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Old 10-04-2014, 09:21 PM   #1
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Three winterization questions

I'm attempting my first ever trailer winterization on our new Escape 21. A few questions have arisen in my mind that I'd like some help with.
  1. I want to remove the dual 6V batteries and store them in my basement. After winterizing my trailer, I'll be towing it a few kms to the place I'll be storing it for the winter. In the manual it says: Position the battery disconnect to the "on" position. This is required to engage the trailer's brakes in the event of an emergency. So, can I tow the trailer even when the batteries are removed? My guess is that with the battery disconnect switch set to "on" the brakes will draw power from the tow vehicle to operate the brakes (even with the batteries removed from the trailer), but I'd like to be certain that it is safe (i.e. my trailer brakes will work) to tow the trailer with the batteries removed.
  2. I did the best I could to drain the water heater, but if I stick my finger in the hole that the anode rod sits in, I can tell that there's still water in the bottom of the hot water tank. Is this a concern? My guess here is that the heater is built strong enough to withstand a little water freezing in the bottom, but I just want to be sure I'm not overlooking something.
  3. The manual says to open the Maxx Fan slightly to allow circulation. Do those of you with harsh winters really leave the Maxx Fan slightly open for the whole winter?
That's it ... for now.
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Old 10-04-2014, 09:25 PM   #2
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I can't answer any of your questions, but I am absolutely intrigued by your wonderful picture. Thank you for posting that!
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Old 10-04-2014, 09:37 PM   #3
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Thanks for the kind words about the photo Karen. It was taken at Wilcox Creek campground in Jasper NP on one of our trips this past summer.
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Old 10-04-2014, 09:51 PM   #4
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1) The only thing that will not work with no batteries is the break-away system. This comes into play only if the trailer comes unhitched and wanders down the road unattached to the tow vehicle. The break away system will attempt activate the brakes using the trailer battery.

Your trailer brakes always draw power from the towed vehicle.

Can you tow this way - yes. Is it legal - not if a break away system is required in your jurisdiction.

2) That is what I did before we moved to Phoenix. Here winterizing just means we can take local trips instead of heading north or to higher elevations.

3) I did. Here I seal everything tightly due to concerns about dust blowing in. If that were not an issue I would always leave the bath window and the maxxAire slightly open to avoid mustiness and condensation (also not a problem here.)
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Old 10-04-2014, 09:53 PM   #5
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I think you need batteries for your emergency brake to operate. Your tow will provide the power for your regular brakes. Towing without your emergency brake active could be an issue. There are small batteries you can install just for the emergency brake set up. The residue water in the water heater is fine. You do not say if you are covering your unit, but the cracked vent seems to open your unit perhaps to critters.
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Old 10-05-2014, 01:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpjod View Post
The manual says to open the Maxx Fan slightly to allow circulation. Do those of you with harsh winters really leave the Maxx Fan slightly open for the whole winter?
My current trailer is not an Escape, but it is similar and has a MaxxFan. I leave it fully open all year, and even though the outside has all sorts of stuff growing on it, there is no humidity problem in the interior.
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Old 10-05-2014, 01:40 AM   #7
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I agree with the information already posted about the electric brakes and use without a battery. Personally, I wouldn't worry about the battery for the breakaway feature for a short local trip to storage.
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Old 10-05-2014, 07:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I agree with the information already posted about the electric brakes and use without a battery. Personally, I wouldn't worry about the battery for the breakaway feature for a short local trip to storage.
I totally agree with Brian. Lots of trailers do not have a break away system, let alone brakes and the likelihood of it becoming detached on a short trip to storage is probably close to nil. Both the coupler and the safety chains would have to fail. But if you are concerned, why not bring a couple of tools to the storage are and remove the batteries there, then transport them home in the tow vehicle. It's the same way most people would transport a battery if their existing battery failed and they had to purchase a new one. Just put them in a solid box, perhaps a milk crate, to keep them from tipping over on the trip home.
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Old 10-05-2014, 09:04 AM   #9
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Alberta requires break away brakes. Whether or not you choose to comply is up to you.
RVDA of Canada - Provincial Brake Requirements
Alberta Trailer Brake Requirements
  • If gross laden weight of trailer is 909 kg / 2,004 Ibs or over, or if gross trailer weight is over half that of the unit, independent braking system is required.
  • Not required for trailers with a gross laden weight of not more than 910 kg (2006 Ibs) or trailers with a gross laden weight of less than half of the weight of the towing unit.
  • Breakaway brakes are required on trailers over 907 kg (2,000 Ibs).
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Old 10-05-2014, 02:40 PM   #10
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Alberta requires break away brakes. Whether or not you choose to comply is up to you.
I agree - on both counts.

There are probably thousands of trailers in Alberta which do not have brakes at all despite weight over the 907 kg (half ton) limit, and so do not conform to these requirements - including any sufficiently loaded U-Haul single-axle trailer and the boat trailers sold by dealers as matched accessories for boats from 2000 to 3000 pounds. I rarely suggest anything not in compliance with legal requirements, but rationally there are many far greater issues to worry about than a breakaway battery for this trailer.

One way to stay legal and avoid dealing with heavy batteries at the storage location or transporting them is to use a small battery instead for the trip, as Jim suggested. If you borrow a battery from something, it will need to have compatible terminals to go with the Escape's cables.

Unpacked for storage and with the batteries removed, if the Escape no more than half the weight of the Touareg? Not likely, but it would be entirely legal if so, since trailer brakes are not required here in that case.
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