Self Install – MCD Manual DUO Day/Night Shades
1. The MCD shades arrived in a what seems to be an indestructible shipping container.
2. The shades were bubble wrapped and identified by location. The clips (6) were taped to the top of the shade.
3. The shade for the “Couch” is ID’ed here.
When we bought our first RVs we thought that pleated day/night shades were really a great solution and we were glad to have them. We’ve had challenges with the shade material over the years but we felt that it is what it is and we learned to live with it.
Our current RV is a 2003 model and for whatever reason, let’s call it repetitive use; the shades in our RV get a workout especially the shades on the outside wall in our street side dinette slideout. Over the years I have replaced these shades at least 3 times with new ones and other smaller shades in the motorhome may have gotten replaced at least once.
1. The shades were tightly wrapped in sticky bubble wrap.
2. The shades arrived in perfect condition. Day shade is positioned higher (black), night shade lower (beige). The mounting rail spans the rollers and a retracting system is inside the rollers. There are thumb wheels on either side of roller to adjust the tension, upper and lower limit.
3. Security wrap holds the shade in the retracted position for ease of installation.
As of very recently when the last set of shades were getting long in the tooth we were trying not to use them if we could and just leave them alone but as fate would have it the strings began to break and the shades failed. We found a repair person while staying in Florida at the Wilderness Estates Campground in Ocala who told us that they could restring the shades for $40 apiece. We thought this was great however they were out of string and would have to order some. Well as luck would have it they never received the string in time before we had to leave so we got on the road.
Colleen had reached her patience limit with the pleated shades. She whipped out a pair of scissors and just cut the shades off close to the upper rail! That’s it! I’ve had it! … was basically the conversation that she shared with me at that moment and I said, “Yes dear.” So from that point forward we were using automotive sun shade panels. During the day it wasn’t a problem and for the most part we didn’t miss not having the shades. At night we would use the sun screens. They would get wedged in and that would be it for the evening.
This past December 2010 at the RVIA Exposition, I saw where Winnebago Industries is using a mix of powered and manual MCD shades throughout their Class A product line. I immediately fell in love with these things since they were so easy to use and they looked great. The dual individual day and night shades offered superior performance over the pleased day/night shades – no question. The day shade is comprised of a black mesh material similar to a screen which is close-in to the window. When the shade is combined with a window tint, it reduces quite a bit of the heat and the sun’s glare from coming into the coach.
The day shade can remain lowered or not and you can lower the night shade independently. The material is completely opaque and blocks off light extremely well when installed inside the window valance. When the shade is operated, you pull the center of the shade down using a metal bar that is fitted on the bottom of the shade. When you arrive at the level you desire, all you need to do is basically let go of the shade. The DUO’s shade stays in place similar to a conventional spring wound window shade but so much easier and smoother. It’s really neat! Raising the shade is basically done with a slight downward pull and the shade will rise as far as you need it to go and you can just let the shade go when you want to. The shade will basically stay where you leave it without a lot of jerking around.
Well, once that bell was rung, there was no option for us and it was just a matter of time before we ordered our MCD shades. All we needed to do was conveniently go on-line and order 2 new MCD manual shades for dinette window and the sofa window. Each window is 59 inches wide by some 26” deep. We chose to order the manual American DUO Day/Night Shade. The material color was 333 or a light beige color. MCD has several different colors and textures that you can choose from. We went with the standard colors and no texture. We downloaded a PDF order form, filled it in, scanned it and sent it back. It order process worked great.
1. I used a paint stir stick as a feeler gauge. The stick is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Clearance was made between the clip and the outside wall.
2. Once snug a little more torque secures the clip.
3. Closeup on the clip, note the detent on the window side and the release tab inside. Note the screw head at the 12 o’clock position that needed to be avoided.
A few days passed since we placed the order perhaps a week and a FEDEX truck showed up. The driver gave us this long box with MCD logos all over the outside of the box. After a little happy dance on the front porch, we took the box inside. If you think that you are just going to rip this thing open like a Christmas present you have another thing coming. Is there really such a thing as iron cardboard? You would think so. The packaging was harder than anything I have recently seen coming from a shipper. I can tell you this, MCD wasn’t taking any chances with this shipment. I cut the shipping tape in the seams and remarkably the top of the package just came right off without a struggle and inside the box were 2 heavily bubble wrapped shades. The bubble wrap was sticky on one side and when they wrapped the shades at the factory, they stayed wrapped. In the bottom of the box I found the instructions; Always important and often neglected. Clips are required to hold the shades up in place and all the clips (6) were in a single package and taped on top of one of the shades.
I took one shade at a time out to the rig. To mount the dinette shade, I had to remove the dinette off the wall since there isn’t any clearance. Once the table was out of the way, I removed the rail from the old day night shade (2 Phillips head screws) and the center clip retainer. The MCD shade installs directly on the inside of the valence however what I found is that it needs to be positioned slightly away from the outside wall. The MCD mounting clip has an elongated slot that allows a screw to secure the clip to the valence however you have the ability to move it over ¼ of an inch from front to back. The clips require that they be placed in almost perfect alignment (laterally) and the slot makes this task possible and a lot easier. The clips have a release side that you can access by pushing your fingers on a tab which releases the shade. The back of the clip actually holds the weight of the shade inside a channel in the upper rail and looks like a C. The trick is to make sure that the shade is fully engaged on the clip side and just pushed up until you hear the release side click. The clip side goes toward the window and the release must be on the inside.
If you have any type of decorative rise or cut out in your valence, that’s where you want to locate the shade clip. This will make it easier for you to reach up and push the release. Once the shade is installed one would hope that you would not have to remove it again!
The key to being able to put up the shade and have the clips engage and lock the rail in place, is to make sure all the clips are in alignment. The way that I aligned the clips was to use a paint stick as a feeler gauge from the window side of the valence to the retaining slot side of the clip. The paint stick is about ¼ of an inch in thickness and it’s provides consistent clearance from one clip to the next. My shade was 59 inches long and it required 3 clips. Getting all 3 clips aligned was pretty easy. Per manufacturer recommendations the clips need to be about 2 inches from the end of the shade. The middle clip was just about centered in the valance. You need to feel to top of the valence before mounting the clips because there may be a screw or a fabric fold or some other clearance issue but you want the clip to lie as flat as possible. I marked off the end distance with a marker, placed the clip, fit the feeler gauge, pressed the clip toward it and with the other hand poked a hole with an awl in the center of the slot. With the paint stick in place, I pushed the clip up against the stick and snugged up the screw. I removed the stick and tightened the screw. I rechecked the gap and moved on to the other 2 clips.
After the clips are in place, you’ll be anxious to put up the shade. I tilted the shade (bottom) slightly toward the window making sure that the tab side of the clip engages the center channel on the upper rail. You will know when it’s engaged because the shade will be held by the clip when you tug at it. To complete the install you then roll the shade toward the inside and you will hear a muted mechanical click. Once you hear the click the shade is secured. I then moved down to the opposite end and did the same process. Finishing, I engaged the center clip. When all 3 clips are gapped the same, engaging the rail in the clip and locking it in place is easy but you do have to take your time and make sure that the clips are flat and level and aligned from left to right.
For the purposes of shipping and installation, the shade is wrapped and held by two narrow strips of plastic wrap located close to each end of the shade. There is also a cardboard spacer in between the roller and the rail at the top of the shade. Once secured, I used a razor and carefully cut the wrap on the center of the bottom of the shade. You then pull off the plastic material all in one piece and the cardboard spacer should fall out but if it doesn’t you can poke it out. Done!
I operated the shades and they performed perfectly stopping on command and rolling up just as easily. The day shade material is great and blocks out a lot sun perhaps as much as 50%. Coupled with our aftermarket deep window tint, the inside of the shade feels cooler. For night or daytime use you can pull down the inner shade and the light is just about completely blocked out. MCD did a great job with this product, it works as expected and it can be installed by the average RV owner.
Now having completing the first shade and restoring the dinette on the wall, I just repeated the same process for the shade behind the couch. The couch window install was a lot more comfortable since the back of the couch reclined. The installation of the MCD shades improves the appearance of the interior of our coach considerably. As each of the pleated string shades fail, we are going to looking at installing the MCD Manual Duo shades throughout our coach.
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