How do I safely cut holes in the skin? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-18-2019, 06:18 PM   #1
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How do I safely cut holes in the skin?

Almost ready for mods.

If you have done any Escape skin piercing, larger than just a screw hole, what did you use to make the hole?

Short term schedule:
Aug 23: 5.0 completion date
Aug 26: orientation
Aug 27: add under-floor conduit (see below)
Aug 28: back to ETI for spray foam
Aug 29 & future: more mods

I have a load of mods to do in the initial weeks of ownership, the first will be (at least attempting) to install some conduit underneath the trailer to run a bunch of wires from the passenger side dinette seat base to the cabinet by the entry door. These wires accommodate my planned switch location consolidation and A/V equipment needs: 12v, 120v & relay control wires.

I am currently considering going down thru the floor and the outer skin for the conduit runs. The application of the spray on insulation afterwards would then cover & protect it. I am hoping that since I have the lift kit that I'll find adequate space to get by the axle/tires for 3 runs of conduit (3/4", 1" & 1-1/4"). The stairs might be a problem. I plan on stopping by the showroom to get a better idea before delivery.

Another skin piercing mod will be to install a small vent in the roof above the entry door cabinet. I'll be putting A/V equipment in the upper cabinet and the vent will be for heat exhaust and provide a route for cables for my xm antenna & rear view camera. Hopefully the edge curve of the roof won't present too much of a problem.

My Forstner bits are guaranteed to result in damage to the fiberglass. I have hole saws of various sizes that will be fine for wood but might result in splitting if used on the fiberglass shell, tho taping might help. I also have a rotary cutter that is great for dry wall and paneling that I could use (with tape). I did not bring a sabre saw with me but could easily get one & proper blades.

Once I get the holes done and the conduit/vent ready to install I have Dicor and butyl tape for sealing.
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:25 PM   #2
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It would help those trying to help you via answering your questions if it is known what Escape model are you talking about. Please update your profile to show your year and Escape model.
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:43 PM   #3
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Drilling holes in the f.g. is a non-issue. It's easy to do and not a lot of prep is required.

There are two separate situations:

1. The hole is just through a layer of f.g. For small size holes I just go ahead and drill. If using a hole saw I like to drill a hole in a small piece of plywood and then tape it where I want the hole. This is because, if using a hole saw, the lateral support is very minimal and the drill bit could wobble and make an eccentric hole.

2. Holes in areas like the underside. No biggie because you have both f.g. and 1/2" plywood. Just drill away.

Some run the drill backwards to minimize the chance of chipping the edges of the hole. I don't, just lucky I guess. But boat building etc. over the years I've drilled countless holes without incident.

I've run a ton of wiring under the trailer. There is a path and there's lots of things to zap strap the conduit to. If not, again, the floor is solid and it's easy to use screws to hold the conduit brackets.

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Old 08-18-2019, 07:17 PM   #4
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I've used hole saws for the larger openings (1" & up) and standard twist drills for the small 1/4" and down. I wouldn't use a standard twist drill for holes between 1/4" & 1" because they may chip the gel coat, even if you drill a pilot hole. Although tape might help, I drill a 1/4" hole & use a series of tapered reamers to enlarge it to as much as 1".
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Old 08-18-2019, 07:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
It would help those trying to help you via answering your questions if it is known what Escape model are you talking about.
Sorry, I expected my signature to show.

But, as of Aug 26, I definately will have to do some updating.

My post did kinda have the info:
Aug 23: 5.0 completion date
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:44 PM   #6
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This is what we're seeing. There's nothing in your profile that says year/model of Escape trailer. Change it through the User CP
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:44 PM   #7
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The first think one sees under your photo is your trailer and if you are asking for help then ?? I'd suggest you list your Escape here on this forum and show the others elsewhere.
On edit, Thanks Donna....
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:14 PM   #8
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Ahhhh. I don't see that on mobile (phone or tablet) so I didn't even know others were seeing it. I've since done an update so it should be better now. I'll go remove the non-Escape reference, too.
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:37 PM   #9
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Most excellent change Tom, this is now what we see. It's really helpful for those that are trying to help YOU
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:55 AM   #10
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I will also need to run conduit beneath my trailer to hold the power wires for a B2B charger. Is there a particular type of conduit that is better for this application? I see both metallic and non-metallic flexible conduit at Lowe's, but I don't know anything about it.
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
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I will also need to run conduit beneath my trailer to hold the power wires for a B2B charger. Is there a particular type of conduit that is better for this application? I see both metallic and non-metallic flexible conduit at Lowe's, but I don't know anything about it.
While conduit under the trailer is a possibility, it is also possible to make a run from the rear of a 21 to the front inside. I've made a couple of runs through the space behind the lower cabinets. Not easy, but possible. That's the way I ran my DC to DC converter...
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:32 AM   #12
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Just an update: hole saw worked fine from the underside thru the fiberglass, plywood & flooring material. 6 new holes with 1" flex pvc conduit in them spanning the entry area. I'll use std gray pvc along the floor inside the base of the kitchen cabinet to protect the wires going to the dinette base. Just enough room for three between the wheel well and the cabinet base. Now it is back to the factory to have the spray on insulation added.
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
While conduit under the trailer is a possibility, it is also possible to make a run from the rear of a 21 to the front inside. I've made a couple of runs through the space behind the lower cabinets. Not easy, but possible. That's the way I ran my DC to DC converter...

Well, okay. Since that's my only need for conduit on my trailer, running the wire inside might work instead. Did you use any conduit when you ran power lines from your truck's battery / alternator to its rear bumper?
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis View Post
I will also need to run conduit beneath my trailer to hold the power wires for a B2B charger. Is there a particular type of conduit that is better for this application? I see both metallic and non-metallic flexible conduit at Lowe's, but I don't know anything about it.
I used the blue flex stuff because it uses the std gray pvc fittings and glue to make the connections. I used L fittings in the kitchen cabinet floor and a plain box in the entryside lower cabinet with holes drilled and adapter fitting.
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Well, okay. Since that's my only need for conduit on my trailer, running the wire inside might work instead. Did you use any conduit when you ran power lines from your truck's battery / alternator to its rear bumper?
No conduit. I pulled a 14/2 pair, and a #6 & #12 single, unfortunately, at different times. I did have to cut 2" off the height of the back of some of the cabinets to get my hand in to run the wire. I used Harbor Freight push sticks for much of the run.
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
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No conduit. I pulled a 14/2 pair, and a #6 & #12 single, unfortunately, at different times. I did have to cut 2" off the height of the back of some of the cabinets to get my hand in to run the wire. I used Harbor Freight push sticks for much of the run.
I had to run some wiring from the 7 pin junction box on the tongue back to the battery cutoff switch in the rear of the trailer and followed the same path down the drivers side.

It was so much fun that I made sure to leave a length of paracord along the route that I could use as a pull in case I ever needed to run something else.
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Old 08-28-2019, 02:44 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by tdf-texas View Post
I had to run some wiring from the 7 pin junction box on the tongue back to the battery cutoff switch in the rear of the trailer and followed the same path down the drivers side.

It was so much fun that I made sure to leave a length of paracord along the route that I could use as a pull in case I ever needed to run something else.
Yea, you would thing that I had the sense to do that after the 2nd or 3rd time wouldn't you! Maybe next time.
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