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Old 10-12-2018, 11:34 AM   #1
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Exclamation 4 essential things to be aware of

we made a very long road trip from austin to pick up our camper - turned out to be 13,000 miles. the first leg was car camping until the trailer was scheduled to be finished. we had a firm date agreed upon with eti to pick it up after which we had reservations for several ferry crossings along the nw coast (so little to no flexibility). after we took possession of our camper we traveled in bc for nearly 2 months with it. from this experience we learned a number of hard lessons which we share here:


1) DO NOT PLAN TO PICK UP YOUR CAMPER AND BEGIN CAMPING IN IT IMMEDIATELY! why, you ask? because it is gassing off toxic fumes for at least a month (longer really but the first month is intense). all the plastics, fiberglass, sealants and what not have just been added to your brand new camper and the result is an overwhelming mix of extreme odors, brain searing fumes and unpleasant experiences inside the thing. our recommendation is to wait at least a month after the completion date to pick it up and begin using it. they will store it for free.


2) having arrived on the exact completion date as agreed upon months in advance with eti knowing we had to catch a reserved ferry soon after, they informed us one window was out of stock and told us we could not pick the trailer up for another 6 weeks!! we eventually figured out they could install an older version window temporarily and ship the proper one to us when we arrived home in austin months later for it to be installed by a local rv center. this after some tense (that's putting it politely) negotiations with eti. it turned out to be an extremely negative experience (not just the inconvenience but also the very rude treatment received). thankfully it was the only negative experience in the process overall with eti. hence, the second recommendation: when you go to get the completed camper don't count on an exact pick up date. if you take the first recommendation - not picking it up until it gasses off then you won't need to worry about this second problem.


3) rocks will fly up from your rear tow vehicle wheels and damage the front of the trailer if you don't have a storage box. we had two sizeable holes bashed in the shell which needed expert repair. solution? get a storage box - either theirs or an aftermarket one large enough to cover the damage prone area or put full coverage mud flaps on your vehicle or both. there are other ways to protect as well - spray on truck bed liner material on the trailer front, build a protective "wing" out there etc. point being, without any of these measures you will eventually get smacked by debris.


4) obtaining title and plates may be a problem. eti shipped us all the necessary border crossing/duty/importing paperwork - a large stack of legal forms that should, in theory, take care of all needs. in our county in texas, however, they require a vin verification take place in person - in other words the trailer must be physically available for them to inspect. this creates a catch 22. can't go get the trailer without the plates being on it, can't get the plates with the trailer being elsewhere! we offered a lot of solutions - photos, live skype from the eti parking lot, eti driving across to washington and the local law enforcement unit verifying the vin, etc. nothing sufficed. i appealed to every level of responsible party on up the chain all the way to calling and actually asking the governor of texas for an exception with no success. in the end we picked the trailer up and drove it without plates for 8 months. crossed the international border 5 times, crossed 10 state lines without anyone noticing. all canada requires is proof of insurance in the case that you are stopped. in the u.s. no one looks very closely (although 2 weeks ago we crossed into the u.s. from ontario at sault st marie and the american border person specifically asked to see the plates on the camper).



we've now spent approx 4 months living in the camper on various extended trips. the only minor snafu so far is a bad led diode in the light over the table. oh, and every forward facing painted surface has been eroded by road debris and is already rusting (front metal plate of steps, bumper etc). not sure what can be done about that.



i hope this is helpful to people facing similar situations.
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Old 10-12-2018, 12:02 PM   #2
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Sorry you had some negative experiences but your situation does differ quite a lot from others.

1. We picked up our trailer and headed off for a meet at Moab. Yes, it had a "new" smell but wasn't anything that we couldn't live with. Many others pick up their trailer from ETI and head off on trips home. You may have more of a chemical sensitivity than most.

2. I hate to say it but your pre-planning boxed you into a corner. We're the exact opposite. We never make reservations a long way in advance that depend on everything going perfectly. As a matter of fact we basically never make reservations. There always seems to be room at the inn. The only time we didn't luck out was at Denali but it worked out fine, there was a suitable place nearby that worked out just fine.

So, two folks with two different ways of doing things. You're not alone. I do see a lot of
newbies trying to anticipate every move ahead of time and book up their schedule but I do caution folks that maybe that's not the thing to do; don't box yourselves in.

Ron
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Old 10-12-2018, 12:10 PM   #3
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I think there's a way to get the smell out quicker? We didn't find the smell bothersome and the "new trailer" smell is still there a year after we picked it up.. OK maybe we didn't spend enough time living in it..

We picked up the trailer the day after completion, made reservation for the whole trip back (four days) back, because we have to go back to work/school and get license plate. I guess we are lucky we did not run into the same issue, or it will be a very bad experience.
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Old 10-12-2018, 12:15 PM   #4
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On the issue of the tow vehicle throwing rocks and chipping the front of the trailer, I suspect that would depend on your tow vehicle.
I've towed mine with a RAV4 for ten years, a lot of that down gravel roads. I've got a couple tiny nicks in the gelcoat that I only notice when waxing the trailer.
I don't have the storage box on the front.
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Old 10-12-2018, 12:23 PM   #5
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Sorry about your experience. As time passes the bad stuff will fade . We also picked up our trailer .we had 20 days here in California to travel without plates . Highway patrol just told us to have our papers on us in case we were stopped .
When got home paid all the taxes ,and they needed to see trailer and check vin . Still couldn't get trailer registered ? They gave us the plates and said we couldn't install them until trailer was registered . Took 4 months . Guess what we installed our plates anyway . I guess we were lucky , maybe because it was cold Nov and used the heater but the smells weren't too bad for us.
Looking back now much of the hassles have faded . Pat
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Old 10-12-2018, 12:52 PM   #6
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I agree 100% with you when it comes to the off gassing. When we picked up our trailer we spent 4 days camping before heading home. It was so strong you could literally taste it. We slept with all the windows open and the maxi fan blowing in fresh air. When we got home I put an electric heater in it and set the temperature quite high. After a month of checking on it every couple of days, the the off gassing had finally diminished to the point where we could comfortably go on another trip. I had expected it to be noticeable but I had not expected it to be that bad.
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Old 10-12-2018, 01:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minnranger View Post


1) DO NOT PLAN TO PICK UP YOUR CAMPER AND BEGIN CAMPING IN IT IMMEDIATELY! why, you ask? because it is gassing off toxic fumes for at least a month (longer really but the first month is intense).

We picked up our trailer and did some camping immediately. I have similar concerns about out gassing. My answer was to keep a window open and run the maxxfan frequently when we were in the trailer. We found it worked quite well for us. IMO, out gassing lasts a long time so keeping air flowing in the trailer for us is important.



We have made a lot of good memories in our trailer and I hope you do as well.
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Old 10-12-2018, 01:19 PM   #8
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We did not really notice the smell it smelled new but we were not bothered by it. We picked up last year in Oct and camped about 5 days after picking it up. Smooth as silk on picking it up and orientation we also installed the fifth wheel hitch day before in Chilliwack. I'm sorry you went through all of that but glad you love your trailer sounds like a great trip. i haven't seen any damage to my gel coat or rusting issues but I've only owned it a year. I didn't have any damage to the gel coat on my 17 either but i had a storage box- some minor rusting on my steps bumper but it was a 2012.
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Old 10-12-2018, 01:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minnranger View Post
we made a very long road trip from austin to pick up our camper - turned out to be 13,000 miles. the first leg was car camping until the trailer was scheduled to be finished. we had a firm date agreed upon with eti to pick it up after which we had reservations for several ferry crossings along the nw coast (so little to no flexibility). after we took possession of our camper we traveled in bc for nearly 2 months with it. from this experience we learned a number of hard lessons which we share here:


1) DO NOT PLAN TO PICK UP YOUR CAMPER AND BEGIN CAMPING IN IT IMMEDIATELY! why, you ask? because it is gassing off toxic fumes for at least a month (longer really but the first month is intense). all the plastics, fiberglass, sealants and what not have just been added to your brand new camper and the result is an overwhelming mix of extreme odors, brain searing fumes and unpleasant experiences inside the thing. our recommendation is to wait at least a month after the completion date to pick it up and begin using it. they will store it for free. The offgassing happens to everyone who purchases a new Escape trailer. Most notice the smell but not everyone is affected by it to the same extent. I myself was always very aware of that "new trailer" smell but it never bothered me or my wife enough to stop us from using the trailer.


2) having arrived on the exact completion date as agreed upon months in advance with eti knowing we had to catch a reserved ferry soon after, they informed us one window was out of stock and told us we could not pick the trailer up for another 6 weeks!! we eventually figured out they could install an older version window temporarily and ship the proper one to us when we arrived home in austin months later for it to be installed by a local rv center. this after some tense (that's putting it politely) negotiations with eti. it turned out to be an extremely negative experience (not just the inconvenience but also the very rude treatment received). thankfully it was the only negative experience in the process overall with eti. hence, the second recommendation: when you go to get the completed camper don't count on an exact pick up date. if you take the first recommendation - not picking it up until it gasses off then you won't need to worry about this second problem.


3) rocks will fly up from your rear tow vehicle wheels and damage the front of the trailer if you don't have a storage box. we had two sizeable holes bashed in the shell which needed expert repair. solution? get a storage box - either theirs or an aftermarket one large enough to cover the damage prone area or put full coverage mud flaps on your vehicle or both. there are other ways to protect as well - spray on truck bed liner material on the trailer front, build a protective "wing" out there etc. point being, without any of these measures you will eventually get smacked by debris. To keep my tow and trailer in best possible condition, I personally try to limit the distances I drive on gravel roads, and when I do drive on gravel I limit my speed as much as possible to minimize rocks being thrown up onto the gelcoat and paint. We learn from experience. I had a new car quite a few years ago that had much of the paint on the lower panels "worn away" from excessive speeds on gravel roads.


4) obtaining title and plates may be a problem. eti shipped us all the necessary border crossing/duty/importing paperwork - a large stack of legal forms that should, in theory, take care of all needs. in our county in texas, however, they require a vin verification take place in person - in other words the trailer must be physically available for them to inspect. this creates a catch 22. can't go get the trailer without the plates being on it, can't get the plates with the trailer being elsewhere! we offered a lot of solutions - photos, live skype from the eti parking lot, eti driving across to washington and the local law enforcement unit verifying the vin, etc. nothing sufficed. i appealed to every level of responsible party on up the chain all the way to calling and actually asking the governor of texas for an exception with no success. in the end we picked the trailer up and drove it without plates for 8 months. crossed the international border 5 times, crossed 10 state lines without anyone noticing. all canada requires is proof of insurance in the case that you are stopped. in the u.s. no one looks very closely (although 2 weeks ago we crossed into the u.s. from ontario at sault st marie and the american border person specifically asked to see the plates on the camper). Many people on this forum and other forums have written about the challenges they faced in registering their new trailers at many different locations within the USA. Seems that bureaucracy is winning. Others on this and other forums have had similar difficulties registering their vehicles all across the USA. So your challenges in registering your new trailer are not really surprising. I do find it quite humorous that you would go to the lengths of contacting the governor to have him make an exception for you so that you can register your trailer.



we've now spent approx 4 months living in the camper on various extended trips. the only minor snafu so far is a bad led diode in the light over the table. oh, and every forward facing painted surface has been eroded by road debris and is already rusting (front metal plate of steps, bumper etc). not sure what can be done about that.



i hope this is helpful to people facing similar situations.

Hope you have many years of enjoyable experiences with your new Escape.
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Old 10-12-2018, 01:58 PM   #10
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Trailer: Soon To Have 19'er Escape
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Thank you for the great info! We plan to pick our new 19'er 3 days after completion date in early December. Maybe we should wait a bit? But I bet the outgassing is less in cold Dec than other times of the year. Hm... Decisions... decisions... decision... Wait a month to pick it up or..."

Also... We truly believe that "All who wander are not lost." (Which was printed across the back of our recently sold Scamp trailer - and will probably be put on our 19'er.) So... No tight schedules for us, if something looks interesting we head for it and might eventually get to our original destination.

... Greg
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