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Old 08-08-2015, 06:37 PM   #1
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Help - Safety Handle/Grab Bar

Well, I know what my first mod needs to be and unfortunately it means drilling holes into my new baby for a safety handle or grab bar by the door. I have a "new to me" 2005 17B and it must have been built before they started installing the handle.

There's a porch light where the handle appears on the newer models so if I put my handle on the outside, it will have to be placed a bit high. I'm wondering if a better spot would be just inside the door in the section that makes up the frame of the door (there's about 2-3 inches of fiberglass space there before the cabinet for the fridge enclosure starts).

I don't want to create stress fractures in the fiberglass and it's scary for me to just start drilling, not knowing what I'm going to run into on the other side. Should I be using toggle bolts, expansion molly... or this, which seems fabulous but large: MOEN SecureMount Stainless-Steel Grab Bar Anchors in Chrome (2-Pack)-SMA1000CH - The Home Depot

Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 08-08-2015, 06:43 PM   #2
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Ah, drilling that first hole is always the most difficult.

If you post a photo holding the handle where you're thinking of placing it then forum members that have done similar mods can tell you with some certainty if there are any other considerations about drilling holes in a specific area.

Ron
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Old 08-08-2015, 07:33 PM   #3
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You might want to check with Patandlinda, they had Escape add one. Now it's on a 21', but I'd think it would still apply, direct link. You'll note the information in that top post: Build list for 21' Escape
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Old 08-08-2015, 07:44 PM   #4
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Lowes bath dept. $18.
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:08 PM   #5
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Ron: thankfully Myron ended up posting a photo of what I have in mind.
Donna: thanks. I see there's is a bath grab bar. If I don't figure it out from the info on the forum, I'll contact Reese to see what he says.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
Lowes bath dept. $18.
Myron: This is the location I was thinking of installing mine - only possibly on the left side of the entry frame, rather than the right as you have done. But, I don't know how you've attached the wood to the frame? What's behind that fiberglass and what sort of screws or mounting did you use? Thanks.
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:18 PM   #6
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We used a Moen bar that attaches with suction cups on the inside of the door -- not because we needed support but because we needed a handle to hold the door when the wind is blowing hard.

But we have found the handle to be surprisingly strong, and it might be worth trying to attach it to the side of the trailer for your needs. No need to drill any holes...
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:24 PM   #7
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I just drilled a few holes of my own putting a flashlight holder near the door. Once you're past drilling that first hole the others come easy.

OK, is where I put the "here" label about what you had in mind? There are two situations here. The "here" label is on the hollow fiberglass door frame. To the right is an area of MDF that can also have a handle attached.

Which of those two areas do you have in mind. Both are usable but the process differs.

Ron
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeonW View Post
We used a Moen bar that attaches with suction cups on the inside of the door -- not because we needed support but because we needed a handle to hold the door when the wind is blowing hard.

But we have found the handle to be surprisingly strong, and it might be worth trying to attach it to the side of the trailer for your needs. No need to drill any holes...
Someone else sent me a message with the same idea. I think it's a great thought, but when I looked into the suction cup handles, it says they're to be used for balance and not to bear the weight of someone. I'm concerned about this safety aspect because my dad will be using them (he's elderly and will need them to partially support his weight when climbing in or out).
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
I just drilled a few holes of my own putting a flashlight holder near the door. Once you're past drilling that first hole the others come easy.

OK, is where I put the "here" label about what you had in mind? There are two situations here. The "here" label is on the hollow fiberglass door frame. To the right is an area of MDF that can also have a handle attached.

Which of those two areas do you have in mind. Both are usable but the process differs.

Ron
I'd prefer to put it where you have the red "here?" - second picture. So it's hollow?
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
I just drilled a few holes of my own putting a flashlight holder near the door. Once you're past drilling that first hole the others come easy.

OK, is where I put the "here" label about what you had in mind? There are two situations here. The "here" label is on the hollow fiberglass door frame. To the right is an area of MDF that can also have a handle attached.

Which of those two areas do you have in mind. Both are usable but the process differs.

Ron
Actually, I don't really think I care that much about whether it's further in like the top pic or closer to the door opening like the second photo. Which is easier to do?
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarandipity View Post
Actually, I don't really think I care that much about whether it's further in like the top pic or closer to the door opening like the second photo. Which is easier to do?
Hi Sara if you can wait Tomorrow I will get you a picture of our extra handle . Escape put it on for me when I picked up . It only took a minute to install for them . It is on the side you want . Pat
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:54 PM   #12
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Yes, it's hollow. It contains a vent for the kitchen sink and the some wires but it wouldn't be a problem to attach a handle to it. I have my paper towell holder mounted to it on the other side.

The fiberglass is about an 1/8" thick. No matter what you use for fasteners, minimizing the depth you drill is a good idea. A piece of tape wrapped around the drill bit not more than 1/4" from the end is a good idea. No sense letting the drill bit shoot forward any more than necessary.

There are at least 3 options for fastenings. One is an nutsert but it requires an installation tool. A second way would be a metal drywall anchor, probably the easiest and safest route. A third would be to simply use sheet metal screws. They hold really well, even in relatively thin fiberglass. The down side is that, if not done correctly, bad things happen. It's not complicated or anything, but the hole in the fiberglass has to be just the right size. Too small and really bad things can happen and of course, too large, and it's not much use.

At any rate show us the handle and what the base where it mounts looks like and we'll figure out what's the best way to mount it.

Ron
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patandlinda View Post
Hi Sara if you can wait Tomorrow I will get you a picture of our extra handle . Escape put it on for me when I picked up . It only took a minute to install for them . It is on the side you want . Pat
I'd appreciate that, Pat. Thanks. It would be nice to see what it looks like.

I'm not worried about finding a handle so much as I'm worried about how to attach it. I don't know what's behind the fiberglass and I want to have a secure attachment.
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:57 PM   #14
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Just saw your last question, which is easier to do. The one further in is much easier in that it's only drilling holes for the screws and attaching the handle. But if you'd rather have it on the f.g. then put it there. There won't be any problem.

Ron
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Old 08-08-2015, 10:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
Yes, it's hollow. It contains a vent for the kitchen sink and the some wires but it wouldn't be a problem to attach a handle to it. I have my paper towell holder mounted to it on the other side.

The fiberglass is about an 1/8" thick. No matter what you use for fasteners, minimizing the depth you drill is a good idea. A piece of tape wrapped around the drill bit not more than 1/4" from the end is a good idea. No sense letting the drill bit shoot forward any more than necessary.

There are at least 3 options for fastenings. One is an nutsert but it requires an installation tool. A second way would be a metal drywall anchor, probably the easiest and safest route. A third would be to simply use sheet metal screws. They hold really well, even in relatively thin fiberglass. The down side is that, if not done correctly, bad things happen. It's not complicated or anything, but the hole in the fiberglass has to be just the right size. Too small and really bad things can happen and of course, too large, and it's not much use.

At any rate show us the handle and what the base where it mounts looks like and we'll figure out what's the best way to mount it.

Ron
Ron, you're a saint! That's exactly the information I was needing. Okay, now that I know more, I can pick out a handle and I'm thinking I'll probably use a toggle bolt now that I know it's hollow. Thank you so much!!

I'll be in touch again if I get stuck. You've been a huge help.
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Old 08-09-2015, 01:23 AM   #16
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There is one more fastener option, if you use the type of grab handle Escape uses: blind rivets. They rivet theirs in place.
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Old 08-09-2015, 03:32 AM   #17
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Sara, check the bulkhead ... oops sorry .... wall to your right as you exit through the door. Knock on it to 'hear' if it is solid or hollow. I havent gotten my trailer yet (October 2015) but one of the options I chose was to have that hollow wall "re-enforced" with solid blocking because I may want to have an exit / entrance handle installed there. .... not an uncommon option - maybe yours was too.


Can ETI supply those who buy used trailers with a list of options? Some may not be all that obvious.


Tom
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Old 08-09-2015, 01:59 PM   #18
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Safety handle/grab Bar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarandipity View Post
Well, I know what my first mod needs to be and unfortunately it means drilling holes into my new baby for a safety handle or grab bar by the door. I have a "new to me" 2005 17B and it must have been built before they started installing the handle.

There's a porch light where the handle appears on the newer models so if I put my handle on the outside, it will have to be placed a bit high. I'm wondering if a better spot would be just inside the door in the section that makes up the frame of the door (there's about 2-3 inches of fiberglass space there before the cabinet for the fridge enclosure starts).

I don't want to create stress fractures in the fiberglass and it's scary for me to just start drilling, not knowing what I'm going to run into on the other side. Should I be using toggle bolts, expansion molly... or this, which seems fabulous but large: MOEN SecureMount Stainless-Steel Grab Bar Anchors in Chrome (2-Pack)-SMA1000CH - The Home Depot

Any help would be appreciated!
Hi Sara took pics for you . I opened cap and they are rivets. They did it so fast I didn't know . Myron's idea is good but you want on other side. I would trust Ron's help on this one . Looks like where mine is installed and Ron's are the same place . You could go farther which is easier but it is forward . It is hollow in there where mine is installed . . That handle is very important . I took a flying leap off my previous motorhome wet step with rug on it . We always use the inside handle to exit and the outside to enter. I wish escape would just make it standard . Someday they probably will . Don't drill too far,use tape on drill like Ron said . Lot's of Forum members here to help . Hope this helps a little . Congratulations on your trailer! Pat
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:31 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Patandlinda View Post
Hi Sara took pics for you . I opened cap and they are rivets. They did it so fast I didn't know . Myron's idea is good but you want on other side. I would trust Ron's help on this one . Looks like where mine is installed and Ron's are the same place . You could go farther which is easier but it is forward . It is hollow in there where mine is installed . . That handle is very important . I took a flying leap off my previous motorhome wet step with rug on it . We always use the inside handle to exit and the outside to enter. I wish escape would just make it standard . Someday they probably will . Don't drill too far,use tape on drill like Ron said . Lot's of Forum members here to help . Hope this helps a little . Congratulations on your trailer! Pat
Thank you, this was super helpful! Based on the responses here, I decided to go ahead and buy a rivet gun. I'm sure there will be instances where it will come in handy and I can use it to install my handle(s). Still deciding if I should put two in. I like your set up but I have an outdoor light where your outdoor handle is. I'll definitely be putting one in the inside frame where you have your inside one.
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Old 08-09-2015, 06:19 PM   #20
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A rivet gun is always a good tool. The Escape builds are mostly inside blocks, but every once in a while, a rivet shows up. I now own two rivet guns. One will go with the Scamp when I (finally) decide to sell. The other will stay with Ten Forward.

Tools are cheap when you consider the consequences of delayed maintenance...
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