17B possible mod to front dinette/bed -- are we dreaming? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-05-2011, 07:17 PM   #1
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17B possible mod to front dinette/bed -- are we dreaming?

First off, big kudos and thanks to Kelly and Janet in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who generously spent a few hours with us yesterday afternoon as we poured over every millimeter of "Wild Blueberry," their brand new 17B. We are totally excited and choc-o-full of questions, many of which I plan to post here over the next few days. But here's one of the biggest things we want feedback on.

Some of you may remember that we anticipate traveling with two large, loving pups -- both around 72 pounds. We also expect that we will need to work from our Escape, so we'll need some table space. Going up to a 19 is not an option due our tow vehicle, so we're looking at the 17 for ways to really maximize space and minimize setting up/taking down.

So here's our dream.

1) We make the bed permanent and work out some sort of brilliant storage scheme under the bed ... and this is where you guys come in -- what have those of you with permanent beds orchestrated to be able to get at the space underneath? And how difficult is it to access stuff under the "seat" hatches if you have a thicker mattress on? What are the pros and cons of permanence, besides the obvious fact that we wouldn't need to take down/set up every day? I'm sure this has been addressed elsewhere on the forum but I can't find a concise answer through search, so ...

2) We nix the storage cabinet that sits across from the bathroom. We instead extend the dinette seat in the corner down all the way to the screen door, so we have a "chaise lounge/couch" sort of setup there (so that if you sit with your back to the front passenger side of the trailer, and feet towards the screen door, you can stretch out most of your body). We have a drawer or cubby put under the added bench to regain some of the lost storage. (Very curious if anyone has done this, if they like it/have photos, and what pros/cons would be, besides obvious loss of counter/storage space)

(now, this is where we really start dreamin')

3) We dream up some sort of temporary table/surface, akin to the top of the missing cabinet, that would flip down from the wall at a height that matches the kitchen sink/counter, so that at meal prep time we have additional surface to prepare meals. Ideally, this would be roughly the same size as the "lost" countertop, and would flip down in the same footprint (so, right next to the screen door). Someone would not be able to sit on that part of the "chaise" when meal prep was happening, but they could still sit next door, in the corner by the window. It may be that this surface needs a removable leg to support weight so that it doesn't rip out of the wall - if it's even possible.

4) This one is the biggie ... we work out a scheme for a table for the front dinette that flips out somehow so that it extends pretty much the length of the "chaise" ... thus, at least on the passenger side, replicating the table we would lose by leaving the bed up permanently. This requires genius on a few fronts, one, that the "flip-out" still allows you to use the table when it's not flipped, and -- and this is the killer -- it needs to be cut in such a way that the person sitting on the bathroom/driver side can shimmy out. That person would be me, and I'm not huge, or afraid of a shimmy, but it's obviously got to be a wide enough gap through cut/table slide that I can get out without permanent red running marks on my thighs

Maybe this isn't a flip out, maybe it's something more like the bed extension.

And maybe it's just not possible, period.

But we figured if anyone could figure this out, it was you guys.

I can attempt to draw a picture of what I mean if this is not making sense ... hopefully you get the idea, though. It's essentially to have a similarly-sized table up front, so that we can leave the bed (and our dogs!) in back ...

This ought to be fun.

~e





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Old 09-05-2011, 07:49 PM   #2
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Re: 17B possible mod to front dinette/bed -- are we dreaming?

While it is fun to dream about modifiying your Escape, better talk to Reace directly on modifying the interior structure of your unit.

As far as I know, Escape limits the units to 2 floor plans for a reason: the interior cabinetry contributes to the structural integrity of the unit itself.

We have the 17B with the rear dinette semi-permanently made into a bed. We had a cabinet door installed on the left storage compartment for easier access (its still not perfect, but we find that we have more storage space than we really need!). The right hatch contains the electical/plumbing components which should not be used for storage so if we have to access it we must lift the mattress.

Under the bed, we store our portable BBQ in a plastic storage container and a laundry hamper - nothing fancy.

We really like our screen room option as we live in mosquito country. It really helps make the area under the awning a liveable space for cooking and relaxing. The other option that we would encourage is the 5.0 ft fridge. Its big enough to do "regular" grocery shopping to help us eat healthy food (ie, salad and veggies) even when camping.

The problem with nixing the storage cabinet between the door and the front dinette is that it is one of the more useful cupboard spaces for grocery storage etc. We had two shelves installed.

The problem with "flip down" counter/table tops is that they must be anchored somehow to the wall similar to the prepping involved with the gaucho bunk. In this case, Escape fiberglasses anchor points in the construction process.

Good luck!
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:27 PM   #3
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Re: 17B possible mod to front dinette/bed -- are we dreaming?

If a 19 would better suit your needs, I think that you should seriously consider upgrading your tow vehicle and getting the 19 instead. I know that the 2006 Rav4 is a wonderful car, but you won't be driving it for nearly as long as you will be using the trailer. You may be able to trade it in on a 2008 Highlander (2007 and earlier were only 3500# tow capacity) for a reasonable sum, perhaps even less than the cost of the modifications that you are considering. Also remember that if you load up your 17 too much, dog food alone could do that, you can still exceed the towing capacity of the Rav. I know that one loaded 17B weighed in at 3340 which is heavier than a lightly loaded 19. http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...rld-43010.html
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:34 PM   #4
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Re: 17B possible mod to front dinette/bed -- are we dreaming?

Thanks Harold, we actually bought the RAV for the 17b specifically because it was what we could afford, and because we are pretty confident it'll work. We had to delay this a year, but spoke extensively with Tammy and Reace in 2010 and are comfortable with the 17b/RAV combo for us ...actually searched about 6 months for just the right used car, and finally found a great RAV.

We will be talking to Tammy tomorrow, too and will of course work closely with her to make sure we are still on track.

Again, I know the mods are dreaming, but it's kinda fun. Also I'm almost positive I heard from a few peeps last year who had chosen to skip that cabinet by the door, don't quote me but I'm pretty sure that would be in the realm of possible.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:10 PM   #5
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Re: 17B possible mod to front dinette/bed -- are we dreaming?

If it were me, I'd buy the screen room and the '72 lb. pups' would sleep outside.
We share our bed with a 30 lb. beagle and that's as far as I'm willing to bend.
Speaking of Charly the beagle, and your 'pups', you can make all the plans you want, but there is no guarantee that the dogs will go along with the plan.

If I had my way, the dog would stay home. The Old Bag wants to visit Portland, out for dinner, do the pubs and galleries. And what do I do? Sit in the car with the dog? You can't leave the dog in the trailer in most campgrounds, and we've heard from a neighbor at one campground that Charly does miss us, at the top of her lungs.

I'm all for bringing the dog along when we stay at a forestry camp on some lake, where the dog can search for toads to eat.

How about buying a couple travel kennels for the dogs and leaving them in the vehicle overnight?

baglo

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Old 09-05-2011, 09:14 PM   #6
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Re: 17B possible mod to front dinette/bed -- are we dreaming?

Nobody's biting on the mods, eh?

Truthfully this would help with the pups, but we're interested in whether it's possible, pups or not. We're thinking of them when we suss out how we'll use the trailer, but I'm guessing they won't actually be with us much of the time.

Dogs or not, the thought of taking the bed up and down every day isn't exciting. And we both feel like removing that cabinet really would open up the space -- I can see that we'd really use that "chaise." As in book, beer, ZZZZ.

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Old 09-05-2011, 09:48 PM   #7
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Re: 17B possible mod to front dinette/bed -- are we dreaming?

I am not that familar with the 17b but some recent mods done by the factory had some unforseen results. This might be a concern with your chaise idea. In this modification, done to a 19, the table was made to sit at on three sides, one being the front of the trailer. There were some bulging problems on the belly band from "I assume" sitting against the front of the trailer. Sitting maybe the wrong word, reclining might be better.

Anytime new pressures are exerted there can be unforeseen results.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:35 PM   #8
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Re: 17B possible mod to front dinette/bed -- are we dreaming?

After almost three years of having the rear dinette as a bed, full time, and keeping the front dinette as a table, Old Bag decided she wanted to dine in comfort with a view and she reconfigured the Toad while I was out getting beer.
We've only spent a week travelling with this set-up, but so far we've found it works just fine. It's not a big deal to set up the table and take it down for the bed. When set up as a table, it's a handy surface while cooking.
The key to making it work is a couple sleeping bags zipped together. No fitted sheets etc.

My point being, that we changed the way we use the trailer after two seasons of camping and we may change back. At least it's not permanent.

baglo
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:27 AM   #9
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Re: 17B possible mod to front dinette/bed -- are we dreaming?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo
My point being, that we changed the way we use the trailer after two seasons of camping and we may change back. At least it's not permanent.

baglo
I kind-of agree.. when we had the 17B we just had the rear dinette down and got a foam mattress pad cut to fit which made it quite comfortable.. as for storage we just used plastic storage containers that fit perfectly under the bed and use a tension rod to stop them from sliding forward..
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:45 AM   #10
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Re: 17B possible mod to front dinette/bed -- are we dreaming?

Hi: All...I agree too. It's much easier to mold yourselves to the trailer... rather than the trailer to yourselves!!! Our bed up front stays made up 24/7 and if someone travels with us the dinette folds down for them. A tension rod and curtain for privacy works!!!
We bought the 5.0 to suit us. We have no furry friends or family to consider...just us... however selfish it maybe, but we've earned it.
We must however have a pickup truck but the new Nissan Frontier Crew Cab works for 2-4 passengers.
Just got back from a trip up the St. Lawrence Seaway with our eldest daughter who doesn't drive and the table was required one rainy night otherwise we ate outside. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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