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Old 08-30-2015, 01:54 AM   #1
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Upgrading casita 17' to Escape 21' - some questions.

Upgrading casita 17' to Escape
21' - some questions.

Hi all

New member here

We bought a Casita 17' new in 2011.

We are a married couple with a child and we enjoy family vacations. 10 day vacations with some boondocking.

The 17' casita is workable but somewhat cramped.

Our tow vehicle is an ACURA MDX with Kurt WDH and a sway bar. Rock solid. The towing capacity is 5,000 lbs and we want to stay with that tug.

The Escape 21' looks as if it would add some nice features for us:

Bigger second bed

Ability to rig up a simple curtain so awake people can not disturb asleep people.

More space to move around.

I have read a bunch of threads here, and have looked at Escape's website. :-)

Questions:

1) Does an Escape have more storage space than a 17' casita? (No captain chairs in ours)

2) Does the shower in the Escape 21 use a hand operated open / close (as the my casita does) or does it use the one way Hepvo valve?

3) On the website for Heritage 21 the photos show the HVAC roof unit in place.
However that is an extra $1,000 I think.
Does the listed height of the heritage 21 (8' 7") INCLUDE the roof HVAC?

4) If not - What is total height including roof hvac?

5) I replaced my Casita's stock Parallax 7345 with a PROGRESSIVE DYNAMICS 4645 Converter, so I could use a sealed Lifeline GPL-27T AGM. (It has been awesome)

What converter does the Escape 21 come with?

6) I know what an equalizer hitch is, but do I want to spend the $650 (!) to get an Anderson Hitch?

7) where does the Additional Exterior Hatch (Rear Driver Side) ($150) lead to, and do I want this?

8) is there a good space for a loose microwave? I am hesitant to use up the cabinet space for a permanent microwave that is useless when we are boondocking.

9) how good is the ground clearance? On our casita I ordered it with the high lift axle and it is great on rough roads.

10) the $700 front exterior storage box looks nice ,but $700 = ouch. Do many people get it?

11) what do people do for carrying bikes? Any smart way to carry 3 bicycles? (No, not a roof bike track on tug. Too high)

I see it says "
Bike Rack Ready (2″ Receiver)" but I thought that a bike rack should never be mounted on the back of a trailer as the bouncing / pendulum force was way too strong. (?)

12) foot flush toilet is $60 option. How does the stock toilet flush?

13) I bought a Trailer Valet for my casita but never got around to having an attachment mount welded onto the casita.

I would get a WDH for the escape 21 for sure.

Any chance a mount for my trailer valet could be built on during construction?

We have a narrow side of the house driveway and a trailer valet would let mr steer and back the Escape 21 into place all by myself.

https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Jack/Trailer-Valet/STC-V211.html

14) pardon my ignorance, but what are The advantages and disadvantages of dual axle? I know this is a point of debate. ;-)

15) how does the grey tank "holding tank monitor panel" work?

16) I always suck at backing up. I read that a wireless backup camera could be installed during the build. Any specific make and model that is good?

17) any Escape 21 owners in or near Los Angeles? :-)

We would like to take a look.

Thanks!! :-)
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Old 08-30-2015, 07:31 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. I'll leave the answers to your questions to a 21 owner but I noticed the MDX comes with

"3500 lbs. with 350-lb tongue weight*

*Towing capacity can be increased to 5000 lbs on MDX SH-AWD with dealer-installed accessory"

Does the tongue capacity go up with the "dealer-installed accessory"? 350 lbs is under the 21's dry weight.
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Old 08-30-2015, 07:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
Upgrading casita 17' to Escape
21' - some questions.

Hi all

New member here

We bought a Casita 17' new in 2011.

We are a married couple with a child and we enjoy family vacations. 10 day vacations with some boondocking.

The 17' casita is workable but somewhat cramped.

Our tow vehicle is an ACURA MDX with Kurt WDH and a sway bar. Rock solid. The towing capacity is 5,000 lbs and we want to stay with that tug.

The Escape 21' looks as if it would add some nice features for us:

Bigger second bed

Ability to rig up a simple curtain so awake people can not disturb asleep people.

More space to move around. Big plus. Two people can stand up at once.

I have read a bunch of threads here, and have looked at Escape's website. :-)

Questions:

1) Does an Escape have more storage space than a 17' casita? (No captain chairs in ours)

I would say twice as much.

2) Does the shower in the Escape 21 use a hand operated open / close (as the my casita does) or does it use the one way Hepvo valve?

You twist closed/open the strainer in the bathroom floor

3) On the website for Heritage 21 the photos show the HVAC roof unit in place.
However that is an extra $1,000 I think.
Does the listed height of the heritage 21 (8' 7") INCLUDE the roof HVAC?

4) If not - What is total height including roof hvac?

5) I replaced my Casita's stock Parallax 7345 with a PROGRESSIVE DYNAMICS 4645 Converter, so I could use a sealed Lifeline GPL-27T AGM. (It has been awesome)

What converter does the Escape 21 come with?

6) I know what an equalizer hitch is, but do I want to spend the $650 (!) to get an Anderson Hitch?I believe ETI is going to stop offering Anderson. You can bring a hitch of your choice and ETI will install it.

7) where does the Additional Exterior Hatch (Rear Driver Side) ($150) lead to, and do I want this?

8) is there a good space for a loose microwave? I am hesitant to use up the cabinet space for a permanent microwave that is useless when we are boondocking. We used the one from our Casita. We pushed it all the way back and secured it with a cleat This leaves a space in front about the depth of a toaster. Cabinet has a swing up door.

9) how good is the ground clearance? On our casita I ordered it with the high lift axle and it is great on rough roads.

10) the $700 front exterior storage box looks nice ,but $700 = ouch. Do many people get it? A must have.

11) what do people do for carrying bikes? Any smart way to carry 3 bicycles? (No, not a roof bike track on tug. Too high)1Up works great on the back. But they only recommend using the two bike on the back of an RV. The 1Up is so well constructed I would take a chance on a 3 place but keep an eye on tongue weight.

I see it says "
Bike Rack Ready (2″ Receiver)" but I thought that a bike rack should never be mounted on the back of a trailer as the bouncing / pendulum force was way too strong. (?)

12) foot flush toilet is $60 option. How does the stock toilet flush?Hand lever on the right.

13) I bought a Trailer Valet for my casita but never got around to having an attachment mount welded onto the casita.

I would get a WDH for the escape 21 for sure.

Any chance a mount for my trailer valet could be built on during construction?I think the mount for the Trailer Valet will get in the way of the WDH. Might be possible with some sort of fabbed up weldment/outrigger.

We have a narrow side of the house driveway and a trailer valet would let mr steer and back the Escape 21 into place all by myself.

https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Jac.../STC-V211.html

14) pardon my ignorance, but what are The advantages and disadvantages of dual axle? I know this is a point of debate. ;-)

15) how does the grey tank "holding tank monitor panel" work?

16) I always suck at backing up. I read that a wireless backup camera could be installed during the build. Any specific make and model that is good?

17) any Escape 21 owners in or near Los Angeles? :-)

We would like to take a look.

Thanks!! :-)
We had a SD. Just a bit cramped. Five minutes in a 21' and I was sold. Comments on the ones I know are attached.
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Old 08-30-2015, 09:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
Welcome to the forum. I'll leave the answers to your questions to a 21 owner but I noticed the MDX comes with

"3500 lbs. with 350-lb tongue weight*

*Towing capacity can be increased to 5000 lbs on MDX SH-AWD with dealer-installed accessory"

Does the tongue capacity go up with the "dealer-installed accessory"? 350 lbs is under the 21's dry weight.
Hey padlin

Yeah our tongue weight is 500 lbs.

Factory tow package

:-)
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Old 08-30-2015, 09:17 AM   #5
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Thanks skiman for the great info

We are just finishing up a 10 day trip in our 17' casita .... and I suggested the upgrade to my wife. She was remarkably receptive.

She does not like being cramped.

;-)
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Old 08-30-2015, 11:12 AM   #6
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Questions:

1) Does an Escape have more storage space than a 17' casita? (No captain chairs in ours) I had a 17LD Casita. 21 has 4x the space with all the upper, lower, and under-bed USABLE space, not nooks & crannies like a Casita. Upper cabinets are over 11 inches deep with a 6 inch door opening.

7) where does the Additional Exterior Hatch (Rear Driver Side) ($150) lead to, and do I want this? Storage under driver side dinette bench. Simple to get to from inside by lift-up seat.

10) the $700 front exterior storage box looks nice ,but $700 = ouch. Do many people get it? MANY do. Holds all the loose wet stuff, setup gear, levelers, and protects the nose of the trailer from rock damage.

11)Bike Rack Ready (2″ Receiver)" but I thought that a bike rack should never be mounted on the back of a trailer as the bouncing / pendulum force was way too strong. (?) Depends on your rack. I use a Swagman.

14) pardon my ignorance, but what are The advantages and disadvantages of dual axle? Dual axle runs lower tire pressures, rides is much more stable/smooth compared to Casita. 21 is also much easier to back up than the Casita.

16) I always suck at backing up. I read that a wireless backup camera could be installed during the build. Any specific make and model that is good? Escape is installing a Tadi Brothers system now, not sure which one. Mine is over the center light above the window.

17) any Escape 21 owners in or near Los Angeles? Check the owners map tab above.


Our 21 loaded for travel weighed 4200 lbs, 415 at the tongue. Towing with a 4x4 Taco rated at 6300 lbs.
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Old 08-30-2015, 03:37 PM   #7
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Hi John and welcome to the forum. All I can tell you is that we visited the Casita factory in Rice and were pretty sure that was it. I ordered the new tug to pull the Casita but beefed everything up on it for towing. Then we found Escape online and went to Chilliwack with the 19 in mind. One look and that was it. We leave in one week to get the new 21. Good luck with all of your upcoming research and have fun. Loren
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Old 08-30-2015, 03:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
14) pardon my ignorance, but what are The advantages and disadvantages of dual axle? I know this is a point of debate. ;-)
In my opinion the only clear advantage of tandem (two) axles is that the two sets of tires which don't steer resist any change in the trailer's direction, so the trailer is more stable (less prone to sway).
Tandem axles can also reduce pitching nose up-and-down somewhat, since the trailer doesn't freely pivot in that direction like a single-axle trailer does.

Two axles means four tires, which means less load per tire. As most Casita 17-foot owners know, getting enough capacity for a trailer this size in two tires of a common small trailer tire (14" or 15" wheel) size is tough, so the easy way out is dual axles. Four of the stock ST205/75R15 tires on an Escape have significantly more capacity than needed (4 x 1820 lb @ 50psi), so they are not run at their load limit, and can be run at less than maximum pressure for better ride and traction... but many people believe the common advice to always run trailer tires at their maximum pressure so they just have over-inflated tires.

Realistically, the real reason for tandem axles is that buyers expect two axles at this size.

The disadvantages include:
  • higher total cost (reflected in trailer price)
  • higher total weight
  • more parts to maintain
  • more tires to replace
  • more intrusion of wheel wells into the interior (for trailers like this with the tops of the tires above the floor level)

A longer trailer is easier in a way to back up than a shorter one, because it it not so sensitive to small steering movements. A greater number of axles just means that the trailer fights being turned more, and the exact path it will follow is less predictable. Tandem axles are not a problem for backing up, but I certainly don't find them to be an advantage.
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Old 08-30-2015, 04:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
5) I replaced my Casita's stock Parallax 7345 with a PROGRESSIVE DYNAMICS 4645 Converter, so I could use a sealed Lifeline GPL-27T AGM. (It has been awesome)

What converter does the Escape 21 come with?
It has been a WFCO; assuming that it still is, that would be a WF-9855 or WF-8955E. Some owners have looked into this unit in detail, and can correct or add to that information.

The standard battery is a Group 27 size, with Group 29 optional, and dual GC-2 sized 6-volt batteries optional. The batteries are flooded-cell deep-cycle units from Interstate ; AGM is not offered but you could switch later.
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Old 08-30-2015, 04:11 PM   #10
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The biggest reason we wanted to move from our 17B and gain the dual axle on the 19 which will be our ft/pt trailer is that a blowout if it occurs on a single axle can be catastrophic where it is pretty much a non-event on a dual axle.
Also, changing a trailer tire with a dual axle and a ramp device is really simple with no jacking necessary. While that wasn't that important 10 years ago, it is becoming a more important consideration for us.
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Old 08-30-2015, 04:17 PM   #11
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The biggest reason we wanted to move from our 17B and gain the dual axle on the 19 which will be our ft/pt trailer is that a blowout if it occurs on a single axle can be catastrophic where it is pretty much a non-event on a dual axle.
Or, it can be catastrophic on a dual axle trailer when the driver doesn't notice immediately, and the shredded tire destroys the wheel well.
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Old 08-30-2015, 04:20 PM   #12
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The biggest reason we wanted to move from our 17B and gain the dual axle on the 19 which will be our ft/pt trailer is that a blowout if it occurs on a single axle can be catastrophic where it is pretty much a non-event on a dual axle.
In many reports in this and similar forums, it's usually nearly a non-event with a single axle, too. Also, note that whe one tire blows on a tandem, the other tire on that side and the other suspension are immediately overloaded - keep going and you'll destroy the other tire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg A View Post
Also, changing a trailer tire with a dual axle and a ramp device is really simple with no jacking necessary. While that wasn't that important 10 years ago, it is becoming a more important consideration for us.
Agreed.
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Old 08-30-2015, 04:20 PM   #13
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If you go for the larger group 29 larger 12V battery you also get the larger battery box used with the dual 6V batteries. Makes a future changeover quite simple.
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Old 08-30-2015, 04:43 PM   #14
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The downside of dual axles is now you have 4 or 5 tires to replace every 5-6 years instead of 2 or 3. Sigh.
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Old 08-30-2015, 06:59 PM   #15
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Tolls will be triple that of a single axle.....you will plan your trips avoiding toll roads. My first trip out to Osoyoos cost me close to $70 in tolls, something I avoided on the return trip
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Old 08-30-2015, 07:00 PM   #16
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10- nice to have but it can be added later

11- 2 bike 1UP in rear , one bike tongue mounted (akriva?)

14- two sets of brakes for stopping power, there are two right?

15- mostly ok. People seem to believe in Horst probes here..you can ship them up to ETI

16- GOAL get out and look..... And practice.
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Old 08-30-2015, 07:08 PM   #17
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16- GOAL get out and look..... And practice.

BC provincial parks love to bury huge boulders that stick up about two feet. Not something you'll notice on a monitor.
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Old 08-30-2015, 08:05 PM   #18
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Thanks everyone for the great info

Much appreciated!!!

I almost have the wife convinced .....

One other question - we have a honda 2000 generator - that I converted to run on propane with a kit
(so it is a bit wider at the bottom due to the propane regulator)

I never run gas in it. Ever.

Any chance it would fit in the $700 front box?

Could someone measure theirs - how wide it is at its widest?

Plus can that front box be locked ?

:-)
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Old 08-30-2015, 08:41 PM   #19
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What's the benefit of the genny running propane? do you have a big bottle at home or natural gas?
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Old 08-30-2015, 08:50 PM   #20
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What's the benefit of the genny running propane? do you have a big bottle at home or natural gas?
Huge advantages for us

Serves as an emergency generator if earthquake in LA CA

can be run on gasoline.

Never need to carry (dangerous) gasoline as we always have 2 x 20 lb bottles on the casita.

Less smell

Gasoline goes stale after 6 months .... Propane NEVER

can run on natural gas as well, I am told. Never have.


Can be carried in trunk of our tug SUV - no smell at all as gasoline has never been in it.

Won't leak gasoline if none in it.

:-)))
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