Bighorn - Appliances - Upgrading Range from Stock Magic Chef to Premier 20" apartment model

Forgive the lack of step by step pictures, I didn't think to take any during the remodel process, so I will have to be descriptive in my work.

BACKSTORY

My Rig, a 2006 Bighorn 3400RL, started out with a 22" Magic Chef drop-in RV Range, which wasn't bad, but the oven on which was the one thing I forgot to check during the PDI.

Roughly two months after purchase, or roughly outside of the time that dealer warranty coverage ran out, we made a pizza, or at least we tried. We kind of made a burnt frisbie instead, as the thermostat for the oven failed to function and the oven just kept heating.

So, we went "oh well", and the issue wasn't really heavily looked at for almost a year (Life and work kept me busy enough that I never had time to do any baking). Finally, about a month back, I decided that with my six-month downtime between jobs coming up, I'd fix the faulty thermostat and get the oven working again so I could do some baking for the holidays. As it happened, a local mobile RV repair tech was in the park that day and I had him come and take a look.

He got the model number and what not off the oven and told me he'd call back the following day if he was able to still get parts for it.

Sure enough, I had a message on my phone the following day stating that he wasn't able to get a new oven gas valve for that model year, but could install a new range for $600.

At this point, I probably could have gone and dug deep into the internet to find some obscure website that had magic-chef parts (Most of the major sites I normally get appliance parts through didn't have anything for Magic Chef), but after being burned by a fake website once in the past doing this, I decided that I'd look at what a new range would cost.

The first thing I found was that most of the ranges available in a similar size foot print were in the $500-600 range, before shipping. Then I remembered some pictures I had seen on Tiny House Talk, roughly a year ago, and dug back through their site till I found the comments on the article where I had asked the brand and model.

I then pulled up Home depot and looked up the basic model 20" apartment free-standing range from Peerless Premier (American made brand). At first, when I found it on Home Depot's website, it listed at $399.00, which to me was a steal.

Then I noticed that it had defaulted to a store in Hanover, NJ. When I changed the location to my local store, the price went from $399 to $619, which confused the **** out of me, as one model up that was identical except for the addition of a little battery operated spark ignitor system only cost $499 with free shipping to the store.

I sent an email to Home Depot, wondering why the almost identical unit would cost over $600 in Oregon, but $399 in New Jersey. I got back a less than satisfactory email about availability and regional gobbledegook, which really was a "We don't know why, but we're not going to put any effort into find out" response.

So, I just ordered the battery operated unit, it cost $100 more, but at least it was in the budget range of a replacement RV range, but with far more useful oven space and a pull out broiler. The unit also was LP ready, and was easy to convert from Natural Gas Operation to Propane with a minimum of tools and skills.

Premier 20 in. 2.42 cu. ft. Freestanding Battery-Generated Spark Ignition Gas Range in Black

INSTALLATION

Installation began with the shutting off of the 100lb propane cylinders that feed our trailer and bleeding out the remaining propane in the line before disconnecting the line, removing the screws that held it in place and lifting the old range out.

Once the old range was removed, I pulled the storage drawer out and removed it, then removed the front screws holding the tracks in place to the cabinet front and lifted the whole assembly out (the one screw driven into the floor that was too short to begin with had pulled out long before I ever owned the trailer).

Next, I removed the screws from the KREG joints on the piece of cabinet face that the bottom front edge of the old range rested on, and tapped it out.

The bottom rail proved to be a bit more challenging as it was a solid piece of wood running the length of the cabinets. I ended up using my small circular saw and a sawz-all to cleanly cut the bottom section loose from the cabinet being left behind, then back the screws out of the floor and the KREG joint on the right corner to finish removing the remainder of the cabinet face to allow for the new unit to slide in.

With the cabinet done, I installed one of my fine tooth metal cutting blade into my jig saw and trimmed the back lip off the Corian counter top that the old range had originally sat on, gaining back an inch of space, which helped keep the range from protruding too far past the cabinet front once installed (didn't want to block the register vent that is directly in front of it, as it ended up, the range only sticks about 2-3" out from the cabinet front).

Once the cabinetry and counter top was done, the next step was to re-plumb the hot and cold fresh water lines going to the sink which were making a 45" degree run across the floor (The sewer line was already back up against the wall, out the way of the install and far enough back to not be up against the back of the range.) This simply involved shutting off the water supply, relieving pressure, then using my ratcheting pipe cutter to snip the lines from inside the cold air return area under the fridge, drain them into a bucket to minimize the puddle created on the floor, then crimp in two brass 1/2" pex elbows and an extra length of pex pipe to allow the line to follow along the sewer line as it ran along the wall and then inward through the cold air return to the front of that compartment before continuing on into the basement and out of sight.

After pressure testing the water lines and ensuring there was no leaks, that left modifying the gas line to connect to the new range.

The original gas line coming is was copper, branched off from black pipe buried in the underbody of the trailer and ****ed near impossible to get to without a lot of mess. So, for simplicities sake, and because copper becomes brittle the more you bend it, I bent the pipe one last time to the shape I wanted to keep it out of the way, and then using a gas valve with a 3/8" flaired fitting on one end and a half inch FIP fitting on the other, I secured the old copper line to the wall with insulated hangers (they have little rubber bushings).

The gas valve installed, I attached the 1/2" flexible dryer gas line I had purchased (Range uses 1/2" feed) which came with a check valve that threads in at the shut off valve end that will automatically close if the line ruptures at any time, and then ran the flexible line up to the stove, giving me enough slack to allow for me to pull the range out and push it back in, if I need to access the plumbing or space in the back of the cabinets.

After this, the next step was to finish installing the back splash/vent on the range and performing the conversion process.

The conversion process basically involves three tools: A 1/2" box end wrench, a slightly larger crescent wrench, and a small flat head screw driver.

First, with the gas check valve still closed, you first remove the little bolt cover on the ranges regulator. Stuck in the cap is a plastic piston, simply pop it off and flip it over, then reinstall the cover.

Second, using the half inch box end wrench, tighten down the brass gas hoods on all of the stove burners by turning them counter-clock wise (it is counter clock-wise as you face it, or more simply turn them to the left) till their snug against the valve body.

Third, at this point, coat all of your fittings with leak detector solution and turn on the gas going to the range. If there's no leaks to be found, you can now slide the range into the spot and make any minor leveling adjustments needed on the feet.

Fourth, open the oven door, remove the shelves, and then lift out the oven floor. This will expose the oven burner baffle. Remove the wing nuts and lift the baffle off, this will expose the burner.

Fifth, install the eight AA batteries in the battery tray and slide them into their slot on the range, being sure to follow the alignment markers, secure the screws that hold it in place. This is option, as you can also do the following steps using a little butane bbq lighter or a match. The stove works with or without the electric ignition operating.

Sixth, pull off the knob for the oven, you will see two brass adjustment screws, a smaller one on the right and a large one of the left of the knob shaft. Using the small screw driver, tighten the smaller brass screw on the right in a clock-wise fashion till it's fully seated.

Seventh, using the mall screw driver, turn the larger brass screw to the left of the knob shaft clock-wise till it is fully seated, then back it off roughly three to four turns, you will need to possibly redo this step a couple times till you get a pilot jet that is large enough to heat the sensor, but not too large. For me, four turns counter clock-wise produced the ideal flame.

Eighth, reinstall the oven knob and turn it to Pilot and hold the knob in for roughly ten seconds. When you let the knob out, the pilot should stay lit, and the flame should be entirely blue. Once this done, turn off the pilot for the next step.

Ninth, using your half inch box end wrench, pull out the broiler drawer, and tighten the brass gas hood, by turn it clock-wise until it is seated against the gas assembly.

Tenth, be sure all the air shutters on the oven burner and stove burners are fully open (May need to adjust for less if your altitude requires it).

Eleventh, reinstall the baffle on the oven burner and then start each burner and the oven burner to ensure that the flames are fully blue.

Twelfth, reinstall the oven bottom and the shelves, then install the range top.

Thirteenth, install the burner grates, step back and enjoy.

After I had finished the installation of the range, I used some 3/4" thin trimming and some 2" trimming to hide the gaps around the range left behind by the excess space created during the original cabinet construction at the Heartland Plant, you an stain to match, or do whatever you wish with the final trim work. We plan to stain and varnish to match the existing cabinets.

BEFORE
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AFTER
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Crumgater

Well-known member
Beautiful.
I want one.

We have the dinky 16" oven... :(

Same width, so I think this would work for us, too. Just need to check the utilities we have running under the current unit.
 
Beautiful.
I want one.

We have the dinky 16" oven... :(

Same width, so I think this would work for us, too. Just need to check the utilities we have running under the current unit.

As long as the cut out space has room for roughly 20 1/2" inches in width, it should fit. The cabinet opening on ours was a good 21" wide, and the counter was just a hair wider than the stove, allowing for easy sliding in and out without scraping it against the Corian counter top edges. I installed trim on the recessed lips to hide the messy cut job done by the original installers. All of the trim is simply attached with double sides exterior grade tape, which allows for easy removal if needed.

The only things I would do differently for a trailer that moves alot would be to plumb in the copper line directly to the stove like the original was, the steel lines aren't meant for use in RVs according to the packaging, and to install some kind of small anchor on one of the front feet to prevent the unit from sliding around during transit.

The stove comes with an anti-tip bracket that one of the back feet slides into, and you can order parts, so you could get a second one for the back, and then modify a piece of stainless angle iron or aluminum to fasten over the front feet to keep it secure for transit.

Great project. Looks great!


Thank you :)
 

JohnDar

Prolifically Gabby Member
Very nice work! Have to keep that in mind if we ever decide to actually USE our oven. :)
 
Very nice work! Have to keep that in mind if we ever decide to actually USE our oven. :)

Oven? You mean the pots and pans storage container?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Our ovens normally get used quite a bit, cooking roasts, meat loaf, turkeys (smaller), baking cakes, pies, cookies, crumbles, crisps, etc..... Our Bighorn is our residence, and I love to cook, and have been missing the use of an oven.
 

Westwind

Well-known member
Now why can't Heartland put a stove like that in their units - I could never understand why in this day and age we ended up with these Flintstone ovens - they are a PIA to use and my wife wants to use hers to bake etc. which I can understand, that's what it is suppose to do but I don't enjoy getting down on my hands and knees to light it. We aren't comfortable leaving the pilot going so we shut it down each time. Fortunately we are too busy for her to do too much baking.
 

Mrsfish

Well-known member
I also would love this option. I would be willing to pay for this upgrade if it were made available. We use our stove and oven A LOT and would love something more than 3 squeezed burners and a half oven. Just saying.
 
We just did a full stress use of the range last night, baking cookies in the oven at the same time as cooking dinner on the stove top, we were very impressed with the results.
 

Mrsfish

Well-known member
Hummm, I'd have to travel to Oregon to have my stove/oven upgraded? Soooo tempting for this flyfishing lady. Garry, are you reading this- maybe I just found a trip for you and Rick?
 
The RV Park I live at is out in the center of the Columbia River, bottom end is made up of the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. It's definitely not the fanciest park out there, but it's not bad. Been here for almost five years now, only had the Bighorn for the last year.
 
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