by Flexsteel