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Old 03-25-2018, 04:04 AM   #1
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outside grab rail

has anyone installed a grab rail like this on an escape?

Lend-A-Hand RV Hand Rail - Polar White - Stromberg Carlson AM-200 - Hand Rails - Camping World
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:29 AM   #2
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I have the "mini" version of this on my a-frame and I love it. I asked, and ETI will not install it on my new 17.
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:39 AM   #3
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I have the "mini" version of this on my a-frame and I love it. I asked, and ETI will not install it on my new 17.
First of all I don't have an Escape but I've built and modified after farming and flying in my past.
So, I'm sure you're concerned about finding a 'solid' attach point.
I would think there are solid wood members that ETI uses to attach the the exterior door frame.

I've seen many build pictures that ETI sends to their customers.
Or
Just phone ETI and ask them for the loc's of the wooden inserts that are formed into the fibreglass mold at build time.
But you will need a datum line to measure from an outside goof proof starting point, I would think ETI will know this.
Use some very good quality exterior caulk when attaching the hand bar to seal your fasteners.
That's how I'd do it, but there are lots of experience Escape owners that may already done similar mods.
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Old 03-25-2018, 10:02 AM   #4
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The grab handle Escape installs is held in place by two rivets. How do I know? When I made the mistake one morning of attaching a 25 foot tether for my dog to it... (too lazy to put on shoes, go outside and use the bumper) ...when she spotted another dog and tried to race over to it, snap! ... this happened.

There's no way to replace the rivets with like, machine screws and fender washers because you cannot access the other side of the fiberglass shell.
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:40 PM   #5
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The grab handle Escape installs is held in place by two rivets. How do I know? When I made the mistake one morning of attaching a 25 foot tether for my dog to it... (too lazy to put on shoes, go outside and use the bumper) ...when she spotted another dog and tried to race over to it, snap! ... this happened.

There's no way to replace the rivets with like, machine screws and fender washers because you cannot access the other side of the fiberglass shell.
Josie (sp) can get excited. Who'da thunk it?
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:58 PM   #6
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yeah, I can't tie my Maggie (a yellow lab) to anything, she'd drag the whole trailer around if she could

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Old 03-25-2018, 01:08 PM   #7
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I wonder if I could get away with cutting 1" or so holes in the inside wall, and slipping a metal bar in place as backing, pre drilled where the anchor bolts go... then put white plastic cap/plugs in those holes for cosmetics.

this is for my wife, who's got very short legs and bad knees.
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:35 PM   #8
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I'd recommend using the suction type grab bars used in bathrooms, they are pretty sturdy and should work well on the exterior fiberglass.....https://www.amazon.com/Grab-Bar-Vive...ab%2Bbars&th=1
I put one in mt Escape Bath and used one on my EggCamper which did not have an exterior grab bar. Various sizes available...
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:39 PM   #9
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I've done something similar to that in drywall. I think that you'd need flat bar at least 3/4" wide and inserting it into the interior holes, at an angle, might require more than a 1" hole. It could get a bit messy.

Perhaps another alternative would be to make up some small plates, maybe 1 1/2" x 1 1/2", whatever's suitable for the base of the grab bar and install them on the exterior. With 4 pop rivets and some 5200 they'd be pretty bomb proof.

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Old 03-25-2018, 01:59 PM   #10
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Watch out for wiring.
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Old 03-25-2018, 04:47 PM   #11
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I would think there are solid wood members that ETI uses to attach the the exterior door frame.

I've seen many build pictures that ETI sends to their customers.
Or
Just phone ETI and ask them for the loc's of the wooden inserts that are formed into the fibreglass mold at build time.
I wouldn't count on wood framing. Escape has always used some wood 'glassed to the inside of the shell to provide solid mounting locations, such as for interior furnishings; however, in the original design (a.k.a. "classic", with the non-vertical sides) the door frame was a moulded fiberglass part added to the inside of the door opening. I don't know what the current door frame reinforcement method is, but some of those photos might show it, some forum member might know specifically, and yes ETI could be asked.
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:36 PM   #12
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I wouldn't count on wood framing.

the door frame was a moulded fiberglass part added to the inside of the door opening.
The O.P.'s unit appears to be a 2014, same as mine. It is as you say and it's just a hollow part.

As Glenn pointed out there are some wires inside but with care they shouldn't be a problem.

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Old 03-25-2018, 05:40 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I'd recommend using the suction type grab bars used in bathrooms
This solution scares the hell out me. If and when it lets go, you get no warning. You're just unexpectedly flying backwards, and if you need the grab bar, you likely have no agility.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:02 PM   #14
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Myron, I don't know if the attachment area has changed in the new models, but I did ask ETI to wait to install that outside handle on my high axle until orientation and that was not a problem. I have a challenge entering my friend's high axle 17b because I'm short and the standard placement is quite high. So we will see how it goes when I get there.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:06 PM   #15
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I'm with GBaggs on suction cups. If you do decide to drill a one inch hole in the inside fiberglass, planning to plug it after inserting a machine screw that has a large washer, covering the inside of the grab bar hole, that might be the best solution. You could use one of them electronics screwdrivers with the spring side clamps to position the screw into the exterior hole. If you do that, though, you're a braver man than me, Gunga Din.

Escape does do a good, firm riveting job. You'll probably be fine.
Maggie and Josie - clearly two wonder-dogs.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:51 PM   #16
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This solution scares the hell out me. If and when it lets go, you get no warning. You're just unexpectedly flying backwards, and if you need the grab bar, you likely have no agility.
The challenge is to distribute the grab bar load, that is what everyone agrees on.
To the point mentioned above unexpectedly flying backwards under a shear failure of a point load tearing thru the thin wall fibreglass.
If the grab bar was mounted to the trailer with a total of six or eight fasteners the strain would be reduced by a magnitude of 3-4X..
I have a number of thoughts on how to achieve this but the visual on the side of the Escape might not meet with approval from the group.
Perhaps, as often mentioned in this forum it all comes down to what is important.
A very secure and reliable hand hold or something else that looks great but may and probably will fail resulting from insufficient fastener strength??
IMHO
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:12 PM   #17
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Ok, I'll weigh in, mostly because I have experience with 3M 5200 adhesive.

Were I in the OP's position, I would simply cut and tap a base plate which spans full length between the grab rail attachment points, and attach it with 3M 5200 to the side of the trailer. The tapped holes would allow bolting the rail on once the plate is set up. One could after the 5200 sets up add however many SS pop rivets floated one's boat.

The thing about 5200 is that, properly applied, it will tear chunks of fiberglass out of the surface it is adhered to before releasing. With a generous attachment area and a sturdy attachment plate, the force necessary to move it would be seriously large even without rivets.

If desired, testing sample joint strengths would confirm whether trust was warranted. If 5200 is used though, the thickness of the adhesive joint needs to be thick enough (say, for the sake of argument >1/8") to absorb the differential thermal expansion and contraction of fiberglass and steel, if steel is used. One needs to ensure adequate final thickness of adhesive by incorporating spacers of some sort to limit squeeze-out before the adhesive is set up. One could also manufacture a plate from glass and epoxy or polyester resin rather than from steel, but that is another story. Bottom line is that properly applied, 3M 5200 will do the job without large holes in the interior laminate, and the end result might be equally strong or stronger.
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Old 03-26-2018, 04:32 AM   #18
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I had 2 of those oversized assist handles on both my Lance Trailers, they have grooved indents at 3/6/9 o'clock to keep the railing extended as well as closed for travel. The trouble with the closed is someone outside may close it against the door while the unit i occupied, thereby restricting exit, similar to using a hasp on the door and someone locking it while occupied.
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Old 03-26-2018, 04:25 PM   #19
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I had 2 of those oversized assist handles on both my Lance Trailers, they have grooved indents at 3/6/9 o'clock to keep the railing extended as well as closed for travel. The trouble with the closed is someone outside may close it against the door while the unit i occupied, thereby restricting exit, similar to using a hasp on the door and someone locking it while occupied.
I knew there was a reason for that exit window!
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Old 03-26-2018, 04:43 PM   #20
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Added to Class C and camper in past . Tried to get Escape to add , wasn't crazy with the little black handle , it was a no go with Escape . Wouldn't dare use a suction handle if it was me . Did get Escape to add another little black handle just inside the door . But we have the classic , so not familiar with what you would need on a new gen trailer . Pat
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