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Old 08-14-2015, 05:13 PM   #1
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One More New Member - Lots of Questions

Hey y'all, from beautiful Kentucky! I'm Linda, he's Russ. We have two sons, four grandchildren, five cats and one dog. All but the cats are welcome aboard our prospective egg!

We are becoming quite interested in the 21, and have a bunch of questions. I know we could call ETI for answers, but at this point Iíd like to hear from some owners first. Iíve tried to figure all this out on my own, and this list is much shorter than it started, but Iím sure Iíve failed to find information that does exist somewhere. So, if someone can help, I will be forever grateful!

1. Refrigerator issue Ė I read about a refrigerator issue where eventually the manufacturer offered to replace certain units. Is this issue now resolved? I am aware that Casita owners suffer problems with refrigerators too, as I saw this repeatedly on their forums. Maybe itís just a perpetual problemÖ

2. Battery upgrades Ė It appears that two 6-volt batteries are better than and can replace one12-volt battery. Or is the upgrade having two 6-volts along with one 12-volt? If two 6-volts are better than one 12-volt, why is that?

3. Dinette , U-shaped upgrade Ė I see some photos where there are no supports for a table. I read that some just donít want a table, some use a different pedestal system, and some use the fold down add-ons. I like the idea of the open lounge area, but we will need to use that area for a bed, and we do need a place to sit and eat. Do the fold-down tables work well for this purpose? Is it comfortable? Where do you store the table top when not in use?

4. Custom fabric and Formica Ė Is there just the $100 dollar upcharge and that permits one to order from a defined set of options? Or does the owner pay the upcharge AND supply the fabric and/or Formica?

5. Permanent bed mattress Ė Weíve used Tempurpedics for at least 15 years and love it, so Iím worried about going back to a spring mattress. Is the 8Ē mattress comfortable (I know, thatís subjectiveÖ)? Do some folks just put memory foam toppers on it? Anyone have a custom mattress made? If so, who made the mattress?

6. Extra front-window Ė Does this window really provide a noticeable increase in light? With the thermal pane upgrade, I believe I read that the sleeping area windows do not open. Does this present a problem to anyone? Is it unusually stuffy in that permanent bed area because the windows donít open?

7. Upholstery Ė Are the cushion covers removable for washing? Iíve seen mention of vinyl backing. Is that standard? Is there an option for fabric on both sides? If there were fabric on both sides, are the covers constructed such that you could just flip the cushion over and it would still look right? Do the covers shift around (Iíve noticed some wrinkles and looseness in the photos)?

8. Delivery - Can't drive to Canada, Russ isn't retired yet, so we'll have to have it delivered. AND we've never towed a thing in our lives, so that might be a stretch even if we had the time. So, since we've never owned a trailer, never towed a thing, we're a little nervous about not getting a proper orientation. Of course, I've already watched videos, and he will too, but still a little worried. We don't even have a tow vehicle yet! Anyone else with such lackluster credentials take delivery and live to tell about it?

Thanks in advance for any insight. Iím sure Iíll pester you good folks again! Iím sure Iíve forgotten half of my questions!

Linda
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Old 08-14-2015, 06:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llfalcon View Post

1. Refrigerator issue Ė I read about a refrigerator issue where eventually the manufacturer offered to replace certain units. Is this issue now resolved? A new model has replaced the problem model in the 21s

2. Battery upgrades Ė It appears that two 6-volt batteries are better than and can replace one12-volt battery. Or is the upgrade having two 6-volts along with one 12-volt? If two 6-volts are better than one 12-volt, why is that? Upgrade is either dual 6V or a single larger 12V. The larger 12V gets you the bigger battery box so you can easily upgrade to dual 6V later if you need the additional capacity (as in boondocking with solar) although our solar does fine with the big 12V.

4. Custom fabric and Formica Ė Is there just the $100 dollar upcharge and that permits one to order from a defined set of options? Or does the owner pay the upcharge AND supply the fabric and/or Formica? $100 plus you supply the fabric. It's the first thing ETI wants as they send it out for fabricating cushions.

5. Permanent bed mattress Ė Do some folks just put memory foam toppers on it? Anyone have a custom mattress made? We had a custom mattress made and use a topper. ETI will put you in contact with their supplier in Canada, easy to work with. Delivered the mattress directly to ETI. Mattress was about $500 USD and ETI credited us $150 for not using theirs. Too soft in our opinion - best to flop on one in your area if possible.

6. Extra front-window Ė Does this window really provide a noticeable increase in light? We did not want the front window as the side window is huge, plus light comes in from the vent cover over the bed. Thermal side window slides open just like the other ones.

7. Upholstery Ė Are the cushion covers removable for washing? Iíve seen mention of vinyl backing. We did vinyl on one side, took less fabric, and we flip them when the dogs are wet. Removable, and ETI will do both sides fabric if you wish.

8. Delivery - Can't drive to Canada, Russ isn't retired yet, so we'll have to have it delivered. AND we've never towed a thing in our lives, so that might be a stretch even if we had the time. So, since we've never owned a trailer, never towed a thing, we're a little nervous about not getting a proper orientation. If you can rent an equipment trailer from U-Haul you could practice in parking lots! The 21 is the easiest towing & backing trailer I've ever owned.
Thanks in advance for any insight. Iím sure Iíll pester you good folks again! Iím sure Iíve forgotten half of my questions!

Linda
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Old 08-14-2015, 06:03 PM   #3
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Thanks a million, Charlie Y! Very helpful.
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Old 08-14-2015, 06:30 PM   #4
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If you are considering delivery there are several tricks to cushion the costs. The first is to look for someone to share the delivery, the more the merrier and the less the cost. Escape will be on the lookout for you but they have a pretty full plate, trolling the forum for new buyers and contacting them directly will have the best results.

If you are taking delivery, pick an area in Northern Indiana. This is probably where 1/2 of your trailer originated from as the major component manufacturers are based out of here. The logic for this location is two fold, it cuts some distance thereby reducing the cost but most important it is where that truck is headed after your delivery. He is going to pick up trailers originating from Indiana and deliver them out west on his return.

Finally, be flexibile. If you find another trailer and it is going to Nebraska, make that your delivery location. If you need to wait six weeks for another trailer to finish its build so it can join your truck load, so be it.
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Old 08-14-2015, 06:41 PM   #5
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Thanks, good advice.
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:15 PM   #6
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4. Custom fabric and Formica Ė Is there just the $100 dollar upcharge and that permits one to order from a defined set of options? Or does the owner pay the upcharge AND supply the fabric and/or Formica?
You have to pay for and supply your own fabric if you don't like their stock fabric. Double the amount needed if you want fabric on both sides. And add a yard for each filler board (according to an email I got from ETI) if you're getting the u-shaped dinette.

I got a lot of samples of various upholstery fabric and narrowed it down to one that I absolutely loved. It's been previously mentioned on this forum to order your upholstery ahead of time, if possible, as it could be discontinued by the time you order. Since we're about a year away from ordering the trailer, I already have my 20 yards of Sunbrella fabric stashed in the attic. This way I don't have to worry about not being able to get it when I'm ready.

I also ordered a yard of it off a vendor on ebay so I could see what it looked like as a much larger sample than what you get from the mfgr/vendors. And I was able to compare it with the various fabrics I want to use for throw pillows.

I've already picked out the custom flooring and formica that I want, however if they're discontinued by then, I won't be as heartbroken as I would be over the upholstery. There were other similar colors/patterns of those I could easily live with. You can order both from a vendor near the factory.

There are places in Canada that can supply the upholstery and have it shipped to ETI, so you'll save on shipping it to you and then to ETI. Plus, you get the exchange rate savings (least for now; who knows later on). I figure I'm close enough to drive that and some other things I want on the trailer (sink, faucet, showerhead). Not everyone has that option. Plus, the place I got the upholstery from matched the price from ebay, had free shipping over a certain amount (I was way over that amount) and had a summer coupon for $20 off. It brought it down to about what I would have paid from the Canadian company.

For the countertop, ETI only uses the Formica brand, so don't bother wasting your time looking at other brands. You can order free samples from Formica - check out their web site for more details and options.

For flooring you have a much wider range of companies to look at. Pioneer Building Supplies can get you flooring from: Armstrong, Mannington, Cogoleum and Flexitec (that's the company I found one from that I really like and I was able to get a sample from the regional rep).

Have fun with your decisions! I've got most of mine all figured out; just need the moolah, which we're also working on.

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Old 08-14-2015, 07:44 PM   #7
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I have been getting samples of Sunbrella for our 21', as well, and comparing prices. I was wondering where you bought your fabric?
Thanks!
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:14 PM   #8
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I have been getting samples of Sunbrella for our 21', as well, and comparing prices. I was wondering where you bought your fabric? Thanks!
I first looked at the fabric online and then we went to a local Calico Corners store (Bellevue) to look through their swatch book. They had a couple of chairs and a couch covered in the marine fabric, so it was really nice to sit on it and see how it felt. It was much softer than I had expected. I thought it would be rough and scratchy. Nope!

After getting the yard off ebay, I contacted the company directly and told them I had purchased a yard that way (the invoice with the fabric very nicely had their contact info on it). I haven't a clue if they would match the price if you didn't purchase that way. I don't remember if she found me in their system when we talked on the phone. But you can always say you saw it on ebay (if it actually is; I lucked out and it was) and see if they match. It was $19.40 (plus shipping) on ebay and $23.95 (a yard) directly from the company, Patio Lane, out of Florida.

The gal on the phone was very nice to deal with and she said they could match the price, before I even asked if they could. It included free shipping and came on this huge roll all wrapped up in plastic. And it didn't take that long to get to me either. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone else.

I had done some google searches before, but they never popped up as someone that carries it. Well, maybe they did, but many pages after what I looked at.

I got the Volt Berry color. Love it!
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carla Jean
6. Extra front-window – Does this window really provide a noticeable increase in light? With the thermal pane upgrade, I believe I read that the sleeping area windows do not open. Does this present a problem to anyone? Is it unusually stuffy in that permanent bed area because the windows don’t open?
I was told by ETI rep. that it's only in the 5.0 TA that the thermal pane (upgrade) windows don't open in the sleeping area.

It's my understanding that the optional front window on the 21 isn't available as a thermal pane because tempered glass is required in that location, even though it has a rock shield. I also don't think it opens. Even so, we are getting that window because we loved the way it looked in one of the trailers we viewed before we turned in our build sheet. We do lose the narrow shelf across the head of the bed, so we'll have to come up with something to make up for that.
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Old 08-14-2015, 10:03 PM   #10
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I was told by ETI rep. that it's only in the 5.0 TA that the thermal pane (upgrade) windows don't open in the sleeping area.

It's my understanding that the optional front window on the 21 isn't available as a thermal pane because tempered glass is required in that location, even though it has a rock shield. I also don't think it opens. Even so, we are getting that window because we loved the way it looked in one of the trailers we viewed before we turned in our build sheet. We do lose the narrow shelf across the head of the bed, so we'll have to come up with something to make up for that.
Since it's not thermal it will be a bit colder up front if you camp in chilly areas. It looked odd to me, being off-center on a 21 because of the bathroom shell.
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Old 08-14-2015, 10:46 PM   #11
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#6. We didn't get the front window. It's bright enough without the window, and we wanted the shelf above the bed. The shelf is great for glasses, books, keys, etc. it gets a lot more use than I would have thought.

#8. We hadn't towed anything more than a utility trailer when we picked up. I echo the comments that it does tow very well. In terms of towing, the one part of the orientation that was helpful was Dennis setting up the Anderson hitch and going over the set up with us. If you get delivery to some site in Indiana or elsewhere, you'll have to hitch it up and drive it home without the benefit of the overview. Even if you get it delivered, you might want to go to ETI for the orientation or get a mini orientation if you go to ETI before purchase. You can also practice towing if you rent a UHaul for a weekend.
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:49 PM   #12
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Wink Not that there's anything wrong with a little asymmetry.

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Since it's not thermal it will be a bit colder up front if you camp in chilly areas. It looked odd to me, being off-center on a 21 because of the bathroom shell.
We'll probably procure an extra cover for the inside of the window if/when we camp in cold weather (to help with condensation)... and it's only asymmetrical from the outside. It was the inside look and feel that attracted us to it.
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:03 AM   #13
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....was the inside look and feel that attracted us to it.
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Old 08-15-2015, 03:05 AM   #14
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While camping in cold, wet weather we found that moisture from our breathing condensed on cold walls and behind the dinette cushions and the wall. I think the vinyl on one side of the cushions prevents the moisture from penetrating the foam.

The bed area is bright enough for us. We really like the shelf above our heads.

I was told that 6 volt deep cycle batteries supposedly have thicker plates than 12 volt deep cycles and can handle the deep discharges and recharges better. For boondocking with a generator this is how we operate. Oh and the amp hours are almost double with two 6 volts.

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Old 08-15-2015, 03:57 AM   #15
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#8 We picked up our 16` Scamp trailer in Backus Mn. Never towed a thing. Was going to cost $1800 or so. Thought we would make a vacay out of it and trek out there. Beautiful on the way out, late Sept. Picked up trailer, got the 30 minute lo-down, yeah yeah we went. 5 minutes down the road we went, said to my wife whatdy he say about the brakes,"I don`t know" Turns out they were set to high, figured that out when we had it in for state inspection weeks later. Sooo camped in two location going south, screeching every time we had to stop, got pretty good at avoiding stops. Then the weather changed, worst torrential rain storms I ever been in,heading E on 80. Was going to use our brand new Good Sam GPS with all the campgrounds location. It blanked out, we thought it must be the black low clouds. Could not venture to find anything. So we drove, i guess 24 hours straight through to PA. Turns out that you needed to just hit the re-set button on the GPS to bring it back, who woulda thought. Needless to say it was an adventure for a 70 year old guy and girl. Good luck, Carl
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Old 08-15-2015, 06:59 AM   #16
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nwcatowner, thanks for the excellent advice on the fabrics and such. I want it to look good - I know, I have issues....

I would love to know about your faucet and shower head choices, never even thought about those.
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Old 08-15-2015, 07:54 AM   #17
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Hello,

We live in Cincinnati Ohio now. Our 21' is due in late feb or march. I have researched these and seen several over the years. Depending on the timing, you can come see ours when it is delivered. I didn't tow anything either before I picked up at 17' Casita. Nervous but it all went okay. Perhaps when you get your rig, we can meet up and We can share insights. This is the fun process. Enjoy!
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Old 08-15-2015, 10:10 AM   #18
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Hello,

We live in Cincinnati Ohio now. Our 21' is due in late feb or march. I have researched these and seen several over the years. Depending on the timing, you can come see ours when it is delivered. I didn't tow anything either before I picked up at 17' Casita. Nervous but it all went okay. Perhaps when you get your rig, we can meet up and We can share insights. This is the fun process. Enjoy!

How wonderful - March will be here before you know it! We would love to meet up with you guys.

I'm sure Russ will be able to drive and tow. Just worried about getting the hitching and brake stuff setup correctly for the long ride home from Goshen. We know NOTHING about hitches and brake controllers!
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Old 08-15-2015, 10:39 AM   #19
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How wonderful - March will be here before you know it! We would love to meet up with you guys.

I'm sure Russ will be able to drive and tow. Just worried about getting the hitching and brake stuff setup correctly for the long ride home from Goshen. We know NOTHING about hitches and brake controllers!
Hi: llfalcon... I don't think anyone started out knowing every thing about trailer towing. Get used to "Life long learning". Some one here a few years back couldn't unhitch when they got home...so called Reace. He recommended a "Percussion adjustment" but the owner couldn't do it. Reace got a farm implement dealer near by to go have a look and make said adjustment with a sledge hammer. Worked like a charm. Alf
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Old 08-15-2015, 01:28 PM   #20
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I was told that 6 volt deep cycle batteries supposedly have thicker plates than 12 volt deep cycles and can handle the deep discharges and recharges better.
I'm not surprised you were told that, but it is not true. Comparing two batteries of the same series from the same manufacturer, the only difference between 6 volt and 12 volt batteries is how may cells the plates are grouped into (6V is three cells, 12V is six cells).

This belief comes from the tendency for people to compare inexpensive multi-purpose 12 volt batteries with heavy-duty deep-cycle 6 volt batteries. If they compared 6 volt and 12 volt heavy-duty deep-cycle 6 volt batteries, they would find no difference.

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Oh and the amp hours are almost double with two 6 volts.
The capacity (in amp-hours) is double because the size of the battery set is double. In lead-acid batteries of similar construction, weight of lead is capacity - whatever number of boxes you split it into, and whatever combination of individual battery voltages you make, to get twice the capacity at the same total voltage just takes twice the weight of lead.

Yes, the largest optional Escape battery set is about twice the weight of the standard battery, so it has twice the capacity, and it is split into two 6-volt units... a sensible choice if you want the capacity and can handle the weight.
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