Easy RV Mod -> Install MCD Shades
So finally we come to the 2nd part of our internal RV look makeover -> Our MCD shades! MCD shades are something we’ve wanted for a while. They are much cooler-looking than those ol’ pleated jobs, have no strings to break, will not crush or deform, provide day-time shade protection (you can look out, but no-one can look in) and complete night-time black-out. PLUS they add some extra insulation too.
The only problem is they are not cheap…
So we waited, and we waited, and we patiently (kind of) waited until I managed to catch the very last day of a 30% off offer on iRV2.com forum in Nov. That cinched the deal and we ordered them that very day for delivery to our park in San Diego in Dec. We decided to stick to side windows only (the big front windshield is a pricier and more complicated job that will have to wait), plus we wanted to do the installation ourselves (to save some $$). All indications pointed to a fairly easy job…and that turned out to be exactly the case. As long as you plan ahead for clearance & measure correctly, the installation is only ~20 mins per window.
Here are the steps:
1/ Ordering MCD Shades
We ordered the manual Duo Day/Night Shades with M33 night-shade color. There are a few items to check before you order your MCD shades
- Valence Clearance Needs To Be At Least 2″ – MCD shades are much thicker than traditional pleated shades so you need at least 2″ depth of clearance under your valance for them to work. Less and you won’t be able to physically mount or clip in the shade, plus it will snag and rub. The “Gold” series are slightly thinner than the “Duo” series, so for Duo closer to 2.5″ clearance is really best. The original valances in our Holiday Rambler were 2-layered pieces of wood (covered in 2 different fabrics) that were too thick and so had insufficient clearance (our depth was just under 2″). Removing the inner layer and simplifying the valances to one piece gave us the internal clearance we needed.
- Shade Measurements Should Fit Your Valence, Not Your Window – When you measure you want to use your inner valence width/height *not* your window width/height *nor* the outer size of your valence. This will insure your shade fills the inside of the valance with no empty spaces. We cut all our inner valence width measurements by 0.5″ to allow a little wiggle-room for the bracket on the ends (so for example, our longest valence is 61.5″ inside width so we submitted 61″ on our MCD order). If you’re worried about clearance you can cut it a little more, but these numbers have worked well for us.
2/ Mounting MCD Shades
Mounting the MCD shades is a simple matter of screwing in the clips (tab facing inside the RV) and then clipping in the shades (tilt the shade forward, hook the back rail into the clip, then press the front rail into the tab-side of the clip). Since we were re-covering our valances they were already off the wall which made it super easy to measure and screw in the clips exactly where we needed them, but it’s certainly possible to install the clips without removing the valances by using a measuring tape, a spacer (e.g. piece of wood) and some patience. The clipping itself can be a bit “fiddly” and this is where internal clearance makes all the difference, but otherwise it is straightforward. You’ll want to adjust tension on the shades before you clip them in. Also the MCD shades are heavier than the string-type so I advise using a few more screws to secure your valence before installing the shades.
- Prepare your clips. Tab-side faces inside the coach
- Screw the clips into the valence tops. Outer clips need to be within 2″ of the end. Other clips are spaced evenly in-between.
- Mount the valence and slip in the MCD shade
- Clip in the shade by tilting it forward and hooking the back-end first, then pressing the front end into the tabs. A flat-head screwdriver can be used to press the tabs and help open them up if clearance is tight.
- And voilà…the shade is in.
And that’s it folks! We’re incredibly happy with our new look as well as the improved insulation of the new shades. A very cool mod which is very, very easy to do.
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Nina, I absolutely LOVE the new sleek, streamline look. I’ve looked at the MCD shades but sadly too far out of my budget right now.
They are indeed a pricey. We waited 3 years for this one…and didn’t pull the trigger until we got that 30% deal. That put it “just” within reach haha
Rusty Glen says
Hi Guys nice upgrade and great job
What are you doing with your old day/night shades ??
Kelly and I went to Valley of fire on your recomendation after we collected our RV from Vegas last month, we loved it and didn’t want to leave, thanks so much
Rusty & Kelly
Well the “deal” that we got in Nov required us to ship our old shades back to MCD. Don’t ask me why they wanted them, but for $40 shipping I was happy to do it! I’ve heard some folks who are able to sell their old shades on Craig’s List or RV listings, but otherwise they’ll probably be dumped.
So happy you enjoyed Valley of Fire!
The Lowe's RV Adventures says
Wow, a definite wow. You definitely are giving us ideas and inspiration. One of our reasons going back to Quartzsite is to get MCD or AMS shades. We had one installed in the dining area only because it is indeed pricey. But now you have showed us how relatively easy it is to install we might just do it ourselves. Thank you for this very informative post.
We were originally nervous about doing the install ourselves, but it’s turned out to be much, much easier than we thought. Once you collect the $$ to buy the shades, the rest is easy 🙂
I’d already bookmarked the site. Would settle with just one window right now as I don’t feel like restringing it. Just how expensive I couldn’t find out without exact measurements. I like the look. Thanks for the inspiration.
We didn’t quite do all our windows either….just the largest ones. They sure are nice though.
Great Job,they look outstanding i will do mine next year.
You will love the MCD’s! DW and I did the upgrade over a year ago. The windshield was a little hard to justify for the price but now I consider it a safety upgrade!
Except when they drop off. Fortunately I wasn’t moving, but parked. This happened Aug 2014. I attributed this to poor install especially since the passenger shade fell off while in storage sometime between Apr – May 2016. The person that hung this product shouldn’t even be allowed to hang a shower curtain!
Where did you get the installation done? Our shades have been solidly in place since we installed them.
Excellent job! The MCD shades and the new material gives your home a totally different fresh look. Lovely!
Janet Mezger says
Thanks for the info and the great directions. Jim and I have wanted to replace our shades. We have one window that the string broke and i have no idea how to fix it. This might solve the problem.
If you want to do it, it is possible to re-string those old pleated shades. It’s a bit fiddly, but not too difficult. The best repair kit I’ve found is this one since it comes with specific instructions:
jil mohr says
Looks great….what exactly does MCD shades stand for? (I did check the site you had in the article but could not find the answer) and do you have to have Valences to install and use them…we don’t have any at all….
You can certainly install them without a valence. You’ll be able to visibly see the rolls (so that’s a cosmetic thing), plus you’ll need somewhere for the clips/screws to attach (the practical side). Since the shades do weigh some, you’d probably want to reinforce whatever you attach them to. So, for example put a piece of wood between your cabinet bottoms and the shade. But it’s possible.
P.S. no idea what MCD stands for…
jil mohr says
Thanks….will look into it…for the future of course 🙂
jil mohr says
I just googled MCD for the shades I thought it was describing what they were or how they worked but it is just the name….:)
Russ Krecklow says
Very nicely done. Now all you need to do is recover that sofa in RED! That would really stand out, wouldn’t it?
Did you say baby blue shag? Now you’re talking!
They look lovely. We would love to stop by after the holidays to catch up.
Really helpful and encouraging post Nina. Thanks a lot. We’ve gotten pretty good at restringing and use the same source you mentioned. But I’m starting the MCD shade savings account after seeing this.
Jeff and Cheryl says
About 18 months ago we were at Royal Gorge in Colorado when a retracting spring broke on one of our MCD shades. When this happens, the only way to roll the shade up is by hand, then tie it off. This was the third spring that broke and it was irritating indeed. Since we were going to Amarillo TX to visit family, I decided to go to the factory in McKinney TX (340 miles) and have MCD fix the shade. Turns out they had been having problems with the spring so had a revised spring assembly. MCD has electric hook-ups for 12 rigs and we were able to schedule an appointment to get the shade fixed. When we got there and heard about the spring revisions, we had all our shades retrofitted. They took off the material, installed it on a new assembly and reinstalled. Price was very reasonable for what they did. While there we took a tour of the factory. Of note is that they recycle their shipping boxes. So, it may be that they wanted the box back to reuse. I would guess that they have a way to recycle the material in the pleated shade as well.
Total bummer about those springs! I’m hoping we got the new and improved spring assembly in our shades.
Jeff and Cheryl says
You did. Our original springs have been discontinued 🙂
Jim G. says
MCD stands for Motor Coach Designs!
Jim…MCD Rep currently at the Tampa Super Show in the MCD booth. Nice job on your installation!
Well thank you for that! Cleared up a mystery for us 🙂
Steve smith says
Nice job on your install. It’s not really that hard just tedious and time consuming. I am a dealer installer here in sandiego. I’ve done many rvs with outstanding results. I specialize in frontwindshield cockpit conversions. If you have a big old box tv in the way I can do a box mod. Even finish out with new valances to hide rollers. Check out tropicshieldsunshades.com.
We’ve actually met you (in San Diego) and had neighbors use you for their own installation (with good results) so I’ll allow the comment even though I know you’re a commercial enterprise. We still haven’t done on our front area, so one day we may well contact you about that.
Nina and Paul,
I’m about to take my measurements for the MCD shades. But first, how are they holding up you now one year later? Any issues? Are you happy with the Gold or is the American Duo better in the heat of the SW?
Thanks in advance,
We still love our shades! They help keep the heat out in summer and warmth inside in winter. It’s one of the best mods we’ve done and we’d do it again in a heartbeat. They’re holding up great and work as advertised.
We went with the Duo shades, so can’t comment on the Gold. We love em!
Roger Johnson says
We recently had MCD shades installed on 5 windows an I must say the installation was way higher in cost than we anticipated and $800 more than the dealers estimate. Would not have had the job done if we had known the full cost up front. I do have a question, we have the 12 channel controller and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get it open to change the battery. Any idea?
Ah sorry no idea. We installed the manual shades (not the electric version) so don’t know anything about the controller. Hope you enjoy the shades as much as we do. We still consider it one of the best upgrades we’ve done.