Input, please for a pair of nervous newbies - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-12-2009, 12:18 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 52
Input, please for a pair of nervous newbies

As we get ready to roll out again in a couple of weeks, I've been reading the manual and really would like input on the following:

(1) Brake adjustment -- have read someplace that a new trailer needs its brakes readjusted after 300 miles of use (ours is now at 400) but can't find it in the owners' manual. Comments anyone? Since the trailer lives on the Mainland & we live on Vancouver Island, this would become a stop at a shop somewhere in Surrey, if it's a necessary precaution.

(2) Wheel nut torque check before every trip. Anyone know the pounds-feet? Is it necessary to buy a torque wrench & extension? What size nuts are these, anyway?

(3) How exactly do I check the breakaway switch before each trip? What do I lube its pin with, how do I clean its contacts? All of these are listed in the manual as necessary, but it doesn't say how.

(4) The manual warns of damage to the fridge if not perfectly level -- not a problem fore & aft, but is it mandatory to carry those ramp-like levelling blocks I've seen in campground stores? Of the three spaces we've been in, all were level plus or minus a degree from side to side. Have we been harming the fridge by running it with a very slight sideways list?

(5) The manual says to regularly lubricate the hitch coupler/latch. With what? Door-Ez? WD-40? Axle grease?

I'd be grateful for comments from more experienced Escape-ers than I am!

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow . . .
'09 17A with accessibility modifications
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:08 AM   #2
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Jim Bennett's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 12,640
Re: Input, please for a pair of nervous newbies

1. Brakes are easy to adjust, just take a bit of time. Jack up the axle and block it, remove the dust cap from the adjusting slot, with either a flat screwdriver (or better yet an offset brake adjusting tool) spin the adjusting star wheel until the brakes lock and the wheel is real hard to turn, then back off on the adjustment until only a very slight drag is felt. Repeat for every wheel.

Plan B - take it to a shop.

2. I don't check quite that often, but do check a couple times a year. I usually shoot for 90-100 ft-lbs.

3. What I do is 'pull the pin' while hooked up, and then try to pull the trailer and see if in fact the brakes are locked. I use a wee bit of white grease. Never cleaned the contacts though, but a buff with a bit of Scotch-brite should work fine.

4. A degree or two off level won't hurt and RV fridge, and traveling is fine with it on too as it jostles the liquids about.

5. I have a small container of hitch lubricant, which looks like a white grease. I have use axle grease in the past with great success. You want to use a fairly thick type grease, and only need a thin film of it. I regularly wipe off the ball and the inside of the hitch and reapply a bit to just the ball. I would not use a solvent based lubricant. I think this is one of the most neglected maintenance items that can have dire consequence because of poor maintenance. It probably costs me about a minute tops every once in a while to do, and keep the connection between vehicles working good.

You will likely have much more sage advise added. I have only told things from my limited knowledge on your queries.

2017 Escape 5.0 TA
2015 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost
2009 Escape 19 (previous)
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:11 AM   #3
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Posts: 894
Re: Input, please for a pair of nervous newbies

I'm not too sure about the brakes.. I think the best thing to do is have them checked out once a year by a professional.. I think campingworld has tune-up specials at a very reasonable price..

We do torque the lug nuts... I check them about every 4 months... off the top of my head I think it was around 120#.. I bought a torque wrench at walmart for $25 ( it's set to the correct setting), it does the job nicely..

We haven't checked the break-away switch as of yet, which makes me think.. I should.. that's why the forum really helps .. I tend to lapse in my thinking..

We do use white grease (like Jim).. again I think I've done it every 2-3 months.. probably should do it more often..What usually happens I hear the "squeak/groan" when I turn and it totally reminds me to grease the connection.. I keep the grease with the trailer (as well as the torque fact I have a small tool chest that I carry with me, just in case.. of course it has duct tape & it's friend --cable ties..)
Former 17ft Plan "B" Escape
Toyota Highlander w/tow pkg

favorite quote: "Put the candle back"
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Old 09-12-2009, 09:02 PM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Antelope, California
Trailer: 2009 17B "Suite Escape" pulled by a 2005 Toyota Sienna
Posts: 1,514
Re: Input, please for a pair of nervous newbies

Since I store my "Suite Escape" on a slanted driveway, I called re: level storage. I was told no more than a 10degree angle for the fridge, because the refrigerant pools. I believe the torque for the lug nuts is around 90#. I took her in to Les Schwab and they do it free. (At least here.) Hope this helps.
Peace and Sunshine
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