RAM 3500 - Too Harsh for an Escape 19 or 21? - Page 2 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 07-26-2016, 03:15 PM   #11
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Thanks for the info, Kevin.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin H View Post
I see what was said about the truck hitch ride being similar to the suspension on the Escape. Had not thought of that. Has anyone ever changed the suspension to something a bit smoother with disc brakes and shocks? I ask, because I just did that on the behemeth and the ride was dramatically improved.
As far as I know, no one has upgraded an Escape suspension, but it has been done many times with similar trailers. Due to the Torflex suspension on an Escape (other than the 5.0TA) the ride is better than with a basic beam axle with leaf springs, but retrofitting shocks is a challenge. This discussion might be illuminating:
Any Damage From Driving on Rough Roads?
(All the real shock description is in the first few pages)
The supplier who was preparing a shock absorber retrofit mounting kit has not yet offered the product.

Disk brakes - as factory equipment or aftermarket conversion - are extraordinarily rare on trailers of this size, although they are available, although they would have the same advantages as they do on larger trailers. I've never heard of a disk conversion on a moulded fiberglass travel trailer of any brand, let alone an Escape.
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Old 07-26-2016, 05:53 PM   #12
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I think the 5.0TA has switched over to the Torque Flex axles too.
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Old 07-26-2016, 06:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
...Due to the Torflex suspension on an Escape (other than the 5.0TA) ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
I think the 5.0TA has switched over to the Torque Flex axles too.
Yes, while I was trying to keep this as simple as possible for a potential buyer of a 19' or 21', and no 5.0TA has had Torflex axles yet, it is true that the next generation of 5.0TA reportedly have will. That's an important detail for people who have a new 5.0TA on order, or are considering ordering.
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Old 07-26-2016, 07:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Thanks for the info, Kevin.
Disk brakes - as factory equipment or aftermarket conversion - are extraordinarily rare on trailers of this size, although they are available, although they would have the same advantages as they do on larger trailers. I've never heard of a disk conversion on a moulded fiberglass travel trailer of any brand, let alone an Escape.
The Dexter disk brakes are hydraulic actuated, not electric so the conversion would be complicated.
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:59 PM   #15
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Disk brake alternatives

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Originally Posted by SFDavis50 View Post
The Dexter disk brakes are hydraulic actuated, not electric so the conversion would be complicated.
No electric disk brakes are offered commercially yet (by Dexter or anyone else), in any size, although hopefully someday the Siemens Electronic Wedge Brake will make it to production. In the meantime, the options are air or hydraulic. Air disk brakes only come in very large sizes (for big trucks), so disk brakes for travel trailers are all hydraulic.

Yes, being hydraulic means more parts so it is somewhat complicated and expensive, but is now routine and can easily be done on any trailer. Disks and hubs are installed instead of hub/drums, caliper brackets with calipers are installed instead of drum brake backing plates, and hydraulic lines are run to the front of the trailer instead of wires. For an Escape axle, the Dexter retrofit kit is K71-633-00; its suggested price is US$591 per axle, but of course it would be less expensive to substitute disks for drums in the original axle purchase, and less expensive from a competitive retail source. From there you have a choice:
  1. replace the coupler with one incorporating a surge brake actuator (and so you don't use an electric controller in the tow vehicle and there is no braking system connection to the tow vehicle, but you need a reverse light signal to lock out the brakes in reverse); or,
  2. install an electric-over-hydraulic converter or actuator, which receives the normal electric signal from the tow vehicle and applies pressure to the hydraulic fluid in proportion.
Most travel trailers owners would prefer the electric-over-hydraulic approach, and that's the only option for fifth-wheel trailers; it is presumably what Kevin has on his big Montana. That adds at least a few hundred dollars to the parts bill, although eTrailer has a whole system (brake kits and actuator) for tandem 3500-pound axles for US$1020.
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Old 07-27-2016, 11:43 AM   #16
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Good info everyone, thanks. It looks like my truck will continue to serve me well should I get to go smaller. I'll answer a couple questions that came up:

Regarding fuel mileage - I suspect the 373 rear end has a lot to do with it. That and my driving which is pretty conservative. No lead foot. I agree that the published mileage figures are under ideal conditions and most people's will differ. Mine always have. Our 2007 Prius, which we traded in on this truck, never achieved the mileage figures touted, especially after Ethanol was introduced. Oh well...

As to how will I move two trailers - good question. My urge for something smaller is for an extended, say 8 months between summer employment stints, wander all over. I would store the big rig during that time. When we return to Yellowstone for the summer, I would retrieve the big rig and either store, or (gasp) sell the smaller rig. That of course would depend on how the wandering suited us.

Given our lifestyle, we really like the big rig for extended stays so there is very little chance it is going away. The smaller one is to fulfill, or perhaps increase, my wanderlust.

Anyway, thanks again for the info. Although I rarely post here, I lurk a lot and really enjoy the community.
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Old 07-27-2016, 01:26 PM   #17
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Some states do allow "double towing" so you may be able to tow behind your fifth wheel.
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Old 07-27-2016, 04:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Some states do allow "double towing" so you may be able to tow behind your fifth wheel.
I believe that this might be legal in some places, but very few. The combination of the Ram 3500, 40-foot Montana fifth-wheel trailer, and an Escape 21', would meet some common legal requirements:
  • first trailer uses fifth-wheel hitch
  • first trailer has tandem (or more) axles
  • second trailer is shorter than first trailer
It would fail the requirement in some places that the second trailer is only for boats or other vehicles (not a travel trailer). It would likely exceed the allowed total combination length for a non-commercial vehicle everywhere.
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Old 07-27-2016, 06:00 PM   #19
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You could always get an "Escort" service for over size load......
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