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Old 10-31-2008, 02:55 PM   #1
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What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?


Hi all,
I am in the process of ordering my Escape and wish to learn as much as possible. I am ordering extra extra outside lights, outlets and tv wiring. I am also adding doors to the front dinettte bench and the bottom of the wardrobe. This is a letter I sent to Jeff:Jeff,
Nice to hear from you. The Oliver forum has been pretty lively. Have you checked it out? The Casita Club has been long standing. I check both of them out for ideas even though much of the information is "brand specific" it is still informative and helpful. The Oliver forum can be reached through he manufacturers' site and may be somewhat sponsored by them. The nice thing about having one devoted to one's own kind is that others wouldn't be too interested in some topics. For example, I would love to see pictures of how your wardrobe turned out. ( I saw it in production). Also I would be interested in seeing anything else special that you did. Further, as I have expressed, I would like to learn what others have done. I am requesting a wardrobe mod: recessing it about 8" for my dog's dish and to sit on the dinette bench catty-cornered to remove shoes. Also to get a larger window on the passenger side from followed by a small one over the wardrobe (like thqt over the sink). Then I want a small door down at the bottom at the doorway side (about 6" x 12") to put my shoes and dog leash in the bottom of the cupboard. It will be accessible from the open entryway so I can out them in and keep my floors cleaner and the shoes and leash out of sight. I also am getting a tv outlet on the opposite side for a table top tv. I'm having the microwave door hinged at the top. I am short so I'll never hit it, can keep it up while prepping and not have to open two doors to use it. I also have the large dinette and not the newer front bed option, but I'm having a door put on the passenger side bench. That is so I can reach under as I intend to have the bed always made up. Then I will use storage containers that I can pull out to access the door and the interior below- bench area. I'm also trying to figure out a flip up false front. Needless to say, my ideas are not unique, and again, I'd love to hear about others. I also am going to have a rear light but want a third higher brake light. I'm trying to think of everything possible that would not be easily available, once constructed. What kind of solar wiring did you get? Was it for a battery, water heater or lights or all of the above?
I am also working on a possible rear-view system so I can better judge the traffic behind me. I am very appreciative of the warm and welcome reception by Tammy, Reace and their employees.
Thanks,
Peace and Sunshine
Sandra
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:53 PM   #2
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

Great thread Sandra.

These too are the things I am really interested in at this time. To get as many things right from the start. Some of your ideas I had not thought about yet. I have only talked to Reace a couple of times so far, and will get more into specifics later. I am going to watch and listen for a short while as I formulate my own ideas.

So, keep those ideas coming.

BTW Sandra, which model are you ordering?
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:55 PM   #3
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?


Dear Jim,
I am ordering the 17' B with the indoor shower package. I had the good fortune of seeing one in Eureka, CA about a year and a half ago. That was it for me. One of the things those people are now doing is to remove the wardrobe and continue the bench seat toward the entryway. He wants to be seated while taking his shoes off ( and putting them on). There will be the storage underneath. He also had the roof reinforced and a rack placed to carry a lightweight boat.
I don't know if I can figure out how to upload those pictures that I took. There are so many things to think about. What is your rv experience? Try to think of your daily routine and the attendant things that are needed to make it smoother.
Ciao,
Sandra
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Old 11-01-2008, 02:07 AM   #4
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

I'm thrilled to have this forum!!! I've been on Oliver's forum a lot, but it's gotten so pricey! Too pricey! But it does have some wonderful features. I'm fond of the window coverings/screens, for one thing. Wonder if they could go on the Escape. I guess the best thing is to make a list of both trailers and compare.

I'm hoping to see a 19' Escape this spring and take the plunge. Want to live in it full time!
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Old 11-01-2008, 11:09 AM   #5
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

Welcome!
The window coverings are now shades, not blinds. There are some other changes as well. For example, the bath door comes hinged on the opposite side from the Escape site picture (for dressing room privacy). However, I'm requesting it be hinged on the right. The tail lights are new, as is the screen. Tammy and Reace are always forward looking to improve their product. If you haven't already, contact them and see if you can look at one that is close to you.
Peace and Sunshine
Sandra
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:27 PM   #6
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?


Bathroom door on my 17B is hinged on the left. Inside the door I have one of those stick-on LED lights. This works for me for trips to the john in the middle of the night. I can turn the light on, but the door shields the light from my sleeping partner.

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Old 11-01-2008, 07:35 PM   #7
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

Ours is on the left as well... we got one of those crank LED lanterns that have a night light option and just put it on the small dinette table.. basically stays on all night after a couple of minutes of cranking.. we have another that you can charge the battery via the firewire port on my laptop.. anyway they are pretty efficient and in "night lite" mode offer more than enough light to negotiate around our dog on floor when if we get up in the middle of the night..
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:42 PM   #8
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

Good idea, what other things did you request? Is there anything that you'd have done differently? Since sometimes I'm in a hurry, I thought the right side hinge would be better for me. I probably will have a challenge enough not to step on my dog!.
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:59 PM   #9
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

Well there's one thing.. Since I wasn't too sure about my Highlander and the Escape, we ordered the High Axel Lift on the Escape.. Probably not necessary and perhaps might cause a lowering in gas mileage. The Escape now has higher ground clearance than what my Highlander dreams about when it's sleeping..
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:15 PM   #10
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?


When I ordered my Escape, I was planning on getting a Toyota Tacoma, eventually, so I also have the high-lift axle. But, the Old Bag, didn't like the high step up into the Tacoma, and maybe I was just in a bad mood the day I drove it, but it didn't turn me on. So, we got the RAV4. It couples fine to the Escape, but the trailer is four inches higher than need be. I doubt, though, that that four inches significantly affects the mileage.

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Old 11-01-2008, 09:39 PM   #11
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandra L

Dear Jim,
I am ordering the 17' B with the indoor shower package. I had the good fortune of seeing one in Eureka, CA about a year and a half ago. That was it for me. One of the things those people are now doing is to remove the wardrobe and continue the bench seat toward the entryway. He wants to be seated while taking his shoes off ( and putting them on). There will be the storage underneath. He also had the roof reinforced and a rack placed to carry a lightweight boat.
I don't know if I can figure out how to upload those pictures that I took. There are so many things to think about. What is your rv experience? Try to think of your daily routine and the attendant things that are needed to make it smoother.
Ciao,
Sandra
I have seen that model too, it is very nice. I have thought about a light weight rack to carry a canoe so it is not on the way on the tow. It would have to be transtered to the tow if the trailer is parked at a camp site. Just a thought. If I get a roofmount A/C it might make this undoable.

I have done extensive back country camping, backpacking, canoeing, etc, and have used an RV for the last 20 years, from tent trailers to a 24' stick framed that is now used just as a cabin at some rec land.
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:03 PM   #12
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

Thanks to all for your input. Thanks Thane for the links.
Peace and Sunshine,
Sandra
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:34 AM   #13
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

Thoughts on the front shelf: making it deeper with a higher lip to hide tp.
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:03 PM   #14
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

I don't know about making the front self deeper.. But something like a medicine chest (small, light weight plastic/Fbglass..) that could be mounted above the commode would be great.. I don't think that it would get in the way of #2 and probably solve some Bathroom storage issues..
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:34 AM   #15
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

I wonder if Velcro is strong enough to hold one of those smaller plastic drawer or gadget gizmos. (Or super-strong suction cups?) It probably would have to be removed during travel, but being H2O-proof, might prove a workale idea. Since the under-sink piping goes into the wall, I was thinking of a corner suction-cup catch-all might work there. Since there are drain holes, it might work as a shelf for shampoo, or other wettable containers. Being directly under the sink, I don't think that it would create an interference, and might possibly remain dry.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:43 PM   #16
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

Sandra,

You hit me with a lot of questions regarding my modifications on the mileage thread. Some regarding the bathroom door, but I don't have one, unless you count the porta-potti storage area Storage room was more important than a shower/commode and all the hassles of blackwater dumping.

Here are just some of my factory changes:

Added 8" to frame length to place bumper far enough aft to be serious protection.
Added heavy mesh to area inside frame rails fore and aft for storage.
Added 4" lift and 30" tires for better rough road travel.
Fridge is 5 cf AC/gas.
Small front dinette.
Custom storage in place of Plan B bath that contains wardrobe, air conditioner, microwave, porta-potti and several storage drawers.
Original wardrobe is now three shelves (I should have made it shallower).
Single propane bottle (wanted more storage area on tongue).
Stainless sink instead of white unit.
Two burner stove with cover.
Sony radio with CD, two speakers.
Wall mounted AC unit.
Propane furnace.
Max-aire Fan (a lifesaver....get the best one offered, must have thermostat.
Awning.
Tinted windows.
Three hatches so under bed/dinette storage can be accessed from outside.

Owner mods:
Added front storage box on tongue, plywood sides with nice aluminum diamond plate locking cover.
Bigger tires and wheels as mentioned in mileage thread.
Rear frame mounted "roll bar" to mount oversized spare tire, added protection, and to mount other goodies.
Replaced chintzy tail lights with flush mount LEDs.
Added serious backup lights (ever back a trailer into a cramped spot at night ALONE?).
Front "skid hoops" around trailer tongue jack to keep it from dragging.
Better leveling guages.
Nice custom bookshelf on fridge wall at bedside (rear dinette always stays a bed).
Two small catch-all shelves, one on door, other on adjacent wardrobe (was).
Found matteress way too hard; added 48x78 foam camping mattress from Cabela's, then added 2" memory foam pad.
Bedding is two sleeping bags opened and zipped together forming a bag that is 68x80 with top being fleece and bottom cotton so it can be flipped for seasons. Oversize tucks in and does pretty good at staying in place. Winter weight bag carried just in case.
Added 1/2" foam insulation around fridge. Also added fridge fan as summer cooling was marginal.
19" LCD TV/DVD on drop down swing mount added at junction of side and rear overhead cabinets on passenger side. Reace had stated he would not recommend this location as the cabinets were not strong enough for the weight. I added some hardwood reinforcement inside the cabinet and the weight is low at 10# and it has not shown any kind of weakness. Most owners would stuff this area with books adding a lot of weight.
Added extra slider/brace to front dinette table. Attaches to trailer wall and pegs added to table slide in a grove; much more stable.
Window shades made out of those foilding windshield heat shields.

Planned mods:

Add shocks to suspension; too bouncy now.
Continually upgrade insulation (should have doubled factory insulation which was offered as an option)
Upgrade windows to double pane and try to come up with some combo that can be vented during a rain (why I say Maxaire is a must).
And more, but thats all that comes to mind at this late hour.

All in all I am very happy with my Escape but there are a few negatives too. Insulation and draft prevention could be better. Even though there is plenty of real wood in the cabinets I was dissapointed to find that some is paper overlay. It is wearing through in several places. Some fit and finish could be better, several cabinet doors are slightly off plumb, not much, but noticeable. Reace and Tammy were very accomodating to my many changes, but I wish they were closer so I could have been involved a little more directly with the build.

Living in the US I took notice about the agreement between Escape and Trillium as I was hoping there would be production in the US as well as Canada. Traveling I get a lot of curious folks wanting to see the trailer but many are turned of by the thought of purchasing in Canada. I tell them it was painless, and it really was, but I know it is a negative for some. That is unless you are stuck in the Escape parking lot, covered in ice in February, waiting anxiously for a wire transfer of funds to go though. Just kidding....just more added to the adventure.

Photos sometime, I hope.

Ace

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Old 01-10-2009, 12:26 AM   #17
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?


I picked up a container for shampoo and such at Urban Barn. Got a couple towel hooks as well. They were pricey and supposed to stick to the surface of the shower with suction. When that didn't quite work as advertised, I used 3M double sided tape to fasten them to the wall. When that failed, I decided to just sit down and think about it. Luckily the toilet was conveniently located.

And, best solution I've come up with so far is to throw the shampoos, etc. in the sink, which is rather small and we haven't used as a sink to my knowledge.

On separate header, I will post on TP and paper towels.

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Old 01-10-2009, 09:07 AM   #18
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

Hi: gbaglo... Try a product called "No more nails" from Home Hardware/Building Center. Comes on a roll with a peel n stick backing. Cut to length. 1/16th. thick and gummy. Make sure you got it straight...no second chances!!! Its holding my full length mirror to the outside of the powder rm. door.
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Old 01-10-2009, 04:56 PM   #19
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?

Alan, thanks for taking the time to give objective insight. IT realy helps potential new owners like myself, Take care.
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:27 PM   #20
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Re: What factory modifications have been made by owners or prospective owners?


Ace and all,
Thanks so much for the insights. I'm appreciative of your input. Ace, what are the areas of wear in the "wood look" have you noticed? With regard to the "fridge mods": how did you add foam? Was the fridge fan one of those that one places inside to improve circulation?
Could you also further describe the skid hoops? I am also getting a 19" tv and Reace is working on a more secure arrangement, I believe. Did you originally receive blinds that you changed? If not how did you modify the existing ones? Hopefully I haven't bombarded you too much again. BTW where are you now? In California?
Sandra
P.S. I'm looking forward to the pictures!
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