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Old 06-09-2013, 09:36 PM   #1
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First trip out, first thoughts

We had our first outing in our brand new 19' this weekend.

No question it went well. A few puzzles, but in general we were pleased with everything.

Follows are random stream of consciousness thoughts, rambles and observations...

We're towing with a 6 cylinder Nissan Frontier. Our previous experience was pulling a tent trailer with a 4 cylinder Toyota RAV 4. There's no doubt that the Escape 19 is a heavier trailer. Even with the bigger tow vehicle, it's obvious there's a trailer back there. Even with trailer brakes, it takes an effort to stop. Having said that, it wasn't a surprise...

I did find the trailer bounced a little more than I experienced with my tent trailer. I suspect the tongue weight was a little low. I don't have any way to estimate it (with the tent trailer, I simply picked it up and guessed). Considering a sherline, but I'll wait a bit.

Once at site, setup was easy. I had thought about the process and had a full procedure worked up. No worries there. I did find it was rather fussy to get the awning extended without slack when I took the foot out from the trailer (we had a narrow spot, and leaving the foot attached to the trailer made it awkward to walk passed the trailer).

Inside, working in such a small space will take some getting used to... Definitely a different style that what we're used to. It's going to take a while to figure out how to store and use everything efficiently.

The solar worked pretty well, despite it being overcast and parking under a tree for the weekend. For our camping, I expect the single 12V battery is the correct choice.

We're not sure how to deal with the fridge when we're actually on the road. I know some people leave the propane turned on while driving. I don't really know if that's a good idea or not -- I lack experience. We found that running the fridge on 12V while we drove did cause a large drain on the battery.
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:25 PM   #2
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Hi Doug

Glad to hear your first trip went well.
We travel with the fridge on propane all the time and have never
had any problems on any of our RVs.

Cheers
Doug
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:29 PM   #3
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Regarding the fridge...we've done two 7-8 hour drives with the fridge turned completely off. (We have the 6.7 cu ft) As long as the fridge is very cold to begin with (we turn it on while plugged in at home) and everything in it is cold, it stays very cold...even the meat in the freezer was still frozen. And the less you open it during stops the the better, of course!

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Old 06-09-2013, 10:54 PM   #4
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I just came back from a 1400 mile trip to Nebraska with the fridge on propane all the way. I purchased one of these and keep one in freezer and one in refer, set on #2 I'm at #1 degree for freezer and #38 for refer. It also has an alarm if it drops below a preset as well as high and low.
That way when you stop you can see if the refer stopped working while on propane.
Amazon.com: ACU_RITE Refrigerator/Freezer Wireless Digital Thermometer 00986: Kitchen & Dining
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:57 PM   #5
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Tongue weight is very critical for sway, although with dual axles less prevalent than single axle.
It is better to be heavy than light on the tongue. Also be sure and calibrate your electric brakes, mine is set around 25, if too low then the trailer will push you.
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Old 06-09-2013, 11:30 PM   #6
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Don't know what you mean, Jim, by "mine is set around 25". Are you talking the brake controller? I have a Prodigy and it doesn't even go to 25. I'm running about 6.3 and Reace actually advised more like 4.5.
As for running the fridge on 12V while underway, again Reace advised that if you do, there is only enough power from the tow vehicle to power the fridge and little if anything to charge your battery. So, you arrive at the next camp with low batteries ( assuming you'd drained them some at the previous camp ), but a cold fridge.
I don't run with the propane on. I don't have to. I had the fridge turned on and powered by 120 VAC for a couple days prior to leaving North Van. Everything that went into the fridge was already cold. Left home at 9:45 am. Fridge was at 39 degrees F. Arrived at camp at 3:30 pm and the temp had risen to 43 degrees F after five hours on the road. Salmon in the freezer was still frozen solid. Temps outside during the trip were 75 to 80 F.
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:58 AM   #7
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Nice it went well for you, Doug,

Lisa and Glenn, I can beat your cold fridge stories. We put an unfrozen ice pack in the freezer at 10 a.m. and went on the road with 93 degree F. heat. Arrived at 5 p.m. and the ice pack had frozen. Obviously, no one needs to run the propane while travelling.

While we were on our trip, we met a man who said he had had a certain RV he liked until it burned up. I asked him how. Propane refrigerator fire. The fridge had stopped working and he put it on propane and tried to determine the cause but couldn't. Took it to his RV shop and they put it on propane. It caught fire and burned to the ground. Burned a trailer next to him to the ground also and blistered the paint on a 1952 car that was being restored.

The cause was said to be dust in the coils. He said that he always took the RV to the shop in spring and they would go through a big list of items --- brakes, bearings and all that --- but never the coils. I have read that the coils need to be cleaned once in a while for that very reason. We will be checking that shortly.

Doug, you might want to try using the manual brake when first starting out just to check that it works and it is handy. I have had to hit the brakes hard suddenly and feel that we were lucky we did not jackknife but I let up on them rather quickly. Things appear on the road over the next hill sometimes and you might be able to use the manual. Or not.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:58 AM   #8
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r.e. fridge: we need to experiment more with how cold things keep in a turned-off fridge. The wife is worried about food poisoning, but she's also worried about propane problems. 12V seems like the way to go *if* it doesn't present any additional problems, but we'll see.

I use a prodigy brake controller. The driver who delivered my trailer helped me set it up, and we ended on a setting of 1.8. I adjusted it up a little bit on this trip, to 2.1. I'll keep playing.

I wouldn't describe the bouncing as sway. It's more up-down than side-side. It feels the same as the old tent trailer did when it was too light in the front. It's hard to get extra weight in the front of a 19 -- the storage box doesn't hold much, the dinette benches are awkward, and if I travel with a full fresh water tank that's a lot of weight at the back. Well, more playing...

It's a rough life when all your problems are fun to resolve...
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:37 AM   #9
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sorry for the confusion, different brake controller
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:05 PM   #10
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Thanks for the towing report. I have the same tow vehicle (your post on the Nissan sale helped). The 19 footer is on our short list. Were there any hills on your recent trip? Enough power?
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:46 PM   #11
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Doug-

I know what you you mean by the "up-and-down" bouncing with a 19-- I think of it as "hobby horsing or "teeter-tottering"", and believe it's inherent with dual axles, especially when going over a bump in the road (picture what the trailer is doing in slo-mo as each axle goes over the bump, and especially how the teeter-totter is magnified at either end of the trailer -- that motion is telegraphed through the hitch to the TV). I took a 3-pronged approach to taming it: WDH hitch, air bag helper springs, and I just got the front cargo box and had my batteries placed there. Much less motion. If I had it to do over, though, I'd probably go with Roadmaster helpers instead of air bags. Hope this helps.

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Old 06-10-2013, 01:13 PM   #12
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Bruce, how come you would prefer the road master set up rather than the air bags?
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Old 06-10-2013, 01:56 PM   #13
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I've towed my 17B with and without the WDH on the RAV4. The WDH takes a lot of bounce out of the ride.
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:38 PM   #14
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Dave - The Roadmaster set-up is pretty much plug-n-play, the air bags have to be inflated/deflated, depending on whether or not I'm towing. I'm basically lazy.

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Old 06-10-2013, 06:10 PM   #15
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This trip didn't have any major hills, but it did have a number of minor ones. No worries about power towing the 19 with a Frontier.

Bruce: I understand what you're saying about tandem axles. It hadn't occurred to me that the tandem axle would feel different than a single axle, but it makes sense.

btw, related to an earlier thread I started regarding the tandem axle... Parked on a fair slope, I dropped the hitch jack as far as I could to level the trailer. While in this position, I torqued the lug nuts on the trailer wheels, and found that applying 100 ft lbs on the rear wheels was enough to cause the wheels to spin a bit -- by lowering the tongue jack all the way, almost all of the trailer's weight was transferred to the front wheels. Arguably, that's too much. So just because you can level the trailer with the jack doesn't mean you should. When I parked again after this trip, I put some additional blocks under the rear wheels so I didn't need to lower the jack so far.
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