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Old 03-14-2016, 12:37 AM   #441
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As a prospective buyer researching the solar option, just got through reading this whole thread. It was disheartening to read about the issues the owners of these trailer's who purchased the solar panels option have had.
About #221 looks like some owners started having some DIY success . Sure its nice the factory has tried to fix it, but you may be of the opinion the factory fix/kludge is almost as poor a solution as the original solar mount. The observation in # 256 was very interesting as it seemed to be the 1st one that observed something that Escape should probably have done from the beginning if the mounting method was actually engineered for a roof mount solar option. Decouple the roof mount method and mechanics from a specific solar panel and its dimensional mounting points. The solar panels will change over time and the dimensions and its mounting points will to. Engineer a universal roof mounting method with wind flaring matching the roof outline and adapt any specific solar panel mounting to the universal roof mounts. Similar to the concept behind a Thule or Yakima roof rack system..decouple the mechanics of the various options from the actual roof rack!
#247
" I am not impressed and the beloved wife does not like the idea of a "button tufted" vinyl interior roof on a overpriced, do-it yourself travel trailer. "
Starting to agree with that last observation .
IMHO all trailer manufacturer's should treat solar panel mounting as a potential safety issue and its importance of a well engineered solution. Hopefully some driver behind one of these trailers will not be injured when a solar panel comes loose and hits them... and the subsequent lawsuit puts a trailer manufacturer out of business. Even your trailer insurer may ask at some point ..do you have roof mounted solar panels?
Maybe a big warning label on the back of these solar panel trailers would be appropriate..."Warning Solar Panels on Roof ,Do Not Follow Closely"..similar to the gravel hauler trailers.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:15 AM   #442
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... something that Escape should probably have done from the beginning...
...
Decouple the roof mount method and mechanics from a specific solar panel and its dimensional mounting points. The solar panels will change over time and the dimensions and its mounting points will to. Engineer a universal roof mounting method with wind flaring matching the roof outline and adapt any specific solar panel mounting to the universal roof mounts.
...
INMO all trailer manufacturer's should treat solar panel mounting as a potential safety issue and its importance of a well engineered solution.
The re-configurable mounting system is an interesting idea, and it does make sense to me.

freespirit - From your current vendor research, do you have examples of the designs of this type with other RV manufacturers should have created (if it is what should have been done, and is expected of all manufacturers)... or even one example? I realize that you are shopping for a travel trailer, but the example doesn't need to be a trailer - there are solar panels on all types of RV.

I certainly haven't seen all manufacturers' solutions, or even any significant number of them, but I've never seen anything like this. I think the standard practice is to just screw brackets into the plywood roof that most RVs have. I still follow the FiberglassRV forum and look into newly introduced moulded fiberglass travel trailers, and I haven't noticed anything more advanced in any of the other brands.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:16 AM   #443
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Freespirit,

Did you happen to notice the frequency of this incident in terms of defects per number of trailers made? Additionally, I think the three I recall were only on 19 ft trailers.

I think ETI addressed the problem pretty quick. You may not like the solution, so don't buy one. Simple!
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Old 03-14-2016, 05:30 AM   #444
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The OP on this thread had a 5.0, were there really also 3 19's scattered somewhere int he last 45 pages? more then I thought.
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Old 03-14-2016, 06:59 AM   #445
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Either way, the problem is fixed and the issue does not exist in the new models. Adding after market items like solar panels puts a manufacturer in a sticky spot when the supplier changes. Windows, heaters, solar panels have all necessitated changes. It is called progress. Happens in the automobile world everyday, called recalls. Anyone want to buy a diesel Volkswagen?
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:10 AM   #446
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Memobug,
The fiberglass reinforcement cap is the extra layer of fiberglass that extends across the whole roof in the area where the air conditioner is or would be located. It is at least a quarter inch thick. There is a gap of an inch between this outer cap or shell and the inner ceiling. Plenty of space for the well nut to protrude into. Again, from the perspective of a 2010 trailer.

Perhaps someone with later model could confirm that construction is the same. My concern with bolting through to the ceiling is that tightening the nut would squeeze the ceiling and outer cap toward each other but not tightly together. Whereas the well nut fastens only to the thick outer shell.
I had a interesting situation with my 5.0 TA. I followed the instructions drilling the holes 1.5" (if I remember correctly) from the back and front edge of the panel. When I went inside to check the holes, the two front holes were visible inside the overhead side cabinets, the two back holes were not visible. There is a panel inside the side cabinets that separate the two side cabinets from the back cabinet creating a dead spot. The two back holes were inside that dead spot and were not accessible. I called ETI, they instructed me to remove the side panel and they would send me replacements. Fortunately, I was able to get the panels out without damaging them and reinstalled so ETI did not have to send replacements. I wondered if others had this same experience?
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:27 AM   #447
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"As a prospective buyer researching the solar option, just got through reading this whole thread. It was disheartening to read about the issues the owners of these trailer's who purchased the solar panels option have had. "


You should consider an Oliver Trailer. Following the "helpful suggestions" of several members "to sell our trailer and cut our losses if we are dissatisfied", we have been pursuing that path. We spent 2 weeks using my brothers Oliver Legacy EliteII travel trailer to gain some perspective. We also took a tour of the factory.
With the exception of the increased weight and cost, the Oliver was superior to the Escape 19 in every way ! Yes, the refer does work at temps above 85 degrees F. and would fit through the ETI trailer entrance door.
By supplying the parts to repair the solar panels mounting and the frame, ETI shifts the responsibility (culpability) to the owner. After the problems with the solar panels, frame, and wiring we are seeking a better way to spend our free time.
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:31 AM   #448
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It's just a personal opinion, but using the Escape forum to promote another brand and discourage the purchase of an Escape is just plain wrong.

Awaiting the claims that I'm an Escape cheerleader in five...four...three...two...one...
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:37 AM   #449
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Finally caught up with Reace today...our being in an area with sporadic phone access delayed us connecting. Reace looked at the photos we emailed to him and said that indeed some of the gel coat tore off. So, the epoxy did not fail...we just had really bad wind at just the right angle, etc.
He said we are the third case. He also said he had his fridge vent tear off in Texas...
Once we get back home we will contact him and he will ship us a new panel and some gel coat. Since we are so far away we will need to take care of getting it installed locally. Seems fair to us. The panel had been on for 2 years and it WAS a fierce windstorm and the epoxy did not fail....
As for reinstalling, Reace said that at least one of the other two cases ended up bolting through the shell when they reinstalled. We may go with epoxy plus bolting...we'll talk to a local shop and check it out.
Here's the mention of 3 cases
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:44 AM   #450
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Well, I love my 19-- wouldn't buy a different brand trailer but I would like to know what brand and model refrigerator is used in this new love interest Jubal's talking about.
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