In a previous product review and after hearing numerous accolades about MCD, I installed a pair of American Duo/Solo MCD shades in the living room/galley area of our rig. American Duo features a weighted aluminum bar across the width of the shade on the edge and it’s really a nice finishing touch on an excellent product. The pull on the shade it light and the shade always stays in the position where you let it go.
Since MCD only had the one premium product line of shades, they wanted to introduce a new product line that would be less expensive and yet still fulfill all the benefits of owning an MCD product. Enter the MCD Gold Series.
The MCD Gold features the American Duo style twin roller setup; a sun screen in black on the outside facing the window and night shade in one of several colors and textures on the inside. Unlike the American Duo, the Gold has a sewn pocket containing a full width bar which is used to weigh the shade and also gives rigidity for use as a pull. The Gold is also available as a powered product with remote control access.
After having removed the old shade and mounting hardware, it is recommended that the holes in the Luan paneling be tightened up. Using wooden toothpicks and Elmer’s glue makes for a good plug that will allow a screw to be held securely
My wife and I noticed that our stringed pleated day/night shade in the bedroom was beginning to show signs of age and wear. Due to our experience with MCD, the choice was clear for us. As we looked over our options on the MCD Innovations website, our thought was that the Gold Series for the bedroom would be a good way to go. Using the on-line order form, we chose the B33 style with no extra texture features. We specified the width and length of the shade paying attention to the measuring guidelines on the website.
The shade arrived via USPS in an indestructible tube, cushioned and caped with plastic plugs. When you remove the shade from the packaging, the rail clips (3 in our case required) were already clipped on the rail. The clip is designed to engage into the back edge of the beam and snap over the outside front of the rail. The shade rollers are held with a plastic wrap on center and a cardboard filler. Do not remove the center wrap until the installation is complete.
Mounting the wall bracket to hold the shade, 3 – #8 x 3/4″ screws are used. A bead of Super Glue was applied between the bracket and the paneling due to being previously found loose. The bracket has thickness and when considering where to mount the shade in the valence you need to factor in for the bracket. My solution was to mount the clips on flat washers thereby lifting the shade’s rail over the top of the bracket.
To begin the project you need to remove the existing shade by removing the bottom anchors, 2 – 1 inch #8 screws in the top beam and disengaging a plastic clip on the center of the shade. Having removed the screws and clip the shade is wanting to go in several directions at the same time and it became a handful for a moment. Once the shade was out of the way what was left was a valence on a 90° – 16” long aluminum L bracket. The L bracket also holds the valence to the wall. As found, the valence was very loose and I expect that it would have failed at some point due to being under constant tension from the pleated shade. The screws holding the valence and the bracket to the wall were removed.
This is the way the clips shipped on the rail. Notice the recess on the edge of the rail. This is what the back of the clips grab onto. The front of the clip just snaps over the top of the rail. Notice the black mechanism on the right edge of the rail. When I measured the holes to mount the outer clips I wanted to stay just on the inside of those mechanisms. (Like the clip on the right)
Luan paneling isn’t very thick and as such only gives a little bit of depth for a screw to grab onto. In my case I chose the easiest path toward getting the valence bracket back in its original location so I chose to reuse the existing holes. I went and got a few wooden tooth picks and my Elmer’s Glue. I put 3 tooth picks together and with a touch of glue I pushed them into the existing holes.
Mounting the clips that hold the rail is not as complex as it might seem however all 3 clips are mounted separately. The key is to measure twice or more times and check for clearances. The clips are slotted so that prior to tightening you can adjust the clip.
In the interim while things were drying, I went to Lowes and picked up a package of stainless #8 screws ¾ of an inch long. While I was disassembling the bracket from the valence, I found that the OE screws were too long since they poked me in my finger. I didn’t want to repeat that. Prior to restoring the L bracket to the wall a good cleaning of the entire area was accomplished. It never entered my mind that there would be enough dust behind the shade and on top of the window frame to grow potatoes. With the glue having dried, I cut the toothpicks flush and I was ready to begin the install.
The 1 inch measurement is the depth of the valence sides that are vertically mounted on the wall. The MCD shade needs to be mounted in a manner so that it won’t bind on this edge when rolling the shade. Having measured the valence offset, I marked a line 1.25″ inches from the inside edge of the valence for the clip to allow for the clearance. The valence sides are what takes up the room between the shade and the sidewall assuring a good room darkening seal when the shade is rolled down.
The 1st thing was to restore the L bracket on the wall and secure it. I expect that some would call this cheating but I applied a number of rows of super glue on the face of the L bracket and pressed it back into its original position. Using a manual #2 Phillips screw driver, I inserted and slowly tightened the screws onto the bracket. As the screws began to bottom against the bracket they tightened up quite nicely.
The measurement is taken from the edge of the valence (at the top of the picture) to the back of the clip that grabs the rail. Using a stick gauge on each clip from the front of the valence assures that the clips will be aligned. This was an early photo, at the end of the day, I used 2 smaller flat washers on each clip to help clear the wall bracket that holds the valence. The clips need to be aligned and level to one another to assure an easy fit when clipping the shade rail. Once the clips were all mounted and tightened, I matched the shade rail to the back side of all 3 clips. The clip is engaged in the channel of the middle of the rail and with a slight twist and push the rail snapped into front of the clip.
I fitted the valence over the L bracket to check the clearances and it was perfectly centered. On a closer look, I noticed the material used for the bracket was a few sixteenths of an inch thick. I knew that it was going to be difficult to lay the beam of the MCD shade over the bracket and secure the shade to the valence the way it was. I measured a few times and arrived at the conclusion that I would need to bridge over the L bracket. Using 2 flat washers under the shade clips would assure that the rail would be level and clear the bracket. When installing the clips, I kept about 4 inches in from the end of the valence. This is important because you do not want to get the clips installed over the end mechanisms of the shade. The screw heads are better if located in the void of the rail. The next consideration is the front to back screw hole placement. The clips have a slot so they are adjustable up to a quarter of an inch or slightly better in the event you have to adjust the rail a tiny bit. I used a flat edge to keep the front of the clips equally distant while tightening the screws which worked out great.
The MCD Gold shade features a pocketed weighted pull unlike the American Duo. The day shade is shown in the lower portion of the frame and provides good sun blocking properties with the ability to still be able to see outside
I installed the valence back on the wall mounted L bracket after mounting the clips but it was impossible for me to get the shade exactly where I needed it to go to engage the clips. In trying to solve this problem I removed the valence, turned it upside down and snapped the rail of the MCD shade on the brackets. Snap, snap & snap. Done ! I then took the valence and shade and placed it over the wall bracket and it fit perfectly. Now all I had to do was secure the valence to the L bracket. Using a 6” long #2 Phillips screws driver, I held the screws in place using tape and I was able to fasten all 3 – #8 x 3/4” SS screws from behind the beam, through the L bracket and into the valence.
Once the 3 screws were tightened, I allowed myself to take a little break. I used a razor blade to cut the shipping tape from the center of the shade. Remember this is the last step you need to do “do not” remove the plastic wrap before the shade is secured. Using a small screw driver, I dislodged the cardboard between the rail and the shade and I was at last finished. I pulled the sun screen down and it was perfect. Next, I pulled the night shade and it worked as well as the day shade. Our new MCD shade looks nice and works wonderfully.
In this photo you can see how tightly the MCD Gold shade fits in the valence enclosure. We expect that this product will perform reliably over the years. The best feature is that the shade will begin moving when you direct it up or down and it will stop when you let it go. This applies for both the day and the night shades.