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Old 11-24-2014, 05:02 PM   #1
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17A choices and why

We have been studying all the info on this forum for months, talking with 5.0 owners Brian & Jennette, and 19 owner Pat, and working on our 'givens and druthers' list. Then, on Nov. 12, 2014 we visited ETI, looked through the demo trailers, did the factory tour at lunchtime, then sat down with Crystal. Here is what we came up with. Hope you can use the info. If there is something we missed or messed up on, please let us know.
The 17A choices and why:
--17: We wanted sleeping space for four grown people. It must fit in the driveway: we didn’t want it stored in a rental yard. The 19 would just fit if I were to trim the house roof fascia flush with the front wall, but that is not an option. 17 is also the largest model with the A option (see next item). Tow can be with a 3500 LB. tug rating (1900 lb. dry + 1000 lb. stuff).
--A or B: We have discussed this at length. Our use is camping, as opposed to “living” in the trailer. We made the transition from ground camping to tent camping to tent trailer camping. So, the porta-potty is entirely sufficient. We won’t have grey and black tanks to contend with and maintain, nor the need to transport the trailer to the dump station for emptying. We can just carry (or transport with the tow vehicle only) the porta-potty base tank to a dump station or toilet, including at home. Grey water is a 5 gal. Bucket with lid, just like the tent trailer. It is also an easy disposal. We can also use a 4’x4’ “shower” tent for nighttime porta-potty use right outside the trailer door, as necessary and desired and as weather permits.
Showers are available at many public and private campgrounds, KOA, public pools, even YMCA’s. The showers in 17’s and 19’s are small, with no elbow raising space, and the water supply is limited. We have used our trusty white porcelain wash basin, for decades, for our day-to-day needs, and it is quite sufficient.
We have the permanent front bed, and when there are only the two of us, we can leave the dinette set up.
--Options:
-3 Burner stove – NO – if we are doing that much cooking, we will be outside. We did request rotating the stove 90° for more counter space.
-Stainless steel stove, stove cover, hood – YES – Durability and appearance.
-Stainless steel sink and chrome faucet – YES – Durability and appearance.
-Larger frig. – NO – questions about efficacy of cooling remain; the ice chest works well.
-Added interior 12V outlets – NO – I can add later as needed.
-Added exterior access hatch – YES – Driver side front: for access under the permanent bed.
-Added LED brake lights – YES – For safety, because we will have the bike rack option.
-Added window – NO – The 17 has sufficient light and ventilation. When we are spending non-sleep time in the trailer, we will be at the dinette.
-MaxxFan options – NO – These can be easily added if a need is determined later.
-A/C – YES – we live in So.Cal. and have been known to camp where it is over 90-100°, and even white trailers absorb solar energy and get much hotter that the surroundings.
-Aluminum rims – YES – Looks and maintenance.
-Bike rack ready – YES – We have bikes (duh!)
-Brake controller – NO – We have one.
-Larger battery(ies) – NO – Can add later as the need arises.
-Dual propane – YES – more cost effective (and safer) to have the ETI install, rather than leave as an option if we need it later. And, we get the nice cover.
-Equalizer hitch – YES – Safety and weight management. Our target tow vehicle will probably be 2WD. We also want the additional tow stability to assist our aging driving skills.
-Added exterior 12V outlets or 120V outlets – NO – I can add later as needed.
-Exterior propane quick connect – NO – We have a high pressure camp stove w/built-in regulator, that we will connect separately, either to one of the tanks directly, or through a TEE/valve at the dual tank assembly.
-High lift axle – NO – Not required
-2-way hot water tank – YES – Uses available shore power source to save propane use.
-Exterior shower – NO – Cost greatly outweighs desirability.
-Hitch wheel – YES – Wife says I am to save my back at all costs, so she does not out-live me.
-Inverter – NO – We have an existing 300W portable inverter that is sufficient for our electronic devices. We make coffee with a French press or a percolator. If we have a need later we can acquire a larger one.
-LED light packages – NO – We will add our own LED lamps, and LED tape. The fixture size is the same for LED or incand.
-LED captains reading lamps – YES – Nice feature, that is cost-effective to have ETI install.
-Microwave – YES – The Dometic model is designed for RV use, so there are no warranty questions regarding its location/use. Cost is comparable to other small comsumer M/W’s.
-Portable toilet and cabinet – NO** - We have a porta-potty, so we are getting the cabinet w/door only at some reduced amount.
-Propane tanks filled – YES – Convenience: ETI’s fill charge is similar to other locations.
-Removable power cord – NO – This is not cost-effective: the amount of 3 conductor cord with cord cap is the same with the featured or option cords. The only difference is the trailer terminal and the cord termination, so the cost seems way out-of-bounds. If we end up needing the separate cord, I will install the fittings.
-Shelves – NO – We will install what we need at the locations and heights we determine to be most advantageous (mostly on adjustable height track).
-Storage box – YES – Keeps all the wet, yucky, and oily/greasy things out of the trailer. It is a very effective rock guard.
-Screen room – NO – I hate bugs. I refuse to be in a bug prison.
-Surge protector – YES – It is excellent protection from the vagaries of shore power. ETI’s charge is the same as mfr’s list price.
-TV and stereo prewires/etc. – NO – we use our laptop and/or phone connections.
TV/Movies: We use the laptop/phone hotspot.
Weather: I have a Uniden radio scanner that I use to get weather service information.
Music: we have an excellent 120v/12v radio. Its speaker is sufficient (because I’m not going to drag E/Q equipment out to a little F/G trailer with wood surfaces throughout, analyze it and expect studio quality.)
-Solar – NO – We will use portable panel(s) w/PWM charge controller, with connection through the trailer tow plug (pins 4 and 1)
-Thermal windows and extra insulation – YES – Necessary for hot or cold weather.
-Spray foam under trailer – YES – same as above
-Heat pads – NO – If it’s that cold, we’re rolling away. We only have the fresh water tank.
-Starter kit – NO – we have that stuff.
-Custom Formica – YES – Wife factor: she’s the artist, I’m only the engineer.
-Custom fabric – NO – maybe later. Decision per LT (lovely, talented) wife

Other items:
-Separate switch at door for interior O/H light.
-Prewire O/H cabinets for 12V DC.
-Extra cabinet doors: one for the porta-potty location, and another next to it for access under the bed. Whether I install or ETI installs at an economical price will be negotiated.
-Possible pre-wire from porch light to right under awning, for owner-added LED tape under awning (we have rolls of LED tape just waiting for such an application!).
The plan is to control the porch light only from the interior switch by the door, and use the rocker switch on the porch light assembly to sub-control the LED tape. The interior switch is then the master switch.
-We get the scraps from all counter and cabinet cuttings, for doing matching little accoutrements.

Don and Teresa
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Old 11-24-2014, 05:51 PM   #2
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How will you empty the sink into a 5 gallon bucket? Is not having a grey tank a cost saving measure? or are you not having a sink installed? A Maxfan can be added later but I wouldn't call it an easy to do project.
IMHO
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Old 11-24-2014, 06:04 PM   #3
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Awesome information! Getting my 17B in October. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11-24-2014, 06:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Mac View Post
How will you empty the sink into a 5 gallon bucket? Is not having a grey tank a cost saving measure? or are you not having a sink installed? A Maxfan can be added later but I wouldn't call it an easy to do project.
IMHO
The MaxxFan is a std. feature. Options include remote control and alternative vent covers on the roof.

The sink is installed. There is an exterior outlet for the sink drain, to, of course, an "approved receptacle", such as my handy-dandy 5 gal. bucket. We tend to use a Rubbermaid tub, in a sink, for significant water uses like washing dishes, so disposal of the grey water is as-is-typical for campers in general, anyway.
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Old 11-24-2014, 06:12 PM   #5
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Awesome information! Getting my 17B in October. Thanks for sharing!
You're most welcome. I see your 17 differs in that you are getting the poutine-removal shower option. (B rather than A)!
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Old 11-24-2014, 06:14 PM   #6
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Given your requirements, it looks like a good list. Ultimately, it is your decision, but getting opinions never hurts. Sounds like you got some good help already.

I think there is a huge merit to the 'A' plans, both with added space and better layouts, and lower costs, as long as you can do without a toilet.

My thoughts based on the way I camp:
LED Lights - I would do this. My cost for exchanging with a good quality bulb was just as costly. It was not an option when I bought though.
Microwave - You need to be in a campground, or at least somewhere with 120V to use. I have never had one, and never missed it for a moment. Others do like theirs though.
Removable Power Cord - I converted mine, and love it. Way better than the 'stuff it in' type for my usage.
MaaxFan - Again, should you be away from 120V at any time, you would be very thankful for this.

With regards to the porch light. Why not do it as a 3-way light, where you could switch it inside or at the light to turn it off, or on. What would the purpose of the strip lights under the awning be, when you already are getting a porch light? I ask, as we rarely have had need for even the porch light, other than to grab a beer out of the cooler in the dark.
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Old 11-24-2014, 06:16 PM   #7
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Well, yeah, I wanted to be part of the in-crowd! Next step is to actually taste poutine!

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Originally Posted by dfandrews View Post
You're most welcome. I see your 17 differs in that you are getting the poutine-removal shower option. (B rather than A)!
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Old 11-24-2014, 06:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
LED Lights - I would do this. My cost for exchanging with a good quality bulb was just as costly. It was not an option when I bought though.
Microwave - You need to be in a campground, or at least somewhere with 120V to use. I have never had one, and never missed it for a moment. Others do like theirs though.
Removable Power Cord - I converted mine, and love it. Way better than the 'stuff it in' type for my usage.
MaaxFan - Again, should you be away from 120V at any time, you would be very thankful for this.

With regards to the porch light. Why not do it as a 3-way light, where you could switch it inside or at the light to turn it off, or on. What would the purpose of the strip lights under the awning be, when you already are getting a porch light? I ask, as we rarely have had need for even the porch light, other than to grab a beer out of the cooler in the dark.
Jim,
LEDs: When I costed it out in August, the ETI fixtures were a better deal, but now, LED replacement lamps are the cost-wise choice. One of the questions we asked Crystal at ETI was "do the fixtures have a different profile, or look different"? Answer: No.

We have learned to cook extensively in a M/W, so: for when we are plugged in, we have it.

I would love to have the removable power cord, but not at a $130 premium.

MaxxFan is a Standard feature; the remote, higher capacity, and/or roof vent options are not.

awning LED's: We camp with others, and play lots of games in the evenings, so they're in lieu of coleman type lanterns. Besides, having put LED's in our kitchen remodel, and planning to put them in crown molding in our hallway at home, and everywhere else I can think of, we just have to have them under the awning.

I like that 3-way switch idea. Thanks much. I presume 3-ways that match the ETI std. switches are available.
I intend to modify the std. porch light with a deflector, so it casts light down and not out. I've been the camper next to the glaring porch light, before.
Thanks for the questions and comments.
Don
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Old 11-24-2014, 07:37 PM   #9
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Stick with your guns on the "A" model. You will get a lot of advice regarding re-sale and other factors that may or may not even apply to you. I am extremely happy with my 15A and love not having all the issues with winterizing and taking care of black- and gray-water tanks. You have put a lot of thought into every decision and, given your camping lifestyle, these are sound decisions. Congratulations!
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Old 11-24-2014, 07:55 PM   #10
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I admire the thoroughness and logic of this list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfandrews View Post
-Bike rack ready – YES – We have bikes (duh!)
Sure, but do you really want the bikes on the trailer? It is a small modification that is better done at the factory than later; on the other hand, some people find they're better on the tug roof, for better trailer stability, for smoother ride for the bikes, and so the bikes go with them when they leave the campsite to get to trailhead.

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Originally Posted by dfandrews View Post
-Equalizer hitch – YES – Safety and weight management. Our target tow vehicle will probably be 2WD. We also want the additional tow stability to assist our aging driving skills.
Not questioning this choice, but just curious for context: what is your current thinking on what the tow vehicle will be? In an earlier discussion you mentioned a Highlander, but not many people buy those in 2WD...

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Originally Posted by dfandrews View Post
-Microwave – YES – The Dometic model is designed for RV use, so there are no warranty questions regarding its location/use. Cost is comparable to other small comsumer M/W’s.
We have a "Dometic" branded microwave oven in our motorhome. It died and was replaced under warranty, so I do get the logic, but I don't think it's any different from home appliances, other than the availability of the mounting bezel (which is significant). Ours was made by LG, and everything visible - other than the bezel - is normal cheap household stuff. At the price I agree with the choice... just don't expect "ruggedized".

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Originally Posted by dfandrews View Post
-Removable power cord – NO – This is not cost-effective: the amount of 3 conductor cord with cord cap is the same with the featured or option cords. The only difference is the trailer terminal and the cord termination, so the cost seems way out-of-bounds. If we end up needing the separate cord, I will install the fittings.
At $130 it looks expensive, but if you change your mind later and buy the connector parts and do the installation I think the ETI price will start to look very reasonable. You can do it yourself later, so if unsure of the value I agree that it makes sense to leave it out... I'm just saying if you haven't seen the parts prices you might not appreciate the value.
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