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Old 10-03-2018, 12:16 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2018
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Looking to order a 19" Escape

Hi, I am hoping to order a 19' Escape soon. I am in Oregon. I have a Mercedes Metris Van, with rear wheel drive. This van has a large hatch that cannot be opened while hitched to the trailer. The factory is currently researching how I can safely tow with a longer shank on the vans hitch, so I can open the back hatch while hitched up. I need to be able to do this for safety reasons, since I will have dogs in the van.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:36 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by lesliebooth View Post
Hi, I am hoping to order a 19' Escape soon. I am in Oregon. I have a Mercedes Metris Van, with rear wheel drive. This van has a large hatch that cannot be opened while hitched to the trailer. The factory is currently researching how I can safely tow with a longer shank on the vans hitch, so I can open the back hatch while hitched up. I need to be able to do this for safety reasons, since I will have dogs in the van.
You should look at Torklift receiver extension. You can purchase one from 21" to 60" long. https://www.torklift.com/automotive/supertruss
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:56 PM   #3
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This is an issue with vans having a nice low load floor, and a tall hatch... not just the Metris. When opening, would the hatch hit the coupler, or just the tongue jack? The jack can be made removable, if that's the only problem; the most common product to convert the jack is called the Jack-E-Up.
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Old 10-03-2018, 01:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
This is an issue with vans having a nice low load floor, and a tall hatch... not just the Metris. When opening, would the hatch hit the coupler, or just the tongue jack? The jack can be made removable, if that's the only problem; the most common product to convert the jack is called the Jack-E-Up.

Wow, thanks Brian. I've never seen anything like this. I was told the factory jack could not be moved back. I think it is pre- installed. I will ask if they can install this, or at least tell me if I can have it installed later. The propane tanks may still be in the way of the hatch, even with the jack out of the way. I will ask the factory if they can move the propane tanks back to where the storage contain would have been.
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Old 10-03-2018, 01:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 06smokey View Post
You should look at Torklift receiver extension. You can purchase one from 21" to 60" long. https://www.torklift.com/automotive/supertruss

Thanks! That is one heavy duty extension. Good to know. I will check into this if the removable jack does not work out.
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Old 10-03-2018, 01:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lesliebooth View Post
Wow, thanks Brian. I've never seen anything like this. I was told the factory jack could not be moved back. I think it is pre- installed. I will ask if they can install this, or at least tell me if I can have it installed later. The propane tanks may still be in the way of the hatch, even with the jack out of the way. I will ask the factory if they can move the propane tanks back to where the storage contain would have been.
The Jack E Up is easily installed, you remove the 3 bolts holding the jack on the frame and install the bottom of the apparatus using the same 3 bolts from the jack. You then bolt the jack with the extra supplied bolts and slip in place and twist, ready to use.
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Old 10-03-2018, 02:24 PM   #7
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The Torklift extension may be strong enough, but using something like that means that the trailer is acting on the van with more leverage, so the effect of tongue weight and difficulty of laterally controlling the trailer are magnified. This is why the typical rule of thumb is to cut the tongue weight ratings in half when any significant extension is used. It would be interesting to see is Mercedes are willing to state - in writing - the limit for load on the hitch with the ball placed further back, and what distance is permissible.

Aside from what any extension does to the van, there's the van's hitch receiver. Torklift's extension is designed specifically for the Torklift receiver, which has two square sockets in a vertical stack; any normal hitch receiver (including the one on the Metris) has a single 2" square socket. The Torklift SuperTruss won't fit, and if you could make it fit the connection to only one receiver socket wouldn't have the strength needed for the SuperTruss to have the claimed strength.

It would be much better - but certainly more difficult - to extend the tongue of the trailer. That would make the trailer more stable, and would not adversely affect the van.
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Old 10-03-2018, 02:40 PM   #8
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A neighbor has a Metris, so I took a measuring tape over. The design is impressively functional, with a floor lower than my Sienna (by about 60 mm or over 2 inches), but with the hitch receiver built into the bumper so it is much higher than my Sienna's (which is under the bumper).

Still, the result is that the bottom edge of the Metris hatch is (with the van relatively lightly loaded) about 47 cm or under 19" from the ground. That's at or even under the height of the top of the ball to tow an Escape 19' (reported in earlier discussions as from 19" to 21"), and the coupler stands taller than that. It's going to be tight, even with the jack out of the way.

Further back, the propane tanks are very far forward on an Escape to allow room for the optional cargo box between them and the trailer body. The Metris hatch is long (due to the tall interior space of the van) and starts vertical (due to the functional vertical back of the van body), so it swings up in a broad arc, and that's why clearance to tanks needs to be checked, too. The solution of moving the tanks back makes sense and would be easy. A small and low (lower than the tanks) cargo box could be added on the forward part of the tongue for some of the little stuff that people like to keep in outside storage, such as chocks or blocks for jacks.

An extended tongue on the trailer would fix all of this, but again, it's not trivial.
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Old 10-03-2018, 02:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The Torklift extension may be strong enough, but using something like that means that the trailer is acting on the van with more leverage, so the effect of tongue weight and difficulty of laterally controlling the trailer are magnified. This is why the typical rule of thumb is to cut the tongue weight ratings in half when any significant extension is used. It would be interesting to see is Mercedes are willing to state - in writing - the limit for load on the hitch with the ball placed further back, and what distance is permissible.

Aside from what any extension does to the van, there's the van's hitch receiver. Torklift's extension is designed specifically for the Torklift receiver, which has two square sockets in a vertical stack; any normal hitch receiver (including the one on the Metris) has a single 2" square socket. The Torklift SuperTruss won't fit, and if you could make it fit the connection to only one receiver socket wouldn't have the strength needed for the SuperTruss to have the claimed strength.

It would be much better - but certainly more difficult - to extend the tongue of the trailer. That would make the trailer more stable, and would not adversely affect the van.

Thanks Brian, That explains why the Factory was asking if my Metris manual said anything about type of W/D used and what was allowed.
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Old 10-03-2018, 03:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
A neighbor has a Metris, so I took a measuring tape over. The design is impressively functional, with a floor lower than my Sienna (by about 60 mm or over 2 inches), but with the hitch receiver built into the bumper so it is much higher than my Sienna's (which is under the bumper).

Still, the result is that the bottom edge of the Metris hatch is (with the van relatively lightly loaded) about 47 cm or under 19" from the ground. That's at or even under the height of the top of the ball to tow an Escape 19' (reported in earlier discussions as from 19" to 21"), and the coupler stands taller than that. It's going to be tight, even with the jack out of the way.

Further back, the propane tanks are very far forward on an Escape to allow room for the optional cargo box between them and the trailer body. The Metris hatch is long (due to the tall interior space of the van) and starts vertical (due to the functional vertical back of the van body), so it swings up in a broad arc, and that's why clearance to tanks needs to be checked, too. The solution of moving the tanks back makes sense and would be easy. A small and low (lower than the tanks) cargo box could be added on the forward part of the tongue for some of the little stuff that people like to keep in outside storage, such as chocks or blocks for jacks.

An extended tongue on the trailer would fix all of this, but again, it's not trivial.

Thanks for checking this all out on a Metris. I towed my old trailer with the Metris using my W/D hitch and there was no problem clearing the coupler. I think the ball height was around 20". The top 6-8" of the jack in my old trailer was in the way of my opening the hatch. Yes, I think the tanks would be in the way though. I don't need to order the storage pod, so I am hoping the factory can put the tanks back there.
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