Solar panel recall/retrofit - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Problem Solving | Owners helping each other
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-30-2018, 11:25 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Portland, Oregon
Trailer: 2012 Escape 19'
Posts: 83
Solar panel recall/retrofit

There was a recall a few years back because a few solar panels flew off the trailers. The ETI retro fit was to attach four cables to the solar frame and roof to hold it in place if the solar frame adhesive failed. Last year I noticed that two of the cables frayed/broke and when I took the trailer to ETI last winter for some upgrades I asked them to replace the cables with longer cables. ETI later contacted me wanting to drill four holes in the roof to bolt the solar panel through the roof. I thought about this for awhile and decided that I didn’t want any more holes in the roof, mostly because of the difficulty of maintaining (sealing) a hole that was covered up by the solar panel mounting brackets and panel. I admit I was surprised to pick up the trailer and see four more taunt cable holddowns installed for a total of eight (and four more holes- see first photo). I thought at least this can be easily checked and caulked if necessary.

During my annual waxing last weekend, I noticed a small gel coat crack below the cable rivets (second photo) after about 600 miles of towing. My theory is that the fiberglass roof flexes while the trailer bounces along the road and this force is enough to break the cables, and now with eight cables, the cables may not break, but the fiberglass is now taking the load and stress cracking the gel coat. Trying to create a rigid tie down appears to not work.

I think my solution is to drill out the rivets in the solar panel frame and attach another length of cable to the existing cable end and panel frame. I think this would allow for flexing and keep the panel from flying off in the remote chance that glue/tape bond would fail. And I wouldn’t have drill out the rivets in the roof (I don’t own a rivet tool or ever used one).

Any thoughts on this idea would be appreciated, has anyone else experienced broken cables and what did you do? Thanks!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 53DD4CF0-46C7-4659-B41A-168229079863.jpg (131.2 KB, 62 views)
File Type: jpg 23AF1CFF-CF3C-43BC-AFB4-8F7EB70A4FA9.jpg (70.6 KB, 58 views)
__________________

DMPortland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2018, 12:14 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Mid Left Coast, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 1,392
do you know what years this recall covers? I bought my 2014 E21 2nd hand, so ETI doesn't know me (and yeah, I guess I should contact them with my serial to register with them.
__________________

John in Santa Cruz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2018, 10:34 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Eggscape's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Kelowna, British Columbia
Trailer: 2018 Escape 19
Posts: 1,199
POP rivets and fibreglass...Personally I would never use a POP rivet on fibreglass without a backing washer. The washer takes all the sideways pressure allowing the rivet to POP and seat correctly. Otherwise you are counting on the fibreglass to be thick enough to hold the little head of the rivet and not crack the fibreglass in all directions due to high stress the rivet puts on the raw hole. In this area the the fibreglass may or may not be thick. I know when installing my side hatches the fibreglass was thinner than I thought it would be.
__________________
So many modifications...so little time.

http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f8...ape-12918.html
Eggscape is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2018, 11:10 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: North Van., British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19, sold; 2019 Escape 21, Sept. 2019
Posts: 4,678
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMPortland View Post
Any thoughts on this idea would be appreciated, has anyone else experienced broken cables and what did you do? Thanks!
I can tell you that if I was to buy your trailer, as is, the first thing that I'd do is remove the present cables. Then I'd install pieces of flat 1/8" aluminum, with machine screws and backing washers using the same holes.

Ron
Ron in BC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2018, 03:13 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
rubicon327's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Burlington Twp., New Jersey
Trailer: 2010 Escape 19
Posts: 3,130
Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
do you know what years this recall covers? I bought my 2014 E21 2nd hand, so ETI doesn't know me (and yeah, I guess I should contact them with my serial to register with them.
http://escapetrailer.com//wp-content...elWarranty.pdf
rubicon327 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2018, 03:24 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
rubicon327's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Burlington Twp., New Jersey
Trailer: 2010 Escape 19
Posts: 3,130
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMPortland View Post
During my annual waxing last weekend, I noticed a small gel coat crack below the cable rivets (second photo) after about 600 miles of towing. My theory is that the fiberglass roof flexes while the trailer bounces along the road and this force is enough to break the cables, and now with eight cables, the cables may not break, but the fiberglass is now taking the load and stress cracking the gel coat. Trying to create a rigid tie down appears to not work.
Is that really a gel coat crack? Looks more like a scuff. Hard to tell from the photo. The panel should be moving with the roof and it would seem odd to me that the cables were taking any load since they would flex too.
rubicon327 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2018, 06:25 PM   #7
Site Team
 
padlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southwick, Massachusetts
Trailer: 5.0 TA #6, 2012 F150 EB
Posts: 5,651
As you are worried about the tight cables causing the fiberglass to flex, there by causing the spider cracks in the gel coat, I can't see why your plan won't work.


Personally, I'd remove the cables altogether, Dicor the holes in the roof, with or without the rivets, and add aluminum brackets as in Rossue's panel fix. I anchored mine the same way and am happy with the results. wow- solar blew off!
__________________
Happy Motoring
Bob
padlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2018, 09:08 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: N/A, Indiana
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 979
The cables provided by ETI were intended to keep the solar panels on the roof when the VHB tape or epoxy mounting failed. They were not a fix for the failing mount procedures used by ETI.
The "fix" entailed drilling multiple holes through the roof for the 19 model. Rossue's mounting strategy is the best option.
__________________
"Never argue with an idiot. They only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin
Jubal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2018, 10:49 AM   #9
Commercial Member
 
tractors1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21 - "Felicity"
Posts: 2,593
Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
do you know what years this recall covers? I bought my 2014 E21 2nd hand, so ETI doesn't know me (and yeah, I guess I should contact them with my serial to register with them.
There are no cables on the E21 fix; the mounting bolts pass through the top shell and terminate inside the overhead cabinets; pretty easy install. I covered the heads inside the cabinet with foam tape to reduce any risk of condensation.
__________________
Charlie Y

Need custom storage to your design? Don't drill holes!
www.RVWidgetWorks.com
tractors1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2018, 11:28 AM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Portland, Oregon
Trailer: 2012 Escape 19'
Posts: 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
do you know what years this recall covers? I bought my 2014 E21 2nd hand, so ETI doesn't know me (and yeah, I guess I should contact them with my serial to register with them.
Definitely get your Escape registered with ETI - they do a great job of communicating with owners when issues arise.
__________________

DMPortland is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off






» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Escape Trailer Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.