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Old 03-10-2013, 06:22 PM   #1
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Fiberglass advantages and ease of towing

I hope these questions aren't too repetitious but I'd like to understand once and for all the advantages of fiberglass trailers as well as what makes the Escape so easy to tow. I'm wondering whether anyone has had a squared off trailer and then gotten an Escape of the same length and whether you've noticed differences in the ease of towing.

I'm asking now because last night we were with friends who are also looking for a 19' trailer, but they are concerned about feeling claustrophobic and they said they saw a 19' trailer at an RV that had a slideout window and they thought that was a great idea.

Theoretically I suppose a slideout might be great, but I thought that somehow the trailer wouldn't be as structurally sound and I also thought that a fiberglass trailer wouldn't be able to have a slideout, which leads to the topic of fiberglass vs. what i think people refer to as a stick trailer. I've read various things about the advantages of fiberglass, but couldn't really present any coherent facts to our friends and just for myself, I'd like to understand better what the advantages of fiberglass are. I've looked on this forum and the fiberglass forum before but haven't seen the thoughts all in one place.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:39 PM   #2
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Wouldn't you know, as soon as I pasted the above, I found a helpful thread on the fiberglass site. Fiberglass vs aluminum trailer - Fiberglass RV, but I'd still welcome opinions here -- especially about comparisons in towing and whether a slideout compromises a trailer.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:53 PM   #3
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Went to a family reunion last summer, camping in our Escape 17 B. A nephew arrived with his thirty-something feet trailer with the slide-outs. I spent the day eating and drinking and he spent the day waiting for a mechanic to repair the slide-outs so he could open them. The previous night they spent with three kids in the closed up trailer, climbing over furniture etc. to get to the bathroom.
Simplicity. Less stuff to go wrong. Fewer opportunities for water leaks and in general, better construction. A lot of the stick-builts are pressed cardboard and staples.
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:44 PM   #4
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A 19' is 7' wide. I am told that towing a trailer that is 8' wide is quite different. Not as stable according to some.

When I first saw a fiberglass egg, that's all I wanted. People have to see themselves in them. Of course, most people are used to seeing sticks and maybe even staying in them, so that heavily influences them.

Unless full-timers, or the weather is bad for days, most do not really live in their fiberglass trailers. They are out and about. Those with big stick trailers have to live in theirs because they paid for all of those amenities.

I don't suppose there is a personality that goes with fiberglass eggs but people choose according to where they are in life and where they are in camping lifestyle. If someone views an Escape and buys a stick, I figure their lifestyle is just not right for a fiberglass egg.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:46 PM   #5
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These are good reminders of what I want in a trailer, which is the least amount that will make us comfortable as well as the easiest maintenance. When we had our airstream I usually cooked outside and sometimes I wondered if I was being silly, but I enjoy cooking outside -- I don't mind how long it takes to peel garlic when I'm outdoors, particularly when there's a nice view. And that's interesting about the mechanical failure of the slideouts. I think the slideouts are meant for staying in one place.

I am still curious about people's experiences towing squared off trailers. My husband thinks that for us going from 31' to 19' will make a huge difference no matter what the trailer, but I'm not convinced that is true.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:52 PM   #6
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We had a 21 ft stick trailer that was only 7 feet wide but squared off on the front like most of them, it didn't tow as nicely as our 19ft by a fair margin .
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:37 AM   #7
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Dave, my husband Terry (the scientist) would like to know if you towed both trailers with the same tow vehicle.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:26 AM   #8
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I sold a 3 month old 2012 stick trailer with a slide out to purchase my 2012 Escape. The reason was the slide out motor failed, after 90 days. There was no back up, which to me was/is a design flaw. Not all slide outs have mechanical backup systems. You are dead in the water with a dead slide out.
Towing the stick built decreased my mileage more than the rounded Escape and you noticed crosswinds more.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:02 AM   #9
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Jim that is really helpful. From reading the posts for the past few months I had gotten a general sense of why the Escape is worth the extra money (not to mention the trip to Canada to pick it up) but as we get close to actually buying it it helps to be able to zero in on the specific advantages.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:21 AM   #10
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Although not the same truck they are similar, the 21 ft we had a 1998 chevrolet tahoe and now we have a 2003 gmc yukon
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:20 PM   #11
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Thanks Dave. Was there a difference with backing up as well as towing?
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:28 PM   #12
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I wouldn't say there was much of a difference in backing up, It just seems to be much smoother while going down the highway, Also just realized that I was using a wdh with the 21 ft and Tahoe set up and I have not used a wdh with the escape/ yukon yet and it still is better. The overall loaded weights between the two trailers is pretty similar too. I can't help but think its the overall package with the Escape 19 Ft, rounded smooth corners, better balance of the trailer, A bit lower stance , I suspect they just all add up to be a better towing trailer.
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:41 PM   #13
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I was surprised how well my 17B tows with a RAV4. While the gearing is not designed for towing & on 7%-8% passes and I'm down to 40MPH in 2nd gear, it is very stable. I expected some sway from side winds & passing trucks with that light a tow vehicle, but have not had any signs of it. It might be the WDH, but I also feel the short distance between the rear tires & the hitch has much to do with it.

I do take quite a hit on mileage - unhooked I get 25MPG highway; pulling the trailer 15MPG.
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:14 PM   #14
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Ruthe,
One major item here to consider is "customization". Reace and Tammy will build the Escape basically the way you want it. When shopping for a $50,000 airstream I asked if the air conditioning brand could be changed and a window added? You would have thought I wanted 50% off, no way, Jose was the response, you take it the way it is built, no changes, no alterations.
Escape on the other hand will add or delete windows, electrical outlets, make beds into dinettes and dinettes into beds, smaller or bigger refrigerators, smaller air conditioners, reverse sink and stove, delete range hoods, add extra lights. Any color choice you can find. When completed, your trailer is just the way you would have made it yourself. This option is priceless!!
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:18 PM   #15
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Jon,

You've covered a lot more miles than I, but I'm concerned about a couple things you said. According to the manual, you're supposed to tow in 4 and NOT to tow uphill for any length of time in a lower gear. I did once on an 8-11 % grade and my transmission warning light came on. I was however doing about 90 KPH ( 56 MPH ).
And generally, towing in 4 I go up that grade at 80 KPH ( 50 MPH ), so I'm surprised you would be down to 40 or need second gear.
As for MPG, I too take a hit with the trailer.
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:24 PM   #16
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I do tow in 4th, but on a hill the transmission downshifts on its own. On long, steep grades it has gone down as low as 2nd. In second, I have always found it to build speed no matter what the grade, then shifting to 3rd, bogging down till it shifts down to 2nd, etc. If the hill is steep enough for this to happen, I manually shift to 2nd and ease off on the gas. So far my transmission overheat lamp has never come on. I do wish there was a program setting for the scanguage for the RAV4's transmission temperature, but all the ones I've tried don't work.
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:54 PM   #17
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Got ya. I must say I didn't quibble when service called for changing out the transmission fluid. Apparently no alarms were raised when they did that.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:17 PM   #18
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with out getting too invloved with automatic transmissions here is a decent rule of thumb, It will create less heat in the transmission to use a lower gear ratio and raise the engine rpm and just acept a bit slower speed than " bogging " in a higher gear. using the higher gear will slip the torque converter and cause excessive heat. This is probably even more true with the type of engines that you two have which are higher reving engines with a fairly high tourque curve. It seems hard to convince people that reving the engine a " bit " higher in a lower gear is actually better.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:25 PM   #19
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Does the Fav4 have a transmission cooler?
That is part of the tow package on some TVs.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:02 PM   #20
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Depends on whether you order it with the tow package. With, you get an oversized radiator which includes the transmission cooler. Makes a difference in the V6 tow rating - 2000 lbs without, 3500 lbs with.
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