Details on replacing the pantry drawer slides

Yesterday I wrote and illustrated about how our airstream trailer’s pantry changed from partial extension to full-extension. Sometimes I say it with 1,000 words. Others, like the post about modifying our pantry to gain full-extension slide action, get 500 words. Julie nicely pointed out a need for a bit more detail. Julie, THANKS! Feedback helps sooo much. How else will I learn what’s right?

Here’s the rest of the story (but without great illustrations). I held off five years doing this project because I didn’t intuit how the rack assembly attached to the slides and the pantry cabinet.

The only tools needed are a tape measure, hammer, #2 phillips screwdriver, marking pen, center punch, electric or battery-powered drill, and a 3/32″ drill bit.

First, we lifted off the three wire rack shelves from the pantry sliding frame. We measured from the back of the pantry rack to the front to determine length of drawer slides to buy. Since the pantry rack is already empty and out of the way, I invite Debbie to go to Home Depot with me to shop for drawer slides. We are pleased with the selection and prices — we easily find the right length and are happy with the heavy duty full-extension slides we find. $15 buys a pair. We’re ready to go to work!

The wire rack shelves out of the way, the square tubular frame is easy to reach around and work with. We will need to reach to the back of the cabinet opening and also to have a nice (and not too long) ratcheting phillips screwdriver ($10 from Home Depot, includes bunches of changeable tips.)

A small block of wood at the back of the cabinet partition kept the pantry rack from sliding back in too far and crashing into the trailer’s aluminum wall. I tapped with a hammer and knocked this glued and stapled piece of wood off the back edge of the pantry cabinet partition.

Now the pantry rack can slide further in (toward the curved outside wall) and expose the screws attaching drawer (well, pantry really) slides to the pantry partition. First undo the screws holding the bottom slide to the partition.

Next, undo the middle screws attaching the upper slide to the partition, then the end ones (taking care to support the rack upright so you don’t break any remaining screws until they are removed.) This is one of the times the $10 ratcheting screwdriver is so handy — you’re reaching in there at a little bit of an uncomfortable angle and can just turn your wrist and hand back and forth, back and forth, without ever re-gripping the screwdriver.

Slide brackets unattached from the partition, we next remove the pantry rack (with its slides still attached) and put all on the worktable outside. Unscrew the slide brackets from the pantry rack and we have a white square tubular frame ready for attaching the new slide brackets.

We put the drawer slides onto the tubular pantry rack frame and the holes don’t line up. Darn. Now I have to buy a new drill — until Debbie reminds me I already have a great one in the truck I have loved using almost forty years. Mark the holes. Use a center punch and hammer to indent the pantry rack frame at the hole marks so the drill bit will go just where you want without wandering. Pick the bit for pilot holes for the sheet metal screws (that were included when we bought the drawer slides). Drill the holes.

Attach the drawer slides to the frame. Put the frame into the pantry cabinet and mark two holes (each end of the upper slide). Move the frame out of the way, drill the holes with pilot bit, replace the frame and attach the drawer slides to the partition. Drill several more pilot holes for screws in the top slide and attach those screws. Do the same with the lower drawer slide.

Test the pantry rack before you load anything onto the frame. Re-attach the wire rack shelves, load them up with food, and love your full extension pantry.

Jim and Debbie
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©2013 Dreamstreamr

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2 responses to “Details on replacing the pantry drawer slides

  1. Great Jim thank you. Since our 2nd home will be parked right next to our new home in Fl we can tackle this project

  2. Richard Hunt

    When we get back home (the 25′ Satari SE) I will have to take a look at our sliding pantry rack. It is different in that it is about three feet tall and only about about 4 – 6 inches wide with the door face pulling out the slide. It would be nice if it pulled out a bit farther. Again, thank you for sharing ideas for making Airstream life a little better.

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